2020 Comic Reading Challenge

@bsg84 @boodikhan Thank you. Knowing you have also suffered makes me feel less alone.

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Finished Final Crisis for 11 issues. So glad it’s over.

643 DC issues for the year.

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Have not updated in a long while…too busy reading comics. So what have I read?

Harley/Poison Ivy meet Betty and Veronica 1-6 (6)
Mage 1-8 (8)
Mighty Morphing Power Rangers 0-4 (5)
Justice League/power Rangers 1-6 (6)
Thunderbolts 1-81 (81)
Witcher 1-5 (5)
Witcher the fox 1-5 (5)
L.E.G.I.O.N. 1-70 (70)
Thunderbolts/Avengers 1-6 (6)
Captain America 333-353 (21)

That means I read 213 comics; Added to my previous total of 1118, brings me to 1332!

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The week’s plan fell thru, of course… Just finished SUPERMAN " panic in the sky"( old school fun) and just started Marvel’s Empyre( not bad, so far, new school fun i guess). My plan for next week, year, etc? NO MORE PLANS.

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It’s been a while since I’ve given an update in the thread. Comic reading slowed down a lot from about the middle of August to the middle of October as I was moving into college and adjusting to how weird things are. September was, by far, my least productive month. But, with the completion of Detective Comics #1027 this morning, I’ve finally gotten to one thousand comics. So a bit of a breakdown of the numbers:

About 57% of my total reading was done through DC Universe. 27% can be attributed Marvel Unlimited, with about 9.5% going to single (both physical and digital) issues, and another 3% belongs to Comixology. The rest goes to trade paperbacks.

My most read series was Spider-Man with a total of 130, although that is split up between Ultimate Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man. JSA has a total of 108 for second place, and Fantastic Four comes in third with 76. All together, the top three comprise about 30% of my overall reading.

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Welcome back to the thread, Tornado, and congratulations on making it in the 1,000 Club. Sorry to hear about the rough patch, I had a similar problem this year moving to my dream home and officially retiring, while also adjusting to how weird things are. Love your percentage stats.

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Captain America: 9 issues from 1995-1996
Writer: Mark Waid

Review

I gave up on this run before. Making another attempt, and… Yep, no, still pretty painful.

Aside from the general Cap cliché density, I think I liked Sharon Carter better in later stories where she at least had the decency to be boring instead of such a jerk about everything.

Like, what’s good about all the Mark Waid books I like (the Flash, JLA, sorta Kingdom Come, probably more of his Daredevil than not, not as strong in Black Widow but still there to some extent) is that he creates really likable, well-developed characters and generates a lot of emotional investment in what’s going on. But here it’s just bland, angry action. Another thing that’s just… really unlike him.

Hm, let me add something here: I’m posting this because I’ve finished this run, but I’m currently reading Waid’s second run on Cap, and it’s also very unlike what he was doing here and more consistent with his usual style. (And better.) Which really adds to my sense that this was somehow rushed or otherwise interfered with.

3,594.

JLA: 18 issues from 2004
Writers: Joe Kelly (2 issues), Denny O’Neil (3 issues), John Byrne & Chris Claremont (5 issues?), Chuck Austen (6 issues), Kurt Busiek (1 issue)
So, this is… a really good year for this title, Joe Kelly notwithstanding. Probably the best it’s had. Maybe the best year any Justice League title has had.

Kelly’s last issue is… confusing.

O’Neil’s arc is a bit filler-ish, but good. He’s always good.

The Byrne/Claremont arc… on one hand, the backstory makes very little sense and the villain is named Crucifer. On the other hand, it’s otherwise actually pretty good. Best the title has been since Waid’s run, honestly. There’s good character stuff, good tension, the plot hangs together, and the art looks nice.

Then Kelly comes back for #100 and- Oh, for crap’s sake. Look, man. We get it. You wrote Action 775 and it was very good. But it kind of defeats the point when the Elite keep showing back up every five minutes. This tries to be a new twist on a similar theme but it just sort of undercuts itself.

