Monday, December 05, 2005

best of 2005: comic book trades

I bought a lot of trades this year, preferring collected editions of comics that I can stand on my bookshelves. This allows me to appreciate a story in one go, instead of agonizing over a monthly release schedule (although for certain titles, I am still a hapless victim, unable to prevent myself for finding out immediately what's gouing on, like DC's ongoing Infinite Crisis).

Here are the ones I consider the very best for the year (published within 2005), the top ten in reverse order.

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10. Young Avengers Volume 1: Sidekicks by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung
Like a smaller version of the Legion with surprisingly wonderful emotional riffs and great charactertization, this book was an unexpected treat. I actually liked this more than Runaways, which sadly, did not make this lit.

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9. Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer & Rags Morales
One of the best storylines from the previous year reads even better in trade format. A murder begins a chain reaction that changes things in a big way.

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8. B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs by Mike Mignola, Guy Davis, Dave Stewart & Clem Robbins
Mike Mignola's manner of storytelling is such: as long as he's writing it, I do not care about the art. Mignola's mad ideas make this book such an enjoyable read. The BPRD, supporting characters to Hellboy, come into their own in this -as well as the next - book.

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7. Wolverine: Enemy of the State, Vol. 1 by Mark Millar, John Romita Jr. & Klaus Janson
Okay, I must confess that I did not expect to have a Wolverine book in my final list. But this incredible tale of mayhem made Wolverine kickass - as he should be. Seriously, I was so amazed I passed it to Nikki who was similarly converted. So much for being comic snobs.

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6. Top Ten: The Forty-Niners by Alan Moore
When he's not trying to stuff didactic magic lessons down my throat, Alan Moore is one of my favorite writers. With this stand-alone tale, he combines his ability to create interesting characters and unusual situations with his penchant for perfect pacing, resulting in one hell of a read.

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5. Ultra: Seven Days by the Luna Brothers
While the art is not particularly strong, Ultra is on my list because of spot-on characterization and dialogue peppering a superhero(ine) slice of life thing. We've become fans of the Luna Brothers (both Filipinos, by the way), enjoying their current work, Girls, as well.

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4. Epileptic by David B.
How does disease destroy the quality of life? David B. shows us. Powerful and brutally honest stuff. Amazing.

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3. WE3 by Grant Morrison
While most of his recent work tastes like the same psychedelic shit thrown up from the gullet of a hallucinating fractal universe, WE3 shows off Morrison's ability to tell a stripped down story. A dog, a cat and rabbit in battle suits take us on wild ride that can only end in tears.

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2. Persepolis 2 : The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
Searing honesty is rare in comics, but Satrapi serves it up in spades, sharing the continuation of her memoirs as a woman in Iran. Lovely and compulsively readable.

And now, the Best Trade of 2005:

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The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa
Most of the Duck stories are highly intelligent and wonderfully entertaining, and this edition collects some of the best. Tracing the origins of Uncle Scrooge from his time as a youngster to the time he finally made his fortune, the book shows all his failures and frustrations, adventures and setbacks, and of course his triumphs and successes - yes,Scrooge is a self-made man, with chutzpah to spare. In terms of production quality, cost, interior art and storytelling, this book is a fantastic bargain, easily deserving of the highest honors (the storyline won Einsner Awards during its original pamphlet run).


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