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The Greatest Scott Snyder Stories Ever Told!

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Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Scott Snyder Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

10. “Devil in the Sand” American Vampire #6-11

The second American Vampire storyline introduces us to two notable characters, police Chief Cash McCogan and Vassals of the Morningstar agent Felicia Book. Most important, though, is the Vassals themselves, an organization designed to hunt down vampires. This is a very well structured story that set up the status quo for American Vampire going forward, the story will advance X amount of years and Snyder will introduce new characters and we’ll see other characters pop up in surprising places, like Skinner appearing here as a brothel owner in Las Vegas. The art was by Rafael Albuquerque (and it was great).

9. American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1-5

Sean Murphy joins Snyder as the artist for this fantastic action-packed storyline that sends McCogan and Felicia Book on a suicide mission behind enemy lines during World War II. Nazis are bad, so you can just imagine how bad Nazi VAMPIRES are! The whole mission is for a supposed cure for vampirism, something that both McCogan and Book would like to have. What will happen when/if they find it?

8. “Raise Them Bones” Swamp Thing #1-7

Snyder along with the always excellent Yanick Paquette relaunched Swamp Thing for the New 52 with this series, which detailed how Alec Holland eventually becomes the Swamp Thing once again (for the first time)!

7. Batman: Gates of Gotham #1-5

Fans of Snyder’s current Batman run would love his work on this mini-series with co-writer Kyle Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy, which reveals a secret connection between the most powerful families of Gotham and the century-long grudge that is being carried out against these families in the present day, with the bridges of Gotham City paying the price. One of these families just happens to be the Waynes!

6. “Ghost War” American Vampire #13-18

It is world War II, and Henry Preston, husband to American Vampire Pearl Jones, goes on a mission in the Pacific with Skinner Sweet and an elite fighting team in an attempt to stop a hidden vampire race in Japan before the islands are beseiged and the vampires exposed to thousands of new victims. It is a race against time for Henry and the men and when you’re dealing with Skinner Sweet, you never know who to trust. The whole story is also backdropped against the compelling nature of Pearl’s relationship with her husband. He is aging. She is not. He is going into battle. He is mortal. I think you understand how all of that would be pretty compelling in terms of relationship drama, right? The art is by Rafael Albuquerque.

The top five is on the next page!

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58 Comments

strongly disagree with No.2!!

I have to say I was very underwhelmed by Death of the Family, especially considering the rave reviews everyone was giving it (a lot of people declaring it to be the second best Joker story, only behind The Killing Joke).
It all turned out just to be a distraction from what Grant Morrison was planning in Batman Inc.

Death of the Family is a great story if you like pseudo-meaningful anti-climaxes and psychopaths rambling on for sixty pages about clumsy “Bat-king” metaphors. People who gave this thing more than three stars might as well say that Rob Zombie is the greatest movie director of all time.

Death of the Family is a great story if you like pseudo-meaningful anti-climaxes and psychopaths rambling on for sixty pages about clumsy “Bat-king” metaphors. People who gave this thing more than three stars might as well say that Rob Zombie is the greatest movie director of all time.

That’s not true. People who like their homoerotic subtext turned into just plain homoerotic text love it too. Don’t leave them out. Actually, Snyder turns ALL subtext into just plain old overt text.

SPOIL ALERT FOR DEATH OF THE FAMILY

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion of course, but I have to disagree with all this Scott Snyder hate, particularly with Death of the Family. Yes, Snyder can be a bit heavy handed at times, I’ll give you that. But everything he did with the Joker was completely in character. The Joker’s theatircal. He makes big, sweeping grandiose statements in large part because he knows that it will piss off Batman, what with the dark knight’s penchant for subtlety and no-nonsense, concrete language.

And I’ve gotta say, I completely disagree with the idea that death of the family is anti climactic. I honestly think an actual, literal death would have been so much more predictable in context. The ending that Snyder gave may not have been a visceral shock, but it works brilliantly within the context of the story and is emotionally affecting.

