Another one of the 90’s comics forever posts
90’s Events: Armageddon 2001
One of the things that the 90’s did was the big blockbuster event crossovers, the first ones weren’t in the 90’s, the usual genesis of these was DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, but the 90’s had many more of them and to my mind, some of the best.
One of the better ones from DC’s annuals was this 1991 gem, Armageddon 2001.
The annuals for Marvel and DC comics had little in the way of relevance to the main titles, often written or drawn by fill in, or guest artists and could often be skipped by people collecting the main series. The way round this was either to give the annuals an interesting or relevant theme, or tie them in either to the main title’s story or something bigger. In 1988 and 1989, Marvel tied their annuals together in the sprawling crossovers Atlantis Attacks and the Evolutionary War. In 1991, it was DC’s turn. There were two bookend comics Armageddon 2001 1 + 2 and between them were the annuals from 1991. If you were reading all the annuals, you could follow along, if not, you got an interesting story about potential futures.
This was the perfect halfway point, did you get the most out of it if you read them all? Yes. Did missing one annual ruin the story? No.
The story kicked off in Armageddon 2001 #1 which was written by Archie Goodwin, with pencils by Dan Jurgens and tells the story of Matthew Ryder a man living in the future ruled by a man called Monarch, a former hero who 19 years earlier in 2001 slew all the super heroes and with no one to stop him conquered the world. Matthew is obsessed with those heroes and using Monarch’s plan to conquer time, gets himself thrown into the time-stream becoming the metahuman Waverider and appears in 1991, ten years before Monarch’s rise. Realising that Monarch was once a hero, Waverider plans to visit the heroes and see what their future looks like in ten years. Each annual was a different hero/team or a look into a different future, the list is below:-
Superman Annual 3
Batman Annual 15
Justice League America Annual 5
Action Comics Annual 3
Flash Annual 4
Hawkworld Annual 2
New Titans Annual 7
Detective Comics Annual 4
Adventures of Superman Annual 3
L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual 2
Hawk and Dove Annual 2
Justice League Europe Annual 2
The story ended in Armageddon 2001 #2 which a bang with a Denny O’Neil and Dan Jurgens story which wraps the whole thing up, this was a fantastically fun series with interesting ideas and some great individual stories, my personal favourites being the Superman annuals. There was even some pre-internet controversy with the name of the hero who would turn being leaked/found out and the story being changed at the last minute, but despite that, this was a fun little event which had a couple of different levels of involvement.
The series had a direct sequel in Armageddon: Alien Agenda which had characters from the series in a time travelling duel through history and also a tangential sequel in Armageddon: Inferno which was terrible on a number of levels, but returned the Justice Society of America into the Post-Crisis DC universe and so gets something of a pass as a result. Was it perfect? No, but a better event than many that followed, including Bloodlines and Eclipso. This was fun and every now and again, worth returning to. Can’t really as for more than that from a comic.