Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.
Marvel Comics – Edge of Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
Marvel Comics – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Gerry Duggan & James Harren)
Vertigo Comics –Sandman: Overture (Neil Gaiman & JH Williams III)
Dark Horse Comics – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Zach Whedon & Georges Jeanty)
WINNER – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Whedon/Jeanty)
FIREFLY! I was so excited when this series first came out and remained excited issue to issue. Like every Browncoat out there, I can never get enough of all things Firefly and seeing what our ragtag team of rebels got up to after the events of the film Serenity was a dream come true. The plot was well placed and characters as diverse and wonderfully-flawed as ever. This is the comic that made me most jived this year and I was really sad to see it end. Speaking of it ending: holy cliffhanger Batman! For someone who has historically steered clear of cliffhangers, Joss Whedon sure did end this series on one. I got to talk to artist Georges Jeanty at Denver Comic Con for a little bit (Adrian did too. Check out her interview here!) and when I asked him why Leaves on the Wind was ending so soon he said that the Whedons don’t write something if there isn’t a story. He doesn’t force anything. Does that mean there isn’t a great Firefly story down the line? No, but for now we have an amazing comic with hope of something more whenever Joss has a story in mind for our favorite, little, cargo ship. – Charlotte
Second Place – Edge of Spider-Verse (various)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Spider-Man was a villain? What if instead of Peter Parker getting bit by a genetically-modified spider, it was Gwen Stacy? What if Spider-Man wore a mechanical suit instead of revealing spandex? What if Spider-man was a kid? What if, what if, what if?! Well, lucky for us pontificators, Marvel was also curious! Hence, they decided to bring fans Edge of the Spider-Verse mini-series. In all five issues of the series we got to experience alternate versions of Spider-Man and their vastly different backgrounds and rise to power. Stories ranged from playful, whimsical and adventurous to dark, creepy and thrilling. It was great to witness the creativity and how the multiple writers and artists that were involved with this event interpreted the wall crawling hero. It was the perfect draw-in for the Spider-Verse event that came right on this events heels. My personal favorite was the Japan-residing Aaron Aikman that wore a mecha-Spider-suit and squared off against a most deadly cyborg named Naamurah. This issue was captivating and a lot of fun to read. As were all the issues in this mini-series. Hush definitely puts the Edge of the Spider-Verse mini-series as one of, if not THE, best mini-series of the year. – Taylor
Third Place – Deadpool vs. Carnage (Bunn/Espin)
The biggest mouth in the business goes against the craziest symbiote in the universe. What could go wrong? I don’t remember a single thing that I liked about Carnage but Deadpool was hilarious. It really is worth a read, especially only at four issues long, just for the Deadpool dialog alone. There are too many little jokes or panels to describe here, but the series was a riot from beginning to end. If Deadpool isn’t one of your favorite characters after reading this, nothing can convince you of his awesomeness. – Robert
RUNNER UP – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Remender/Craig)
Deadpool does not get along with anybody, apparently. In the past couple years, Deadpool has taken on the entire Marvel Universe, along with classic literature, and the end result has been more or less the same – Deadpool murders everything. What if Deadpool actually got along with the one he shares the title with (or not; we really still don’t know)? Hawkeye vs. Deadpool is the buddy cop book we didn’t know we wanted, sticking the bumbling idiot with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has been nothing but enjoyment. – Sherif
RUNNER UP – Sandman: Overture (Gaiman/Williams)
As a great man once said, “I have a Dream,” and that Dream was once pulled abruptly away from his realm and forced to spend seventy years as a prisoner to his captors. Why was the almighty Dream of The Endless able to be captured by a few mere mortals seemingly playing around with Satanic rituals they clearly did not understand? This is the question Sandman enthusiasts have been debating since the final issue of Sandman. Finally, Neil Gaiman has returned to the series, with the aid of J.H. Williams psychedelic and outstanding artwork, to deliver a prequel that will address this conundrum and put many theories to rest. – Jake
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebookand The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Pick of the Week:
Injustice: Gods Among Us (DC Comics)#12 – A
All of those who have been reading the series digitally, ahead of times, now you can pat yourself on the back and say “I told you so.” Gods Among Us has been much more than a video-game adaptation, and this issue is the best one yet. Superman has completely lost his marbles, and Batman seems to be the only one who has the gall to deal with it. We’ve reached the end of “season one,” but it’s only the beginning of the end for this world under the iron rule of Superman. The Batman-Superman bromance comes to in end in a BAD way. I can’t recommend this series enough! – S
Revelations #1 – B
