Welcome to Part Two of CBR’s “Decade In Review.” Thus far, the reporters of CBR News have looked back at the first three years of the decade and shared their thoughts on all the major occurrences in the comic book industry during that time. Now that we seem to have some momentum, we’re ready to tackle the next several years worth of major news and happenings!
Do you remember 2003-2006? What was going on with comics, and what were you reading? Well, the CBR News crew of Tim Callahan, Shaun Manning, Kiel Phegley, Dave Richards, Steve Sunu, George Tramountanas, and Josh Wigler are ready and eager to share their thoughts. Join us as we explore these interesting years in our next stop on the “Decade in Review” Express!
Robert Kirkman Releases “Walking Dead” and “Invincible”
George Tramountanas: When “Walking Dead” came out, I recall flipping through it on the racks and purchasing it.Â Tony Moore’s art was amazing, and the story – while simple – was gripping.Â For better or worse, this book brought about a zombie renaissance in comics.Â We definitely wouldn’t have gotten “Marvel Zombies” without it.
As for “Invincible,” I recall that Image was trying to launch several new superhero books at the time.Â I picked up the first issue, but much preferred Jay Faerber’s “Venture.”Â A year later, though, “Invincible” was the book everyone was talking about.Â I purchased the first trade, and promptly kicked myself for not staying with the monthly series.Â “Walking Dead” and “Invincible” were the comics that made Kirkman a household name, reminded fans the viability of indie creations, and paved the way for Kirkman becoming an Image partner.Â And they’re still both fantastic reads!
Dave Richards: I discovered “Invincible” when the guy who ran my comic shop made me read the zero issue. After that, I went back and picked up the collected editions, wishing I could have read the original issues when they came out and experienced the big twist in those issues as it happened. I also discovered “Walking Dead” through collected editions and have found it be a great way to get non-comic reading zombie fans into comics.
Josh Wigler: I remember finding my college roommates reading copies of “Invincible,” much to my surprise since neither of them were superhero fans by any stretch. It goes to show that Kirkman really crafted a superhero tale that pretty much anybody can buy into, because it typically holds no punches – not all the time, but most of the time, I’d say. Month in and month out, “Invincible” and “Walking Dead” are two of my very favorite books that I pick up, so I’m obviously very grateful that Kirkman came onto the scene in this big way.â€¨â€¨Steve Sunu: Kirkman FTW! “Invincible” is one of those series that reminds you superheroes are supposed to be fun, something that was starting to get forgotten in the early 2000s (especially with books like Millar and Hitch’s “Ultimates”). “Invincible” takes things back to basics in the best way possible – fast pacing, emotional moments and some excellent humor. At its polar opposite, you’ve got “The Walking Dead,” which only got bigger when the zombie craze hit. It’s like a serialized HBO series about zombies in comic book form.
Tim Callahan: I distinctly remember seeing the first couple of “Invincible” issues on the shelf of my local comic shop and thinking, “I like that art, but this comic won’t last more than a few issues,” so I never bothered to bring any issues home with me. And when I saw “Walking Dead” I thought, “Great, a zombie comic. Because that’s not a terrible idea or anything.”
I was so very wrong about both.
Kurt Busiek and George Perez Give Fans “JLA/Avengers”
George Tramountanas: This was the comic fans had been waiting for since the early ’80s (when Perez initially started the first version of this book).Â It was a great read, and I don’t believe any artist will ever top Perez in terms of what he accomplished here.Â Alas, this is also probably the last time we’ll see a Marvel/DC team-up…at least, until management changes at one of the “Big Two.”
Shaun Manning: This was one of those series you couldn’t not pick up. Like most inter-company crossovers though, not much of note happens. Still, Perez drawing everybody…
Tim Callahan: I read this when it first came out and picked up the Absolute edition, too. Both times when I read it, I had the same reaction: “Aw, yeah – take that DC! Take that Marvel! Your universes are screwed up!” And then it became page after page of “Contest of Champions”-style battles for the magic objects. Kind of tedious, but that George Perez art? Well, there’s a reason I bought the Absolute edition.
