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Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) continues with a look at the top annual themes for DC Comics. From 1991-2001, DC’s Annuals all had an overall theme. Here are the top five…
This year was just the members of the JLA’s Annuals telling a story about, well, apes and the Justice League (a big plot point was various characters being turned into apes)
Legend of a Dead Earth
This was an odd theme where each story had to be set in a future where the Earth is dead. There were some good stories, but overall the concept was a bit narrow for a company-wide story.
Like JLApe, this was just done with the Annuals of the members of the JLA (the only characters who got Annuals this year), with the concept being each character dealing with the ghost of some dead character tied to them.
Our Worlds At War
These weren’t CALLED Annuals, but they were. Some of these were good because the individual titles had a lot of freedom to do what they wanted, so long as it sort of tied in with the Our Worlds At War crossover.
Like Bloodlines, this introduced new characters, only with the added shtick of the new characters being set in different countries other than the United States.
Same concept as Planet DC, only it probably had a better relative ratio of good annuals to bad (mostly all of the characters in Planet DC and Bloodlines were not so great)
5. Pulp Heroes
This was a good theme because it gave the individual titles a lot of freedom to do their individual stories. Although some of them were a stretch – like Pulp versions of Electric Superman, ya know?
4. Eclipso: The Darkness Within
Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming told a pretty complete tale with a lot of especially notable stories in the midst of the crossover, like the Superman Annuals in particular.
3. Armageddon 2001
The framing story was decent, but what made these annuals pop was the freedom each book had to tell stories of possible futures. A lot of creators used this opportunity to tell some really strong stories.
Letting everyone tell Elseworlds was a good idea, even if it did stretch the concept a bit thin.
1. Year One
This one was the best concept because it was broad (it applied to all titles) and it led to a lot of interesting stories.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!
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