Thursday, January 05, 2006

2005 2GBC Awards: Chris Edition: Best Story Arc

First off, I didn't end up doing a "Best Cover" award, for the simple fact that not many covers really jumped out at me this year, which is a sign of one of two things: A) I've matured enough as a comic reader to not get sucked in by cool-ass covers and I stick to books I think are going to be good on the inside, or B) comic covers are getting more generic and repeated as time wears on.

I mean, don't get me wrong; there certainly were good covers, but nothing that I thought, "Wow, I should call that out as award-worthy". So there. Thanks to Jake for picking up the slack on that one.

Now we have the award for Best Story Arc, and quite frankly I've only got two. Which, again, is not to say "Story Arcs routinely sucked donkeys this year" (though many of them did), but it was hard to find a completed, well-told arc or plot that jumped out at me as being something special. A few examples:

  • Geoff Johns got caught up in his own Infinite Crisis hubris and totally botched the "end" of the "Rogue War" storyline in Flash.
  • New Avengers showed a glimmer of promise with "Breakout", but things went south immediately after the first three issues.
  • Green Lantern's been more like an episodic TV show (and I read that somewhere else, so if you agree with it then whoever wrote it on another blog gets the credit for it, because it's so damn right) than a story.
  • Despite my love for the character, I don't read any Batman monthlies, though on the surface the "Red Hood/Jason Todd" story seems ludicrous.

I could name a dozen more. I don't think decompression's the issue, either -- I'm perfectly willing to accept a 2-issue plot, but A) they're hard to find in comics I like and B) a lot of even those can be screwed up because they feel rushed.


So, I've basically got two awards for "Best Story Arc", and they're ones I feel good about; I would heartily recommend anyone picking them up in trades or back issues if they become available. And yes, I've already alluded to how much I like them on the blog, so if you don't want to hear it again, then see you tomorrow.

Silver Medal: Hawkman, #37-#45, "Farewell, My Enemy", Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray

Think of this as the "Hush" of Hawkman, only much less sucky. This was a great arc both in terms of developing the heroes and the villains, and it's a damn shame that Infinite Crisis is going to essentially remove the Hawkman character for an undetermined period of time.

For those who already liked Hawkman, this arc featured a revitalization of some very cool villains, development of the Kendra-Carter relationship in a meaningful way, Hawkman-Style Ass Kicking With Various Medieval Implements (that should really be its own instructional video: Ass-Kicking The Hawkman Way), and closure (as close as we're going to get anyway) to the whole Fel Andar thread.

For those who never really got into the character, this arc has a bevy of villains you probably never heard of but are interesting and certainly aren't overexposed (come on, you've seen the Penguin in a million comics, but Lion-Mane? Lasso? Fadeaway Man?) , a touch of romance, insight into the whole Hawkman reincarnation schtick, a little help from the JSA, a nod to the Teen Titans, betrayal, mystery, and sweet, sweet revenge. And, of course, Ass-Kicking The Hawkman Way.

The best part is that Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray never let the whole mind-wiping/Infinite Crisis/JLA stuff into the story they're trying to tell. Thankfully, DC let them finish their story before mandating the Rann-Thanagar tie-in drek.

Well worth reading for some really swell superhero action that should appeal to damn near everyone.

Gold Medal: JLA:Classified, #10-#15, "New Maps of Hell", Warren Ellis

By far the best JLA story of the last two or three years, and made even better by the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with Infinite Crisis.

It's set during the Luthor presidency, which means the story has probably been sitting in a drawer for years, but that's OK. We've got Kyle Rayner, Flash, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter at the top of their game here, all written spectacularly in character and doing JLA-type stuff, e.g. fighting an alien cosmic threat. It's certainly nothing you haven't seen before: Big Menace Threatens Earth, JLA Figures Out What's Going On, Each JLA Member Survives Own Personal Test, JLA Bands Together To Defeat Cosmic Menace.

But, oh, my, how it works. The dialogue manages to be snappy, in character, and Ellisesque (and you don't hit that trifecta all that often). The action is just right. The team scenes complement the individual scene. The final solution requires everyone to work together. If that ain't JLA, I don't know what is.

Bonus points for appearances by Oracle, President Luthor, and Lois Lane. And none of them feel tacked on. This is really, really good stuff, and it REALLY makes me wish Ellis would get a crack at a New Avengers story ---- although I have a suspicion that Nextwave will fit the bill just right.

Add in a sterling job by Butch Guice, and you've got a damn fine storyarc that gets my gold medal this year.


Blogger kelvingreen said...

Issue numbers man! We need issue numbers for this stuff, especially as the Hawkman arc is very unlikely to get collected.

I'd worry that Ellis would make Not Avengers too hip and self-aware, as he often has trouble avoiding that, but I suppose even so, it couldn't be worse than the current travesty. I'm rooting for Kirkman, but Bendis seems to be digging in. Gah. I dropped Avengers for the first time in years and years because of tthis mess. I'll check it out at the library, but I'm not giving tthem money for that filth until it improves. I didn't even drop it when Chucklin' Chuck Austen was in charge, because I knew he wouldn't be around for long and that his replacement would be better. Guh.

I just read the opening Red Hood arc yesterday, and it wasn't too bad, I thought. But then I'm not a Batman reader, so there were probably vast errors throughout that I didn't pick up on.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

TARGH! In the first draft I had the ish numbers in, left them out the final draft. I've republished to include them.

Kirkman could be good --- see my awards tomorrow to see why I think you're right about him fitting the Avengers --- but it could easily devolve into fan fiction.

Although now that I think about it, Marvel could use a little more fan fiction these days, I think.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

I'm convinced. I'm buying that JLA Classified trade. And as much as its killing, I'm still picking up New Avengers. Mostly because I have this weird feeling its going to pay off and when it does, I have to be painstakingly involved or else that Wednesday that I read that big pay off issue will a little less exciting. Make sense? Nope, but that's why we're called Marvel Zombies.

8:10 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Oh, all that on JLA: Classified and nothing about the "lovely" covers. :)

If there's any payoff to all this rubbish in Not Avengers, I'll be surprised. And I don't mean yet another line-wide crossover, either.

Stupid Marvel.

9:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home