Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking Back at the "O*'s" - The 5 Worst Stories of the Decade

Since we are officially closing out the first decade of the 21st century, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect back over the next few posts on what we've had happen. There have been some winners, and oh boy have there been some stinkers. Let's start this off by looking at the 5 worst storylines of the decade:

1 - Spider Man - "One More Day"

I know I've picked on this storyline a number of times already, but I'm not alone in my hatred of it. In four issues, Marvel decided to completely change the character of its core hero. He wasn't this superhero/husband...he was just this stupid little selfish boy child.

The man gladly without hesitation sacrifices his super-model wife who has stood by him unceasingly through the whole "Civil War" fiasco and numerous other attempts on his and her life. And why does he do it? Well, that would be just to save his Aunt May, who has already died and returned several times before.

Many people (myself included) thought this was just a stunt and that Marvel wouldn't be so stupid as to stab their faithful readers in the back like that, but they did. Twenty years of comic continuity wiped out in a few pages. Stupid beyond compare.

2 - DC - Final Crisis

DC has nailed up the word "crisis" so much that Marvel doesn't even bother touching it in any of their titles. When DC announced a "Final" crisis, we were all so excited and thought it would be something amazing. Then someone forgot to keep Grant Morrison sober long enough to write the thing and we get a storyline so convoluted no one can understand more than two pages at a time.

I have no idea what he was smoking, popping, or drinking when he came up with this, but they should have included free samples with each issue. Even when you buy the collected edition, you have no idea what's going on.

The incredible thing is that it had a 52-issue lead-in called "Countdown to Final Crisis" meant to prepare the way for the story...but then Morrison completely ignored the series and just jump-started the storyline where he wanted. Then we had "Death of the New Gods", in which all the new gods died...and then Morrison killed them again in this series in a different way. More on Countdown in a minute...

3 - Batman - "R.I.P."

So you want to ride the "Captain America's Dead" wave and kill your own flagship hero? How do you do that? Well, if you're DC you give it to the man who brought you the tripe that is "Final Crisis".

After successfully killing Batman in "Final Crisis", Morrison did it again in "Batman: R.I.P."--but in a different way. Yes, the man who wrote both series killed the same character in two different ways.

While this could have been an iconic moment filled with great moments, instead this was another Grant Morrison twisted storyline that you had to have a Master's Degree in obscure comic book moments to fully appreciate (or understand). Why was he a purple/yellow/red Batman? Why did the villain look like Bruce Wayne (hasn't Hush already pulled that little trick?)? What in the world was going on?

Rather than take this to the same storytelling level of Marvel's death of Captain America, we ended up with a hero death that wasn't worth telling.

4. - Marvel - Secret Invasion's "Mighty Avengers" and "New Avengers" era

While Secret Invasion may have been a good story (not the best, but good), Marvel felt the need to do some massive backstory explanations to let you see where it all came from and what had been going on behind the scenes. Rather than put out another mini-series, or even condense it all into one or two issues, Marvel took both Avengers series hostage and filled each month with story after story of things you really didn't have to know.

The problems were everywhere. Many of the covers had nothing to do with the characters or stories inside. Most of the stories were told in one issue, ending in a cliffhanger that wasn't resolved. The vast majority of the stories were interesting moments that could have been condensed to one-page flashbacks in the main title. It was nothing more than months of "filler". If they didn't want to progress the titles, they should have suspended them until the Invasion was over. As it was, subscribers like myself ended up with issues we've read once and thrown away.

5. - DC - Countdown
When DC put out "52", it was a fairly cool concept and was an interesting story. It has its moments and showcased some great otherwise-unnoticed characters like Question and Booster Gold. DC's follow-up was a little gem called "Countdown to Final Crisis". It had the potential to be awesome, but instead died a slow, painful death.

Look at the moments we had in this storyline: the death of Karate Kid, the birth of Red Robin (Jason Todd), and multiple trips throughout the Elseworlds to revisit some of the better stories from then. 

Unfortunately, immediately after this series ended, DC erased every bit of continuity from it. Jason Todd's trip from angry vigilante to Red Robin was, in a word, "epic". They had found a way to get him into the suit and give him a reason to be a hero...and then as soon as  it was over they took him out of the suit and turned him back into Red Hood. And I'm not even mentioning how Darksied suddenly goes from this story to Final Crisis.

Next week, we look at the best the first ten years had to offer us! Feel free to sound off below of any suggestions or changes to this list or the next one you'd make.

1 comment:

Novaguy said...

Totally disagree on Final Crisis - it's one of the better stories of the decade, hampered only by inconsistent artwork. But the writing is fairly clear, especially if you've read the Kirby Omnibuses, and are fluent in DC lore.

That being said, I did ignore Countdown and Death of the New Gods.

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