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Your Top Creative Runs part 24

Let's finish the day with vampires, aliens, and the first solo series for one of the oldest characters around.

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95. 65 points - Captain Britain/MI-13 (Cornell/Kirk)
#1 - #15captainbritain-mi13

I enjoyed this book, but I jumped on the bandwagon too late and it was short lived. Spinning out of the events of Secret Invasion, as well as Paul Cornell's Wisdom miniseries that came out under the MAX imprint. Unlike other MAX stories, Wisdom was actually connected to the main Marvel Universe, showing Pete Wisdom working for MI-13, a British agency that deals with supernatural threats. Cornell and editor Nick Lowe had such a good time, that they decided to expand the series into an ongoing under the regular Marvel imprint.

The ongoing series followed a team of British heroes, including Pete Wisdom, led by Captain Britain. The initial story spun out of the events of Secret Invasion, with a group of Skrulls attacking Britain and entering the magical realm of Avalon, where they stole various magical artifacts. They used these items to create a mystically powered Super Skrull. To defeat the Skrulls, Pete Wisdom unleashed some powerful dark magic and Merlin, who resurrects Captain Britain. The newly returned Captain Britain uses Excalibur to defeat the Skrulls and save the day. The two of them then decide they need a team of heroes to fix the issues that resulted from releasing so much powerful dark magic.

Future arcs involve the team coming together, being betrayed by one of their own, battling a Lord of Hell, and ultimately fighting Dracula and an army of vampires. The series was notable for it's use of British heroes, as well as the sense of the team being like a family. For the most part it was a classic, old school styled, team book that featured great art by Leonard Kirk and sharp writing by Cornell. Unfortunately it also had Blade, and there's some sort of law that while he is a character that can open movies that make good money, he is not allowed to be in a comic for an extended period without killing sales. Which sucks, because he's a great character.


94. 65 points - Nightwing (Dixon)
#1 - #70
nightwing_copyChuck Dixon wrote all but one issue during this run, that issue being written by the writer that would follow Dixon, Devin Grayson. People were less thrilled with that run. Dixon would return to co-write an arc from issue #101 - #106. Dixon would also write pretty much every other Batman related hero at some point. We will see him again on one of those other heroes later on.

And now, after that little preamble, our esteemed lawyer friend, Chapworth the 22nd, has returned to regale us with his views on this series. Huzzah! Take it away Chap!

While it would be hard to argue that any character in superhero comics has grown up more than Dick Grayson (OK, you could make an argument for Wally West too, but forget that....he'll get his own entries elsewhere in this list), it is impossible to argue that anybody took longer to fully do so. The world's first superhero kid sidekick may have been the character find of 1940, but it took him 44 to take on an "adult" identity, and 56 years before he was finally given his own solo ongoing book. But in the hands of Bat-of-all-titles writer Chuck Dixon, that book was worth the wait.

Following his leave from the Titans, a brief stint as Batman in the "Prodigal" storyline, and a one-shot and a mini, Nightwing was finally given an ongoing in 1996. In this run, Dixon (originally ably assisted on art by Scott McDaniel, who was born to draw the acrobatic hero in action) established Dick as his own man. Sure, he was living off money made for him in the market by Lucius Fox at Wayne Enterprises, but he moved himself out of the shadow of his mentor (even if he only moved one town out of that shadow). Dixon established Dick in the Gotham neighbor of Bludhaven, an old whaling town with more graft and corruption than even Gotham, Chicago, and the entire state of Louisiana combined could hope to spew forth. Initially chasing a crime ring run by some of Black Mask's False Facers, Dick discovered the town was run by his own new personal Kingpin, the new Blockbuster, Roland Desmond, and stuck around to eliminate Blockbuster's presence and clean up the town. To aid in his battle, he bought an apartment house, and took jobs as first a bartender in a cop bar and then later as a member of the Bludhaven P.D.

