Well, that was something of a year, wasn’t it? Was I the only one thinking 2021 would be better than 2020? The successful vaccine rollout was going to render Coronavirus a thing of the past, wasn’t it? If only we’d paid attention to the scientists talking about variants and how it’s not over yet . . .
Mrs Earth-Prime and I spent the early part of the year getting our new house up to scratch and, many, many months later, I was able to retrieve my comics and trades from storage and damn fine they look, too, in their mix of either new purpose built shelves or Ikea bookshelves.
Anyway, here’s a look back at one issue per month from the previous year:
GENERATIONS SHATTERED #1
I had the sense that this came together from the planned 5G/Generations thing that got abandoned after Dan Didio left abruptly the year before – a sort of “We have these half-baked ideas kicking around, shall we do something with it?” scenario. That said, it was enjoyable in a sense of old-school universe hopping nuttiness that just embraced it’s own crazy story and had fun.
BLACK HAMMER: VISIONS #1
I’ve really enjoyed the BLACK HAMMER titles on the whole, and this anthology written by guest writers just added to the world that Jeff Lemire had created. Focusing on Golden Gail – a grown up woman stuck in a child’s super-powered body – this first issue set the bar nice and high and, I’m happy to say, most of the other issues lived up to it.
CRIME SYNDICATE #1
With the end of DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL back in January, the whole of the DC Multiverse was recreated and re-written and refreshed. One of the fall outs of that was a brand new Earth-3 where we got to see the rise of the Crime Syndicate, with each of the characters given time to breathe and grow over the next six issues. Easily one of my favourite series this year.
After BATMAN: THREE JOKERS in 2020, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank teamed up again for their first creator owned series over at Image and I really liked it. The art’s stunning with Frank’s work always excellent, and Johns’ world building really working overtime. There’s more planned in 2022, thankfully, so I’ll be picking that up.
A damn fine series that started at the tail end of 2020, this issue was the end of the first story arc and it was just so much fun. There are so many nods to other characters from other series (including a nice slight of hand in the first couple of issues that I completely fell for) as well as absolutely demolishing the fourth wall. Really enjoying this series.
INFINITE FRONTIER #1
How could I not choose this? Heck, I enjoyed this so much I decided to annotate it. If DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL was a marathon you never trained for and which leaves you wondering if you’ll ever want to use your legs again, INFINITE FRONTIER is a refreshing stroll in the park where you meet some old friends and maybe throw a stick for a dog, and you end it feeling like you’ve had some exercise and feel good for it. Tortured sports metaphor aside, this was a really good, fun DC event.
THE INVINCIBLE RED SONJA #3
The Palmiotti/Conner scripted Red Sonja series, ably assisted by Moritat on gorgeous art, is the first ongoing Red Sonja I’ve ever picked up and, as an admirer of the creative team’s work, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s lush and ridiculous swords and sorcery with bloodshed and wizards galore. Well worth a read.
THE UNBELIEVABLE UNTEENS #1
Yet another BLACK HAMMER book, this time riffing on the X-Men as a comic writer and artist discovers that she was actually one of the heroes in the books she writes and draws. It brings back Jack Sabbath (one of the best superhero names ever!) from the original title and expands his story while introducing other heroes to the world. An X-cellent mini series.
After a long delay, BABYTEETH returned for it’s final three or four issues in 2021 and it was well worth it. This wrapped up the story in perhaps the only way it could have, turning away from a trite good guys win and everything goes back to normal, and instead dealing with all the crap after the apocalypse happens and all that goes with it. Damn fine series.
The title returned after a hiatus of just shy of a year and picked up instantly from the previous issue. It’s pulp-action fun with the gorgeous art of the Dodsons which always makes me happy. If you like a bit of 40s/50s serial adventure style action brought up to date, this is well worth a read.
DEJAH THORIS VS JOHN CARTER OF MARS #5
Racing towards the end of this mini-series, there’s been precious little of the “versus” aspect of this title, though all that changes with the last page or so. Dan Abnett’s run with the characters of Barsoom seems to be finishing with this mini-series as there’s nothing new planned into 2022 which is a shame as I enjoy the tales on Mars.
LADY MECHANIKA: THE MONSTER OF THE MINISTRY OF HELL #1
And a happy return to the world of Lady Mechanika at the end of the year as Joe Benitez brings back his signature steampunk character just in time for Christmas. I really like the world he’s created and this tale appears to be giving us a long-awaited glimpse at the origins of the titular character.
There are a ton of honourable mentions, not least BARBALIEN (another BLACK HAMMER title), COMMANDERS IN CRISIS, NAILBITER RETURNS, and SWAMP THING, but like last year, I wanted to keep it to one issue per month.