Monday, December 28, 2015
Weird Science DC Comics 2015 Year End Awards
Another year is nearly at its end, and so our thoughts turn to the successes, the failures, and other achievements for 2015. Not our own, of course, we prefer to avoid acknowledging our own lives' pointlessness by scrutinizing the works of DC Comics! So how was 2015 for the publisher? The entire Weird Science DC Comics Get Fresh Crew of Jim, Eric, Ryan "Brightest Daycare," Reggie, Joel and Jody were corralled and made our individual picks for the Awards Ceremony which will be out separately from the regular Sunday Weird Science DC Comics Blog Dot Blogspot Dot Com Podcast (aka "Weird Out Loud" to jerks.) Read on and see what we've come up with!
And our choices are...
Best Ongoing Series
Jim’s Choice: Grayson
What can I say, I’m a sucker for Dick. And while a whole bunch of angry Nightwing fans stayed away from this book out of spite, I loved it from the start. This book has been so consistent with regards to story and art and the long form storytelling keeps paying off big time to those there at the beginning. While I liked a bunch of books in 2015, this is the one book I can truly say I loved.
Eric’s Choice: Justice League
2015 has been a down year in my mind for DC Comics, what with the move to Burbank putting a kibosh on all our ongoing titles and replacing them with the two month Convergence event, but Justice League persevered and continued on through that battle of destroyed timelines. Even though we’ll have a down month here or there with the book, it continues to be the best title that DC Comics puts out and it should because it’s hard to not to get excited every time you pick up a book featured the World’s Greatest Superheroes all in one story. It doesn’t hurt either that Geoff Johns has been killing it on this title since 2011, and I hope he continues to bring the awesome for years to come.
Ryan's Choice: Deathstroke
Even though it has had its ups and downs, I have really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I was glad to see Tyler Kirkham brought on board to keep the 90's vibe in full effect, but sad to learn Tony S. Daniel would be leaving the book. Deathstroke has been given a second life since the start of the New 52, and it seems like he is really making full use of it.
Reggie's Choice: Batman
Everybody's talkin' 'bout that new Dick, honey, but he's still Batman Jr. to me. Sure, we didn't get Bruce Wayne in the familiar cape and cowl for most of the year, but what we did get was more an exploration of vigilantism and what it takes to fight against conceptual evil made real in the form of Mr. Bloom. Jim Gordon in the Robo Bunny suit may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think it's a pretty ballsy storyline that says more about Batman the superhero than was ever said when Wayne was behind the eye holes.
Jody’s Choice: Batman
Call me a member of the bandwagon, but both story arcs the series put out this year have been fan-friggin-tastic. Endgame is so dark, gritty, and truly feels like the end of the Batman story that started back in 2011. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Superheavy feels like a fun beginning for this new Batman for a different type of Gotham. It’s a story that keeps getting better with time and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.
Joel's Choice: Grayson
Best Writer or Writing Team
Jim's Choice: Tom King
This should be no surprise to anyone who visits our site and/or listens to our podcast. I’ve already told you that Grayson is my Book of the Year and King probably would have won on that alone, but there is so much more. I’m talking about The Omega Men and The Robin War, of course. The Omega Men scratched the hard sci-fi itch I thought I lost back in the 80’s and We are Robin may not have ended at the time of this writing, but it already is one of the better (best?) events of the year. Both of those and Grayson...that’s a hell of a trifecta and the reason why Tom King is easily my Writer of the Year.
Eric’s Choice: Lee Bermejo
In a time where “Batgirling” became a verb to describe what DC was doing to their heroes, Lee Bermejo somehow rose above the rest of the knuckleheads trying to write teenagers and found out how to actually write a young character without making them overly annoying or naïve. We Are Robin was a title that I thought was just going to be nonsense when it was announced, but thanks to Lee Bermejo’s understanding that teenagers could be decent characters without relying too much on whining and texting, it’s become one of my favorite books that I can’t wait to dive into each month. The emotion of these characters alone drives the story and while they might not be up there with Superman and Batman, they’re definitely as interesting because they feel real.
Ryan's Choice: Gail Simone
What can I say about Gail that I haven't already said a million times over? She has a writing style that is unlike anyone else's, her comedic timing is impeccable AND she can write truly unique characters that readers actually care about. She is a rare talent in comic book writers; and even after leaving Batgirl she still found a way to write TWO books for DC (plus a Convergence tie-in AND her own event book at Dynamite...she's a busy AND talented lady!)
Reggie's Choice: Rob Williams
It was Jim who put me on to Rob Williams by suggesting I read a little-publicized book from Vertigo called The Royals. I enjoyed it, then kept my eyes peeled for more of this guy's stuff, and found I liked that, too! Martian Manhunter is one of the best new series from DC this year, and Justice League: Darkseid War - The Flash was the only tie in to the Darkseid War that gave me the feels. Pile on some awesome work for DC's Digital First titles, and it's obvious that Rob Williams is a writer you should watch for.
Jody’s Choice: Rob Williams
Look at this guy showing up and taking one of the least popular members of the Justice League and making a book that has become almost as good as the book of an A-Lister. Despite him not having a large place at DC at the moment, his run with the Martian Manhunter has made the character interesting and made the fans want him to cover more!
Joel's Choice: Tom King
Best Artist or Art Team
Jim’s Choice: Mikel Janin
Is it a shock that the Grayson train keeps on a-rollin’? I am far from an artist and marvel at anyone who is, but Mikel Janin is a step above everyone else in my not so humble opinion. His art and panel layout is such a huge part of the storytelling in each issue of Grayson and I hope he is on the book for as long as it lasts.
