Tag Archives: Scott Snyder

Best of 2012: Best Writers

So I’ve fallen a bit behind on my whole “Best Of/Year End” lists. This last one was especially hard for me, but I’ve finally narrowed down my 5 (well, 6) favorite writers of 2012. For your reading enjoyment.

5. Tie: Jeff Lemire & Scott Snyder

DC’s newest golden boys had a great year in 2012. Together, the duo finally got the ball rolling on their pseudo-Vertigo opus, ‘Rotworld.’ While that story in particular was one of my most anticipated of the year, it’s grown a bit long in the tooth. Fortunately both writers had other enjoyable works as well. Snyder wrapped up his surprising ‘Court of the Owls’ story and began the hotly anticipated ‘Death of the Family’ arc, both of which received astounding critical acclaim. Lemire wrapped up his run on “Frankenstein” and moved over to “Justice League Dark,” where he continues to weave bits of Vertigo lore into the New 52. Both writers also hit major milestones in their creator owned works at Vertigo, with Snyder hitting the halfway point of “American Vampire” and Lemire wrapping up his 40 issue run on “Sweet Tooth.” As if that isn’t enough, Lemire also released an original graphic novel, “Underwater Welder,” a small-town story in the vein of “Essex County,” to critical praise. These are two extremely prolific writers who seem to just be getting started. Both writers will launch new Vertigo series in 2013, and will add new DC books to their plates as well. Expect both writers to play a major role in the upcoming “Trinity War” event at DC.

4. Joshua Hale Fialkov

Fialkov wasn’t as productive as fellow writers Snyder and Lemire in 2012, but his work on “I, Vampire” was so focuses and unique among its peers that it alone earns Fialkov a slot in my top 10. “I, Vampire” went through around three status quo changes in the past year, each more shocking and exciting than the last. When a writer can play fast and loose with such played out genres as super heroics and vampires, while still remaining fresh and engaging, it’s an accomplishment worth mentioning. Recent news has revealed that Fialkov will finish his story in “I, Vampire” #19. While it’s sad to see the book go, I absolutely cannot wait to see how it all wraps up, as well as what the writer has in store for the future.

3. Matt Fraction

I’ve never been a Fraction fan. I gave “Cassanova” a shot once, but couldn’t get through it. However, the writer made it into my pull list in a major way this year with “Hawkeye”, “Fantastic Four,” and “FF.” These three books represent some the purest and most fun story telling in all of comics. Fraction’s ability to connect to the reader emotionally, using fantastic characters in everyday interactions, is unparalleled. If you want comics to be fun, instead of dark, depressing affairs, while still remaining relevant, look no further.

2. Brian K. Vaughan

I hate to admit it, but I’ve never read more than the first issues of both “Y, The Last Man” and “Ex Machina.” I’ve never touched “Runaways.” The only substantial exposure I’ve had to BKV was through his work on “Lost” (rest its TV soul). So, when I picked up the first issue of “Saga,” all my excitement was due to hype, rather than personal experience. I now understand the hype, and am dying to read more from this guy, who is a true modern story-telling master.

1. Jonathan Hickman

Hickman had an unbelievable year in 2012, from wrapping up his long-running “Fantastic Four/FF” run as well as his run on “The Ultimates,” to launching a new “Avengers” series and his creator owned “Manhattan Projects.” After reading his work I can say, without a doubt, that Jonathan Hickman is the new Grant Morrison. No other writer since has channeled such bizarre, otherworldly ideas and concepts into such small and poignant moments, eliciting an emotional response from somewhere deep within the human soul. He also has the uncanny ability to surround himself with fantastic art talent, such as Nick Dragotta, Nick Pitarra, Steve Epting, and Jerome Opeña. His background as a graphic designer shows in his work, which bears a clearly crafted design. Everything Hickman touches bears a mark of the highest quality production (except for AvX, but who can help that?).

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Soliciting DC Comics: March 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, having been very busy with work and my new gig doing reviews at Multiversity Comics (look for them weekly!). However, after sifting through solicitations for March, there’s a lot worth talking about and a lot to get excited for.

