Saturday, July 9, 2011

CRISIS at the Comic Shop

With the DC Comics universe about to come to an end (and the controversial "relaunch" on the horizon) in late August, I've decided to repost (with updates) my look back at the many "crises" that have plagued the DC Universe over the past few decades.  So here's a quick look at most of the major DC Crossovers of the Modern (post-Crisis) Age. For non-comic readers (why would you even bother?), I'll try to explain as I go along.1985 - CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS - by Marv Wolfman & George Perez. 12 issues, various tie-ins. The grandaddy of them all. The object of this series was to merge all of DC's various Earths and relaunch the universe with a easy-to-follow continuity. Earth-1 Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Flash (Barry Allen) all perish, as do many Golden Age Earth-2 heroes and some second string villains.  Afterwards, DC's long-existing parallel worlds are all gone, with only one united Earth remaining. (So we thought at the time.) Introduces the Charlton Comics heroes (Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, et al) to the DCU. Plus recurring characters like The Monitor, The Anti-Monitor, Harbinger, Pariah and Lady Quark debut here.1986 - LEGENDS - by John Ostander and John Byrne. 6 issues plus various tie-ins. Jack Kirby's New God Darkseid (supposedly the inspiration for Darth Vader) takes on the new DC Universe and we meet the NEW Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Justice League and Suicide Squad. Continuity glitches begin. Darkseid's goal is to eliminate all free will from the universe and reshape it into his own image. He does not succeed.1988 - MILLENNIUM - by Steve Enlgelehart and Joe Staton. 8 weekly issues plus 37 various tie-ins! Introduces THE NEW GUARDIANS (See my entry on Extrano). Interestingly, one of the new DCU titles debuting in September 2011 is called GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS.1988 - THE WEIRD - by Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson. 4 issues. The Justice League in a sci-fi adventure that plants seeds of what Starlin would revisit 20 years later. Introduces The Weird, who returns in 2006's MYSTERY IN SPACE.1988 - INVASION! - Written by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo with art by a various. 3 issues. The DC alien races decide to invade Earth at the same time.  Recently reprinted in trade paperback for the first time!1988 - COSMIC ODYSSEY by Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola. 4 issues. Darkseid (him again!) returns in an epic space saga spanning the DC Universe and involving a variety of major characters including Superman, Batman, Starfire, the Demon and the you guessed it - The New Gods!1989 - THE JANUS DIRECTIVE - By various - 9 issues. Begins in CHECKMATE 15 and then continues through SUICIDE SQUAD 27-29, CHECKMATE 16-18, MANHUNTER 14, FIRESTORM 86. Makes my head spin! Both SUICIDE SQUAD and FURY OF FIRESTORM get "rebooted" in September 2011 as part of DC Comic's 52 new titles.1990 - TIME MASTERS - by Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner. 8 issues. Silver Age time traveller Rip Hunter returns and meets various DC historical characters. While not a crossover per se, it sets the stage for some later series, including the current run of BOOSTER GOLD (when ends next month). FYI it has been recently revealed that Rip is Booster's son.1991 - ARMAGEDDON 2001 - by Archie Goodwin and Dan Jurgens - 2 issues plus a crossover that runs through DC’s annuals.  Supposed to reveal at the climax that Captain Atom was the villain named Monarch, but it was changed at the last minute to be Hawk of Hawk & Dove. Also introduces Waverider - possibly one of the worst designed characters ever. HAWK & DOVE, recently part of the big DC event BRIGHTEST DAY and the soon-to-end BIRDS OF PREY are about to get "rebooted" in September in their own title.1991 - TWILIGHT - by Howard Chaykin - 3 issues. DC’s science fiction characters in a "Mature Readers" crossover. Can't recall why. Must have been dirty.1991 - WAR OF THE GODS - by George Perez. 4 issues plus various tie-ins. This Wonder Woman-centered crossover series dealt with the Greeks vs. the Romans vs. everyone else. Universally disliked due to sloppy editorial decisions. Great cover art, though.

