This year was a year of change in the world of comics. Marvel ended its 616 and Ultimate universes and had its FOURTH Secret War event. Then we saw a new MU emerge (Secret Wars isn’t finished, so we don’t know too many details), and even though there definitely ARE still some significant changes such as Spider-Man being the CEO of his own technology enterprise, the mutant race on the verge of extinction and the demise of the Fantastic Four (both in the comics...AND the movie franchise! YEESH!), don’t get it twisted with a continuity reboot, it seems all of the phenomenal Marvel history is intact (much to the delight of this article’s nostalgic writer).
Marvel also helped its parent company Disney “AWAKEN THE FORCE” with an onslaught of EXCELLENT Star Wars titles, just in time of the year’s biggest movie. Marvel’s Star Wars line will have a HEAVY presence in this year’s Bleedie nominations, as I read many titles and totally adored almost everything thus far!
Over on the DC side, there were a lot of changes as well! Superman’s identity was revealed to the public and was significantly de-powered, Batman got amnesia and an old ally needed to take his place and Wonder Woman became the Goddess of War, among other other status quo changes in the DCU.
That’s not even counting the Archie comics revamp! Yep, a lot has changed in 2015, but the fun has not stopped and there’s lots of good stuff in the ‘ol funny papers to celebrate!
So let’s get started with the festivities, shall we? First off, the WTF Moment of the Year! This year the F will be for Futon...because, you can crash at my place, bro.
WTF Moment Of The Year
This award goes to those moments in comics that make you go “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!!” and throw your comic across the room in disbelief, totally destroying the value of the comic. A lot of comics have ruined because of EACH of these startling eventful, series changing moments...but it was allllll worth it. Because comics are BOOKS, actually. Books with plots that are supposed to be READ and discussed about...and these moments keep us doing those things.
Bebop & Rocksteady “Beat Donatello To Death” (TMNT #44)
We won’t make fun of their 80’s punk rock fashion sense ever again.
Han Solo Is Married?? (Star Wars #6)
Shoulda got the prenup, Han.
Iceman is Gay (All-New X-Men #40 & Uncanny X-Men #600)
Not only the present Iceman came out, but the teenaged Iceman from the past did too and probably the evil wizard Iceman from the future is as well, and maybe even Ice Hulk, we can’t be sure yet...but Caitlyn Jenner gets all the attention.
Lois Lane Outs Clark Kent As Superman (Superman #41)
And over social media too?! That’s cold, Lo.
And the WTF Moment of 2015 is...
Both Icemen Come Out Of The Closet!
This is actually TWO moments, but whatever...this is important.
Now there’s a HUGE part of me that thinks this isn’t that big of a deal. But it is. Because Iceman was the BEST sort of character to do this with. He isn’t a lesser known character like Northstar or a brand new LGBT character like Wiccan or Hulkling, Bobby Drake is one of the oldest and most beloved Marvel characters of all time. For those of us who have read and adored the X-Men franchise our entire lives, Iceman is like...family!
And in the real world, people reveal every day to their loved ones that they’ve kept their sexual orientation a secret and lived with the pain of doing that for THEIR whole lives and we now live in a world where that doesn’t really have to be anymore.
So for the readers, we all had to take in this revelation and process it the same as his teammates now will. I think this subplot in the X-Men comics is a great one and needed to be done eventually, whether they lost “traditionalist readers” or “conservative readers” or (in my opinion) “douchebag readers” or whatever.
X-Men has always been a book about tolerance, and it always gave some sort of voice to its young readers that feel like outcasts, and still is and should remain to be. Kudos to Brian Michael Bendis for making a great character have an even greater purpose. It was a shocker, but it was a pretty amazing one that lead to some of the most heartbreaking panels I have ever read.
Villain of the Year
This was a prize year in the comic book villainy business. Among the diverse nominees this year we have two Gods, a robot who is actually a bats#%* crazy little creep in a robot suit and...wait, no there’s...two. Two of those. Two Gods and two crazy guys in robot suits. Well, will you look at that.
