Brad Meltzer – 2004 – Identity Crisis 1-7
For some it’s a great mystery story, for others it’s an abomination. Since I don’t subscribe to the opinion that rape makes every story better, it’s probably obvious on which side of the divide I fall. At best it’s well written drek, at worst it’s a mystery that really doesn’t make much sense. It’s cheap schlock that either uses women as saintly victims or insane monsters. It’s far from being mature in any sense of the word, but hey, at least it’s more sophisticated grim’n gritty writing than Liefeld’s X-Force from the 90ties. But that doesn’t say much.
Geoff Johns – 2005 – JLA TPB: Crisis Of Conscience
This is Johns doing damage control over the stuff that happened in Identity Crisis. He creates a situation where the JLA has to consider doing a second mind-wipe, since Despero brought the memories of the villains back, which threatens the secret identities and especially the loved ones of the heroes. It’s not one of the better JLA stories, but considering that this is damage control, it’s succeeds most of the time (and it’s far better than Claremont/Byrne/O’Neill/Austen). It’s not a story that stands well on it’s own, though, since you need to read Identity Crisis to understand what’s going on here.
Geoff Johns – 1999 – Day of Judgement 1-5
One of the few DC crossovers that sadly never got collected. The threat is magic based, which allows many of the magical powers of the DC universe to take center stage. Like so often the Spectre becomes a threat, this time due to an evil angel taking over. I heard it hasn’t been collected because Geoff Johns doesn’t like it much, but IMHO it’s one of the best DC crossover I’ve read to date: self-contained with a great story, excellent art that reminded me of Mike Mignola’s style and some of the magical players of the DC universe taking center stage. Hopefully this one gets collected one day.
Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning – 2007-2010 – Nova 1-36
The first two TPBs were pretty good, but once Nova came back to Earth, the whole story stopped to a grinding halt. Nova is a character who works best in space. Whether this was an edict from editorial or it came from DA&AL themselves, it was a serious misstep. The recruitment arc itself and the inclusion of Ego was brilliant, but it could have easily been set in space and would have worked much better. That said, even at its best Nova still feels like Marvel’s Green Lantern Corps substitute and never like something uniquely its own.
Warren Ellis – 2004-2006 – Utimate Galactus Trilogy
This shows again that Ellis is one of the few writers who can write true science fiction in a superhero context, not just fake science fiction like Adam Strange/Green Lantern Corps/Nova/Guardians of the Galaxy. Of the three minis that make up the Galactus trilogy, the last two are the most interesting (the first one is a prologue that goes on far too long), with the second having the best art of all three. The Galactus trilogy also has the best version of Captain Marvel in the whole Marvel multiverse (Galactus arguably is also much better).
Mike Benson – 2009 – Deadpool: Suicide Kings 1-5 & Deadpool: Games of Death
Benson perfectly captures the irreverent nature of Deadpool. In Suicide Kings he is framed for an act of terrorism, in Games of Death he is on a rescue mission that goes slightly wrong. Suicide Kings is slightly derailed by too many guest stars, but still manages to be fun, even if the main story doesn’t make much sense. The Games of Death one-shot has a much leaner and due to the limited size more convincing story, but both comics are big fun. Sure, Deadpool is slightly overexposed these days, but at least the comics are fun to read.
Fabian Nicieza – 1993 – Deadpool: The Circle Chase 1-4
Mark Waid – 1994 – Deadpool: Sins Of The Past 1-4
The first ever Deadpool mini suffers from the same problems that many of the later Deadpool stories have: a sucky story (in this one it’s a gimmick hunt for a testament from some guy whose nature is never explained or why he died and how). But like so often when it comes to a Deadpool comic, even a stupid story can’t stop this from being enjoyable, since Nicieza writes Deadpool like he should be: insolent even when facing overwhelming forces. It’s not deep or sophisticated, but it’s a fun read. This second Deadpool mini is set up after the first one. Most of the cast from Nicieza’s mini is present, but the plot is similarly lame. But like Nicieza, Waid captures the irreverent nature of Deadpool perfectly. Fun all around.