But if Marvel and DC never have another crossover, I really won’t care one bit. In general, I don’t see the appeal. I mean, “Punisher/Archie,” sure. But “Blue Beetle/Young Avengers”? Nah. I’m good.
Dan DiDio Named Vice President – Executive Editor of DC Comics
George Tramountanas: I would argue that it’s been a long time since an Executive Editor’s presence at DC Comics has been felt as strongly as DiDio’s.Â Many would say his main legacy has been to make the DCU a darker place (“Identity Crisis,” Superboy Prime); however, he’s also had some interesting initiatives during his time in charge (“52,” “Wednesday Comics,” the current Lantern rings promotion).Â Still, while Quesada’s had his missteps (“One More Day”), DiDio seems to divide fans – along with a number of creators – into more of a “love him” or “hate him” category.
Shaun Manning: The DC line certainly has a direction to it, I’ll give him that. There seems to be a drive to return characters – Green Lantern, Lex Luthor, the Flash – to their most “iconic” versions, but I remain unconvinced that Barry Allen is a more compelling Flash than Wally West. After being dead for twenty years, Barry’s return strikes me as something done for the sake of the doing. Remember, too – before Barry’s return, there was always the speculation that he might come back; now that he’s back, that speculation vanishes. I would argue that, in this case, potential energy is more thrilling than kinetic.
But, as with Quesada, I believe DiDio is making the decisions he believes are best for DC, and I have to admire his willingness to take a bit of flak.
It’s not clear to me that when something goes right, the powers-that-be recognize what’s gone right. In the case of “52,” a weekly series worked because there were multiple storylines people wanted to return to week after week, told by some of the best writers available. Not just any weekly series will do. And while “52” drummed up interest in Booster Gold, Black Adam, Steel, the Great Ten, and others, the success of spinoffs was dependent on how well the stories were put together – and, in the case of “Great Ten,” when they came out (a bit late out the gate on this one, DC).
“Wednesday Comics,” by contrast, was sort of a brilliant idea simply for the format. Some artists made the most of it, some really didn’t. I think this experiment is one worth trying again just to refine the process.â€¨
Dave Richards: The DiDio era sort of marks where I jumped ship from DC Comics. It seemed to be more about nostalgia than new things. Still, I’ve got to give the guy credit for a lot of the more recent creative things that DC is doing, and for letting Geoff Johns do his thing with Green Lantern.
Tim Callahan: I give DiDio credit for recognizing that Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison have some great ideas about superheroes…and that’s about it. Maybe he’s done great things for the company – I really have no clue. It seems like every time DC does something right (like “52”), it does a dozen things wrong (like “Countdown” and its eleven tie-ins).
Kiel Phegley: Let me say something I really like about Dan DiDio as Executive Editor of DC: he’s very willing to try an idea and then accept that it didn’t work if it fails. Tim’s right in that there’ve been some creative highs and lows with the company over the past six years, but when they strike upon a format that works well, from the modular event storytelling of “Sinestro Corps War” and “Blackest Night” to the extremely effective Johnny DC line, they really use it well. And when they have projects that don’t go over as well, from “Countdown” on through, those mistakes don’t get repeated. Say what you will about his batting average, but he’s stepping to the plate.
“Cerebus” Concludes With Issue #300
George Tramountanas: One of the longest-running indie books comes to a close.Â When was the last time you’ve seen a non-DC or Marvel book reach issue #300?Â An amazing feat, especially if you consider the book’s main character is an aardvark.
Tim Callahan: “Jaka’s Story” and “Melmoth” were two of the best comic book arcs I’d ever read at the time. But that was a lifetime ago, and like pretty much everyone else, I gave up on “Cerebus” shortly after that and didn’t even come close to sticking it out until the end. Part of me wants to give the whole series a read, but the other part of me knows I’ll never bother.
