Welcome to the Comic Bastards end of the year list. Similar to our group reviews, each of the participating writers will be giving their picks for their best and also worst comics of 2017. Without further ado, here are our #1 picks for Worst of 2017.
Dustin - SECRET EMPIRE
Since Secret Empire engulfed all of the Marvel Universe, for the most part, you can subtitle this as “all of Marvel Comics.” Where to begin with this mess of shit? You probably didn’t even think I read it… well, I did. I suffered through every painful page, and while I’ve blocked most of it out, it was still the worst even book I’ve ever read. I’m pretty sure if Axel Alonso could go back in time he’d shoot down the pitch from whatever crazy asshole that thought this up. I don’t know if you can pin it all on Nick Spencer's shoulders, but fucking Marvel should have none better. The dude isn’t an event writer, and frankly, him defending his work all across social media did more damage than good. I’m sure he got to keep his Marvel job (at least for now) because of how much shit he walked through to get this book to the finish line.
And what was it all for? People now hate Captain America, doesn’t matter that he’s a good guy again. He was your John Cena; he can never turn heel… but you did. You did that and left it for an entire year. Who in their right fucking mind thought, “Hey let’s make the symbol of hope and freedom a bad guy for a year, it’ll be great!” Now all of the old characters are back because diversity was too hard… well if that isn’t just a statement of Trump’s fucking America. Secret Empire could have been done in one fucking issue, and five of the pages should have been a written apology to everyone that actually bothered to buy and read Marvel this year. But hey, CB’s first month of books is solicited and it all looks… boring and shitty, so I’m sure Marvel will be back on top and definitely not because their mega-corporation just bought another mega-corporation and absorbed half of the movie and TV adapted comics on the market. Also, the first time an entire publisher has made the list two years in a row. Let’s shoot for three Marvel!
Ben - FIRST STRIKE
I understand what I am getting into when picking up a comic book detailing a conflict between the Transformers and G.I Joe casts. However, there was something particularly droll about IDW’s First Strike to me. Perhaps it was the way the reader was thrown right into the conflict without any sort of setup or the prospect of having to take a story about two of my favorite childhood toys coexisting in the same universe. On paper, it seems as if it would be amazing, but when actually done, I wished it was never allowed to be.
Oliver - PUSSYCATS
I’d like to point out here that I don’t like tearing indie comics apart. These are passion projects, and the medium always needs new voices. However, sometimes a voice comes along which the medium would be far better off without. Let’s talk about the Pussycats series of comics, published by e-comix. They’re poorly drawn and personality-free and seem to primarily exist to titillate. This is the sort of series that consistently has covers made up of photographs of scantily clad models, and that says all you need to know about the series.
Seriously. It’s 2017. This is not what the comics industry needs. This sort of tawdry sexualization and objectification of women is just depressing, and it makes the whole industry look bad. It’s crude, it’s grotesque, and it’s genuinely off-putting. In a year where the industry has had major problems with obnoxious manchildren trying to force out anyone who is not a white man, this is a particularly bad look.
Jonathan - Justice League of America
Is it at all surprising that this is my number one pick? As of the time of my writing, I’ve reviewed a total of 26 JLA issues including the main series, one-shots, and an annual, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. And while the quality of individual issues varies from mediocre to completely awful, one thing remains consistent: Steve Orlando’s Justice League of America is a terrible team-up book, a terrible superhero book, and just a terrible book in general. The team’s supposed purpose and mission statement makes no sense coming from Batman, and it reeks of the preachy moral superiority it thinks it has. Story arcs are always poorly structured, with important plot points happening in spite of what logic and causality might suggest. An excessive amount of time is dedicated to a constant barrage of one-dimensional, one-note villains, and there’s a shitload more saying than doing from everyone.
On top of that, no one in the book ever gives Batman any credit or trust. Instead, resident morons like Ray Terrill scream at him about how much of an untrusting dick he is. This is despite the fact that Ray is such a whiny, judgmental, and entitled little brat, constantly throwing tantrums and demanding people to focus on his pain and no one else’s. Really, Ray’s characterization is the perfect metaphor for this book, because not even the civilians do anything but think of themselves and jump to the worst conclusions about everyone else. It’s as if Orlando sat down one day and decided he was going to try and be the next Brian Michael Bendis, but all he could manage was a caricature of BMB’s worst traits with none of the writing chops. And, maybe that’s harsh. After all, the only other thing I’ve read from him is Night of the Monster Men, and that had Tom King, Tim Seeley, and James Tynion IV all helping him. But, here’s the thing: nothing about Orlando’s weak-as-fuck performance on JLA makes me want to read anything else by him. Oh, and I forgot to mention in the previous entry, there was one other reason Rugrats fell to the number two slot. I read another issue of Justice League of America.