Category: year in review – 2005

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Surprises

Alex Luthor revealed as the other Lex Luthor. Nowadays, thanks to the internet comic book community, there are very few surprises for me. I knew Quicksilver was behind House of M, I knew Spider-Man was going to die and then come back, I knew Ronin was Echo, all months before it was revealed. Come to think of it, maybe it’s just a Marvel problem, because DC had plenty of surprises. Wonder Woman snapping Max Lord’s neck, Max Lord killing Blue Beetle, Villains United. But the surprise that topped them all was the end to Infinite Crisis #3, when Alex Luthor’s master plan was revealed. Not only was Alex revealed as the alternate Lex from VU, but Superboy was the one who attacked Martian Manhunter in JLA #119 and they were assembling one of the Crisis on Infinite Earths tower thingies with characters from all the multiple Earths strapped to it. Wow! Now that’s an ending! -Fin Fang Doom

Luthor SuperboyAlexander Luthor and Superboy as villains. I did not see that one coming. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

The personification of DC’s writers and editors as the creative forces in the universe. Return of Donna Troy #4 and JSA Classified #4 amazed me in that real-life actions and decisions were given fictional characterization in the DC universe, and that fascinated me. While Marv Wolfman may have be the most powerful entity in the DC universe, Frank Miller has essentially become the DC Universe’s biggest villain. In the 90s, when “dark” comics were cool, he was given credit for introducing that darker element with Batman in the 80s. Now, the darkness in DC is apparently the plague that infects the universe. -Jim Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Characters

In the hands of Bendis, there’s no one I enjoy reading more than Matt Murdock. But lately, I’ve gotten a huge kick out of Judd Winick’s characterization of Black Mask. -Jim Doom

Batman OMACThe OMACs. The OMACs were everywhere this year. I don’t think there’s a hero in the DCU that didn’t fight one, and there’s more than a few that were taken out by them. They may not have been the brains behind the Crisis, but the OMACs have caused more chaos in than anyone else involved. For my money, there’s few villains better than swarms of mindles killing machines (which might explain why I like zombies so much). -Fin Fang Doom

Batman. It was a close call with Captain Ameirca. But Bats also endured the return of a former pal in villainous form. On top of that, he beat a city of clay monsters and took a major role in the Crisis. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Events

House of M. The “No more mutants” moment gave a much-needed jumpstart to the X titles. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

PreludeThe build-up to Infinite Crisis. While that has been going on for a few years now, I love seeing planning come together and watching something emerge so naturally from within the universe they’ve created. -Jim Doom

The countdown to Infinite Crisis. Even more so than Infinite Crisis itself, the 6 month build to the mini-series was huge. Nearly every single week, a new important issue came out, making it seem as if each week the DC Universe could be taken in a drastically different direction. Besides the main four series (Villains United, Rann/Thanagar War, OMAC Project and Day of Vengeance), we had The Return of Donna Troy, JSA Classified, Sacrifice, Crisis of Conscience and the dozens of tie-ins in titles such as Nightwing and JSA. When Infinite Crisis actually debuted, I felt a little let down that I’d have to wait another month, not just another week, for the next part of the story. Without the buildup, Infinite Crisis wouldn’t have seemed as huge as it does. -Fin Fang Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Publishers

DC LogoDC Comics. Pretty much everything I can say I already said in my Best Single Issue entry. DC has more going on now than Marvel has in the last 10 years. The sense of a cohesive universe is amazing, an aspect sorely lacking from Marvel now. While Image puts out my two favorite titles, and Marvel still churns out 5 or 6 I couldn’t go without, DC is putting out more great books than anyone else. -Fin Fang Doom

DC had the event of the year, if not in the history of comics. It’s hard to vote against that. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

I think DC had the most going for it this year. -Jim Doom

DC Comics. -Colonel Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Moment

The vote for Best Moment of 2005 was unanimous. All four of us chose this moment from Infinite Crisis #1:

When You Were Dead 450


Wow. Just wow. You knew Batman meant it, and you knew he was right. Even better, you knew Superman knew he was right. -Fin Fang Doom

I had forgotten that Bruce Wayne had mastered the martial art of verbal BITCH-slapping. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

