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Friday, January 03, 2014 

USA Today's gushy choices for "best" of 2013

USA Today's list of the "best" comics from last year is predictably a load of tripe, starting with their sugarcoat of the big two:
Superheroes are as big as ever, too, and Marvel and DC continue to rule the roost with good guys and bad guys aplenty — and everyone in between. Marvel rolled out a slew of high-profile fare such as Age of Ultron, Infinity and Inhumanity, while DC finally unleashed Forever Evil, an event that the publisher's been building toward since its 2011 relaunch.
Yep, just another whitewash for some of the worst storytelling-destroyers of all time, without letting anybody know how much money you'd have to spend even on just a few pamphlets for these - 4 bucks a pop. They proceed to fawn over a couple writers:
Best writer: Jonathan Hickman. Honestly, he belongs in this spot for just pulling off Marvel Comics' Infinity event, plus the Avengers and New Avengers tie-in issues, and making the whole thing grand as one could ever hope. Add in the wondrous Western apocalypse tale East of West, the zany and brainy The Manhattan Projects and the beginning of God is Dead (putting mankind at Ground Zero for the return of the gods) to further cement his comic-book superstardom. Honorable mention: Scott Snyder. He continued his hot streak as the man in charge of all things Gotham City with Batman and the "Zero Year" story line — including one notable issue that was more than likely the origin of his Joker — and also launched Superman Unchained with Jim Lee. The year also saw the debut of Snyder's immersive The Wake with Sean Murphy, together putting out the smartest horror comic of the year.
So say some of the dumbest people working in journalism. Anyone who thinks company wide crossovers make for the absolute best storytelling is not dedicated to the art of writing at all, but to money. A "superstar" Hickman is not. Nor is Snyder with his track record. He has only a cold streak and none of his issues are notable for good reasons.

And wouldn't you know it, a certain editor with nothing but contempt for the audience is their choice for this list too:
Honorable mention: Tom Brevoort. The Marvel Comics executive editor is a treasure trove of knowledge about superhero comics, and, as one of comics' nicest guys, there are not many folks better to have as a public face — and voice — for the top publisher in the business.
Based on his attitude towards some of the audience and much of the public, I fully disagree. And based on how he's let the Avengers - among other superhero comics - fall into such decay, I wouldn't consider him a very knowledgeable person one bit. If he was ever was, he's long thrown that talent away.
Best event: Infinity. The Avengers and pretty much the universe vs. the most powerful force imaginable. Thanos and his crew vs. Earth and a cadre of Inhumans. Jonathan Hickman sticking the landing. 'Nuff said.
If this had been a self-contained miniseries, it could've been a classic. But as an overblown crossover, no sale. And now, here comes two of the worst of their picks:
Best gutsy decision: Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man. One year ago, Slott ended the long-running Amazing Spider-Man, and with it the life of Peter Parker, and launched Superior Spider-Man with the mind of nemesis Doctor Octopus guiding the body of Marvel's signature wall-crawler. What could easily have been a disaster ended up being a well-done story line that made Spidey fresh again, gave him a different kind of girlfriend and personality, and a horde of new obstacles to tackle. With "Goblin Nation" coming, change could be again on the horizon, but at this point, more fans probably have the mind-set "In Slott we trust." Honorable mention: DC's "Villains Month" 3-D covers. I wasn't a comic reader for most of the 1990s, and after seeing a decade full of foil covers and other odd gimmicks, maybe I didn't miss a whole lot. DC rolled out a whole month of bad guys in three dimensions, yet the stunt worked — the art was cool, the stories were pretty cool and the 3-D was pretty slick. Then again, I didn't have any of them melt in my vehicle.
As if we didn't need more proof they're some of the most blatant apologists in the business. Here we go again with the superficial claim that such a shameless move makes Spidey "fresh" when in truth it was stale a decade ago. And they'd fawn over J. Michael Stracynski too if he were still writing the book. Given how poorly Spider-Man's been selling the last few years, I'd say less fans are around to care. The choice of coverscans geared for the speculator market is also very tacky and certainly isn't working in the long run. I don't find the art very cool either, and it's no substitute for good writing.

USA Today's staff sure can piece-meal together some pretty wretched choices.

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