Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to a Special Comic Book Clash. With 5 Wednesdays in June, I figured that this would be a great time for me to take one week and go over the storylines that I found to be among the best that me, myself and I truly found to be best.  For most people who know me, know I love comic books. I have been collecting for 20 years. And as a writer, I wanted to share the storylines that I found the most enjoyable, well written and just gives you the fun of comics. This does contain SOME SPOILERS.  Here are my top 10 Comic book Storylines are:

10. The Judas Contract - Tales of Teen Titans (volume 1) #42-44 & annual #3 by Marv Wolfman & George Perez 

What Marv Wolfman and George Perez constructed alone with this team was something very magical that made it stand out from other team books at the team. People loved this team as much as the X-Men back in the 80s and that was BIG. This team with all its multifaceted members and personalities became a family. A family that had a TRAITOR! Finding out that Terra, the newest Teen Titan and object of Changeling's affection the traitor in the Titans mist was so very good and shocking that various readers were down right disgusted and hurt. Terra was so convincing that the betrayal really came out of no where as it was all a part of Deathstroke's plan.These will all rendered beautifully by the master George Perez himself. But the fact that Deathstroke was a little Pedo was Disgusting. (eww)

9. Planet Hulk - Incredible Hulk 94-103 by Greg Pak & various artists
For the first time in the near 20 years of me collecting comic books, it made me care about the Hulk and it took some big chances that really paid off but also developed the Hulk from dumb green monster to sinister, crafty super strong war general and king. Pak revitalized the Hulk with many changes, including a new wife and group of supporting characters and made Hulk vulnerable . . . in more ways than one. One of the artists in particular seemed to really shine during his issues of Planet Hulk . . . Carlo Pagulayan. We really got to see what he was made of as we saw the weird alien cultures mixed with gladiator combat, war and union over the course of the storyline and it was wonderful. And I am sorry but if the Hulk, in armor, was out to take over the US . . . I would fall to my knees and say "I surrender" in a hot second.

8. The Sisterhood - Uncanny X-Men #508-511 by Matt Fraction & Greg Land
I know. I know. Out of all the X-Men storylines that I could have picked . . . why this one? Well, I will tell you. In a word, innovation. It's a great twist on the old Brotherhood taken to a whole another level. Honestly, the Sisterhood proved more of a threat then any Brotherhood incarnation has in the last two decades. Fraction built a great team of femme fatales who not only competed with the X-Men on a physical level but mentally too (and on more than one account considering one was Scott's Ex Wife and the other being a former X-Man). Using beauty, cunning, mutant powers and magic, the Sisterhood actually took down a good portion of the stand out X-Men. . . in their OWN house. And like that guy or girl who smiles at you, ignores you then walks away to sit with someone else, the Sisterhood proved to be that annoying tease that makes you frustrated but can't help but love. And with the beautiful art of Greg Land and giving Dazzler some of the best panels I seen in years . . .it is an X-Men story not to be missed.

7. The Dwayne Taylor/Nothing But the Truth Storyline - New Warriors (Vol. 1) #18-25 by Fabian Niceaza & Mark Bagley
Before his Sacred Run with Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-man, Mark Bagley drew the New Warriors. And GOD . . . I love him for it. The build up of both the Truth behind the murder of Night Thrasher's parents & the physical abuse Justice (then Marvel Boy) had to endure was definitely worth the pay off. You get to learn SOOOOOOOOOO much about Dwayne, Vance . . . even the other Warriors, in those issues that it makes my head spin to this day. And plus . . . how many super heroes are put on trial for murder . . .and deal with physical and mental abuse from a parent.Let's not forget how Rage began his path to becoming a member of the Warriors during this story line as well as seeing Namorita first take the lead. And while it is some earlier Bagley work . . . it is still very beautiful. And this storyline features probably the most sinister of villains . . . a mystical and murderous . . .  House keeper.

6. Justice League (International) 1 - 24 by Keith Giffen, J.M.DeMatteis & Kevin McGuire.
    Take some of the big guns and iconic heroes such as Batman, Martian Manhunter, Dr. Fate and Captain Marvel. Put in some legacy heroes like Blue Beetle Ted Kord, Guy Gardner, Dr. Light (the female one) & Black Canary. Add some new heroes like Mr. Miracle, Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire, Ice and Rocket Red. Take half a pound of a manipulative, god complex man going by Maxwell Lord. Have a mix of serious threats to the planet with sprinkles of comedy in  and you've got one of the most celebrated and icon runs in comics. The whole build of  the Justice League International did not start off right away but was given a slow burn within 7 issue till the Justice League earned that status. All manipulated by Maxwell Lord. He funded not only terrorists to attack the UN and an attack from classic League villains the Royal Flush Gang; he was about to manipulate the recruitment of Dr. Light, for a short time and Booster Gold. And once Black Canary left, Fire and Ice added much female power and innocence to the somewhat hilarious cast that grew within the pages. Dr. Fate and Captain Marvel leaving paved way for Captain Atom and Rocket Red to solidify their places among the Justice League, leaving lasting impressions that are apparent in the recent Justice League:Generation Lost series.  Every laugh was geniuenly funny. Every threat was credible. Bring in the annoying, hyper masculine attitude of Guy Gardner back then with the antics of the now legendary combo of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold and you have a League incarnation that will NEVER be forgotten. Hawkman and Hawkgirl joined the JLI briefly but felt they were too immature for their tastes. And once the books split, it didn't change much but I truly believe it was during these first 2 years that JLI really roped me in. I read these books EVERY year and love it and get something new from it every time I read them. 

