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Comic Books 2009

A rundown of the best comic books of 2009.

By Trevor Hale
Posted // January 13,2010 - The days keep going by faster and faster, and even though we’re already into 2010, “best-of-year” lists are still a-coming. That way, we can keep reminding you that the year is over and it’s time to get ready to do it all over again. So let’s get it rolling, because from the Big Two publishers all the way down to the unknown independents, 2009 was a solid year for comics.

Best Writer:
Jason Aaron
When Aaron, a relatively unknown writer, launched Scalped for Vertigo a couple of years ago, people started to talk about him becoming the “next big thing.” The hype started growing. Then Aaron lived up to that hype. Scalped continues to be one of the best monthly books, and he’s making his mark on the current Ghost Rider, Punisher and Wolverine titles. His gritty detail and hard-boiled style of writing make him a perfect match for all of those characters, and hopefully more to come. And the best part about Jason Aaron? He’s still getting better.

Best Artist:
Stuart Immonen
His profile has been on the rise over the past few years, and it’s because he’s so consistently good. He took over for Mark Bagley after a legendary 110 issues on Ultimate Spider-Man and immediately made that book his own. When the Ultimate line was revamped, Immonen jumped to one of Marvels biggest selling titles, New Avengers, and has knocked every single issue out of the park. Whether he’s illustrating a quiet moment between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones or a full-blown Avengers battle scene, he brings his A-game each time. And Immonen’s A-game has never once disappointed.

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Best Ongoing:
Invincible Iron Man
Most of 2009 was spent with Tony Stark systematically destroying his brain and nearly killing himself to keep secrets from Norman Osborne. Watching one of the smartest men in all of comics sacrifice his intelligence for the greater good was almost heartbreaking. Matt Fraction planned a truly epic demise that utilized and fleshed out Iron Man’s supporting cast—something that needed to be done. No fear, though—both Tony Stark and Iron Man are already poised for a grand rebirth, and probably just in time for Iron Man 2 to hit theaters next summer.

AE1_incognitoAE1_.jpg Best Mini-Series:
Incognito
Make it three years in a row that Ed Brubaker is somewhere on this list. Best writer in ’07, Best Ongoing (for Criminal) in ’08, and his reign only continues. Incognito was a sci-fi/pulp/superhero story that had everything you could have wanted—action, double-crosses, mad scientists—packed into it. Brubaker and Sean Philips put their brilliant Criminal on hold to make room for this, and it was the only acceptable substitution. Brubaker—especially with Philips in tow—shows that he can do no wrong when it comes to comics.
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One That Will Be Missed:
100 Bullets
For nearly 10 years, 100 Bullets was a monthly staple from Vertigo. The twisting, labyrinthine plot that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso paved over the past decade finally came to its just conclusion. Everyone had to atone for past sins and every character got what they deserved. 100 Bullets read like a skewed version of the American Dream and focused on everything that makes this country what it is—sex, corruption, power, conspiracy, love, morality and death— for better or worse.

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Biggest Improvement:
DC Comics
Last year, nothing seemed to be going right for DC. What a difference a year makes. The change is largely thanks to writers Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns. Those two grabbed the wheel and righted the ship again, making DC comics readable and fun for the first time in a while. Both have had tremendous success this year—especially Johns with Blackest Night and Green Lantern (which was my second-favorite ongoing). With a lot of great stuff on the horizon, 2010 is looking like a very good year to be a DC fan.

 
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