Top 50 Graphic Novels: #15-11

12. Enemy Ace: War Idyll (1990)

George Pratt wrote and painted this striking graphic novel that sees Hans von Hammer, the famous German World War I pilot known as "Enemy Ace" (who was the star of a number of acclaimed stories by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert in the mid-to-late 1960s), living in a hospital in the late 1960s as he awaits death. He is visited by a reporter who is really a Vietnam veteran who wants to discuss war itself with von Hammr, as he knows that if anyone can related to a discussion of war it would be von Hammer, one of the most famous killing machines of World War I.

von Hammer than tells him a number of stories from the war and boy, Pratt's painted work is just outstandingly gorgeous...

This was in the really early days of the mainstream comic book graphic novel. Vertigo had not even been invented yet!

11. JLA: Earth 2 (1999)

During his acclaimed run on the ongoing JLA comic book series, Grant Morrison introduced the Post-Crisis version of the Crime Society of America in this graphic novel with artist Frank Quitely, soon before the two men would reboot the X-Men for Marvel.

The concept of the series is that Alexander Luthor from the alternate Earth, Earth-2, shows up on Earth looking for the help of the Justice League. On his Earth, the world is run by villains, so he wants to bring the Justice League to save the day. However, while some of the Justice League head to Earth-2, the Crime Society then shows up on Earth and the remaining Leaguers have to fight them.

Batman meeting Commissioner Thomas Wayne, the arch-nemesis of Owlman, is particularly brilliant. However, the major twist is that both teams discover that they cannot win on their opposing Earths, due to the general principle that each world is governed by certain "good and evil" principles. Since neither team can be successful on their alternate planet, why did this thing all start? As it turns out, the Earth-2 Brainiac had a plan...

Seeing Owlman's reaction to the Wayne tombstone is brilliant. Frank Quitely really outdid himself on this series.

Look Back: Batman and Robin Are No Longer The Dynamic Duo!

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