5. Amazing Spiderman BIG TIME/Slott's run #648 - Present
     Honestly, Look at my first review. These restored so much hope for the character in his solo book and enhanced what I loved in him with the Avengers books that I was just amazed. Again, FIRST EVER REVIEW. That will tell you why. And Slott continues to astound me with Peter and tales of his life now. 

4. Age of Apocalypse [X-Men] by Various
Take everything you knew about the X-Men. Kill Prof. X. (Yay!!!!!) Have Magneto form the X-Men.(Wow!) Cancel all the X-books, temporarily. (HOLY FRELL!!) And have an immortal mutant take over half the planet in an Post "Apocalytic" World. The X-Men are very different here then they were in the actual Marvel Universe. Some Heroes are villains. Some Villains are heroes. From Magneto to Dazzler to Cyclops to Morph. Expect nothing and this story will tell you about people opressed, people who want, people who are willing to take and people who want to protect the weak from the strong. It is truly the survival of the fittest and get ready for a house of horrors that you will not soon forget. We have writers like Scott Lobdell, Howard Mackie and Fabian Nicieza mixed with artists like Roger Cruz, Joe Madueria, Chris Bacalo, Tony Daniel, Salvador Larocca & Steve Epting. All of them constructed a world where humans were hunted down like cattle. Where the X-Men killed in order to survive. Where Cyclops and Havok were evil. Where Jean Grey was with Weapon X (aka Wolverine).  Plus . . . one of the best death scenes I have ever seen in comics. This storyline is hailed as one of the greatest X-Men story ever and honestly . . . it earned it.

3. The Demon Fox/Kwai Story - Blood Syndicate #5-#10 by Ivan Velez Jr. & Crisscross
Milestone Comics brought many revolutionary changes to the industry. This book particular definitely resonated with me cause a super-powered gang. Not a group of heroes or villains. A gang. The Blood Syndicate had just lost their leader and they needed to get more money. So what would you do . . . what should we do . . . raid a crackhouse, of course. Of course, the drug lords weren't happy with them and the gang barely escape alive (actually, the gang dies . . . over and over . . . and over . . . and over . . .) but they meet up with gang boss. So what do they do . . . piss on him of course. So what does drug lord do . . . call forth the Demon Fox . . . and the world mindfuck gets redefined. Each character is changed. Each character is examined and that is what makes those issues so great.We learn a lot about the Syndicate during these issues as well as it being Wise Son's first issues as the new leader of the Syndicate. The urban landscape gets a very real and frightening character analysis that would put Evangelion to shame. And it is a great union of art and storytelling about characters of all colors, races and creeds by Ivan Velez Jr. & Crisscross.

2. 52 (The Entire Series) by Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen & Various
After jump all their books a year, they decided to fill that gap with a weekly series. And GOD . . . it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. It took a bunch of B, C and D characters and made them our eyes and ears in the DC Universe. Each character, by the end of the series, had become A-List characters. Anyone who read 52 felt emotionally invested in at least one of the characters and it brought us so many new things to the DCU . . .especially Batwoman. Thank god for Batwoman! It was a roller coaster ride that we could not get enough of and didn't know what was going to happen next. And what did happen made your jaw drop. And with a great collection of artists and 5 of the greatest comic book writers EVER . . . you didn't just wait for 52, you were ready to slap your momma and steal from your little brother in order to get 52 each week. So join Booster Gold, Starfire, Adam Strange, Steel, Batwoman, The Question, Renee Montoya, Ralph Digby & Black Adam and see how the current DCU truly came to be.

1. The Watchmen #1-12 by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Anyone who reads must read this maxi-series. It is by far how comic books should be made. Alan Moore takes how superheroes and turns them from goody goody black and white 2D clones to 3 dimension people with faults, lives, desires and some supremely massed up psyches. It changed the way comics were written. Makes you wonder if you can really trust our heroes and how human they really are. Each heroes you will know. Each heroes you will fear. Moore takes our world as it is, add some super powered people in it and makes you pray to God that this is not real. Every character is so well fleshed out you will feel that these are all people you have seen and heard about in the news. Trust me. It is a must read for all.

Honorable Mentions:

Here are some other storylines:

Invincible: The Viltrumite War - again, look at the review as to why.

Icon The Mothership Connection - Icon fulfilling his promise as to finding out what exactly happened during the Big Bang in the Milestone Universe. 

The Chaos Effect - Valiant's major crossover that really changed nearly every character in some way that helped create a wonderous event. 

Grant Morrison's Run on X-Men - Dear God, he changed the X-Men into such a great institution.

Grant Morrison's Run on Batman/Batman Inc. - Honestly, he brought us Damian Wayne, Dr. Hurt & Batman Inc. Please . . . Read them all. 

Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path - Brad Meltzer giving the most personal rebuildings of the League. A great character piece with good action. 

The Shadow War - The first crossover by Milestone which really gave great stories of the warring factions of the Star Chamber and Shadow Cabinet. 

Young Avengers 1 -12  - Marvel Finally having child sidekicks and building the next generation of Avengers . . . and doing it right. 

The Authority Volume 1 - The book that give us the big budget look and grand stories. 

GI JOE: World War 3 - GI Joe at war . . . and Cobra being nastier than its EVER been.

Peter David on X-Factor - Get every last issue of it . . . especially the current run. It is amazing, funny, full of emotion, action, mystery and intrigue.  

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