Image ushers in the New Year with the brand new mystery-thrillers series, Revelations. The series opens in Vatican City, Rome one stormy night. A potential successor to the Pope is dead – impaled on iron fence spokes after taking a long fall from a cathedral window, dropping a mysterious object on the way down. Enter Charlie Northern, a long-time atheist, fan of hardcore sucker for conspiracy theories and London detective. Charlie is asked by an old friend and member of the Catholic Church to investigate the mysterious death of the would-be Pope. By the end of the issue it’s obvious that the circumstances surrounding the death are sure to keep Charlie busy for a while. For any fans of the Da Vinci Code or National Treasure stories – this series is for you. While I’m not a crazy fan for the religious themed plots, I’m never bored by murder mysteries. Paul Jenkins (writer) peppers in just the right amount of intrigue and teasers to keep this series on my radar. That and Charlie’s hilarious inner monologues. The real seller for Revelations though – the art work. Humberto Ramos (art), Leonardo Olea (colors) and Edgar Delgado (colors) present jaw dropping panels. The detail and contrast is worked in very nicely in environments that are inherently dark and dreary. I’m looking forward to experiencing Charlie’s unraveling of the mystery and soaking in more gorgeous panels in future issues. – T
Superman Unchained #5 – B+
Superman Unchainedhas had the honor of having the best creative team in comic books, with writing by Scott Synder (Batman, American Vampire) and art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Batman: Hush, New 52 Justice League). This series has suffered from being under-developed, but that stops in issue five. This issue has finally picked up steam, and there is phenomenal dialogue between Wraith and Superman before things get real. This isn’t your father’s Superman. No longer the Blue Boy Scout, Superman has no blind allegiance to the U.S. government. Wonder what it would be like if Superman fought somebody just as strong was. Oh, and a huge nod to Jim Lee playing with watercolor on flashback scenes, as they are simplistically beautiful, as well as the first appearance of Jim Lee’s Batman in over a year. Every comic book fan should hop on board with Superman Unchained. – S
Batman: The Dark Knight #26 – C
The entire issue had no dialogue, but it still says a lot. Chronicling the story of a family torn by tragedy, a girl is taken from the safety of what little family she has left and forced into child labor. The ring leader is none other than the heartless Penguin. Batman catches wind of the scene and investigates, only to be trapped by Cobblepot and Co. The story tells itself with subtle imagery and great inflection. I’m not sure who the Voiceless are, but I’m intrigued enough to find out – something I haven’t been able to say for another Batman title since the New 52 launch. – S
Damian: Son of Batman #3 – C
Andy Kubert has regained a bit of momentum in this third issue, but there’s still not enough going on here to really sell it home – and with one issue left, I really don’t know where this is going. Damian is struggling with being a non-lethal Batman, and one of our Bat-family members kicks the bucket. I love the outfit and the thought of Damian trying to bring Gotham back under Bats protection, but I’m kinda over it. Even the re-appearance of “The Joker” couldn’t pique my interest. I will finish out the mini-series because there is only one issue left, out of respect for Damian, but I’m not expecting much else to come from this series that should have been buried along with Damian Wayne. – S
Dead Boy Detectives #1 – C-
Based off Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, the two ghost detectives Edwin and Charles are back at it in their own series, Dead Boy Detectives. The debut issue has our duo following a young girl at a art show robbery. They narrowly save her from death and, as a result from her near-death experience, she is able to see them. It’s not a very engaging book thus far, and I’m struggling to see how much more in depth this mini-series can get when there have already been two adaptations of Dead Boy Detectives. Here’s to hopng that we’re not beating a dead horse or dragging Neil Gaiman’s name around for exposure. – S
Justice League Dark #26 – D
In this issue of Justice League Dark (Forever Evil tie-in), the Dark team (Pandora, Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine) are confronted face to face, or rather consciousness to consciousness, with Blight. The dialogue within this issues is corny to say the least; the art however, was a semi-redeeming quality, especially within the first few opening panels. Most of the dialogue wasn’t intriguing or fascinating, and the story itself was moving at a fairly slow pace. With very little action happening within the story until the end, I wouldn’t recommend continuing this story over others. – E
Bad Blood #1 – D-
Bad Blood is the story (sort of) of cancer patient/college student/former footballer Trick. He sulks around and his best friend Kyle tries to cheer him up. Trick gets bit by a vampire who proclaims that Trick has poisoned blood. But then the vamp immediately bites and kills Kyle. Trick feels bad, tells the police what happened, and then tries to find the vampire on his own when that doesn’t work. In theory, this comic seems pretty cool. In reality, it didn’t take a bite out of me (trust me, that pun has more personality than this comic). The main character doesn’t evoke sympathy for his bad health. We don’t know what kind of cancer he has; at least a nod to maybe leukemia would have made the title ironic in the first issue. Also this vampire, he comes out of nowhere and claims to have been eating rodents underground for centuries and that he fears the living world? That just doesn’t make much sense. And after his killing spree, he is never to be seen again. The only redeeming factor about this issue was the nod to the modern age. Trick tries to find the vampire and wonders whether he should check Facebook or Craigslist. It seems that would be where one would start in today’s times. Otherwise, there was no connection to plot or characters in this first issue. The 2nd issue will really have to step up to keep me interested. – A
