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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #70-66

Here are the next five storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.

70. “The Korvac Saga” by Jim Shooter, Roger Stern, David Michelinie, George Pérez, Sal Buscema, David Wenzel and Pablo Marcos (Avengers #167-169, 170-171, 173-177) – 141 points (1 first place vote)

Michael Korvac was born in 2997 and was a computer technician on the moon when the alien invaders known as the Badoon conquered the Earth. Seening an opportunity present itself, Korvac collaborated with the Badoon, betraying the people of Earth. Later on, as punishment for falling asleep at work, the Badoon grafted Korvac’s upper body to a machine.

The cosmic being known as the Grandmaster captured Korvac and brought him to the present as a pawn in a game involving Doctor Strange and the Defenders. Korvac spends his time studying the Grandmaster’s power and uses the new abilities gained from his study when he returns to his own time. He then kills his Badoon masters and attempts to destroy the Earth’s Sun.

The heroes of that time, the Guardians of the Galaxy, manage to defeat Korvac (with the help of a time-traveling Thor), but Korvac escapes to his past (our present) and discovers the base of the world-eating Galactus. While there, Korvac gains great cosmic power, and recreates himself as a man named…Michael. The Guardians travel back through time to capture Korvac. In the meantime, the Collector (brother to the Grandmaster) realizes that Korvac is a threat, so the Collector transforms his daughter, Carina, into a being powerful enough to combat Korvac. However, his daughter instead falls in love with Korvac/Michael, and the two go to Earth and begin living a quiet live in Queens, New York.

The Collector then tries to capture the Avengers (and the Guardians) in an attempt to protect them from Korvac, but when Korvac finds out about his plot, he kills the Collector.

The Avengers travel to Queens where they discover Michael and Carina living quietly. After they confirm that he is, in fact, Korvac, the Avengers wage a tremendous battle that does not end as well as you might expect for a battle of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against one guy.

Jim Shooter (working with first Roger Stern and then David Michelinie) uses the whole universe at his hands here to create a sprawling epic with tons of guest stars.

The artwork by George Perez is quite good, although the fill-in work that closes out the story, by Sal Buscema and David Wenzel, is not half bad, either!

68 (tie). “Knightfall” by Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, Jim Aparo, Norm Breyfogle, Graham Nolan, Jim Balent and a number of inkers (Batman #491-500, Detective Comics #659-666) – 142 points (3 first place votes)

The basic gist of Knightfall is that this fellow named Bane shows up in Gotham City with basically one goal – “break” Batman.

To achieve this, Bane frees all the inmates of Arkham Asylum to force Batman to capture them all before they can do too much damage.

This results in a frantic series of stories as Batman hunts down all the escapees, allowing writers Moench and Dixon to feature the whole gamut of cool Batman villains.

Meanwhile, the man formerly known as Azrael, Jean-Paul Valley, has been training with Robin to be a hero.

When Batman finally captures all the villains, he is naturally exhausted. Unknown to him, though, this is the time that Bane chooses to strike, and he ultimately deals Batman a tragic blow.

This leads to Jean-Paul Valley taking up the mantle of Batman, giving Bane quite a surprise!

This story was a bit of a social experiment on the part of Batman editor Denny O’Neill. He wanted to show just why Batman was so special, and to do so, he would have a “Batman for the 90s” show up, all the better to contrast with the original (and, of course, hopefully this new character could be spun off into his own book when Batman returned, which is just what happened).

68 (tie). “Sins of the Father” by James Robinson, Tony Harris and Wade Von Grawbadger (Starman #0-3) – 142 points (5 first place votes)

One of the scarce good things that came out of Zero Hour was the new Starman ongoing title by James Robinson.

In Zero Hour, the original Starman, Ted Knight, is basically put out of commission. So his son, David, takes over for him…and is promptly murdered.

Now the mantle falls to Ted’s youngest son, Jack, who wants nothing to do whatsoever with being a superhero, but at the same time, he does want to protect his father, who is under attack from his old foe, The Mist. It is The Mist’s son who killed David.

The Mist’s daughter, is sympathetic to Jack, and helps him escape from the Mist’s clutches early on.

Later on, though, when Jack is forced into battle, the Mist’s daughter ends up taking a different outlook on life.

This story also introduced probably the most notable character in Robinson’s Starman – the home of Starman, Opal City.

Opal City is a unique city in the DC Universe, filled with mysterious and intriguing characters. We’re introduced to a few of them in this opening story, the O’Hare family, and we’re re-introduced to the Shade, a former “super-villain,” who is now something far more complex. The Shade becomes one of the most popular characters in the entire Starman series.

This was one of the most striking opening arcs of any comic book series in the 1990s, especially superhero books from the “Big Two,” and while Robinson’s character-based writing was a key part of that, so, too, was the moody and evocative artwork of Tony Harris and Wade von Grawbadger.

This great opener foretold many great later issues of one of DC’s most popular series of the 1990s.

67. “Authority” by Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary (Authority #1-12) – 147 points (2 first place votes)

Out of the ashes of Stormwatch came The Authority, the former Black Ops division of Stormwatch. With Stormwatch no longer existing, the heroes of the Authority felt free to finally do superheroing the way THEY thought it should be handled.

They began by forcefully attacking a terrorist leader who had a sort of diplomatic immunity – distinctions like these were just the sort of things this new group of heroes no longer felt constrained by.

With the “widescreen” action of Bryan Hitch, this was one of the most visually compelling superhero comics on the market, and the action just got more and more “widescreen” as the series went on, until writer Warren Ellis took them about as far as you could go – they fought God.

The heroes of the group including Jenny Sparks, leader of the group and “Spirit of the 20th Century,” Jack Hawsmoor, who was the “king of cities,” Apollo and Midnighter, Superman and Batman analogues who were also lovers, Swift, a winged woman who was once just a normal member of Stormwatch, plus the Engineer and the Doctor, the latest pair of people to go by those names (the last Engineer and Doctor were introduced during Ellis’ run on Stormwatch).

One of the interesting aspects of the series is that the heroes here were truly ABOVE politics – Ellis never had the characters make definitive political statements, which was an interesting departure from most comics that contain a political bent to the them.

The Authority was one of the most influential superhero books of the 1990s.

66. “New World Order” by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter and John Dell (JLA #1-4) – 149 points (1 first place vote)

Grant Morrison’s JLA was perhaps THE most influential superhero book of the 1990s, as it influenced even the Authority (the widescreen aspect, at least).

“New World Order” was the first story arc of the “brand new” JLA, which consisted of the seven original members of the Justice League, or at least the seven superhero names of the original Justice League, as the Green Lantern and the Flash were both the successors of the characters who had formed the Justice League.

In this initial storyline, a group of aliens come to Earth and seemingly make the Justice League obsolete. The League knows that there is something up with these aliens, and soon discover that, yep, there are some sinister motivations going on behind these guys.

The secret behind the aliens is very clever, and it is especially notable how Batman discovers their secret (and how he exploits it).

This story first established Morrison’s take on Batman as the guy who prepares for everything.

The other heroes in the book get notable scenes, as well, especially the Flash, who uses some of the knowledge the original Flash gave him to take down a villain.

The art by Howard Porter and John Dell is slick and apt for the sometimes over the top action of the book.

This series quickly became the most successful title for DC in the late 1990s, which was notable because the Justice League line of books had gotten pretty low in the sales charts before this title revitalized the group.

