Below you’ll find our reading selections for the year of 2004, and once we’re finished reading, I’ll post the winners for hero, villain, issue, artist, and writer.
Feel free to discuss the comics and any related thoughts below in the comments!
2004 Comic Reading List
(Check Patreon for Full List & Bonus Round!)
|2004||Comic Book Title||Issues|
|1||Avengers Disassembled||Reading Order|
|2||Runaways||#8 to #18|
|3||Fantastic Four||#509 to #523|
|4||Daredevil||#56 to #70|
|5||New X-Men / Wolverine||#151 to #154 / #20 to #25|
|6||Secret War||#1 to #5|
|7||The Pulse / Marvel Knights Spider-Man||#1 to #5 / #1 to #12|
|8||She-Hulk (2004)||#1 to #12|
|9||Cable & Deadpool||#1 to #11|
|10||Astonishing X-Men / Madrox||#1 to #6 / #1 to #5|
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This month I left Ultimate Spider-Man for last. Up to now I had been reading it first of mixed in the middle to shake things up a might. But this time around I left it. Read everything else, even the other ultimate books, did my voting…then I had all those Ultimate Spider-Man to read.
Must have read through 18 issues in one sitting. Could not put it down.
I had totally forgotten that Gwen Stacy buys it. Ok, maybe not totally forgotten, but I thought there were a good 20 issues left with her. Wow, it devastated me. The whole “Hollywood” story was intense, yet with that patented wry Spidey humor. Yet, somehow, “Carnage” topped it. Then “Detention” was the cherry on top.
Say what you will, but even with all the great stuff going on in the House of Ideas in the era, Ultimate Spider-Man is easily the best.
Seems I’m the only one writing anything…oh well. Looks like the 2005 list is up…gonna go peruse…
I haven’t quite finished all the stories, and I have to read the Ultimate bonus books, but I wanted to keep the conversation going…
Avengers Disassembled is the stand out this month, I think. As a few people have said Bendis is really starting his peak this month. His work on Pulse and Daredevil are equally as strong, though I was not as impressed by Secret War this time around.
The outlying support series for Disassembled were not nearly as good as the main Avengers stuff. Thor was better than I had remembered, but overall badly written, and as I mention a couple years back, just a weak rehash of Simonson, though at least the characters in the story seemed to realize this. The Captain America stuff was the best of the lot.
Runaways I am not getting the hype. It was good, but I just do not see what all the fuss is about. Vaughn is going to go on to write some ground breaking stuff. This was not one of them.
FF is great. Fun to read and great art. The visit to save Ben from heaven seems a little over the top, but then when they meet “god” it wraps up well.
The Mark Millar work this month was fine reading but missing something. Wolverine was good, but a few things did not work for me. It did not make sense that Logan was so easily able to outsmart Reed Richards, etc. He was wrting a good story without really thinking carefully about continuity. And I had similar problems with Marvel Knights Spidey. It was a decent read, but felt to out of continuity. And is it just me or does he have someone end up beaten up and in the hospital in every story he writes? Ultimates: Wasp, Wolverine: Wolverine, Marvel Knights: Peter…everyone in Kick Ass. I think Millar has some sort of thing for bandages and hospitals.
She-Hulk was a hoot. It is really a shame that the series did not continue. (I know it will come back) I wish Slott had stayed with Shulkie and left Spidey alone…
I did not read New X-men, nor will I…read Amazing Spider-Man instead, and so should you.
Nor will I read Cable and Deadpool, because, well, it’s Cable (blah) and Deadpool (urpf).
Hard choices for “best of” this year…apart from Bendis and his MVP writing, no single artist, issue, hero or villain really stands out for me.
I gave Shulkie a nod for Hero, because when else will she be eligible, really? Her series was a fun read, and her role in Disassembled, while not really heroic, was definitely key.
