Rated | Alphabetical
Best of: 2005
| 2003 | 2002
You've probably noticed that we treat our
Top 10 lists differently here at Shaking Through. Senior writer
Laurence Station handles our
movies list -- mainly because I might not even see 10 current
movies in a year. We both contribute music lists, though, because we each
listen to a lot of music, and our tastes are broad enough that
reaching any kind of consensus would be impossible. As for comics: The
Gentleman and I bring a handful of things we liked to the table (graphic
novels or trade paperbacks released in the calendar year only, which can
be frustrating), and then we hammer out a compromise. This year, for added
kicks, we solicited the input of our new contributing comics reviewer,
David Brennan. Who knows -- if we ever read enough books to do an annual
books list, that will no doubt also be completely different. But that's
what keeps things fun, right? -- Kevin Forest Moreau, Listless
This hit-and-miss compilation has its problems, to be sure, but it bears
traces of the innovative work that brought acclaim to Harvey Pekar long
American Splendor movie made him a household name.
This trade collects the beginning of Rick Veitch's
enjoyable run on what was once DC's premier prestige title. Veitch
impressively built on the work of his predecessor, Alan Moore, while
putting his own stamp on the property.
Playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa strips Marvel's first family of its
cosmic dimension, allowing us to relate to these characters as more than
just adventurer archetypes in jumpsuits. Steve McNiven's detailed
artwork nicely enhances the effect.
title still moves too slow, but nova-hot writer Brian Michael Bendis
proves he can still inject an endorphin-rush tweak or two into superhero
conventions. The espionage angle here introduces a sorely needed new
element to a plodding storyline.
Robert Kirkman transplants the zombie genre to the comic page with
intelligent results. And unlike many zombie movies, he doesn't skimp on
relatable human characters, which makes this a compelling adventure
In the titular arc, Grant Morrison shows off the freewheeling absurdist
wit that made this book required reading -- for a while -- during its
initial run. Ignore the rest, except for Richard Case's chillingly
complementary pencil work.
the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon proves that his knack for zinging
dialogue and action-adventure tales with compelling human dimensions
translates well to the four-color page. And John Cassaday's artwork
Intriguing attempt to inject social relevance into the Marvel Universe
on a larger, more different scale than anything tried before. Too bad
Kyle Baker's artwork does so much to undermine the effect.
Warren Ellis introduces a super-secret team of sleeper-agent scientists,
adventurers and other problem-solvers in a collection of engaging
somewhat contrived, Steven T. Seagle's semi-autobiographical account of
a comics writer struggling to come to grips with the Superman myth while
dealing with a thorny family medical issue is thoughtful and
well-executed -- thanks in large part to Teddy Kristiansen's painting.
|Notable near misses:
Alias: The Secret Origin of Jessica Jones (MAX/Marvel): Brian
Michael Bendis pours on the hardships as he relates the backstory of his
messed-up private eye. Jessica Jones' travails could be more tiresome
than thrilling, which makes folding this title into the more mainstream
Goon Vol. 1: Nothin' But Misery (Dark Horse): Eric Powell's
outlandish title combines the best elements of vintage Warner Brothers
Hellboy, Michael T. Gilbert's Mr. Monster and hard-boiled Noir
thuggery. A refreshingly madcap change of pace.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2 (America's Best
Comics): A plot that reduces its characters to little more than
reactionary pawns lessens the impact of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's
sequel, which finds the League dealing with the Martian invasion from
H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.
New X-Men Vol. 7: Here Comes Tomorrow (Marvel): Grant Morrison ties
up his run on Marvel's most profitable franchise with a tip of the hat
to Chris Claremont's Days of Future Past.
Noble Causes Vol. II: Family Secrets (Image): This likable soap
opera about a family of super-powered crime-fighters is good escapist
fun, like a Saturday morning cartoon version of Dynasty.
Thin Air (Marvel): Bendis folds Jessica Jones into an ensemble cast
as she takes a job at the Daily Bugle, covering the super-powered beat.
The storyline, involving the Green Goblin, nicely explores seldom-seem
burdens for both reporter Ben Urich and -- Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Book of Ezekiel (Marvel): J. Michael
Straczynski throws a curveball in his ongoing tale exploring the
mystical component of the web-slinger's origin.
Power: Contact (MAX/Marvel): Straczynski again, this time echoing
his work on
Rising Stars as he unfolds the lengthy origin of a modern-day
Squadron Supreme. Gary Frank's artwork is beautiful.
Vol. 2: Homeland Security (Marvel): Continuing Mark Millar's
wide-screen Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers. The alien
invasion plot falls a little flat, but few writers have ever nailed the
concept of Captain America as well as Millar does here.
Y The Last Man
Book 4: Safeword (Vertigo/DC): The latest collection of Brian K.
Vaughan's ongoing series about the only male left alive on a world full
of women shows why Y is Vertigo's best contained series since
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