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Fwoosh’s Own 2006 Year End Comic Salute!

2006 was a banner year for comic books with many new and exciting series, events, and characters.  With so many great books to enjoy I tasked the fwoosh forums to choose their favorite issue this year and tell us about it.  SamuRon, mzeid, kastor417, Blue-elf, and timokay answered the call and delivered five outstanding reviews of their favorite titles.  So enjoy as some of your favorite forum friends share their thoughts on what 2006’s comics meant to them.

New Avengers #22
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Leinil Francis Yu
Published 07/26/2006
Reviewed by SamuRon

I chose New Avengers 22 as my favorite comic of 2006. Civil War may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this tie-in issue featuring Luke Cage arguably got to the heart of the debate better than the main series has to-date. It opens with Iron Man and Warbird pressuring Cage and Jessica Jones to register. Their war of words measures up to the inevitable action that ensues.

 

I loved the writing so much (yeah, take that, Bendis haters!) that it more than made up for the rough quality of Yu’s pencils. I hope he steps it up, as it’s been reported that he’ll be taking over the art on New Avengers following the Civil War wrap-up. Still, he did give me one of the oooh-ahhh moments of the year, with Cap, DD, and Falcon coming to Cage’s aid.


Civil War #1
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Steve Mcniven
Published 05/03/2006
Reviewed by mzeid

Marvel surprised everyone in 2006 when they came up with a shakeup in their flagship titles. As a result, EIC Joe Quesada has earned both kudos and death threats from comic book fans. Like it or not, Civil War will be remembered in the annals of comic history as one of the most important stories to come out of Marvel’s vault. As a result of the previous year’s House of M series, the government wants all masked heroes be registered and accounted for. Alliances were formed as allegiances were tested. You got Captain America on one side and Iron Man on another, each unyielding in the defense of their ideals. By the time you read this, the series would have neared its undoubtedly smashing climax. Marvel promises that the repercussions will be felt long after this series has ended. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but Civil War’s success commercially and (to an extent) critically will certainly ride on the increasing wave of public acceptance of storylines derived from comic books (i.e. Heroes.) Personally, this series has made me feel the emotions I felt whenever I picked up comics when I was young. And that’s always a good thing.


Detective Comics #826
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Don Kramer and Wayne Faucher
Cover by Simone Bianchi
Published: 12/06/2006
Reviewed by kastor417

After a short break Paul Dini came back to the Bat universe. His writing to this point has been great but this in my opinion his best work. While the Joker was briefly used in the newest Crisis, his role was minute. He was hands off for a while, and in this reemergence he really is used well by one of the masters of the DCU. We get to see the Joker though the eyes of the youngest of the Bat family and see just how crazy the Clown really is. The story twists and turns and reasserts why this villain is Batman’s main nemesis. Following a chase Robin jumps into a car not knowing who the driver is, only to discover the Joker at the wheel. Dini wonderfully crafts the story and takes you along for the ride with Robin. The fear and terror Robin face are mirrored in the ups and downs of the ride. We the readers are brought along on both with Robin. The true volatile nature of the Joker is brought out and this story also showcases the Joker’s ability to be both crazy and amazingly intelligence. The artwork really complements the story and brings the words to life, giving you a visual world that highlights the Christmas season. The cover also vividly displays the anger, ruthlessness, and insanity of the Joker as well as the helplessness of the Boy Wonder. While this is a Batman book we only see him briefly at the end. This appearance is meant to remind us of the relationship between Batman and Robin and how they will always struggle against their old enemy.
This issue was what a Joker story should be: crazy, unpredictable, and calculated.


Astonishing X-Men #17
Written by Joss Whedon
Art by John Cassady
Published: 9/20/2006
Reviewed by Blue-elf

Astonishing x-men is one of the best comics on the market, and this issue is the one to prove it, if any proofs are still to be made.

First, let’s start with the art. First of all, the cover is wonderful. It shows with great humor that Whedon and Cassaday know how to treat a character in a way nobody else ever tried (Come on! How many artists can make Wolverine look cute?!). Then, inside the book, the art is totally breathtaking. Everything is simple and yet really pertinent. What impressed me the most are the face expressions that Cassaday can give to the characters without making them look inadequate. Wolverine looks like a scared child, the Beast REALLY looks bestial, Kitty goes from depressed to a scary, tortured mother ready to do anything to get her child back and, finally, the splash page showing Cyclops without his visor after he shot the White Queen with a gun is priceless. There’s no doubt, Cassaday’s one of the best at what he does.

Second, the story. Whedon is probably one of the best authors when the time comes to write mind-blowing moments and unexpected cliffhangers, The first part of the book shows Kitty holding a baby in her arms in a hospital room. All the X-men are coming in and you can really feel the family spirit emanating from this scene. Then, the action goes to a park where Kitty, Piotr and their child are enjoying themselves. The X-men arrive and Colossus forces Kitty to give them the child. Suddenly, the next panel shows a dark room in which Peter is sitting on a chair. An axe is phasing through his head. Kitty’s going to kill him if he doesn’t tell her where her baby is. She seeks revenge and nothing can stop her. Now, if that doesn’t impress you (even though it’s merely possible), there is more to come. We are shown that Lockheed is a mole for S.W.O.R.D., Danger and Ord break through the mansion’s kitchen, Wolverine passes out and then comes back to reality (and his normal state) because of a beer can and Kitty saves her son, but, in fact, she’s been mind controlled by the White Queen and her son is not what she thinks he is: it’s Stuff, the blob in which Cassandra Nova’s consciousness is imprisoned. Finally, the White Queen is shot by Cyclops, who lost his power (and by the same fact, his visor). All of this happens in 32 pages. Really, Whedon knows what he does and we can’t complain!

To conclude, except the fact that Xavier looks like a turtle, this comic is flawless and it is the best one I’ve read this year. Whedon and Cassaday are at their best in this issue and we can only hope that their last arc will be as good. An astonishing book by an astonishing team.


Detective Comics #823
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Joe Benitez
Published: 9/7/2006
Reviewed by timokay

I like a lot of things about Batman, but he is most enjoyable when he is being the world’s greatest detective, and this particular issue is a fantastic one-shot featuring Batman, Robin and Poison Ivy, who is at her sexiest and deadliest. Batman has to protect her from a treacherous weed-gone-wild, while using his skills to determine why this is happening to her.

Paul Dini’s writing flows like a pulp novel, and gives each character, including cameos from Harley Quinn and the Riddler, plenty of snappy banter and clever dialogue. His portrayal of Poison Ivy is chilling.

Joe Benitez’s art is STUNNING. Every frame is filled with either mood, sex, action or some combination of the three. The only drawback is that this team did not continue with Detective, as the artwork was handed over to other artists in subsequent issues.

Go back in time and buy this comic!


Annihilation Prologue
Written by Keith Griffen
Art by Scott Kolins with Ariel Olivetti
Published: 3/15/06
Reviewed by Hoss

Annihilation: Take one stagnant, underused, and forgotten aspect of the Marvel Universe, add cosmic menace and voila you have yourself a bone-crushing event.  This opening shot has it all: big fights, daring escapes, huge shocks, and surprises.  Heck it even comes with OHOTMU style entries for all the major characters.  48 solid pages of cosmic strife and struggle, exciting art, and one beautiful cover. 2006’s best event started here and it was worth every penny.

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