I’d love to vote for the Goblin again, but there are only so many times he can get my vote…and while he is always villian of the year in my heart, this year Scarlet Witch gets her due, because when else will she be eligible, really? (oh, wait…)
Artist is a really head scratcher. I don’t get why Alphona won last year, the art was not all that great. Especially when compared to what Romita was doing. I didn’t go with Romita this year because I was not overly impressed with his Wolverine stuff (Though his ASM is without peer, but was not on our reading list). I went with Cassaday because I wanted to get ahead of the crowd. Even though I find his panel layouts to be pedestrian, his work is fresh and will be tops next year.
Ripped through it this month, it helped that I’d read all of the X-Men related stuff late last year while going through the modern era X-Men reading order.
Fantastic Four I loved last year and continued to enjoy very much. Although the “Avengers Disassembled” branded issues seemed like the loosest of tie-ins, the whole thing was a bit “Fantastic Four Disassembled” in the aftermath of Reed’s disastrous Latverian misadventure. Top stuff, particularly the Johnny Storm / Spider-Man interactions.
Avengers Disassembled itself was, I think, a brilliant core story and a set of tie-ins which were either pointless, unrelated, bad, or all three. But the core story.. the way the chaos ratcheted up as one thing after another went disastrously wrong was brilliant, and the final revelation was smashing. And it was genuinely sad the way the whole thing spiraled out of one thoughtless comment by Janet Van Dyne as they were all hanging around the pool. Avengers Finale #1 got my nod as Issue of the Year. Bendis as writer of the year, for this and all his other great work.
Runaways, brilliant last year, still brilliant this year. So delighted to be reading this as news breaks about the upcoming TV series.
Daredevil, brilliant last year, still brilliant this year. Another reason I voted for Bendis. Loved the issue where the black & white and four-color newsprint panels were used to distinguish historical back story.
Secret War was a real treat. Very interesting story and structure, beautiful art (I voted Gabrielle Dell’otto as Artist of the Year), and the first appearance of Daisy Johnson, if I’m not mistaken?
The Pulse I’d read before but re-read because I remembered enjoying it so much. Another reason I voted for Bendis.
Marvel Knights Spider-Man was a fine Spider-Tale. I thought it worked well under the Marvel Knights imprint, delivering a darker tale without going so far as to not be Spider-Man any more.
She-Hulk was the unexpected delight of the year. Nothing but sheer entertainment from beginning to end, I’ve never read a solo She-Hulk title before and I’m delighted I read this. Voted Shulkie as Hero of the Year.
Of the bonus round..
Captain Marvel I couldn’t plough through. Didn’t enjoy it last year and just gave up early this year. I’m a huge Peter David fan so it hurts to say this, but this is the worst thing I’ve ever read by him.
Thanos was OK, didn’t enjoy this second story arc as much as the first one last year though.
Loki was interesting. Ended a bit suddenly but a worthwhile read.
Identity Disc, I think I WOULD have really, really enjoyed, except it was just SO derivative of “The Usual Suspects” that it was distracting. I had to try to think of it as an homage rather than a rip-off just to get through it. Would have been amazing if you’d never seen the movie though, LOL!
No name says
Did Starlin have anything to do with those last 6 Thanos issues? They weren’t very good. Tho it is interesting to early versions of Star Lord
This is one of my favorite years we’ve read yet. Except for one or two series, everything was very well done and enjoyable to read, and many series were excellent. I blazed through this year because of how much fun I was having.
– Avengers Disassembled is definitely an intense and scary read, though I do think that it has some of the weaker tie-in issues of any event that I’ve read. In fact, I’d argue that virtually none of the tie-ins mean anything to the main story outside of maybe Iron Man and Thor (and Thor’s is more important to his dimension and not the main story at hand). Still, the reveal of the true villain is chilling and tragic, and this indeed changes everything. Not as good on my second read, but still a worthwhile event to revisit.
– As I mentioned last month, this was somehow my first time reading Runaways, and boy does it deserve the hype. I just had a blast reading this, and I think it has about the best ending scene possible. If it wasn’t for such a strong rest of the year, this would be far and away my Issue/Series of 2004. Also, gotta love the Joss Whedon fan letter in the letters section of the last issue!