Eric’s Choice: Jason Fabok
While I love the writing on Justice League and the fact that the book has all my favorite heroes in it at once, it’s become really apparent to me that a lot the experience that I enjoy from the book is Jason’s Fabok’s excellent style in portraying those characters. Jason Fabok originally came on my radar during his Detective Comics run and it was no wonder from seeing what he was doing on that book that he’d take over the biggest book that DC puts out (Yes, I consider Justice League to be over Batman.) His style is just so clean and defined and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything from him that I could consider subpar. He’s just a wizard with a pencil and he’s cast a spell over me.
Ryan's Choice: Barnaby Bagenda
Bagenda's work on Omega Men really sets that book apart. The story is unique enough on it's own, it needed a truly unique take on comic book art to really do it justice, and i believe that he does that well. I am hopeful that the end of Omega Men doesn't spell the end of his relationship with DC (though, if he DID go to some other publisher, I would most certainly follow his work there).
Reggie's Choice: Dale Eaglesham
Why isn't Dale Eaglesham drawing all the things? He seems to appear for September event books and whenever Secret Six is around, but I would really like to see this guy on a higher profile series. His line work is chunky and precise, his action is portrayed simply but the facial contortions are severe. I love his stuff and I could stand to see him draw anything.
Jody’s Choice: Juan Ferreyra
I’m a huge fan of Gotham by Midnight since issue one, but I’ll be the first to admit that Ben Templesmith’s art was not the best. Did it fit the horror tone? Absolutely! Then Juan shows up and makes the horror in Gotham look amazing. He has made every issue he’s a part of look amazing and still look terrifying. If theres another horror series coming from DC in the near future, I want Ferreyra as the one at the helm.
Joel's Choice: Mikel Janin
Jim’s Choice: Norm Rapmund
I don't care what anyone says, I really like the art in The Flash and while Brett Booth did not make my best of list, his Inker did. However, The Flash isn't the main reason I picked Rapmund. Nope, the book I think he really kicked ass in this year was the Digital First Batman: Arkham Knight. His inks along with Viktor Bogdanovic’s pencils made this one of the best looking Digital First titles I've read and easily competed with the “regular” comics for best looking book period.
Eric’s Choice: Marc Deering
This is probably the hardest for me to pick because of how little I understand inking and what goes into it. The thing that really puts Marc Deering over the top for me and getting my pick for best inker is how I always seem to see his name attached to books that I think look great and even with my little understanding about how the wild world of inking works, I spent some time before writing this up just to look at his work and it just blows me away. Marc Deering is truly a master at his craft and I hope to continue seeing a lot of him in the future.
Ryan's Choice: Scott Hanna
Scott has worked on a lot of different titles and issues where I appreciated his work (Superman: Lois & Clark #1, Convergence #8, and his work on Cyborg.) There are a lot of books he has worked on for DC and other publishers, but what always jumps to mind was his work on the Detective Comics books for Batman: Knightfall. Hanna has been in the business for a long time, and it looks like he's not going anywhere.
Reggie’s Choice: Riley Rossmo
I love the art in general in Constantine the Hellblazer, but when that black ink spray is applied it really makes everything look dark and funky. Perfect for this series, and I really think the art tells much of the story with its sharp lines and frayed edges. John himself is sort of frayed at the edges, it’s only fitting that his lines be as well.
Joel's Choice: Barnaby Bagenda
I love the inks on Omega Men.
Jim’s Choice: Andrew Dalhouse
This may sound a tad similar to what I said about Norm Rapmund, but I picked Andrew Dalhouse for his work on The Flash and Batman: Arkham Knight. The colors on Arkham Knight really made that book stand out, but it's Andrew’s work on The Flash that won me over. The Flash is such a colorful book normally, but this year added dinosaurs, Professor Zoom and his Zoom Crew and Dalhouse colors made everything pop. It's one of those books I can just page through and look at the pictures and the vibrant colors are a huge reason why.
Eric’s Choice: Brad Anderson
While I originally didn’t expect to have such a Justice League heavy set of picks, it does make sense that a book of that quality would be comprised of some of DC’s best of the best. While I’ve already stroked Jason Fabok with his pencils, I don’t know if they’d be quite as good without Brad Anderson’s colors just making his work pop off the page. And while we’ve been dealing with some really dark stories in that title as of late, Brad Anderson’s colors still shine through making that book and all it’s heroes come off vibrant as hell.
Ryan's Choice: Ivan Plascencia
Ivan first came up on my radar with his work coloring Riley Rossmo's art on the Image Comics title Rasputin. Seeing him back working with Riley Rossmo on DC's Constantine: The Hellblazer gave me the same feelings I had when reading their creator-owned title. The way these two work so well together, it will come as little surprise to me if they continue to work together on many more projects.
Reggie's Choice: Fco Plascencia
If you told me that Batman, a book where the titular character died just this year, was one of the most brilliantly-colored books on the comics stand today…well, I read Batman, so I’d probably agree with you. If I didn’t read Batman, I probably wouldn’t be reading comic books at all, so I’d respond to your contentions about Batman with a polite nod and sort of edge away. Anyway, Fco is always very daring with his coloring, especially since Endgame. While I wouldn’t say it works 100% of the time, it definitely works more often than not, to my pleasant surprise. The colors are a big part of what gives this book its balls.
