Best of 2014: Best Series Part 2

Best of 2014: Best TitleWe all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a decades-spanning ongoing or a short-run miniseries, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. Indeed, we’re so enamored of serialization that we decided to split our favorite series list into two installments. Here’s part 2 our top 14 series of 2014 (click here for part 1).
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Deadpool 18

deadpool 18

Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Deadpool 18, originally released October 9th, 2013.

Drew: Color theory has always had an interesting relationship with superhero comics. To make the heroes stand out on the printed page, they were put in bright, primary colors. That practicality had a counterpart in the way the characters were written — with equally clear ideals (think “truth, justice, and the American way”). Those ideals (like the colors) can be mixed in ever more complex ways, covering all of the possible hues, but as any colorist can tell you: hue is only one dimension of color theory. Another is saturation, or the opacity of a color. Deadpool, with its knack for fourth-wall breaking, has long had a lot of play with this kind of figurative saturation, as Wade regularly peels the curtain back to comment on the absurdities of the world he inhabits. Desaturating Wade has always revealed a bright, zany world — even when disembowling presidents, the tone was always incredibly upbeat — but as writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn move further into their “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” arc, they’ve revealed an increasing interest in the third dimension of color theory: value, or darkness. The result is a surprisingly rich comic, made up of all of the colors of the real world. Continue reading

Deadpool 17

deadpool 17

Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 17, originally released September 25th, 2013.

Scott: “Ok, so you’ve got Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, right, and they’re writing about Deadpool.” (“Oh man, this sounds funny!”) “And Deadpool is teaming up with Wolverine and Captain America.” (“Whoa, this is gonna be classic!”) “Oh, and there are a bunch of Korean X-men look-alikes running around.” (“I don’t even know what that means, but you probably don’t even need a plot at this point, this sounds like the craziest issue ever!”) So what happens when you take all elements for great laughs and hi-jinks, and try to make it dark? Posehn and Duggan have pushed Deadpool into grim territory in recent issues, and they’ve been some of the series’ best. They seem intent on recasting Deadpool in a more serious tone. But sometimes, when all the elements are there, there’s nothing a writer can do to prevent a rollicking good time.

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Deadpool 16

deadpool 16

Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Deadpool 16, originally released September 11th, 2013.

Scott: It’s nice when someone surprises you with their depth- when you see something that wasn’t there before. It happens a lot with comedic actors taking on dramatic roles. Think of Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love or Jamie Foxx in Ray. Robin Williams and Jim Carrey are masters of this trick. You’ve always enjoyed them but then, suddenly, they do something that makes you take them seriously. This is that moment for Deadpool. Writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan have taken a title known for its crude jokes and it writers’ resumes, and turned it into something so much more. The wit is still there, but the darker side of Deadpool they’ve been hinting at is now out in the open, and they’re pulling it off better than you could have expected. You’ll never look at this title the same way.

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Deadpool 15

Alternating Currents: Deadpool 15, Drew and Scott

Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Deadpool 15, originally released August 28th, 2013.

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my sadness hid
Smiling in the public eye
But in my lonely room
I cry the tears of a clown
When there’s no one around

Smokey Robinson, Tears of  a Clown

Drew: The tragic clown is a surprisingly persistent archetype. It’s no coincidence that Smokey Robinson could name-check Pagliacci in his own song about sad clowns, but there are just as many modern examples, from the claustrophobic depression of Louie to the exaggerated kvetching of Krusty the Clown. There’s something about the smile as a mask that speaks to the little things we grin and bear throughout the day. Of course, there’s also something very true about the idea — comedians are famously unhappy people — suggesting that humor is most often honed by those that use it to cope. The reveal of deep sadness behind the jokes is always a bit of a shocker, subverting our expectations something fierce, and recasting every subsequent joke in a tragic light. In Deadpool 15, Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn start to hint at what’s behind Wade’s mask, revealing a past that may be as ugly as the man himself.

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Batman Incorporated Special 1

batman inc special

Today, Shelby, Drew, Spencer, Mikyzptlk, and Patrick are discussing Batman Incorporated Special 1, originally released August 28th, 2013.

Grant Morrison’s Batman, Incorporated epic recently concluded with the “death” of Talia, the “end” of Leviathan, and dozens of Damian clones in jars. While we lost a few characters, some we loved more than others, Morrison’s run spawned a multi-cultured cast of goofy Batman and Robin agents, working ’round the world to do good. Forced to shut the program down, Batman is giving Batman Incorporated casefiles one last looksie before “closing” everything down.
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