Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Best of 2008

2008 was a big year for me. Matt and I got married, we both finished school, we both got jobs, and we each released a new album. I also got to go to my first comic book convention, HeroesCon in Charlotte. A pretty exciting year overall.

It was an exciting year for comic books too! As is now a Living Between Wednesdays tradition, I present my list of the best comic book-related things of 2008. I have selected 20 books, series, movies, events, and phenomenons that I feel were the best of the year. I have also created a list of runners-up, a list of ongoing series that continued to be awesome with the same creative teams as last year, and a list of great series that came to an end this year.

Enjoy the list. It took me about a thousand hours to write. Feel free to disagree, I don't claim to be an expert on these things. Thanks for reading my blog for another year! And have a happy new year! I'll see you in 2009 (a lot more frequently now that school is over forever!).

1. Action Comics
2. Tiny Titans
3. Ghost Rider
4. Watchmen Mania!
5. Wonder Woman
6. The Incredible Herc
7. Top Ten Season Two
8. The Dark Knight/Iron Man
9. The Amazing Spider-Man
10. Fourth World Omnibuses
11. Dr. Horrible
12. The New Frontier Movie/One-Shot
13. Secret Six
14. Supergirl
15. The Age of the Sentry
16. The Umbrella Academy
17. The War at Ellsmere
18. Zorro
19. Daisy Owl
20. Batman: Brave and the Bold Cartoon

1. Action Comics (DC) by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

The longest-running comic book title of all time was the very best of 2008, in my opinion. Geoff Johns gave us incredibly satisfying Superman stories that embraced the Man of Steel's past without being overly nostalgic. One of my favourite things about Geoff Johns as a writer is that he isn't snobby about the more recent history of comic book characters. Maybe it's because he's a younger writer, but I absolutely love how he doesn't write with the attitude that things were so much better in the 60s, or 70s, or whatever decade the writer feels the closest connection to. Johns does a great job of blending the best of all eras to create stories that will define the current era of comic books.

The two completed storylines, the Legion of Super-Heroes arc and the Brainiac story, were both excellent, and the New Krypton crossover that followed them has been really fun.

I also just love Gary Frank's artwork so much. His Reeve/Kidder style Superman and Lois are just fantastic. No offense to all other artists, but I wouldn't be sad if he drew every single comic, just because I want to see what every character would look like in his style. And that is why I am grateful that he illustrated the Legion story in Action earlier this many characters!

2. Tiny Titans (DC) by Art Baltazar and Franco

Aw yeah! Tiny Titans was one of the titles that I was most excited about for 2008. Not only because it looked adorable and funny, but DC was finally making a real effort to go after kids under the age of 10. 2008 also saw the launch of DC's Super Friends (with awesome J. Bone covers), Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam (really great but needs to come out faster), and Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. Last year Marvel had it all over DC for all-ages titles, but I think DC wins the war this year. I don't really care who's winning, just as long as the battle is happening. Because, really, when the two big publishers are trying to one-up each other's all-ages material, everyone wins.

3. Ghost Rider (Marvel) by Jason Aaron, Roland Boschi and Tan Eng Huat

If you told me a year ago that I would have Ghost Rider on my pull list by June...

Jason Aaron was the perfect man for the job on this title. I have been enjoying Scalped since it started so I was interested in picking up anything else that Aaron was going to be writing...I just didn't expect that to be Wolverine (which was excellent) and Ghost Rider.

Since the newest Ghost Rider series started up, it has been lacking the fun that a comic book about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle should have. When Aaron took over on issue #20, he injected an appropriate amount of fun and craziness. Each issue is packed with "holy shit!" moments. It's macho, it's insane and it's everything a comic book should be. I can't recommend it enough.

4. Watchmen Mania!

So in case you haven't heard, they are making a movie based on Watchmen. And people are kind of excited about it. This year saw the re-release of the Absolute Edition, a new hardcover, and the paperback was Amazon's #1 bestseller at one point, despite being over 20 years old. Plus Dave Gibbons and Chip Kidd put out a beautiful hardcover book, Watching the Watchmen, detailing the making of the legendary comic. It was a good year for the little yellow book.