1992 - ARMAGEDDON: INFERNO and ARMAGEDDON: THE ALIEN AGENDA - by various. 4 issues each. All that I can recall about these two is that the Justice Society of America (missing since shortly after the first CRISIS) were finally freed from limbo in ARMAGEDDON: INFERNO #4. Ironically they will return to limbo in September 2011.1992 - SUPERMAN: PANIC IN THE SKY - by various. 8 issues of the various Superman titles. Brainiac takes over "Warworld" and begins piloting the massive planet-sized satellite towards Earth on a mission of annihilation. Guest starring everyone.
1992 - ECLIPSO: THE DARKNESS WITHIN - by various - 2 issues plus DC annuals. Silver Age menace Eclipso possesses various heroes. the first printing came with an actual gem glued to the cover! This led to a monthly ECLIPSO series in which many cool DC characters perished. Eclipso recently returned for the final storyline in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (Volume 2).1993 - BLOODLINES - 2 issues plus DC annuals. Introduced a buttload of new throwaway characters, who resurfaced in 1995 as BLOOD PACK then disappeared again.1993 - TRINITY - 2 issues plus some issues of GREEN LANTERN, DARKSTARS and L.E.G.I.O.N.. The first of three totally unrelated series with the title TRINITY.1993 - THE GOLDEN AGE - by James Robinson and - 4 issues. "Elseworlds" story set in the post-war era, while not part of DCU, it is a springboard for Robinson’s later work on STARMAN and JSA. This is a must-read. Up there with WATCHMEN and NEW FRONTIER (more on that later).1994 - WORLDS COLLIDE - By Robert Washington II and John Paul Leon. - A bunch of issues. The very white DC Universe meets the multi-culturally diverse characters of the Milestone Universe. One cover is done like Colorforms, where you can place the characters wherever you want. These two universe finally merged in the recent JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA series, and some will appear in the rebooted DCU in September.
1994 - ZERO HOUR: A CRISIS IN TIME - by Dan Jurgens - Five issues running backwards from 4 to 0 plus various tie-ins. Another attempt to straighten out DC’s already confused "post-Crisis" continuity. Silver Age Batgirl plays a major role. Monarch becomes Extant. Green Lantern Hal Jordan becomes Parrallax. Several heroes are killed, series are cancelled and new ones lanuched, including Robinson’s acclaimed STARMAN.1995- UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED - by Mark Waid and Howard Porter. 4 issues plus tie-in specials. This series introduced Neron, the DCU's version of Satan. They use a "fifth color" (very bright green) throughout, which is kinda cool.1996 - KINGDOM COME - by Mark Waid and Alex Ross - 4 issues. A dark dystopian future for the super-heroes of Earth and their battle to make things right again. A classic. This was set outside the DCU proper, but threads have shown up through the years. Also available as a cool book-on-tape. No lie. Two sequels follow.1996 - THE FINAL NIGHT - by Karl Kessel and Stuart Immonen - 4-Issue weekly with various tie-ins. Resolving the Hal Jordan/Parallax saga started in ZERO HOUR. Great art.
1997 - GENESIS - by John Byrne - A bunch of weekly issues and tie-ins. Once again mining Jack Kirby’s New Gods, now revealing that they are somehow related to the Greek gods seen in WONDER WOMAN and POWER OF SHAZAM! Not a good read.1997 - MILLENNIUM GIANTS - by various. 13 issues of various titles. Not to be confused with MILLENNIUM or TV's LAND OF THE GIANTS, this crossover series centered around the Superman titles, but also crossed over to AQUAMAN and THE TEEN TITANS. It concerned a trio of ancient behemoths who plan to erase all traces of the last thousand years of humanity's presence on Earth. Okay? Covers fit together like a puzzle (or do they?).1998 - GHOSTS - by various - 8 Justice League annuals, offered weekly, concluding in the JLA Annual. Villain Felix Faust cause ghosts of the various Leaguers' dead loved ones to plague them before the League combined forces to stop Faust. Boo! This concept is later revisited in BLACKEST NIGHT with zombies instead of ghosts.1998 - DC ONE MILLION - Created by Grant Morrision - Countless issues, possibly a million. A disappointing and needlessly complex time-trip to the rather boring 853rd Century. DC One Million's month of tie-ins were all numbered #1,000,000. In my opinion, Grant Morrison's only major failure.1998 - JLA/TITANS - by Devin Grayson and Phil Jimenez - 3 issues. A cast of thousands as DC relaunches THE TITANS once again. Fun for Titans fans who wondered whatever became of characters like Duela Dent (The Joker's Daughter).1999 - JLAPE - by various - Justice Leaguers not only battle gorillas but also transform into them. I love the DCU and I love monkeys, I'm just not a fan of mixing the two.1999 - DAY OF JUDGMENT by Geoff Johns and Matthew Dow Smith. 