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Posts Tagged ‘Invincible

10 (tie).  Walking Dead – Robert Kirkman

I can’t help feeling like this book should probably be #1 on our list. It isn’t (not even in my own personal ranking) because a few others were more popular, had greater impact, etc. But for sheer quality- in both concept and execution- The Walking Dead stood peerless in the 2000s. The book starts from a simple question: “What if every zombie movie you’ve ever seen didn’t actually have to end?” Series creator Robert Kirkman anchors the horror in his characteristically well-drawn characters, each of whom has the opportunity to show complete emotional range and complex, totally natural motivations usually absent from traditionally truncated zombie genre fare. Protagonist Rick Grimes and company endure a hard-fought existence that calls into question the nature of concepts like morality, justice, society and sanity when life becomes a nonstop pursuit of one goal: survival. And that makes anything possible- when the story doesn’t have to work itself to resolution after 90 minutes, all of the rules change. To spoil even one moment of The Walking Dead for a new reader would be criminal, but suffice it to say that nobody is safe, and in a world like this, any/every “normal” person can and will be pushed to things you’d never expect possible. And it is, in all likelihood, the best currently ongoing series in comics.

-Brendan

10 (tie). All-Star Superman – Grant Morrison

I love Superman. I love him as a supporting character. After 80 years as the flagship superhero of comics it feels like everything there was to say about Krypton’s last son has been said. In fact, it was said before a guy like Grant Morrison was even in the biz. Going in to All-Star Superman I felt this way. Then, for 12 marvelous issues I was convinced I needed to know more. Who knew Big Blue had one last arc of good reading in him? I’m sure at some point there will come another author who finds something entertaining to do with Superman, but in the waning years of this last decade it was nice to see creative duo Morrison and Quitely tell me something about Kent I didn’t already know, and wrap it all up so tidily that I felt a sense of closure when it was all said and done.

-Jonny

9. Final Crisis: Revelations – Greg Rucka

Whoa, whoa. Hold on a hot second. A tie-in to an event that’s better than the event itself? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

You’re dumb, and here’s the proof. While Final Crisis was a little, um, disjointed, Revelations was straight up Biblical goodness. Basically, while Darkseid is busy mind-raping everybody with the Anti-Life Equation, newly-appointed Question Renee Montoya is fighting off the Religion of Crime in Gotham (if you ain’t read it, you’re now officially confused). Meanwhile, newly-appointed Spectre (and Renee’s ex-partner since Batman: the Animated Series) Crispus Allen is serving out justice on God’s behalf for those held responsible for the death of the Martian Manhunter. Basically, the book is a team-up between these two: the Huntress, and Radiant, God’s angel of mercy in a battle against many of Darkseid’s Justifiers and Vandal Savage (who is possessed by Cain from the Bible).

-Rob

8. Y: The Last Man – Brian K. Vaughn
Sort of a weird thing happened in the last decade. Since Hollywood’s bankruptcy of original intellectual properties, we’ve seen so many mediocre, utterly forgettable comics adaptations that we’ve forgotten a time when not every book was viewed in terms of its potential to sustain a film or television franchise. Instead, we’ve begun new lives in an alternate universe where your Aunt whose favorite musician is Michael Buble can tell you who Harry Osborne’s dad is, and the more intellectual set might deign to deride a new theatrical release by saying something like “Eh… I think it would have been better as a comic book.” A shining example of the opposite in effect, Vertigo’s Y: The Last Man is one a truly few number of titles that openly begs to be realized in moving pictures small or large. The story of the last living carriers of a Y chromosome on Earth (20-something Yorrick Brown and his monkey, Ampersand) moves along a pace that perfectly balances its dual nature as both an episodic and serial narrative while introducing us to a hugely diverse cast of female (naturally) characters who all have different goals and motivations driving them to live in a new world without men. At times, the book could be almost soapy in how relationships progress and evolve, and I’d be lying if I said I loved the plot’s final resolution, but for 60 issues Y exhibited an undeniable quality that said this is just the kind of great story- and storytelling– that’s fit for today’s enlightened masses. It’s no wonder that series co-creator Brian K. Vaughn wound up plying his trade doing just that as a writer on ABC’s Lost.