The book never lacked for unique action, as along the way, Dixon and McDaniel (and later Land and others) gave Dick his own personal rogues' gallery of new and old villains, including Blockbuster, Brutale, Lady Vic, Torque (former corrupt policeman "Deadly" Dudley Soames was a fairly perfect Bat-esque "freak" villain who could've become Dick's own version of Two-Face, had talentless hack Devin Grayson not immediately killed him upon taking over the book from Dixon when he left...rassumfrassumrackinfrackin), Nite-Wing, Veil, Hella, Double Dare, the new Trigger Twins, and Shrike, with additional occasional appearances from classic villains like Deathstroke, Scarecrow, Electrocutioner, and Man-Bat among others. When not fitting in to whatever ongoing Bat-title crossover du jour was going on, Dick was taking out crooked cops, mob bosses or flying through the air with the greatest of ease to take down Blockbuster's goon squad.

And of course, Dixon brought in guest-stars showcasing one of the character's greatest strengths, his ability to work well with and fit in with just about everybody. From Batman, Oracle, Robin, and Huntress to the Birds of Prey and Superman, the former Boy Wonder was rarely short on friends and assistants in his war on Bludhaven's baddies. Truly, it is the relationships that make the character of Dick Grayson so unique in the DCU, and Dixon showcased that beautifully throughout this run. Whether through interactions with his supporting cast of Clancy Logan, Tad Ryerstad, John Law, Amy Rohrbach, etc., or through his flirtations with Babs and Huntress, his joy at working with Superman, his rivalry with his former mentor, his older brother relationship with Tim Drake (issue #25 where Dick and Tim "take the train" is a single issue I recommend about as highly as possible for any fan of those characters and/or the Bat-family of characters), a voice-mail message from Wally West, or Scarecrow-induced nightmares featuring Donna Troy and Roy Harper, it is these connections that make Dick the character he is, and Dixon nailed that.

While Dick is easily one of the four most important characters in DC history, it was always because he was the second part of "Batman & _______". This book is what really changed that, and made him into his own man at last. And that was all due to the wok of Chuck Dixon.


93. 66 points - GLC (Tomasi)
#18 - #47glc-tomasi

Following on the miniseries Green Lantern; Rebirth, Hal Jordan had returned to the land of the living and resumed his role as Green Lantern. This was followed by a return of the Green Lantern Corps in their own mini, and then in an ongoing book. The book was originally edited by Peter Tomasi and written by Dave Gibbons, but following the events of Sinestro Corps War, Gibbons left the book and Tomasi stepped down from his role as editor to take over the writing duties on the book.

While the main Green Lantern title (which we will see later on) focused on Hal Jordan, and occasionally John Stewart, this book was more of a team story, focused on Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, Killowog, and other well known Lanterns, along with introducing new rookies to be trained and who played big roles. Among these was the Daxamite Sodam Yat, a new Lantern from Sinestro's home planet named Sorinak Natu, two members on opposite sides of the Rann/Thanagar war named Isamot Kol and Vath Sarn, the resurrected former lover of Hal Jordan Arisia Rrab, and many others.

During Tomasi's run on the series, the book would develop major relationships between various characters, such as the friendship between partners Isamot and Vath, Arisia training and falling for Sodam Yat, Kyle and Sorinak Natu beginning a relationship, the revelation that not only is Sorinak Natu a member of Sinestro's people but his daughter, and the reunion of Guy Gardner with his newly resurrected love Ice (who came back to life on Earth in a separate series that we will shockingly not see later on). While there was a lot of focus on relationships between characters, you also saw the rise of the various new Lantern Corps, such as the Red Lanterns who play a big part in the series. This all leads up to the event Blackest Night, the War of the Lanterns, and many other events.

The series also saw the debut of various smaller groups within the Corps, such as the Alpha Lanterns, a group of Lanterns that have their bodies combined with their Lanterns and are given immense powers. These Lanterns work as a sort of Internal Affairs group, investigating crimes by other Lanterns following the reveal of ten new laws that the Corps would follow. The new laws include bans on relationships between members of the GLC, the right to use deadly force (first only against Sinestro Corps members, and later against pretty much anyone), and other laws that lead to many people leaving the Corps. Among those that leave are two of the Guardians, Ganthet and Sayd who leave to start up the Blue Lantern Corps, a group that harnesses the emotion of Hope rather than Willpower.

After Blackest Night, Tomasi left the series to Tony Bedard, a writer well known for his cosmic stories in other series. Tomasi wouldn't leave the GLC behind altogether though, as he'd move on to follow Guy Gardner and Killowog in a new series titled Emerald Warriors.
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