I thought it might be kind of fun to pick a comic (storyline) and see what kind of recommendations the board would come up with based on that comic.  (If it works well, who knows, I might choose another one next week. :))

Just 'cause it's not a game without criteria, why don't we go like this:

1. Something old (a specific story or issue)

2. Something new (a series being published currently)

3. Something related (by a member of the creative team or another story featuring the same character)

4. Something Batman (a specific story or issue)

So, the comic is:

Southern Bastards Vol. 1: Here Was A Man

(Mark has a review here.)

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Our picks so far:

Southern Bastards Vol. 1: Here Was A Man

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga

Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1

Saga Vol. 1

The Magneto Testament

Avengers: Ultron Unlimited

Seven Soldiers of Victory by Grant Morrison

Secret Origins (1987) #10: The (possible) origins of the Phantom St...

JLA: Year One

Action Comics #241: The Super-Key to Fort Superman

Detective Comics #s 604-607: The Mudpack

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Planet Hulk

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Oh, good choice! Vimanarama is an incredibly good book. There is even an "Indian Justice League" of its own kind in here. The whole "green glow of power" involved in so many of Morrison's books is present here (I'm convinced they're all connected somehow). Philip Bond art is awesome. There's not enough of it around.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

"Something New" has really got me stuck. So I'm just going to move on to Something Related -- something else by a member of the creative team, in this case, another Morrison book. I'm choosing something much more compact from him: Vimanarama, a three-issue miniseries he did with Phillip Bond. I think Bond's art is insanely attractive and always fun, and perfect for this Kirbyesque look at Indian mythology. It's got a great sense of lighthearted romance & adventure, and the opening spread from the comic was the wallpaper on my computer for a good long while years ago.

I'll skip on this one too. I haven't read it. :(

Something Old: I'm going to say Zenith by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell. Before the days of Astro City, but after the days of Miracle Man, this is the rather realistic look at what it would be like to be a superhero. I've read volume 1, but I own volume 2, even though I haven't yet read it. But it's some good Morrison stuff for sure!

Something Batman: If you haven't yet read Batman: Gothic, I would highly recommend it. A killer by the name of Mr. Lime is targeting wealthy socialites, and it's up to Batman to stop him. This book was written by Morrison, of course, and drawn by Klaus Janson. It's some early Batman work by Morrison--I believe it was his first work on the character after Arkham Asylum. It's a great TPB that looks really nice too.

Alright, it's been too long since I started my recommendations -- time to wrap them up:

Something New: This is nothing like Seven Soldiers, except, like Thriller, there's a team gathered to complete an objective. But The Big Con Job (written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Matt Brady, drawn by Dominike Stanton, brings a bunch of washed-up stars of a former Sci-Fi series together to rob the proceeds of a huge comic con. They've been selling it as Galaxy Quest meets Ocean's 11, and that's pretty accurate. It's a lot of fun; the third issue of four just hit the stands last week.

Something Batman: Here I'll recommend Detective Comics 833-834, in which Batman teams up with one of Morrison's Soldiers, Zatanna. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Don Kramer, it's got a deathtrap and a clever escape, which is what cliffhangers are all about! (There's a bit of post-Identity Crisis reconciliation, too, IIRC.) It's available on Comixology, so if you're interested, both parts can be yours for $4.

 

I think the Paul Dini run on Detective is one of the most overlooked runs on a Batman title ever. Highly recommended. In fact, I would like to re-read it right now.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Something Batman: Here I'll recommend Detective Comics 833-834, in which Batman teams up with one of Morrison's Soldiers, Zatanna. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Don Kramer, it's got a deathtrap and a clever escape, which is what cliffhangers are all about! (There's a bit of post-Identity Crisis reconciliation, too, IIRC.) It's available on Comixology, so if you're interested, both parts can be yours for $4.

 

I never actually finished it, Sensei, though I love what I've read. I think there were a lot of interruptions for crossovers toward the end, and then he wrapped up with Heart of Hush, which I skipped since I'm not a fan of Hush. Sounds like it's worth going back to check out!

Meanwhile, while there's still time for more recommendations on Seven Soldiers,why don't we see what Border Mutt uses to seed the next round? 

I read a good bit of Dini's run. I think the Zatana arc was my favorite. There were some tie-ins towards the end though the story with Harley, Ivy and the riddler was good. I think it was a tie in with Countdoen or Amaxins Attack.

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

I think the Paul Dini run on Detective is one of the most overlooked runs on a Batman title ever. Highly recommended. In fact, I would like to re-read it right now.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Something Batman: Here I'll recommend Detective Comics 833-834, in which Batman teams up with one of Morrison's Soldiers, Zatanna. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Don Kramer, it's got a deathtrap and a clever escape, which is what cliffhangers are all about! (There's a bit of post-Identity Crisis reconciliation, too, IIRC.) It's available on Comixology, so if you're interested, both parts can be yours for $4.

 

How 'bout we go with a bit of an obscure one, (hopefully not too obscure), Secret Origins #10 from 1987, the (possible) origins of the Phantom Stranger.

The issue was a Legends tie-in that gave four possible origins of the Phantom Stranger, (oddly enough, none of them being Judas Iscariot).  We had tales by Mike W. Barr, Paul Levitz, Dan Mishkin, and Alan Moore, all good quality stories, although for my tastes, the Moore one was the weakest of the bunch... and when's the last time that happened?

Oh, great pick! This'll take some thought... and maybe a well-deserved re-read!

And for anyone who doesn't have it but wants to play... it's available for $2 right here on Comixology.

I'm not sure I'd recommend Seven Soldiers, as some of it I enjoyed and some of it wasn't to my taste, (which seems to be how I react to Morrison's work in general), but I will make a couple of recommendations off it.