Kiel Phegley: It’s a legitimately great comics work, and at this point I don’t even think Dave Sim can take away from that (though some days it looks like he’s trying). But rather than get into the nitty gritty of Sim’s outsized personality and controversial viewpoints, I think one thing that really hit me in the years after “Cerebus” wrapped was that the end of the granddaddy of all indie pamphlets pretty much meant the end of indie pamphlets on the whole. Besides guys with built in audiences like Jeff Smith and Terry Moore, who even tries to make new comics in the print serial format anymore? I suppose we have to accept that things change, but aside from the nostalgia of not being able to get those kinds of comics regularly anymore, I still get the feeling there’s more creative work to be done in the short format that’s been pushed out of the market.
“Identity Crisis” Is Released
George Tramountanas:Â This was the event that led to a shift in tone for the DC Universe.Â Think about it – before this, could you imagine telling another fanboy that Dr. Light was going to rape Sue Dibny?Â Even as I typed those words just now, it still seems preposterous…but it happened.Â The things that occurred here (the killing of Robin’s father, Batman being mind-wiped) laid the groundwork for many events that followed in the DCU.Â I enjoyed the miniseries when it came out, but now – like many others – I confess to missing the “simpler times” that existed before “Identity Crisis.”
Shaun Manning: Oh, Doctor Light. Yes, the rape of Sue Dibny makes this book something of a landmark, and it got the ball rolling for a couple years’ worth of stories. But “Identity Crisis” itself is really a pretty by-the-numbers murder mystery, right down to the cliched reveal (“How did you know there was a note?”).
Dave Richards: Yes, in one sense “Identity Crisis” has become the “Hound Dog” (the “Dakota Fanning rape movie”) of comics. Still, there were a lot of good ideas here, even if the ending did fall flat. The most interesting idea was the decision of the Justice League to mindwipe Doctor Light and Batman. It added an interesting, morally-murky element to a squeaky-clean team.
Kiel Phegley: I still don’t think this will ever be remembered as anything beyond being “The Sue Dibny rape comic” despite any of its positive qualities. And considering some of the work that’s followed in its path, it deserves that treatment.
Tim Callahan: Some people looove this comic. But this sucker has become the poster child for what’s wrong with the DCU this decade for a reason…
Josh Wigler: I definitely understand the criticisms of this book, but I’m a sucker for Green Arrow and Elongated Man – both of whom have a lot to do here. For that alone, I dug the book.
Steve Sunu: This book was actually one of the reasons I started reading DC again (the other being Geoff Johns’ relaunch of “Teen Titans”). I got it as a gift and really liked how the whole universe was linked, rape aside. It really opened up doors for me to better titles in the DCU, but Tim is right: it has become the poster child for the DCU’s shortcomings.
Jeff Smith’s “Bone” Concludes and the One Volume Edition Soon Follows
George Tramountanas: I’m embarrassed to admit that I never followed this series in single-issue format, but when I heard about the One Volume edition (and its price-point), I couldn’t refuse!Â I would also make the argument that this book (and its numerous sell-outs) showed publishers that fans enjoy “phone book” collections of material and that Omnibuses were a viable format.
Josh Wigler: The One Volume edition is one of my favorite go-to reads on my bookshelf. It’s also one of the few comics I own that I think I could probably kill somebody with, so there’s that too.
Shaun Manning: A clever idea that suits the material.
Steve Sunu: Every year or so during the winter, I’ll make myself a cup of tea and re-read “Bone.” I first discovered it as a comic feature in Disney Adventures magazine, of all places. It’s the best Disney comic that has absolutely no affiliation with Disney.
Tim Callahan: “Bone” finished this decade? It feels like it’s been over forever. It’s such a classic. My wife loves this comic, my son loves this comic – it’s pretty great stuff. I’ve used pages from the first few issues in classes to show how to tell stories visually. Jeff Smith – he’s educational!
The First Volume of “Scott Pilgrim” Comes Out
George Tramountanas: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s tale came out and managed to inspire a cult-like following.Â While I appreciate the material, I can’t say I belong to this powerful cabal of readers.Â That said, I do love the format of the book and what it’s attempted to do…and apparently so do many others!Â Every edition to follow has sold out, and I know there’s many fans eagerly awaiting the movie coming out this year.