I, like, a jillion other people, re-read Watchmen this year. I bought the recently re-released Absolute Edition, actually, so I could see the artwork as big as possible. Here's the thing about Watchmen: it's amazing. It's so good that, even though I had read it before, it hurt to put it down. It was so hard to stop reading it because it's just so damn awesome. I get totally lost in that world, depressing as it is. Plus, my love for Nite Owl know no bounds.

Watchmen is one of those things that is so good that it gets me thinking about all the things that had to happen, and had to come together, at the exact right moment in time to create this one perfect thing (sort of like how I feel about my own birth).

Alan Moore. Dave Gibbons. DC. The 80s. The Cold War. Reagan. Nixon. The emergence of British comic writers. Swamp Thing. Charlton Comics. DC's purchase of Charlton's characters. All of these and an infinite number of other things had to happen and had to come together in the mid-80s to give us this exact book, which is still completely mind-blowing.

There is a great deal of cynicism about the movie, even though the trailers do look pretty frigging awesome. All that I know is that the shop I was working at sold HUNDREDS of copies of Watchmen since the first trailer hit the theatres in July. And whether or not the movie does the book justice, the fact is that thousands of people worldwide are taking an interest in the book, many of whom had never heard of it. And that ain't bad.

5. Wonder Woman (DC) by Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti

I read an interview somewhere (Comics Journal?) where Simone said that she specifically told DC when she went to write for them that she never wanted to write Wonder Woman. Too predictable to put the token female writer on the token heroine's book.

I'm glad she changed her mind.

Wonder Woman is a character that has been suffering since her creation. She's never really starred in a comic that was actually very good. The earliest stuff is just insane and, y'know, sexist. The "mod" era is fun but not particularly inspiring as far as super hero stories go. And, y'know, sexist. The character has typically been either a cold, ruthless, man-hating warrior, or has been really boring. What it comes down to is that no one knows what to do with her, whether in a group like the Justice League, or in a solo adventure. She's "the female one," which doesn't give the writers a lot to work with. So, as much as I like to think this doesn't need to be the case, perhaps it takes a woman to really flesh out a personality and a purpose for DC's most famous female character.

Gail Simone, one of my very favourite writers for many reasons, took over the Wonder Woman title on issue #14 last November after a pretty good run by Allan Heinberg and an abysmal run by Jodi Picoult. Simone quickly gave Diana Prince a personality, a life, a love interest and a place in the DCU that made sense. She has balanced her new life as an agent at the Department of Metahuman Affairs, and her old life as an Amazonian princess who has more than a few gods in her Rolodex. Plus, the boyfriend. I mean...FINALLY! And Etta Candy is back, so Diana has an actual friend for a change.

It's all very exciting, and made more exciting by the fact that Aaron Lopresti is a fantastic artist who is able to draw stunning renditions of Wonder Woman without making her costume look skanky, or without throwing her ass in our faces (sorry, Dodsons. I love your art but seriously...).

Now let's try to get an all-ages Wonder Woman title off the ground, eh DC? Or at the very least a Wonder Woman Super Friends action figure! Why are there Super Friends Cyborg figures but no Wonder Woman?!

6. The Incredible Herc (Marvel) by Greg Pak and Various Artists

And speaking of gods...

So, Marvel took a risk with this one. It was a weird decision. Last year they had a big crossover event happening, World War Hulk. This year they had a Hulk movie hitting theatres. So obviously the thing to do with the Hulk title is to change the titles to The Incredible Herc, and make it a comic about Hercules instead of Hulk, right?

On paper, it looks crazy. But that's exactly what Marvel did. I am not sure how big a seller this title is, but as far as I can tell, it does alright. And it is GREAT! It's one of those titles that I read with a big smile on my face. It's just pure fun.

