Rated | Alphabetical
Best of: 2005
The Fixer (Drawn and Quarterly)
Cartoonist-slash-journalist Joe Sacco (Palestine, Safe Area
Gorazde) examines the Bosnian conflict from the perspective of Neven,
a "fixer" who guides news crews and reporters through the war-torn
streets of Sarajevo to their stories. Neven's complex story, and his
insight into the criminal warlords who used the war for their own ends,
make for one of the year's most compelling reads in any medium.
Neil Gaiman revisits the universe of his
groundbreaking DC/Vertigo work The Sandman, crafting engaging,
magical tales around each member of The Endless. The Sandman's own story
is as mythic and charming as any issue of the original series. A
pantheon of gifted artists (Dave McKean, Milo Manara, P. Craig Russell,
Glenn Fabry, Minguelanxo Prado, Bill Sienkewicz) make this a visual
feast, equal parts challenging and gorgeous.
Moore continues his poetic exploration of The Immateria, the endlessly
fascinating topography of dreams, magic and emotion mapped over the ten
spheres of the Kaballah. This volume is a little thin on plot until the
dramatic trial (and its aftermath) that bring it to a close. But Moore's
inventive richness keeps us from complaining.
conclusion of Moore's genre-defying (and genre-creating) work on
Swamp Thing. A work this imaginative and insightful would have been
a perfect career capper for many writers, but it shows us that Moore was
just getting started. The elemental's journey through space features
some of Moore's best work, including "Loving the Alien" and "All Flesh
is Grass." The artwork, as usual, is breathtaking throughout.
Animal Man: Deus Ex Machina (Vertigo/DC)
Likewise, Grant Morrison's wrap-up of his run on this proto-Vertigo
title only hinted at the lysergic creativity of his later works.
Morrison's warping of the "fourth wall" explores and illuminates the
inherent possibilities in comic storytelling. And the ending, although a
letdown in purely dramatic terms, is a touching inversion of his seeming
ambivalence with the form.
This was a year for collections of endings. The final chapter of Garth
Ennis' and Steve Dillon's visceral run on Hellblazer contains
some of the best characterizations of the multi-faceted magician/con
artist John Constantine. Jarring, thought-provoking and even tender in
its examination of human violence, it sets the tone for the duo's
triumphant series Preacher.
Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continue spinning the fascinating tale of
Daredevil's "outing" as blind lawyer Matt Murdock. Bendis balances the
personal drama and thriller-level suspense with ease, and Maleev's art
readers, Simonson's take on the god of thunder remains the definitive.
Epic in scope and drenched in mythological research, this collection
only makes us realize how under-utilized so many superhero concepts
Will Pfeifer proves the exception to that comment about the untapped
potential of many superhero concepts. This post-modern take on the hokey
Dial 'H' for Hero series is nothing short of inspired, sketching
the consequences of unexpected (and unearned) power in vivid detail.
one of comics' most opinionated storytellers, plays to his sci-fi
strengths with this occasionally awkward and jargon-heavy look at a
manned space flight gone wrong. An impassioned and fiercely imaginative
plea for the continuation of the space program.
|Notable near misses:
100 Bullets: The Counterfifth Detective (Vertigo/DC): Brian
Azzarello riffs on the archetype of the classic noir P.I. while
further filling in the details of his Byzantine world of secret cabals,
broken lives and revenge-minded covert agents.
Alias: The Underneath (Max/Marvel): Brian Michael Bendis finally
makes his former superhero turned private detective sympathetic, as
Jessica Jones' past catches up with her present in unforeseen ways.
Contains a brilliant cameo by the fourth-rate hero Speedball, a
questionable character idea that here receives its humiliating desserts.
Fantastic Four: Imaginauts (Marvel): Mike Wieringo's cartoon-y style
doesn't quite jibe with this nuclear family of adventurers. But Mark
Waid's slant on this warhorse of a Marvel property is intriguing enough
to make up for the mismatched art.
Hawkman: Endless Flight (DC): Geoff Johns and James Robinson attempt
to revive the iconic hero. The archaeological adventure of the first
half works better than the standard super-costume clash of the second,
which suffers from a raft of Big Easy clichés bestowed upon the
fictional Louisiana city of St. Roch.
- Powers: Anarchy (Image): Bendis kicks
his police procedural/superhero comic into high gear with an explosive
tale (no pun intended) packed with dynamic, action-filled moments.
Wildcats 3.0: Brand Building
(Image): Joe Casey continues to breathe new life into Jim Lee's one-note
WildC.A.T.S team. The Halo Corporation is a savvy update on the
concept of super-beings attempting to make the world a better place.
Amusing sequences involving a deep-cover family of secret agents add a
welcome note of goofy fun.
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