Death in the Family was stunningly inept, particularly the climax. “Oh yeah? Well I know something about YOU!!!” “NOOOO!!!!” Ugh.

Black Mirror, however, was a tense thriller that I found satisfying. Even the over-the-top stuff at the end worked fine. I don’t think Snyder is a bad writer, but I’ve found little in his subsequent Batman work that I’ve liked.

**SPOILER FOR DEATH OF THE FAMILY**

Speaking of Snyder turning subtext into text… The Joker knowing that Bruce Wayne is Batman (and not really caring) was something that writers would occasionally toy with in the Bat-books for many years. Until now, no one ever officially came out and said that was the case. With the conclusion of Death of the Family, Snyder confirms it with that scene between Bruce and Joker at Arkham.

I loved that idea when it was something subtle that just popped up now and then. I feel like to come out and say “Yes, this is indeed true!” kind of ruins it. (To use a metaphor that Joker would like – if you have to explain the joke, there is no joke!)

I really liked DEATH OF THE FAMILY, especially because it was a metaphorical death rather than an actual killing off. And Joker was fantastic to read. The spin-offs were hit or miss but the main plotline was pretty great.

I would however say the COURT OF OWLS sequence was much more accomplished. The writing was stronger, tighter, and the art was perfect for 11 issues. DEATH OF THE FAMILY had the two issues — 14 and 15 — where I thought it was stalling for time, but I loved Bats charging through Arkham in 16.

Court of Owls was way better in my opinion because it was a band new villain that instantly felt like a classic.

Death of the family, was good, and i dont understand why so many people thought someone was supposed to die. its called death of THE family, which i feel is clearly interpreted as the batman family is going to be attacked, not one person.

Yeah, Death of the Family’s heavy-handedness really ruined a lot of the nuances of The Joker’s personality.

The Black Mirror was quite good, though.

Of all these lists, this one strikes me as the one that’ll seem out of date quickest, since Snyder’s ascent to comic writer stardom was so recent. He’s gonna be doing high profile superhero work for a good while I’d imagine, people are going to be paying attention, and that’ll be lots more chances to deliver on the hype of big stories where “death of the family” might have fallen short. Or even time to just write more “black mirror”s. So, it’ll be interesting to compare lists if he gets a redo further down the line… also maybe interesting for me to go back and see this comment, especially if it somehow turns out Snyder only writes bad comics from now on!

In my opinion Scott Snyder is a very talented writer. He hasn’t written that much so this lists a large part of the stories he has released. And most of them have been pretty great and none of them bad. His only story I haven’t liked was Rotworld.
I think his Batman stories have been a bit inconsistent (I liked Death of the Family, Court of Owls was a bit to long), however all of his big stories in American Vampire have been great in my opinion. And this list is really missing the Death Race story.

With the conclusion of Death of the Family, Snyder confirms it with that scene between Bruce and Joker at Arkham.

I don’t think he did? Was the Joker aware that it was Bruce Wayne that was talking to him?

snyder has done great stories?
with those plots?

Yeah, i dont think so.

All of the chatter is about his Batman stories, but I wouldn’t have picked up the New 52 Batman (or the Black Mirror trade) if it wasn’t for American Vampire. They read very well as collected volumes, and I would highly recommend picking those up. Especially the first two and the latest, vol 5, that just came out.

By no stretch of the imagination should the steaming pile of shite that was “Death Of The Family” be higher than the masterful “Severed”.

I also predict that in about 5 years, Snyder will have gone the way of Geoff Johns and become a once great writer who becomes rotten and lousy and given too many passes by drooling fanboys for shitty plotting and narrative decisions.

interesting to see most of the slots on this list for synder is one dc title his american vampire series. and surprised to see death of the family making the cut given how the thing is still just recent

I mostly agreed with this list. Quite similar to my own ranking and I’m a big fan of all 10 stories.

*Runs away*

Ratings Should Be Good!

