We have hit the halfway mark of this list as of this entry, having gotten through the bottom 50 comics on Wizard’s list of the Greatest Comics Single Issues From 1979-2006.
Which, back in 2006, was considered a comic fan’s lifetime.
We were all a lot younger then, folks.
I was TWENTY-SIX. God! Was my lifetime supposed to be twenty-six years. Wizard did not have a lot of faith in me!
I’m 40 now!
Forty-one! My birthday was the 8th.
I’m getting existential, so let’s skip that. To see the books that brought us to this point, click HERE and work your way back.
#55. Legion of Superheroes #13
That… is not a picture of this book! But the thing is that LoSH has been rebooted about thirty-eight times, and I was having trouble easily finding the cover to LoSH #13 because I don’t know which volume it was. I Googled LoS 13 and got a bunch of covers that were not the book I read.
Oh wait, I do know the year it was published! Will that help?
Anyway, sheesh! We’re back to the Legion of Superheroes who have already made a whopping THREE OTHER APPEARANCES on this list already! The BEST of which, I have at #29 in the current re-racking.
Twenty-ninth out of forty-five.
So not that great so far!
This issue is the best of the lot of them, though, telling the story of Timber Wolf and The Sensei visiting Karate Kid’s home planet of Lythyl on a mission to fulfill a promise to the recently deceased Kid.
Lythyl is a stone-covered, harsh, brutal world run with a slave-based economy. What Kid wanted was for a seed to be planted there and symbolically break through the unyielding planet, thereby causing the whole corrupt system to fall apart?
I mean, sure.
The issue is good, though. It’s the most relatable LoSH story yet, edging out the Triplicate Girl story from WAY further back.
#54. Secret Origins Special #1
A group of reporters come to Gotham to get interviews of and with some of the city’s most nefarious criminals, giving us insight into how they became the baddies they are!
The Penguin was a bullied kid who had his whole “penguin” persona thrust on him by the child that antagonized him! The Riddler laments that Gotham is gaining an edge and that the costumed villains are losing their zaniness! Two-Face once saved his estranged wife from a man he prosecuted way before he lost his sanity to a vial of acid!
It’s all… okay. The Penguin story is interesting because it makes him a more sympathetic character… while also keeping his brutal penchant for murder. The Riddler story is fun because the writers really take advantage of the dichotomy of Batman comics over the years (and the inherent silliness of the character). The Two-Face story… is a third story that happens.
Two out of three ain’t bad.
#53. Hellblazer #63
John Constantine turns 40 and has something of a mid-life crisis… until his friends are there to pick him up.
Jesus, Wizard-Magazine-In-2006, this is already at least the 5th Garth Ennis book from this list. And I guarantee there are more to come in the top half.
If Garth Ennis had written Legion of Superheroes, this list would just be issues #1-100 of that series.
I’ve made my feelings on Ennis clear in earlier entries, but for the grade school recap: I think he’s a very talented writer who gets bogged down in how vulgar and extreme he is. He seems to have the creativity and intelligence of a scholar, but the maturity and personality of a seventh grader. It often leaves me feeling of a sad disconnect when I read him.
Take this book for instance! Having just 12 months ago turned 40 (see, that intro was THEMATIC), I should relate more to Constantine’s looking at his life at 40 and feeling lament. A book that may not have meant anything to me in 2006 should really affect me in 2021. But all I really took away from this was “John gets Swamp Thing to grow him and his friends some pot and they get high”.
Oh, and John pees on the Phantom Stranger.
So, sorry I guess, This didn’t work for me. Garth just Ennis’ed it all up.
#52 100 Bullets #11
100 Bullets is one of those turn of century books that I got all mixed up and never read at the time. 100 Bullets, Planetary, and Transmetropolitan were all the same comic in my head back then for whatever reason.
I have since read the entire initial 27 issue run of Planetary, and I really enjoyed that. So I figure I was probably missing the boat with the other two, as well. This is my first exposure to 100 Bullets!
It’s a rough story, too, about a girl who runs away from home and quickly finds herself being prostituted and addicted to drugs. Oh, and the girl was 12 or 13 when she first ran away, so there’s that to make it all even more uncomfortable. She ended up dying in a porno theater.
The story is predictable–I mean, there are only 5 characters in it, so it’s no great surprise when we are told the girl fled her home because her father was molesting her. Her mother is informed of this by the guy who, I suppose, is the driving force of this series. He gives her a gun with one hundred bullets, and she kills her husband.
I waxed and waned on this. It IS a good story, and it very much makes me want to read more 100 Bullets to see what the book is actually about. But I also thought this tale was a bit excessive. Like, it felt like a generic way to push a reader’s buttons. We’ve all heard “Wrong Way” by Sublime; we kinda know this world.
#51. Classic X-Men #25
Oh, I had forgotten that the Classic X-Men / X-Men Classic comics often came with backup stories by modern talent telling short missing stories of the classic era! Those were pretty fun whenever they were included.
This is such a story of Wolverine off in the winter wilderness to plant a bomb. He comes across a hunter while trekking back to civilization, and… they don’t see eye to eye.
I think there were better backup story in the Classic run than this, but it’s got some fun moments where we see the hunter’s narration about how stealthy and dangerous he is, then cut to Wolverine narrating that the guy is tromping around like an elephant. So it’s cute, and I have always been a sucker for “Wolverine In The Wild” stories like this. But it’s not amazing or anything. Number fifty-one, huh? All right, Wizard.
This… was an underwhelming journey to the halfway point, but I can definitively say the list gets onward and upward from here. Just in the next batch, there are at least two books that should easily break the top ten… unless they are much worse than I remember.
Which is possible.
Memory is hard. I AM 40 or 41 or whatever.
Let’s recap where I would rank the list so far if I were in charge of it!
- Fantastic Four #60 / #489 (legacy numbering)
- Animal Man #7
- Sandman #17
- Amazing Spider-Man #248
- Astro City #1
- Nightwing #25
- Incredible Hulk #393
- Hitman #22
- Sandman #40
- 100 Bullets #11
- Uncanny X-Men #268
- Planetary: Night On Earth
- Avengers #217
- Animal Man #16
- Batman B&W #4
- Robin #46
- Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey
- Legion of Superheroes #13
- Sandman #50
- Avengers Annual #10
- Batman B&W #1
- Gotham Knights #8
- Web of Spider-Man #1
- The Thing #2
- Preacher #50
- Secret Origins Special #1
- Exiles #16
- Ghost Rider #68
- New Teen Titans #20
- Adventure Comics #466
- Justice League Annual #1
- Legion of Superheroes #3
- Batman Adventures Annual #1
- Preacher: Tall In The Saddle
- Classic X-Men #25
- Adventures of Superman #474
- Legion of Superheroes Annual #1
- Batman: Devil’s Asylum
- Dark Horse Presents #1
- Conan The Barbarian #100
- Dr. Strange #56
- Alias #3
- Hellblazer #63
- Tales of the New Teen Titans: Cyborg
- Fantastic Four #3 / #432
- Punisher #10
- Legion of Superheroes #296
- American Century #9
- Demo #3
- Semper Fi #1
I’m thinking from here out I may do ten books per batch to really emphasize the top 50! We’ll see how I feel when I get there.
Until next time… take care!