Wednesday Comments – My Top 21 Miniseries of the 21st (So Far…)

(So I’ve basically been writing this edition for about a month but things kept pushing it back.  I’m glad to have the first half done, finally.)

So as the first decade of the new millennium drew to a close, those of us over at Machine Gun Defunct decided to wrap things up by compiling our favorite music related things. And it got me thinking; could I do the same thing for comics?

Well eleven months later I actually got around to actually writing things up. Actually here’s the preface that ran at the top of all of the pieces (edited to make it applicable to Comics Nexus:;

[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 miniseries 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 minis came out that year, anyway, so suck it up, and enjoy the feature.)]

So here’s the first, just over, half of my favorite minis of the last decade.

El Diablo – It’s a dark moody Western by Brian Azzarello and Danijel Zezelj, what more could you ask for? It’s haunting moody and a ghost story set in the Old West. It’s also a mystery with a flashback. It’s just a great tale

Matador – A mysterious enforcer and a cop navigate their way through a Miami as crooked as Snake Alley. Written by Devin Grayson and beautifully illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze, Matador is equal parts crime fiction and modern fairy tale.

Madrox – Peter David returned to the X-verse with this 2004 mini revolving about Jamie Madrox as a P.I. in Mutant Town. It’s sort of like Marvel Noir, only set in the 616. It eventually lead to PAD’s triumphant return to X-Factor.

Brave Old World – This mini was part of Vetrigo’s V2K line and was rather surprising. Basically some hackers assigned to provide a Y2K fix find themselves transported back to the year 1900 at the strike of midnight. Not only do they have to adapt to the era, but they’ve also got tot find a way home. It’s written by the criminally underrated William Messner-Loebs and features the art of Guy Davis and Phil Hester.

Teen Titans: Year One – Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl reimagined the earliest Teen Titans adventures for this exploration of the team’s formative year. Villains like The Antithesis and Ding Dong Daddy get a fresh coat of varnish for the new millennium, in a poignant story that manages to balance both fun and emotional.

Justice League Elite – A more proactive hero team in the DCU, back before “proactive” teams in the DCU were a dime a dozen. Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke crafted a team of Black Ops undercover heroes using a few familiar faces and giving depth to the new ones. One of the better JLA related minis out there.

Robin: Year One – Continuing in the tradition of Batman Year One, this mini, beautifully illustrated by Javier Pulido and Marcos Martin showcases Dick Grayson’s early outings as Robin. Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon provide some depth to the time when Batman retired “Robin” and give Robin a nemesis. Easily Robin’s finest hour.

Common Grounds – Anthology books can be a tough sell, but Common Grounds hits it out of the park. Set in the titular coffee shop, it features heroes and villains telling tales in neutral territory. Troy Hickman showcases the humanity of the characters during their off time. The stories vary from touching to laugh aloud hilarious, yet never ceases to be fun.

Son of Vulcan – Scott Beatty’s revamping of a forgotten hero was a delightful romp and certain featured one of the best teen hero creations of the decade. With this mini we get an origin, a mantle passed and even some retconning. But mostly we get a glimpse at the birth of a character who should have played a larger role in the DCU.

We3 – What this three issue mini lacks in length it more than makes up for in emotion. I think that animals are for eating and occasionally wearing, but this tale of household pets turned into WMD’s moved me. Grant Morrison’s story is hauntingly rendered by frequent collaborator Frank Quitely. This is certifiable one of the modern classics.

Global Frequency – Warren Ellis and a plethora of top artists tell twelve stories about secret agents in the modern world dealing with a variety of threats to public safety. This mini was as imaginative as it was ambitious; Global Frequency had few characters who appeared in more than one issue, yet there was never a reason not the read the next issue.

And there you have the first, roughly, half of My Top 21 Miniseries of the 21st Century (So Far…)  I’ll be concluding this list as well as revisiting the theme for ongoing books as well.  See you next week.

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