"U.S.Avengers": A Guide to Marvel's New Patriotic Superhero Team
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the identification of the 25 panels/pages that I asked you to, well, identify. The winner will be revealed at the end of the post. Of course, I should have disqualified everyone because nobody wished me a Happy Birthday in their e-mails! I had a good cry about it, though, and I’m fine now! If you’ll forgive me, I’ll talk a bit about each panel. Just because, you know, I can.
Number One: Detective Comics #804 by David Lapham (w) and Ramon Bachs (a). This is the final page of this issue, and I love it because Batman thinks that he has finally found men he can feel good about hitting. Go, Bats! “City of Crime,” Lapham’s 12-issue run on Detective (#801-808, 811-814) is brilliant, if a bit grim and gritty. But it’s still flingin’-flangin’ excellent.
Number Two: Goddess #8 by Garth Ennis (w) and Phil Winslade (a). I just bought this a few weeks ago and haven’t actually read it yet. But I knew if Ennis was writing it, there would be some cool-ass scenes. And I was right!
Number Three: Spider-Man/Human Torch #3 by Dan Slott (w) and Ty Templeton (a). Everyone kept saying how fun this book is, so I bought it. And it is fun! This is, of course, the Spider-Mobile issue. Remember when Slott wrote Spider-Mobile stories and not Avenger-rapist stories? Good times.
Number Four: Dr. Fate #24 by J.M. DeMatteis (w) and Shawn McManus (a). I just mentioned this a few weeks ago when I talked about DeMatteis’ masterpiece. It’s the first panel of the last issue of the book, and Raina is going to hear all about the fate of Eric and Linda Strauss and Kent and Inza Nelson. I thought most of you would easily recognize McManus’ art!
Number Five: Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1 by Mike Grell (w & a). Yes, this mini-series gave us the torture of Black Canary, which is very sucky, but for the most part, it’s a very interesting take on Oliver. And I thought it was cool that he moved from a fake town to Seattle. Apparently Kevin Smith didn’t think it was.
Number Six: JLI Annual #2 by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen (w) and Bill Willingham (a). Willingham hardly does art anymore (we’ll see how long he lasts on Shadowpact), so I thought I’d throw in a panel where he does draw something. This is the issue where Rumaan Harjarvti (or however the hell you spell it) hires the Joker to kill the Justice League, and he fails miserably. Right after this Batman shows up, sees that the Joker is sitting in a tank while the rest of the League stands around in their bathing suits (it’s a picnic at Scott Free’s house!) and just keeps driving. Comedy gold. I miss the old Justice League.
Number Seven: Deep Sleeper #4 by Phil Hester (w) and Mike Huddleston (a). I wrote about this last year, because it’s awesome. Truly awesome. Go buy it now. NOW!
Number Eight: Lazarus Churchyard by Warren Ellis (w) and D’Israeli (a). I have mentioned this scene before in conjunction with some of the crap Ellis writes today. It doesn’t have an issue number because it was serialized in a magazine and then collected in a trade, but this is the final page in the book, as Lazarus talks about all the people who have died on him. Very touching work from Ellis.
Number Nine: Miracleman #14 by Alan Moore (w) and Jon Totleben (a). Somebody said this was Swamp Thing, which was not a bad guess, because it’s the same talent. This is right after Kid Miracleman “gets out” and goes on his rampage, and even more than the scenes in London in the next issue, this is a portrait of pure evil. When Johnny says, “They’d say I was going soft, wouldn’t they?” you should get chills. I know I do.
Number Ten: Fantastic Four #349 by Walt Simonson (w) and Art Adams (a). Wolverine! Hulk! Spider-Man! Ghost Rider! Issues #347-349 of the venerable comics magazine (the world’s most commercial, as issue #348 proclaimed) brought together these four as the new team when the Skrulls captured the real group. Lots of goofy fun, and Frank Castle makes a hilarious cameo. Yes, the Punisher is funny. These are wildly excellent issues.
Number Eleven: Animal Man #19 by Grant Morrison (w) and Chas Truog (a). Do I really need to say anymore? This still blows my mind every time I read the damned thing, even though I know it’s coming.
Number Twelve: Amazing Spider-Man #299 by David Michelinie (w) and Todd McFarlane (a). Some people said this was issue #300. But it ain’t. This is the end of issue #299, when we see Venom for the first time. I’m sorry, but this is just a cool scene. This was only McFarlane’s second issue, and it was before his art started getting really contorted and weird.
Number Thirteen: Uncanny X-Men #205 by Chris Claremont (w) and Barry Windsor-Smith (a). More than a few people said this was Windsor-Smith’s run on Marvel Comics Presents, but it’s X-Men, sorry! This is that excellent issue with Wolverine and Katie Power (?!) in Central Park and Logan rips apart the same guys he ripped apart way back during the Dark Phoenix saga (and would rip apart again in the Outback). He likes ripping those dudes apart, doesn’t he? And then, of course, he refuses to kill Lady Deathstrike. Awesome.
Number Fourteen: Dreadstar #60 by Peter David (w) and Angel Medina (a). Angel Medina’s work on Incredible Hulk was, well, awful, but his art on Dreadstar was excellent. Weird. And check it out – even in the future women wear 1980s-style shoulder pads!