– I somehow skipped over the Waid Fantastic Four run in my summary from last month, as it has for sure been one of the strongest runs we’ve read yet, and its ending this year did not disappoint. Such a wonderful dynamic between the Fantastic Four, and some great creative villains and situations. Another terrific run from this year.
– Daredevil continued to be excellent (I really can’t believe how many series Bendis was writing during this time period, and pretty much all of them were great) with some of the best artwork that I’ve seen.
– I’m on record as not really liking New X-Men, and this short conclusion solidifies that feeling. Wolverine was better, but to be honest, it’s the series I remember the least from any of the issues this year.
– Secret War was not my favorite read of the year, but a very powerful and intense one that obviously has huge ramifications for the Marvel Universe as a whole. Also, this had beautiful painted artwork and I’m realizing that I should have voted this as my favorite artwork of the year. Oh well.
– The Pulse is very good and has one of the most terrifying depictions of the Green Goblin ever, and Marvel Knights Spider-Man is very solid, though nothing particularly stood out about it to me.
– She-Hulk is a huge standout to me. Incredibly fun and creative, and it really makes She-Hulk a multi-dimensional character. I had a great time with it, and again, in a less strong year, it might be a contender for series of the year.
– Cable and Deadpool was really excellent; by far my favorite depiction of Cable so far, who I typically have not enjoyed. Deadpool is also great, and the whole story arc actually brought up what I thought were some solid philosophical ideas and arguments (I can’t believe I’m saying that from a Deadpool comic).
– Astonishing X-Men gets my vote for Series of the Year. Believe it or not, despite my being a big Joss Whedon fan, I had somehow never read this, and it did not disappoint. Just an amazing, dynamic, extremely well written and drawn X-Men story. I can’t wait to see where it goes next. Madrox was actually something of a disappointment for me given how much I typically like Peter David. I thought it was OK but flashy without much substance.
– X-Statix is my big disappointment of the year. I enjoyed most of its run, but the ending really felt cynical and unpleasant. Not bad enough to say don’t read the series, but I was surprised given how much I had enjoyed the series up to this point.
– I’d read Captain Marvel before and I think it’s a little meh. I do love the one-off about the alien morality tale, but everything else is just OK. Not Peter David’s best year.
– Thanos was solid, and I always enjoy Starlin’s work, but I honestly don’t remember much from it, and Uncanny X-Men was really interesting; I liked it quite a bit, but it does have that late-period Claremont problem of being too wordy and overly complicated at various points.
– Loki was really beautifully drawn and was very haunting, and wrestled well with the concept of destiny and fate. Not in my top comics of the year, but I thought it was very good, though it had quite an abrupt ending.
– I’d read Identity Disc before, and knowing the plot, I don’t think it works well at all the second time around. I remember really enjoying it the first time I read it, but this time it felt kind of dull. Oh well, still recommended for someone who’s never read it.
– Ultimate Spider-Man continues to be amazing, with a devastating take on Carnage and just some wonderful dialogue and character building.
– I really love Ultimate X-Men as it evolves, and the one-off issue with Wolverine being sent to deal with a mutant with a terrible power was one of the most shocking and brutal issues I think we’ve ever read.
– I also really enjoy Ultimate’s take on Fantastic Four. i thought the revamped Doom take was solid, and I also think it’s an interesting idea to have their transformations happen while on Earth and to have Doom involved in the accident. I’m not sure I love the take on Reed, but I’m a big fan of the way that Grimm and Johnny interact.
– Ultimate Nightmare was very interesting and had some wonderful and scary artwork. The big reveal of who/what it was sending out the signal was jaw-dropping to me and very powerful.
– I’d somehow read Ultimate Elektra once before. Not my favorite Ultimate series, but it has some interesting variations on how Kingpin and Elektra met, and it definitely makes Elektra much more down to earth than she usually is.
