By Dustin Cabeal
Again, I’m still retired, but again, I love doing the end of the year list. I don’t actually care if anyone reads this list or the Best Comics of 2018 list, but they’ll exist for me and at this point in life that’s all I’m shooting for, writing for myself.
The worst of list has always brought its share of controversy. When I started Comic Bastards, comic fandom was at a stage in which nothing could be criticized because for some reason criticism meant the end of the medium. I’d say some people still act like that, whereas every other form of media strives through criticism, but whatever. Now though, there’s a growing number of people that shit on comics just because they’re not what they liked growing up or they have minority creators and minority characters in the book. Gasp, the world changed and left all these people behind to complain about comics. You won’t find me complaining about a comic for those reasons, these are just comics that shouldn’t be celebrated and hopefully will improve in the next year… or not which is most likely what will happen, but some people can now avoid ever reading this batch of books. Here they are in no particular order.
This comic goes to show that we don’t need any more movie licensed comics ever. You can get a talented writer, a talented artist and still produce a trash comic because the story has no consequences. We all know that it’s not even going to add to the canon of John Wick so why bother? You’d be better off aping the story of John Wick and making your own comic, but no instead we get a pointless tie-in with no character development, no consequences and worse, nothing cool added to a world ripe with ideas. See you in May John Wick, but see you in hell John Wick comic.
Robocop: Citizen’s Arrest
Congrats Brian Wood, you cracked the Robocop code. Not only does this story follow the same goddamn outline of the first film (nearly exact), but it shows that you can’t capture lightning in a bottle twice. The characters sucked. The villain was so douchey that it was impossible to view him as a threat and all the “that’s scary” future stuff didn’t have an impact because we’re all so groomed to love technology and how unregulated it is that I’m sure people would love a narc app that earns them credit and shit. If you’re not going to do ultra-violent Robocop, then don’t bother. Seeing him shoot fucking robots is lame, and this story was more than disappointing as it tried to Robocop 2014 us while wearing the skin of 1987. Please comic industry, stop with the licensed movie shit. It’s all horrible. I don’t have a long enough list to keep adding licensed titles to it, but you can just add an asterisk and put the rest below yourself, and don’t kid yourself because they all belong on this list.
Let’s add to the bible someone said to themselves or something equally pointless. Listen, I don’t care if you want to add commentary to the bible, debate religion, just don’t make the story boring and a cliff notes version of the bible. That’s what this felt like, it was like, “Hey, feel sorry for Judas…” make me! This story certainly didn’t. The art was great, but the story was dull, uninspired and trying hard to get some controversy to help it succeed. With the real-life apocalypse, we’re living every day on our phones at all times, this book didn’t make a wave outside of when I said, “Goodbye.”
Originally called Hi-Fi Fight Club, this book had the fastest downfall of any title I’ve read in the past few years. The first issue was excellent. The second issue… read like the first issue but watered down… and so on and so on. Thank god they changed the name because it didn’t make any sense. They were secret underground mystery solvers if by solvers you mean we punch people kinda. It ended up being a shitty love story, and I mean shitty because there was no romance or character development that would show why either character liked the other. The art continued to deteriorate as the story went on as well, which was the real shame, good art can help a sinking ship. I can go on and on about how disappointing this series ended up being, but I think that fact that it ultimately felt cut short says it all.
Oh, Dan Slott our savior of all things Marvel… for some, this might be true, but I actively avoided his Spider-Man. When he was announced for FF, like it was going to be the hottest shit ever with him on it, I think maybe I blinked… that was the biggest response I could give it. I read the issues. I didn’t like them. Here’s Slott’s formula, lots of talking, crowd pop moments, heartfelt scene, people talking too much, no real sense of danger or threat, end of the issue. The FF are boring. They’re an outdated idea, but Marvel needs the characters around for events and just because they own them.. Slott’s run reminds me of Waid’s run, trying way too hard and no story to tell. Get ready for the FF to face a housing crisis and Doom… a lot. Oh, and the shifting art is more jarring than on any other title outside of when Synder writes an event book for DC. I’m not here to argue if the FF are relevant anymore, you can have your opinion, but this title was still shit. A superhero team commits fraud and the FF are just like, “Carry on, you can have our fucking building.” Riveting stuff.