The “Pain of the Gods” arc by Chuck Austen is one that I think I’d heard was bad, and it’s… not. It’s actually very, very good. I mean, my chief nitpick is that I don’t think the way he writes Martian Manhunter is very consistent with previous characterization (maybe fitting a younger/newer J’onn but not really one who’s been through the Detroit, JLI, and JLA eras), but other than that, it’s… honestly up there with the best of JLI and Waid’s JLA as one of my favorite JL comics. It’s got a lot of emotional and thematic weight and character stuff that’s usually pretty weak or missing from Justice League stuff.

So Busiek is just making sure JLA/Avengers is canon so Hawkeye as a JLA member is official, right? In all seriousness, that last issue is just the first of a longer arc, but it was also a really good issue. Wally is a little goofier and more hyperactive than I’m used to his being in the comics, but animated JL was my introduction to him in particular and the Flash in general, so I don’t totally mind it. Plus, playing those aspects up helps him stand out in a team-book/ensemble environment.
3,612.

Captain America: 12 issues from 1996-1997
Writers: Rob Liefeld (plotter on 6 issues), Jeph Loeb (scripter on 6 issues), James Robinson (6 issues)

Review

Hahahaha check out that art, this is the amazingly awful Liefeld content I’ve been missing out on by sticking to DC.

And I don’t hate putting an eagle instead of an A on Cap’s forehead, but can we talk about the fact that the design is blatantly ripped from Wonder Woman’s symbol?

Also, drinking game: Take a drink every time Cap’s shield switches arms between panels.

What? Oh, the story? Meh, it’s… OK. Some of the intrigue and character bits are solid, but the overall plot is blaaaaaaaand. Like, the size of the following that a group of known war criminals who don’t even pretend not to be Nazis manage to cobble together really strains credulity. Like, I get it, Captain America was a wartime character, but when the only villains he fights are also wartime baggage, it really makes him feel dated. And he’s sort of supposed to be dated, but not really in that way.

Liefeld and Loeb’s last issue is mostly crossover tie-in, having very little connection to anything else going on, and Robinson’s first issue is almost entirely exposition of things we already knew. In a series with only twelve issues, having two of them be filler is not particularly efficient. That’s, what, 17% of the series, rounding up a little? Yeesh.

Robinson’s arc is predictable and phoned in, laying on thick with cliches that every Cap writer since Englehart at the very least has tread and retread and reretread. I actually deleted a three-paragraph rant about why this particular permutation is uniquely ineffective, but I decided it wasn’t worth expending more effort on the review than the writer did on the story itself.

Liefeld’s plot was dumb in a similar way, but at least Loeb was kinda trying in terms of the script, and the villains being literal Nazis, while weird and implausible, was at least sort of cheesy and outrageous. With the amusingly ridiculous art, there was at least some unintentional entertainment value.

3,624.

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Wild cowinkydink, I’m gearin up to dive into some liefeld new52 stuff. Tell my family i loved them and here we gooooooooooooo…!!!

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November

Who’s Who (1985) 25, 26 - DC Library

Flash (appearances): - DC Library
Green Lantern (1960) 20, 29
Brave and the Bold (1955) 54

The New Teen Titans (1980) 7 - 14 - The New Teen Titans TPB vol. 1 & 2

DCAU Comics - DC Library
Superman Adventures (1996) 33 - 58

Digital First series’ - DC Library
Batman: Gotham Nights 6, 7
Aquaman: Deep Dives 6, 7
Superman: Man of Tomorrow 6, 7
Flash: Fastest Man Alive 6, 7
Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace 5 - 7
Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red 5 - 7
Batman: The Adventure Continues 1 - 3
DCeased: Hope at World’s End 1, 2

Groo vs. Conan 2 - 4 - Sergio Aragones Groo vs. Conan TPB
DCeased 1 - 6 - DC Library
DCeased: A Good Day to Die 1 - DC Library
Wonder Woman Conan 1 - 6 HC
Zatanna’s Search TPB
Hawman (1964) 4
Detective (1937) 336, 355
Atom (1962) 19
Green Lantern (1960) 42
Justice League of America (1960) 51
DC Blue Ribbon Digest (1980) 5

Month 76 - Year 884

Who’s Who - Finished the series, it was fun to go back and reminisce on the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Was looking forward to the '87 Updates series, but not available on the Library, Comixology, or my local shop. So will be picking up with the Who’s Who 1989 annuals. Just to see how the new continuity is panning out.

