Where I definitively rank each strip so you can finally stop wondering if Sgt. Rock being beaten by Nazis for four weeks is better than emo Superman crashing with his parents because no one gets him. You’re welcome.
1. Kamandi by Gibbons and Sook- I was actually debating whether the Last Boy on Earth meets Prince Valiant was my favorite strip. That is, until the latest episode, where an ape shot a bazooka at a zeppelin driven by a character named Dr. Canus, who is actually a canine doctor. I’m sorry, but Neil Gaiman’s entire oeuvre can go pound sand compared to that, from Sandman to his leisurely but pleasant Metamorpho strip I’ll get to later.
2. Hawkman by Kyle Baker- I generally couldn’t care less about Hawkman. And really, I still don’t. But Kyle Baker really boils the character down to his essence; he’s the Aquaman of the skies, but with a mace and a sword, and he takes no shit from crab aliens disguised as terrorists. Why haven’t I seen that guy before?
3. Strange Adventures by Paul Pope- This would be #1 if it had more apes with bazookas or crab aliens. It doesn’t yet, but Pope does have two months to rectify that, and I believe in him. But yeah, it’s exactly as good as you’d expect a continuity free Paul Pope Adam Strange strip to be. Which is pretty damn great, really.
4. Metal Men by Didio, Garcia Luis Lopez, Nowlan, and friends- I’m as surprised as you and the rest of the world, but this one has been a real treat, and has totally justified Dan Didio’s existence for me (of course, I haven’t read most of what DC’s published under his editorial tenure, so that helps too). But this is really, really fun, even for someone who only knows the Metal Men through Photoshop highlights of the Kanigher era.
5. Deadman by Bullock, Heuck, and friends- Could just be that I finished reading Neal Adams complete Deadman run recently, but I’ve really been enjoying this one. Really, give me a wisecracking supernatural acrobat, and I’m pretty happy. The beautiful art is nice, too.
6. Supergirl by Palmiotti and Conner- This comes in ahead of Metamorpho on cuteness points. Especially because I swear that my cat has made the same expressions Streaky did this month. Look, I didn’t promise that this wouldn’t be an arbitrary list, okay?
Really though, as much as I don’t give a damn what DC does with Supergirl, this seems like a good middle ground between a total kids comic and her tramp phase.
7. Metamorpho by Gaiman and Allred- This was probably the draw for a lot of people to this series. It has its charms (loved the Metamorpho fan club at the bottom of 2nd and 3rd strips), and it’s nice that the plot finally kicked in again this week. That said, it’s pretty underwhelming given the creative team. Then again, you can say that about a lot of Gaiman’s post-Sandman comics work. Also, it is only a 1/3rd of the way done, and it does deserve points for being outside of Gaiman’s wheelhouse. He hasn’t mentioned the power of story once, so credit where it’s due. That, and even if those splash pages felt padded, they looked gorgeous under the Allreds (Laura doesn’t get enough credit for giving her husband’s art that extra pop).
8. The Demon and Catwoman by Walt Simonson and Stelfreeze- This one was actually in my top five until Selena turned in to a cat. I’ve been on a bit of an Uncle Walt kick lately, having read his Thor and Orion runs in quick succession and loving them, but I do have my limits to how much of a pass I’ll give a favorite creator. When you even vaguely hint at using Catwoman’s ending from Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, that’s gonna cost you some points. Nice to see Etrigan finally show up, and I do expect that I’ll start enjoying this more as it goes, as Walt and mythology mix very well, and he’s got Arthurian legend to play with here.
9. Green Lantern by Busiek and Quinones- Unlike a lot of people, I don’t mind the lack of Hal Jordan. Of course, since I can’t stand him outside of this setting, I do have some biases there. Really, I’d rather see test pilot Hal than space cop Hal, if I have to see that anachronism at all.
10. Sgt. Rock by Lil’ Kubert and Big Kubert- So, yeah, it’s glacially paced. And… that’s kind of it, story wise. It’s decompressed to the point where I wonder if this exists because of a bet made over Thanksgiving Dinner over today’s comic scripts. But it’s Sgt. Rock drawn by Joe Kubert, so that counts for something, especially over the rest of the remaining pack.
11. The Flash by Kerschl and Fletcher- The split between Iris and the Flash is cute. Really like that. I have more patience for time travel stories than Burgas, but the last episode did still cause me some head pain. Also, I forgot about it in my first draft/post I was completely happy with before my pal Stony told me I forgot about it, so there’s that going against it.
12. Batman by Azzarello and Risso- I haven’t read much Azzarello, and that includes any of 100 Bullets. That said, this seems like his kind of story. Risso’s art looks great in this format (of course, the art is almost uniformly beautiful, so that seems redundant), and there’s nothing wrong with the story at all, it just doesn’t do much for me, either. To be fair, my enjoyment of crime/noir cliches is pretty much exclusive to the work of Ed Brubaker. If this were by him and Sean Phillips, I’d probably have it at #1.
13. Wonder Woman by Ben Caldwell- I appreciate the density of this story and I really like the fact that it’s set on Paradise Island and feels like a Wonder Woman: Year One story. That said, it’s only this high because of respect for the intent, not the finished product, as I’ve found it a chore to slog through. It’s kind of amazing that a strip can actually be cramped at these dimensions, and while I like the twisting layouts, I think they work better in theory than practice. Still it’s at least different and ambitious.
14. Superman by Arcudi and Bermejo and friends- This one’s getting a lot of crap for being in USA Today and not being very good. That said, other than the execrable second chapter, I haven’t hated it. It’s just kind of there. It feels like an inventory story with beautiful art instead of something made for the format so far. Unlike some people, I’m not against stories about Superman feeling isolated on Earth. This just doesn’t seem like the place for one.
15. Teen Titans by Berganza, Galloway, and friends- This does next to nothing for me, but criticizing it is like anyone who isn’t a teenage girl taking a lot of time to bitch about Twiglight; it’s not for you, so why do you care so damn much? Of course, this is one strip in a comic that will only play to a few thousand people, where as Twilight is a worldwide phenomenon loved by millions, so the comparison isn’t apt, but I’m all the way up this hill, might as well die on it.
Anyway, this seems squarely aimed at the kids who know the characters from the cartoon. I’m not in the target audience, even if that show is one of the few venues in which I can tolerate the Teen Titans at all. So, I’m ranking it last here because giving it no ranking at all would feel like a cop out. Well, that and I kind of hate the art. I generally like exaggeration, but this is a few steps too far for my taste. Although it’s more readable than Chris Bachallo or Humberto Ramos, so it’s got that going for it.
There you have it. Your official blogger top 15 list for Wednesday Comics (taking in to account only my opinion, but I’m sure all comics bloggers are cool for me speaking for them. Especially all the ones I said I didn’t care for that one time). The coaches poll should be out tomorrow. Expect Steve Spurrier to vote for something other than Kamandi at number one because he let his Director of Comic Book Operations vote for him.*
*I hope at least Burgas will appreciate that reference. Although maybe we have some readers who are big SEC Football fans and I just missed it. Or hey, maybe Tim Tebow lurks?
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