Joel's Choice: Geyser with Dave McCraig
The colors in Gotham Academy have long been my favorite.
Jim’s Choice: Pat Brosseau
How can I not give it to the guy who stood up for letterers everywhere and demanded that we include them in our reviews as part of the art team? The answer is...I can’t. He’s also a hell of a letterer which is why he gets so much work...The Flash, The Omega Men, All-Star Section Eight to name just a few.
Eric’s Choice: Tom Napolitano
Not only do I love saying his name, but Tom Napolitano seems to be on the majority of the books I review and even though I can’t say I know a lot about what goes into lettering…and I can’t say that I ever really think about lettering, I know that Tom has never let me down and he does a shit ton of books and he wouldn’t be doing that if he wasn’t one of the best…yeah, that’s a bit of a cop out, but that’s all I got for ya.
Ryan's Choice: Rob Leigh
Rob has lettered some of my favorite New 52 cancelled titles (Men of War, Captain Atom and Resurrection Man,) plus his work on the Flashpoint books was great as well. He worked on Batman Eternal, Justice League 3000 PLUS Convergence: Swamp Thing, which was probably my number two choice for tie-ins from that event. Letterers often go unappreciated, so I am glad to get a chance to shine a light on someone with a body of work I really appreciate.
Reggie's Choice: Travis Lanham
Here’s a guy who letters some of the wordiest, pain-in-the-ass books in the DCU and he deserves some dap for it. Secret Six, Batman, Wonder Woman—and that’s just a sliver of his recent work! He juggles the different fonts and word balloons used by different characters with aplomb, which is arguably more important to understanding the story than the artwork. Three cheers for Travis Lanham, who was been quietly lettering every-fucking-thing in comics for several years now!
Joel's Choice: Pat Brosseau
Omega Men letterer, who does great letters in the book.
Best Single Issue
Jim’ Choice: Grayson #12
Dick Grayson returning to Gotham had it all...humor, tension and a whole lot of feelings. While most of the feels center on Dick talking to Damian, I loved it all because it all felt so right. Each character reacted differently and it had to do with how they dealt with Dick’s “death” in the first place. Great issue of a great series.
Eric’s Choice: Batman and Robin #40
The final issue of Batman and Robin not only brought Damian back to his former glory—you know, at Batman’s side and not sporting superpowers anymore—but it also brought a bit of respect to the character and even mellowed him out. For as emotional as it was when Damian presented Bruce with one of the missing pearls from his mother’s necklace, this issue topped it in my mind when Damian used his skill and love to complete the family portrait that sat unfinished after that little pumpkin headed boy was taken from us. And the only thing that could have made this issue better was if Damian painted in Jason Todd as well…oh well, we’ll see if that can be a part of the best single issue next year. Just a beautiful issue that put a perfect cap on the Batman and Robin series.
Ryan's Choice: Clean Room #1
Gail Simone is someone I don't need to heap accolades upon, but I do it, anyway because she deserves them. She earns even more with Clean Room: this book is a weird, unique horror story that doesn't read like Puppet Master, or anything else out there. It is a great opportunity to see just what she can do as a writer, because she is not relegated to making Batgirl puns or joking about the pert and perkiness of Dick Grayson's posterior.
Reggie's Choice: Twilight Children #1
The first issue of Twilight Children could just as well have been titled How to Make Great Comics, Greatly. The storytelling, the plotting, the dialogue—all working in perfect concert to tell a strange mystery in a very plain and direct way. This is a primer on the language of comics, and if you care about that you need to give it a look. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in spooky glowing spheres that render children blind and make people disappear.
Jody’s Choice: Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1
Maybe not the most logical choice when Hal pushed away godhood in the middle of the Darkseid War, but this issue is something that actually made me think on a few things, one including how to explain God himself. The issue does make the point that gods don’t have free will…and in a way they really don’t, especially the comic ones. Firstborn was destined to try and take Zeus’ throne (Which he did), Darkseid was destined to lead to the death of the Old Gods (which he did), and those two are just the tip of the iceberg. Add that to a very emotional journey for the Green Lantern and you have an amazing story.
Joel's Choice: Grayson #11
The way the second Dick Grayson tore down Grayson's life was really heavy, and I bought-in completely to the story and emotions it provoked.
Jim’s Choice: The Death of Batman
If this category was “best moment”, I wouldn't have gone here, but come on, killing off their biggest character took some major balls. The cynic in me might think this was just a Scott Snyder ego trip to show the world he could do whatever the fuck he pleases, but the fan in me (yes, he is still there somewhere in the black abyss) actually liked the Gordon Bat Bunny as a change in a book that had gotten stale for me. Whether this will end up being looked at as a failed experiment, a curious side note or a New Coke/Classic Coke situation down the road, it is my clear choice for Biggest Moment of 2015
Eric’s Choice: Pre-Flashpoint Clark and Lois Being Restored to Continuity
I didn’t realize how much I missed the old Superman and Lois, until Superman: Lois and Clark came out and showed us what life used to be like and that these characters didn’t have to just be big jerks. I’ve had a serious problem with how Lois Lane has been presented since the New 52 began and really, Superman hasn’t been much better (especially since he lost his powers and identity), so having these older characters showing us how wonderful they are just really warmed the heart and made me yearn for what we once had. Yeah, I know you shouldn’t live in the past, but because these characters survived Convergence, I thankfully don’t have to.