Twilight Zone #1 – C
Nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu…bong!! The Twilight Zone was brought to us via comics this week. Issue number one explores the life and times of Trevor Richmond, a successful and savvy businessman that’s grown bored with the routine he’s worked himself into. Looking for a change, Trevor seeks out one Mr. Wylde who heads an enterprise that specializes in giving people “new lives.” Lives that guarantee full and thorough dissociation from the previous – even in a person’s physical appearance. The plot thickens when we learn that Trevor is not just bored with his life; he’s in fact seeking an escape. With all the wealth he’s been earning for his company, he couldn’t help but skim some of the lucrative profit for just himself. Trevor and Wylde strike a deal that will sever all ties Trevor has to his current life and send him back out into the world scot-free and with no risk of repercussions of crimes previously committed. In good Twilight Zone fashion, there is a twist. We’re left with an intriguing cliffhanger on the very last panel that’s got me anxious for the next issue. Other than the allure of the Twilight legacy, there’s nothing outstanding with the issue itself. The artwork is fairly basic, characters are archetypical and the story is heading down a fairly predictable path. The comic book medium may not be the ideal place for a franchise like The Twilight Zone, as I flip back through #1. I’ll pick up the next issue, but if I’m not blown away by pages end I’ll likely opt to continue to get my Twilight Zone fix from the good ol’ black & white series that’s been blowing minds for over 50 years now. – T
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth #8 –B
Ok, I’ll admit, this is the first issue of Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth that I have read. But I think it says a lot that because of this one issue, I want to go back and read the first seven issues. It is well drawn and colored and hilariously funny. The inside cover alone had me rolling, with explanations of who different characters were, including Mohagany Davis Jr., possibly the daughter of Sammy Davis Jr. The jokes are off-color and not appropriate at all, despite the main character being a little boy, who, because he is ugly, constantly wears a bag over his head. It reminded The story got a little confusing for me, especially because it was a Christmas issue, and I felt I was missing a lot of background, but overall I laughed throughout the entire read. – A
New Avengers #13 – C
Issue 13 of New Avengers Inhumanity arc continues the story of the Illuminati (Black Panther, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Tony Stake, and Doctor Strange) and the eventual collisions of universes – referred to as The Incursion. Personally, I enjoy how grim this story is. It’s clear that everyone is willing to sacrifice almost everything for one reason or another- the Illuminati to ensure their survival, and Doctor Strange to restore his power to the level it once was. This book brings a dark and somber element to the comic book world, which makes it very easy to get sucked into the story. I can see big things getting ready to happen in the Inhumanity arc, yet I struggle a little bit with how quickly they switch between universes and which group belongs to which Earth, at times it can be a bit overwhelming. I would recommend sticking with this story, though, especially because it is the beginning of a brand new arc where things are beginning to reach their climax. – E
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7 – C+
Women make the best super villains. That’s not a slight at the female gender. On the contrary – it’s a compliment. A successful super villain has to have drive, ambition and a ruthless passion to be the best at what they do. Janice of the evil Beatle-team exemplifies these traits in issue #7 of The Superior Foes of Spiderman. From the first panels, readers venture back in time to the humble beginnings of Janice and her “job.” She pulls a sweet rope-a-dope as a pre-teen at a “friend’s” birthday party all the while being encouraged by her mobster father, Tombstone. We skip ahead in time and continue to witness the makings of a superior villain in Janice as she graduates from college (head of her class) and quickly makes a name for herself at a reputable law firm – all a means to an end to becoming the super-villain leader of her own crime syndicate. The comic as a whole is light hearted and fun to read. Janice is a dynamic character and one that’s easy to root for; mostly due to the humorous nature of the issue. The downside to all this is the obscurity of the characters. Granted, I’m not a die-hard Spidey fan. Even so, I was left wanting more insight and background on the supporting cast. The banter was entertaining at least. This origin story issue is a good read, but I’m going to need some conflict in the next issue if Nick Spencer (writer) wants to keep this fan onboard. – T
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 1 A, 1 B, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.33
Marvel Comics: 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.00
Independents: 2 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.25
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.