Artificial Continuum

Sunday, December 20, 2009
Nick’s Top 5 Top 10
In 2008 AFI did a little countdown where they counted down the top 10 movies of specific genres. I’m bored and thought I’d do something similar, but this time crossing multiple Nerd genres. Should be interesting and fun. It’ll also give you little insight into what I like, and what I consider to be great examples of nerddom across the board.


10. Godzilla King of the Monsters (Dark Horse)

As most of my friends and family know, I am a huge fan of kaiju, or Japanese giant monsters. There is little one can’t love about giant super powered men in suits fighting it out in Asian metropolises, and wreaking havoc upon all they touch. Godzilla King of the monsters is perhaps the best example of kaiju to make itself into comic form. The series is also notable for its total reinvention of Godzilla’s origin, straying away from the anti-war message that is often a staple of the series. Instead, Godzilla is a titan reawakened by an ancient tablet to reignite his war on Earth. The series also does a superb job of balancing engaging and violent story telling with traditional corny Godzilla stories. There are numerous nods made to the overly cheesy endings and plot lines of the series, and they add a degree of humor to the series. One particular arc that I enjoy follows a series of interstellar poachers who come to bag the Big G as a trophy. What follows is similar to Ridley Scott’s Alien, but with a giant fire breathing behemoth and fifty foot tall aliens in the city of Seattle. If you can’t find fun in that you have problems.

9. Cable and Deadpool

This series is perhaps one of the most confusing and philosophical stories I’ve ever read about two mentally unstable mercenaries. Cable and Deadpool plays out like a buddy film between a wise cracking 4th wall breaking bounty hunter and a messianic cybernetic Jesus figure from the future. Confused already? Don’t worry it gets worse, or better, as it goes along. Cable and Deadpool was a series that never shied away from telling politically volatile stories with a heavy hand of pop cultural dark humor. It is the only series to this day that had literally had me laughing out loud for five minutes. There are so many things to love about the stories and characters you easily forget about the convoluted plot and sometimes subpar art.

8. Sensational Spider-Man

This short lived two year Spider-man spin off won me over for the simple reason that it told stories that other Spider-man books couldn’t and wouldn’t tell. Friendly Neighborhood was busy being a giant piece of shit and Amazing was filled with the major plot points and story arcs. Sensational was an amazing series because it told the eerie and more character driven stories that were often overlooked. Ranging from a spectacular arc about Spidey’s animal like villains going insane all at once and going on a primal rampage throughout New York to a one off about what happens to one of Peter Parker’s students after he discovers that his biology teacher is truly a super hero. Spectacular featured superb art and wonderful storytelling, and it was a shame to see it end.

7. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Star Wars comics are a mixed bag. Forced to live inside the confines of Lucas’s sprawling and complicated continuity they are given little story telling opportunities. Also many series feel the need to cram in a major action sequence into every issue (*cough*Dark Times and Legacy *cough*), which distracts from character and plot development. However, Rogue Squadron is the rare exception. Telling the story of Wedge’s infamous group of fighter pilots, Rogue Squadron plays out like a Band of Brothers style drama about heroics, loss, love, and political corruption. Featuring some of the best Star Wars characters in the entire Expanded Universe, Rogue Squadron is above all things a story about the characters. Not to say that there isn’t terrific action sequences. The series features some of the most intense battle scenes ever depicted in the saga, and they are a marvel to watch. It also has some of the biggest emotional impacts in a comic I’ve ever seen. When characters die, you actually feel a sense of loss. These are beings you’ve seen grow and mature for numerous issues, and to see them fall is heartbreaking.

6. Avengers: The Initiative

Marvel Civil War was perhaps the largest and deepest reaching story arc in the history of Earth 616. It forced Spider-man into hiding, made Iron Man head of S.H.I.E.L.D., and most of all spawned this series. Avengers: The Initiative describes the militarization of Marvel’s lesser known superheroes, and reads like a combination of Stripes, Harry Potter, and Black Hawk Down. The art is top notch, and the original characters are likeable and fun to watch. It is always a thrill to see a myriad of the lesser knowns of the Marvel universe interact with one another. The action is also gritty and violent for a super hero comic, and characters actually die, violently. It’s hard not to fall in love with this story, and almost makes you happy that Pro-Reg won the war. Almost

5. New Avengers

What do you get when you combine basically every popular Marvel character and perhaps the best writer in Marvel? You get the New Avengers, the political character driven story following the Avengers team that takes over after the violent tragedy of Avengers: Disassembled. Although the roster of the team is always in constant flux, there will always be a character on the team who you enjoy watching. The story is also one of the most significant and influential in the Marvel Universe and is a must read for any fan.

4. Invincible Iron Man

After Civil War, people hated Iron Man. Well, that’s a soft word. People DESPISED him. Tony Stark had single handedly screwed over the entire Marvel Universe in the course of one year. Even his blockbuster movie couldn’t sell fans on the idea of Tony Stark as a hero. Luckily, Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man wasn’t far around the corner. Taking its impetus from the movies, Invincible Iron Man takes some of the most talented writers and artists in Marvel and delivers a story that is approachable by any fan of the character, movie or comic. The story is also mature and violent, and is populated by well drawn out and realistic characters. And in an obvious nod to the films, Obadiah Stane and Pepper Potts make their return in the series.

3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

If you’ve read my posts, and listened to the podcast, you should know one thing. I am in love with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. Easily my favorite game of all time and my favorite era of Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic is a winning series for me from the start. Yet what really sold me on the series were the brilliant characters and remarkably original plot. Zayne Carrick is perhaps the most unique Star Wars hero ever written and also one of the most likeable. He never slips into clichés, his unshakeable sense of justice, and quirky humor make him a joy to watch from panel to panel. His pairing with Gryph, a Snivvian conartist, provides for some of the best in comics chemistry I’ve ever seen. KOTOR is one of the few Star Wars series that will make you laugh. With characters like the Moomo Brothers, two incompetent Ithorian bounty hunters, you’ll be in stitches. Not to say that the series doesn’t feature a story. KOTOR follows its video game counterpart in providing one of the most original and powerful Star Wars stories ever told, and yes it’s better than the prequel films.

2. Captain America: The Death of Captain America

Captain America really isn’t a character I like to follow. I find both his concept and design goofy, and his story arcs never capture me. However following the Civil War Marvel did something unthinkable, they killed him. Gunned down in a Post War riot, the patriotic superhero slips to the ground as security scrambles and the superhero community is rocked to its core. What follows is the Marvel equivalent to 24 as Winter Soldier/Bucky, Cap’s former side kick, The Falcon, and Sharon Carter, Cap’s lover, hunt down the shooter and fight off a terrorism wave. With dark and poignant art, The Death of Captain America reaches legendary levels of complexity and emotion, and at times you forget you’re reading a book about guy who runs around hitting people with a shield with the American flag on it. The Death of Captain America is a must read for ANY comic fan young and old, serious and casual.

1. The Amazing Spider-man

Perhaps the most influential super hero series of all time, the Amazing Spider-man redefined the way comics were told. Peter Parker was not invincible, and he wasn’t a billionaire, he was a teenager with real problems and issues. Spider-man was as relatable as he was humorous and powerful. It also features such comic landmarks as The Death of Gwen Stacy, one of the boldest moves every made in Marvel history. Spider-man is also filled to the brim in memorable characters powered and nonpowered. Although in its recent years has been plagued by poor editorial decisions, Marvel’s flagship series still sparkles with a decidedly human shine.