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Your Top Creative Runs part 21

We finish the day with three team books, one from the 80's and two from the 00's.

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104. 47 points - Justice League (Conway/Perez)
#184 - #186, #192 - #197, and #200
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Gerry Conway wrote the Justice League from 1978 through 1986, doing most of the issues in that span leading up to the JLI version of the team debuting (which we'll see later on). However, in 1980, starting with issue #184, he was joined by artist George Perez for the majority of the issues leading up to #200. The pairing, though short, was very popular with fans. However, despite not being the book Perez really wanted to draw, the book wasn't selling as well as New Teen Titans Perez's other book (and something we'll be seeing soon on this list) and as a result the run was kept rather short.

While the book was a fun read, and told some cool stories, including a JLA/JSA team up vs. the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the biggest thing to come from this era was the failed JLA/Avengers series that never got made. Conway had collaborated with Roy Thomas many times over the years, and with the two of them on JLA and Avengers, they figured it was a good time for a crossover. In 1979 the two companies agreed to publish the book, a story featuring time traveling villains Kang and The Lord of Time. Perez was set to do the art (and had actually done about 21 pages, or just about a full issue), but the project fell apart amid arguments between the two companies, mostly caused by Jim Shooter, who was the editor in chief at Marvel at the time. The failure of this led to the cancellation of a sequel to the Teen Titans/X-Men crossover that had come out just before. The project ended up getting revived and drastically changed in 2003, with Perez doing the art and Kurt Busiek doing the writing.


103. 56 points - Legion of Super Heroes (DnA)
Legion Lost #1 - #12
The Legion #1 - #33
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Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, usually referred to as DnA, are comic writing partners that in 2000 were assigned the task of revamping the Legion of Superheroes following weak sales on the previous series. Unlike many Legion runs, this one didn't try to undo all that came before and instead spun out of the canceled series that preceded it. They started this by doing a 12 issue mini that was to be followed by an ongoing if the sales justified it. The series, Legion Lost, featured the first comics work by Oliver Copiel, and dealt with the events of the previous series where a group of Legionaries were lost into a rift in space and stranded on the other side of the galaxy. The story was darker than most Legion stories, and ended with the team being returned to their side of space, albeit with a few people left behind (their story was told in another miniseries). While not a huge seller, the series was critically acclaimed and sold well enough that DC gave the writers a new ongoing.

The new ongoing was simply titled The Legion, and picked up where the mini left off. Eventually the series brings back Darkseid (who's most famous Legion story will be mentioned in an arc showing up later) and even brought the new Superboy to join the team for a while as part of that story. That storyline leads to a crossover with Teen Titans (the team by Geoff Johns, which will show up later). DnA would stay on the book until issue 33 and then leave to go to Marvel and arrive just in time to get involved in the cosmic scene over there as Annihilation hits and books like Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy get revamped (both of which we'll see later on). Meanwhile, the Legion would get rebooted once again, this time by Mark Waid, before getting involved in some stories by Geoff Johns that try to explain why there are so many different Legions and bring them all together. These decisions divided Legion fans, but I personally enjoyed the Johns stories in Action Comics, even though I'm not a big Legion fan. I should probably read this run by DnA, since I love what they've done with the Marvel cosmic books and I've enjoyed what little Legion stories I've read over the years, but DC hates the Legion and hates putting out trades or keeping them in print.


102. 56 points - Young Avengers (Heinberg)
#1 - #12 and YA Special
Avengers: Children's Crusade #1 - present
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Alan Heinberg is a TV writer, and as such his comics work ends up really really delayed as he worked his day job. As a result, there's not nearly as many issues of the series as one would hope to see from a popular book that started in 2005. Jim Cheung, who provided the art, is also not exactly the fastest artist around.

Spinning out of the events of Avengers Disassembled, the Avengers are no more and so a kid from the future calling himself Iron Lad travels back in time in an attempt to recruit the heroes of the future and bring back the Avengers. As a result he recruits characters with connections to older heroes. The kids recruited are Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), Teddy Altman (Hulkling), Eli Bradley (Patriot), Billy Kaplan (Asgardian, and later Wiccan), and the daughter of the second Ant-Man Cassie Lang (Stature). The team is brought together with little of their histories explained initially, and then over the course of the series most of their histories are revealed a little at a time.

Iron Lad brings the team together, and after a couple of smaller missions against foes like Mr. Hyde, they go straight into battling Kang the Conqueror and successfully defeat him. However, it's revealed that Iron Lad is actually a younger version of Kang trying to make sure he doesn't end up turning into a villain, but it's those actions that cause the rift in time that nearly destroys the present. As a result, Iron Lad voluntarily leaves and returns to his future to become Kang, but leaves behind his armor that has been programmed with his brain waves and becomes the new Vision. Despite proving their worth by beating Kang, Captain America and Iron Man still try to talk the kids out of being heroes and even attempt to send them back home. Being kids, they don't give a crap and continue fighting as a team anyways.

Over the rest of the series, you see Billy and Teddy begin a homosexual relationship (which led to the book getting some awards from groups like GLAAD), Patriot shown to have lied about having powers and actually be shown to be abusing a drug that gives temporary superpowers as Iron Lad was actually looking for one of his other relatives, Hulkling is the son of Captain Mar-Vell and a Skrull Princess, a return of the Kree-Skrull war, the revelation that Tommy and Billy are actually probably the twin children of the Scarlet Witch, and many other things. It's also revealed that Billy has a twin brother, a kid he'd never met named Tommy Shepard that was separated from him as a baby. Tommy has speed powers and joins the team and goes by the name Speed. As you can tell, the hero names are awful, but the writing is good enough to make up for it. Decompression is not a problem here, as each issue is filled with revelations, character development, and action scenes.

Unfortunately following the series, Heinberg went back to Hollywood and instead of giving the characters to someone else to do an ongoing series, they decided to wait for Heinberg and Cheung to be available. The characters showed up in some random minis and one shots (many of which were actually really good), and finally in 2010 returned in the bi-monthly miniseries titled Avengers: Children's Crusade. Since the team had been working on the series off and on over the last few years, the most recent developments in the current Marvel U weren't always taken into account. The series is focused on the kids searching for the missing Scarlet Witch, teaming with her family members Magneto and Quicksilver to do so, further angering the Avengers and other heroes. The series is again critically and commercially successful, but hopefully after it's done the kids are given an ongoing by a team that can actually do a monthly series for more than a few issues.

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