Shaun Manning: I only discovered “Scott Pilgrim” recently, and am wondering how I missed it. It’s like a video game nerd’s version of magical realism.
Kiel Phegley: Was there anybody cool enough to have read “Scott Pilgrim” right from the start? I’ve always been a big Oni reader, and even I missed it until Volume 2 came out.
Tim Callahan: Does it have a “cult-like following?” I don’t know what that means. Did “Bone” have a cult-like following? I don’t know. What I do know about “Scott Pilgrim” is that it is hands-down one of the best comics of the decade. It established its awesomeness in Volume 1 and has improved every year since. Bryan Lee O’Malley is a superstar. Enjoy it now before the movie makes this comic too popular to be cool anymore.
Oh, is that what George meant by a cult?
Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting Resurrect Bucky
George Tramountanas: Following Jason Todd, the second character who was always supposed to remain dead is brought back; however, this character works brilliantly!Â So many things could have gone wrong in resurrecting Bucky – hell, just the notion of doing this five years ago sounds like the world’s worst idea – but Brubaker and Epting managed to pull it off and cemented themselves a permanent place in the Captain America writer/artist Hall of Fame.Â This was the beginning of a new age for Cap – one that I’ll happily follow.
Dave Richards: I started off reading this story wondering why someone would want to bring Bucky back, and then quickly found myself enjoying his return
Tim Callahan: I’m not sure the “frozen and thawed out to kill for the commies every so often” explanation is any better than the “Superboy Prime punched a wall” stuff, but what Brubaker did with Bucky made “Captain America” one of the best comics of the decade. That the series got better after the title character died speaks to how well Brubaker established Bucky as a supporting character and eventual replacement.
Josh Wigler: I was so incredibly skeptical of this move when it first started, and now I can’t imagine my comic-reading life without it. Bucky is my favorite character in comics right now. I can’t believe I just said that.
Steve Sunu: This was so awesome. The fact that Brubaker and Epting were able to pull it off without a wrinkle is just a huge testament to that storytelling team. It’s really difficult to imagine a Marvel U without Bucky-Cap now.
Shaun Manning: This proved that there’s a right way to tell the “stories that should never be told.”
“Batman Begins” Hits Theaters
George Tramountanas:Â A new Batman appears on the big screen and shows that movie superheroes can be dark and successful.Â I remember watching this in the theater with my wife, who confessed she finally “got” Batman after viewing it.Â That said, I’ve lamented how the success of this film (and “Dark Knight”) have led studios to believe that darker is always better.Â For those not “in the know,” a Shazam movie has been in development for a looong time at Warner Bros.Â And while several decent screenplay drafts have been turned in on this project, the powers-that-be keep saying they want a darker tone.
What works for Batman ain’t going to work for all heroes.Â Plus, I want a few “comic book movies” I can watch with my kiddies.Â How about an “Incredibles 2” film?Â Please?!?Â
Dave Richards: I loved this movie. It was the Batman movie I always wanted to see (until “Dark Knight” came out). And the way they handled a character like Ra’s al Ghul was very cool. I was happy that the surprise about his real identity was not spoiled leading up to the film.
Tim Callahan: I’ve never understood the love for this movie. Bale’s Batman is embarrassingly bad, and why is Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul such a micromanager that he’s actually on the train that’s going to smash into the center of Gotham City?
However, it paved the way for a pretty great second film (that had many of the same problems as the first one), but with the added benefit of no Katie Holmes and an astonishingly good Heath Ledger.
George Tramountanas:Â Huh.Â Why is Ra’s al Ghul on that train?Â Tim, I’m hiring you as the editor of any comic I write.Â Now excuse me while I watch the film again and try to earn a no-prize…
Josh Wigler: The movie isn’t without its logic flaws, but it’s such a step forward for the Batman movie franchise that it was kind of an “I’ll take whatever I can get, just don’t bring back the nipples” sorta thing. And even if Bale’s voice is completely ridiculous, it’s inspired some pretty amazing parodies in its wake.