-Brendan

7. Astonishing X-Men – Joss Whedon

Poor Piotr. He spends all that time being good while falling for that underage Lolita, Kitty Pryde. Then he dies. And then, suddenly, he comes back to life and she’s of age! They bump legal uglies and everything is coming up Colossus! Until, you know, Ord shows up with a giant space bullet pointed at Earth and Kitty Pryde has to phase into it and ride it into deep space to save all of us. Yup. Joss Whedon has made a career out of cockblocking and then killing off your favorite characters in everything he touches (see: every girl Xander ever got involved with).

Oh, yeah, plus this book gave us Abbie Brand and S.W.O.R.D. (which is kinda cool) and features art by John Cassaday and Simone Bianchi that is just fucking gorgeous. Now, with Warren Ellis at the helm and the announcement of a few more Astonishing titles, I’m curious to see where they take this from here.

-Rob

6. Invincible – Robert Kirkman

I’m not really much of a fan of Image Comics. I’m not sure if it’s just the stigma that comes with the name (and, yes, I’ll admit that Liefeld’s name does subconsciously affect my opinion) but I just can’t get into it. I’m sorry. Get over it.

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s discuss Invincible. The story of a young man who develops superpowers and decides to use it for the good of mankind yadda yadda nothing new. So what sets it apart exactly? Well, for one, our main character (conveniently named Invincible) has some, well, let’s say family issues with his father, fellow super-being Omni-Man. Pair that with his kid brother’s budding powers, dealing with his girlfriend/classmate/former superhero partner, and the government jerking him around, it is actually a very compelling superhero story. Needless to say, it’s a far cry from the other stuff on Image’s line-up. So far.

Why do I say this? Well, Invincible has all ready had a crossover with Savage Dragon, Astounding Wolf-Man, and Brit (which, might I add, was done surprisingly well). With Invincible #60, they’ve decided to throw Spawn, Witchblade, and Pitt (oh, Pitt) into the mix and, well, that’s where I get a bit dodgy. I can’t bring myself to read Image United but here’s hoping that it doesn’t turn a great book like Invincible into just another Image title.

-Rob

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Here’s a list of our favorite second string couples (when we say second string, we mean lower tier at Marvel or DC, or not from Marvel & DC at all. Mostly we just didn’t want to deal with Lois Lane or MJ or Cyclops & Jean. We pretty much made up the parameters and we’re using the term loosely. Shut up. Who pays for the domain name, you or me?)

When it comes to couples in comic books, it seems like the phrase “opposites attract” is a huge fucking understatement. Despite the fact that getting involved with a superhero is bad news (see: Kyle Rayner and Matt Murdock), they seem to manage to endure through thick and thin, and death after death after death. As a matter of fact, we need to make a game out of this. Every time one half or more of a relationship is dead (or presumed dead), take a shot!

atominvinc(10) Invincible and Atom Eve – This pair went through the required will they/won’t they for about EVER, complete with Invincible’s hot blond jealous non-superhero girlfriend. Invincible goes to the future one day and Future!Eve gets emo and tells him she loves him. When he gets back to the present, Invincible starts mackin’ on Eve, but she gets mad. “You only love me because Future me told you I love you!” which is a pretty stupid reason to bail, but she’s made up for it more than once by pulling a move that most women her age just can’t pull off. Almost every time she starts getting angry at him over something stupid, she takes five and cuts it the fuck out. Invincible will probably be able to punch through a PLANET one day. And then Eve can completely rearrange the molecules like nothing ever happened. Hell yeah, these two! They’re at number 10 though, because they can’t even legally drink yet and this shit could fall apart at any moment.

Incredible_Hulk_124-01(9) Bruce Banner and Betty Ross – Not as second string as the rest of the list, but Hulk and his lady-friend were never quite as in the spotlight as the other Marvel couples, so we snuck them in anyway. Bruce and Betty pretty much had everything going against them. First off, Betty is the daughter of General Ross, one of Bruce’s biggest enemies. After the world found out that Bruce Banner was the Hulk, she freaked out and married Glenn Talbot, leader of the Hulkbusters. After that marriage didn’t work (and years and year of “COME ON, GET ON WITH IT”), Betty and Bruce FINALLY got together and got married. Then Abomination poisoned her with his blood, framing the Hulk, and she died (as comic book wives are wont to do). But she was always the only one who could soothe the Hulk, which made her pretty badass. You know, until she croaked.

