By Glenn Walker
What was good about the year 2010 in comic books? Hmmm. If I have to think that hard about it, maybe it wasn’t such a good year. But it was. I can best sum it up with some paraphrased Dickens, but not the seasonal kind – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
In my estimation, this was not a great year for comics, but there were some shining lights. One of the most consistently best comics out there in 2010 would have to be Tiny Titans from DC Comics, so I have to give props right off. I would also recommend indies like The Boys, Irredeemable, and something ATF! main man Ed Evans turned me on to: Chew.
On the more traditional side of things I have to say I love that DC and Marvel Comics brought both Aquaman and the Avengers back to recognizable popularity. Writer Geoff Johns has not only returned Aquaman and his supporting cast back from the dead but back to publishing life with Blackest Night and Brightest Day. I have always been an Aquaman fan, from the Filmation cartoons of the 1960s to the wonderful Jim Aparo run of Adventure Comics in the 1970s. He is a great character with much untapped potential, and I’m thrilled to see Johns showing that to the rest of the world.
Also at DC Comics, I’d have to say that, much like Geoff Johns, everything Paul Cornell touches has turned to gold. His Knight and Squire is by far one of the best comics out there, along with his revitalization of Lex Luthor in Action Comics. And as the year ends he’s bringing a rather gruesome Bat-villain to chilling life as well as crossing swords with Gail Simone’s Secret Six. Good times.
Since the events of… oh, really who knows any more – events at Marvel Comics seem to be forever coming and going, it’s hard to keep track any more. Let’s just say since the last big event at Marvel, the Avengers franchise has been reshuffled once again, and once all the nuts and bolts shook out, we were gifted by a new adjective-less Avengers title, written by now longtime Avengers scribe Brian Michael Bendis with art by John Romita, Jr.
This title features a nearly recognizable line-up of big gun Avengers: Thor, Iron Man, the new Captain America, Hawkeye, along with newbies (but famous newbies) Spider-Man and Wolverine. More traditional than any Avengers team has been for more than a few years, even though written by Bendis, this is a breath of fresh air, and supposed return to more traditional superhero adventures. Let’s hope.
Also at Marvel is a couple of interesting Avengers-related spin-offs Ant-Man and Wasp by newcomer Tim Seeley and of course Mighty Avengers by Dan Slott and Khoi Pham. The latter gave some respect to, rather than beating down, another character with much untapped potential – Hank Pym. Late in the year we were treated to the mini-series Dead Avengers by Fred Van Lente and Tom Grummett, part of “Chaos War,” yet another Marvel crossover event. Dead Avengers makes my list because it features two of my favorite old school Avengers, the Vision and the Swordsman. I can taste the 1970s, and it’s a good thing.
Non-comics-wise, the Avengers were also part of what I enjoyed about 2010 in television. “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” on Disney XD showcases probably the best animated superhero action since the Justice League left Cartoon Network. And “The Walking Dead” on AMC is just simply some of the best television, period.
For 2011, I look forward to fewer crossovers and events from not just Marvel, but all the big companies. Of course I know that won’t happen as we know both Marvel’s "Fear Itself" and DC’s "Flashpoint" are coming, but at least the latter will have the Flash. In the summer we will have several movies to look forward to, not the least of which feature Thor, Captain America, and the much-anticipated Green Lantern. So far, so good, for 2011. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.