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By Lee Roberts

END OF YEAR REVIEW FOR 2015

OUT WITH OLD IN WITH NEW:
That’s usually the moto for this time when the old year ends and the new one begins. Being that today is Jan 1st of 2016 and a Friday, I figured it would be appropriate to make my blog be about the best/worst of 2015 and what we could look forward to in 2016 when it comes to comics. So let me start with the good of 2015.
BEST OF 2015:
1) THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL by Writer Ryan North, Artist Erica Henderson, and Colorist Rico Renzi. If you want to find a book to read that’s funny, lighthearted, and has captured the essence of what a comic book is, this is the book to pick up. Sure this character of Squirrel Girl has been a running joke in the Marvel U but I was not surprised when her own title turned out to be as good as it is. This is just an outright joy to read where there is something on every page being used to express some sort of fun. One thing that I have found great is the use of the edges with some writing that adds to the fun. Also, as a side note to this book, the colorist Rico Renzi works at the comic shop Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find here in Charlotte NC. If you want to talk to someone that’s cool and works in the comic business stop in the shop and say hi to him cause he’s there a lot talking to everyone. Also, it’s a cool shop with lots of cool stuff.
2) STAR WARS – ALL OF THEM: Ok I admit I’m a huge Star Wars fan, no matter what the medium is, and when Disney bought the rights that meant Marvel was getting the comic back. Of course I picked up the first titles to come out, Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia, and of course I was not surprised at how good these books turned out to be. There’s also the Lando and Chewbacca titles that are a lot of fun to read while keeping with the feel of the Star Wars universe. Not to be forgotten there’s Shattered Empire and now Vader Down that is the follow up to Darth Vader. 
3) Thor/Mighty Thor by Writer Jason Aaron, Artists Russell Dauterman, Chris Sprouse, Jorge Molina, and Goran Sudzuka. Another Marvel book that has made my list because the character has been taken to a new level. I’ve always been a Thor fan but when Marvel announced that they were going to change Thor from the character we knew to a new female Thor I was skeptical. Not because the new Thor was going to be a woman, that’s fine, it’s that it was Thor. Let me put it another way in how I saw it, my name is Lee Roberts, I’m a male, I’ve been me and this way my whole life, my parents where the ones that made me this way. Now lets say they decide to some person, male or female, give them the name Lee Roberts, does that make them me? No. But that was my first thoughts. This new “Thor” was not actually Thor but in name. Still, I read the book, I still agree in my thoughts of this is not “Thor” as far as being “Thor” in name, but I will say that I really enjoy the book. They have taken the character and given her a zeal that the male version never had. She’s just as tough and strong while also having this control and connection with Mijolnir that the original Thor never had. Also, we were given a true “Journey Into Mystery” as everyone tried to figure out who this new Thor was and why she was worthy. There’s no mistake why she’s worthy and it’s no mistake why this book is a must read.
4) BATMAN by Writer Scott Synder and Artist Greg Capullo. With the storylines of “Endgame” and “Superheavy”, the Batman title has been one to read. In the world of comics it’s hard to tell a story that hasn’t been told before or one that gives the long term readers a surprise/twist. However, since he has been on the title Scott Synder has taken the whole of Batman and made it into a book that you really can’t predict what will happen next. He has put every character through the ringer and with each page you read you want more.
5) THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE by Writer Kieron Gillen Artists Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Tula Lotay, Stephanie Hans, Leila Del Duca, and Brandon Graham. This title has been such a rich book to read. This really is a book rather than just a comic book because the story line is deep, it takes you on an adventure through the characters lives, and it gives the reader something different to read. Then there’s the unbelievable artwork that’s on every page. This is a beautiful book to look at and one to read.
6) SILVER SURFER by Writer Dan Slott and Artist Mike Allred. These two have taken the Surfer in a different way then he’s usually been taken. That way is fun. Sure, he’s a fun character to read as far as him being a badass guy who can take on people like Thor and walk away. Now though, the fun is that the it’s just fun to read. The Surfer is discovering himself in new ways that is always overlooked for a character who is about exploring. But maybe that’s because he has had Dawn Greenwood with him to make him discover and explore the universe and himself in new ways. 
7) HAWKEYE by Writer Matt Fraction and Artist David Aja. This book was so good that I made it the first to read as soon as each issue came out. Regardless of if Spider-Man, Walking Dead, or Batman came out, if Hawkeye came out that Wednesday then it was read first. The plot of having to fight for the building he bought while dealing with being deaf and of course Pizza Dog all made this book a must have and must read.
8) ANT-MAN by Writer Nick Spencer and Artist Ramon Rosanas. They made this character into someone that was more relatable as a superhero in the world of people with superpowers. This was just a man in a suit that made things shrink. No powers just super science. Throw in the person problems in his life, moving, kid, and having to pay wages for workers and you got a story that might not sound good but really turns out great.
9) SEX CRIMINALS by Writer Matt Fraction and Artist Chip Zdarsky. This book didn’t start in 2015 but it has stayed one of my favorites to read since the release in the year before. It’s a really fun and dirty book. If you are timid or under 17 or 18 you probably shouldn’t be reading this book but if you are an adult that don’t mind raunchy and sex along with good writing, a fresh story, and just the unexpected, then this is the book to read.
10) HARLEY QUINN by Writters Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti and Artists Chad Hardin and John Timms. I would be remiss if I didn’t include this book on the list of what I liked for the year. The stories are fun to read, the art is amazing, and it’s Harley Quinn. 
WORST OF 2015:
1) SECRET WARS BY MARVEL. This was the change that Marvel did for this year where they rebooted or restarted or whatever they want to call this junk where they took the multiverse and meshed it all together. My first problem with this is the title. Why even call this “Secret Wars” when it really isn’t what the original was. The original was the Beyonder taking powered heroes and villains, putting them on a world called Battlewold, and had them fight. This “Secret Wars” is Dr. Doom taking the powers of the Beyonders, taking parts of a certain amount of worlds, putting them into one world that he called Battleworld, and then called himself “God”. Sure there are fights, but it’s the same kind of fighting in the regular worlds comics, as in the heroes know that Doom is doing Doom things and they go to fight him. Not only has this been a story that hasn’t been all that interesting to read but it’s been late in release for most of the issues. So much so that the new books that are spawned from the end of “Secret Wars” have already begun and in issues #3-#6 while the main book “Secret Wars” still hasn’t ended yet. So we are getting the outcome before the ending. Tsk Tsk.
2) AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Written by Dan Slott, Christos Gage Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Olivier Coipel, Humberto Ramos, Adam Kubert. Yes, my most favorite character and title has made the list of worst in a year and this is the first time this has ever happened. Here’s the thing, everything that is being done in Spider-Man might be the new turn for the character that changes him but it’s also not him. Peter Parker is now the Tony Stark of the Marvel U and if I wanted that I would read Iron Man not Spider-Man. 
3) VARIANT COVER MADNESS. This year there was even more of the variant covers. A new book is released, it gets 20-100 variants, then with each printing it gets more variants. Then there’s the retailer incentive that if you want it you have to shell out so much money for it. It was a year where if you was rich you could collect but if you are like me, as in not rich, then you just get to read your titles and maybe every now and then grab a variant that you like the art, pay an extra $5-30 for even though you know it won’t be worth what you paid.
Yep, that’s my worst list, 2 of  Marvels and the variants.
LOOKING FORWARD.
Basically I’m looking forward to reading the list of the best on 2015 in 2016.