Steve Sunu: “Swear to me!” Man, I remember thinking this movie was awesome the first time I saw it. Then I saw it again, and I thought it was a little less good. And now, every time I see it, it gets a little less good. But, as Tim mentioned, it did pave the way for “Dark Knight,” which I think is actually the best thing I can say about the film.
Will Eisner Passes Away
Dave Richards:Â Unfortunately, like many great creative minds, I didn’t learn to truly appreciate his work until after he was gone
Tim Callahan: I remember seeing a “Creating Comics” panel in San Diego the year before Eisner died, and one of the fans in the crowd asked the panel how they each broke into comics. When it was Will’s turn to speak, he simply said, “I saw a need and created comics to fill that need.” Will wasn’t saying that he invented comics…but he kind of invented comics. At least good ones.
His “Spirit” still remains one of the best drawn comics of all time, even 60+ years after it first appeared.
George Tramountanas: I’ve heard numerous creators talk about how terrific this man was, and what an honor it was to receive an award in his name handed to them by the man himself.Â His legacy will live on always.
Kiel Phegley: In a strange way, I think Eisner’s passing has led to a greater appreciation of his work. Without having Will at the Eisner Awards every year as the grand old master of comics, people seem to more freely discuss his comics without the kind of “he’s in the room” reverence that was seen for years. Plus, the expansion of the book store market and even the Spirit movie have brought new readers to his work during that time. It’s a shame he’s not here to see that part of what he built.
“All Star Superman” Debuts
George Tramountanas: Morrison proves Superman can be entertaining and relevant (and a top seller) without having a bastard child.Â Why can’t anyone else figure out how to do this?Â Of course, the other conclusion that could be drawn from this is that DC needs to give more creators carte blanche with the Man of Steel.Â Or perhaps they just need to clone Morrison?
Shaun Manning: The book was both fresh and retro at once. Morrison understands what is interesting about iconic characters like Superman, the X-Men, JLA, and Batman.
Tim Callahan: I gave the first six issue of this series to my wife to read, so she could finally “get” this Grant Morrison guy that I spent a year of my life obsessing over when I wrote my book (“Grant Morrison: The Early Years”). She thought it was merely “okay,” and that the characters looked “really ugly.” I gave issue #6 to my then six-year-old son to read, and he cried at the end when Pa Kent died. He said he never wanted to read another issue of this series again. “All-Star Superman” – it won’t please your family!
But we all know that it’s the single best Superman story ever, even if everyone else in my house refuses to accept it.
Dave Richards: I just started reading the first volume on Christmas Day, and I finally understand what everybody was talking about now. So far it’s a heck of a story – wildly imaginative and featuring a god-like, but very human, Superman.
Josh Wigler: I haven’t read the second volume yet. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten to it, because the first half was a real thing of beauty.
Steve Sunu: So is the second half, Josh. Go read it. Actually? That kind of goes for all you guys. Go read “All-Star Superman” and then come back. We’ll still be here when you’re done.
Kiel Phegley: Why is no one talking about “All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder”?
“House of M” & “New Avengers” Are Released
George Tramountanas: Bendis wrote two major events in the Marvel U in 2005 and established the direction of Marvel for the next several years.Â With “House of M,” he redefined what it meant to be a mutant by reducing their number from millions to a couple hundred.Â And with “New Avengers,” Bendis took the team in a direction that made it the flagship book of the Marvel U.Â It’s the book to read in terms of understanding the Marvel landscape.
It will be interesting to see if/how the book changes once the “big three” (Iron Man, Thor, and the original Captain America) are brought back to the team in “Siege.”Â I can giddily imagine several fun conversations between Thor and Luke Cage.
Tim Callahan: “New Avengers” is the heartbeat of Marvel, and it has been since its early days. Bendis sets the tempo, lays down the beats, and it’s up to the rest of the company to follow along with his jams. Maybe that’s a bad idea, and maybe “Secret Invasion” didn’t really work all that well in the end, but “The Avengers” had become a stale property when Bendis took over and it’s been a top seller ever since. He’s done something right, and I haven’t missed an issue yet.
