12.19.2006

Top 10 of 2006 - Part 1

"Best. Issues. Ever."

Top 10 Ongoing Series of 2006

Nextwave: Agents of HATE (Marvel): Few series equalled the offbeat action and diabolical humor that Ellis and Immonen were able to capture with this title and the eclectic mix of characters.

Ex Machina (DC/Wildstorm): In the tradition of Mamet, Sorkin, Bendis, and (insert your own cool reference here), Brian K. Vaughan nails the combination of political intrigue, staccato dialogue, and poignant commentary. Tony Harris pencils for 25 issues doesn't hurt a damn bit, either.

All-Star Superman (DC): Let me preface this by saying that I *hate* Superman. Ok, that sounded strong. I don't hate the character, but I hate most Superman comic books. I can never seem to get into the character. But leave it to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely to build a world that balances the zany sci-fi ideas from early Superman stories, with modern settings, layered meaning, and interesting character dynamics. PS - Frank Quitely can do no wrong artistically.

Desolation Jones (DC/Wildstorm): Ellis' second best creation; second only to Planetary. Secret Agent in forced retirement, bleak LA setting, quest for redemption, colorful supporting characters, and damn fine artistic contributions from JH Williams and Danijel Zezelj. This is the best book that nobody's reading.

DMZ (DC/Vertigo): It was certainly the year of Brian Wood (Supermarket, Local, etc.), but this bold and uniquely premised series from DC will be the one people remember as his "breakout" series when he's a superstar in a couple years. Riccardo Burchielli's pencils are a perfect pairing; a tonal match to compliment his gritty scripts.

Astonishing X-Men (Marvel): X-Men comics just don't get any better than they do with a Joss Whedon script and John Cassaday pencils. This will be one of those runs everyone wants to collect as a defining high point for the property in 20 years. Oh, and two words: Kitty Pryde.

X-Factor (Marvel): This is the *second* time that Peter David has handled X-Factor with aplomb, grace, dignity, intelligence, and humor. Somebody give this guy an Eisner already!

Fell (Image): Ellis nails these "done in one" set of stories with a quiet confidence that's made all the more creepy by Templesmith's clever art. Bravo to Image for pushing this $1.99 advert-free format. Can Image get an Eisner for format design?

Casanova (Image): Fraction nails this "meta-commentary remix" series with an offbeat sense of adventure that's made all the more enjoyable by Ba's two-tone art. Bravo to Image for pushing this $1.99 advert-free format. Can Image get an Eisner for form- whoa... deja vu.

Wasteland (Oni Press): Kudos to Oni for publishing only their *second* (anyone remember Queen & Country?) ongoing series and supporting Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten. These guys are really underrated and hopefully this tale about a post-apocalyptic future that's full of investigative clues as to what happened will bring them to prominence.

Honorable Mentions

Fear Agent (Image): This Indiana Jones meets Flash Gordon hybrid came close to making the grade, but the last couple of issues have left me wondering if I can still go "all in" or if Heath and Company have "missed their River card."

Shaolin Cowboy (Burlyman Entertainment): Suffice it to say, I love this book and thoroughly enjoy Geoff Darrow's pencil's and strange blend of Kung-Fu and Old West. However, 6 issues in like 2 years? Ouch. Some modicum of regularity would have been rewarded.

Well, how'd we do? Agree? Disagree? Let me know! The breakdown looks something like this for anyone interested in the "Top 10," which are in no particular order and voted on purely subjectively by my unique tastes;

DC (& Imprints): 40%
Marvel: 30%
Image: 20%
Oni Press: 10%

Check back soon for Part 2, as our "Top 10 of 2006" continues with Limited Series!

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