Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The 200 Best Comics of My Lifetime (The Last 20 Years): 180-171

180. The Pulse #2
Marvel - May 2004
Writer - Brian Michael Bendis
Artist - Mark Bagley
In a pseudo-sequel to his fantastic Alias series, Brian Michael Bendis attempted to place Jessica Jones into the world of reporting, allowing him to shift between her life and career, and the newsroom of the Daily Bugle; this issue sees the initial mystery of the series really start to take shape as Jessica and Ben Urich begin their first assignment.

179. Rising Stars #1
Top Cow - August 1999
Writer - J. Michael Straczysnki
Artist - Keu Cha
This series is a genuine example of evidence that JMS once had talent; the mythic nature of this superhero tale and the overarching mystery as a whole was enough to satisfy readers throughout painful delays, while the characters were incredibly well realised, at least throughout the first year of the run.

178. Annihilation #6
Marvel - March 2007
Writer - Keith Giffen
Artist - Andrea Divito
With the final issue of his epic Annihilation mini-series, Keith Giffen gave birth to the wonderful Marvel Cosmic universe that would dominate the hearts of critics for the next three years; the final act of Annihilation is truly one of the best moments of Giffen's modern career, as he makes us care about characters we have no real right or reason to care for.

177. Death: The High Cost of Living #1
Vertigo - March 1993
Writer - Neil Gaiman
Artist - Chris Bachalo
One of the more interesting characters from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, Death was granted her own mini-series in the early '90s that showed just how incredible she was; arguably the best written piece of Gaiman's Sandman opus, this mini-series gave depth to a character readers already loved and made her into even more of an icon.

176. The Golden Age #4
DC - 1994
Writer - James Robinson
Artist - Paul Smith
The final chapter of James Robinson's masterful reinterpretation of the Golden Age of the DC Universe was certainly the best moment of the series; the sheer number of characters featured was incredible, and showed that Robinson was the perfect writer when it came to modernising characters from the distant past.

175. Savage Dragon #1
Image - July 1992
Writer - Erik Larsen
Artist - Erik Larsen
Coming straight out of the initial Image boom, Savage Dragon was the brainchild of Erik Larsen, and the slapstick action and cornball humour was a fantastic mix of the creator's styles; this issue deals with the origins of the Savage Dragon and sets up the events of the initial mini-series that would spin off into an ongoing a year later.

174. Villains United #3
DC - September 2005
Writer - Gail Simone
Artist - Val Semeiks
Smack in the middle of the Villains United mini-series came the formation of a new Secret Six, and the start of a rollercoaster of brutality that would continue into their own mini-series and eventual ongoing series; Gail Simone already has a perfect handle on the characters, and it shows when comparing this issue to the more recent issues of the ongoing.

173. Whiteout #1
Oni Press - July 1998
Writer - Greg Rucka
Artist - Steve Lieber
The first comic book created by Greg Rucka, Whiteout told an engaging tale of murder and mystery set in Antarctica that would spawn a sequel series, as well as a movie; the focus on Carrie Stetko, the protagonist is vital, with her development proving crucial to the reader's enjoyment of the story and their personal sense of the cinematic storytelling.

172. Kick-Ass #1
Icon - April 2008
Writer - Mark Millar
Artist - John Romita Jr.
The first issue of Mark Millar's creator-own title was one of the most brutal first issues of a comic book in recent memory; the idea of creating a world where people become superheroes, and yet fail in absolutely way is a wonderfully realistic take on the idea of heroism and also leads to some incredible bouts of humour and sadism.

171. Ultimate Spider-Man #45
Marvel - November 2003
Writer - Brian Michael Bendis
Artist - Mark Bagley
An issue focusing on Aunt May might not seem like the perfect instalment of Ultimate Spider-Man, but the way Bendis writes the character is absolutely astounding; she's a tortured woman, driven by her fear of Spider-Man and her love of her nephew, ever page is heartbreaking and the final few pages manage to shine some hope into the lives of the characters, even if for just a moment.

Next: 170-161

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