Saturday, July 01, 2006

Alright, come with me back to July, when this entry should have been posted.
It is, of course, actually September 14 right now as I continue to scramble my way through the many overdue entries.

June was Hulk month, and the last month for the time being to feature theme Monday entries.
Hopefully everyone has enjoyed having four months of extra entries, and with any luck I'll catch up sometime soon, and maybe look at going back to twice a week.

In the mean time, it's been a pretty big month!
You may have noticed a few minor changes here and there.
In an attempt to further enhance the archive of the site, recommended reads will now be included to reference both other interesting stories relevent to the issue in review, and also previous entries here on the site.

From a practical standing, on-site links no longer open into another window.
This was just an irritant in the design, and hopefully keeping it all in the one window will optimize your experience on the site.

The new banner is really just overdue fluff...

Coming in July:
July is/was the month of my birth, so I eventually arrived at a pseudo theme this month. We're going to expand the range of featured issues by featuring entries from four decades starting with the naughties, back to the seventies.

(July 07) Representing the current decade one of the true masters of the fighting comic book. Interestingly enough, this feature will break apart two characters who are neck and neck on the top five. Scroll down to that to get a clue about who they might be!
(July 14) Everybody's favourite decade! The nineties!
I'm taking an opportunity with each entry to try to pick some personal faves, so hopefully noone will mind as we check out one of the stars of DC's 52, taking on an unlikely foe with some issues regarding physical integrity! Ooo, mysterious!
(July 21) My birthday! It's only fitting then that one of my favourite tattered back issue be the feature. It's three generations of crime fighters taking on the nefarious faces of crime, and it'll be the intervention of the unwelcome youngster that sees the day saved!
(July 28) We round out with a seventies entry that is long overdue.
I don't know whether to be shocked or disgusted that this mug ain't been featured yet here on Secret Earths. This month's main event is sure to be a real clobber knocker!

All of that will be coming up ASAP, as I continue to race to get the site back up to date.

The Top Five...
There comes a time when you have to just cut to the chase, and let's face it, on a site dedicated to fun and fandom, this is the meat of the punch-up. The top five.
Some clear leaders are starting to form, but the pack is still thin enough to open it up to anyone. If you think your favourite is being omitted, feel free to drop a comment, so I don't have to think too much about my choices.

Hulk month has quite naturally taken effect, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. Plenty of familiar constants, but some rumblings in the lower ranks. Blah blah blah, I'm struggling here, so here come the pictures.

#1 Batman (-) (7) (DC Comics)
Batman continues to be the dominant presence as we start to have enough entries to form a top ten. There really aren't any immediate signs of the guard changing hands, the character surviving an entire month off the card, with Hulk getting four entries all to himself.

1 Year Later hasn't done a lot for Batman's stock in my opinion, but with Grant Morrison and Paul Dini looming, that may very well change things. For now, Bats remains the default.

- Batman versus Superman (December 23, 2005)
- Batman versus Superman (January 06, 2006)
- Batman & Red Hood versus The Society (January 27, 2006)
- Batman versus Captain America (May 15, 2006)
- Batman versus Bullseye (May 22, 2006)

#2 Hulk (+7) (new) (Marvel Comics)
No surprises here. After an entire month dedicated to the Hulkster, not making the top five would have completely justified shooting him into space.

Have to be entirely honest, despite being incredibly inkeeping with the nature of the site here, Planet Hulk has not enticed me in the slightest. Marvel have just announced World War Hulk for 2007, and if it lives up to the speculation as Hulk's big, angry return to Earth, it just might turn things around.

Name superheroes trump no-name aliens any day of the week.

- Hulk & Superman versus Metallo (May 22, 2006)
- Hulk versus Deadpool (June 05, 2006)
- Hulk versus The Thunderbolts (June 12, 2006)
- Hulk versus Daredevil (June 19, 2006)
- Hulk versus Iron Man (June 26, 2006)

#3 Superman (-1) (2) (DC comics)
Interesting that the Hulk would be sandwiched between Batman and Superman. Apart from being the World's Finest superheroes, they're also two of Hulk's chief rivals in company crossover events.

Superman's got no powers 1 Year Later, which doesn't do a whole lot for his prospects in the top five, and after Superman Returns fizzled and chokened outside your bedroom window (creepy!), it might not look so good for ol' Kal.

You almost have to have Superman represented in the top five at some stage, and with a meager reserve of DC issues in my longboxes, there's every chance this pop culture icon will hold out. I wouldn't predict it, though.

- Superman versus Hulk (May 08, 2006)
- Superman versus Juggernaut (May 22, 2006)
- Superman & Hulk versus Metallo (May 22, 2006)
- Superman & Hulk versus Moleman (May 22, 2006)
- Superman versus Captain Marvel (June 23, 2006)

#4 Wolverine (-) (4) (Marvel Comics)
Did someone say overexposed?
Shucks, despite some shuffling in the top ranks, Wolverine manages to maintain his place in the top five. Which is probably why he's such a fun character to hate.