Death of the Family showed how empty the lack of critical discourse on American comics is. Something so pointless and inept could be praised so is mind-numbing

For all the controversy this list has drummed up, the simple fact of the matter is that Snyder’s Batman is popular because he’s the first writer in forever to actually expand on the milieu of the character to any significant degree. Everyone else has just been reusing the same characters/settings/everything over and over again.

That said, it really isn’t even an issue of quality. People are willing to overlook mediocre writing in fiction if the writer can make up for it with world/character building, which Snyder has done regardless of the “writing quality” of the title(s).

Almost completely agree with this! Glad to see Black Mirror on top!
Only thing I would change is take out the first arc of AV and put the Deathrace arc in it and switch around Court Of Owls and Death Of The Family (was a bit let down by the ending. If the ending would’ve been better, it could’ve claimed top spot for me, but, oh well…)

Before anyone challenges my point, I’ll clarify that I probably should have specified that I meant “people in general are willing to overlooked mediocre writing in fiction…”, as in the overall audience as a whole, not all of the individuals or even necessarily most of them.

And yes, I think deep down, Joker knows Bats is Bruce Wayne. He just

A) doesn’t care that much about it
B) doesn’t like to look behind the mask and therefore doesn’t try to acknowledge it
C) cannot really puttwo and two together, because of the way his mind works. He knows Bruce is Bats (he saw him without the mask in RIP and didn’t even react to that), but somehow he doesn’t really get it/wants to get it.

Only Snyder fans will remember “Death of the Family” in a couple of years. As a Batman fan, that story will just be another of those “I can’t believe I spent my money on this” arc.

I just started comics last summer and I already feel like Snyder’s batman is overrated, his court of owls was awesome but death of the family??

Stop trying to “explain” death of the family, no one needs to explain why killing joke was good or other classics, they just read way better than te nothing death of the family will be remembered as

I doubt any one can call the half-assed rehashes of better stories as good world-building.

Who said anything about quality? Did I not explicitly specify that the appeal of his run has nothing to do with quality?

@Turd
You said that mediocre writing can be compensated by *world-building*, which any sane person would interpret as decent *quality world-building*

One thing I would point out that Snyder is extremely new and not all that prolific to have something like this dedicated on him.

Turd Burglar: You say that Snyder is the first writer to expand Batman’s mileu in ages, yet Grant Morrison just wrote a miniseries in which Batman appeared as a caveman, a pirate, a witch-hunter, and a New God. This does not compute. Snyder’s work on Bruce Wayne Batman has been incredibly regressive, turning him back into “Mr. Doom and Gloom.” I think Morrison showed that Batman can be serious and fun at the same time; his stories broke Batman out of the mold of “obsessive creature of the night” yet also avoided going camp.

Death of the Family was better than anything Morrison did with the character, with his convoluted Batgod mythology and word blender dialogue. Yeah, Grant, we’ve read Jack Kirby, too. Congratulations on being a crappy version of him. In Death of the Family, Joker returns to form, in my opinion. He’s a frightening guy made all the more frightening because he reveals a truth underneath all his ego and viciousness. For him, it’s always about Joker vs Batman, and the other people just get in the way. He doesn’t want to know who Batman is and he doesn’t want it known who he is. To him, he’s the Joker only and Batman is Batman only and everything is between the two of them. Joker isn’t dangerous because he’s a physical threat, because he can take Batman in a knock-down fight, but because he unsettles everything, and Snyder did this brilliantly.

Yeah the Joker returns to form by…not dping anything.

Shaun Martineau

April 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I just hope at some point, Snyder leaves Bruce Wayne to tell some Dick Grayson stories again.
Higgins feels very much like Snyder-lite on the book right now.

anyone remember Batman knocking out a tooth of grayson by accident and discovering the court of the owl special filling?

jesus, haha.

I haven’t read Death of the Family. Court of Owls was quite good, for the most part.

