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 #2 picks for Worst of 2017.
Dustin - Dark Nights: Metal
In Scott Snyder’s attempt to retcon more fine details into the history of the DC universe he created an evil multiverse in which the earth’s that don’t have happy endings are painfully destroyed. Oh, and “Meta” was actually short for “Metal” this entire time, meaning all the metas are actually metals. If that doesn’t make you give up, just hang on for a minute!
Batman has brought this all upon us. He unlocked the door because he didn’t read all of Hawkman’s diary, Hawkman has been completely changed in this by the by, even though he died or something earlier in the year, they still found a way to fuck with him some more. Now, evil versions of Batman that have all taken over the Justice League’s powers are here to destroy the planet… or eat at Chilli’s, I honestly stopped caring after the billionth tie-in and wondered why I was even still reading this tremendous piece of shit that will continue on into 2018. Lucky for DC, nothing can top Secret Empire! Though they certainly gave it their best shot.
Ben - Ghost Station Zero
There are plenty of James Bond knockoff spy stories out there, and many of them are good. Ghost Station Zero is not one of them. Ghost Station Zero’s biggest fault is how little everything seemed to matter. They had this great initial aspect of a female James Bond character, and I felt they could have done so much more with her. However, they don’t change much about her- She’s still a womanizing alcoholic. Even if there weren't anything added to the trope of a womanizing and alcoholic secret agent, I’d have appreciated if the conspiracy the main character was involved in was interesting, but Ghost Station Zero didn’t deliver on that aspect as well. It didn’t help that the art style particularly bothered me, resembling a high-end tumblr cartoon.
Oliver - Wonder Woman (Robinson's Run)
What a jump in quality we’ve seen from Greg Rucka’s excellent Wonder Woman to James Robinson’s… significantly less excellent version. This is a Wonder Woman series that chooses not to focus on Wonder Woman herself, leaving her to be rescued by any number of male characters. Instead, Robinson chooses to focus on Wonder Woman’s twin brother Jason, the plot twist from the New 52 which nobody wanted, and nobody cares about. He’s been the central feature of Wonder Woman for several months now, and I can definitively state that I still don’t care. This doesn’t feel like Wonder Woman to me, and Robinson’s an exceptionally weak choice of writer. Perhaps DC should consider handing the title over to, say, Marguerite Bennett, who continues to write the best Wonder Woman in years in her Bombshells series.
Robinson’s greatest sin here, though, has nothing to do with Diana herself. It’s his use of Baby Darkseid. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive James Robinson for bringing Darkseid back to adulthood in such a dull way. Actually, I might not forgive him for bringing Darkseid back to adulthood at all. Baby Darkseid made no sense at all, but he was such a delightfully insane idea. The panel of Snyder and Capullo’s excellent Dark Nights: Metal in which he reappeared made me laugh out loud with delight, and then... Here he is again, but an angry teen. What a letdown.
Jonathan - Rugrats
This. Fucking. Book. I hate it. I hate it with a passion distinct from all of the other entries on this list. And for that very reason, Rugrats was going to be my top pick for a long time. However, I came to realize that my hatred stemmed more from it being a bad adaptation than a bad comic book. Plus, I couldn’t even get through the second issue, so it ultimately didn’t seem fair to give it number one. That being said, it is still very much a bad comic, so I had absolutely no qualms putting it here as runner-up Worst of the Year.
Rugrats takes problems from both Justice League/Power Rangers and Mighty Mouse, distills them, and then exponentially increases their potency. First and foremost is the art which is fucking awful. In my review of the first issue, I mentioned that the original cartoon’s animation style included character designs with exaggerated proportions, but they worked because they were still balanced. What’s more, each design had its own unique idiosyncrasies and imperfections that gave them an overall wholesome and organic feeling. Here, most of that loving detail has been stripped away in favor of an oversimplified aesthetic that looks as plastic and cheaply colored as a Happy Meal toy. And, the story takes some of the lowest-hanging fruit I know by “satirizing” modern overreliance on technology. This is a premise so overdone that for three years in a row, I saw other film students at my alma mater making shorts with the exact same premise. Except, at least one of those was actually good, whereas this attempt only manages to be clumsy, superficial, and entirely out of character for the adults of the series. Again, I must ask, who is this book supposed to be for? There’s no way in hell it’s for younger readers, as the original run of the cartoon ended in 2004, and reruns haven’t been aired since 2013. BOOM! seems to want us to think it’s for fans of the original, but then where the hell are Kimi and Dil? I don’t buy for a second that anyone involved with the creation of this book believed fans would want a complete reboot in comic form. So what, is it like that shit show of a TV series Gotham and only for people who have heard things about the original but aren’t super familiar with the actuality of it? No, the reality is that this book probably isn’t for anyone. BOOM! just wanted to make a quick buck, so they made a licensing deal, put in as little time, effort, and money as possible, and hoped to turn a profit. Well, guess what? It shows.