Because it wouldn’t be the start of a new year without glancing back at the one that we’ve (finally!) just got through, am I right? Here’s a quick romp through my favourite issues that I bought last year – I’m deliberately just picking one per month otherwise this post would be way longer.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS #12
I really enjoyed this twelve issue maxi-series that finished in January; free from the constraints of the main DCU as it was set entirely on Earth-10, this series just ran with the conceit of a world where Nazi Germany had won the Second World War and now the Freedom Fighters, led by Uncle Sam, were coming back to kick some arse. I’d much rather read other series set on other Earths than the mess that has become the DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL event.
SKULLDIGGER AND SKELETON BOY #3
The Black Hammer stories have worked a treat with Jeff Lemire expanding his world with other characters in mini-series like this one. While others have homaged things like the Legion of Super-Heroes or the Blackhawks, this one squarely takes on a very brutal Batman-type character, and it’s done wonderfully. Can’t recommend the Black Hammer stories enough.
THE TERRIFICS #26
Gene Luen Yang took over from Jeff Lemire as writer of THE TERRIFICS with #15 and while I was no fan of the Bizarro storyline (nothing against Yang – I just don’t like that backward speech thing) once that was out of the way, he really hit his stride, and I really enjoyed the last few issues of the series which was cancelled way too soon with #30
So yeah . . . April and the pandemic was in full force, shutting things down across the board. You may have been lucky to pick some issues up but for me, there was nothing happening as the world basically shut down due to that damn virus.
You know what? At some point, if there’s any justice, BIRTHRIGHT will become the next Game of Thrones style TV/big screen adaptation, and I will cheerfully say I was there from day 1. This series has never been anything but bloody good both in terms of the story but also the art – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a consistently good looking comic book and the fact that it’s been the same team from issue #1 is remarkable in these days. Shame it’s coming to an end in 2021, but at least it’s because Joshua Williamson and team want to end it as planned.
Back in June, me and Mrs Earth-Prime were concentrating on moving house (something that didn’t actually happen until December, but we didn’t know that back then) so I never got to shout to the rooftops about how much I enjoyed this series by Matt Fraction and Terry and Rachel Dodson. I love a bit of pulp adventure fiction occasionally and this was utterly enjoyable as it pulled from that genre everything that was good and fun and dropped it into a modern setting which, thanks to the Dodsons’ art, looked stunning. Only four issues at the moment but I am expecting more in 2021.
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #24
While the main JUSTICE LEAGUE title was recovering from Scott Snyder’s massive set-up for DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK was busy being damn good in its own corner of the DCU, gleefully ignoring whatever was going on elsewhere. Another consistently good looking book, this was a solid read month in, month out and I’m hard pushed to think of an issue that disappointed.
BATMAN: THREE JOKERS #1
After several years of waiting, Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s story about how there were three Jokers landed and it mostly worked for me. Art-wise, it was stunning, there’s no denying that. The story hit most of the beats it was going for and only missed a couple (Batman really can be a dick at times, can’t he?) but on the whole, I was happy with it. And the ending actually worked for me, though I know others didn’t like it – the reveal on the last few pages of issue #3 was something that I could get behind.
Not to dismiss Geoff Johns’s work on this title, but this final issue by Jeff Loveness was a nice wrap up after the delay-ridden previous issues. By the time Johns finished his story in #14 (after another fill in by Loveness on #12) I was pretty much bored of the story he was putting out because of the delays between the later issues. To be fair, the delays may have been on the art side as Dale Eaglesham was often filled in by Scott Kolins, but either way, this was a nice done in one finish to that sprawling series.
COMMANDERS IN CRISIS #1
Steve Orlando’s run on JUSTICE LEAGE OF AMERICA back in 2017/18 wasn’t always brilliant but was enjoyable enough for me to pick up this series about heroes from alternate Earths trying to save the final one. And so far it’s working, as well; the writing’s crisp and clear, and the art compliments it as well with nice, uncluttered work from Davide Tinto. Three issues in at the time or writing and I’m glad I picked this up.
I really enjoyed Donny Cates’s BABYTEETH (which is still unfinished so not sure what happened there) and this series where a fictional superhero crossover summer event spills in to the real world sounded like it could be fun . . . and the early issues deliver so far. Cates has said there are surprises to be delivered in later issues in terms of guest stars so I think we can expect to see one or more DC and/or Marvel mainstream heroes making cameos here in 2021.
DEJAH THORIS #9
Slim pickings for December as my local comic shop was affected by another local pandemic lockdown, and Mrs Earth-Prime and I moved house, so most of this month’s comics have yet to be collected. That said, it’s nice to feature Dan Abnett’s work on DEJAH THORIS which, it seems, is due to come to an end with #12 in a few months. It’s a shame as this series has been consistently good, forcing Dejah to deal with other Earth-born men brought to Mars to act as superhuman mercenaries, as well as the political intrigue that she inevitably gets involved in.
And that’s my quick romp through the year – there were other series I wanted to mention (not least JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY which finished in 2020; NAILBITER RETURNS which was a pleasant surprise; and Mirka Andolfo’s MERCY which looked stunning) but as I said at the start, I wanted to highlight one issue/series per month otherwise I’d still be writing this look back in February.
Really need to get back into semi regular review posts . . .