Thursday, May 28, 2009

When Words Collide: Best and Worst of Morrison

Do I dare to make a Top Five Worst Grant Morrison Comics list? Indeed I do!

Will I relent to the unyielding attacks by the pro-"DC 1,000,000" readers? Never!

Do I also provide a Ten Best list? Of course.

I don't hate any of these Morrison comics, but something has to be the worst, and it's these five.

Check out the lists in this week's "When Words Collide," see me superficially try to explain my position in 2,000 words, and then come back here to tell me your Top 10/Bottom 5 of Grant Morrison. I dare you!

UPDATE: Bill Reed fires a counter-attack at CSBG!

21 comments:

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

Well, you didn't put "Final Crisis" in the top 10, so I don't need to yell at you. Dodged that bullet. I'd have Doom Patrol as his number 1, and I'd remove Arkham Asylum and put in New X-Men, but that's all personal preference. I'm also not sure I'd have his Batman run on the Top Ten; I actually liked DC One Million a lot and I'm fairly partial to that JLA/Wildcats special, but I haven't read it in like 7 or 8 years.

James said...

I re-read JLA Classified 1-3 in the Ultramarine Corps trade the other day, and I honestly could not even get through JLA/Wildcats. Blugh. Why was that even in there? Are the Ultramarine Corps even in it?

James said...

Too many "even"s. JLA Classified would totally be in my Morrison top 10, by the way. I'm with Klock on that one.

Aaron said...

Well, I just read Kill Your Boyfriend this morning, and found it incredibly trite and boring (for Morrison, I mean). Even Philip Bond's artwork couldn't save it. I'm surprised that We3 didn't find its way onto your top list, though it's hard to argue for it replacing anything up there (at least out of what I've read - I haven't read Zenith or Marvel Boy).

Chad Nevett said...

I'd probably replace his Batman run with Seven Soldiers and, because I haven't read it, take Zenith off the list and replaced it with The Filth. I didn't dislike DC One Million as much, but I don't know what else I'd stick in its place.

Ignacio said...

'DC One Million' is Morrison's worst story ever because in the first pages of #1 issue, he destroys the capital city of my country!!! (Montevideo, Uruguay), son of a b... :)

Timothy Callahan said...

For the record, #11-15 might look something like this:

11. Seven Soldiers
12. We3
13. New X-Men
14. JLA
15. Filth

Kill Your Boyfriend would definitely be Bottom 10 for me, also the Hellblazer two-parter which relies too heavily on "Wicker Man." "Sebastian O" would probably be bottom 10, too, just because there's not much else I can think of that I don't absolutely love.

Ranald said...

One of the fun things about Morrison is that everyone agrees he can be a bit hit and miss, but no one can agree which ones are his misses! The weakest work I've read in my opinion is probably 'E for Extinction', the first part of his New X-Men. Never been bored by a Grant Morrison comic before that (nice art, though, of course). The Filth is probably my favourite thing by Morrison.

And JLA/Wildcats is a great ride, if not particularly deep. Contrary to your article, it's about as trademark a piece of Morrisonia as you can get with its blizzard of mad technologies and tossed-off ideas.

Bill Reed said...

My top ten would look a lot different from yours. Might have to do my own CSBG column on it now, just to spite you. Mwahahaha, etc. Ahem.

I haven't actually read anything on your bottom 5, save the first third of Kid Eternity or whatnot.

Zenith would probably land on my bottom 5, if I had one, because it didn't really hold any weight with me.

Timothy Callahan said...

I have thrown down the Morrison List gauntlet, Bill Reed. I challenge you to pick it up. (Zenith at Bottom 5? Crazy talk!)

Chad Nevett said...

Hmm... I'd join in, but I'd much rather do a Joe Casey list instead. Although, in his case, finding a bottom five won't be THAT hard.

Kris Krause said...

One Morrison work I read that I could never particularly enjoy was Fantastic Four 1234. It wasn't bad per say, but when I put it down I just felt underwhelmed by it.

Your top 10 list is solid. I might move a couple up or down, and replace one two with a work in your 11-15 list, but I'm certain if I made a list like this, it would look different depending on the day I made.

sgt pepper said...

The Doom Force special is without doubt the worst penned Morrison comic. It takes shots at an easy (though deserving) target, it beats the one joke into the ground for far too many pages, and it's not at all clever or insightful. I couldn't finish it and it makes the pedestrian JLA/Wildcats seem refreshing.

Timothy Callahan said...

My Top 30 list and defenders of Dan Jurgens going on at the WWC forum:
http://tinyurl.com/ndc9j8

Bill Reed said...

I see you and I raise you, Callahasee, Florida:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/05/28/my-top-ten-grant-morrison-comics-can-beat-up-your-top-ten-grant-morrison-comics/

Bruce Castle said...

