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Wednesday December 31, 2008 10:47 pm

The World According to Todd: Best of 2008

Laura Vandervoort

Figure Caption: You gotta love Supergirl!

It’s that time of year again when we look back at the year and see what lived up to our expectations and what fell flat on its face. So without further ado…here is MY Best of 2008.

Book of the Year: Captain America
When my friends ask me what the best comic out there is, this is my answer. Every month, Brubaker mixes social commentary, superhero history, and pulse pounding action into a symphony of awesomeness. As icing on the cake there is always a new twist or a new piece of character development that makes aspiring writers (like myself) bang their heads on a table wishing they thought of it. Damn you, Ed. Steve Epting’s artwork continues to be realistic and energetic with fun homages to great artists like Steranko.

Worst Book: Countdown to Final Crisis
Wasted time.  Countdown to Final Crisis was an over-hyped highlight reel of the DC Universe that promised to set the stage for Final Crisis. Not only did it not set the stage for Final Crisis, it didn’t do much of anything except steal minutes from my life I’ll never get back. That and about $156 from my wallet. 

Best Writer: Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, The Immortal Iron Fist, Criminal, Uncanny X-Men
What can I say about this guy? He’s the man with the Midas touch. From turning Bucky into Captain America, Daredevil’s one night stand with Dakota North, to making Iron Fist cool, everything book he writes is gold. And with his new series Incognito launching in early 09, the only thing that can stop him is going too fast for his own good. 

Best Artist: Jae Lee, The Dark Tower
The clever use of shadow, the lush landscapes, the creepy monsters, the body language, Jae Lee captures the mood of Stephen King’s epic creation so perfectly I wonder why he didn’t illustrate the novels’ covers. These pages should be in a museum. 

Best Hero: “All Star” Superman, All Star Superman
Sure, the “All Star” version of Superman has been around for a couple of years, but this year he earned the title. “All Star” Superman is the sum of every generations Superman. Unabashedly positive, “All Star” Superman cured cancer, gave Kandor a new home on Mars, humbled Lex Luthor, and built the sun a new heart. This is what Superman should be.

Best Villain: Spencer Pratt, The Hills
Norman Osborn, Lex Luthor, and the Black Glove got nothing on this guy. Over the past year on “The Hills” this guy has singlehandedly caused a split between Lauren Conrad and his girlfriend Heidi Montag, forced Heidi to give her sister the boot, made Heidi’s mother cry, gotten Heidi fired, and pressured Heidi into eloping on their trip to Mexico. Spencer taught me a valuable lesson; the jerk gets the girl.

Moment of the Year: Supergirl gives Cat Grant a breast exam. Action Comics 868
As Joel Rosenberg likes to say “a great moment in comics history”. Don’t believe me? Read it yourself.

Supergirl: Well, that’s strange.
Cat Grant: What’s strange?
Supergirl: My X-Ray vision is picking up some weird plastics in your…
Lois Lane: Supergirl! There you are. Sorry, Cat. Clark scheduled an interview about her recent run in with Reactron….since Clark’s gone I told him I’d take the interview.
Supergirl: I think that lady needs to see a doctor—
Lois: Don’t say anything else you don’t want to antagonize her.
Supergirl: But—
Lois: Just smile and say “bye”.
Supergirl: Bye!

The perfect combination of sex appeal and innocence. In other words the “Moment of the Year”.

Best Movie: The Dark Knight
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t been said? Sure Heath Ledger got all the praise and great lines, but the unsung star was Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. A textbook example of how to develop a character from one movie to another, Gordon went from being a struggling honest cop in Batman Begins to a confident and heroic leader in The Dark Knight. I can’t wait to see where Nolan will take him in the third. That, and I was the Joker for Halloween.

Comeback of the Year: Ghost Rider
If you told an intellectual that “Grindhouse” could be combined with Milton, they would laugh in your face. Show them an issue of Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider and they’ll shut up. Rebellious angels enlisting the aid of murderous nurses is just one of the thrills I get month in and month out from the writer of Scalped on this title. Ghost Rider lives up to his look. 

Crossover of the Year: Secret Invasion
This is the first crossover where the tie-ins were better then the actual series. The Secret Invasion title was a well-written highlight reel that jumped from one story point to the next, but the tie-ins from New and Mighty Avengers not only expanded the story, but also answered most of our lingering questions.

Company of the Year: Marvel Comics
Between Captain America, Daredevil, Thor, the Twelve, a new status quo post-Secret Invasion, the timely shipping of Amazing Spider-Man three times a month, and non superhero fare like Criminal and The Dark Tower, Marvel is driving with a full tank of gas. The only flaw was canceling the “First Looks” program. 
So there you have it, the best of 2008 from a guy who only grasps “mind numbing twaddle like High School Musical” wink Have a Happy New Year.

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