Still looking for hard copies of Flash from 1970 - 1985, meanwhile reading through the DC Library for all his appearances from 1959 - 1970. Flash and GL often team up together in both their series’, always a fun read. In Green Lantern 20 Flash has to use GL’s power ring to try and save him. In Green Lantern 29, Flash and the rest of the Justice League decide if they want to intervene in GL’s latest threat against his life. While in Brave and Bold 54, Flash allows his teen sidekick to go help some other teen sidekicks take care of a bunch of rebellious '60s teens. (aka Not the first appearance of the Teen Titans, just the first appearance of a bunch of teen sidekicks getting together. :blush:)

The New Teen Titans first got together to face off with Raven’s bad dad. In issue 7 they meet up with one of their old enemies Doctor Light, who brought his new crew, The Fearsome Five. In NTT #8, they take some me time in “A Day in the Lives . . .”. Issue 9 sees the Titans face one of Green Lantern’s old foes, the Puppeteer. In issue #10 Slade Wilson is back to harass them once again. The Titans travel to Paradise Island to get help from the Amazons to save Gar Logan’s life only to be confronted by their namesakes the Greek titans in issue 11, which continues in issue 12 with “The Clash of the Titans”. Issue 13 sees the rest of the Teen Titans (the males who were forbidden to set foot on Paradise Island) meet up with Robotman who is pursuing the killers of the Doom Patrol. After rescuing Mento, he attacks the Teen Titans in issue 14.

Continuing my third series set in the DC Animated Universe, Superman Adventures. Superman is faced with a bevy of problems and villains. An old high school bully, Toyman, Mxyzptlk, street thugs, Lex Luthor, space aliens, homeless children, evil wizards, Brainiac, and even the entire city of Metropolis take on Superman. But he gets help from Doctor Fate, Supergirl, and Mr. Miracle to face many threats great and small including finding a lost dog, becoming homeless, even losing his #1 fan to Batman over a Daily Planet news article. Many enjoyable tales both funny and heartwarming. All that and the series colorist, my favorite Marie Severin, in probably one of her last works.

The Digital First series’ continue with lots of great art and stories. Very inspiring. My two favorite characters are Batman and Flash, But my favorite stories are a toss up between Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn #7 was my favorite art, very simple tri-color palate, but highly effective in capturing Harley’s craziness vibe. Thrilled to see two more series’ added to the fold. As much as I was anticipating Batman: the Adventure Continues, the new DCeased series got me hooked. I even read the original series to get caught up. I don’t think George Romero could have done a better job.

Getting back into Conan, was great to see him team up with Groo. Two more complete polar opposites couldn’t have been found. Conversely, Conan teaming up with Wonder Woman was like hand in glove. Gail Simone did a most excellent job fusing the two warriors together. The art was perfect for the story.

After reading Flash 198, guest starring the (then) new super hero Zatanna, I picked up the Zatanna’s Search TPB. One of DC’s first crossover stories Zatanna, spent 20 years (two in publication years) searching for her father Zatara, another personal favorite. It was great to reread this yarn after all these years and have it collected in one book.

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Dude, you wanna read some crazy fun? Google up DIGITAL COMICS MUSEUM, create an account, totally free, and soak up all those public domain books. Early BLUE BEETLE, CAPTAIN MARVEL, PLASTIC MAN, etc. Good stuff

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:open_mouth:
First hammock reading, now this. :+1:

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2006 Justice League 1-28
2006 Justice Society 1-34
2008 JSA Kingdom Come 1
2008 Magog 1
2008 The Kingdom 1
2008 Salvation Run 1-7

Total DC this year: 653

I’m going to skip the JLA and JSA for a bit. I’m here to read Wonder Woman and those comics had a decided lack of her in them. Once I’m up to the present on WW I might skip back and finish them up.

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Had a long plane ride and could only read DC books because Marvel Unlimited doesn’t let you download more than like six at a time, so:

JSA: 13 issues from 2004
Writer: Geoff Johns
OK, you know what? Yeah. This is substantially better without Goyer getting in Johns’ way. I’m still not super into it, but the characters already feel a lot better developed. Could still use a smaller roster, but the one it has is being juggled all right.

