Wednesday Comments – My Top 21 Series of the 21st (So Far…) The Conclusion
by Mathan Erhardt on February 2, 2011

I’m not really in the right writing frame of mind. My final Starman Omnibus was delivered earlier today and I just got home from seeing Robyn in concert (which was awesome!) But the conclusion has been a long time coming, so let’s wrap it up, shall we?

[Editor’s Note: My Top 21 of the 21st (So Far…) is a retrospective feature where our writers were invited to write a list of top 21 series of the new millennium, explaining why it was picked, or what particular significance it has had over the past ten years. (There is an ongoing debate on whether or not 2000 A.D. counts as part this millennium. For sake of argument, we’re going to go ahead and count it. Hey, a lot of good series came out that year, anyway, so suck it up, and enjoy the feature.)]

Secret Six – When the Secret Six graduated from the stars of two miniseries to the stars of their own monthly book, some people were skeptical; what was keeping the team together? Amazing chemistry between the characters and great writing by Gail Simone. The book is filled with action and clever dialogue. Secret Six fills the anti-hero/villain void and it fills it out gloriously.

Unknown Soldier – The story of Moses Lwanga was a tragic one. Moses was a tortured soul whose tale unfolded in the turmoil of Uganda. Joshua Dysart poured his heart and soul into this book and it showed. Alberto Ponticello’s art was haunting. The stories were shockingly realistic and Dysart’s essays at the end of each issue were gripping. Sadly the title ended prematurely, but readers were provided closure.

Scalped – This title was controversial right off the bat. Some critics felt that Jason Aaron’s portrayal of the underbelly of life on an Indian Reservation to be offensive and borderline racist. But the story Aaron and R.M. Guera told, of an Native expat FBI undercover agent who returns as a pawn in a grudge match that goes back years, became too good to ignore. Every character is flawed and nearly every character seems worthy of redemption. Scalped is a thrilling read every month.

Plastic Man – Easily one of the best all ages books in recent years, Kyle Baker made this title a real treat to read. Free of continuity, yet full of winks, Plastic Man was truly fun. Bake infused the book with his goofy sense of humor, but never at the expense of character. Like a Pixar film, this was a series that kids and their parents could enjoy together.

H*E*R*O – Will Pfeifer dusted off a wacky Silver Age concept, the Hero Dial, and put a modern spin on it; what would happen if normal people were granted amazing powers. The result was one of the most underrated titles ever. Over the 22 issue run readers met at least eight different people granted powers by the Hero Dial and each of their stories were unique.

Solo – This book was a bold experiment; each issue would be devoted to and focused on a single artist. The artist was given free reign to use any character in the DC Library. The artist was the star of the book. It lasted 12 issues, what a marvelous 12 issues it was.

Y the Last Man – This book was so many things. It was a great concept. It was a coming of age story. It was an odyssey. It was the book that made Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra superstars. But mostly it was just good. Readers grew to love Yorick, 355, Dr. Mann and Ampersand. Very few books had the emotional resonance of this title. Read that last issue again and try not to get choked up.

Wildcats 3.0 – Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen redefined the concept of corporate superhero comics. With Wildcats 3.0 they explored what would happen if someone actually tried to make the world a better place. It was a book full of action and espionage that took established characters and cast them in new roles. Wildcats 3.0 is what 21st Century comics should be like; it felt like holding and reading the future.

The Walking Dead – A lot has been written about this title, so there no need to try to break new ground. But Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard crafted a world in disrepair and filled it with characters pushed to their limits. The result is book that makes the wait between issues feel like an eternity.

Human Target – Christopher Chance is a man of mystery. He’s a fracture psyche and a master of disguise. He’s also the avenue by which Peter Milligan used to explore the American landscape post 9/11. Aided by Javier Pulido and Cliff Chiang, Milligan’s Human Target dealt with issues like terrorism, racism and human trafficking without being heavy-handed or trivializing. And when Chance wasn’t dealing with serious issues, he was quite adept at having fun.

And there you have it, those are the last of my Top 21 Series of the 21st Century (So Far…) Agree? Disagree? Let me have it.

(* Honorable Mention – 100 Bullets – Technically this book began in 1999, but the majority of it’s epic run took place in the 21st Century. This would have been my #1 pick because it’s just such a powerful story. The characters, the double crosses, the mythology. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso reinvented crime comics for a brand new generation of comic fan. I defy anyone to not get sucked into this amazing series.)



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