The “widescreen” tone of this book was soon picked up by many other books, including The Authority.

85 Comments

Korvac Saga – never even heard of it!

Knightfall – heard of it. heard of it so much i’ve never felt the need to go and read it. is it actualy good enough to belong on the list? (I dunno, I haven’t read it but for some reason I have doubts)

Starman – i’ve read only the opening arc. I read it right before Cry for Justice came out and after hearing really great things about Robinson’s Starman run i read the first four issues (a friend had the first trade and only the first trade) I thought it was good but not good enough to spur me to go out and buying it (at least not anytime soon) and then I read Cry for Justice… which should explain why I have read anymore more.

Authority – Again, heard excellent stuff about this and I really enjoy Ellis’ work. So why haven’t I picked this up yet? Honestly because I want to read the Stormwatch run that led up to Authority and I still haven’t read those. I know it’s great so i’ll eventualy come around to it.

JLA – Prepare yourselves! I didn’t like Morrison’s JLA. I read until about issue 20 and then just completely gave up. I admit that a big part of the problem for me is Howard Porter’s art. It sort of looks like a detailed cartoon or something. Whatever it is, it just doesn’t work for me. I know some of you will be shocked by this but I enjoy Meltzer run on Justice League a lot more than this one (well, the first 20 issues, i didn’t read his whole run).

A little frazzled and/or confused by today’s list but that probably do to me not having read 3 on today’s list. The overall tally is 19 read and 16 not read/haven’t heard of

Ellis and Hitch Authority’s original run blew me out of the water, made me eagerly anticipate the next issue and gave me that glee I got as a kid first collecting a Claremont/Byrne book. As far as the super-hero genre goes it’s in the top three of the last 20 yrs for me and also, the first on this list that I actually picked. Slightly bummed that it is so early on the list but it may very well be the only one besides DKR that makes it, so…. Give it my highest recommendation for anyone yet to discover it or super-hero comics in general.

I think this might be the first entry that I have actually heard of all of the titles on the list. And it’s the first one that contains a story that I actually bought when it first came out in issue form (Starman). I love the JLA story, but it’s not my favourite (that would be Rock of Ages). But none of my votes have appeared yet.

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 3, 2009 at 7:34 am

I’ve heard of the Korvac Saga but never read it, the same with Batman: Knightfall.

The rest, I’ve read and each definitely deserves to be on the list.

So there!

Another 1/5 for me with JLA. Can’t say I was very impressed with it, though.

The Korvac saga, which I’d heard of but never in detail before, sounds bonkers! I’d love to read that someday.

Currently on volume 2 of the Starman Omnibi… Loved the stuff with Wesley Dodds.

Authority was and is one of my favourite stories in a long, long time.

Knightfall passed me by… I sort of followed it secondhand through friends that read it.

Morrison’s JLA was okay, but I also didn’t enjoy the artwork from Howard Porter, either…

The Korvac Saga is yet another classic Avengers story that I have heard a lot about but never read.

3 (and a half) out of 5 that I’ve read. None that I voted for.

Cool!

Yes, two of my votes have made it now with Coming Home and New World Order! Although my personal favorite JLA story arc is Rock of Ages(which I think we probably be on this list later), you can’t ask for a cooler opening story arc then NWO. Every character(‘cept WW, but whatever) gets a badass moments that proves why they are the best of the best. Its got funny, witty lines, awesome superhero action, and Batman owning Superman-power level foes. Its pretty much every reason for why I read superhero books in the first place.

Starman. Another book I hear great things about, but never read it. If James Robinson dialog is as “good” as it is during his Superman run and Cry for Justice, I probably won’t ever get around to it.

The Authority! Honestly, I’d take Millar/Quitely’s “The Nativity” over any of the three Eliis/Hitch stories. When it comes to widescreen superhero action, I’m a much bigger fan of Morrison’s JLA(which really invented the genre, which the Authority built up on) or Millar/Hitch’s Ultimates(in which Hitch has never better, and the screwed up characters were a lot of fun). Still, its a very popular run, and I’m glad to see it here.

I hear a lot of mixed things about Knightfall, especially this year, what with the whole “Bruce Wayne gone, replacement Batman in” going on. Apparently, its good enough to make this list, so what do I know?

Never even heard of that other one.

NEW TOTALS in a minute…

The Crazed Spruce

December 3, 2009 at 8:10 am

About a third of the way in and we finally hit something from my short list. Still haven’t cracked my top ten, though….

While I did read an issue or two of “Knightfall”, the only one this time that I’ve actually read is “New World Order”. And while it was on my short list, I put another story from Morrison’s run on JLA in my top 10. It was a tough call, though.

Haven’t read the Korvac Saga, The Authority, or “Sins of the Father”, but I definitely want to someday. “Knightfall”…. not so much. (I read the novel a few years back. I’m good.)

Korvac was on my short list, but I figured I had too many Avengers’ stories on it as it was, and there’s other Avengers’ stories I liked more.

I was mainly a Marvel guy when I first started reading comics, and Knightfall was actually one of the first DC stories I ever read. I still have a certain nostalgic fondness for it (the first half of the story, with Batman recapturing all his villains and slowly wearing down, is particularly fun in a harrowing kind of way).

I just started reading Starman via the new hardcovers. Loving what I’ve read so far (which isn’t too much). That first story is really good.

The Authority frankly slipped my mind when I was voting. It’s a helluva lot of fun, but not a favorite of mine.

New World Order is the first thing for which I voted to appear on the list. I went back and forth between this and Rock of Ages and ultimately decided on this simply for the sheer volume of cool moments and the fact that it makes for a great “this is what the JLA is all about” story. Plus, I’m one of the few people on the internet who still really likes Morrison’s “Bat God” approach to Batman, and that’s really on display here.

Still, I hope Rock of Ages makes the list at some point too.

If you want to read a great followup to The Korvac Saga, pick up a copy of What If? vol. 1 #32. This issue utilizes the anything can happen format perfectly and has one of the best What If endings ever. Plus it doesn’t hurt that it has a who’s who’s of 80’s artists inking individual characters, such as Frank Miller, Walter Simonson, Bob Layton, Dave Cockrum, John Romita, etc …

NEW TOTALS:

Interesting notes – Ellis takes the lead with his third entry in the list. I can’t see Stormwatch placing above the more popular Authority, so he’ll probably have a Transmet story arc(s) and that’ll be it. Morrison jumps from the bottom to the top five, and the 1990s has four of the five stories posted here, and is slowly catching up the 2000s in points.