5 issues. Hal Jordan, the former Green Lantern who had become Parallax only to die during THE FINAL NIGHT is reborn as The Spectre. This would not last.1999 - THE KINGDOM - by Mark Waid and various. 2 issues plus various "specials". This very disappoiting sequel/prequel to KINGDOM COME introduces the concept of "Hypertime" to the DC universe. It is quickly forgotten. A much better sequel occurs in the pages of the monthly JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA in 2008.2000 - SINS OF YOUTH - by Peter David and various. 11 issues.  THE YOUNG JUSTICE characters become adults while the JLA become teen agers. Just awful and embarrassing, if you ask me.2000 - THE SILVER AGE - by Mark Waid and various - approx. 13 issues. Set in the early days of the modern super-hero era, the Justice League battles a villain called Agamemno. Silly, but well-intended throw back to the 1960s. DC's upcoming RETRO-ACTIVE event harkens back to this idea.2000 - PLANET DC - by various - approx. 10 issues. The DC Annuals revisit the BLOODLINES concept and introduce a diverse group of new heroes. They all shortly vanish.2000 - DC 2000 - by Tom Peyer and Val Semeiks. 2 issues. An old-fashioned JLA/JSA crossover just like they used to do before CRISIS. Not bad, except for the confusing title, which I guess was a play on DC ONE MILLION.2001 - OUR WORLDS AT WAR - by various. Too many issues. Poorly-timed 3 month long event embroiling most DC titles into a war with Imperiex, Brainiac, Luthor and Darkseid. Wonder Woman's mother Hippolyta dies here. Depressing, violent and uncalled for. Much like the real war which started at the same time...only sadly, one is still going.2001 - THE LAST LAUGH - by various. 7 issues plus tie-ins. The Joker vs. President Luthor vs. the DCU. A universally despised event by readers and critics. Should have been called THE FINAL INSULT.2003 - GRADUATION DAY - by Judd Winick and Ale Garza. 3 issues and a few tie-ins. Young Justice and The Titans disband after much-loved Titans Donna Troy and Lilith are killed by a Superman robot. Pretty dismal. Lousy art doesn't help. Donna Troy will return...for a while.2003 - JLA/AVENGERS - by Kurt Busiek and George Perez - 4 issues. A fan boy's wet dream come true. Every JLA character and every Avenger ever - together in one huge story. Though it takes place outside of regular DC continuity, this one had threads that were carried over into many of Busiek's DC stories - including the his year-long megaseries TRINITY.
2004 - THE NEW FRONTIER - by Darwyn Cooke - 4 issues. Set during the Silver Age, this beautiful- rendered "Elseworld" (not in continuity) series was an instant classic, and recently adapted into the great animated film of the same title.2004 - IDENTITY CRISIS - by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales - 7 issues. The DC Universe grows up as dirty secrets from the past of the JLA are revealed.  The storyline saw a series of attacks on heroes' loved ones, ultimately revealed as being perpetrated by one of those same loved ones. The real revelation of the plot, however, was that JLA foe Dr. Light had raped the Elongated Man's wife Sue Dibney years ago, prompting the Justice League to alter Dr. Light's mind using Zatanna's magical powers, then slightly alter Batman's memories to cover up what they had done. Highly polarizing among fans, but I loved it.2005 - SEVEN SOLDIERS - by Grant Morrison and various - 30 issues. A mega-series of related mini-series featuring mostly new characters based on names that DC already owns plus reboots of ZATANNA, MR. MIRACLE (of the New Gods) and KLARION THE WITCH BOY. DC's version of FRANKENSTEIN returns here and will be part of the September reboot.2005 - COUNTDOWN - by various. 