The Black Mirror, though, is a masterpiece. Probably my favorite Batman or Dick Grayson story in the last 10 years.

i have mixed feelings about Death of the Family. I returned to comics after many years (and even then i was a casual reader). I LOVED the beginning of Snyder’s swamp thing, but i dunno if any of you have read issue 17, but it was NOT that great. Animal Man 17 was so good and I was excited to read Swamp Thing since each issue of Swamp thing previously was slightly better than the Animal Man counterpart Rot World stuff. The art sucked and the story was really bland.

Death of the family was pretty good, but i feel the end was just too quick. I don’t wanna spoil anything but it was too fast.

COurt of Owls was amazing and should have been placed higher. I still need to read Severed, but from what I read on the first issue, it was shockingly horrifically delicious :)

pakh: Severed is terrible. The first few issues are pretty good, and then it goes completely off the rails. It’s pretty much the worst thing Snyder has written.

is it really Greg? well i’ll give it a try. I loved the first issue. It was built up nicely and I liked the art. It was really a cool story and pretty scary if I might say so. well i’ll try it out. the library has it on copy.

BTW, no one here is a Swamp thing fan? The first few issues were great, but that stupid 0 DC month really killed the momentum of the Rot World stuff.

pakh: Yeah, if the library has a copy, that’s the way to go! :) I too liked the first issue, and even the first 3-4. Around issue 4-5, it started going really wrong, and the ending was awful. It’s too bad, because it was heading in such an interesting direction.

well, at least if i have low expectations, the book can’t be bad, lol.

@Mudassir

I explicitly said it had nothing to do with quality. There’s no real misinterpreting that.

@Roman

Morrison never did anything except introduce the idea that the pre-Crisis era actually happened in the post-Crisis continuity.

The Original Jimmy

April 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I was underwhelmed by Death of the Family. I didn’t think it had a decent ending ( it’s not the first time the family had been “torn apart” and not speaking to each other – but we know they’ll patch it up), plus all the hype about the Joker’s horrifying “look,” especially from Capullo himself amounted to nothing special. His Joker was not terrifying at all. Patrick Gleason’s version was a lot better drawn and much more horrifying than Capullo’s version ( I don’t get Capullo anyway – he just seems a watered down version of Todd McFarlane anyway.)

However I agree with the rest of the list ( haven’t read severed though . ) Snyder works best with a good artist – so far Jock seems to be the most compatible when it comes to Batman stories.

Screw you DC, I miss Dick as Batman! Black Mirror was amazing.

Also, I stopped reading American Vampire after the 1st trade for some reason. Looks like it got pretty interesting after I stopped, so I’ll have to grab some more trades for that.

And as for Snyder’s new 52 Batman stuff, I’ve only read the first trade and it was pretty good. Vastly overrated, but still pretty good. I don’t really understand the criticisms of Snyder as a writer, but I guess it goes down hill from after those first 6 issues I read? I’ll find out soon enough, as I have the second trade sitting on my “too read” pile. This list has inspired me to get to that quicker than I was planning to.

I think much of the criticism comes from how overrated his batman writing is (although I do think it’s pretty good, it doesn’t warrant half of the hype it gets).
I agree with The Original Jimmy, Snyder really works best with a good artist. It’s very apparent in his American Vampire writing, his stories with Albuquerque and with Sean Murphy are way better than the guest artist issues in every aspect. And Black Mirror was a damn good story.

Turd Burglar,

Between the existences of Damian Wayne and Batman Inc., Batman 666, and various little things (Joker’s self-reinvention, the meaning of ZurrEnAh, Professor Pyg), Morrison has done plenty to make his mark on Batman. I don’t love his Batman run, but it’s not like he only rehashed past stories.

James Crankyman

April 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm

It seems that a lot of the hate for DEATH OF THE FAMILY seems to stem from the fact that it A: didn’t have an actual, literal death (which kind of quashes the complaints about how Snyder apparently spells everything out for the reader); B: It seemed to be too “quasi-philosophical” and my personal favorite, C: That he’s not Grant Morrison.