Ryan's Choice: The reveal of Batman from Batman and Robin Eternal #1
If you haven't read Batman and Robin Eternal, turn back NOW!!! If you are still reading, that's on you. I had not read a weekly book before Batman & Robin Eternal, I just couldn't convince myself that a weekly book was a sound idea for someone with a limited comic book budget, and I had not really read too many great and glowing reviews about the Batman Eternal series. But I gave the book a shot, in spite of all that. The first issue of Batman & Robin Eternal was something altogether different than I was expecting, and the twist ending where Mother had convinced (or forced) Batman to commit a killing...WITH A GUN, NO LESS was something that I don't think anyone could have seen coming, and was a cliffhanger reveal that had me 100% hooked on reading a weekly Batman title. Now, in the time since, my passion has waned, but I am still reading, still hoping, clinging to that one moment, because they have to reveal what happened eventually, right? We deserve that payoff (and sooner rather than later would be nice.)
Reggie’s Choice: That Thing At the End of Convergence
This was supposed to be a big fucking deal, right? That stuff that happened, whatever it was, at the end of Convergence? Wiping away the first Crisis and sending the Titans into the past or something like that. Look, I don’t pretend to know or even care what the ramifications of the end of Convergence fully meant, all I know is that it got us Superman: Lois and Clark and opened up the Multiverse to future stories, and that’s good news as far as I’m concerned. Now if someone can tell me what the deal with that living rock planet was and why it was there, maybe I can appreciate this event a little more.
Jody’s Choice: Superman’s New Power
It’s been a while since Superman got a new power. Yes he is overpowered. Yes this is just the extension of a previous power. And yes it currently has led to the bland Truth storyline, but think about it: Superman is the one everyone thought hit a dead end. There’s nothing higher than a god-like alien with heat vision, super strength, and invulnerability. Now we throw in a “last resort”, something like Batman’s Kryptonite ring (don’t use unless absolutely necessary.) It might have been used poorly in the issues to come, but damn was it cool to see.
Joel's Choice: Damian and Grayson hugging it out in Grayson #12
Made me cry.
Biggest News Story
Jim’s Choice: The DC You
As if the two-month disaster known as Convergence didn't turn enough people off, DC used the hiatus in the regularly scheduled programing to move across country and fuck up their whole Universe. If it wasn't for the New 52, there would be no Weird Science site or podcast and while that may sound like a better world to you and me, I hated to see it brushed aside. The problem is, I can't tell if it really was. We were told this new DC You would feature “story over continuity” and yet it seems like it's been up to the fans to figure out when and where that philosophy applies. Eric thinks it's a ticket to lazy storytelling, but I think it was just a matter of trying to please everyone and doing the exact opposite. I'm expecting next year's biggest news story to be yet another total reboot so I'll just sit here and weather the storm.
Eric’s Choice: Bill Finger Finally Receiving Credit for His Contributions to Batman
This might not be huge to some, but for comic book fanboys who have known of Bill Finger’s contributions in creating some of the most iconic and memorable pieces to Batman’s mythos, the idea that Bill could finally step out of Bob Kane’s shadow and receive the recognition he deserves is a freaking godsend to not only fans but to Bill Finger’s family. Starting this year, Bill Finger’s name is finally attached to media outside of comics that deals with the Dark Knight and in a world where recognition is paramount, this news story was just above and beyond one of the best things I heard all year.
Ryan's Choice: Greg Capullo Taking a Sabbatical From Batman
Batman is everywhere, so it should come as no surprise that when longtime Batman artist and longtime Batman author scribe Scott Snyder's best friend and personal trainer Greg Capullo announced he would be taking time away from Batman to work on a creator-owned project, it most certainly made waves. Though it shouldn't have come as quite the shock it did; Capullo made his mark on comics with work on Spawn, a 90's Image book I have been quite fond of since before he even came on board. He should take some time and return to the place that helped make him who he is today. I am sure he will be back to Batman, and the time away will probably do him some good. Just like with any job, a bit of a vacation can help to revitalize you and to reinforce your work ethic (as long as you don't work in a cardboard box factory, that is....)
Reggie's Choice: DC Comics Moves to Burbank, CA
This was more than just a physical moving of offices, it was also a symbolic move to show that the DC Comics brand would be more of an extension of Warner Bros. rather than a subsidiary. It’s only been a few months, so the full results of this move are difficult to know, but if some of the Berlanti magic from Arrow and Flash rubs off on the comics, I can’t see that being a bad thing!
Jody’s Choice: Omega Men Uncancelled
Alright this might not be the biggest news story to the rest of the world, but to me it felt like a big deal. Not only because I love the Omega Men comic, but it actually felt like there is a chance for other smaller comics to survive. Not many have heard of the Omega Men and knowing that there was a comic that people actually stood up and demanded DC to keep alive at least for its planned twelve issues was amazing. With the current sales, it doesn’t look good for the Omega Men, but a man can pray that a miracle happens like it did the first time it was continued.
Joel's Choice: DC Extended Cinematic Universe
We're getting a Justice League movie!
Best Event or Story Arc
Jim’s Choice: Convergence
We kind of are known as Convergence haters and I think that is a bit unfair. Sure, I thought the main book was utter nonsense and the whole event was a complete head scratcher, but there were a handful of books I really enjoyed. It's also a “tallest midget in the circus” situation because I really didn't love any other events this year. So, Convergence gets my pick by the two sweetest words in the English language...De Fault!