Overall, a fantastic year. Onto 2005!
No name says
I thought Bendis was going to be the undisputed king this year, but the she-hulk run was so fun I am considering voting for Slott. At the very least she-hulk is getting my vote for hero of the year, tho awesome andy is a close second.
Funny. When I first read Disassembled back in the day I recall being more than a little confused about the “Tony Stark as Secretary of Defense” sub-plot. I always intended to go back and try and figure that one out, but with House of M, Civil War, etc, I just never got around to it.
Way in the back of my mind I had kind of expected the Marvelous Year to clear up this little dangling sub-plot for me, but here I am again going into Disassembled and once again I find out that Tony Stark is Secretary of Defense and I have no idea how this came about. It still does not make a whole lot of sense.
Brandon Harbeke says
The Iron Man arc starting in #73 deals with your question.
I did a little bit of on-the-side reading.. I was so impressed by “Truth: Red, White and Black” last year that I decided to read Robert Morales’ run on “Captain America” – he did issues #21 to #28, ending directly before the “Avengers Disassembled” tie-in.
The first storyline, “Homeland” (issues #21 to #25) was reasonably good. Very much unafraid to dip a toe into real-world politics of the time, and Captain America’s American ideals not necessarily matching the current administration’s policies.
But then #26 to #28 didn’t really work so well, Morales did tie it back to “Truth: Red, White and Black” but it was some alternate timeline business that frankly just felt a bit messy and unsuccessful to me.
My tip: read #21 to #25 if my description sounds interesting, skip #26 to #28.
Brandon Harbeke says
I read most of these in the last couple years when I was getting caught up through Secret Wars 2015, so don’t think I read this many comics in three days!
Avengers Disassembled: This is a pretty good event, especially in terms of having the main story in one book (Avengers) with the tie-ins being related more by theme than by plot. The best issues to me were Iron Man #84-85 and Captain America #29-32. Thor and Excalibur were the weak links, although I thought Thor #82 and Thor #85 were okay.
Runaways, She-Hulk, and Fantastic Four were four stars for every issue, an amazing feat for any series in any year. The Pulse and Astonishing X-Men were also four-star series in 2004.
Daredevil was solid at the beginning and peaked with Daredevil #64. I did not much care for #66-70.
Cable & Deadpool had a decent first arc and was pretty good for #7-11. Even if an issue is not the greatest, they always have top-notch recap pages.
New X-Men, Wolverine, Secret War, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, and Madrox are all decent reads.
I did not care for X-Statix, most of Thanos, or Loki.
Identity Disc is fine. Dave loves this much more than I do.
Uncanny X-Men #444-449 is really good, and the other five issues are all okay.
I will take a look at Captain Marvel tonight.
Thor: Son of Asgard is a great 12-issue series and appropriate for most ages.
New X-Men #1-6 is great.
Emma Frost is on my to-read list, but the first six were great, and the other 12 issues are also highly acclaimed.
The Disassembled story is one that I read years ago and have often wanted to give it a re-read. Looking forward to it. Though I think you should read most of the FF before you get to it, that is what I am doing.
Also I read the Chuck Austin Avengers run that comes before Disassembled. One story, “Lionheart of Avalon” is pretty good. Runs from 77(492) to 81(496). The follow up, “Once and Invader”, not so much. I was determined to read the whole of Vol 3, and have now done so. Overall it is a great series. The initial Busiek/Perez work is the pinnacle of pre-Bendis Avengers. The Geoff Johns run was good at first, with Red Zone, but the She-Hulk story was not as…maybe due to bad art, maybe the Savage stuff wasn’t all that interesting.
I also recommend Amazing Spider-Man this year. If you are unsure about the returen of Claremont to Uncanny, then give it a miss and read the ASM. Good stuff.
Brandon Harbeke says
Suggested additional bonus reading for anyone who wants more good 2004 stories: Iron Man #73-83 (especially if the Iron Man issues of Disassembled appeal to you) and Mystique #8-13