1 issue. Blue Beetle Ted Kord is murdered by Checkmate (and former Justice League) leader Max Lord, with other events triggering four spin-off miniseries: DAY OF VENGEANCE, THE OMAC PROJECT, THE RANN/THANAGAR WAR and VILLAINS UNITED as well as plotlines that continue to effect ongoing series like MANHUNTER and BOOSTER GOLD.2005 - DAY OF VENGEANCE - by Bill Willingham - 6 issues. The Spectre, corrupted by Eclipso, sets out to destroy all magic in the DC Universe. This leads to an ongoing series starring a rag-tag group of magical characters called THE SHADOWPACT and eventually to 2008's REIGN IN HELL.2005 - THE OMAC PROJECT - by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz - 6 issues. Batman battles Brother Eye, a spy satellite he had created to keep track of other heroes but that had fallen under control of Maxwell Lord before it became sentient. Besides being corrupted by Maxwell Lord (see COINTDOWN above), it had been given the power to transform over a million people into powerful creatures called OMACs and that it could control. Woman Woman goes against her code and kills Maxwell Lord. This leads to a new ongoing CHECKMATE series. The OMAC concept is revisted several times after this series - and will be again in September 2011.2005 - THE RANN/THANAGAR WAR - by Dave Gibbons and Ivan Reis - 6 issues. Adam Strange, Hawkman and many others become embroiled in a war between the planets Rann and Thanagar. Ties into the monthy HAWKMAN series and eventually into 2008's sequel RANN/THANAGAR: HOLY WAR.2005 - VILLAINS UNITED- by Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham - 6 issues. Most DC super-villains join together as The Society. Lots of fun. Spins off into the critically acclaimed SECRET SIX ongoing series and 2008's SALVATION RUN.2005 - THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY - by Phil Jimenez, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and George Perez. - 4 issues. Guess who's back? For at least 6 years that is.
2005 - INFINITE CRISIS - by Geoff Johns, Phil Jimenez and George Pérez - 7 issues and various tie-ins. A true sequel to the original CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS - The Earth-2 Superman returns, as does Superboy-Prime, who becomes the mega-villain of the DC Universe. Heroes die and change. New Earth is born, as is a new Blue Beetle.2006 - 52- by Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, and Keith Giffen. Art by various. 52 issues plus tie-ins. A year-long weekly series detailing a year without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The series introduces several new players to the DCU including Isis (yay!), the new Question and the New Batwoman, while also saying goodbye to Isis (sob!), the old Question and Ralph Dibney, the Elongated Man. 52 concludes with the restoration of the DC "multiverse" by the creation of 52 parallel worlds of which "New Earth" is only one.  2006 THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN - by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey and Dan Jurgens - 6 issues. Re-introduces Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to the DCU leading to two FREEDOM FIGHTS miniseries and a short-lived monthly title.
2006 WORLD WAR III - by various - 4 issues. Awful spin-off from 52 which tries to fill-in the gaps between 52 and ONE YEAR LATER. Some good stuff, but mostly a sloppy effort.2007 - AMAZONS ATTACK! - by Will Pieffer and Pete Woods. 6 issues plue tie-ins. A total mess - only worth it for it's artwork and the fact that it restores Wonder Woman's mother Hippolyta to life (though she's written poorly). Ties into COUNTDOWN and DEATH OF THE NEW GODS.2007 - COUNTDOWN (TO FINAL CRISIS) - by Paul Dini and various - 52 weekly issues and various tie-ins. Jimmy Olsen, the Pied Piper, The Trickster, Mary Marvel, Harley Quinn, CATWOMAN's Holly Robinson, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and poor Donna Troy star in universally loathed series which changed directions several times. Duela Dent dies here. The Monitors and Monarch figure into the plot as well. Plotlines tied into AMAZONS ATTACK, DEATH OF THE NEW GODS, SALVATION RUN and THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR. Continuity errors abound. All this leads to FINAL CRISIS, kind of.2007 - THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR - by Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons. Various issues. Begins in GREEN LANTERN # 21 and continuing throughout several monlthy titles and specials. Sets the stage for BLACKEST NIGHT, BRIGHTEST DAY and ultimately FLASHPOINT.2007 - DEATH OF THE NEW GODS - by Jim Starlin - 8 issues. Starlin returns to familiar territory as he tackles the mysterious deaths of the New Gods across the universe in preparation for the coming storylines for FINAL CRISIS. More unforgivable continuity errors abound.2008 - SALVATION RUN - by Bill Willingham and Shen Chen - 8 issues. Suicide Squad's Amanda Waller and Checkmate transport all of the world's most dangerous villains to their own planet. Sounds like fun! It wasn't.
