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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Airing the Linnen: Top 5 of '05

I realize the "End of the Year" list isn't even slightly original anymore, but it's the best I could come up with in my post-Christmas stupor. There were so many excellent comics this year, it was difficult to narrow this down to just five. I really enjoyed Mike Carey's final year on HELLBLAZER, the soon-to-be-cancelled PLASTIC MAN, Bendis's reinvigorated ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, the variety provided by DC's SOLO, and Vertigo's always-excellent FABLES. DC brought out two of their best mini-series in years with VILLAINS UNITED and GREEN LANTERN CORPS: RECHARGE. Still, it's part of our year-end culture to boil things down to a list - and so without any further ado....

My 5 favorite comic-related things about '05
by Brian Linnen

#5. Ed Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA. I don't want to harp on about this too much because it was the topic last time I wrote something here on; however, I can't stress enough how much love I have been sending Cap this year! And this is from a fella who had never read this title before - I just followed Bru over from CATWOMAN. Stressing espionage instead of super-heroics works well here, and the story of the Winter Soldier is as engrossing a tale as I've ever read. I can't recommend this one enough!

#4. SIN CITY - the movie. I went to the theatre to see this having no knowledge of what SIN CITY was. I know Frank Miller, of course, but I never felt moved to pick up any of his black-and-white stuff. Anyway, the film blew me away! Visually the movie is just stunning, and the performances from all the central actors were fantastic. Since then, I have picked up every one of the SIN CITY collections and I love them all. Miller has created such an enjoyable world with so many great, over-the-top characters. His line-work has never been better, and the love that I had for him BEFORE I read THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK has returned! I didn't think it possible!

#3. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. Five years ago, the Superman books were pretty terrible, but recently with Rucka and Simone taking over the reigns, things have been looking up. However talented these writers are though, they haven't provided any true Superman moments like the ones Cary Bates and Curt Swan used to provide me when I was growing up. I assumed for many years it was just because I was too old for it to happen anymore, but Morrision and Quitely have disproved that assumption! I know that they have only released one issue so far, but what an issue it was! Seriously, I read this thing three times before bagging it - and that NEVER happens anymore! Leave it to Morrison to make Supes magical again! If you missed this one when it came out, see if Comix Connection has any left - you won't regret it.

#2. BATMAN BEGINS. After the wreckage that Joel Schumacher left behind, I thought I would never see another live-action Batman movie. What a surprise that Warner Brothers chose to restart the franchise AND to do it with such style! Chris Nolan was truly an inspired go-to-guy to direct, and although David Goyer really let me down with BLADE 3, as a rule, I consider him to be an extremely talented writer. I'm glad he was tapped to co-write this screenplay. In terms of the cast, everyone except for the woefully out-of-her-league Katie Holmes seemed born to play their parts. Gary Oldman, in particular, seemed as if he had been ripped right from the pages of "Batman: Year One." It's amazing how good a movie you can make when the number one driving factor isn't selling toys!

#1. INFINITE CRISIS. I wrote about this two a few weeks ago, so I won't gush too much here. Johns and Jimenez have somehow re-captured the excitement I felt twenty years ago reading the original CRISIS, which is an incredible feat! If someone had told me that I would be THIS excited about a comic series at the jaded and world-weary age of 34, I would have thought them mad. I don't really want to spoil anything by discussing the book; however, let me say that things heat up to an incredible level in issue #3. I can't wait to see what happens next!


At 1/01/2006 2:29 PM, Blogger MegoSteve said...

My favorite comic of the year would have to be the Mike Allred issue of Solo. I'd love to see him get back on a monthly (or bi-monthly) superhero book.

At 1/01/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger Linnen said...

That was a great book! The best issue to date of a fantastic series! I think X-Statix is returning in a mini-series next month with Allred playing some part...

At 1/01/2006 6:46 PM, Blogger AlbertJohn3 said...

I do not think I had a favorite book this year, but this has been one of the most exciting years in comics for a long while for me thanks to DC comics. Following the events leading up to, and into the Infinite Crisis has been a lot of fun. With the Countdown and the four minis and all the tie ins throughout the other books, this has kept me on the edge of my proverbial seat for the better part of 2005. I am looking forward to the one year later DC, and maybe, just maybe, I might take a peak at the Civil War from Marvel. I will decide in the coming months.
Happy New Year everyone.


At 1/01/2006 8:38 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

Yeah, I have to agree, albertjohn3... I've been talking to a lot of customers and there really does seem to be a consensus that there are a LOT of really really great comic books coming out right now... almost a renaissance of sorts. Back in the '90s it was all about flash and shiny gimmick covers, and now, 12 years later, it's ALL ABOUT THE WRITING AND the artwork!

I really think this is one of the best eras for comic books... at least from what I've seen for the last 20 years. It is a great time to be reading comic books, and yes, DC Comics is leading the charge.

I started making a list of my "Top 5" and then it became Ten and then it ballooned to Thirty and then I gave up. I think soon I will do a post about the wealth of great comic books this year... but in the meanwhile, I welcoma all of you guys' (and gals) lists!

At 1/01/2006 8:40 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

... and I have really GOT to read the last year or two of CAPTAIN AMERICA...

At 1/01/2006 10:36 PM, Blogger Linnen said...

You keep saying that Bill, yet never do! Keep 'em flying, buy war bonds, and start reading Cap!!

At 1/04/2006 2:02 AM, Blogger Manager Ken said...

Yep Linnen...Bucky is back and with a reason...Cap Rocks!


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