Eric’s Choice: He-Man: The Eternity War
While this series might be off of some people’s radar, this ongoing He-Man event has hands down been the best consistently impressive story that DC has put out this year. Between Dan Abnett’s incredible writing and Pop Mhan’s fantastic art, this series has put He-Man in places that I never expected to see him and continues to shock me issue after issue with the twists and turns that this story presents. Just an amazing book and I hope that after this event is finished that the He-Man series continues.
Ryan's Choice: Multiversity
As far as DC's events have gone (even further back than 2015,) there haven't been many since the start of the New 52 that really stood out to me, besides Multiversity. It was a monstrously large-scale story, and it was told in only the way Grant Morrison could tell it. I enjoyed that the series of one-shots were all done by different artists, just reinforcing the uniqueness of each world we visited in Multiversity. Of course, no Grant Morrison story is complete without a good old fashioned Morrison-ing at the end, with such a massive change, or incomprehensible revelation that your head hurts for literal days after reading and Multiversity was no exception. This was a great read, and having a bit of Inception-like storytelling about a comic book in a comic book was a nice touch, and something most certainly done best by Grant Morrison himself.
Reggie’s Choice: All-Star Section Eight
The final issue’s revelation that the entire DC Comics Multiverse is but a gleam in a drunken slob’s eye was more staggering than any of the multi-issue hijinks that went on in other comics in the line. Heck, with all the cameos in All-Star Section Eight, it might as well have been an event in and unto itself. And it had classic versions of Superman and Batman while their solo comics had a Jersey Shore douchebag and a robot bunny! In that way, All-Star Section Eight was the most pure DC comic book of the year. Aside from all of its inherent filth and disease, that is.
Jody’s Choice: Multiversity
The Multiverse has always been such a fascinating place to hop around in, and when Morrison first started in 2014, the series definitely proved that fact. However as we reached the final leg during 2015, this fascinating run in the multiverse soon turned into something dark and twisted when Ultra was revealed. At that point, these single issues seemed unconnected with the exception of the evil comic. When Ultra Comics was revealed, the story was finally tying itself together into a pretty amazing conclusion. All I can say now is, “When is Multiversity 2 coming out?”
Joel's Choice: Darkseid War
I enjoy this event, it is not pissing me off like Convergence did.
Best New Book
Jim’s Choice: Superman: Lois and Clark
Spinning out of the pages of Convergence! This was my favorite Convergence story and while it's only a couple of issues in, I'm picking it. Like everyone else starving for a Superman book they can enjoy, I already love this book and can't wait to read it each month. I hope the greatness continues in 2016
Eric’s Choice: Martian Manhunter
This was almost a tie with We Are Robin because I initially pish-poshed both those titles since I just thought they’d be nonsense. The thing that makes these two books incredible is how they overcame my bias and gave me something that I would never want to live without today. Martian Manhunter ultimately gets the pick for best new book though because of how out of the box this story began and how Rob Williams was able to make me a fan of a character I’ve never cared about. Plus, this series had the balls to kill its title character in the second issue and since then I’ve just been waiting to see what other crazy shit Rob Williams will throw at me because he’s made me a believer in Martian Manhunter and in the idea that he can do no wrong.
Ryan's Choice: Omega Men
I had no idea who these characters were before I read this book, I didn't even really know that Kyle Rayner was in the book at all before I picked up the first issue. I just dug the cover art, and thought that I should give a new number one issue a chance (which—showing how much I know—the book has been cancelled and then brought back from the brink to be a miniseries.) But the artwork looked extremely unique (see my vote for best artist) and really helped to set this book apart, which is probably the reason for both it's cancellation and resurrection. This series is most definitely worth checking out.
Reggie's Choice: Martian Manhunter
I was going to completely ignore this book until Eric’s site chatter made me want to take a look, and I’m so glad that I did. Not only did this series make me like Martian Manhunter as a character but it introduced me to Rob Williams who is my writer of the year. This book took a character about who I was fairly lukewarm, and made him so interesting and compelling that he became one of my favorites. Though maybe I’m more of a Mr. Biscuits fan than a Martian Manhunter fan, all told.
Jody’s Choice: Martian Manhunter
The DC You has been kind of a mess so far. I don’t think that’s really an unpopular opinion. With the exception of a handful of stories, most of what came out during the relaunch wasn’t really good. However there was one that really shined. Not only over the other new series coming out, but titles that had already been here. A book that takes one of the most unpopular Justice Leaguers and turns him into an amazing character. A character we can sympathize with that gets caught in a story that is actually interesting involving a plot between two worlds. This book deserves more love. Go get it. Now. Like literally stop reading this article and go get some Martian!
Joel's Choice: Omega Men
Hands down my favorite book since the June relaunch.
Best Digital First Book
Jim’s Choice: Batman: Arkham Knight
While site-goers and podcast listeners may have thought this would be The Legend of Wonder Woman, Peter J Tomasi’s Arkham Knight tie-in was one of my favorite books of the year, period. Funny thing is, I still haven't played the game it's based on, but loved almost every issue of this series.
Eric’s Choice: Batman ‘66
Who doesn’t love some classic TV Batman? Well, at least who doesn’t love it in short doses because that show is hard as hell to marathon because it’s a lot of the same thing episode to episode. The thing that made the digital book so great this year is the fact that Jeff Parker began adding characters who never appeared on the show and because of this awesome addition to the Batman ’66 formula, I had something to look forward to and get excited about. Too bad that this series is ending because I wouldn’t mind visiting that campy world over and over again as long as it was able to keep things as fresh as it did this year.