-13 of these stories are Marvel-related

-5 of these stories are DC-related
-5 of these stories are Vertigo-related
-3 of these stories are Wildstorm-related(meaning 13 of them are DC if you add them up, matching Marvel’s output)

-24 of these stories are superhero ones, or close enough
-11 of these stories are non-superhero related

-2000s(15 entries, 1800 points)
-1990s(9 entries, 1333 points)
-1980s(5 entries, 533 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 513 points

By Writer:

-Ellis (3 entries, 399 points)
-Brubaker (3 entries, 376 points)
-Moore (3 entries, 324 points)
-Morrison (2 entries, 249 points)
-Willingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Buckingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Sim (2 entries, 220 points)
-Bendis (2 entries, 216 points)
-Ennis (2 entries, 208 points)
-Robinson (1 entry, 142 points)
-Dixon (1 entry, 142 points)
-Moenech (1 entry, 142 points)
-Aparo (1 entry, 142 points)
-Shooter (1 entry, 141 points)
-Stern (1 entry, 141 points)
-Michelinie (1 entry, 141 points)
-JMS (1 entry, 140 points)
-Starlin (1 entry, 140 points)
-Gaiman (1 entry, 139 points)
-Javier Grillo-Marxuach (1 entry, 131 points)
-D’n’A (1 entry, 131 points)
-Furman (1 entry, 131 points)
-Keith Grifen (1 entry, 131 points)
-Thomas (1 entry, 127 points)
-Vaughan (1 entry, 126 points)
-Fraction (1 entry, 115 points)
-J. Hernandez (1 entry, 110 points)
-Windsor-Smith (1 entry, 106 points)
-O’Neil (1 entry, 105 points)
-G. Hernandez (1 entry, 102 points)
-Smith (1 entry, 102 points)
-Ware (1 entry, 100 points)
-Rosa (1 entry, 100 points)

Nice to see some Korvac Saga love. I picked up the tpb a few years back and it was amazing. Although oddly the story only starts about halfway into the third paragraph of Brain’s summary (but recaps the rest).

Also nice to see Starman on the list and that is one of my favorite series ever (and well worth picking up, I mean its not like Dark Pheonix Saga isn’t worth reading just because Chris Clearmont’s writing has gone downhill since; similarly it is a great series despite Robinson’s current faults). I would have had either the last or second to last arc on my list but this is a pretty good choice as well.

Guys, you’re killing me here. None of you have read the Korvac Saga? Most of you haven’t even heard of it? Excuse me a few moments while I weep softly into my beard.

Okay, for those who aren’t familiar with it, the Korvac Saga is one of the all-time great Marvel epics and one of the two or three top stories in Avengers history. It’s got writing from Jim Shooter at his best and awesome art from George Perez. It features the Guardians of the Galaxy in a cool time travel storyline. There’s a great Ultron showdown in the middle of it, which re-introduced Jocasta to the series and adds her to the cast. It has a cool mystery hook, as Avengers are disappearing literally into thin air throughout the story, with the remaining Avengers desperately trying to figure out what is happening while also combating various menaces. For modern readers, it also has the first real cracks in the Cap-Iron Man relationship as the two butt heads over leadership styles (Iron Man is the team leader during this story.

It also has two of the most indelible moments in Avengers. The first is THE Hawkeye moment of all time; when the Collector finishes capturing every Avenger in the world (and the Guardians to boot) in order to save them from the coming apocalypse, only Hawkeye is left to face off against the elder of the universe and his cosmic powers. And second, when they finally discover the location of Korvac and rush to face him, the team (which at this point has swelled to just about every Avenger and friend of the team ever as they call in reserves to face this threat) has their government clearance revoked, grounding all their quinjets. So the only means they have of getting to Korvac’s suburban home is it hijack a city bus and bus themselves to the fight. It’s just a great WTF sequence right in the middle of this tense, gripping saga.

Brian glossed over the ending, so as not to spoil it too bad, so I won’t either, but let’s just say that they finally catch up to Korvac at the end of #176 and the entire next issue is one gigantic battle between 20 some Avengers and the godlike Korvac. Not everyone was satisfied with the moral ambiguity of the ending, but for me, this throwdown is one of the classic fights in comics. It’s just viscerally fantastic.

Just as a note, I should also mention that the biggest disappointment with the Korvac Saga is what follows it, which is nothing. I know fans debate often whether or not its more important to keep to a schedule or insure quality even if it means running late, but the Korvac Saga is a perfect example. It gets interrupted by one random fill-in (#169) but they managed to keep the rest on schedule, even though it meant changing writers and artists for the last two parts (which thankfully doesn’t affect the quality in this case). But if you are wondering what the fallout is, you’re going to be fairly disappointed, because Marvel followed this up with not one, not two, but three fill ins in a row, as #178-180 are all file stories. They are also the three worst issues of Avengers up to that time and are especially glaring considering the previous Shooter run, from #158-177, is a high point for the series. These fill-ins are probably the best argument against strict schedule adherence that Marvel has produced. The events of the Korvac Saga are not addressed at all until #181.

And yes, as you can tell, the Korvac Saga was on my list.

Matt, the reason the first parts of Brian’s description don’t appear in your TPB is because those stories didn’t happen in Avengers; the issues where he is actually Korvac rather than his new, godlike “Michael” state, are in the Guardians of the Galaxy issues of Marvel Presents and in Thor Annual #6. At the end of that Annual he travels to the past, if I am remembering correctly; Avengers #167 kicks off with the GotG appearing in our time, which is where the TPB probably begins.

I don’t think you really need to read those to get the Avengers part of the storyline, but the context does broaden the story some.

@Scott: Shooter’s run was quite good. In addition to Korvac, the three part Nefaria story with Byrne art, when Nefaria powers up and more or less demolishes the team almost made my top ten as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Scott Harris. Sheesh. Avenger #164-200 are some of the best super-hero comics of an era.

“Knightfall” ‘s most redeeming quality is that they let Jim Aparo “break” Batman, reminisant of Curt Swan’s “What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.”

This is the first time I hear about the Korvac saga, and it seems boring as hell, but I’m trying to get more acquainted with Marvel’s cosmic side, of which I basically know nothing about, so I may give it a try. What do you fellow commentators think? I should go with this first or the Kree/Skrull War, the Inifnity Gauntlet, the Death of Captain Marvel or the Magus saga? Something else maybe?

Knightfall is actually not bad, it’s just that it isn’t good either (and, for me, Aparo at its best is only passable, and here he is far from his best, maybe it has to do with the inking, I’ll take Graham Nolan’s work over his any day, and I don’t even like Nolan too much). Part of me is horrified by the fact that this gets more points than things like Crawling from the Wreckage, Swampy’s Love and Death, A Game of You or Fables, but the other part of me understands that storylines that are mainstream end up having more readers, so it’s understandable that they get more votes and points, no reason to get worked up about it.

Starman starts strong and builds up from there, I love this series.

Ellis Authority is definitely the first example that comes to my mind when I think of widescreen comics, and it’s a fun ride, even if it’s too over the top.

Morrison’s JLA starts good, and has good arcs like Rock of Ages, which probably will appear a bit higher, but It bored me pretty quickly, not long after RoA. It definitely started strong with this arc, and Batman’s match scene is memorable, so I agree that it belongs on this list, but probably in a lower position. I don’t have a problem with Howard Porter’s work, his art is passable and adequate.

Korvac didn’t make my final cuts. If only we could have listed our top fifteen… But that was a great run, all the way from Perez’s Grim Reaper in #160 to the final Korvac battle.
Nobody’s talking about the ending, so I won’t either, although God knows I really REALLY want to. Let’s just say that it 1978 it was the most stunning, shocking battle sequence I had seen in comics.

My dog at the time obviously liked it, too. A month or two after it came out she went into my room and chewed the freaking thing to bits. A whole roomful of 70’s comics, and she eats just two of them: the Korvac conclusion and Giant-Sized X-Men #1.
BAD! BAD, BAD GIRL! What, Human Fly isn’t good enough for you???

Have the Korvac Saga issues appeared in an Essential Avengers collection yet?

Thanks Jeremy for your updated NEW TOTALS. I’m enjoying those almost as much as the actualy list! keep it up!!

Korvac’s the third on my list to show up! I too am horrified by the lack of knowledge of this saga in the first few posts and satisfied by the defense and praise of it in the next few posts.