Let’s do this thing.
Darth Vader (Star Wars comics)
Marvel’s exposure of Lord Vader by giving him his OWN ongoing series has finally earned him a spot in this category! Congrats, Anny! I can CALL you Anny, righ----*choke!*
God Doom (Secret Wars and all tie-ins)
Having God powers means you can wear an all-white outfit without getting it stained. Clearly.
Rao (Justice League of America)
Krypton’s God. Not sucha cool guy, turns out. Hm.
This guy is such a maniacal genius that the world gave up fighting him and made Invincible leave the planet. That’s some quality villainy, right there.
And the Villain of the Year award goes to...
I may be a bit biased, Dr. Doom is one of my favorite characters of all time, but he’s never won this award! So congrats to Victor, the competition was really tough this year! But mind you, Dr. Doom is now God Doom, an omnipotent being with stolen Beyonder powers, that reinvented the multiverse in his own twisted image. So...maybe he MADE himself win this? It doesn’t matter.
What made Doom’s reign of godliness this year even worse was that he erased all Reed Richardses from existence (or so he thought), and then STOLE HIS FAMILY AND MADE THEM HIS OWN. That is quite possibly the worst thing you can ever do to another guy, right? He did a whole buncha other pretty harsh things as well on his makeshift Battleworld, but that was the worst by far.
As of this writing I have yet to see what will become of Doom, but I’m sure he gets what he has coming to him, besides a non-existent Bleedie award, that is.
Team of The Year
It was a pretty slow year for Marvel’s teams, but as soon as the All-New All-Different books began to get announced...everything changed. Marvel is thinking inclusive, smart and diverse for their new superhero teams and it’s literally changing the industry! We also got a surprise hit out of DC where a long time favorite artist of mine refreshed a team that dearly needed it, by doing a great story that was out of continuity, and plenty controversial.
By the end of 2015, there was still no “I” in “team”, but there was plenty of “A’s” for AWESOME! Yeah, that was a bit too corny. It was worth a shot.
No, it’s not a team comprised of Donald Trump, Jared The Subway Guy, Bill Cosby and that creep who overpriced pills like 5,000,000% (a team of A$$#@*es, is what I’m getting at). It’s ACTUALLY a team of lady Avengers. Which is MUCH more entertaining.
All-New All-Different Avengers
What makes it extraordinary is how having Old Man Logan and teenaged Jean Grey on the same team DOESN’T get at all awkward.
Justice League of America
Bryan Hitch’s awesome story with undertones of religious hypocrisy made me fall in love with the JLA all over again.
And the Bleedie goes to...
All-New All-Different Avengers
I can’t get enough of this team! They are all new and exciting characters and/or personas with Iron Man leading the charge! The first few issues of the book are such fun reads you won’t be able to put them down! I can say I haven’t felt this excited reading Avengers comics since the Bendis run.
Just the chemistry between Ms. Marvel and Nova is worth it the cover price, but I LOVED the interactions between Iron Man and Miles Morales as well. It’s still a fledgling squad, but I can’t wait to see them all work together and possibly more great characters join the team (perhaps Spider-Gwen or Daisy “Quake” Johnson?)
A-Force and the Extraordinary X-Men both came close to winning this award, but I can’t hold in my love for this amazing lineup. It’s simply too perfect.
Best New Character
Every year, a bunch of comic book writers drink way too much coffee and Redbull and through the course of the day and the combination makes them come up with a brand new superheroes to add to the already bursting roster of ones that will eventually just be replaced or killed off or both by Deadpool in some fashion. That’s how comic book characters are born, kids!
Dang, I hope they don’t kick me out of the club for spilling that info. Ah, well. On with the awards!!!
Gwenpool (Howard The Duck)
Yeah, this happened. Thankfully this isn’t the “well thought-out character that makes sense” award. However I am thinking of adding a “DEADPOOL AND GWEN EVERYTHING!! BUY! BUY! BUY!” award for next year.