Ryan's Choice: The Legend of Wonder Woman
The Legend of Wonder Woman is new, but I thought that it was a choice that seemed to be quite easy. The story is different but still comfortable to readers less familiar with the character, and for me it was different enough from the main series' Wonder Woman and for that point alone, I would give it a chance. The world of digital comics is growing and slowly becoming a place for really decent books to be released (at least at first, before being combined and released as physical comics) and I think Legend of Wonder Woman is a really solid step in the right direction.
Reggie’s Choice: Batman: Arkham Knight
I wasn’t really reading a lot of digital books until this year, but Jim’s high marks for this book (as well as it being written by the venerable Peter J. Tomasi) made me want to check it out. This is a really solid Batman book that draws from the Rocksteady Games continuity but creates compelling drama and action all by itself. Anyone looking for a more traditional Batman story should be checking this book out, and as Jim says you don’t even have to have played the game to enjoy it.
Jody’s Choice: Justice League: Gods and Monsters
You know what I love? Elseworld stories! So my reaction to a new Elseworld Justice League movie made by Bruce Timm got me EXTREMELY excited…and when a digital first mini-series came out, I fell in love with the Gods and Monsters world more. All these books may seem to be unconnected, but it still was great to see the League’s first adventures, with it leading up to the first time they united against a common foe. I love the Gods and Monsters world, and this series made me love it even more.
Joel's Choice: The Legend of Wonder Woman
I don't read digitals, but Jim loves it.
Best Convergence Tie-In Book
Jim’s Choice: Superman
How could I not pick a book that I gave an average score of 9.85/10?!? I must not have been the only one who loved it since it made its way into the DC You.
Eric’s Choice: Superboy
Initially I really thought that I’d give this pick to The Question, but going back and looking over my reviews for this event, I realized how much fun I had in being transported back to Zero Hour and seeing the first incarnation of Kon in all his bad ass glory. He just wants to be Superman and even though he continuously stumbles along the way, by the end of this two-parter he’s definitely made you a believer that he’ll get there. While I was originally looking forward to the Zero Hour stories the most from Convergence, Superboy turned out to be the only one that I really enjoy from that era and it wasn’t hard to enjoy either because it was just so damn good in it’s delivery and nostalgia.
Ryan's Choice: Nightwing/Oracle
Gail Simone writing characters that don't exist in the New 52 main continuity, need I say more??? Okay, I guess I have to say more (thanks a lot, Jim): there is action, and Oracle being textbook Oracle, a surprise guest appearance by a Bird of Prey, and WEDDING BELLS, Y'ALL!!! This was such a fun and unique story, it made me wish Nightwing/Oracle was eight issues long and Convergence was only two...
Reggie's Choice: Swamp Thing
Len Wein and Kelley Jones on Swamp Thing is what the world needed. I thought the inclusion of Red Rain Batman would make it stupid but both issues ended up being completely awesome. And guess what? We’re getting a Wein/Jones Swamp Thing series next month! So life is not a bleak hellscape of torments and torture, after all.
Jody’s Choice: World’s Finest
I like this one over the others because the Seven Soldiers represented what I like to call “Old School Heroics.” They may not have won their battle against the Thunderers, but they still went out fighting. They didn’t resort to any tricks like Nightwing/Oracle, no overpowering violence like the Flashpoint heroes. These guys went out protecting their city even though they had no powers, only the will to fight til their last breath. Even the scrawny Scribbly Jibbet took part in his attempt to save his city. They may have been the underdogs who lost, but they were definitely their world’s finest.
Joel's Choice: The Atom
Mega ATOM hands!
Jim’s Choice: Grayson
This is a no-brainer for me. Dick has always been my favorite character, even as a kid watching Batman ‘66. This year Dick has matured, gotten himself out of Batman’s shadow, survived death and much to Dan Didio’s chagrin, is one of DC’s biggest stars. Spy, astronaut, garbage man? I don't care, where Dick goes, I'll follow.
Eric’s Choice: Red Hood
Pickings were slim this year for heroes, what with everyone that we knew and loved being a shell of their former selves. And while the rest of these fools picked Dick Grayson as their hero of the year, I’m going with the less respected, more damaged Robin: Jason Todd. Jason has become so much more than he previously was this year with how much he’s been a part of the Bat Family, stopped killing and even more recently took on Joker’s Daughter as a protégé to not only redeem her, but make her not so fucking annoying and terrible to read. All these reasons, plus how bad ass he is are my reasons for declaring that Jason Todd/Red Hood is the best hero of 2015.
Ryan's Choice: Grayson
Dick Grayson aka The Original Robin went through a lot of changes recently: from masked hero, to owning a circus, to a dead man, to a 007 knockoff, to now being leader/traitor to the Robins (see Robin War for more details there.) I love the direction that Grayson took in his new title, and I owe giving this book a shot thanks to Weird Science DC's own Jim Werner, who brought up this book to me one day on Twitter. I binge-read the book then, and have kept up reading as each new issue comes out.
Reggie's Choice: Grayson
I picked up Grayson #1 on a whim, mostly because I’d liked Forever Evil and wanted to see some of its aftereffects. Within six issues it was my favorite comic every month. Grayson, to me, has a lot of the best things comic books have to offer: thrills, intrigue, mild sex, and complete weirdness. The fact that Mikel Janin is killing it on this book doesn’t hurt, either.