hawkeyemockingbird(8) Clint Barton and Barbara Morse – It only really took one mission for Hawkeye and Mockingbird to fall in love. They teamed up, defeated Crossfire, eloped, and started the West Coast Avengers. Then everything totally went to shit. Time travel, cowboys, and Satan (can’t make this shit up) interfered with their lives and the two of them drifted apart. Over time, Mockingbird and Hawkeye split up. She was replaced by a Skrull, he made out with Moonstone, died, and came back. It wasn’t until a Skrull ship with the Real Mockingbird aboard crashed to earth that the two of them were able to come face-to-face and get back that ol’ spark the way that comic book heroes do: beating the snot out of aliens.

ralphsue(7) Ralph and Sue Dibny – No list of comic couples would be complete without this tragic pairing. An inseparable item since the early 60s (that’s a lonnnng time, I wonder how they kept it fresh? [insert elongated man joke here!]), Ralph & Sue were Justice League staples. Then Identity Crisis happened, Sue got raped by Doctor Light and killed by Jean Loring. Eventually, Ralph Dibny sacrificed himself to Neron in 52 in order to reunite with his wife (albeit in spirit form). They didn’t stay spirits for long though, they can currently be found running around ripping out Thanagarian hearts in the name of the Black Lantern (aw, how cute). FLESH!

03_swamp_34(6) Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane – After her husband got possessed and Abby ended up dead, it seemed as if this relationship was put to an end before it really started. Pffft, fuck that. Swamp Thing was serious about this one. He went into the afterlife and dealt with the Spectre and Etrigan to get Abby back. Once he does, she drops her coma-hubby and eats a weird hallucinogenic tuber growing out of Swamp Thing (which apparently means they’re married?). Later still (in a very beautiful story arc), Swamp Thing had to go to Gotham City to bust Abby out of jail after she was arrested for fucking a plant-man, both confronting and eventually getting help from the Batman.

flash165(5) Barry Allen and Iris West – Iris West is the most tolerant woman on the planet. For being married to the fastest man alive, she sure does have to put up with him being late all the fucking time. Hell, she even waited for him for twenty years after he got sucked into the Speed Force and everybody thought he was dead. But it’s totally cool, because when Barry fucks something up, he makes it priority number one to make it up to his beloved Iris. Honorable Mentions? Jay & Joan Garrick. Wally West & Linda Park. The Flashes have remarkably healthy marriages. You know, for superheroes.

Green_Arrow_and_Black_Canary_1(4) Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance – Whenever anything seems to be going right for this pairing, something goes horribly, horribly wrong. Dinah gets kidnapped and tortured in The Longbow Hunters, Ollie makes out with the ONLY other employee at Dinah’s flower shop, Ollie has illegitimate kid after illegitimate kid (including Connor Hawke) come out of the woodwork, Ollie dies, Ollie comes back, and Dinah accidentally marries and kills an impostor Ollie while real Oliver is trapped with the Amazons. Finally, when they do get married, the ceremony is attacked by a ton of villains trying to kill all the heroes at once. Man, I’m pretty sure these two are fucking cursed.

396px-Bigbywolf2(3) Snow White and Bigby Wolf – Snow and the Big Bad Wolf of Fables started sniping at each other pretty much in the first panel of the series, which is how you knew they would hook up. After they got brainwashed and date raped each other, Snow White wound up knocked up with a bunch of wolf/wind/fable babies. Then Bigby and Snow basically saved the world even though they weren’t technically in charge of anything anymore. Snow and Bigby are arguably smarter and more versatile than all of the other Fables (excluding maybe Flycatcher.) I guess they’ll be fighting the Boogeyman now, but they’ve got that killer zephyr of a seventh child, so I’m thinkin’ they’ll be jussst fine.

shadowcat-and-colossus-35963(2) Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) and Peter Rasputin – Shadowcat and Collosus always had a mutual crush on one another, there was just one problem: she was 14, he was 19, and I guess the X-Men take statutory rape seriously. When Peter’s sister, Illyana (a.k.a. Magik) died of the Legacy virus and Peter sacrificed himself to find a cure, his remains were cremated and that’s the end of that. Case closed. No way, just kidding! Turns out aliens had Peter’s body and he was actually just fine. This gave the pair (now both of age) an opportunity to fuck. Hooray! Together forever! No way, just kidding again, Kitty got shot into space in a giant space-bullet. You know, something tells me these two might not be meant to be together.