He Comes in Peace!

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Beginning in March, Justice League of America will feature a Martian Manhunter back-up feature penned by Matt Kindt with art by Scott Clark. DC seem ready to give the man from Mars a major push after his lackluster presence in the New 52 Stormwatch. Kindt is a great writer that is slowly rising through the  ranks at DC, and this will be his highest profile gig yet. I can’t wait to see where he takes Martian Manhunter, a character that has never been handled well in the time I’ve read comics. Here’s hoping he finally gets the recognition he deserves.

From the Ashes

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Much like the aftermath of ‘The Court of Owls’ storyline, the issue following ‘Death of the Family’ sees guest artists and an appearance by mysterious Snyder creation Harper Row. It doesn’t look like things are well for the Bat after the Joker is through with him, but just how bad is anyone’s guess (maybe Didio finally gets to kill Nightwing). In further interesting back-up news, issue #18 will feature art by longtime Bendis collaborator and Marvel mainstay, Alex Maleev. The main story features art by Andy Kubert, a prominent artist in Morrison’s Bat-saga. This issue looks like it will be a great post ‘Death of the Family’ read.

See the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow!

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Green Lantern #18 continues the ‘Wrath of the First Lantern’ arc, which we next to nothing about at this point. However, if the cover is any indication, we’ll see some major involvement from Hal Jordan and Sinestro, who have recently taken a back seat to Simon Baz. Oh, while we’re on it, how about that amazing Gary Frank cover. Soooooooo many colors + zombies. I’ll take it in poster size.

The Return of the King

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Longtime fans of Vertigo’s “Hellblazer” are pretty bummed about the book’s cancellation and subsequent replacement by the New 52’s “Constantine” #1, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Robert Vendetti is doing great work on Valiant’s “X-O Manowar” and Renato Guedes has recently really come into his own as an artist. “Justice League Dark” hasn’t really been by thing, so I hope this representation of the best conman/magician in comics is up to snuff.

Things Just Got Real

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In an incredible turn of events, “Phantom Stranger” could take a major incredible upswing in quality come March. Not only is legendary writer J. M. Dematteis coming on to co-write the series with Dan Didio, but the stellar Gene Ha will be handling the art for the issue. Nothing against the book’s regular creative team, but this line-up has me extremely excited. The issue features the debut of Lady Luck, a new character teased by Geoff Johns way back before the New 52 began, who will likely play a big role in the upcoming ‘Trinity War.’

All Good Things…

ST_Cv18ANMAN_Cv18_R1In somewhat of a surprise, Scott Snyder and Yannick Paquette will be leaving “Swamp Thing” after issue #18, which acts as both an epilogue for ‘Rotworld’ and a coda for the duo’s year and half of stories. While it’s sad to see them go (I was really interested to see where Snyder would take the character post-‘Rotworld’) rumor has it that DC has snatched up a major new talent to take over the book, so there’s hope for the series. Jeff Lemire, will continue with “Animal Man,” steering Buddy into new territory. After being so closely tied to “Swamp Thing” for 18 issues, it will be nice for Lemire to get to do something different with the character. Also, how about that Jae Lee cover? Fantastic right? What would it take to get that guy on interiors A.S.A.P.?

Vertigo Still Going Strong

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While some are predicting the impending doom of DC’s mature reader’s imprint, I’d argue the imprint is still produces plenty of quality material. Case in point, March’s “Time Warp” continues the series of one-off genre anthologies that began with last year’s “Strange Adventures.” The oversized issue will feature stories from a who’s who of great artists including Matt Kindt, Gail Simone, and Damon Lindelof and such artists as Jeff Lemire and Rafael Albuquerque. While these anthology issues are a little on the pricy side, the amount of content is definitely worth it. There aren’t enough great anthology books out there these days, so if you enjoy them, or you just want to support Vertigo and the creators involved, be sure to check this issue out.