Jody’s Choice: Batman Beyond (Terry McGinnis)
Think back to Future’s End, now forget the crappy ending. Think of the hero that gave his life to try and save the future. Terry McGinnis’ time in the main continuity might have been short, but it certainly was memorable. Despite all that was stacked against him, he was able to defeat the Brother Eye’s assassins and cleared the way for Tim to step up and be a hero again. Do I wish he was still around? Absolutely. If he never does return, he will be remembered as the true Batman Beyond.
Joel's Choice: Grayson
Jim’s Choice: Harley Quinn and Power Girl
Okay, I am fudging the numbers here because the team-up I loved was in Harley's solo book and that ended in December's #13. However, it did spawn the 6 issue DC You mini which took place during a “missing panel” of the solo book so...I can't really justify it, but it's my choice and I'm sticking with it.
Eric’s Choice: Sinestro and Black Adam
Ever since we saw these two chumming it up at the end of Forever Evil, I’ve been wanting to see them reunited, and thankfully Cullen Bunn made my wish come true with his current story arc of Sinestro. The two are so similar that they’re constantly trying to one-up one another and it not only makes for an awesome team up with them battling against The Paling, but it also makes for some great comedy as well.
Ryan's Choice: Deathstroke and Wonder Woman
The Godkiller arc for Deathstroke was one that vacillated wildly in quality, and the inclusion of Superman into the mix was a confusing moment to say the least. But the thing that really did it for me in that story was seeing Deathstroke and Wonder Woman being at odds with one another, then thrown together to work side-by-side and seeing just how well they work as a team. I really hope that this isn't the last that we see from these two, because I think it could really be a lot of fun to see more from Slade and the Amazon.
Reggie's Choice: Grayson and Midnighter
I’d hoped for more from the Midnighter solo title, but when Dick Grayson and Midnighter get together the sparks do fly. They quip, they flirt, they honor each other warily to the delight of, well, me specifically. And when they do that double-team beatdown on criminals, it’s pretty satisfying. If Midnighter sticks around or if it doesn’t, I’ll be glad to see him show up in Grayson from time to time.
Jody’s Choice: Bizarro League
Maybe this isn’t the most conventional team up, but its a team up that gave me the biggest smile on my face. Throughout Bizarro’s road trip across America, he encountered some of the strangest characters you would expect in a Bizarro book. It ranged from the magician Zatanna, to the X-Files parodies of Agents Mahalo and Chicken Stew, to the bad ass Chastity Hex. During the final battle, all these characters came back in a final stand to help Bizarro against the might of Queen Tut and end up saving an entire city from her control. It was a silly team up that definitely looked cooler than expected.
Joel's Choice: Batman/TMNT
It was a team up we didn't see coming, but I'm glad we have it.
Jim’s Choice: The Joker
While I seem to be one of the few people not in love with the Joker, he kicked ass this year. After being “dead” for a while, he came back and actually appeared to be immortal (Isn't everyone in comics these days?!?) The way he totally fucked with Batman in Endgame was great, but leading to and being there as Bruce Wayne/Batman died sealed the deal.
Eric’s Choice: Brother Eye
While I can’t say that I was a huge fan of Futures End, I do have to admit that Brother Eye was a pretty effective villain for that event. That A.I. mofo combined both Batman and Joker into a borged-out monster and even damned Tim Drake to a life of being in a darker Neo Gotham than we ever saw before. If that wasn’t enough to wet your whistle for villainy, the satellite even conquered the entire world and enslaved the Justice League to do his bidding. It isn’t getting any bigger than that my friends.
Ryan's Choice: The Joker
Endgame really brought out some weird stuff for the Joker, but he is someone that I always come back to in DC comics. I loved his early New 52 stuff with Batman (the face cutting was coco banana bonkers!) and I am hopeful that he gets a bigger piece of the action in 2016 to get people hyped up for Jared Leto in Suicide Squad...though DC doesn't really get too on the ball with stuff like that, so we probably won't see anything including him until about 3 months after the movie is out (Like the upcoming Supergirl title).
Reggie’s Choice: Brainiac
One of the good things to come from Convergence was taking Brainiac from a city-stealin’ mad scientist to a reality-stealin’ Multiversal hive mind that really raised the stakes on his obsessive collector’s habit. Even though he had a change of heart by the end, the Collector From Colu is a cold, dismissive asshole at his core, and I think he’ll probably misplace the petri dish containing the DCU pretty soon, resulting in the next reboot.
Jody’s Choice: Martian Manhunter
I know what you’re thinking: Why is a hero the villain of the year? Answer in the form of another question: out of all the villains this past year, how many actually completed their scheme? The closest any villain was to completing their goal was the Anti-Monitor, but that only led to him losing his power soon after. Look at what happened in the recent Martian Manhunter book: HE DESTROYED EARTH TO BRING BACK MARS! He stabbed all his friends in the back, killed himself only to gain the attention of his “parts” to unite to bring back his home planet…and before anyone says, “but he regrets it;” this is true, but that doesn’t deny the fact that he DID do it.
Joel's Choice: The Joker
He just is, man.
Best Cancelled Title
Jim’s Choice: Supergirl
This was a classic case of a book being cancelled right as it was getting interesting. Fresh off her time as a Red Lantern, Kara was sent to the Crucible and it looked like it was going to be the Breakfast Club, Saved by the Bell and Fifteen (look it up) all rolled into one...quick means awesome! Unfortunately, it was cancelled before writers Mike Johnson and K. Perkins could finish the story properly and we are left with dreams of what might have been. It also had amazing art thanks to Emanuela Lupacchino and now I'm getting sad.