2008 - REIGN IN HELL - by Keith Giffen and Tom Derenick. 8 issues. The Shadowpact and others vs. Neron and Lord Satanus. I didn't read it, but I may pick up the trade paperback one day.2008 - RANN/THANAGAR: HOLY WAR - 8 issues - Jim Starlin and Ron Lim undo everything good about Hawkman that James Robinson and Geoff Johns established in JSA for no good reason. Plus The Weird returns! The Hawkman reboot was ignored by others, thankfully. Hawkman & Hawkgirl later perished in BLACKEST NIGHT and were revived in BRIGHTEST DAY. Looks like another Hawk reboot is coming up in September.2008 - DREAM WAR - 6 issues - The DCU and the Wildstorm Universe merge for a few issues. The Wildstorm gang will be merged wit the DCU proper as of September.2008 - THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT - by Bruce Jones and Al Barrionuevo. 8 issues. A TIME MASTERS redux. Sold poorly and was quickly forgotten.2008 - SUPERMAN'S REIGN - by Dan Jurgens. 12 issues - The Tangent universe (odd variant versions of the DCU characters that are radically different except for their names) and the DCU crossover. Wasn't needed.2008 - TRINITY by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza, Mark Bagley and others. 52 issues. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in a self-contained weekly series. I picked up the first 26 issues, but dropped it when Mark Bagley's lackluster art made it impossible to read.2008 - FINAL CRISIS - By Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones. 7 issues plus various spin-offs and tie-in specials. Ah - finally. Barry Allen (The Silver Age Flash killed in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS) and The New Gods all return!
When FINAL CRISIS finally I proclaimed Thank Darkseid! What started out as a promising epic adventure turned out to be a convoluted, confusing, confluence of conundrums. In other words–what the fucking fuck?
As seen above, I've previously recounted all the other major DC Universe crossovers from the best to the worst-and at least I was able to explain briefly what happened in those stories.
Ask me what FINAL CRISIS was about and I can only tell you what I think happened, but I'm not really sure. But maybe I'm too stupid to understand what Grant Morrison was trying to say???
I think it was about the dead New Gods coming back to life in the form of regular folks and an Anti-Life virus infecting the human race. Along the way, Martain Manhunter gets cooked alive by an old JLA villain from the 70s named Libra (he comes back in BRIGHTEST DAY), Lois Lane gets blown to bits (she gets better), the Flash known as Barry Allen returns to the land of the living and Batman gets either killed or sent back in time to become Captain Caveman (he returns in 2010's THE RETURN OF BRIUCE WAYNE).
There's also some nonsense involving a group of obnoxious Japanese heroes called Super Young Team, a "fight club" for teen age super-heroes, some drama involving the Green and Alpha Lanterns, the introduction of a mysterious new Aquaman, an ugly punked-out makeover for Mary Marvel and poor Wonder Woman's transformation into a hideous beast along with Batwoman, Catwoman and The Doom Patrol's Elasti-Girl! Whew!
Oh yeah - Darkseid's son Kalibak gets reincarnated as a tiger and has a battle with Shazam sidekick Mr. Tawny, Superman goes on an acid trip and meets about 50 other Supermen from different worlds, the Monitors stand around talking a lot and lots of important people, places and things get blown up.
Other stuff happens too, but I'm sure you're already as confused as I am. Don't even get me started on where all the tie-ins fit in. ROGUE'S REVENGE? RESIST? SUBMIT? REVELATIONS? LEGION OF 3 WORLDS? Maybe I just need to sit down and reread everything and it will all make sense. But I feel like why should I have to work so damn hard to enjoy a comic book story? Ugh!
After BLACKEST NIGHT, BRIGHTEST DAY and the current FLASHPOINT, my event fatigue is getting even stronger.  Looking at DC's line-up of 52 new titles, I can only find 6 that even interest me. With no signs of my favorites like The Justice Society, The Marvel Family, Power Girl, Huntress and ANOTHER needless Wonder Woman reboot, it seems like the best of DC is far behind us. What will it take to make me start loving comics again???