Next Year’s Christmas List Starts Early

After budgeting for a month’s worth of floppy comics, I rarely have funds left over for trade paperbacks/graphic novels. Because of this, I usually just relegate them to an Amazon wishlist and hope that someone is kind enough to gift them to me. Three collected editions that are definitely worth checking out next year are Legion Worlds, The Authority Vol. 1, and Batman Noir. Legion Worlds is the sequel/companion series to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Legion Lost series. These writers are known for their great cosmic work, so those looking for a great Legion story should look no further. Also, how can you pass on art by artists like Oliver Coipel, Darwyn Cooke, and Steve Dillon? The Authority Vol. 1 will collect the complete 12 issue run of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s groundbreaking Authority run. These are the characters you’ll find in the New 52’s Stormwatch, only way more awesome.  I already have the trades, but this is extremely tempting nonetheless. If you haven’t read this yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Finally, Batman Noir is a deluxe hardcover featuring Batman stories by the 100 Bullets team of Brian Azzarello. I’ve never read the ‘Broken City’ arc, but the ‘Flashpoint’ tie-in series and the ‘Wednesday Comics’ arc are worth the price of admission alone. A great pick for any Bat-fan in your life.

And that’s what I’m looking forward to from DC in March 2013. Check back later when I’ll go over Marvel’s solicits, and in the New Year when I do my obligatory best of 2012 list!

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Swamp Thing vs. Animal Man

I look at the time stamp of my last post and realize that it’s been two weeks since I last posted and I feel ashamed. I’ll blame it on the awesome Flash vs. the Rogues story I’m working up (DC, call me). In honor of Halloween I’m breaking the drought of content with an all out slugfest between two Vertigo mainstays who hit it big in DC’s New 52, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. The two books/characters have been so closely tied in the build up towards Rotworld that it’s hard to consider them as separate books. However, I’m about to make myself do just that. I’ll be comparing each book’s central and supporting characters, and art direction to decide which book is the best. I will only be comparing the New 52 incarnations of the characters for the sake of this match up. Continue reading

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From NYCC: Snyder and Lemire Bring the Sci-Fi to Vertigo

At today’s Vertigo panel two of DC’s biggest newcomers, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire, announced new creator owned projects for the company’s mature reader imprint. Interestingly enough both books as science fiction, which is a change from both writers usual genres of choice, although Lemire previous wrote a “Ultra the Multi-Alien” story in the Strange Adventures Vertigo anthology.

First up we have The Wake, a 12 issue series coming from Snyder and artist Sean Murphy. Snyder describes the series as “a horror science fiction story with post-apocalyptic elements as well. It takes place at the bottom of the ocean, featuring elements we’re in awe of. Really a claustrophobic and terrifying story that then expands and makes the whole world terrifying.” Snyder has previously worked with Murphy on an American Vampire mini-series. Speaking of American Vampire, Snyder also announced that the series would go on a one year hiatus, returning late in 2013. In the meantime, Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque will collaborate on some stories set in the DCU. This will give me plenty of time to finally catch up on the fantastic series.

Next we have Trillium, a 10 issue series written and drawn by Jeff Lemire. Billed as “the last love story ever told,” the series will tell the story of two characters separated by time, over 1800 years apart. CBR has a deeper look at the series, as well as an interview with Jeff Lemire, on their website. Also, Lemire will draw a story written by Geoff Johns in the upcoming Vertigo special Ghosts. If that’s not a pairing to get excited about, I don’t know what is.

Both Snyder and Lemire have been among DC’s most popular writers in the New 52, and both have had very well received creator owned projects under their belts. With big series like Scalped and Sweet Tooth wrapping up it’s good to see that there exciting new stories to be told under the Vertigo banner.

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From NYCC: Superman’s 75 Anniversary

DC’s Superman panel was held yesterday evening at New York Comic-Con. The biggest news coming out of the panel is the confirmation of a Scott Snyder written/Jim Lee drawn Superman series coming later next year. While rumor mill site Bleeding Cool has reported that the book will be called Man of Steel in conjunction with the upcoming film, but there was no official title was given. The book will be in current continuity and according to Snyder will feature long, epic stories similar to what we’ve seen in his Batman work.