Dave Richards: Tim is right that this book is the heartbeat of the Marvel U, and it’s highly entertaining too! Plus, it’s the book where three of my favorite Marvel characters – Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Captain America – interact with one another and go on adventures. How could I not love this book?
“Infinite Crisis” Makes Its Mark
George Tramountanas: DC showed how event books should be done with this series.Â They had four separate, well-written miniseries leading into the event, each of which were hugely popular and integral to what happened next.Â The response to this series was overwhelming, and IC became the model to emulate in terms of event books for the rest of the decade.Â Unfortunately, DC really seemed to fumble on the goal line with this tale.Â The story ended on a blase note, and “One Year Later” was a failure.Â At least we got “52” out of the mess though…
Tim Callahan:– Issue #1 was absolutely thrilling, and issue #2 was pretty damn good as well. Then it became a story about the DCU vs. Superboy Prime and a tease about the return of the multiverse.Â In short, it’s a microcosm of almost every event book from Marvel or DC ever since – big anticipation, a splashy start, and then a limp finish. Really good stuff with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in the early issues, though.
Dave Richards: Man, there was a big lead in to this story. It broke my wallet on several occasions; so perhaps my expectations were too high for this story.Â I read it and was pretty underwhelmed.Â This series and the “One Year Later” books were where I said goodbye to the DC Universe. I’ve only recently started revisiting it with theÂ Green Lantern books and some other trades that I’ve been grabbing from my local library.
Shaun Manning: I think this story would stand better for posterity if DC had retired Superboy-Prime. The thing that seemed massive about the Anti-Monitor in the first “Crisis” was that we’d never seen him before (which more or less applies to Prime in IC) and then that we didn’t see him again (until Sinestro Corps). By bringing Prime back to get his ass handed to him again and again – regardless of how many arms he rips off in the interim – diminishes him as a universe-level threat.
Kiel Phegley: I think the biggest lesson from “Infinite Crisis” was that in the modern comics market, sometimes it’s smarter to wait on something. People grouse a lot about the changes that series brought to the DCU and how the “One Year Later” launch went, but a lot of that stemmed from a rushed art job on the later issues of what had been a very well received series at the start. As much as folks can complain about how no one can draw a monthly book anymore, I think fans have proven with their wallets that they’d rather one artist draw a book every three months than three artists every month, you know?
George Tramountanas: “52” proved the viability of a weekly series with great writers.Â Of all the things DiDio has done under his reign, I would say this was the most significant.Â This title showed that quality books delivered in a timely fashion could be a huge boon for publishers, fans, and retailers – and the cheaper price-point didn’t hurt either!Â While the numerous weekly series that followed couldn’t hold a candle to this one, it did inspire Marvel to give us a terrific thrice-monthly “Amazing Spider-Man” (with the editor of “52” coming along to boot).
Shaun Manning: The power of great writers, coupled with interesting takes on underused characters, carried the day here. I would argue, though, that the “One Year Later” concept going through the other books at the time suffered because DC’s top talent were all tied up with “52.”
Kiel Phegley: Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!!!!!!!!
Tim Callahan: “One Year Later” didn’t work at all, largely because the changes during the missing year were either: a) superficial, b) quickly forgotten, or c) led to stuff like “Hawkgirl,” which sounded good in theory (Simonson and Chaykin!) but didn’t pan out. “52,” however, ended up being a jam-packed comic book extravaganza. Remember how much stuff actually happened in those 52 issues? The fall and rise of Booster Gold? The whole Luthor/Infinity Inc. thing? The lost-in-space follies with Lobo? The mad scientists? The sadness of the Elongated Man? The death/rebirth of the Question? Bruce Wayne cleansing Batman from his system? The return of the multiverse for real?!?
Josh Wigler: There were some excellent stories in here, particularly the ones focusing on the Question and Elongated Man. I loved Booster Gold’s role in “52” as well, but I thought the climax was an extraordinary letdown.
