Hey, welcome back to my weekly trip into comics. This week I revisit the “Top 21 of the 21st” theme (and if you want to read previous installments they can be found over here
[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.)]
Squadron Supreme – This series, spun off from Supreme Power, finds JMS and Gary Frank revisiting Marvel’s reimagining of DC’s Justice League, but as a government sanctioned team. But it’s so much better than it sounds. Imagine JMS and Gary Frank on the top of their game. Naturally the series ended prematurely with an unresolved cliffhanger.
Fell – A thrilling experiment in tinkering with the format of the medium, Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith created the haunting world of Snowtown. Richard Fell is a homicide cop transferred to a notorious city. Every issue was a self-contained story that filled in some of the mysteries behind Fell and the city. Sadly this series stalled out.
Viking – This title was billed as a crime story for the 9th century and it delivered on the promise. Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein tell the tale of two brothers trying to rise in the ranks of the Viking underworld. The art is gorgeous and the dialogue lush. It’s currently on hiatus, but will hopefully return.
Blue Beetle – A minority replacement for a fan favorite character shouldn’t have worked, but Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner made it work. Jaime Reyes was refreshing, fun and had a great supporting cast (most notably Paco and Brenda.) Even when Matthew Sturges and Rafael Albuquerque came aboard the title barely missed a beat. This was easily one of DC’s most fun titles.
Loveless – Brian Azzarello and Marcello Frusin explore the post Civil War life of Wes Cutter in the town of Blackwater. But Loveless became more than that. It explored the effect of war on a local populace and relationship between the occupiers and the occupied. Despite it being a Vertigo title it ended prematurely. But there’s a chance the story will continue on.
American Virgin – This tale of Adam Chamberlain took a look at sex and it’s relationship with religion. It was also a globetrotting adventure. American Virgin was also a book about family. Steven T. Seagle and Becky Cloonan were responsible for this book that should have been so much bigger than it was.
Catwoman – Ed Brubaker. Darwyn Cooke. Cameron Stewart. That was the initial creative team. But even when Will Pfeifer, David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez took over the book was still stellar. There was a time when Catwoman was the best Gotham book out.
The Unwritten – Mike Carey and Peter Gross came up with a killer premise; what if the subject of a series of kid’s books was real and had to deal with the culture of celebrity. Add in a conspiracy involving fictional characters and you’ve got a thrilling read and one of Vertigo’s best launches in years.
Gotham Central – A book that delved into the lives of the Gotham City cops. It couldn’t go wrong and it didn’t. With Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker sharing the writing duties and Michael Lark on art, the title showed how the regular cops of Gotham dealt with “freaks” and over the top rogue criminal activity. When this book ended there was a huge void in the DCU.
Manhunter – Launched out of Identity Crisis, Manhunter featured Kate Spencer a prosecutor who decides to take the law into her own hands using an arsenal found in the police property room. Nearly everything about the character has ties to overall tapestry of the DCU. Mark Andreyko and Jesus Saiz created something special and despite a devoted following, the book ended early.
X-Factor – This refreshing spinoff of the Madrox miniseries brought Peter David back to X-Factor, the team he had great success with in the ‘90’s. The title explored the fringe areas of the Marvel U and the X-Books, using castoff characters like Longshot, Layla Miller and Strong Guy. Funny, thoughtful and always entertaing, X-Factor never disappoints.
I’ll be back next week with my Top Ten next week.
Tags: Alvaro Lopez, Becky Cloonan, Ben Templesmith, Blue Beetle, Brian Azzarello, Cameron Stewart, Catwoman, Cully Hamner, darwyn cooke, David Lopez, Ed Brubaker, gary frank, Gotham Central, Greg Rucka, Ivan Brandon, Jesus Saiz, JMS, Keith Giffen, Manhunter, Marc Andreyko, matthew sturges, Michael Lark, Mike Carey, Nic Klein, Peter David, Peter Gross, Rafael albuquerque, The Unwritten, Warren Ellis, Wednesday Comments, Will Pfeifer, X-Factor (Marvel Comics)