Mr. Bloom (Batman)
Fun fact: He was gonna be called “Mr. Hey Batman! I Have A Picture Of A Flower On My Face For You Aim At When You Punch Me In My Face”, but that was a bit too long.
She’s cute and all, but she tends to “space out” a lot. HAAAAAAA! *slaps knee*
Synapse (Uncanny Avengers)
We don’t know a lot about this Nuhuman Avenger, but we do know that her ponytail game is on point.
And the Best New Character of 2015 is...
Despite that corny nominee joke I made, I’m actually impressed with Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s latest addition to the Batman mythos. The body morphing Mr. Bloom has everything we want in a Batman villain. He’s twisted, he’s demented and he’s scary as hell.
Bloom’s design will draw comparisons to the indie horror video game character, Slender Man, but I think he fits perfectly in with Batman’s rogue gallery. And it was only fitting that Jim Gordon’s tenure as Batman begins (and likely will end) with this haunting new villain.
It’s actually too bad Rocksteady’s Batman trilogy has come to an end, since I would have loved to see their interpretation of Mr. Bloom. Who knows? Maybe TV’s Gotham or the upcoming Telltale Batman game series will give it a go.
Hottie of the Year
Well, I may get in trouble for the “Outrage Police”, but I don’t care! The Bleedies are an institution! And Hottie of the Year is a fan favorite award! It’s important! It’s the award given to those female characters that are beautiful, tough and make the bad guys howl....and the fanboys too!
These 4 nominees all set out to make their mark in 2015...and looked awesome doing it! I anyone has a problem with celebrating that...well, don’t be so jealous!
She’s a rockstar with a sonic scream that could make your ears bleed...and STILL manages to be less annoying than Ke$ha.
Felicia has decided to go to the dark side. Because she’s a big fan of cookies.
Long before she was a General, everyone talked about her buns. The ones on her head, obviously.
Spandex and hoodies go so well together! Who knew?!
And Your Comic Book Hottie of The Year Is...
Well, the winner of Best New Character last year takes her crown for Hottie of The Year! Spider-Gwen wins this year for many reasons, she’s cute, funny and packs a punch that rivals even Spider-Man!
Some may have thought this inter-dimensional Gwen Stacy with spider powers would never be around too long, but it’s quite clear that she’s not going anywhere and her popularity is growing with her comic series already in its second volume (just because of Secret Wars)!
This all makes me wonder that if Stan Lee and Steve Ditko knew that making Spider-Man female would be such a great move, if we may have gotten Spider-Gwen (or a Spider-Girl of some kind) wayyy back in 1962!
And we may have been geeking out over “Spider-Pete”, right? Okay, maybe not. Nobody would be excited about a super hero named Spider-Pete. He actually sounds too much like someone in the adult film industry.
Scrap of the Year
POW! ZOOM! This has got to be one of the best reasons to actually read comics, the fights!
This year we got friends fighting friends, icons fighting icons and the toughest old guy around fighting flesh eating monsters! Because these days...you always need zombies!
Captain America vs. Iron Man (Avengers #44)
Oh you two!!! Hug it out already!
Luke Skywalker vs. Boba Fett (Star Wars #6)
Marvel gave us the lost fight between Boba and Luke we never even knew about! Luke never even knew about it! He was blinded...It’s a long story.
Maestro vs. The Thing (Future Imperfect #2)
For those not following, Maestro is an evil tyrannical Hulk with Hulk Hogan hair. It’s terrifying.
Old Man Logan vs. Marvel Zombies (Old Man Logan #4)
It’s a cranky old guy telling zombies to get off his lawn! Not really, but that’d be awesome, right?
And The Bleedie Goes To...
Luke Skywalker vs. Boba Fett
Holy crap! This happened...but in comic book form. This lost encounter was mesmerizingly written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by the master John Cassaday in the first arc of the brand-new Star Wars series published by Marvel, which has completely mesmerized me and helped get me very excited for the Force Awakens craze that we are now in the middle of! Seriously, if you aren’t reading the new Star Wars comics, you are really missing out!