7. Top Ten Season Two (Wildstorm/DC) by Zander Cannon and Gene Ha

I can't even imagine how intimidating it would be to attempt to fill the shoes of Alan Moore. I guess it helps when the people filling the shoes are the rest of the original creative team. Zander Cannon and Gene Ha have done an excellent job of bringing back Top Ten, which is my personal favourite Alan Moore creation. It really is just as good as it was when Moore was writing it, and Ha is providing his usual beautiful artwork.'s coming out reasonably quickly! Very exciting.

My wish for 2009: an Absolute Edition that collects the first two Top Ten books, the Forty-Niners and Smax. Come on, DC! Bury the hatchet and put it out!

8. The Dark Knight / Iron Man

I spent several years feeling impossible levels of excitement for these two movies, closely following every casting decision, every development, every rumour, every trailer or poster, every photo from the sets. My anticipation was so great that I could hardly believe, when I was sitting in the theatre when they were each released, that the big day had finally arrived. And yet, somehow, both movies surpassed my crazy high expectations.

I mentioned at the end of last year's Best of 2007 post that 2008 was going to be a huge year for nerdy movies. Although both Harry Potter and Star Trek were bumped to 2009, it was still a monumental year for comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy films. Not only because of the volume of films that were released in the genre, but because they topped the box office returns. Six of the top ten fall in that genre, seven if you want to count Kung-Fu Panda, and eight if you want to count Quantum of Solace. So many comic book movies were released that I actually missed some that I was looking forward to (Hellboy II, Speed Racer and Punisher: War Zone, for instance).

Iron Man was loved by pretty much everyone. It was just so much fun, and it was a completely satisfying interpretation of the character. Many of the complaints about the Spider-Man, Daredevil, X-Men or Fantastic Four movies couldn't be made about this one. A lot of the loyalty to the characters and the comics can be owed to the fact that Marvel was now producing the movie themselves with the newly established Marvel Studios. But a lot of the credit also has to go to Jon Favreau, who genuinely loves Marvel super heroes. It also didn't hurt that all four of its big stars were Oscar nominees or winners.

As successful as Iron Man was, it turned out to be the appetizer. When The Dark Knight was released two months later, the whole world became Batman fans. Or, more specifically, Joker fans. It. Was. Insane. Of course we all know about Heath Ledger's amazing performance and his sudden and tragic death, and how that largely was what the world was talking about re: Dark Knight. But if you look beyond that, you'll see some great performances that have been overlooked. Gary Oldman returned as Commissioner Gordon and killed it once again. Aaron Eckhart was fantastic as both Harvey Dent and Two-Face (Spoiler!!). Morgan Freeman was even more enjoyable as Lucious Fox than in Batman Begins. And, of course, Christian Bale once again was great as Batman and Bruce Wayne. I'm not saying that Ledger's performance doesn't deserve the attention it got, I'm just saying that there are a lot of great scenes in that movie that he's not even in.

The added bonus of these two fantastic movies is that their success means more comic book movies in the future! We already heard Marvel's plans for a slew of movies leading up to a series of Avengers films, as well as the plans for another Batman sequel. There are also Green Lantern and Jonah Hex movies in the works, as well as that weird-ass Justice League movie. Who knows what else will get the green light? (Power Man and Iron Fist buddy movie...Power Man and Iron Fist buddy movie...).

9. Amazing Spider-Man Brand New Day (Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, et al.)

A year ago, Spider-Man comics would have been on my "worst of" list. This year Marvel ditched two of the redundant titles, made Amazing Spider-Man come out three times per month, and also decided to make that comic awesome. It was a wise move.

I love the new format of the title. I love that it allows great writers like Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim and Mark Waid team up with great artists like Marcos Martin, John Romita Jr and Steve McNiven for short stints. The result is that there are no fill-in issues or incidents of burn-out. The larger story arc isn't particularly fluid, but it doesn't need to be because the short storylines are great. The two-issue arc (#578 and 579) by Mark Waid and Marcos Martin were as close to comic book perfection as I think I have ever read. If they had been one issue, it would have been my favourite single issue of the year.