Number Fifteen: Hellblazer #27 by Neil Gaiman (w) and Dave McKean (a). “Hold Me” is a wonderful story of homelessness and loss and it shows John in a nice light for a change. He doesn’t do anything bastard-y in this issue. I know, how can we deal with it?
Number Sixteen: Grendel #12 by Matt Wagner (w) and Arnold and Jacob Pander (a). Christine Spar’s final showdown with Argent. It’s a wonderfully rendered fight, and in this panel they both die. These first 12 issues of the regular series are simply brilliant and stunning to look at, with the Pander Bros. doing a very nice job.
Number Seventeen: Suicide Squad #37 by John Ostrander and Kim Yale (w) and John K. Snyder II and Geof Isherwood (a). Both Snyder and Isherwood are credited with “breakdowns,” so if you answered either you got credit. Just so you know. As for the page, for a long time, Ostrander had a running gag in SS about a member of the team who was throwing pies at various people. Everyone thought it was Captain Boomerang until he got pied. That turned out to be a clever feint, because it really was Boomerang. Amanda Waller was not in a good mood when she found out, and she dropped Digger off on a desert island. Classic. What a great series.
Number Eighteen: Noble Causes (first series) #1 by Jay Faerber (w) and Patrick Gleason (a). Race Noble marries Liz and goes on a honeymoon. On the last page, a laser comes from the sky and obliterates him. What a great cliff-hanger! Unfortunately, in later issues Faerber decided that exploring Race and Liz’s married life would be pretty interesting, so he created an alternate universe Race and now we’re never supposed to mention that the “real” Race is dead. But we have proof, Mr. Faerber! It’s still a great series. Why aren’t you buying it????
Number Nineteen: Scars #6 by Warren Ellis (w) and Jacen Burrows (a). Scars is one of those Ellis books for Avatar, and it’s a horribly disturbing experience. John Cain, the cop, has confronted a child-killer, but he has no evidence. That’s not about to stop him from getting justice. A sad and gripping read.
Number Twenty: Namor #31 by John Byrne (w) and Jae Lee (a). Was this Lee’s first mainstream comic work? Byrne drew the first two years and then just wrote, and Lee did some wild work on this book. Namor loses his memory and battles all sorts of bad guys, including Victor there.
Number Twenty-One: Atomika #2 by Andrew Dabb (w) and Sal Abbinanti (a). I’ve been telling you how good this book is! Freaky stuff from Abbinanti. Interesting story from Dabb. What’s not to like?
Number Twenty-Two: Elektra: Assassin #8 by Frank Miller (w) and Bill Sienkiewicz (a). I’m shocked that everyone didn’t recognize Sienkiewicz! For shame! This is Miller doing his completely over-the-top wackiness long before All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, and this is better. But that’s just my opinion.
Number Twenty-Three: GÃ¸dland #6 by Joe Casey (w) and Tom Scioli (a). Another book you should be buying! Discordia hears the verdict at her trial, and her head explodes! Wha-huh? And, of course, Friedrich Nickelhead then puts Basil Cronus’ head on her body. And yes, that is a very strange sentence. But that’s just the goodness that is GÃ¸dland!
Number Twenty-Four: New Mutants #60 by Louise Simonson (w) and Bret Blevins (a). The death of Doug Ramsey, a huge waste of a great character (and no, his melding with Warlock doesn’t count as a resurrection). He saves Rahne by throwing himself in front of a bullet! It’s a good scene and a decent comic, but it’s still a waste of a great character. And yet Gambit is still alive. There’s no justice.
Number Twenty-Five: Doom Patrol #63 by Grant Morrison (w) and Richard Case (a). I have claimed this is the best run by anyone in comic book history, and issue #63 just might be one of the top ten issues in comic book history. Jane leaves the “real world” behind and rejoins Cliff and Rebis on Danny the World. Beautiful, simply beautiful. I get choked up just thinking about it.
A few interesting points: only one person got the panel from Goddess, which was the most poorly identified exactly. A few people did guess that it was Garth Ennis, though – I guess a pole of stone in the groin easily identifies him! Absolutely no one got the Suicide Squad one completely correct – no one got the issue number, and a few people said Luke McDonnell did the art. That surprised me. The other one no one got exactly right was the panel from Dreadstar – only one person knew it was Dreadstar and who wrote and drew it, but he got the wrong issue number. Of all the artists, I figured McManus, McFarlane, Windsor-Smith, and Sienkiewicz would be the most recognizable, and I was right – for the most part. I thought Scars would be the most obscure, but more than a few people got it. Good job keeping up on your Avatar books! I got ten entries, and on 9 of them, Grell’s Green Arrow was correctly identified completely (name of the book, issue number, writer, and artist), followed by the Spider-Man/Human Torch panel, the Fantastic Four panel, and the Animal Man panel, each with 8 correct exact answers. I was a bit surprised that Green Arrow was so easily identified, but not that the others were – the Slott/Templeton book is recent, the FF is pretty famous, I think, and Buddy talking to the audience might be in the top ten of most famous in history.
Your winner, with 53 points out of 75, is Mike Loughlin. Mike shows up here often and makes interesting comments, and he is apparently a big nerd. Good job, Mike! He was the only one who knew the Goddess panel, one of the few who recognized Lazarus Churchyard and Scars, and he was one of only two people who correctly identified the Namor panel. He’s eclectic! Thanks for all your entries, people, and I’m sure I’ll have another one in the near future.
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