Yes, that time of year has come for me to round up what I think have been the best (and possibly worse, I haven't finalised the categories yet) of the comics world in 2009. Apologies for the lack of pictures, but to be quite honest I find it very frustrating uploading them onto blogger - part of the reason for my pathetic output of late! Anyway, without further ado...On with the awards!
Best ongoing series: Dark Avengers
Much of Dark Reign has flattered to decieve, promising much and delivering little. Thankfully Bendis' latest attempt at writing the Avengers has lived up to its meteoric expectations. I have had my misgivings about Bendis' ability to write a decent team book ever since his abortive relaunch of the Avengers franchise, but he seems disturbingly adept at capturing the dynamic of a team of pyschopaths. Of course I must mention the art, from Mike Deodato Jr. His moody, ink heavy style has not always been my cup of tea but it is a superb fit for this series. Splendid stuff!
It should be noted that I am not counting the widely panned 'Utopia' crossover with Uncanny X-Men, that ran through issues seven and eight. The storyline was written by Matt Fraction rather than Bendis so I decided to skip it.
Best mini series: Destroyer (MAX)
To be perfectly honest, 2009 has been a subpar year for mini series. Even the much anticipated Spider-Man: Close Saga series has, so far at least been merely average. Thank goodness for Robert Kirkman. I love the man, so it is no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed what looks to be his final work for Marvel. Gloriously violent, with the occasional heartfelt moment, it is great to see Robert go out with a bang.
Best Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
A clean sweep from the man with one name too many. As far as I'm concerned no one can match his output this year. I haven't been reading his new Spider-Woman series (partly through lack of interest, partly as a protest at it's shambolic lack of a UK digital release), but as should be immediatley obvious I consider Dark Avengers to be the best ongoing series of the year. Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man has had mixed reviews but I have very much enjoyed it.
Best Artist: Olivier Coipel
Easily the comics world's most improved artist over the last few years. I found Coipel's work on House of M sloppy and confusing, but his Thor over the last few years has been beautiful. JMS's writing has tailed off slightly over the last year, But Coipel's art has remained consistently Mighty (pun intended). I am a big fan of his occasional replacement Mirko Djurdjevic but it is a crying shame that he has had to replace Coipel as often as he has.
Biggest WTF!!! Moment: Hank Pym being named 'Scientist Supreme'.
Dan Slott's Mighty Avenger's run started off solidly enough, in fact I remember devoting an entire post to its greatness early in the year. Sadly it has gone downhill to the point where I considered the inclusion of a 'Biggest Dissapointment' category so I could rant about the latest story arc. I can't even remember which issue this insane development occured in, but suffice it to say that its sheer lack of sense sadly undermined Slott's brilliant characterisation of Pym throughout his run. The latest issue however was fantastic, so I'm hoping that the run is back on track.
Best Character: Hercules
This should really go to Norman Osborn, superbly rendered by Brian Michael Bendis in Dark Avengers. However, this would possibly have made this post a little too much of a love letter to the aforementioned series, so the award goes to Hercules, from Fred van Lente's humerous Incredible Hercules. Brilliantly funny, and a pleasing tonic to the hordes of more responsible, some would say boring heroes, van Lente's Hercules manages to be an utter buffon while remaining immensely likeable. His relationship with Amadeus Cho is also very sweet, the two of them are currently one of my favourite pairings in comics.
There you go, and I managed to do it without a single wholly negative category (close as it was). If anyone is reading, I hope that you have had a prosperous holiday season, and that your 2010 is equally so! Josh out.