Dark Trinity: Modern comic book writers worth your while

I know plenty of you have comic book writers you already follow or hate. Hopefully you can find one in here you’re not as familiar with. Keep in mind, this isn’t a list of the GREATEST writers of all time. I haven’t read enough writers (at least knowingly) from the past to know who’s the greatest or not. So my list will include modern writers (basically 21st century), solely.

Here’s the list of characters I read/have read, to help you know why I might not highlight someone like Todd McFarlane (though I plan to read Spawn at some point):

-Red Hood

-Deathstroke

-Nightwing

-Green Arrow

-Moon Knight

-Gambit

-Deadpool

-Hellblazer

-Cable

-X-Men

-Spirits of Vengeance

-Flash

-Avengers (No Surrender)

-Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I’ve also read Hellboy, but we all know Mike Mignola’s a genius. If you haven’t read any of that, start from the beginning. Well worth your time.

Anyways, time for the list. Let’s keep it to 5 for now.

1. Scott  Lobdell

If you’ve been reading this blog from the start, this shouldn’t surprise you at all. He’s the guys who writes Red Hood. Judd Winick preceded him (Judd Wininck, Batman: Under the Hood & Red Hood: The Lost Days) and set a great foundation, but Lobdell has taken the character to new heights, while adding and developing awesome supporting characters. Artemis, for example, has become just as much a badass as anyone. She has substance, too. Now the Bizarro storyline has been thrust upon us and I’m not a big fan of the character. That being said, we’re talking about Lobdell typically churning out A+ work versus the B+ stuff we’re reading right now.

He does well with plots, I’d said generally an A-, but his bread and butter while writing Red Hood and the Outlaws (New 52 and Rebirth . . . and whatever this new stuff qualifies as) has been his character development. Arsenal. Starfire. Artemis. Even Bizarro. With the exception of Arsenal, these were characters I didn’t have an opinion about. Since reading Lobdell, all of them have gone up in my book — again, even Bizarro.

Last point on Lobdell. When I started reading Red Hood & the Outlaws, I didn’t pay attention to writers. I read solely based on characters and that’s it. Now I’ll keep reading Red Hood & the Outlaws if Lobdell quit tomorrow, but I would ABSOLUTELY notice the difference if he was gone. That’s actually what happened when he came off the project for a bit during the New 52 run. I realized there was a change in how the trio was handled and noticed Lobdell’s name wasn’t anywhere to be found (he obviously came back). Since then, I check every book I read to see if I’m getting the same writer every issue and to research writers before I start anything new.

2. Christopher Priest

Deathstroke has always been a cool character, but he’s risen so high in my book BECAUSE of this man. If you’ve read the New 52 Deathstroke run, it’s pretty good. Like a B, B-. Worth your time but not a MUST READ.

Price’s Deathstroke, though, is A-MA-ZING. With the exception of everything Red Hood related, I’ve never read through anything faster than his work with Slade Wilson. Unfortunately, I’m not completely caught up on it, but we now know he’s writing a Deathstroke v. Batman 6-issue series starting in April. I’ll have to make it a priority to catch up by then.

As much as Red Hood is my guy, if you’re a Marvel fan looking to dabble in DC, Priest’s Deathstroke might be where you want to start.

3. Charlie Huston

This is one from out in left field, I understand. But, I’ve been looking over Huston work with Moon Knight (13 issues starting in 2006) and have been sucked back in to a characters’ life that I’d been less entertained by of late.

That’s not saying the Marvel Legacy run isn’t going well, but the way some writers utilize Moon Knight’s doesn’t always sit well with me. Too much at once, to the point where I can’t even tell if what I’m reading is any good. I want chaos, but there needs to be some organization.

Huston does that in a time where Marc Spector’s having some identity problems, while the superhero Civil War is ongoing. There’s definitely some dysfunction in the book, but Huston maintains direction. Plus, I want darkness with this character. Huston gives me that exactly.

His run was short-lived with the character and I don’t know what he’s doing now, but I certainly would love to see him write Moon Knight again.

4. James Tynion IV

This man is in charge of my favorite crossover series running. Batman with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been one of the bigger surprised in my reading so far. This is certainly a bit less, well, raw that some of the other characters that I normally read, but it’s the perfect change of pace.

The TMNT, particularly Michelangelo and Raphael, were fun as a kid, but never a group I planned on reading. And as much as Batman is the reason for some of my favorite characters being who they are, I’m not exactly itching to read his books. Don’t know why, just never been that way.

That being said, Tynion has won me over. His writing has the younger audience limitations, but allows there to be real emotion in his work. Very entertaining. Hope they have a third run of this mini-series

5. James Asmus

One thing I have a tough time with is writers (and artists for that matter) not doing a character justice. Particularly the I REALLY like. While I own everything Red Hood, I also own almost everything that’s been solo Gambit. And it never seems like the writers live up to the lofty expectations the writers of the X-Men Animated Series set for me.

The only one (excluding the current Rogue & Gambit writer, who did well in issue #1) who’s lived up to the hype completely James Asmus. His run with Remy in 2012-2013 was awesome, particularly #8-12 (which is #2 in the graphic novels, titled Tombstone Blues). Gambit’s a badass, a lover — not a womanizer — and above all else battling his demons the right and wrong ways through the course of it all.

BONUS

Two writers I haven’t read much of, but have been impressed with what little I’ve read.

Kelly Thompson

I’ve written about her regarding the Rogue and Gambit series. She’s apparently signed a deal with Marvel, given she writes Hawkeye now, too. Love the Rogue-Gambit combo, but like I said with Asmus, I have HIGH expectations when characters I love are involved.

She did a great job with the first issue, hopefully the rest of the series lives up to it.

Victor Gischler

Spirits of Vengeance has been the Marvel equivalent of the Batman/TMNT surprise. It’s a fun series with a few characters I’d normally wouldn’t read, that are paired off with my guy Blade and what seems to be a well-done Ghost Rider.

This guy is the mastermind behind the series and has done well throughout the series’ first four issues.

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