Villains United. Because Catman now kicks ass, and Deadshot showed children everywhere that Yes, smoking is still cool. -Colonel Doom
Spider-Man/Human Torch. Hey, remember when Spider-Man didn’t have to worry about bursting out a cocoon every year to discover he had new amazing powers? Remember when he was a loner and didn’t have many friends? Remember when Spider-Man was just plain fun? I do, and apparently so did Dan Slott when he wrote this amazing mini-series, chronicling several team-ups between Spider-Man and the Human Torch through the years. It may not have been ground-breaking storytelling and it may not have shook the very foundations of what we know about Spider-Man, but it was a damn fine mini-series that for my money ranks up there with the “The Night Gween Stacy Died” and “Kraven’s Last Hunt” as one of the best Spider-Man stories of all time. -Fin Fang Doom
Tie between The Question and Astro City: The Dark Age. When I read some comics that have some sort of scientific or mystical element to them, I commonly get the vibe that the author just read some scientific journal article or something and thought “Oooh, I’ll work that into a story.” I’m thinking of pretty much every Warren Ellis book I’ve ever read. I’m not saying that’s Mr. Ellis’ process, because I really have no idea. But I am saying that when I read his books that have some sort of underlying sci-fi scheme, it seems like the story exists to legitimize the scientific idea, and I don’t usually think that makes for a good story.
With The Question, a scientific / mystical undercurrent drove the whole book, but in this case, it served the story and gave it purpose, rather than the other way around. I also loved the tiny details along the way, such as using restrooms for evildoing since that’s the one place Superman wouldn’t use his x-ray vision. It created a completely believable scenario in which a 6-issue miniseries could happen in Superman’s city under Superman’s nose.
As far as Astro City: The Dark Age goes, there’s just such a level of gritty realism to that book that is simply breathtaking. Also perhaps treasured because of so many who fail trying to do the same thing, the “realism” here isn’t done through shock value or darkness – it’s through well-defined characters going through well-defined, yet differing, life paths. Told through the perspective of two brothers, these four issues manage to tell an inspirational heroic story the way you could really see it unfolding.
This was my first trip into Astro City comics, and at first, the obvious character ripoffs were distracting. But eventually, I saw that Busiek’s homages were a deliberate shortcut to get to the important part of the story, rather than having to spend 200 issues letting you get to know the First Family.-Jim Doom