Let’s see, specifics: The Black Adam arc was solid overall. The way the Courtney/Billy relationship was cut off was a bit odd (The Wisdom of Solomon apparently told Billy not to trust Jay Garrick with his secret identity? Is Jay that sketchy?) but I wasn’t all that invested in it to begin with. The Spectre arc is great but I’m biased because Tom Mandrake drawing the Spectre is my happy place. It keeps trying to convince us that Jesse and Rick are really hitting it off, and then he’s missing and dying for like six issues and she doesn’t even appear, let alone react. The Sand arc was a little bluh, but I think I just don’t like Sand specifically. He’s sort of my symbol of the superficial-coolness-without-depth that characterized all of the Goyer-era stuff. I’ve been finding Rick fairly bland, but I do like Rex, so the Hourman arc was interesting.

But in general, the characters I actually like, like Doctor Mid-Nite and Stargirl, are getting more time to… not so much to do stuff but to be themselves and have their actual personality traits matter as much as their lists of superpowers.
3,637.

Batman: Gotham Knights: 9 issues from 2004
Writers: Scott Beatty (3 issues), A.J. Lieberman (6 issues)
Beatty is still not impressing me. I like most of these characters but nothing is quite clicking. King Snake being Bane’s father is also really dumb. I didn’t get the sense that he was that much older than Bane, it contradicts the implications from books at the time, and it doesn’t really say anything about either character.

Mixed feelings about what I’ve seen of Lieberman’s run so far. From moment to moment, there’s some cool, interesting stuff going on. Prometheus is a bit of a loser, but he was overpowered and obnoxious to begin with so it’s also immensely satisfying. Characterization for the various protagonists seems relatively solid. The Riddler getting some focus is always a plus.

But Hush gets away with way too much nonsense. Half the things he does only work because he’s inexplicably this unstoppable hand-to-hand combatant, and some of his plans depend on just kind of arbitrarily winning at stuff. Also, the shirtless look is kinda dumb.

And absolutely everything being done with the Joker is indefensible. I think that’s probably the main reason people don’t like this, and it’s fair.
3,646.

Catwoman: 9 issues from 2004
Writer: Ed Brubaker
The main plot even directly ‘fesses up to being redundant with the original Black Mask arc. Only with 100% more Zeiss. And, like, writers are entitled to their pet villains, but Zeiss just has nothing going for him, man.
3,655.

Gotham Central: 12 issues from 2004
Writers: Ed Brubaker (5 issues and co-writer on 3), Greg Rucka (4 issues and co-writer on 3)
Finishing the Joker arc I started last time, and- Oh, would you stop with the Batman-suddenly-appears-at-the-end-and-resolves-it thing?!

And the Joker’s plan makes no sense anyway. And not in a “The Joker is crazy and trying to do something weird” way, in a “This is a stupid way of accomplishing even the crazy goal he has” way. If his ultimate goal is to set off a bomb where it’ll hit Christmas shoppers after he lulls everyone into a false sense of security by turning himself in, why did he bother with the initial shooting spree (which is otherwise basically unfunny) to scare everyone in the first place? It’s the nefarious scheme equivalent of digging a hole and filling it back in.

The poison arc is actually sort of a clever mystery. Guest-starring a gratuitous Huntress cameo for what amounts to a red herring. And also the “Character with a similar silhouette to Batman is shown in silhouette to make you think it’s Batman for a moment” cliché, but guys, Huntress is on the cover, you’re not fooling anyone.

Mad Hatter arc is a bit frustrating. I actually sort of like Harvey Bullock, but after the indignity of the Officer Down crossover, he could stand to be left in peace. And if you had to not leave him in peace and you had to make him a gung ho idiot, you could at least not try to act like it’s a good thing when he gets off scot-free for being an idiot.

I guess there’s nothing actively wrong with the last arc I read from ‘04, so there’s that, I guess.
3,667.

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Just finished 2006 Wonder Woman. 60 amazing issues. Great authors, great stories. Really enjoyed it!

