Since I listed the worst yesterday, it is only fair that today I rundown the best. Of course, this is my opinion, so you may not agree, but there is at least to be some enjoyment from the process!
1. Identity Crisis. Whether you loved it or hated it, Identity Crisis got everyone talking. I know that every time I knew it was going to be at the comic book shop on Wednesday, I wanted to get there as soon as I could to see what happened next. It took the characters from the era I most identify with and spun them through the blender. I personally enjoyed the suspense, and though the ending left me underwhelmed, suspect that it will echo through the DCU all throughout 2005 and beyond.
2. Spider-Man 2. The movie that I saw twice in three days because it was just that good. Jim and I went and got the deluxe edition DVD with Christmas money knowing that it will get good use, just as the first movie does. If pressed, I would even say that I like this sequel better then the original. It also does my heart good that my nephews think the movie rules, and are interested in learning more about the character.
3. Conan Series from Dark Horse. Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord have revitalized a classic character by taking him back to his roots while paying homage to his creator. Beautifully crafted and executed, this comic is worth the price of admission. My favorite issue was the first of the origin stories, titled "Born on the Battlefield", but all the tales have been well done. Conan is an example of how the journey is more important then gettting there.
4. Queen & Country Novel. I didn't know how one of my favorite comics would hold up in book form and was pleasantly surprised. Titled "A Gentleman's Game", this book is an incredible read. There isn't any drag in the middle, just action and suspense to the very end. How it changes lead character Tara Chace is earth shattering and emotional. I loved reading it, and give it a look periodically just to make sure the events really happened.
5. Batman: War Games. The events and aftermath of this Batman titles crossover are sure to have repercussions for some time. Oracle is splintered from her hometown and Robin is left homeless. How Batgirl and Nightwing continue to adapt is anyone's guess, but as shown in Detective Comics #800, it is a back-to-basics approach that is sure to alienate the Dark Knight further from his peers.
6. Astonishing X-Men. This is how it's done when staying true to the path cut by the brilliant Grant Morrison. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday have upped the ante and made the X-Men relevant again. No more storytelling for the sake of a legacy here. Whedon has an agenda that will serve to make the team evolve into a more credible fighting unit while staying true to the core of the Xavier dream.
7. She-Hulk series. Dan Slott has made She-Hulk the it-character in the Marvel Universe. He keeps her larger then life personality intact while bringing a sense of humanity and goodness to her image. I like Jennifer Walters and care for the character as a result of this title. It is the surprise hit of the year in my opinion.
8. Powers relaunch. Thank God it's back! Just when I was going through withdrawals, my favorite crime book is back. Bendis and Oeming are firing on all cylinders on this title, and the matter-of-fact storytelling style increases the enjoyment 100%.
9. Invincible series. I know that The Walking Dead gets all the hype, but Invincible is where it's at for me. Robert Kirkman has gold here with a sympathetic but brave character who has been through the ringer while trying to keep up his GPA in high school. Next is college, and I for one, can hardly wait.
10. 100 Bullets. The current storyline has been incredible and next issue puts it in the bag. "Wylie Runs down the Voodoo" has been going since #51 and as each issue comes out, I get closer to the edge of my seat. Brian Azzarello and Edward Risso have genius here. I have been told that the series is finite and runs to 100, which makes the wait even more unbearable. I don't want it to end, but I want to read the next storyline yesterday. I haven't felt this way about a comic book since Preacher.
That is my list of 10 cool things about comic books in 2004. Tomorrow I hope to bring you a list of things to watch for in 2005.
Happy New Year to all of you! Best wishes for great joy and success in the new year!