Luke Skywalker happened to be blind during the battle, so he couldn’t tell WHO he was fighting...and the story took place between episodes IV and V. Not for nothing, this may not be the most action-packed battle all year long in comics, but just the thought of it is worth the nod. Give Aaron credit, he knows how to make us geek out and cheer with almost everything he does. Or at least, that’s my reaction when I read his stuff.
This is just one, small victory for Marvel’s Star Wars comics, which has totally restored the feel of the original trilogy.
Video Game of the Year
We now come to the final award of Part 1 of the Bleedies, Video Game of the Year...which I am forced to do a little differently this year, since there wasn’t really all that many video games directly based on a comic book property...in fact, there was only one!!
So, I have decided for 2015 the Video Game nominee rules needed to be bended so I could have four nominees! This year I chose the four best games with “comic book connections”. If there was a significant comic book adaptation or a character from comics playable in the game, it qualified! It’s that easy!
So, here are the 4 games that made the cut! Hmmmmm, I wonder if there’s any competition at all...
Batman: Arkham Knight
Rocksteady’s final Arkham game went out with a BANG! with an ending that will make you lose your breath!
Batman’s in this game too! But that’s not really a huge deal, everyone’s in this game. I think my grandmother is in this game.
Mortal Kombat X
The tenth MK game went movie horror this time around with DLC extra character including Jason Vorhees, Predator and soon Leatherface and Alien will soon join the bloodbath! Not to mention DC Comics had a great comic adaptation from the game!
Star Wars: Battlefront
The biggest movie, the most exciting comics...and possibly the best game? Star Wars is just winning all over the freakin’ place.
Video Game Of The Year goes to...
Batman: Arkham Knight
There really wasn’t any choice here, now was there? Rocksteady has for 5 years brought us 3 amazing Batman games that told an original story of the Dark Knight, which has become a big part of the Batman mythos.
Arkham Knight was in all parts a perfect Batman video game. You get to explore a complete open world Gotham City on the apparent last night of Batman’s storied career. Via cape gliding, driving the Batmobile (now thanks to DLC, the Batmobile of your choice as the version of Batman of your choice), every person that picks up the game will become immersed into the world and will feel LIKE they are Batman (which should be the point, right?). Of course, I have felt like Batman with every game in the series, but only Arkham Knight brought the roaring, powerful Batmobile into the mix, and a complete map of Gotham as your sandbox.
And the next gen graphics will have you floored. It’s raining? Batman’s cape gets wet. Fall in the mud? Batman will get dirty, as will the Batmobile if you drive it through the mud. Batman’s suit gets scratched and damaged even more than the past games as you progress through as well. By the end of the game he looks like a mess.
And the storyline? It’s controversial, it deviates from the source material a tad...but in the long run, if you just take it for what it is, it definitely concludes the Arkham saga perfectly.
I do feel bad for those PC gamers that HAVE YET to experience this without game breaking bugs and next gen level graphics, and the game has gotten a bad rap because of the PC difficulties, but none of that makes the game (which was made to be a console game, by the way...I don’t think there should be console games made into PC games, but that’s my opinion) a BAD game. It’s a perfect Batman game if displayed the way it was meant to be, and even if we had a bunch of awesome other comic book video games this year, Arkham Knight would have likely won this award no matter what!
Thank you Rocksteady Studios for the countless hours of scaring the bajeebus outta badguys and hunting down Riddler trophies!
That’s it for Part 1 of the Bleedies! Get ready for Part 2 coming soon with the BIG MONEY awards!!! Superhero of the Year! Comic Book Movie of the Year and of course, Comic Book of the Year!
And I’d like to thank fellow ENR columnist Jess “DarXide” Kirby for my brand new Bleedie Award banner featuring Deadpool! Hey, Ryan Reynolds and Marvel, this is free advertising! Where’s my money?! .....please don’t sue me.
That’s it for now! Bleed out!