Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Scott Snyder Stories Ever Told!
10. “Devil in the Sand” American Vampire #6-11
The second American Vampire storyline introduces us to two notable characters, police Chief Cash McCogan and Vassals of the Morningstar agent Felicia Book. Most important, though, is the Vassals themselves, an organization designed to hunt down vampires. This is a very well structured story that set up the status quo for American Vampire going forward, the story will advance X amount of years and Snyder will introduce new characters and we’ll see other characters pop up in surprising places, like Skinner appearing here as a brothel owner in Las Vegas. The art was by Rafael Albuquerque (and it was great).
9. American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1-5
Sean Murphy joins Snyder as the artist for this fantastic action-packed storyline that sends McCogan and Felicia Book on a suicide mission behind enemy lines during World War II. Nazis are bad, so you can just imagine how bad Nazi VAMPIRES are! The whole mission is for a supposed cure for vampirism, something that both McCogan and Book would like to have. What will happen when/if they find it?
8. “Raise Them Bones” Swamp Thing #1-7
Snyder along with the always excellent Yanick Paquette relaunched Swamp Thing for the New 52 with this series, which detailed how Alec Holland eventually becomes the Swamp Thing once again (for the first time)!
7. Batman: Gates of Gotham #1-5
Fans of Snyder’s current Batman run would love his work on this mini-series with co-writer Kyle Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy, which reveals a secret connection between the most powerful families of Gotham and the century-long grudge that is being carried out against these families in the present day, with the bridges of Gotham City paying the price. One of these families just happens to be the Waynes!
6. “Ghost War” American Vampire #13-18
It is world War II, and Henry Preston, husband to American Vampire Pearl Jones, goes on a mission in the Pacific with Skinner Sweet and an elite fighting team in an attempt to stop a hidden vampire race in Japan before the islands are beseiged and the vampires exposed to thousands of new victims. It is a race against time for Henry and the men and when you’re dealing with Skinner Sweet, you never know who to trust. The whole story is also backdropped against the compelling nature of Pearl’s relationship with her husband. He is aging. She is not. He is going into battle. He is mortal. I think you understand how all of that would be pretty compelling in terms of relationship drama, right? The art is by Rafael Albuquerque.
The top five is on the next page!
Co-written with Scott Tuft and featuring art by Attila Futaki, this striking, evocative horror story follows a young boy becoming a man in the years before the Roaring Twenties while being stalked by an otherworldly serial killer. Snyder and Tuft do a wonderful job developing the personalities of the character in the tale and Futaki’s art is suitably creepy.
4. “American Vampire” American Vampire #1-5
Here is the introduction to the fascinating world of the American Vampire. The concept of the book is based on its description. Each area of the world has their own particular breed of vampire. There has not yet been an American Vampire until one day in the late 19th Century. Our story begins in the 1920s, when a would-be Hollywood actress runs afoul of a sinister conspiracy. Left for dead, the first American Vampire decides to “save” her by making her the SECOND American Vampire. Chaos ensues. The back-up story is co-written by Stephen King and it tells the origin of Skinner Sweet, the breakout star of American Vampire, and the aforementioned first American Vampire. The would-be actress is Pearl Jones, and it is awesome to see how she manages to get past her status as a vampire to try to retain as much of her humanity as she can. Rafael Albuquerque is the artist for the series and beyond his excellent storytelling skills, he also designs the hell out of both Pearl and Skinner. Skinner, in particular, has a really striking visage.
3. “Court of Owls” Batman #1-11
In his opening storyline on the rebooted New 52 Batman, Snyder and artists Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion introduce the Court of Owls, a mystery group in Gotham City that has been controlling things behind the scenes for years and that Nightwing is connected to the Owls in that he was intended to be made a Talon (one of their agents) but Bruce Wayne ruined that by adopting him. The Court wants Gotham City back from Batman and tries to undermine him and take him down. Eventually this leads to the Night of the Owls, a wild night where Batman and his allies must stop the Court and their Talons from killing pretty much every influential person in all of Gotham City. It is a wild ride and Capullo and Glapion’s dynamic artwork serves the story well.
2. “Death of the Family” Batman #13-17
In this major Batman crossover, the Joker decides that the best way to get at Batman is not to kill Batman himself but to attack Batman’s FAMILY, the people who have sprung up around Batman since his first encounter with the Joker years ago. We learn that the Joker may know the secret identities of the entire Bat-Family and is hunting them down and trying to turn them against one another. It is all deliciously twisted stuff. Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion drew the story.
1. “Black Mirror” Detective Comics #871-881
Snyder’s first extended Batman story is a twisty tale of Dick Grayson (as Batman) and Commissioner Gordon as they each deal with problems with their past. In Dick’s case, he encounters the daughter of the gangster who killed his parents while Gordon is dealing with the return of his psychologically disturbed son, James (the kid who Batman saved from dying in a fall from the bridge in Batman: Year One). Their intertwined stories make up the 11 issue arc, with short stories combining to form the larger narrative. Snyder is joined by two brilliant artists, Jock (who does the Batman stuff) and Francesco Francavilla (who does the Commissioner Gordon stuff). One of the most impressive aspects of this story is that Snyder initially was telling the Batman stuff as a main story with the Gordon stuff as a back-up tale and then lost the back-up tales shortly after his run began but still managed to make it all work very well. It is a dark, character-driven work that deals strongly with the idea of whether people can change and how you can always trick yourself into looking past the problems in the people you care about.
Okay, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!