To celebrate the end of the year, the staff of Sequential Planet will be listing their favorite things from 2018! Below are some of Derek’s favorite picks of the year. Click here to see the rest of our picks!
Series of the Year: Immortal Hulk
Al Ewing and Joe Bennet’s The Immortal Hulk made me give a damn about Bruce Banner and his angry inner green monster. This is, at its core, very much a horror comic. The first few issues read like a classic EC Comics. A monster comes to town to terrorize those who cause terror, with some kind of twisted morale ending, and that was incredible. The entirety of the series could have been this and I’d of been happy, but it somehow managed to switch gears and be more of a linear superhero story, but with all the weight and gravitas it needed to still be gripping and honestly, terrifying.
Best Writer: Donny Cates
In 2017, writer Donny Cates released God Country through Image Comics and it was a smash hit, everyone was immediately smitten with him. It’s now the end of 2018, and Cate’s is one of Marvel’s top writers and is on such an unbelievable hot tear it should spin your head in circles. Thanos Wins, The Death of Inhumans, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Venom, and Marvel Knights. All of them are great-to-amazing in quality, and all feel unique and fresh. He understands comics, superheroes, and storytelling in a way that few have in a long, long time. With his run on Guardians of The Galaxy around the corner, it seems his flame is still burning bright.
Best Single Issue: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #1
When trying to think of the best single issue of the year, this immediately popped in my head. I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I thought this was so special, but I knew it was. I just re-read it and I know I remember. For one, it’s just a helluva lot of fun. It’s a J.J. Jameson heavy issue, any issue that J.J. is an ally of Spiderman is a treat, I love that angle as a whole. It’s also the issue where Chip Zdarsky decided to turn J.J. into Tom Scharpling of The Best Show fame (The first time I read J.J. tell someone to get off his phone, I got giddy). The Mike and Laura Allred art just adds to the fun, of course. But the main thing was the last page, a flashback to Jameson hiring Parker for the first time. Robbie Robertson questions him hiring someone so inexperienced, then shows Jameson looking at a computer screen with an article about the murder of Uncle Ben, and JJ states, “ The kid just needs some help.”….even typing it out now I’m kind of tearing up.
Best New Series: A Walk Through Hell
A Walk Through Hell is a gut-churning hell ride through the bowels of humanity, and yeah, I friggin’ love it. I’d do it a great disservice trying to describe it, because it is very much a mystery wrapped up in a bigger mystery, in the belly of an enigma monster. The way it unravels what it’s actually about is a testament to how ungodly good Garth Ennis is. Each issue reveals at least one clue about what’s actually happening, as hell as repeatedly punching you in the gut with harsh imagery and insane amounts of waxing philosophical, in a way that feels natural. If you like horror and seeing things unravel, pick this up ASAP. The second chapter is starting up this month, catch up.
Movie Of The Year: The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs
The Coen brothers did it again. As they will pretty much every time they release a movie. This, of course, is no exception. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is an oddball assortment of tales from the Ol’ West done with charm, wit, levity, gravity, and everything in between. The six segments of this movie run the gamut as far as genres and moods are concerned but firmly planted in the old west. Not to mention the incredible cast, but with the Coen brothers, that’s a given. It’s a feat very few people could have pulled off, but of course, this gruesome twosome pulled it off with gusto.
Best Performance: Tom Waits, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs
Yeah, both of my movie picks are for The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, but Tom Waits needed special acknowledgment for his performance. The segment “All Good Mountain”, may just be my favorite thing I’ve seen this year period. This role as the solitary, charming-as-hell ol’ prospector is the part it seems Tom Waits has been training his entire career to play. You grow to love this old coot and want nothing more to see him find Mr.Pocket (his endearing nickname for a patch of land filled with gold). This is something I refuse to spoil, but Tom Waits makes you care. Right now, in this world, that’s a hard thing to do. It’ll make you laugh, and it may break your heart, but dagnabbit, you’ll care about something.