Mallah and the Brain(1) Monsieur Mallah and Brain – One of them is a gorilla with a ridiculously high IQ and a machine gun. The other is a French scientist’s brain in a jar. And they’re both dudes. Grant Morrison (who else?) made these two an item in his run on Doom Patrol and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t beyond absurd from the start. Unfortunately for this pair, who finally got together when Brain was transplanted into a Robot body; said robot body was rigged to explode if anyone ever put a brain in it. They kissed and KABOOM. If that ain’t love I don’t know what is.

Holy shit, were you actually taking shots? Awesome. I counted thirteen drinks and you must be totally fucked up. Gimme your keys, I’m calling you a cab.

Robot superheroes are an interesting bunch. You can write the back-story any which way you want, but pretty much all of them have a Pinocchio complex. Today, I present for your approval or derision: my top five favorite robotic or android superheroes, malfunctioning emotion chips and all.

Smug bastard.

Smug bastard.

(5) Robot – From Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, Robot is actually the secondary consciousness of Rudy Connors, a guy with a busted body living in a tank a la post Wampa Luke in Empire. Rudy projected his consciousness into the Robot body until he’d gathered enough whatever to become a real boy. Then he split his awareness between his organic body and his robotic bod(ies). Best of both worlds, this jerk gets to be human and a robot AT THE SAME TIME. His girlfriend turns into a monster, in the good wrecking-shit way, not the psycho clingy way. Robot is kind of a know-it-all and a bit of a dick. He’s also a freaking genius, so he’s usually right, which makes him worse or better I’m not sure. He’s number 5, because while conceptually awesome, I consider him to be a total prick.

(4) Platinum – Poor Platinum, poor, poor Platinum. I mean Tina. Whatever we’re calling her now. Until recently, she was the only female member of the Metal Men. She doesn’t even want to be human, not really. She just wants her creator, Dr. Magnus, to love her. Or do her. Whichever. Magnus is kind of a dick, why the hell did he program her to want to jump his bones all the time if he wasn’t going to take her up on it? It’s a good thing the poor tortured dear doesn’t have an advanced emotion chip, she’d fucking flip her shit and kill him if she could truly understand the reality of the situation. That’s a book I’d like to read, actually.

platinum

Poor thing thinks she's a sexbot. Magnus is a dick.

Robot depression is worse; suicide isn't even an OPTION.

Robot depression is worse; suicide isn't even an OPTION.

(3) Robotman – This Doom Patrol member was originally human, until a horrible racecar accident nearly killed him. They stuck his consciousness in a robot body, so now he’s a robot who used to be human who wants to be human again. He’s fucking emo, because even though he’d be DEAD if not for his sweet, super power enhanced Robot Body, he complains that robot senses aren’t as good as human ones. He really can’t decide whether he wants to live or die, this one, and with good reason too. He’s the only wannabe human who has always truly known what he’s missing. Even though he’s unquestionably mentally unbalanced he’s pretty much the heart and soul of the parade of freaks that is the Doom Patrol.

Tears of an Android!

Tears of an Android!

(2) The Vision – Marvel’s resident android and member of The Avengers. He’s got a vibranium suit. He’s married to/dating/being emo with Scarlet Witch depending on what era Marvel you’re reading. The Vision gets loads of points for somehow putting up with Wanda, cos homegirl is batshit crazy (not that I blame her. You try finding out your beloved children are actually fragments of a demon, then tell me how YOU handle it.) The Vision gets emotions and a soul, as it were, by being imprinted with a human consciousness. This is a problem when he dies because he can pretty much never get the same human to donate their soul a second time. The Vision dies a lot, and I kind of lose track, just like our #1 Robot Superhero.

(1) Red Tornado – Red Tornado achieved what all loveable androids dream of. He actually became human. He got to have real sex with his real wife. He hugged his adopted kid. Then Solomon Grundy ripped his fucking arm off and it ruined my life. Then they stuck his consciousness BACK in his robot body and he has somehow managed NOT to go on a trauma-induced killing spree, though he definitely needed a good shrink or some Robot-Prozac for a while there. I got severely verklempt about 4 times when I read The Tornado’s Path. He wins because even in a nearly depowered human form, seconds after losing an arm, he was STILL fighting Solomon Grundy, making 350 MPH whirlwinds with his good – I mean ONLY – arm.

Other arm? You mean the one ocer on the other side of the room where the bad guy threw it?

Other arm? You mean the one on the other side of the room where the bad guy threw it?

Think I left anyone out? Think these are out of order? Blast me in the comments, dear readers.


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