Yeah, it would take something really special to get my fanboy mojo back - possibly the return of LADY COP?


Tony Z™ said...

It's funny that you mention Countdown as leading to Final Crisis (sort of), since it's almost completely been written out of continuity already.
Jimmy Olsen doesn't appear to have ever known anyone's secret identity. And in Legion of 3 Worlds they basically say the Superboy-Prime hasn't been seen since the Sinestro War...except that he was in Countdown after the Sinestro War...
Countdown sucked though, so it doesn't really matter.

I think Final Crisis may be another Grant Morrison failure based on the first 3 issues. Unless he's gotten something huge to pull out of his @$$. #3 was better than 1 and 2, but that's not saying much.

thad said...

wow - that's sure a lot of crises. thanks for the "history lesson"...

doug said...

It's so sad about COUNTDOWN. I kept buying it and reading it with hopes that it would all make sense and actually lead to something important. Unfortunately, I'm getting the same feeling week after week with TRINITY. Busiek prove me wrong, I beg of you!!!

As for FINAL CRISIS - "Grant, J.G., I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you."

Alonso said...

My head started spinning just reading all that. Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for DC ONE MILLION (if only for the hilarious SUPERGIRL issue) and for SINS OF YOUTH (I can't help it, I chuckle everytime I read "Clarion—bum,bum,BUM!—the Witch Boy.")

Will said...

My pet peeve is how they treated the Silver Age Hawkman, Katar Hol. It's not like I was a huge fan, really like the concept and design of Hawkman. But they just really treated him badly. They decided that Carter Hall was the only Hawman and even kill off Katar off panel. I totlly HATE Meltzer for killing Sue Dibney. Then they kill off Blue Bettle. It was open season on the old Bwaa Ha Ha JLA which in my opinion was better written than current books.

Doug said...

@Will - I agree that Hawkman always seems to get the shaft every time someone new takes over his story. I thought things were finally fixed for good - but it looks like the upcoming SAVAGE HAWKMAN series may be yet another fresh start for Carter/Katar.

Sue Dibney's death was sad, but I still think IDENTITY CRISIS was a well-written story. I was shocked when killed Ralph also - but we've been promised that they would return someday as "ghost detectives". I'm not holding my breath.

As for Ted Kord - I miss him as well. Since his death he's come back a few times - but never permanently. If we have can a bunch of Flashes, GLs, Batmen and Kryptonians why can't we have two Blue Beetles? To me, BB could have been DC's answer to Spider-Man since they came from the same era and creator. I always thought it would be cool to establish some kind of a link between all the Ditko characters - Creeper, Beetle, Hawk & Dove, Stalker and The Question.

Will said...

My real complaint is about Katar Hol who's just sent to he dustbin of history without a care. Identity Crisis was in my opinion warmed over grim & gritty.
Hey kids here some rape, and murders and stuff. Sue & Ralph were awesome & just because Meltzer needed to shock people Sue was sacrificed. Maybe they weren't popular or well known but other writers can do something with them. Check out the old DeMatteis/Griffin JLA/ JLA Europe & Can't believe It's Not The Justice League. Fuck Meltzer ! Fuck 'em!

Will said...

by the way, great post

Gregory Plantamura said...

Man, that was a long post.

1997-If those Millennium Giants covers are supposed to fit together, they really screwed it up.

Did you know that "Titans/JLA:Technis Imperative" was indirectly inspired by Swamp Thing #60? (Check

2005's "Seven Soldiers" can be enjoyed in individual issues, or as individual 4-pat mini-series. If you read them all, they all have little details that crossover with each other. They subtly fit together forming a bigger story. Reading it is a lot of work, but it pays off. The online annotations help a lot.

2006's "Battle for Bludhaven" was a plodding chore to connect plot points from "Infinite Crisis" to "Freedom Fighters". Yet I enjoyed "Freedom Fighters".

What's with that "WWIII" cover? They had to spell "World War Three"?