Steve Sunu: Even if you’re not a big fan of the series, you’ve got to admire the editorial stones it took to pull it off. While I will agree with Shaun that the “One Year Later” concept suffered a bit, it was worth it to see so many reveals come to light in “52.” By far, my favorite storyline was Renee Montoya and The Question’s. It also paved the way for JH Williams’ current “Detective Comics” run, for which I think we can all be thankful.
Marvel’s “Civil War” Breaks Out
George Tramountanas: Kicking off what Bendis started in “New Avengers,” Mark Millar created a MU-wide event that became one of Marvel’s most successful events to date.Â I can’t say for sure if the success of “Infinite Crisis” was Marvel’s model for this, but the House of Ideas really had their act together on this one and benefitted enormously from it.Â For the record though, “I surrender” is not a satisfying climax for a story.
Shaun Manning: The title has its detractors and some worthwhile arguments against it, but CW was an exciting series.
Tim Callahan:– Because of “Ultimate Alliance 2,” my son wants to read “Civil War.” If he likes it more than “All-Star Superman,” and he probably will, I might be the one who cries. It does look pretty though, even if it’s a bunch of scenes smashed together with no connective thread and an anticlimactic ending. I thought the “A” didn’t stand for France? Oh, yeah, that’s a different Mark Millar Captain America. Got it.
George Tramountanas: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this here, but…pwned!
Dave Richards: Was this a balanced series like they promised? No. Was the ending as strong as it should have been? No. But like Shaun said, this was a fun and exciting series.
Kiel Phegley: Millar remains the master of action pacing and widescreen superheroics. This series moved with a ton of energy, which is where I think a lot of its success as an event as well as a title came from.
Tim Callahan: Okay, my son read “Civil War,” got to the end and shouted, “That’s it?!?” Then he told me he hated issue #7. Hate is a strong word for that kid. He has good taste, it turns out.
Josh Wigler: I really wish they hadn’t done the Spider-Man reveal and then haphazardly taken it back a year later. That was kinda dumb.
Steve Sunu: For what it’s worth, I will say that this series turned a lot of people on to comics. When people found out that Captain America was dead, they sat up, took notice, and read the series…and then had roughly the reaction of Tim’s son.
Matt Fraction’s “Casanova” Arrives In Stores
Tim Callahan: Here’s some math for you: “Casanova” + “Scott Pilgrim” = The Two Big Comics of the Decade. It’s true.
“Casanova: Luxuria” is one of the best opening arcs of any comic book ever, and “Casanova: Gula” (which still hasn’t been collected, so those of us who bought the issues when they actually came out, well, we win) is the best second arc of any comic book ever. “Casanova” is smart, funny, and powerful. You might not even realize you’re reading a masterpiece when you’re going through it because you’ll be having so much fun.
I like “Casanova,” in case you can’t tell.
Dave Richards: So that’s why my hold for “Gula” never came in at my library! Thanks Tim! I picked up the first issue of “Casanova” and I must have read it either when I was really tired or in a bad mood, because I didn’t enjoy it. After hearing all the acclaim surrounding the series, I went back and got the first collected edition from my library and loved it. I eagerly await the second collection.
George Tramountanas: Matt Fraction’s series stood out in term of quality and storytelling for readers and critics.Â It was so much more than a mere superhero or super-spy yarn, and Gabriel Ba’s art was a revelation.Â While Fraction had written many comics before (read “The Annotated Mantooth!”), this was the series that brought him to the forefront of attention and lead the way to him becoming one of Marvel’s premier writers.
Kiel Phegley: Sometimes I get pretty worked up about the fact that cool books like this ultimately serve to launch their creators into the superhero world full time rather than letting these kinds of stories continue to grow, but when I read “Invincible Iron Man” that pain is slightly blunted.
And thus ends Part Two of CBR’s “Decade In Review.” Don’t fret though – much more fun is coming your way as our reporters take a long hard look at the next few years in their next installment. But, while you’re waiting, pour yourself a frosty beverage and swing by CBR’s forums to let our reporters know your thoughts on this installment. Oh, and Steve’s still waiting for the rest of you to read “All Star Superman.” Hurry!