It was a controversial and courageous move for Marvel to basically wipe the board clean of all the terrible decisions they made about Spider-Man in recent years. They brought the character back to basics, but not without including fan-favourite characters and events from the 90s and beyond. The incredibly popular and high-selling arc, New Ways to Die, was an Eddie Brock story that was really exciting and featured some beautiful JRJ art. It's going to make a great hardcover.

I have bought every issue of Spider-Man since Brand New Day started. I had never bought an issue of Spider-Man before. Well done, Marvel!

10. Fourth World Omnibuses (DC) by Jack Kirby and the New Gods Action Figures

2008 was a huge year for reprints and new editions. Starman, Gotham Central, JLA/Avengers, Scud, Zot, Kirby's The Demon and O.M.A.C., Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire's Justice League, Bendis' Daredevil, Gibbons and Rude's World's Finest, Watchmen, The Killing Joke, The Man Who Laughs, Demon in a Bottle, Y: The Last Man, Hellboy, The Tick and Ronin were some of the countless titles to get reprinted, usually in fancy new hardcover editions. Of all the re-prints this year, however, none was more satisfying than seeing Jack Kirby's Fouth World comics collected in four beautiful hardcovers, all in colour, and all in order, for the very first time.
And Fourth World fans were also treated to the first series of New Gods action figures, which perfectly replicated Kirby's art and, in my opinion, are the nicest action figures of 2008.

11. Dr Horrible

The one good thing to come out of the writer's strike is that it gave Joss Whedon and a bunch of his pals time to make this 45-minute musical that quickly became the darling of the internet. Die-hard Whedon fans, much like Gaiman fans, have a tendency to ruin everything by being way too hardcore about it, but no amount of their insanity was going to ruin this for me. It's just really funny and has really catchy songs that you can't get out of your head. And Neil Patrick Harris is so great in it. It's nice to see him doing something that isn't just a parody of himself (although he is great at that too).

I watched all of Buffy and all of Angel for the first time this year, so it was a big Whedon year for me. I think I watched all of Firefly this year too, but that might have been last year. I can't remember. It's nice to finally get the appeal of Whedon and his work. Just calm down, Whedon-heads, alright? You are starting to make the Tim Burton fans look sensible.

12. The New Frontier Movie/One-shot (DC) by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone

Those who know me, or those who read this blog, know that I am batshit insane for Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier. So I was pretty excited about the animated movie that was finally released early this year. Strange Adventures put on a screening of it at one of the local movie theatres here to serve as a release party. The Halifax comic nerd family is pretty thrilled to have Cooke calling the area his home now. If he wrote a grocery list people would show up for its release here, and celebrate it as the greatest grocery list ever written.

Anyway, what I am saying is people 'round here were pretty excited about the New Frontier movie. And I think we were all pretty happy with it. Obviously it omitted some of our favourite parts of the book (Dinosaur Island!) but overall I think they did a nice job of fitting most of the story into a 90 minute movie. I also really liked the voice acting and the animation. It's a nice-looking film. It's bloodier than the book, which I thought was weird, but definitely a satisfying justice league cartoon for adults.

And as an added bonus we got some new stories set in the New Frontier universe in a one-shot special released around the same time as the movie. Included was a great Wonder Woman/Black Canary story by J. Bone, who doesn't do nearly enough interior work. I hope to see more New Frontier stories in the future. A special ever year would be great!

13. Secret Six (DC) by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

Not only do we get to see Gail Simone reunited with the Secret Six gang, we see Simone reuinited with artist Nicola Scott!

I love Simone's Secret Six. I could read an ongoing story that follows this gang of weirdos forever. It's violent, it's crazy, it's hilarious and it's sexy.

14. Supergirl

I'm not so much talking about Supergirl the title as I am Supergirl the character. She definitely wins the award for "most improved" hands down.

It was a really big year for Supergirl. Beyond her own title, which I will get to in a minute, she is now the star of an all-ages title, Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, and a fantastic mini-series, Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom. She is now playing a major role in the Superman cross-over event, New Krpyton, which is really satisfying.