Besides the epic nature of the story (and that great final battle) I love that Shooter’s other great stories in the run (Nefaria trilogy, Bride of Ultron) are actually part of the Korvac story, in that Thor’s last-minute arrivals are (we find out later) directly tied into the Collector’s schemes. Nice long range sub-plotting there.

And while I’m yammering, I’ll just declare the seven Avengers depicted on the cover of ish 168 to be my Avengers dream team. Big three, Wanda, Beast, Vizh, safari jacket Wonder Man…good times (although in my dream team Wonder Man’s wearing the crazy multi-colored suit that got wrecked in the Nefaria story. Wish that one stuck around longer).

Jeremy: while a Transmet arc (or year) is quite possible, I expect Nextwave to rank even higher, so Ellis isn’t even close to done yet…

So the first year of the Authority is one big story, and the thirteen issues of Ultimates (1) isn’t?

I am happy to see the Korvac Saga on the list.

Heard of the Korvac Saga, never read it. Same with Knightfall; oddly, I’ve read every bit of Morrison’s JLA except “New World Order” (the store I was buying the trades from didn’t have that one at the time, and I never got around to going back to it).

Ellis’ “The Authority” was good. I liked the Starman story fine too, though I confess I’ve never been nearly as impressed with that series as its critical reputation would seem to promise.

I’m now at 14 of 35.

Wow. I guess I’m a lonely guy in that I read the Korvac Saga and it didn’t do a thing for me. Especially the bus moment, which undercut the drama like a knife. That the battle for the fate of the cosmos was decided in a suburban home is one thing – that contradiction makes sense to me. The bus just seems stupid. Stupid enough I’m not even going to soften the blow by pulling it back to “silly”. The Avengers bicker too much as well – what a whiny batch of whiny whiners. And the moral ambiguity? Is undercut by the fact that it is solely Moondragon’s take on things, and she’s wholly unlikeable throughout the book – and later will take over a planet because she thinks she’s best suited to run the place. And kill her father because he gets in her way (I have not read that story. This synopsis is based on recountings of it from Warlock and the Infinity Watch). But that’s still in the future here, so pulling just from this storyline, the woman who provides our moral ambiguity, telling us that Korvac was a harmless kitten with all our best interests at heart? Casually rewrote Quicksilver’s mind no more than two issues previous because she thought he was being a butthead. Pisses on Hawkeye’s contribution to the group because he’s not a powerhouse no more than two issues after Hawkeye saves everyone from the Collector. I might be able to go on, but I think this is adequate for now. Every now and then, I reread the Korvac Saga, thinking that since it commands such acclaim, surely I missed something, but it’s never there.

I like Ellis’ Authority, but I don’t agree that it is one storyline. There are distinct storyline divides in there: vs. Kaizen Gamorra, vs. Sliding Albion, vs. big nasty thing from space. There isn’t even an overarching thing going on – Jenny Sparks isn’t worried about dying the whole 12 issues, there’s no foreshadowing of the next storyline, none of it. I’m surprised so many people called this one storyline. Brian, did anyone vote for the separate storylines?

JLA 1-4 has one of my favorite moments in any comic in issue 1, when Flash and Superman are headed to Happy Harbor. They converse, and Flash asks, “Superman, is this a race?” The next page is in Happy Harbor, with the JLAers having a discussion in panel 1. In panel 2, Flash shows up. In panel 3, Flash’s lightning finishes catching up to him. In panel 4, nothing. And in panel 5, Superman arrives. Best resolution to the “Who’s faster?” question ever. This series was number 2 on my list and the first one I’ve had show up here.

Brian, Starman’s supporting characters were the O’Dares, not the O’Hares!

And Mario, Brad Meltzer only wrote 13 issues of JLA – and saying it was better than Morrison’s run made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. To each his own I guess!

(Personally, I enjoyed Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke’s run on JLA best of all.)

Glad to see the Korvac Saga and Starman getting some love all within the same list. I believe there is a Marvel Premiere HC coming out soon of the Korvac Saga that anyone interested in reading it should pick up.

Also, Starman is well worth the read even if you don’t like Robinson’s current runs, Starman is one of the greatest series to occur in the 90’s, hands down.

People seem to be forgetting that this countdown isn’t the “bestest ever”.

Its our “favorite” storylines ever. So arguing over “this is too low” or “why did this make the list” makes no sense.

Also #100 has 98 points and #66 has 149. You can see how close the voting is. As Brian has noted, the second half of the countdown, we should see more discrepancy. These are just the outliers.

Gary, I can’t argue with you on the bus thing, as that’s simply a matter of taste; most people seemed to like it but if you didn’t, that’s cool.

However, I will argue a bit on the Moondragon issue. I don’t think that the moral ambiguity of the story is undercut by Moondragon; rather, I think she serves as a nice counterbalance to the rest of the traditional heroes. Yes, she’s an arrogant, haughty jerk throughout the story, but she may (or may not) also have a point with Korvac. I thought this was a great twist on the usual superhero epic, to find out that the huge bad guy who the Avengers (and we as readers) assume is trying to destroy the universe is, in fact, trying to save it. By defeating him the Avengers preserved free will for the universe but they also prevented what may have been universal peace and harmony. It’s clear by Moondragon’s actions (such as her brainwashing of Quicksilver) that she believes benevolent rule by those more “enlightened” is beneficial to the masses, so her actions make sense, as she would support Korvac’s viewpoint. But just because we dislike her doesn’t mean it’s not a valid question.

The story’s biggest failing, as I sort of alluded to before, is that the follow-ups never addressed this and sort of copped out by having Moondragon erase everyone’s memory of the fact that they may (or may not) have doomed the universe instead of saving it. It would have very interesting to see how the Avengers would have reacted to this information. In many ways we didn’t really see how they would have reacted until Civil War, which essentially had the same theme as the end of the Korvac Saga: which is more important, freedom or security? But even though they didn’t address the answer at the time, the fact that the story raised the question at all was a great twist and an unusual way to end such a massive epic, especially back in the 70’s.

This is the first batch where I’ve read all of them. None of these made my list, but Korvac saga was close. Main reason it didn’t was I already had 2 other Avengers storylines on my list, and didn’t want that to dominate. That being said, nothing on my list has shown up so far. 3 I know will, 4 I think have a pretty good shot, but 3 of my picks I’m guessing definitely aren’t showing up at this point.

