Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Here are the next three runs!!
12. Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s JLA – 574 points (7 first place votes)
Morrison – JLA #1-17, 22-26, 28-31, 34, 36-41, plus a #1,000,000 and a Secret Files
Porter – 1-7, 10-16, 18-19, 22-25, 28-31, 34, 36-41, plus a #1,000,000 and a Secret Files
Way back when Keith Giffen began work on the relaunched Justice League title in 1987, he wanted to do a “big gun” Justice League – Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern – the whole nine yards.
They told him no.
He could have Batman, and that’s it (and even Batman was taken from him soon after).
That was much the case for the rest of the tenure of the Justice League International – Superman was accessible when Dan Jurgenes was writing the book, but afterwards, nope. Wonder Woman was accessible for a good long while, but that was it. In 1996, Peter David even did an issue of Aquaman where Aquaman specifically said he would not join the League.
However, outside of Giffen, Giffen’s take on the League was not particularly popular, so when DC was debating on how to revamp the title, they finally caved in – Grant Morrison could have the “Big Guns” League, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions DC made in the 1990s.
With the JLA, Morrison basically invented the widescreen action comic (which Authority probably perfected, but with much less famous characters), as each Morrison arc was a BIG…DRAMATIC…ACTION EPIC!!! It was his ode to the Silver Age, where the Justice League would go on bizarre adventures all the time, only with modern comics, Morrison (and artist Howard Porter) were able to do everything BIGGER than they did back in the 60s, and it resonated with fans, making JLA the most popular superhero comic at DC, taking a franchise that was in the pits and making it relevant again.
Perhaps most importantly, Morrison had a story where he used the Blue Superman and did something COOL with him, which is probably the most impressive part of Morrison’s whole run.
This really was not some deep comic book, it was pure entertainment, but it was well-written, well-executed entertainment that created a practical cottage industry of tie-ins for DC.
11. Marv Wolfman and George PÃ©rez’s Teen Titans – 643 points (15 first place votes)
Wolfman – New Teen Titans #1-40, Tales of the New Teen Titans #41-50, New Teen Titans #1-5 (co-wrote #6) plus three Annuals
PÃ©rez – New Teen Titans #1-5, 6-34, 37-40, Tales of the New Teen Titans #41-50, New Teen Titans #1-5 (co-wrote #6) plus three Annuals
Marv Wolfman left Marvel in the late 70s over a contract dispute, and he came to DC with the mindset of bringing some of the Marvel style of comics to DC, and that’s just what he did when he teamed up with George PÃ©rez to do the New Teen Titans (a book Wolfman had worked on in the past).
First, they introduced three significant new characters, the alien Starfire, the robotic Cyborg and the half-demon Raven. They also changed Changeling enough that he was essentially a new character. Pairing these heroes up with Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash as the holdovers, and they had one of the most consistent superhero lineups in comic history (more or less the entire lineup stood in place for their whole run on New Teen Titans, with Kid Flash leaving four years in).
PÃ©rez’s detailed art was a delight to readers, especially as he was able to draw so many of the issues, giving him an amazing run on the title 6-34? In the 1980s? With THAT detail? That’s nuts!
But probably the biggest part of the book was the soap opera feel that Wolfman gave the title, in the same way that Chris Claremont was doing a soap opera-esque feel on the X-Men, the clear counterpart to the New Teen Titans.
Soon, the title was the highest-selling DC title, and I believe in the early goings was even out-selling the X-Men (I’m almost positive, actually, that it outsold Uncanny X-Men at least until 1981, at which point X-Men took off and left them in the dust, but that’s neither here nor there).
In the second issue, Wolfman and PÃ©rez created one of DC’s best villains, Deathstroke the Terminator.
Later on, they allowed Robin to graduate to a new identity, they introduced the anti-Kitty Pryde, Terra, they added Deathstroke’s son, Jericho, to the team and a lot of other stuff. It was all really quite good, and very soap opera-y! Especially the “special moment” issues, like the story about runaways, which was so powerful that they were hired to do a special Anti-Drugs giveaway comic that must have been read by, like, a gazillion schoolchildren in the 80s.
Not a bad legacy, huh?
The pair launched a new title, but PÃ©rez left to work on the mini-series (that Wolfman wrote) Crisis on Infinite Earths, and that was it for the run, although PÃ©rez would return four years later for a quick reunion run.
10. Grant Morrison’s New X-Men – 701 points (14 first place votes)
New X-Men #114-154, plus an Annual
Marvel was in bankruptcy when they hired Grant Morrison to become the main X-Men writer, and they basically gave him total freedom to do what he wanted, and what he wanted to do was to make some major changes in the title, from eliminating the traditional costumes (going with a “leather jackets” look), which is similar to what the movies did, to making Beast look like the Beast from the famous Jean Cocteau film from the 1940s, having all the mutants on Genosha murdered, adding Emma Frost to the X-Men, and having it be revealed that home sapiens were on the verge of extinction.
And that was just the first story arc!!!
After there, Morrison kept the pace quick and the new characters a-plenty, from Xorn, Angel, Beak and the Stepford Cuckoos to John Sublime, Fantomex and Kid Omega.
The book was set-up as a sort of homage to Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s run, in that Morrison would attempt to address the same stories they did, just in a different manner. They had a Sentinel story? Morrison would do a Sentinel story. They had a Shi’ar story? Morrison would do a Shi’ar story. And so on and so forth.
Sadly, the amazing artwork of Frank Quitely, which was meant to be a regular feature on the comic, only showed up about 15 of the 40 issues (if that), and the “regular” backup artist, Ethan Van Sciver, also only did a couple of issues. This led to fill-in artist Igor Kordey being forced to draw some quiiiiiiick comic books, and the result is some ugly looking artwork at times (not Kordey’s fault, of course, as he had VERY little time to get the books out), which is a shame, as the stories were top-drawer.
Morrison’s final story arc (set in the present) was a big Magneto story where Morrison mocked the very nature of comic cycles of death and resurrection. He also killed off a few characters, and had Emma Frost and Scott Summers end up together.
The final arc, period, was set in the future, drawn by Marc Silvestri.
That’s it for today! More tomorrow!
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