Eric’s Choice: Batman and Robin
Yeah, Batman died and that kind of makes it hard to continue a title like this, except it isn’t because out of nowhere Grant Morrison went and killed Damian during Batman Incorporated and yet the series continued. It might have produced the best set of stories that this title had seen, but the series continued and Batman and Robin could have even taken Batman’s death as a means to tell Batman and Robin stories featuring past Robins as a way to flesh out our former Robins in their experiences with Batman…if not to only make me squeal like a little girl. This series was great and I hated to see it go.
Ryan's Choice: Gotham by Midnight
The artwork was stellar, and it took a different look at Gotham and its cast of characters, but maybe it was just too different to really find it's place on the shelf. For whatever reason, it is done for, and it doesn't look like it will be saved like Omega Men was. And that's okay, not everything needs rescuing. As the saying goes: it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Reggie’s Choice: Gotham by Midnight
I’m a fan of horror comics and I was really looking forward to this title when it was announced. It was much more atmospheric with Ben Templesmith on art, but when Juan Ferreyra took over art duties I think the story really started to chug along. Unfortunately, it didn’t chug along quite fast enough and people started to slough off. Too bad, the book was going some interesting places and the art was really something to gawk at sometimes. Hopefully the stuff Ray Fawkes established for the Spectre and Precinct 13 will linger around in other tales of Gotham City, because I dug it.
Jody’s Choice: Swamp Thing
I will be honest: Before last year, I only knew Swamp Thing through a crappy movie. Then I found the title with writer Charles Soule at the helm. In the issues I read, I learned so much about the elemental world of the DCU while also causing my appreciation of the Green Avatar to grow like his plants. I felt that we could have explored the kingdoms of fungi, bacteria, and the machines even more before it was cancelled. I know we’re going to be getting a miniseries with Swamp Thing in the near future, written by his creator, but I will always appreciate Soule’s run.
Joel's Choice: Supergirl
The last arc was great, but no follow up. No new book when the show came out. How stupid can DC be at this point?
Best Non-DC Book
Jim’s Choice: A Tie With a Bunch of BooksI Read One Issue Of
Yea, I love comics, but the way our site and podcast are set up, I barely have enough time to read everything DC puts out. I have read a bunch of single issues...Star Wars, Paper Girls, Sex Criminals, Elf Quest, Puppet Master...yes, Puppet Master, but never enough to say one or the other is the best. So, feel sad for me and my overly busy life when you sit in front of your multi-publisher pull list.
Eric’s Choice: Puppet Master (Action Labs: Danger Zone)
When you spend the majority of your time reading everything that DC Comics is putting out, it’s hard to see what else comic publishers are doing. Thankfully though, I came across Action Labs: Danger Zone and it’s publication of Puppet Master, and writer Shawn Gabborin hasn’t let me down yet with his new mythos that not only continues to make the main characters of this film series-turned-comic book interesting, but he’s throwing enough details in from the movies that as a fan I can’t get enough of it. Definitely the best non-DC comic series I’ve read all year and I can’t wait to continue my fun into 2016.
Ryan's Choice: Southern Bastards (Image)
I love this book because it is absolutely 100% unlike anything DC comics would ever put out. It is still thematically similar to DC comics, in that it is dark and brutal, but that is where it ends. The book focuses on a small, rural southern area and how its obsession with football blinds the people of Craw County to the dark and underhanded way that their perennial champion coach goes about his business. A man comes to town who is hellbent on righting the wrongs that happened in his absence, and things go all sorts of crazy from there. The second arc of this series delves even deeper into the cast of characters from all around the county, and the work of Jason Aaron and Jason Latour is arguably, some of the best of their careers. This book is most certainly NOT for the faint of heart or those only looking for a capes and cloaks punch fight, though there are quite a few punches thrown.
Reggie's Choice: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel)
Gosh, why do you think Doreen "Squirrel Girl" Green deserves to win this category? I dunno, maybe because she's unbeatable??! I picked up this book's first trade as a goof and ended up enjoying it so thoroughly that it landed on my pull list. It is a silly book full of groan-worthy puns (mainly about nuts) and dubious combat tactics but it's just so much fun to read, and the jokes in the foot margins make it a great value. Eat nuts and kick butts!
Jody’s Choice: Inhuman (Marvel)
Swamp Thing wasn’t the only thing that I started reading last year that branched into this one…and once again with Charles Soule at the wheel. Before finding the Inhuman series, I thought the Inhumans were just knock offs of the Mutants. Just like Swamp Thing though, Soule was able to make the world of the Inhumans not only an interesting one, but also one that any newcomer could step into without the need to go back to series made in the 90’s. Inhuman has since ended, but Soule continues to write great Inhumans comics so I urge you to follow it to continue the fantastic run.
Joel's Choice: Vader Down (Marvel)
It has been really gnarly and that first issue was insane showing Vader's true power.
So that's our two cents, which can be combined with three dollars and forty-eight additional cents to get a cup of coffee. What would your nominees look like, and who are your picks to win each category? Let us know in the comments section or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to watch out for the special Award Show Podcast where we try to come up with the overall winners from each category. From the Weird Science DC Comics Get Fresh Crew, have a great and safe holiday season!