I’ve never gotten all the love for Authority. It’s not bad comics by any means. It just doesn’t seem like anything all that special to me, either. Maybe it’s because I didn’t read it until years after it came out, so whatever impact it had on comics in general was lost on me. And Hitch’s art just felt like a slightly more photo-realistic version of Alan Davis’ art, and I’d rather have the original. I’m sure part of that had to do with Neary being the inker.

good to see jla, starman, and authority. jla was in my top ten, and starman & authority both would have been in my top 25-30. does everyone hate cry for justice? i haven’t read any yet, but was looking forward to picking it all up once it ended. should i not bother?

i haven’t read the korvac saga- i have about 2/3 of it, but waiting to read until i pick the last few issues. maybe i’ll move it up my priority list now.

shocked and dismayed to see knightfall on here. i just felt like it was average at best comic storytelling. a story that was editorially mandated to capitalize on the death of superman, and a far cry from the best work of either dixon or moench. and i agree with an above post that aparo’s art hurt it. i liked aparo in the 80’s (ten nights of the beast also was in my top 25-30), but knightfall just shows him past his prime. i’m guessing the majority of people that voted for knightfall first read it as it was coming out when they were kids/teenagers, it seemed impossibly awesome at the time, and it packs a lot of nostalgia. i can’t quibble with that likelihood too much, as it is essentially the same reason i voted for x-men: age of apocalypse. though i do think age of apocalypse holds up a lot better than knightfall.

jla: new world order marks the second one from my list to show up (after swampy love and death). 6 more of mine should be sure things (watchmen, identity crisis, marvels, batman: year one, age of apocalypse, and dolls house). my last two, supreme: story of the year and green arrow: quiver both still have a chance, but if we don’t see them in the next few days, they probably won’t be showing up, as i really don’t see them making the top 50.

i’m hoping the presence of knightfall doesn’t mean we’ll also be seeing the death of superman, another exceedingly average “event” story, but i fear it does.

as for jeremy’s countdown, i’ll be shocked if the 80’s doesn’t end up winning the “by decade” fight. watchmen, dark phoenix saga, days of future past, dark knight, batman year one, crisis, secret wars, daredevil born again, judas contract, great darkness saga, v for vendetta, death of elektra, and from the ashes should all be in the top 30, and may nearly sweep the top ten.

Man, after you go back and read the sheer awesomeness that are Planetary and The Authority in trade, it’s hard to believe that Ellis is the current writer phoning it in over on Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men…

Patrick C – just to clarify, i’m not trying to say one is better than the other and frankly I don’t care which is. All i’m saying is Morrison’ first 20 issues (I mentionned I never read his whole run) aren’t as enjoyable to me as Meltzer’s 13 issues. Besides, you have nothing to worry about as most people seem to be in agreement with you since Morrison’s made the list.

daniel – i’ve got Green Arrow Quiver on my list too and I agree when you say if it doesn’t show up soon it won’t show up at all. When you see some of the stuff that’s already on the list it’s hard to think it will show up at all but when you have stuff like Knightfall on the list i’m thinking Quiver will definetly be on the list. It’s still hard to tell.

Mario – My bad, I thought you were saying Meltzer had done twenty issues. And I like plenty of stuff that other people hate, so no offense meant.

Glad the Korvac Saga made it. Something I didn’t vote for but rather wanted to.

Ditto Knightfall. Knightfall book 1 is one of the things I read in my early days of comics which I greatly loved. Seeing Batman fight all his villains and then finally have to confront Bane when he’s too hurt and tired to even stand.

Mario: Oh yes, I’m doing this the list the whole way through. I love these countdowns, and I think the breakdowns make it more fun.

Jeff R: While I LOVE Nextwave(its my favorite Ellis comic, actually), on the Top 100 Comic runs, Nextwave was 92, while the Authority was 60. I don’t know if the CBR voters have completely switched up their votes or what, but I just don’t count on it being here. Which is a shame, since Nextwave #11 should qualify it alone :/

The story I’m really wondering about is (pun not intended) Wonder Woman. When we did the top 100 runs list last year, I was really disappointed that nothing from her series made it. On the one hand, it’s hard not to get disillusioned the further we go up this list, because it’s hard to anything from that run being that popular. But at the same time, it’s probable that anyone inclined to vote for something Wondy-related would most likely have voted for ‘Gods and Mortals’, the first Perez arc, so it’s possible that got a really high concentration of votes. Likely it won’t, which is disappointing.

Speaking of which, how the heck did the Authority even get on this list? Theres no overarching theme or story going on, and its clearly three separate plots. I wonder if this is one of those “combine the votes together” kind of things.

There’s something about that era of comics that really doesn’t work for me, the Starlin/Shooter stuff. It’s all “cosmic” and “epic” but so very dull. The characterization is easy and rote, the art is over-rendered and dull. Dialogue is painful. I think if you didn’t grow up with it and see it compared to the other stuff at the time, it’s really hard to see what the appeal is. Even that synopsis bored the crap out of me. I know it has its fans, but it just seems like outdated writing technology.

The Korvac Saga is being re-released this spring, so maybe I’ll get to read it then. Never was big on pre-Bendis Avengers, but I’d certainly heard of it.

As for Knightfall, it really was too ambitious a meta-fictional experiment for the time it was created in. The idea is fascinating, if you think about it, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are so many call-backs to it in Morrison’s run. (The Third Man was already Azreal before he was Azreal). The problem was more in the execution, and the need to make it an “event”; it would have read a lot better with more streamlining. But it was the 90’s, and crossovers were in vogue.

Joe Rice: Shh! You’ll piss off the old people! Talking down on archaic, incredibly dull stories with stilted dialog and hackneyed writing. Wait to we get to the Claremont stories for that :)

Hey – my son has to do a speech tomorrow on “Batman is the best superhero” and needs 5 simple questions answered by an “expert” on superheros! Is there anyone who might answer the 5 questions for him and we could quote the website or you as the expert?

(He emailed like a dozen sites for Christian Bale, Batman fan club, etc…and no one would respond. Now he lost 10 points before he starts and we really need the grade!) If anyone is willing to answer here ya go:
1. Why do you think Batman has withstood so many years?
2. Do you think more people like the old or new comics and why?
3. Do you feel the new movies help or hurt the “true” Batman?
4. Batman doesn’t need superhuman powers like Superman and Wonderwoman and the others – do you think that makes fans feel differently about him?
5. Please make up your own question and answer it to cover what you think might be helpful for him to try to explain in a 10 minute speech with his powerpoint presentation!!!

If anyone can do this for me it would be a big hit for my kid and we’ll email you the presentation of your answers!!!

I’ve got two issues of the Korvac saga. It’s hard to judge the quality from that. To me, these individual chapters seem a little weak, but you can definitely get the impression that the underlying story is much better. I think I probably would love the whole thing.
The issue where Hawkeye rescued everyone from the Collector is scripted by Mantlo, so you probably should’ve included him with the other writers.
Scott shocked me when he said the issues following the Korvac story were so disappointing, but I didn’t know about those three fill-ins. I thought he was referring to the story from #180-onwards, which were great, with the Avengers forced to submit to all sorts of Government rules, Hawkeye being expelled, and the Falcon being forced onto the team. This was also when Ms Marvel became a member.

I’ve seen the term used on here before, but I have no idea what ‘widescreen’ is supposed to mean when referring to comics.

“Widescreen” in comics means allowing many action sequences to unfold over one or two-page panel spreads.

Bernard the Poet

December 3, 2009 at 1:32 pm

A friend lent me the first Knightfall trade and I hated it. Dozens of supervillains have escaped from Arkham, but Batman refuses to let anyone help him round them up. ‘Nineties Batman is such an arse.

Bane was an excellent opportunity to create a supervillain, who was Batman’s equal, but instead they created another blah thug.

Still, it made the 100 best stories countdown – so I’m assuming it got a lot better.

Speaking of which, how the heck did the Authority even get on this list? Theres no overarching theme or story going on, and its clearly three separate plots. I wonder if this is one of those “combine the votes together” kind of things.

The vast majority were for Authority #1-12, so I wouldn’t consider it a combined one, although yeah, once I saw that #1-12 was THE highest vote-getter, I merged the individual votes in, as well. It didn’t really affect the position much, though.

Shanya, if you check back in an hour or so and click on my name above, it’ll link to my blog, where I’ll answer your questions to the best of my rambling ability.