Total DC: 710

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After a couple cups of coffee, I’ll go into how AXECOP is gold and Liefeld aint all THAT bad…

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I finally did it! Thanks to Thanksgiving break, I crossed the 1500 mark for the year. My previous best was 1642 3 years ago and that was a chore. I don’t think m going to do that this year.

So what did I read?

Morning Glories 1-25 (25)
Freedom Fighters 1-9 (9)
Rebels 0-2 (3)
Ghost Special 1
Ghost 1-9 (9)
Ultimate Spider-Man 1-133, Annual 1 (134)
Chronos Commandos 1-5 (5)

That is 186 more comics read, added to my previous total of 1332, brings my total to 1518!

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Teen Titans: 14 issues from 2004
Writer: Geoff Johns
This is getting nearly unreadable. None of the characters I actually like are acting like themselves, except maybe Cyborg, who gets very little panel time and basically hasn’t done anything important despite being the team’s nominal leader.

So, here’s an example that was kind of frustrating to read: There’s this subplot where Wonder Woman and Helena Sandsmark did not want Cassie joining the team and she did it anyway. Their reasons are muddled and it doesn’t feel super in-character for Diana, but not strictly unreasonable. Wonder Woman shows up later on to talk to her pupil, who is a runaway minor and is basically using Diana’s name without permission (when she has a very important and very delicate public image compared even to other superheroes). Diana is understandably in let-me-give-you-a-stern-talking-to mode.

Starfire freaking shoots her.

Wonder Woman actually does not retaliate, trying to keep the discussion rational like the diplomat she is.

Starfire shoots her again.

It turns into this whole brawl with the JLA (with similarly ridiculous moments like Batman being like “Robin, this fight is stupid,” and Robin being like “I know, but I’m going to keep fighting you anyway for no discernable reason”), and Nightwing shows up to give the Flash his own stern talking-to which reads like we’re supposed to think this is somehow the League’s fault for… showing up, I guess.

I regularly, actively try not to hate Starfire because I keep wondering if her fans see something in her I don’t and worrying I’m being unfair (this is as opposed to Beast Boy, who is inexcusable and who I take great joy in despising). But I have yet to see a canon Titans run where she wasn’t horrible. So I am inexorably drawn to the conclusion that she just is horrible. And a lot of her more indefensible behavior seems to fall under this recurring “BCUZ EMOTIONS” excuse which is supposedly a cultural point among Tamaraneans. Except she never considers anyone else’s feelings in these moments, so it reads not as being free-spirited and guided by intuition, but as outright sociopathy. I mean, this go-round was sort of on Cassie’s behalf, but she mostly freaks out because… the very concept of people being told what to do reminds her of being a slave, apparently?

Raven finally rejoining the main cast helps a little, but we segue right into an arc of Beast Boy wangsting, so the improvement isn’t that marked.

Now, I repeat: The time travel arc is never good. Thank you, that will be all.

Also, I forgot to complain about this from the 2003 issues: They killed Wintergreen! What did he do to deserve that?
3,681.

Captain America: 24 issues from 1998-1999
Writers: Mark Waid (23 issues), Bill Rosemann (Nick Fury backup in 2 issues), Tom DeFalco (1 issue)

Review

At first, there’s actually a marked improvement compared to the previous run.

The Skrull arc is actually, genuinely clever while making similar social commentary to what clumsier Cap writers feel obligated to do. I mean, it strains credulity a little that after “Captain America” is all like “Hey, one in twenty people is a shapeshifting alien” and then disappears, nobody stops and thinks, “Hey, maybe that was a shapeshifting alien.” But still.

Sharon Carter is still absolutely terrible, though.

OK, then we get-

Sigh

If I’m ever an editor at Marvel, and a writer comes to me with a pitch for a Cap story that includes the words “Red Skull” and “Cosmic Cube,” that writer will not get the job. It has been done. Stop.

You know what hasn’t stopped never being good? The time travel arc!

And I kind of get what Waid was trying to do with the subplot with the shield, but none of it makes any sense. Apparently, and I swear I am not exaggerating, apparently a flaw in Cap’s shield gave all the Vibranium on the planet sound cancer. Don’t ask me what that means.

3,705.

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3705? Is reading comics all you do?

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