Something Old: Morrison's Final Crisis was another one of his series that I had a few issues with, but in general, I thought was really well done.  Accept that Superman Beyond is not only required reading, but also more important to the last issue than most of the main series, and this is one of the more enjoyable DC crossovers.

Nothing new's really popping to mind so I'll suggest another old one

Something Old: A Morrison book that I can recommend without any disclaimers is JLA: Earth 2.  Morrison revitalized the JLA and told a lot of fun stories, but in my mind, this was his best.  Just a terrific story with the big 7 and the Crime Syndicate.

Something Related: I really liked Dini's Zatanna series.  The stories were fun and Stephane Roux's art was fantastic, some truly gorgeous covers and pages.  Another series that died too soon.

Something Batman: Hmmm, this one's a tough one.  I think I'll go with the Destroyer storyline that went through Batman 474, LOTDK 27, and Detective 641.  The idea of peeling back layers to see what's beneath, (in this case, the more gothic Gotham), while not quite the interconnected puzzle of Seven Soldiers, shares a bit of a theme.

Secret Origins #10

I'm going to cheat again and not do anything new, but keeping with the spirit of the issue, I'll do extra for the related category.

Something Old: Blue Devil Annual 1 is a comic that certainly doesn't mesh with the spookiness normally associated with the Phantom Stranger, yet the issue just works.  It features a good chunk of DC's supernatural heroes out hunting demon spawn with butterfly nets.  Awesome.

Something Related: Alan Moore's American Gothic storyline in Swamp Thing seemed to setup his "Footsteps" origin.  While it wasn't my favourite origin, American Gothic was a classic storyline.  The ramifications of the seance, the Stranger's ineffectiveness and despondence, and the Spectre's hubris all made for a whopping good finale.  Moore firing on all cylinders.

Something Related: Mishkin's Revelations was a somewhat strange take, being a bit of a sci-fi tale... and yet it still worked for the Stranger.  Millar's Superman story, Red Son, shared a similar concept, but viewed from the other side.  Both stories I liked a lot.

Something Related: Another cool Phantom Stranger story that kind of reminds me of both Barr's "Tarry 'Till I Come Again" and Levitz's "... And Men Shall Call Him Stranger" is the '99 Elseworlds mini, Conjurors.  In each story, the Stranger is involved in a situation that ultimately makes him basically immortal while cutting him off from humanity.  Throw in some fantastic moments for Blue Beetle, (Ted Kord), as he tries to adjust to a world dominated by magic and Conjurors is a hidden gem well worth searching out.

Something Batman: While there are other good stories with Batman and the Phantom Stranger, To Kill a Legend from Detective 500 is far and away my favourite.  Just a classic story in every sense of the word.  If you haven't read it, hunt this down.

 

Man, I could just list awesome issues of that Secret Origins series.

Wait, that's exactly what I'm going to do. This series was edited by Mark Waid, who wrote all of the back matter for the issues. I talked with him at a store signing one time and told him how that was where I started to love his writing. He said, "I did no research for those. All of the information was just in my head." He has so much love for the DCU, and it really showed with the quality of creators he brought to this excellent series.

Something Old: Secret Origins #15. This was the Deadman/Spectre issue. The Deadman story was written by Andy Helfer and was drawn by Kevin Maguire. I do not remember much about the story in this to be honest, but I love the art. It looked as good then as Maguire's work does now. And the Spectre story is written and drawn by Michael T.-friggin'-Gilbert! What an awesome book.

Something New: I'm stretching "new" here to mean the last issue of the series, Secret Origins #50. This mammoth final issue contained the following stories: A Denny O'Neil/George Perez text with pictures story about the origin of the Batman and Robin team; the origin of the Flash of Two Worlds, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Mike Parobeck!; a Johnny Thunder western tale by Elliot S. Maggin and Alan Weiss; the Dolphin origin by Bove (who is good, even though I've never seen anything by him since); and the Flash Museum origin by Gerard Jones and Carmine Infantino. But the best piece of all here is the secret origin of Black Canary, the story of our Black Canary visiting her mother (the original BC) in the hospital as she dies. It co-stars Green Lantern and Green Arrow, as well as the Justice Society. It is written by Alan Brennert with art by Joe Staton. It is, to this day, one of two comic books that has ever moved me to tears while reading it. The whole thing is wrapped by a cover by Ty Templeton. Love this book. My desert island "stack of ten issues" would definitely contain this book.

Something Related: I don't care. I'm doing another issue of this series. You can't get any more related than that. Secret Origins #49 tells the story of three DC entities. The Silent Knight (cool name; haven't heard of his since) is by Jan Strnad and John Koch (admittedly, I don't know his work). It's a medieval story that tells of a little-known DC character. The Cadmus Project/Newsboy Legion story is by the most excellent Karl Kesel. This was a fascinating trip around Cadmus featuring heavily the current-day Newsboy Legion (the clones of the originals--their "dads", who also are in this story), and Angry Charlie, the monster on the side of the angels living beneath in the tunnels below. Finally, the story of Bouncing Boy is told in like two pages by Ty Templeton. It's funny and short--perfect.

Something Batman: The Clayface issue, Secret Origins #44, featuring three stories of various Clayfaces. The classic actor Clayface's origin is told by Mike Barr and Keith Giffen. Dan Raspler and Bernie Mireault give us the hilarious story of the Clayface Matt Hagen, who finds a sunken treasure while scuba diving which gives him his shape-changing abilities; and last but definitely not least, Clayface Preston Payne, a scientist, gets his story as told by Len Wein and Tom Grummett.

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