So a couple of years ago, when Eddie Berganza begged women to give Supergirl a chance, DC was planning on "fixing" the character and her title. I hated the new Supergirl. I mean, she was created by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner. It's not really her fault. I was basically content ignoring her as a character, and never planning to read her title ever. When DC said they were fixing the title, they did make changes, but they book didn't really get any better. It just got weirder as they created a story where her parents had sent her to Earth to kill her cousin, Superman. Booooooo.

It didn't really start to turn around until Tony Bedard took over for a few issues, and Renato Guedes provided some fantastic art that completely changed the look of the character. Suddenly she looked like a young woman and not a weird doll. Even the ridiculous costume started to make sense when it was drawn in a way that resembled fabric.

The comic kind of took another weird turn when it was tying into the Sinestro Corps War. It wasn't bad, but it was kind of confusing. For most of 2008 I was buying Supergirl every month and enjoying it, but since Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle took over as the writer a couple of months ago, it is the best it has ever been.

DC could have just swept this unpopular character under the rug. They had tried her in other titles, like Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans. She just wasn't winning any fans. It would have been easy to ditch her without any explanation. No one would have noticed or cared. But they instead decided to really make an effort with her, and it worked. She has gone from being my least-favourite DC character to one of my favourites. She has finally found her place in the DCU and in the Superman family, and I'm really happy about it. So good job, DC!

15. Age of the Sentry (Marvel) by Jeff Parker and Various Artists

When so many elements that I love come together in one comic series, it's pretty obvious that I am going to go crazy about it. Silver age stories, Jeff Parker, and artists like Colleen Coover, Dave Bullock, Nick Dragotta, and Michael Cho combine to make one of the funnest mini-series since...Jeff Parker's last mini-series. This comic is brilliant and fun, and it pays tribute to the Silver Age in a hilarious way without full-on making fun of it. Even the letters page replicates the Marvel Mailbag of the 1960s. The best part about this series is that you really don't need to know much about The Sentry as a character. Each issue is made up of short stories that are in no way complicated and are more about what is awesome about comic books and super heroes than anything else. I feel like a lack of interest in The Sentry might deter people from picking up this great comic, and that's too bad.

16. The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse) by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

"I heard that emo fruit from that emo fruit band wrote a gay stupid comic."

"Well...yes and no..."

"My Chemical Romance sucks. I hate that emo shit!"

"Yeah, well, I don't like them either but since you're asking about the comic written by Gerard Way it's..."

"He only got to write it because he's famous and all his stupid emo fans are in love with him."

"Well, actually, he studied comic book writing before he..."


Unfortunately, inane conversations like this one were the price to pay for what is easily one of the best new comic creations in years. The first series of The Umbrella Academy, Apocalypse Suite, quickly won over most of the comic fans who were doubtful that a guy who makes such uninspired music could possibly create such an imaginative and grown-up comic series. Gabriel Ba's beautiful art didn't hurt either. Apocalypse Suite was collected in a trade and a super deluxe fancy edition. A second series of The Umbrella Academy is also underway.

17. The War at Ellsmere (SLG) by Faith Erin Hicks

Most of what I wanted to say about this book I said in a recent post about it. But let me repeat that this book is a completely enjoyable read for people of all ages. Hicks is not only a delightful person, she has a genuine interest in creating comics that have strong, realistic female characters.

Despite the cancellation of the Minx line by DC, 2008 was actually a pretty good year for comics for teen girls. Besides The War at Ellsmere, we also got Hope Larson's Chiggers, Mariko Tamaki's Skim and Emiko Superstar, Cecil Castellucci's Janes in Love, Raina Telgemeier's new Babysitter's Club comic (Claudia and Mean Janine), and all the great new Supergirl stuff that I mentioned earlier. A solid year for sisters doing it for themselves!

18. Zorro (Dynamite) by Matt Wagner and Francesco Francavilla

I don't know why more people aren't talking about this series. Matt Wagner is doing a fantastic job of telling the origin story of one of the greatest fictional heroes of all time. And Francesco Francavilla's art is stunning in every issue. Plus there are always beautiful covers by artists like Ryan Sook and John Cassaday, as well as by Wagner and Francavilla. Overall, this comic is just really high quality, and it's a great read.