Thanks for the column, Tim!

Comments on your top ten: Stop tempting me with your out-of-print, god-like comics that I may never read! I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read four of your picks, though, again, two are unavailable!

Also, because I too rated Casanova's "Gula" higher than ASS on my Top 2008 Books, does this mean that "Gula" is better than almost every Morrison comic? That doesn't seem right.

Comments on Bottom Five: I'm happy that I haven't read three of these. I haven't even heard of "Steed & Mrs. Peele."

The two I have read, DC 1,000,000 and JLA/WildCATS, are appropriate. Though I enjoyed them both when I read them, they are pretty forgettable, and more than some of that is because of Semeiks.

One interesting thing though, do you remember when Grifter gave Batman his gun? Is that the same gun Batman used to shoot Darkseid? It'd make JLA/WildCATS a bit cooler if that was the case.

Oh, and no love for "Kid Eternity?" I haven't read it, but I know some people love it.

As for my own top and bottom list, the bottom would be too difficult. The list you have is fine. As for my top 10 list, I think it really boils down to "What were the ten last Morrison runs I read?" I mean, I just finished rereading Seven Soldiers, so I'm in love with that right now, but if I had to choose:

10. New X-Men
9. Marvel Boy
8. Batman
7. Seaguy
6. Seven Soldiers
5. Final Crisis
4. Arkham Asylum
3. All Star Superman
2. Animal Man
1. We3

Oh, and for shits and giggles, the combined list of me, Tim Callahan, Bill Reed, and Chad Nevett is:

10. The Filth & Doom Patrol Tie
9. The Invisibles
8. Arkham Asylum
7. Seven Soldiers
6. Marvel Boy
5. Seaguy
4. We3
3. All Star Superman
2. Animal Man
1. Flex Mentallo

Behold! The ultimate Morrison list!

Timothy Callahan said...

That Ultimate list is pretty damned solid. Collectively, we have good taste.

B. Woodworth said...

Too tough too call. I'm on my second read through of Morrison's complete works (minus the New Adventures of Hitler, unfortunately) and I'm kind of doing some back-reading of various Alan Moore/Mark Millar materials while recharging my batteries for JLA, Aztek, The Flash and Invisibles vol. 4 (really waiting on that 2nd Morrison Millar Flash tpb to come out because I don't own it).

I'd go...

1. Animal Man
2. All Star Superman
3. Flex Mentallo
4. Vimanarama
5. The Invisibles
6. New X-Men
7. Marvel Boy
8. Doom Patrol
9. Seven Soldiers of Victory
10.Batman run

5 Worst:
1. Skrull Kill Krew
2. Vampirella
3. JLA/Wildcats
4. Seven Soldiers of Victory Mister Miracle
5. Kid Eternity

I think the Batman run could catch up and usurp All Star Superman's place at #2 if the next 12 issues pan out. I had to go a sentimental #1 because as a philosophy major looking to take study breaks reading comics there was something appealing about those Vertigo tradpaperbacks advertised as "a comic where the lead character figures out he's in a comic." I remember reading it concurrently as Seven Soldiers came out and it just opened the floodgates for me as a fan. Vimanarama is a personal favorite of mine that almost no one lists, I can read it almost any time and enjoy.

The bottom five were the hardest, Mister Miracle is a character of whom I am very fond and the art switch was it's real downfall. I DID include some of those Millar collaborations just because I felt there was no excuse for the depths some of these works sank to. I have to admit, it doesn't make me look as forward to Aztek and the Flash I'll be reading in the next month or so, but I'll go in with an open mind.

Marc said...

I've always thought somebody should collect all of Morrison's old, out of print short stories into a collection. Bible John and New Adventures of Hitler from Crisis were great, and A Glass of Water from Phobias, St. Swithin's Day from Trident, etc. There's also some interesting Future Shock stuff from 2000 AD you could throw in. I realize, of course, intellectual property rights stand in the way of this idea, but I can dream...

Also, one omission I would have added to Morrison's top 10 is the Dare miniseries. I personally liked it much better than his recent stuff (ASS excluded, of course). Totally agree with you on Animal Man, however. Definitely the best sustained effort in Morrison's career, and it just gets better each time you re-read it.

Bruce Castle said...

"That Ultimate list is pretty damned solid. Collectively, we have good taste."

Yes. If only we could fuse into some four-person super reviewer! We'd have the best taste ever!

Patrick said...

Figured I've got to get in on this. Here's my list. Or the short version:

1. The Invisibles
2. Flex Mentallo
3. Seven Soldiers
4. Kill Your Boyfriend
5. New X-Men
6. We3
7. All Star Superman
8. Marvel Boy
9. Animal Man
10. Batman

For me, it's no question, The Invisibles is number one. I'm really surprised to see that some people don't even have it in the top ten. He lived it, man!