ComicMix Six: Favorites (and not-so-favorites) of the decade
And then one day you find ten years (and two weeks) have got behind you…
Since everybody thinks it’s the end of the decade, we’ll do a recap of the decade to go along with our recaps of 2009. This is
by no means a definitive list of “the best of the decade”, just our disparate takes
on what stuck out in the minds of everybody here at the Mix as to what happened in the last ten years. Backwards ho!
Best Ethnic Replacement for Milquetoast Hero of the Decade: Jaime Reyes, Blue Beetle
Ted Kord fans (yes, all 28 of you…) slow your roll! I am one of you! Need proof? I totally own the original Ted Kord action figure from back in the mid 90s! But let’s face it guys, Ted wasn’t doing much since his Justice League Extreme days now, was he? So, leave it to DC Architects Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and Judd Winick (ok, one architect, one great noir writer, and that guy from MTV) to give Ted a swansong, and smear his boring white-guy-noggin all over a castle wall. A short time later, yet-another-space-bound-artifact came crashing down into the DCU, at the feet of second generation Mexican immigrant Jaime Reyes. Poof! The DCU has this generation’s Vibe! Jaime is the perfect addition to DC’s general melange of milquetoast major leaugers. Jamie’s got “Benetton Ad” written all over him, as he lives in the southwest (El Paso, Texas, I tell ya whut.), is best friends with a slacker named Pedro, and all but spews Spanglish in between beetle battles. Jaime’s Blue Beetle is a far more marketable sort, trading Kord’s wits and a powerfully dorky light/air gun for slick alien techno-armor with a disposition for deadly demolition by way of any number of fun action-figure accessories. Jaime enjoyed an ongoing series for a few years, but has seen his stock rise with recent appearances on Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon series. And just to kick sand in our collective Ted-loving-faces? They gave Jaime Ted’s old ride. Ay, dios mio. –Marc Alan Fishman
Favorite Idea Wasted of the Decade: The Illinois Spaceknights, Civil War
We know the story well enough, don’t we? Nitro done blowed up Stamford, and Tony Stark done led ole’ congress to pass the Superhuman Registration Act. What with a plethora of newly discovered super-powered people… something had to be done with the excess. Welcome to The Initiative! Marvel opted to train every Tom, Dick, and Butterball with powers in a military style bootcamp. After graduation came placement into any one of 50+ super teams, each to be covered under the Fifty State Initiative. Now, it’s no secret I’m a loyal native son of the Chicagoland area… So, imagine my surprise that the state housing the nation’s third largest city would be protected by… The Spaceknights?
Now, color me confused here folks. Illinois has no connection to NASA, where one might THINK a connection to “Spaceknights” might be relevant. Since the Civil War ended in 2007, nothing else has come of the aforementioned Illinois superteam. But I guess they’re not alone. Wikipedia lists no less than 25 other states not only in the dark… but without totally horrible team names like “the Spaceknights”… Hell, at this point, I’d sooner hope they are disbanded, and redubbed “the Windbags”. Epic Fail anyone? –Marc Alan Fishman
Most Forgotten Book of the Decade: 1602
Remember this book? Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, gorgeous colors by Richard Isanove, did gangbuster sales? Now, alomst completely forgotten. Didn’t make many people’s best of decade lists, wasn’t mentioned in sales material for Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader (okay, competing publishers, but still, that doesn’t matter to booksellers) and it seems to have dropped off the radar. Which is a shame, because it seemed more like the Marvel Universe I knew and loved than anything else Marvel published in 2007. —Glenn Hauman
Most overlooked of the decade: Street Fighter (UDON/Image)
Yeah, we know. A comic based on a fighting game series? But here’s the thing: UDON’s team borrows the best elements of a kung fu movie, layers on the manga-esque melodrama and soap operatic intertwining ensemble cast storylines, glues it together with a heaping dose of love for the source material, and then polishes it until it shines with stylish and flashy artwork. I can’t speak to how well it works if you don’t know the game, having known how to pull a Hadoken my entire life, but if you like Street Fighter even a little bit, it’s a heck of a ride. —Matthew Weinberger
Favorite Comeback (Albeit Short Lived, and Soon Forgotten Again) Concept of the Decade: H.E.R.O.
2003, long before he was editorially mandated to prove once again that
no one really loves Wonder Woman, Will Pfeifer delivered a wonderful
new book to the DC Nation-ites (who I assume aren’t zombies?).
Resurrecting an old and “true silver age” concept, the H-Dial, Pfiefer
delivered a short lived ongoing series that never fell short on the
awesome. Like so many other things in the DCU, a
mysterious-object-from-space comes crashing down to Earth. This time,
the titular 24 hour Metahuman-making-machine found it’s way to a new
person every few issues. One part monkey’s paw, one part karma killer,
Pfiefer’s HERO series delivered a great slice of life to what would be
an over-full shelf choked with muscles and fights. Within the series,
we get to see average people get a taste of the superhuman. Some become
obsessed with it. Others use it to make a little profit. Even the
silver age star Robby Reed made the final arc of the book, trying to
chase down his property in an attempt to stop the roving sadness it
creates. The series ended after two years. It only got the trade
paperback treatment for the first arc, so intrepid collectors looking
for a real gem of a series will have to troll through the back issues
to read one heck of a book. –Marc Alan Fishman
Favorite Two-page Story of the Decade:
I wouldn’t dare to say what the best single book or story of the decade was, but goddammit, I’ll fight anyone who claims there was a better two page story. From 9/11 Volume 2, and in memory of the late great Steve Gilliard, I present “America’s Pastime” by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso:
This story, more than anything else, was the moment when I knew that America was going to be all right again. Thanks to Cubs fan Azzarello for the one 9/11 story that doesn’t seem off, overreacting, or mawkish, and stands up to the test of time.
My two favourite comics comments on 9/11:Clan of the Cats (relatively subtle)andFoxtrot for 9/24/01, which, so far as i can see, was the first comic reaction to the attack (though i've heard that Mort Walker managed to get his syndicate to pull the regular Beetle Bailey strip for 9/12 and run a special strip, but i haven't seen it).Both hit you squarely with it, without, as you said, seeming off, over-reacting or mawkish.The "Foxtrot" does need to be put in context for the reader
This reminds me. Where were the Space Knights when a Viking God blew up Soldier Field?! Our super team cant keep a great big fat guy from walking into our beloved stadium and exploding? What are they even around for?
Obviously the Illinois Space Knights were busy defending much larger and important things at the time. Like our abundant corn crop.
I thought that Jaime would have really fit in better back in the early to mid 90s, when Kyle was the only Green Lantern and Wally was still new at being the Flash. It feels like the rest of DC is trying to undo the "young ward takes up the mantle" fad that was going on then. Aside from that, I actually thought he was a pretty good character.Personally though, I really thought Firestorm was going to make a comeback around that same time Jaime showed up, but every time I got used to a new pair, they would change the disembodied member of the duo. I'm not surprised it got cancelled. I would award Firestorm "Most awkward or poorly handled reboot."But man, 160……2 used to be all the rage in the mid 2000s. I think it was forgotten because Marvel couldn't leave well enough alone. Every time something sells well, they have to do a sequel. I remember when Fantastick Four came out, I had no desire to read it. They had killed 160……2 for me.