Jeremy: your two posts answer each other. Many people may have ranked Nextwave above any individual Authority story and it wouldn’t even occur to me that A1-12 is a single ‘storyline’. We’re likely not alone, and that may lower its votes, relatively.

Also, there’s a nonzero chance for some of Ellis’s Ultimate Universe stuff to make it on. We don’t yet know how many recent storylines that have sold tons of funnybooks without much critical acclaim are going to do…I’m going to be shaky on a lot of books until I see what the lowest-rating Johns and mainstream-Bendis projects are…

Wow you guys are breaking my heart.

The Avengers from 150-230 (roughly) are my favorite run of any comic.

It was so cool when the Avengers were disappearing just out of nowhere.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

December 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm

On the one hand, I’m inclined to agree with Joe Rice,especially where Starlin is concerned. On the other hand, there’s got to be a way to express the point without sounding like a 15-year-old student who hates the fact that old novels use funny words.

The thing that’s aged badly isn’t so much the dialogue itself as the reason the dialogue was written that way: 1970s self-absorbed spirituality. Looking at Starlin and Shooter, both were trying to write about a kind of nebulous 1970s pop idea of God, a mashup of the human potential movement (Adam Warlock’s origin as a genegineered ubermensch; Korvac going from mortal to omnpotent), misunderstood Eastern spirituality (Starlin’s endless “evil and good are the same entity” stuff, Shooter’s Korvac-as-totalitarian-holist), and very bad pop-psychoanalytic stuff (Starlin’s Eros and Thanos as opposites, Shooter having Carina kill her father to please her lover Korvac).

Most other such stuff from the 1970s hasn’t aged well, either. Who likes EST, or Jungian mandalas, or Linda Goodman books these days? They’re just as stilted and embarrassing, the 1970s answer to the Spiritualism and Theosphy of the early 1900s, TM in the 1960s, the overcommercialized iterations of neopaganism of the 1990s, or The Secret in this decade. Spiritual fads always are.

Millions of people take or took that stuff seriously, too, and in the 1970s it’s not surprising to see it pop up in the comics, especially the comics written by guys like Starlin and Shooter who were just having their quarter-life crises about then.

It’s not outdated writing tech, it’s outdated cultural tech in general. A prose novel about the same ideas is going to feel just as painfully stilted.

Great to see the Korvac saga making the list (it made my top 10) and getting some love here.

For all us oldies…I don’t think you can call that era dull. There was so much going on in the series at the time..the infighting within the Avengers (which was ahead of Civil War by years), the disappearing Avengers, the stuff with the GOTG, Ultron…ahh, those were good times.

Plus, it has one of my favorite Thor lines ever – “Nay, golden one! Stay thy wrath!” – as he holds back Iron Man after Cap punches Iron Man in the face and almost breaks his hand…of course, that era has another classic line from Ultron – “Circuits disrupted! Damn you!” I guess, either you like that or you don’t.

I dropped JLA eventually…I didn’t have a problem with the writing, but Porters artwork just drove me away from the book eventually.

I defended Porter like crazy when JLA was coming out, but in retrospect I can see his many faults.

Omar, I think you make a good point there. And ww, I’m sure that if I lived through reading those books they’d have seemed amazing instead of dated. I do think it’s a problem with more 70s books than just the cosmic ones, though. They’re just tough for me to appreciate.

I haven’t read many old issues (i’m talking anything in the seventies and back when i said “old”) but just recently I read an issue of Amazing Spider-man #47 from 1967 … oy. It was a chore to actualy read it and mostly because of thes caption boxes telling me “where” the story is right now along with all the Stan Lee editorial notes. I find the story flows much better when ignoring all the captions on the page and reading only the bubbles and on the (VERY) rare occasion you get lost while doing that you can read a caption to let you know “where” the story is.
My point being, and I can only speak for Amazing Spider-man issue #47, there is a lot of superflous stuff just floating around on the page which are either just plain annoying nowadays or just plain funny. Joe Kelly used quite a few panels from that Spider-man issue back in Deadpool (vol. 1) #11 and some of Stan Lee’s editorial caption boxes are left right in the story because they’re just so freakin’ halarious and ridiculous now!
You can’t judge an old comic exclusively on these factors when trying to judge if it’s a good story or not. Of course, if an older comic is still mind blowingly good after so many decades even with all the captions and weird 70s storytelling stuff, it makes it that much more impressive.

I cannot recall for sure, but I think I was the one to post Korvac Saga as my #1 choice. Avengers #177, the final chapter, was one of the first comics I ever picked up, and certainly my first issue of the Avengers. What an introduction! SO many characters. I was eight years old at the time. Not being aware of the realities of long-term comics writing, I took what was happening inside very seriously. Since that time, I have regularly come back to this saga with great love. Two other aspects of this series that I think are worth mentioning. #168 has the first full appearance of one of my favorite supporting character, Henry Peter Gyrich. The final chapter also concludes a long-running subplot dealing with Wonder Man’s fear of death. I do agree that there should have been more fallout (especially emotionally) from this storyline.

Mike: “Have the Korvac Saga issues appeared in an Essential Avengers collection yet?”

No, Volume 7 comes out in a couple of months, and almost makes it to that point. It would be in Volume 8, whenever that comes out. I hadn’t heard of the Korvac Saga either, but now I have (which is why I enjoy these lists!).

17 of 35 read… Can I break the 50% barrier??

There WAS A Korvac Saga trade, but it was only in print for like eight minutes back in 1999. (Shame, really. I’d cheerfully stick it in the top three Avengers stories, as Scott said.)

And, hey, the first story that I’ve actually hated. Somehow that makes me feel better.

I didn’t get my act together fast enough to send in my votes. If I had, Knightfall was going to be high on my list. Perhaps it’s because it was one of the biggest hooks to pull me into reading comics regularly as an adult. If so, it was a pretty strong hook. I know I reread my copies of it many times.

Scott,

Boy, I’m nervous about continuing the Moondragon discussion. Behold why:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/11/15/nostalgia-november-day-15-x-factor-annual-4/

But, I never presumed that Korvac wanted to destroy the universe. It was stated many times in the book that he considered the universe his rightful property. He thinks he owns it and everything in it, and has been quietly making alterations to make this so. And he is willing to go all the way to subvert the universe to his will, up to and including destroying it in a CONFRONTATION OF COSMIC GODS! Which I will agree is cool, by the way. It’s pretty villainous. Doctor Doom presumes he owns the universe (see Infinity War, the line “One should not tamper with what belongs to DOOM!”), if he did something similar (didn’t he, in Emperor Doom?), no one would say he was heroic for his bloodless coup. If he threatened to wipe out the entire planet rather than release his hold on it, would he still be a villain? Yes, he would. So is Korvac, with his only defender being a woman who loses the moral high ground to Deadpool (see Joe Kelly’s Deadpool run, issue 25).

Knightfall was high on my list. I know it may not be deep, and it may not hold really well read for the first time right now (after all, much has changed; this is a really fallible and sick Batman, not the Bat-God from end of nineties and beyond), but it was fun and kept you reading and waiting for the next issue.

As a concept, the Arkham total breakout had been explored before (for example, in Batman 400), but the way it was shown in Knightfall, you could see the stress building on Batman as he fights each of his enemies without rest, and the point where he finally explodes (against the Joker, under Scarecrow’s fear toxin) is amazing, also because as far as I had read (maybe I missed another), it was the first real time after Jason Todd’s death that Batman really faced the event head-on. Total mark out moment for me. It’s also fun to see all his small victories, even if you knew his doom was inevitable.

