Just about every issue of Morrison’s All-Star Superman would probably be a good fit for this column. With the exception of the Bizarro Earth two-parter and the two issue conclusion, every issue could stand alone as a fantastic single serving Superman story. There are two stories in the book’s 12-issue run, however, that deserve special attention in this regard: “Neverending” and “Funeral in Smallville”. For now, I’ll be focusing on All-Star Superman #10, “Neverending”, but believe me, I’ll come back for the other.
Still incredibly late, but I will catch up soon. I read 30 comics in June, and these were the best.
There hasn’t been much chatter about this series on this site, but I’m here to remedy that.
Spoiler warning for Batman and Robin 12!
In such a great decade for comics, you always hear an awful lot of praise for the writers. When you hear people talk about Watchmen, a great deal of attention is paid to Alan Moore; when you hear people talk about Wanted, lovers and haters all talk about Mark Millar. But a comic book is primarily a visual medium, and a talented artist can make a so-so book better, a good book great… or a great book only average. Witness the art problems that plagued, for example, Grant Morrison’s ground-breaking run on New X-Men.
But this decade had its fair number of stars, art-wise, artists whose style and intensity nearly defined the titles they worked on. These are our picks for the Top 10 interior artists of the 2000’s.
And the Summer’s over! Really? That…went fast. I had fun, though. Hope you all did, too. Back to school, kiddies! I read 20 comics in August, and these were the best.
5. Invincible Iron Man #16
Matt Fraction’s writing is absolutely top-notch. Yes, this story will read better as a whole, but our connection to Tony, Pepper, and Maria is so strong, it hardly matters. The only thing that brings this issue, and the entire series, down, is Salvador Larroca’s Greg Land-esque art.
4. Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1
Speaking of Summer, you like those blockbusters that accompany the season, right? Well then, this is the comic for you! Just some awesome-kickass, supercool fun! Mark Millar gives it to ya, and Carlos Pacheco makes it look pretty. This opening salvo features a bombastic helicopter fight and a terrifying new villain.
3. Secret Six #12
Like my previous selection, this too is filled with action and good times, only with more twisted villainy. But this comic also has character and soul, and that counts for a lot. This is Jeannette’s issue to shine, and I think she blinded me. Carlos Pacheco’s beautiful interiors certainly contribute to UCA’s placement, but you know what? I’d put Nicola Scott up against Carlos Pacheco any day. Yeah, you read that right.
2. Batman and Robin #3
Holy hell, Batman! This series just gets better and better! The first and second issue topped my list in their respective months, and it’s only by some Marvel miracle that this one didn’t. Since I don’t have a proper review of this issue, I want to go over a few things:
Professor Pyg’s “sexy disco hot.” Who else had this song in their head?
Any guesses on who was watching Alfred? Could it be the same person who spied on Bruce & Jezebel all those issues ago?
Awhile ago, DC said, “Scarlet isn’t who you think she is.” That was a damn lie, and I’m pretty sure Red Hood is who you think he is too.
1. Daredevil #500
A phenomenal conclusion to what turned out to be a great run. Brubaker did DD proud, and definitely cast away Bendis’ shadow. On top of that, you get a great short story and a reprint of possibly the best Daredevil comic ever! Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t just the best comic in August, it’s the best Marvel comic of the year.
And so concludes the first arc of Morrison’s Batman and Robin – and, at least for now, Frank Quitely’s involvement. Throughout their arc, Morrison and Quitely have introduced the Circus of the Strange with their bizarre ringleader, Professor Pyg, a demented villain turning the citizens of Gotham into ‘Dollotrons’ through disfigurement and potent narcotics. And if that isn’t horrific enough for you, this issue sees Pyg dance as he imagines a sexy woman would before tearing off his shirt. Now that’s a creepy Batman villain.
The first arc concludes rather suddenly as Dick and Damian confronts Pyg in his lair. We get the origins of Pyg, learn more about his plans for Gotham, watch a few extremely well-illustrated action bits, and see how Dick and Damian make up after their split last issue. It’s a lot to handle in a single issue, and despite Morrison’s best efforts it still feels rushed in places, especially given that the issue ends with an epilogue introducing Scarlett to the Red Hood to set up the next arc. Even the ‘character’ after which the issue is titled (Mommy Made of Nails) receives only a single panel and, despite inspiring an excellent line from Pyg, is too heavily linked to the issue’s weakest moments – Pyg’s insane rants as he prepares to turn Damian.
Regardless, Batman and Robin #3 is an exciting read from start to finish. Quitely’s unique style makes the brief action sequences thrilling and dynamic, while also contributing a fairly monstrous look to the Dollotrons and their creator. His visual sensibilities will be sorely missed next issue, but he’s only half the team – despite the book’s first missteps this issue, Morrison continues to make the book a fun, action-packed exploration of Dick and Damian’s dynamic. If it’s DC’s objective to make us miss Bruce Wayne, they’re failing miserably – this is some of the most fun Batman’s been in awhile.
– Cal Cleary