Grant Morrison confirmed that he will be wrapping up his run on Action Comics in February with issue #17. The writer said that we will see the Superdoom character from issue #9 returning in issue #15. Morrison confirmed that Superman did once die in the New 52 continuity, and that several past Superman stories would be referenced in upcoming issues of Action Comics. Sholly Fisch, writer of the upcoming Action Comics Annual, said this story will feature Superman’s first exposure to Kryptonite and will depict Steel’s new direction in the New 52. Writer Andy Diggle and artist Tony Daniel talked a bit about their upcoming run, saying that the new black costume would be explained in the story coming out of H’el on Earth.

Speaking of H’el on Earth, a crossover between Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy, the event was heavily teased during the panel. The Justice League will be making appearance, with Batman, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman appearing on several covers. The event also features Superboy prominently wearing Superman’s kryptonian armor, while Kal returns to the t-shirt/jeans look. Could this be the reason for Supe’s new suit?

With three ongoing series, two sister titles, a major crossover, and some outstanding talent attached, the Superman books are looking better than they have in years. With 2013 marking the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, I can only hope it will be his best year yet. Check out some artwork from the panel below, and keep checking back for more news from NYCC!

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Final Week

Finally. Last week marked the end of Zero Month and as much as I enjoyed some of the issues, it wasn’t quite the event I was hoping it would be. I’m really excited to get back into the ongoing stories, especially with things like Rotworld and Rise of the Third Army coming up this month. Anyway, here are my thoughts on a few books from week four of Zero month.

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 2

Last week saw the release of 14 #0 issues at DC. Of course I’m not crazy enough to read all of them, but here’s a few I did read. If you’re interested in hearing about the other books, there’s a great podcast I’ve discovered called Pop Culture Hound. The guys there are reviewing every one of the #0 issues this month, and a lot of the books I read this week were due to their recommendations. Here’s Week 1 and Week 2. Now click on for my thought on the New 52 #0 issues.

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The Final New 52 Power Ranking

This is it. It’s officially been one year since the launch of the New 52, which means it’s time for me to fully examine the initiative. Over the year I’ve rated each book I’ve read and compiled a top 10 list of my favorite books. I’ll be discussing the list, what I liked, and what I didn’t like. There’s a lot to be said, so let’s jump right in!

Top 10 Books

Ranking

Title

Average Score (Out of 10)

Original New 52 Ranking

1

Green Lantern

9.10

Batman

2

Swamp Thing

9.07

 I, Vampire

3

I, Vampire

9.04

 Animal Man

4

Batman

9.00

 Wonder Woman

5

Animal Man

8.80

 The Flash

6

Justice League

8.72

Green Lantern

7

Action Comics

8.52

Aquaman

8

Wonder Woman

8.45

 Green Lantern: New Guardians

9

Aquaman

8.40

 Action Comics

10

OMAC

8.26

 Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

When the New 52 launched, I read every single first issue and reviewed all of them. Of course, it was impossible to keep up that level of commitment, so after the first month I only read the books I truly enjoyed. As the months went on my list became more refined as I dropped some titles, some of which I later came back to. I began reading about 20 titles a month, with that number now closer to around 13. Of the titles in my original top 10 list, I am still following 7.

Green Lantern was the book that really got me into monthly comics. It’s the book I always look forward to the most month in and out and that has only become more true with a major upswing in quality post New 52. Unfortunately the other Green Lantern books have not fared as well.  Green Lantern: New Guardians had a sense of youthful wonder to it when it launched, but dragged on over the course of its year-long story arc. Year 2 of the title looks extremely promising with a new artist, new team mates, and a new mission for Kyle. The relaunch of Green Lantern Corps saw the return of Peter Tomasi to the title. Tomasi’s run on GLC from Sinestro Corps War through Blackest Night was absolutely spectacular. Unfortunately, Tomasi has failed to catch that same lighting, with two meandering story arcs that failed to give much of the character development the title was known for under his pen. Red Lanterns was the major newcomer to the GL family and it is also the worst book of the bunch. It’s a complete shame, as Atrocitus is a great character under creator Geoff Johns, and Peter Milligan is a very capable writer. The book is scatterbrained and decompressed to the extreme, with pitiful dialogue to boot. It’s just not an enjoyable read, as much as I wish it was. I must admit however that I enjoy Rankorr, a newly created Red Lantern from earth, and hope that he will play a greater role in the ongoing Green Lantern narrative.