No matter how much you hate the guy, there's almost always a redeeming quality or story around the corner.
I haven't been keeping track of the new Origins series, but there are a couple of issues I'd like to feature some time, including Millar's fight-heavy Marvel Knights story.

No matter how much you water the guy down, he'll always be one of comics best fighting characters, bub.

- Wolverine versus The Invaders (December 30, 2005)
- Wolverine versus Lobo (April 17, 2006)
- X-Men (inc. Wolverine) & Juggernaut versus Nimrod (April 28, 2006)
- Wolverine versus Killer Croc (May 22, 2006)
- Wolverine versus Deathstrike (May 26, 2006)

#5 Daredevil (-2) (6) (Marvel Comics)
Well, I sponsored the guy early on as a favourite, but it looks like DD might be on his way out of the top five. Early on it looked like he might be the one to take down the Bat, but maybe it just isn't in the cards.

Brubaker and Lark continue to make this title must-read stuff, and that keeps Daredevil in the conscience, and with a fighting chance.
He's a character known for getting back up after a hard knock, and a favourite here at Secret Earths.

- Daredevil versus Scope (January 13, 2006)
- Daredevil & Elektra versus Bullseye (February 17, 2006)
- Daredevil versus Turk (March 10, 2006)
- Daredevil versus Hulk (June 19, 2006)

Ones to watch...
Looking to win back poker kitty from your mates?
Why not trade bets on who will enter the top five next? Here are some stock tips to keep an eye on in the coming months, for all kinds of reasons, including external influence. I am, after all, only human.

#7 Elektra (-2) (Marvel Comics)
She may have slipped out of the top five, but like the character herself, she's got to be a total dark horse. Never a character I've bought in bulk, but I did just pick up the film (oh yes, I did!) and as a chief character in Millar's MK: Wolverine, there's plenty of recent fodder to see her climb the mountain.

#9 Captain America (-1) (Marvel Comics)
Two words: Civil War. Captain America is the character fans like me are sympathising with, and August is guaranteed to see Cap in the mix as we feature the crossover event.
Cap's never looked better than now under the guiding influences of sifu Millar, and sentinel of artistry, Steve McNiven. He's been a little slow, but it's more than worth the wait!

#10 Iron Man (+12) (Marvel Comics)
Two words: Civil War. Does anyone else find it incredibly fitting that these two [Cap] and Iron Man end up ranked one after the other? These guys are both primed for a spot in the top five, and as the leader of the counter point, even if you hate him, Iron Man is a character to watch in 2006!
IM got a good run last month facing both Hulk and Extremis, and he's sure to be in the mix in August!

#11 Flash (-1) (DC Comics)
I just picked up the DVD set of the TV series, and I'm in Barry Allen heaven.
This particular Flash, ranked eleven, is Wally West, but he's just as good as any other Flash.
Post-Infinite Crisis West is MIA, replaced by his nephew Bart Allen, but no doubt he'll show up sooner than later. With the pathetic Flash relaunch being gradually ignored in unison, leaving West missing rather than dead may prove to have been an intelligent call by the powers-that-be.

#16 Silver Surfer (-2) (Marvel Comics)
Marvel dominates the prospects in much the same way as last month, and it's hard to apologise as the company turns around it's dismal efforts of the past two years.
The Annihilation Wave has not only pushed Annihilus to headlining status, but also brought cosmic characters like Super Skrull, Silver Surfer and Nova right back into the spotlight.

After the cosmic battle between She-Hulk and Champion, it should come as no surprise that Silver Surfer is overdue a run at the top on Secret Earths.

The hammer...
There's just so many fantastic comics coming out, and I'm having great fun trying to diversify some of the back issue entries, so hopefully it's a great couple of months ahead.

The hits have started to roll back in [September], so I have to give a big shoutout to everyone that's been checking the site out. Especially the repeat visitors, it's much obliged, and feel encouraged to drop a comment.

Having a lot of fun with the site, and hope to continue to do so.
It's pretty late, so I'm going to wrap it up, even though I always end up forgeting so many things every time these round-ups come up. May have to look at reformatting for August's punch-up...

One last note of business, if you're at all interested, scores were given to entries from December 2005. The first month did not feature these, and they were added for the creator top ten (seen in the menu on the right, updated regularly).

All the best!
Keep on slugging!

NEXT: We travel back through the ages, starting in 2005 with a battle between two top fivers. This one smells like a winner!
June Hit Count: 1382* (+112)

* Hit count was recorded June 30. Hits for June posts may be reflected in September count.

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