Jean Paul Valley’s part of the story isn’t as exciting, but it’s still a solid finish (and also the end of Aparo’s monthly artist work on the Bat-titles after working on them for decades), and sets up the following story nicely (which wasn’t up to Knightfall’s level, but I guess that was part of the point).

BTW, is Vengeance of Bane included in the trades?

Of the other stories, never read Korvac Saga (didn’t read much Marvel until a few years ago), but read the others, and they all deserve to be on the list (didn’t really enjoy NWO too much, but it was good nonetheless, and the other 2 are really good as well).

so far, none of my votes have appeared. not sure what this means, but there have been some unexpected (by me) choices, and some from my “almost made it” list.

very interesting so far.

@Joe RIce-

You definitely didn’t have to grow up with ’70s Cosmic Marvel to love it. I for one was not yet born in that particular decade, but hold Starlin’s original Thanos saga from Captain Marvel to Warlock and on as my third favorite comic story ever. Captain Marvel is a bit rough on the edges but by Warlock he’s hit his stride and it’s an amazing journey. There’s nothing in comics not drawn by Steve Ditko that really compares.

Though less grand, I think the Korvac Saga is also excellent cosmic adventure, not making my top ten, but I’m glad to see it place. The ending in particular resonates with me a decade after reading the story (which I first read two decades after it came out)

In the next few months, I believe the Korvac Saga will be reprinted in it’s own HC book. I’ve never read it, but would like too. It’s what the Avengers are supposed to be all about: giant adventure, large cast, sprawling epic.

For me, Knightfall worked better as a novel (Same with Rucka and No Man’s Land). O’Neil had more space to develop more character and plot. And until I see an actual body, Jean-Paul still lives!!!!

I recently finished reading Starman Omnibus Vol 1. and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I’m glad it made the list.

The Authority was great back in it’s heyday. But the punch and shock value hasn’t aged well over the years.

New World Order was decent. Morrison has always been hit-or-miss with me. I’ll take this story arc but it’s not my favorite of his work.

KNIGHTFALL?!? No way. Also, the first arc of Starman? That is probably the weakest arc of the entire series. Many other storylines from Starman deserve to be here, but Sins of the Father is ridiculously high.

“Shocked and dismayed to see knightfall on here. I just felt like it was average at best comic storytelling. A story that was editorially mandated to capitalize on the death of superman”
Why are you still posting?

One of the top two or three Avengers stories ever?

Hmmm.

Impressive?

It’s funny, I’m of the age where I grew up with all that 70s stuff, and I’m acclimatized to a lot of the writing quirks of the time (and tend to react with the attitude that people who have a big problem with it are being as silly as someone who can’t abide a black & white late movie), and I’ve actually lived so long with over-the-top praise for the Korvac saga that I’ve long considered it one of the most overrated comics storylines ever.
The fact that I’ve had such a long-ambivalent attitude towards the thing, yet I’m shocked at the kids who’ve never heard of it leaves me conflicted (“You’re disgracefully ignorant for never having heard of it! But it’s not as good as all the other old farts yelling at you say it is!”)

My biggest quibble with Joe R. would be his problem with the art. It’s just “over-rendered ” enough; it avoids the white backgrounds and washouts typical of the Shooter era (mostly a reaction to crappy offset printing) while not having that “so super-rendered and glossy that it makes my skin crawl” texture that made the Crossgen line impossible for me to get into.

I have enjoyed following the ‘Comics Should Be Good’ blog for a while now, but never felt the need to comment, but there’s always a first time for everything!

I never voted for my top ten (wish I had now, definitely will next time) but I did start to think about it… time got the better of me. The first run that came to mind was Steve Englehart’s Avengers, then the Roy Thomas run before that, which then got me thinking about the Jim Shooter period (the Korvac saga ) which in turn led to the David Micheline run, then my head started to ache…. how do you choose just one story from, in my humble opinion, the greatest run of Superhero comics ever. The period between Avengers 50 to 200, give or take a couple of issues either way?

Great to read the love for the Korvac saga, it reminds me of my 8 year old self, taking the Bus into Glasgow with my Grandpa every Saturday, Knowing that i would be coming home with some comics, the Avengers being the one I most looked forward to… ah the memories.

Just to bring things more up to date, I finally got around to reading Fables this year (all of it so far, including the Peter & Max novel) and it’s easily the best thing i’ve read in the last ten years, so it’s great to see a couple of the arcs showing up already, hope to see ‘Sons of Empire’ and ‘The Good Prince’ make the list too.

S.Laz: Thanks!

Joe Rice: Have you ever read the Steve Englehart/ Frank Brunner/ Gene Colan Dr. Stranges? I didn’t read them until recently (in Essential Dr. Strange vol. 2 &3), but I found them surprisingly good. “Surprisingly” because I was expecting okay but with good art (see: almost every other non-Ditko Dr. Strange up to that point), but the writing was much snappier than most ’70s stuff. It had some archaic affectations, but the plots and dialogue were a cut above.

I hear you on ’70s comic book writing, though. Steve Gerber was great, Steve Englehart did some excellent stuff, Len Wein, Doug Moench, & Roger Stern weren’t bad, Tomb of Dracula was top notch, but most of it doesn’t sustain my interest. I find ’70s Spider-Man comics or Marvel Team-Ups & Two-In-Ones (excluding Gerber issues) a slog to get through, and DC wasn’t doing any better (again, excepting the good stuff, like Kubert’s comics, Manhunter, and the better Batman comics). Oddly enough, I don’t have the same problem with most ’60s super-hero comics. Stan Lee and Roy Thomas dialogue doesn’t bother me too much paired with Kirby, Ditko, John Buscema, Colan, or Kane art. DC’s loopiness is usually good for a laugh, and they had some excellent artists, too.

Knightfall was a better executed version of “The Death of Superman”, but was still essentially just means of getting Bruce out of the way and putting Jean Paul in his place. The whole mass Arkham breakout needs to be banned by DC. It’s become such a crutch. Completely excluding Dick Grayson from the story made no sense, but there’s no way to explain the selection of Azrael if Nightwing’s around. It also started the trend of huge multi-part Batman events that completely ignore the rest of the DCU, or more specifically, the rest of the DCU ignores what’s going on in Gotham.

I haven’t read the whole Korvac saga, but did buy on back issue due to the cover showing one of the Avengers’ civilian ID saving the day.

Additionally, Bane could have been a great nemesis if built up gradually over years. Instead, we have a one hit wonder who’ll never live up to what he accomplished his first time out.

@Stephen-

I have the same problem with Avengers. A few years back I sat down and read through the first 200 issues of Avengers over a few weeks and from the moment Vision came onto the scene, it was just amazing. Strangely, none of those stories made my top ten list. Perhaps because it is hard to narrow it down. I’m glad to see Korvac and the Kree-Skrull War (though surprised the latter is so low, whereas the former is where I’d expect it) and assume the Celestial Madonna story will still show up.