That moment was so many things that it had to be. It beautifully encapsulated the growing tension between Batman and Superman, criticizing a tangible difference in a way that only deep personal differences could accomplish. And it was a cocky, self-aware nod to a previous DC mega-event that was about to be dwarfed – if not rendered completely meaningless and forgettable – by the power and substance of what was to come. Much like the rest of Infinite Crisis has been, it was a perfectly crafted synthesis of naturally intersecting storylines and self-referential penetration of the fourth wall. Countdowns and miniseries built anticipation, but that line was the proverbial shot heard round the DC Universe. -Jim Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- New Series

Fear AgentI really like the fact that New Avengers was given a purpose. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything that’s been done, but I like the idea. -Jim Doom

Fear Agent. With only a few issues out, Fear Agent has impressed me more than any other new title this year. Rick Remender’s old-school sci-fi book is packed with action, adventure and more action, and none of that unnecessary exposition we see so much in comics today. The first issue reads like the opening act of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and does more to establish the character than an issue of backstory could possibly do. Art by Tony Moore doesn’t hurt, either. -Fin Fang Doom

Young Avengers. The best thing to come out of “Avengers: Disassembled.” -Jean-Claude Van Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Single Issue

Ultimates 2 #9. World War Three! -Jean Claude Van Doom

Wolverine #32 is the only case I can think of where I was really impressed with an issue on its own. -Jim Doom

CountdownCountdown to Infinite Crisis. Sure, I’d been reading trades again since high school, but this 80-page, $1 comic re-introduced me to the joy of getting comics every single week, and it was probably the most action-packed 80 pages ever, AND it made me love a character I had known before only as the basis for Nite Owl in Watchmen. Too bad he got the back of his head blown out. -Colonel Doom

Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Before Colonel Doom lent me his copy of Countdown, I had never read a single in-continuity DC Comic book in my ten years of avidly reading comic books. 80 pages later, I was hooked. I went out and bought a copy for myself, along with Identity Crisis, and Green Lantern: Rebirth. I starting buying the Countdown mini-series and slowly brought the number of DC books I was buying up to the number of Marvel books I was buying. Now, less than one year later, this lifelong Marvel Zombie considers DC his favorite publisher. All because of 80 pages. I can’t think of a better way to qualify “Best Single Issue.” -Fin Fang Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Mini Series

Villains United. Because Catman now kicks ass, and Deadshot showed children everywhere that Yes, smoking is still cool. -Colonel Doom

VillainsUnitedVillains United. The most fun of all the Crisis lead-ins. -Jean-Claude Van 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

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Ongoing Series

Ultimates 2. It may not come out every week. But when it does, it’s heads and tails above everything else. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

WalkingDeadThe Walking Dead. The simple sequence of a zombie falling over because his entrails got caught on another zombie means I don’t have to explain any further why this is the best series going right now, but if need further convincing, stark, black and white art and great writing help, too. -Colonel Doom

The Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman is one of the greatest comic writers today. In fact, I’d put Kirkman’s Invincible as a close second for the best ongoing series of the year. But anything involving zombies is always better than something of the same caliber without zombies, right? Charlie Adlard’s art has been consistently great, even if it’s a little late sometimes. Tony Moore’s covers are good enough to frame (actually, I did). The entire team tells a great story every month (well, almost every month) which may or may not involve an actual zombie, and that’s one of the keys to the series. Who would have thought that a zombie book where the zombies aren’t even an issue could be so exciting? -Fin Fang Doom

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Artists

MaleevCharlie Adlard. This one took me a while to come up with, as there are loads of great artists out there. And since none of the guys I could think of did anything specific to put them over the top (like, say, draw 12 issues in the year), I decided to go with the one that draws my favorite title, The Walking Dead. It’s not just the writing that makes that title so great. -Fin Fang Doom

Alex Maleev Maleev’s scratchy pencils, heavy shadows and attention to detail fall somewhere between realism and film noir. It just looks damned cool. -Colonel Doom

I don’t have a favorite, but Alex Maleev, Eric Powell, Bryan Hitch and Leinil Yu always impress me. -Jim Doom

Bryan Hitch. “Ultimates 2” has, consistently, the best art out there. When it’s a little late, that time is put to use. -Jean-Claude Van Doom