If you have any interest in Mata Hari, avoid this book. The plotting on this book is so dull that it kills any build up of interest that you may have had for it. Every time you think you’re going to be interested in something the story jumps to the outcome as if you were already supposed to have all this information before reading the story… making the story pointless and unenjoyable. Maybe the writer knew everything about Mata Hari before going in, but if you as the reader didn’t, get ready to not care. You can read my review for more because I’ve mostly forgotten the finer details, I just now that this one stung and stayed with me for the rest of the year.
Wires and Nerve vol. 2
Successful stories for tweens and teens know that you don’t write down to your audience. Wires and Nerve is so bad that you’ll think a first-time writer, that was also a child, wrote the story. It’s an extravagant love story, without any love, hidden in a simple political drama that ignores how the world works. There’s no sense of danger, nothing is at risk, and all of the characters sound the same. Hell, it’s even confusing to remember what importance the characters have to the story that they’re standing around talking in. The gist, dude falls in love with a robot… watch Futurama instead.
Out of Nothing
Do you want a condensed history of the world told from one perspective and a rather dull one at that? Then look no further. I’m not being funny or cruel when I say that I feel asleep twice reading this book. I had to put it down and come back the next day, and the same fucking thing happened. Naptime. It was never a joy to read and was about as interesting as you’d expect when reading a condensed version of the history of earth with a lazy look at the future.
The Man of Steel
Get ready because the rest of the list is all DC books. I’d put more Marvel on here if I actually read Marvel, like the X-Men books if I could even finish an issue, but I can’t. Anyway, The Man of Steel marked Bendis’ start at DC. I wonder if they can get their money back. Not only did this have all the staples of Bendis’ writing, but it went to show that maybe Superman is better just punching things. If you want to read the same dialogue over and over, then this is the story for you. It was dull. It wasn’t some return to form for Superman, and it felt like Superman at the end of the DCU before the reboot when they were just adding bullshit retcon to Krypton. Hey, it wasn’t Krypton’s fault it blew up, it was some dude without a nose, it was his fault… great retcon. The rest of the book is just Bendis getting rid of the stuff he doesn’t want to write about, which felt like a lazy and selfish way to write Superman.
Heroes in Crisis
Yup. Go ahead and hate me, but Tom King is projecting his own life into DC with the DC heroes was not only difficult to read for the wrong reasons, but also not why anyone reads the DC line of books. This shit would be boring and perfect for Marvel, but Superman is talking to a robot to release his pent-up feelings… that’s not Superman. That’s not Batman. That’s certainly not Wonder Woman. This story, this mystery… It is out of place. Harley Quinn bests the Trinity… I’m done. She doesn’t need any more cool points, and that wasn’t a “moment to be remembered,” but rather one to be forgotten, much like my interest in this heavy-handed drama.
Yup again. The main reason this is on here is that it doesn’t need to exist at all. The art is masterful, but the story is hot shit. Where the fuck is this taking place because it seems like Johns made a DCU for the Watchmen U… and both suck. Why is the Joker even participating in this story? Every character feels out of place, but none more than the Joker. I wanted to be interested in this story, but there’s no mystery here. It doesn’t matter. This book is being written in a bubble and has no effect on the DCU, and that’s probably a good thing. Maybe more “event books” should be in the same bubble that way we can just forget about them after we’re done with them.
Dark Nights Metal
These last two are at the bottom for a reason. They were the worst of the worst and only for the sake of context is Dark Nights Metal first. What a horrible garbage story. It retconned shit that didn’t need to be retconned. It wrapped up some master story plan that Synder had way back at the beginning of his Batman run and it spent five issues building impossible odds for the heroes only to have the villains basically just fall down at the end and Batman work with the Joker, which was probably the most offensive thing about this already offensive story. “We got special armor; we can beat anything now… oh and hope, yeah, plenty of hope!” The only thing to come from this was a bunch of shitty spinoffs that got canceled because they didn’t fit in with the DCU anymore than this event did. And the art was gross from beginning to end. It felt and looked like 40 different people drew this, and none of them had a unified vision.
Justice League: No Justice
What’s better than the end of an event book than a mini-event pairing heroes and villains together in Tron inspired suits? Nothing. Because all of that was terrible. This was a dull story, with no consequences and used to set up some small portion of Snyder’s Justice League run. When you have this many characters, they all end up standing around doing nothing, and that’s what happened here. And then someone punched something, and the story ended. I felt dumber for having read it, even with zero expectations going into it. The only reason it’s last on the list is because it spawned from the disappointment that was Dark Nights Metal.