Seriously, you guys, the Korvac saga may be my all-time favorite Avengers story (although Ultron Unlimited definitely gives it a run for its money). The build-up of the mystery just keeps gathering momentum and then all of a sudden, it is ON! How far in advance that climatic battle seemed to be planned and all the adventures leading up to it was just unheard of at that time. Yay Korvac Saga!

i’ll have to deem myself 19.Aparo out of 30 at this point in the countdown…

“The Korvac Saga” – This roster looks pretty impressive for its era. I’ll have to check this out, although I tend to turn cold on most of the cosmic side of the Marvel U…

“Knightfall” – I’m amazed that this made it, but not because I think it’s good. Didn’t this come out right when the speculator boom was in its post-“Death Of Supes” salad days? I only read the Aparo drawn issues as a kid because I grew up in Wyoming and that’s all they got before newsstand distribution died off completely. I just used my bat-imagination to fill in the plot blanks… Those were okay, but I’ve always dismissed them since then as a last gasp gimmick by DC while Marvel was deep into the desperate 2099 expansion and Image was starting to realize that you couldn’t get away with trying to sell a signed gold foil copy of “Youngblood” #1 for $200 at a convention anymore. Anyway, I’ve always thought of Moench and Dixon as capable writers, maybe I’ll just have to slog through that non-Aparo art and see why this made the list…

“Sins Of The Father” – Wow, just wow! I got into “Starman” late, like after reading the first issue of “Ex-Machina” late… No dispute, this was such a great introduction to a character that, at least for me sums up Gen X’s personal/professional struggle in the early 1990s more than any pre-Viacom MTV ever could…

“The Authority” – I love Warren Ellis & Brian Hitch but I think Millar & Quitely’s first couple arcs of this series are the ultimate case of contemporary creators one-upping each other all in good fun. Millar & Quitely weren’t the “creators” but they certainly were the finest duo of “improvers” I’ve seen. That being said, Ellis & Hitch provided a the original premise, cast, and setup that has become a staple of the Wildstorm U and I thank them for it…

“New World Order” – I have a confession, other than The Ultimates (and the current era of Avengers, depending on how hard Bendis is trying…) I always tend to hate team superhero books that have a cast of already popular DC or Marvel icons teaming up. It works for me if it’s an “event” with A-List talent, the “events” we’re being inundated with the last few years (at least the art on most of these is good), or if the series is finite (“JLA : Earth 2″ is probably my best example in can think of), but even with those exceptions it is rare of me to like these kind of stories. Maybe it’s because even as a kid I hated the “Super Friends” cartoon, maybe it’s because I couldn’t get all the action figures to rehearse what I might be reading in the next couple decades, I don’t know… So, I have quite the aversion from this series at that outset and though I love Grant Morrison on Supes and Bats respectively, I can’t summon the interest to check this out. I’m just excited to see if this was the Morrison “JLA” everyone was bemoaning or not because this did MAKE the list. Didn’t he do some “JLA” with Ed McG too? Maybe that’s what people were b*tching about…

To Carl :
Ha! Maybe I WAS right about “Knightfall” without perusing those non-Aparo issues in the sense that it was a slightly better executed story playing on the gimmick hit “Death Of Supes”…

And to your comment about Bane, let’s hope they don’t blow it with the Jason Todd incarnation of The Red Hood because he really could end up being Bats’ greatest nemesis (even if it’s just the Dick Grayson Batman’s* greatest nemesis)…

*And I don’t know about anyone else but I’m getting older, I’m single, have no skillz with women, don’t make mad cash, and I’m not a homeowner. So, needless to say, most of the core aspects of the “American Dream” (you know, wife, house, kids, all that sh*t…) aren’t going to happen for me, or at least they aren’t going to happen in the near future. So, watching Bucky become Cap and Dick become Batman these past few years is probably the closest thing I might ever get to watching a son grow up and having a life made good or actually having MY dreams finally come true because I followed my heart (studied art and continue to draw) and did what the world said was necessary to succeed (got a relevant education)… Some people might say this is sad, but I tell you what, Brubaker screwing up the Bucky comeback and Morrison bungling Dick as Bats would’ve been a lot sadder…

The vast majority were for Authority #1-12, so I wouldn’t consider it a combined one, although yeah, once I saw that #1-12 was THE highest vote-getter, I merged the individual votes in, as well. It didn’t really affect the position much, though.

Weird. It’s blatantly 3 individual stories.

I’ve read all of these except the Korvac Saga – bringing my total to 29 read, 6 not read.

None of today’s seem worthy to me, though I know most of the world loves Ellis’s Authority more than I do. (I thought Millar’s run was much better). It’s all good stuff though

Knightfall?!?! Seriously?

The Korvac Saga was great. I really liked the Starman stuff as well.

I did NOT like the JLA book when Morrison was writing it. It wasn’t bad… just not to my taste.

Knightfall, on the other hand, was bad. VERY bad.

I found Knightfall to be one of the better big crossovers. The structure of the story was very episodic which meant it didn’t jar too much when the creative teams kept changing.

Easily better than The Death of Superman, but not nearly as good as The Return of Superman. And easily better than most Bat-crossovers.

@ Joshua Nelson: And I don’t know about anyone else but I’m getting older, I’m single, have no skillz with women, don’t make mad cash, and I’m not a homeowner. So, needless to say, most of the core aspects of the “American Dream” (you know, wife, house, kids, all that sh*t…) aren’t going to happen for me, or at least they aren’t going to happen in the near future

Don’t dispair my friend! i have no ‘skillz with the ladies’ either and was single for the 1st 38 years of my life. i rented a one bedroom appartment, had [still have] a 30 hour a week job as an assistant, so no ‘mad cash’ [although i do love my job!], and have no kids. Well, i just got married to a girl who i’ve known for 5 years and always had a crush on. We met at a time where she had a boyfriend, then broke up with him & got another. We met where i could not even mention that i was interested in her, let alone ask her for coffe [let alone dinner]. i couldn’t approach her due to the differences in status [i was her academic advisor at the school that i work at], and later, we worked together & i don’t date co-workers.

So, fast forward 5 years [we actually met on 12/18/2003, so its been 6 years now] and i’m married, have a home, still make no ‘mad cash’, but i’ve earned a degree where i can own my own practice and am well on my way to the American Dream. So, it can happen my friend! Don’t dispair

By the way, my wife is the hottest woman i have ever seen, but she’s also the sweetest! Everything after that is just icing on the cake!
DFTBA

I liked Knightfall as it was something that had me really wanting to get the next issue to see what was going to happen next. DC’s handling of the Bane character is a crime. He had the chance to be a great addition to Batman’s rogues gallery but was reduced to a sad caricature.
I have nothing but good things to say about Starman either, especially the opening arc. .

@ danjack

Thanks for that pep talk (I mean that in the most serious way)! Right after I wrote that and hit “publish” I thought, “Geez, that’s waaay too much personal crap to throw into blog comment (even if I’m linking it back to comics)! I sound like such an egomaniac! How come they won’t let you retract comments?!?! Ah hell, these are comics people… These are my people! They won’t mind…”

So in addition, thanks for keeping my faith in the comics community’s tolerance/compassion for a melodramatic escapist dork-out alive!

I absolutely loved Morrison’s first arc on JLA and Ellis’ first arc on Authority.
Featuring two very similar teams, in terms of power and abilities, yet radically different in philosophies, both were equally entertaining.
I think both had basically the same takes on Batman and Midnighter where they would usually wind up saving the day after all the members got previously trounced by some villain.
I wish both creative teams (the writers, at least) return to these titles for just one last time.
That would be awesome, wouldn’t it?
This list is great as well…It reminds me of good, often better times.

Knightfall is the greatest Batman storyline of all.

I don’t see how Grant Morrison’s trash ranks above this.

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