Also, consider this: if Batman read a comic book, it would be this comic book.

19. Daisy Owl by Ben Driscoll

One of my resolutions for 2009 is to read more webcomics. And if I find more like this one, then it won't be hard to fulfill that resolution.

Daisy Owl, by Ben Driscoll, is everything I have been looking for in a comic strip. The art is top quality, the characters are delightful, it's hilarious, and there is a good running story with actual character development.

Daisy Owl is the name of a young girl who, along with her younger brother, has an owl for a father. This is never explained, and that's fine. Other than the fact that their father is an owl and they live in a tree, and their father's best friend is a bear (Steve), their lives are pretty normal. They go to school, their father goes to work, they go on family trips. Daisy is a very smart young girl who is also a very loving sister to her young and confused brother, Cooper.

But the main thing is that the comic is completely hilarious, and I look forward to the day that a book is published so I can give it to everyone I know.

20. Batman: Brave and the Bold Cartoon

Finally something comes along to fill the void left by Justice League Unlimited. The happy difference between this Batman cartoon and others is that Batman is actually a pleasant guy on this show. He's an actual hero, not a grumpy weirdo. It's a great show for kids, very funny and full of action. And seeing characters like the new Blue Beetle and Plastic Man animated for the first time is a real thrill for us comic nerds. about those opening credits?! So awesome.

Runners Up

Garfield Minus Garfield (Dan Walsh)
Batman: R.I.P. (DC) by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniels
Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 (Fantagraphics) by Michael Kupperman
Ambush Bug: Year None (DC) by Keith Giffen
The Hall of Best Knowledge (Fantagraphics) by Ray Fenwick
Mini-Marvels: Rock, Paper, Scissors Digest (Marvel) by Chris Giarrusso
Final Crisis (DC) by Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco and Doug Mahnke
Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom (DC) by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Noto
Terra (DC) by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner
Chiggers (Aladdin) by Hope Larson
Marvel Adventures Superheroes (Marvel) by Various
The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1 (DC) by James Robinson and Tony Harris
Emiko Superstar (Minx) by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston
Omega the Unknown (Marvel) by Jonathan Letham and Farel Dalrymple
Janes in Love (Minx) by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Wolverine: Get Mystique (Marvel) by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney
Teen Titans the Lost Annual (DC) by Bob Haney and Jay Stephens
Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam (DC) by Mike Kunkel
Batman Confidential (DC) by Tony Bedard and Rags Morales

Ongoing Series that Continued to Rock with the Same Creative Teams

Jonah Hex (DC) by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and various artists
Daredevil (Marvel) by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark
Captain America (Marvel) by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
Scalped (Vertigo) by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera
Green Lantern (DC) by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse) by Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty and various other writers and artists

Fond Farewells

Catwoman (DC) by Will Pfeifer and David Lopez
All Star Superman (DC) by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
Y: The Last Man (Vertigo) by Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Justice League Unlimited (DC) by Various
The Batman Strikes (DC) by Various
All-New Atom (DC) by Various
X-Men: First Class (Marvel) by Jeff Parker and various artists

Friday, December 26, 2008



A little crocheted Batman!!! Isn't it the greatest thing ever!

I am starting to amass a cuddly family of Batmans! Look!

Man, I am so happy about this. In return I gave J an all-caps email. If you want to see more of J. Bone's cuddly creations, check out his blog devoted to them.

I also got a really nice gift from Darwyn Cooke! He gave me a signed copy of his new art book!

I'm the luckiest comic fan in the world!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a safe and happy holiday!

Here's one of my favourite superhero Christmas scenes (though it's kinda heartbreaking) from Dave Gibbons' and Steve Rude's Worlds Finest series.

Awwww, Superman. Points for trying.

Best of 2008 post coming soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Terra #4

I haven't had a chance to finish reading all of my comics from the past week, plus I am working on my epic 'Best of 2008' post. I did want to mention this about Terra #4:

I wish all mini-series ended with the lead characters going shopping and getting sushi for several pages. I love it!