For more on this series up to this point, click HERE!
#80. Preacher #50
The second of what I’m sure will be at least a few more Preacher books on this list–Wizard loved this book so damn hard–I was surprised by how much I liked the previous offering. I distinctly recall not having liked Preacher much when it was being published.
And this issue has a few of the trappings of what I never liked about Preacher. Garth Ennis, in all his white dude glory, has characters spouting the N word and the G word (think a slur for Asians if that’s not coming right to mind) just because he could. Unrestrained Ennis is usually my least favorite Ennis.
And for a while, this book is tedious. It’s mostly a flashback to Jesse’s father serving with another soldier, Spaceman, in Vietnam. Spaceman suffers a leg injury, and Jesse’s father travels with him about one hundred clicks…
What the hell is a “click”?
I don’t know. I mean, I have heard the term before, but you might as well tell me they traveled one hundred doolgahs.
ANYWAY, they move on towards a base to get help. At some point, Spaceman intends to shoot himself, but Jesse’s dad stops him in a tense moment.
There is one page in all of this, though, that I really loved.
As the two approach the base in the pitch black of Vietnam night, they start making a ruckus that forces the base to open the floodlights. And there we see the two men, Spaceman on Papa Custer’s back, standing amongst several Vietnam soldiers lying in the grass and sneaking upon the U.S. base.
The end of the story is that Jesse appreciates what his daddy went through, so he has renewed focus to do whatever he needs to start doing in issue #51. Nothing glorious here.
Except for that one page.
And maybe Spaceman’s description of the statue of soldiers that look to be walking towards the Vietnam Memorial.
#79. Astro City #1
Oh, Astro City.
So this, the first issue of Astro City, tells the story of a day in the life of Samaritan, the Superman-alogue of Astro City. It’s one of those stories that I wish Kurt had gotten to write in an actual Superman book, but it still works out.
Samaritan spends his day moving across the world and stopping tidal waves, halting bank robberies, ditching his coworkers in his civilian identity, rescuing a cat from a tree and more. He keeps track of his time in the sky. Two seconds here, half a moment there. Flight is a means to an end for him when he can never stop and is needed everywhere at once. By the end of the day, he’d spent seventy-some seconds traveling from duty to duty.
You get a good story here in all. Samaritan notes how he is needed everywhere at once, and while he saves one person from a collapsing building, others may be dying. And that’s why I wish this was a REAL Superman story. The weight of living with that for Clark… it’s hard to embody.
But the nicest touch is that we see that when Samaritan does finally sleep… he dreams of flying. Not purposefully. Not hurriedly. Just… soaring and enjoying it.
Because he never gets to enjoy what he can do!
God damn it, I love Kurt Busiek.
#78. Fantastic Four #3 (1998) #432 (legacy numbering)
This list keeps throwing me these weird occasional curveballs, and I don’t love it!
This is… just a Fantastic Four comic. Mr. Fantastic fights the Super Apes, who are trying to poison humanity.
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to have missed here that makes this so special, and I say that as someone who is typically a big Scott Lobdell fan. Maybe it’s a whole… animals are getting revenge because of experimentation on their kind? I’m not sure.
ALSO, I’m getting annoyed trying to figure out the Legacy Numbering for these Marvel books sometimes, but I found a useful link here to help me with this one. I think I got it right with #432, anyway.
#77. Web Of Spider-Man #1
It’s weird how quickly Marvel set about undoing the last few panels of this issue when they realized there were books to sell elsewhere.
As laughable as it is to consider now, this was supposed to be the last appearance of Spider-Man’s alien symbiote costume. It makes one last grab to bond with Peter after escaping Fantastic Four custody, and Peter has to fend off his own clothes and the attacking Vulturions.
Everyone pretty much knows where this goes. Despite the alien’s best efforts to refuse to shoot webs and even let Spidey go where he wants to, the two end up in a church’s bell tower while the series of bells are clanging away. Spider-Man has decided he would rather die than be taken over by the creature.
The symbiote flees from the harmful noise, leaving Peter to perish… until it finally feels the emotions it had been leeching off of its host. And whether it is through a sense of love or Peter’s own heroism having become a part of it, the alien returns long enough to pull the hero to safety.
And then, it disintegrates,
never to be seen again.
Pretty much three full years later, we’d get Venom. Oops!
It’s a fun story, honestly, with the symbiote thwarting Pete’s attempts to web-sling or even walk. And the stakes feel high when the C-tier villains attack at the worst possible time, even as the alien is trying to keep Spidey alive AND not let him fight back all at once.
#76. Batman Adventures Annual #1
I enjoying seeing an artist ape another artists. Here we have legendary John Byrne doing his best Bruce Timm to tell a Joker story set in the Animated Series universe. This is just a quick, eleven page story about The Joker after having been thwarted by Batman. When he just escapes but isn’t hauled away to Arkham, how does his night go?
Well he burns down a building, poisons a donut store clerk, steals a car… basic Joker stuff. It’s a fun look at the kind of off-the-page stuff you usually don’t think about, and it has that wonderful Dini mood from the Animated Series.
All right, now we are 25 deep into the Top 100; let’s see where I’D personally rank them all so far!
- Fantastic Four #60 / #489 (legacy numbering)
- Amazing Spider-Man #248
- Astro City #1
- Hitman #22
- Uncanny X-Men #268
- Animal Man #16
- Robin #46
- Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey
- Web of Spider-Man #1
- Preacher #50
- Exiles #16
- Ghost Rider #68
- Legion of Superheroes #3
- Batman Adventures Annual #1
- Adventures of Superman #474
- Legion of Superheroes Annual #1
- Batman: Devil’s Asylum
- Conan The Barbarian #100
- Alias #3
- Tales of the New Teen Titans: Cyborg
- Fantastic Four #3 / #432
- Punisher #10
- Legion of Superheroes #296
- Demo #3
- Semper Fi #1
That’s still a weird list. While there are definitely some quality comics there, I’d argue only the first THREE are truly noteworthy, memorable comic book issues with high quality stories.
But we are out of the bottom quarter of the list and onto the next five! Let’s see what they have to offer!
Until next time… take care!