Swamp Thing and Animal Man were two of the consistently best books on the stands. While Animal Man had the stronger characters and plot, Swamp Thing had better action and art. It’s really incredible the cord that Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire have struck in crafting these two titles.

I, Vampire is a book that I was extremely surprised by. It is a book that is not afraid to do extremely unconventional things with its characters and defies a lot of the tropes you would expect to find in a vampire book. Definitely the most under appreciated gem at DC right now.

Scott Snyder won my heart with his run on Detective Comics pre-New 52, and came out of the gate strong with the first few issues of Batman. However, the Court of Owls story line ran a little long in the tooth and was greatly marred by a lackluster final issue. While overall it is one of the best books at DC, my disappointment in the Court of Owls arc and the $3.99 price tag have greatly hindered my interest in Snyder’s Batman.

The New 52’s flagship title had a rocky run in its first year. The opening arc was beautiful to look at, but a little lacking in character development. The loss of Jim Lee on art in the middle of the year hurt the book a bit, but better characterization and the addition of the Shazam back up feature bolstered the quality. The final four issue arc saw the return of Jim Lee and set up some extremely intriguing plot threads for the coming year.

Let’s get it out of the way, Grant Morrison’s Action Comics is no All Star Superman. However, the book has had some great moments. The first issue of the book was fantastic, showing an everyman Superman that many have clamored for. The tw0-issue interlude featuring the Legion and art by Andy Kubert was rife with classic Morrison creativity and love for silver age ideas not commonly found in the New 52. The one-off issue featuring the President Superman of Earth 23 was the best issue of the run so far. All in all this title has had a solid run that will wrap up in the not too distant future.

Wonder Woman was a book that I had several ups and downs with. I absolutely adored the first issue (it was my 4th favorite out of 52 books), but I found following issues to be slightly confusing and haphazardly plotted. Furthermore, the addition of Tony Akins as a fill-in artist on the title really hurt the book’s overall appear. I eventually dropped the book about 8 issues in.  However, the final cliffhanger of issue 12 caught my attention, causing me to return and catch up on what I had missed, and boy am I glad I did.

Aquaman is one of the best looking books at DC, but it is not Geoff John’s best work. The opening arc with the Trench was refreshingly short and hinted at a typical Johnsian, slow burning epic. The Other story-arc, which as still yet to wrap, was decompressed to the point where I literally could not remember what had happened in the previous issue. The Others themselves have hardly been developed to the point where they can be appreciated as individual characters. This was an amazing book in the first half of the year, but the second half was not so kind.

Finally, I want to mention O.M.A.C., a book that I enjoyed very much and was sad to see canceled. I’ve said all I want to say in earlier post, so let’s just have a moment of silence for the book……

And with that, I give you my final New 52 Power Ranking. If I do continue to do power rankings they will be inclusive of all publishers. Check back this week when I’ll be posting my New 52 Year One Cheers and Jeers!

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 1

This month marks one year since DC’s launch of the New 52 and to celebrate, DC is turning the clock back. This month, (almost) all the New 52 books will tell stories that take place before the beginning of the New 52 and are renumbered to #0 to signify this. While I’m not going to go crazy and read all of the books like I did for the launch of the New 52, an event like this does make me want to read a few books more than I normally would. Here are some thoughts on 7 of the books released this week.

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DC Annuals: The Annuals Strike Back

A while back I did a post looking at the annual issues DC was releasing in May and August. The release of October’s solicitations show four more annual issues up DC’s sleeve, Action Comics, Batgirl, Justice League Dark, and Swamp Thing. Which ones are worth getting? Well, opinions are like noses. If you’re interested in my nose, click on. Continue reading

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