Published Dec 01, 2004This year saw a disturbing trend in comics almost clear across the board. Death, destruction, dissolving super-hero teams and broken hearts all around. Sure makes for great reading, doesn't it?
Wonder Woman #209
Written by Greg Rucka, drawn by Dave Johnston
Medousa, the one with the stony glance, is up to her old tricks again. After turning her gaze upon one whom Diana has sworn to protect, a bloody battle ensues. Ares is summoned in ritual challenge and as Diana prepares for the battle ahead you wonder if she's up for it, having suffered so much recent loss. It's not about hot chicks fighting; it's about losing people close to you and being given the opportunity to kick the asses of those responsible. Very empowering.
Written by Mark Millar, drawn by Brian Hitch
Why I would pick the last one in a series defies all logic. But in this final issue of one of the best serials ever, Hulk eats a guy. I'm not kidding. In Millar's version of the Marvel universe, Captain America is a bit of an ass and he pushes all of Hulk's buttons to make him wipe out an enemy single-handedly. Really though, it's all about Hulk sitting in the middle of the carnage and having a snack. When he reverts back to Banner and he's told what has happened, he's mortified. Not because of the massive amounts of killing he's just done, but because he's been a vegetarian for eons.
We3 #1 and #2
Written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Frank Quitely
A cat, a dog and a rabbit in high-tech battle suits. Not only are they a perfect weapon, but they don't shed. Using animals as living assassination tools is the premise, but the dialogue between the animals when the shit hits the fan is priceless. Too bad there isn't a monkey. The delayed second issue had me anxiously watching the racks; in it the shit, having hit the fan, is multiplying and the cliffhanger at the end made me punch the wall. And break my hand.
Identity Crisis #2
Written by Brad Meltzer, drawn by Rags Morales and Mike Bair
Although the entire series is edge-of-your-seat great, this issue is particularly emotionally-charged. Sue Dibny, the Elongated Man's wife and everybody's best friend, is dead and in this issue, a flashback to her rape by Dr. Light in the JLA Watchtower is instrumental in explaining what the early members of the JLA did to protect themselves and their loved ones. During the flashback, Dr. Light threatens to come after Sue again and then find everyone else's wives. In an attempt to ensure that he never gets his chance, Zatanna erases his memories and alters his personality so that he is no longer a threat. This act of moral intrusion divided the team and it looks like it might come back to bite them in the ass.
Astonishing X-Men #4
Written by Joss Whedon, drawn by John Cassaday
After being told of a possible cure for the mutant gene, Beast acquires a sample for his own tests. Finding out that the DNA of a mutant who is supposedly dead was used in its production, the team suits up to find out what is really happening. In the process of searching, Kitty Pryde discovers a secret level and drops down through one hundred feet of solid metal to find her true love, Colossus, being held captive. (He apparently died in Uncanny X-Men after injecting himself with the Legacy virus to provide a cure for the remaining mutants.) I love reunions.
Written by Joe Kelly, drawn by Chriscross and Tom Nguyen
The "maybe they will and maybe they won't" is finally resolved between Batman and Wonder Woman. She delves into the depths of her psyche to figure out if they have a future together. Through several different scenarios, her subconscious shows her that one thing is certain: their love would be fierce and powerful, and nothing would keep them apart. Except maybe Superman's disapproval.
Marvel Knights 4 #7
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, drawn by Steve McNiven and Mark Morales
A camping trip goes horribly wrong and everyone from the Fantastic Four is down for the count, except Susan Richards, aka Invisible Woman. What's so great is the running narrative from Reed, aka Mr. Fantastic, as he waits for his wife to rescue him. The confidence he has in his wife's ability, including his admission that she's arguably the most powerful of the four, makes up for all those times he spent locked away in his lab neglecting her.
Written and drawn by Doug TenNapel
Ely's dog Tommy dies after being hit by a car. To help him deal, Ely's parents send him to his grandfather's farm where Ely finds a 40-foot T-Rex trapped in a cave and decides to train him to do tricks. The best part is when Ely discovers that the dinosaur will perform tricks for bacon. Bacon really does have magical properties. This comic proves it.
Modesty Blaise: The Gabriel Set-Up
Written by Peter O'Donnell, drawn by Jim Holloway
The original bad girl of espionage, Modesty Blaise is one woman you don't want to mess with. James Bond would have a hard time keeping up with her. This collection of early strips captures the beauty, wit and grace of a strong female character that the writer based on a real girl he had met years earlier.