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

Welcome back to my rundown of the Top 21 Miniseries of the 21st. Last week I ran down my first eleven picks. This week I round things out with my top ten. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Batman Year 100 – Set in 2039 Gotham City is in even worse shape than the current Gotham. It’s a police state and the Feds are ruthless. Only the mysterious Batman is off the grid and fighting the good fight against crime and oppression. Batman Year 100 is equal parts “Batman revamp” and “Paul Pope goodness.”

Metal Men – Easily second best thing to spin out of 52 was this miniseries by Duncan Rouleau. It explored the origins and early adventures of the Metal Men and their creator Dr. Will Magnus. It also happened to be filled with so much imagination and so many concepts and reimaginings you’ll barely believe it could be contained in 8 issues. It does what great comics should do; it feeds the imagination and blows minds.

Wednesday Comics –  Equal parts experiment and throwback, Wednesday Comics was both brave and bold. The large newsprint paper, the weekly serial format seem antithetical to fanboys, but it worked. Not everything was as imaginative as Ben Caldwell’s Wonder Woman, Neil Gaiman and Michael Allred’s Metamorpho or Karl Kerschl’s The Flash, but it’s all worth your time.

Beware the Creeper – Jason Hall and Cliff Chiang reimagine The Creeper, in Paris, in 1925 and as a woman. It’s a mystery involving twins, rape, class and artists. But it’s also got winks and nods to the DCU despite being published by Vertigo. Most of all it’s a self contained story that’s well written and wonderfully rendered.

Batgirl: Year One – This is easily the most fun of the “Year One” stories set in Gotham. Batgirl Year One explains what drove Barbara Gordon to join the Bat-family and thankfully it’s not the murder of her parents. Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon capture her frustrations as a young woman whose dreams are thwarted. Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez render her awe and exhilaration at fighting crime and meeting her idol. This is the second best Year One story ever.

Black Adam: The Dark Age – This mini details the lengths at which powerless Teth Adam would go to resurrect Isis; which include getting beaten mercilessly and making a deal with a devil. Black Adam is on a quest and hunted because of his actions in 52. Peter Tomasi manages to make Black Adam a sympathetic hero of the story, while Doug Mahnke illustrates his globetrotting. This is the best thing to come out of 52.

Sleeper – (It’s hard for me to separate the two seasons of Sleeper, because I read them consecutively, but for the sake of this piece I’ll limit my comments to Season One. ) Sleeper is the story of Holden Carver an undercover agent placed in an organization of super criminals. Unfortunately the only man who knows he’s undercover is in a coma, leaving Carver to navigate his situation on his own, with no chance at being pulled out. It’s a gripping 12 issues full of twists and turns and tweaks on superhero clichés, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel – This mini expores the Lex Luthor/Superman rivalry from Lex’s perspective. In this story Lex is the hero and Superman’s the antagonist. We understand Lex’s motivation and why he does what he does for humanity. It’s from the team of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, who also worked on the critically acclaimed Joker graphic novel. It’s also the perfect companion to the criminally underrated Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor.

All-Star SupermanAll-Star Superman accomplishes the impossible; it makes Superman cool. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely tell the definitive Superman story involving classic concepts like Bizarro and kryptonite, yet make everything feel fresh. They also make you believe in Superman again.

DC: The New Frontier – This mini was the thematic sequel to the classic The Golden Age. Darwyn Cooke ambitiously incorporates as many of DC’s Silver Age characters as he can in this miniseries, which details DC’s “New Frontier” of the next generation of superheroes. Epic in scope The New Frontier fleshes out characters most modern readers consider comic footnotes and makes them vibrant. It also makes your wish that DC, as a company, respected it’s history as much as Cooke does as a creator.

And there you have it. Those are the miniseries from the past decade that struck a cord and resonated with me.

I look forward to your comments about what you feel I overlooked or neglected, as I’m sure you’ll have opinions on my picks.

See you next week.

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