I am eternally grateful that Snyder is NOT Morrison when it comes to Batman. His work on this title was the worst I’d seen on the character since the KNIGHTFALL days. Bat-fan camps seem to be divided in two currently; those who love Morrison and those who love Snyder. I’m VERY firmly in the Snyder camp.

Personally, I wouldn’t put DEATH OF THE FAMILY above SEVERED, because SEVERED was one of the best horror comics of the last several years aside from Josh Fialkov’s ECHOES (and I would even throw his I, VAMPIRE work into that as well) and Snyder’s own AMERICAN VAMPIRE, but I would say that DEATH OF THE FAMILY was some of his best work on the title thus far. It was powerful, unexpected, horrifying and literate. Snyder is one of the few writers that understands that Batman is still a detective and not just a dark avenger of the night. It also yielded some great crossover work, particularly from Tomasi, Gleason and Simone on their respective Bat-titles.

“I dont like Death of the Family because there was no death.” – Said Nobody, ever.

Gonzalo Guzman

April 11, 2013 at 6:15 am

I prefer “The Court of Owls” over “Death of The Family”. In my opinion it was a much more satisfying read, I’m still thinking of Batman #5! Not taking anything away from Death of The Family though, it was awesome!

Batman #5-6 are the best two issues published in DCnU that I read, IMHO.

Also as a followup to someone else’s comment about Team Morrison vs Team Snyder… bull£$%^! I am “relatively” (6 years) new comic book reader, and for me the two are THE Batman writers. I went back several years and read a lot of old stuff and classic stuff, but Morrison’s weird fantasy, Snyder’s dark Gotham (characterising the £$%^ out of a city), of all the modern Batman writing, and that’s going back to 2000 at least, of all that I read only Rucka competed up there. I love a lot of O’Neill’s stuff, Year One is fantastic (though the rest of Miller Batman isn’t), Pete Milligan’s short run was tragically short, and I know this isn’t the thread for this, but I just wanted to get this off my chest. Again, this is all IMHO, but for as long as I breathe, Team Morrison (who is soon departing anyways) and Team Snyder are not against!

Witness!!!

I enjoyed the Court of Owls much more than I expected to. I lost most of my interest when it turns out it’s not a sinister Gotham group but just a generic conspiracy that exists all over the world. Seen enough of those.

The first volume of American Vampire underwhelmed me too, but if it did get better, my library has more TPBs.

Apparently I’m in the minority compared to most of the people commenting, but I couldn’t stand Morrison’s Batman and I love Snyder’s Batman. Morrison seemed to be praised for digging up obscure parts of the Batman mythos and writing them with impenetrable language. The Bat-mite/Zurr-En-Rah stuff especially turned me off. I don’t find fault with anyone who enjoyed Morrison’s Batman, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. During the Morrison and Daniels era, I dropped all of my Bat books until Snyder came along on Detective. Between his Batman, American Vampire and his Swamp Thing, Snyder has given me a lot of stories that I love and I’d gladly take his work over Morrison’s (with the exception of JLA) any day.

Haters be hatin’

Court of owls was by far abetter story than death of family. The issue alone where batman is trapped in the maze underground losing his mind while he’s being stalked by one of the talons was better than the whole of death Of a family. That being said scotts work on American vampire should be in the top three. It’s just that batman is a better known property

I agree that Death of the Family is a bit too high on this list. I’d put any of the American Vampire arcs on this list ahead of it. Black Mirror is spot on though, in my top 10 for Batman, period.

It seems that a lot of the hate for DEATH OF THE FAMILY seems to stem from the fact that it A: didn’t have an actual, literal death (which kind of quashes the complaints about how Snyder apparently spells everything out for the reader); B: It seemed to be too “quasi-philosophical” and my personal favorite, C: That he’s not Grant Morrison.

That’s an impressive collection of strawmen. Those are probably the least cited reasons I’ve actually seen for complaints about Death of the Family.

Has Snyder been around long enough to have 10 best yet, or a great anything?

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