Depending on how things go, this week may see a flurry of 2014 in Review type posts here on the FBU, so I thought I would start the ball rolling with quick review of some of the good and bad books/series I bought in 2014. - Jim
The GOOD (in no particular order)
Superior Spider-man - Dan Slott (various artists)
Multiversity - Grant Morrison (and various guests artists)
Southern Bastards - Jason Aaron and Jason Latour
What we have here is what is intended to be an homage to the type of 70's one man against a corrupt patriarchal system as you might find in Walking Tall or Billy Jack. And if that was all it was, it would be pretty slight (even with the nice art by Jason Latour.) The thing that gives series more oomph is the focus on how the American Cult of Football obviates the sins of its heroes. In this Ray Rice/Steubenville era, the Southern Bastards is more topical than I suspect Aaron intended, but that just serves to give the story more gravitas.
The Woods - James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas
The premise of this series sounds like a SyFy young adult movie: A highschool of kids find themselves suddenly transported to a strange distant planet where they must forge new alliances to survive. I'm sort of a sucker for hooky premises and this one intrigued me enough to get the first issue. What's kept me coming back has been how Tynion reveals the backgrounds of the various characters while quickly revealing surprises and plot twists. This is definite not a one-idea young adult knock off, but a well thought out concept with some good world-building.
The Invaders and The Fantastic Four - James Robinson and Steve Pugh and Leonard Kirk
It might seem strange to group these two as one item, but Robinson is interweaving storylines between the two titles via Jim Hammond, The Original Human Torch, so I'm counting them as one entity. Amidst the endless desert of Avengers crossover titles that is the current Marvel Universe, these two titles are like an oasis. If you forgive the unfortunate detour into the Original Sins event which lasted two issues, both books have been great.
Star Trek Comics - Various
The Not So Good
Batman Eternal - a bunch of people but supposedly helmed Jay Synder
This series started off strong, but man has it lost steam. It almost made it into the BAD list, but what saves it is that because it
comes out weekly, you're usually apt to get one or two good issues a
month out of the series. Unfortunately, you do find yourself getting
obvious padding from time to time. And let's not even discuss the
abomination that is the Joker's Daughter. On the flipside, I like how
they reintroduced The Spoiler.
The Fade Out - Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
This tale of murder during 1948 Hollywood has all the trappings of something I would love, but my biggest disappointment is I've seen a lot of this done better in the books of James Elroy. Still, putting that idiosyncratic criticism aside, Brubaker and Phillips are presenting a well crafted mystery in a era that's fun to visit, so I'll keep reading for now.
Annihilator - Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving
I enjoyed the first issue of this series, and read the second issue but somehow I've not been compelled to buy either of the latest two issues. I don't know. I think it was the killer Teddy Bear or something that probably caused me to loose interest.
Winter Soldier - Rick Remender and Roland Boschi
I bought the first two issues of this series when I did my State of Captain America comics article last April, but don't recall ever getting around to talking them. Here's the deal. This is supposed to be a period piece set in the groovy 60's or something, but instead, we get a confused story where people use mac computers and talk like they just stepped out of Starbucks. All I can think is that this story was retro-fitted for this series (or something) and the retrofit was half-assed.
Or it was just half-assed from the get go.
Sirens - George Perez
Because I have fond memories of Teen Titans and George Perez I picked up this first issue. Boy, was that a mistake. It was a ponderous mess of storytelling with way too many introduced with each one compelled to give you their entire life story or whatever. When modern comic fans talk about how they can't read old comics because they are too talky, this is what they mean. And it's a valid point. (btw - I blame Chris Clairemont for that shit, but that's a topic for another day.)
Marvel's Infinity Event - Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung
Y'know, there was a time when I was proud to defend Jonathan Hickman against naysayers who said his stories were too convoluted, confusing or slow moving. This series broke me of that. Between the over-saturation of the Avenger's franchise at Marvel and the constant themes of secret-histories and toyetic iconography that seems to infest Hickman stories, I think I'm done with his work for now.
And that's my wrap up. What did you read in 2014 that you liked or disliked? Feel free to let me know!