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The holiday season is upon us. With Thanksgiving’s shadow right above, although this feature might reach most after the celebrations have ceded, it seems only appropriate to go down a list of what there is to be thankful for these days. Now this might not conform to everyone’s taste, but that’s what the comments section is for. Other than that, this is what I am thankful for out of 2014 so far
Geoff Johns’ Action Comics run remains one of my all-time favorite Superman runs. While it petered out during the surprisingly middling “New Krypton” storyline, arcs like “Escape from Bizarro World” and “Superman and the Legion of Superheroes” are showcases of Johns’ workable nature with the big blue boy scout. The main Superman title, for most if not all of the “New 52”, has been nothing but mediocre or on the wrong end of the quality spectrum. Johns bringing his talent to the series was a welcome reminder of how well he can craft a story around the man who is neither bird nor plane.
Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, I haven’t read much of the new Cameron Stewart Batgirl run. It just hasn’t caught my attention, but one thing is for certain: it’s a good shake-up. Simone’s Batgirl was nothing if not one of the worst comics being put out by DC Comics. Her failings with that series will no doubt be remembered by those who were there to witness it. So, even though the new run may not fit everyone’s taste, it does get back to a newer version of Barbara’s roots. She’s always been fun and making her hip/trendy is a decent update.
This next one might be the most divisive thing I am thankful for yet. I am thankful that DC Comics decided to completely reconfigure Dick Grayson – and finally get rid of the Nightwing identity. Now I don’t mean that the Nightwing persona is bad, but it is something that hasn’t been used to any great effect in years. For so long it’s just been “Batman-Lite”, especially in the “New 52”. So, is it wrong that secret agent adventures is that much more interesting? Especially when one reads it and realize how great a handle writers Seely and King have on Dick’s character? No, it is surely not.
Just in case anyone thought this list was going to be completely DC-dominated, here’s one thing that Marvel has done lately that I am immensely thankful for: finally decided to reprint one of the best Black Panther runs ever written. Christopher Priest’s run should be lauded as one of the seminal runs on the character, but more often than not it is forgotten and shoved aside for the vastly overrated Hudlin run. I know that this is just because they want to ride the hype of the movies, having announced the movie and everything, but that doesn’t matter. Now future readers will have this classic story.
Really, just look above and replace Black Panther with Quantum & Woody. There is nothing I haven’t said up there that I wouldn’t say about Priest’s Q&W run. But, if there needs to be more here, there’s also the matter of getting back Priest and MD Bright to do another miniseries set in their amazing little sandbox. Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody is the series that old fans of the classic series have been waiting for. Not to knock the reboot by James Asmus, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Valiant has been very smart about this and had to have been to get Priest out of whatever bunker he has been hiding in.
Sometimes it is very hard to say you liked some of the things that Mark Millar has written. Everyone’s immediate retort is to bring up his worst works, which are terrible no doubt. But 2014 saw the tipping point back to the Millar of old – the one who actually knew how to craft a finely tuned story – with Starlight. Millar and Parlov did something special with that series: they took a traditional formula and lifted it without delving into deconstruction or satire. Playing something straight is sometimes the best way to play something. What are comics then if not the right mix of action, adventure, and escapism?
Supreme, as reimagined by Alan Moore, stands as one of my favorite cape characters of all time. It’s no doubt that what Moore did on that once maligned series was a miracle. His entire run from start to finish belongs in some of the annals of comic history in terms of how a good writer can turn a bad character around. So when they ruined all of that when Erik Larsen did his awful run, it was not that great a feeling. Yet they redeemed all of this by giving the incomparable Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay the reins to the series. Not to say anything (not enough time), but they do Moore’s run justice.
As for the last thing that I am thankful for, comic wise, this year is actually a bit of a stretch. I am thankful for the CW’s The Flash. It is without a doubt perhaps the best live-action superhero related thing in years. While not without its flaws, some drama and acting cues, the heart behind it all is beyond anything I have seen. With Geoff Johns himself as one of the showrunners it has made a name for itself as a true-blue superhero series. It knows what it is, and like Starlight above, decides to go for the full monty. It’s been a blast.
So, that wraps up 2014 in a nice round bow. Of course I haven’t gotten everything that everyone can be thankful for, so why don’t you stop on by the comment section and tell us what you’re glad to have seen