Tuesday, December 23, 2008

1999-2003 Top 25
#1 Sentry (2000)
#2 Stargirl (1999)
#3 Mimic (2001)
#4 Nocturne (2000)
#5 Zoom (2001)
#6 The Hood (2002)
#7 Hurricane (2000)
#8 Night Ranger (2002)
#9 Randal (2002)
#10 Guardian (2002)
#11 Eradicator (2002)
#12 Kenshi (2002)
#13 Sadler Cyborg (1999)
#14 Bo' Rai Cho (2002)
#15 Shun (1999)
#16 Elsa Bloodstone (2001)
#17 Beak (2001)
#18 Fantomex (2002)
#19 Esme Cuckoo (2001)
#20 Stepford Cuckoos (2001)
#21 Angel Salvadore (2001)
#22 Dr. Mid-Nite (1999)
#23 Squire (1999)
#24 Scout (2002)
#25 Speedy (2001)
It's a very strange prospect to observe a period as modern as 1999 as ten years ago! Granted, some of you whipper snappers probably like to erroneously refer to it as "old school," but damn! Too soon!

If you're just joining us, we're royally screwing with the timeline by posting late 2008 posts that look back over the past twenty-five years in 2009. Mmm. Probably needed some grammar in there.
Join the flashback by checking out: 1984-1988, 1989-1993, 1994-1998, and last year's flashbacks, which are listed in the '84 stack.

This period represents a real moment of change in popular comics.
With the end of the collector's boom leaving numbers significantly lower, we see a noted investment in storytelling again. The celebration of mindless visual indulgence is gradually replaced by the value of the word. Pretty pictures don't really suffer under this regime, which isn't surprising, given that it's really just a readjustment of logical proceedings. Harmony is rediscovered in a world where the ideas are actually pilotting a ship competently constructed by well qualified pencillers no longer slavishly imitating less inventive contemporaries.

Ironically, in this period of conceptual exploration, some concerns to the minimal input of new creations. Glancing the list of debuting characters from the period, one appreciates that, even if it we aren't seeing lasting input to the value of the forties, sixties, seventies, or eighties, we are still enjoying new inventions. Inventions that, admittedly, benefit greatly from a continuously growing understanding of context and history within the comics medium and the super-genre of superheroes. It's this retroactive exploration of history and the fundamentals of superheroes that typifies some of the best works of the last twenty-five years.

Here we have a small selection casting a light on a very interesting period!

Street Fighter Alpha (1999)
"Dr. Sadler's Ultimate Weapon" Yamauchi/Yoshida/Romersa/Thornton

Having been approached by a young Brazilian boy claiming to be his long-lost younger brother; Ryu embarks on a journey of self-discovery with his oldest friend; Ken Masters; and new allies, including Interpol agent, Chun-Li.

Struggling to contain the tempting dark hadou energies that represent the evil side of his ki-harnessing martial art, Ryu opts to observe from the sidelines at the street fighting tournament that has lured Ken Masters from his home in the US, back to Japan.

It's whilst fighting the hulking Russian wrestler - Zangief - that Shun suffers over whelming odds and begins to tap into the powers of the dark hadou, forcing Ryu to step into the combative arena and face his own dark energy. Though he is able to resist whilst defeating Zangief, a new opponent presents himself instantly, pulling Ryu once more into his internal battle.

Batman: Dark Victory #3 (February 2000)
"Toys" Loeb/Sale

With the Holiday killings still fresh in the memory of Gotham city gangsters, freaks, cops, and heroes; the Dark Knight Detective finds himself confronted with a brand new slew of serial killings committed in conjunction with the calendar -- and this time the killer is a Hangman!

The cast of the Long Halloween reunite as the Falcone empire becomes embroiled in a new battle with Batman, Catwoman, and the police, as the lines between mobster and freak begin to blur.

In the early goings Batman is launching a preemptive assault, seeking answers wherever they may lie, beginning with the gangled silence of Jonathan Crane: Scarecrow!

Tekken Forever #1 (December 2001)
"What's This Life For?" Chi/Diaz

Once an officer of Interpol; Bryan Fury was killed in the line duty in a shoot-out while investigating in Hong Kong. Fury's body came to be in the possession of one Dr. Abel, an aging scientist whose research expanded beyond conventional medicines to explore the realms of cyber-organics and other radical sciences.

Dr. Abel reanimated the deceased officer as a cyborg with the intentions of utilizing his skills to steal vital mechanical secrets from his rival, Dr. Boskonovich. Instead, Abel unleashes a madman upon an unsuspecting world. Bryan Fury uses his invulnerable body to observe his own agenda, indulging in the darkness that had long followed him.

It was this darkness that Detective Lei Wulong discovered, while investigating the Hong Kong drug trade. Together with Boskonovich's own cybernetic warrior, Yoshimitsu, they do their best against the killer cyborg.

Spider-man: Blue #2 (August 2002)
"Let's Fall in Love" Loeb/Sale

Bitten by a radio active spider; gawky high school nerd, Peter Parker, finds himself with the unlikely proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider. With this new-found power, and his own inventive brilliance, Parker sets out to take on the ultimate responsibility of a vigilante!

As Spider-man, Peter comes into conflict with many others with rare and unique gifts. Men who would do great good, and great evil in this world. Men who would use their abilities to pursue him in personal grudges. Men who would hunt him like a rare and unique animal.

Men like the Rhino who, while being held under gas induced sedation, finds himself free to seek revenge on Spider-man after a mysterious enemy sets him free. Rampaging through the city, Rhino looks for payback, and the web-slinger is all too happy to oblige, but does he have it in him to defeat the Rhino again? Or will the mystery man step out of the shadows to capitalize? Stay tuned!

Batman #619 (November 2003)
"The End" Loeb/Lee

When a dramatically mutated Killer Croc partakes in the kidnap of a rich man's child; Batman unwittingly enters into a game of manipulation design to break his will, and lead him down a path toward destruction.

Having suffered severe injuries after a fall from a batline, severed by an anonymously thrown batarang; Wayne recalls the name of renowned surgeon, and former childhood friend, Dr. Thomas Elliot. The doctor returns to Gotham to perform the surgery and reacquaint himself with the city and his former friend, but the trip is cut short when the Joker and Harley Quinn raid a stage show. After taking pursuit of the clown prince of crime in an effort to recover a family heirloom; Thomas Elliot is murdered -- or so it seems!

In reality, this is but another chapter in the tale of Hush, the newest villain to enter Batman's murderous rogues gallery! Vengeful over wrongs commited when they were children, Hush has manipulated the heroes and villains of Gotham City in an effort to play Batman for a fool, but even as the dark knight desperately tries to unravel the mystery, the bandaged villain prepares to play his final hand.

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