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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #45-41

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.

(As usual, just the results now and the details later)

45. “Gifted” by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men #1-6) – 195 points (4 first place votes)

This was the first major X-Men storyline after Grant Morrison left the X-Men, and Joss Whedon gladly picked up where Morrison left off, using the set-up Morrison left with the book (notably Cyclops and Emma Frost being a couple and Beast dealing with being a cat-like creature).

There were three major pieces from Whedon’s first arc:

1. The X-Men deciding to go back to being traditional superheroes, or at least a certain group of “public” X-Men. To this end, Cyclops re-enlists Kitty Pryde, as she is one of the best X-Men in terms of “putting forward as the face of mutantkind.” Kitty Pryde serves as a sort of POV person for Whedon’s run.

2. A scientist has developed a “cure” for being a mutant. This plot was so popular that they later used it as the basic plot for the third X-Men film.

3. Colossus returned from the dead.

Whedon tied it all together nicely, with a lot of strong character moments, and wrapped it all up in beautiful stunning John Cassaday artwork.

44. “Olympus” by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, John Totleben, Tom Yeates and John Ridgway (Miracleman #11-16) – 197 points (6 first place votes)

Olympus was the conclusion to Alan Moore’s tenure on Miracleman, and it completed the journey of Michael Moran (Miracleman) from his days as being a regular guy who happened to have fantastical powers to being, basically, a god on Earth.

The path to this state came via a very bloody battle.

You see, Miracleman’s former sidekick, Kid Miracleman, had sort of gone insane. Miracleman had defeated him by forcing him to turn back to his alter-ego, 13-year-old Johnny Bates. Johnny is an innocent, but he knows what he did as Kid Miracleman, so he sort of goes nuts.

Well, later on, Johnny is sexually assaulted at the group home he lived at – this causes him to snap and become Kid Miracleman again, and he goes on a bloody rampage through London that John Totleben draws with such horrific detail that, well, it’s pretty damn unsettling.

Miracleman and a group of good guys (aliens known as the Warpsmiths, created by Moore and artist Garry Leach) fight Kid Miracleman, and in the end, they succeed, but not before the whole world is informed by what Miracleman had striven to keep secret – that superheroes exist.

With the cat out of the bag, as they would say, Miracleman decides to basically impose his will on the world, and he slowly retreats from humanity (and his human wife that he was married to in his Michael Moran alter-ego) and as the story ends, he is living as a benevolent tyrant over the people of Earth.

It’s really a brilliant transformation of the character by Moore, and the art is superb.

43. “If This Be My Destiny” by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33) – 206 points (4 first place votes)

This storyline is particularly interesting in the fact that, right smack in the midst of it all, Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn are introduced!

The story is set as Peter Parker is just beginning college – he hopes to be able to concentrate on his studies, but he soon learns that his Aunt May is deathly ill, likely due to a blood transfusion Peter gave her a number of issues ago (his blood being radioactive and all).

So Peter finds out a way of curing her, but he needs a special serum. Well, the problem is that a criminal known as the Master Planner ALSO wants the serum.

After a tussle, Spider-Man succeeds in securing the serum, but not before being trapped under a pile of heavy machinery in the Master Planner’s underwater base – a base that has cracked, sending water from the river above ever so slowly into the room where Spider-Man is trapped. And if that weren’t enough, the Master Planner’s guards are outside the room should Spider-Man somehow escape!

How Spider-Man gets out of this mess is the thing of comic book legend, and that’s just who the creative team was – Steve Ditko delivers what was basically his swan song on the title (he stuck around for a few more months, but clearly, this was the high water mark of his run – everything else was downhill from here until he left at #39, likely because he knew he was on the way out), and he goes out in style, with some of the most brilliantly designed pages of the Silver Age.

Stan Lee delivers the pathos along with Ditko’s brilliant action sequences.

Peter’s sense of responsibility never had such tangible evidence as this storyline – what he will do to save his Aunt is amazing, or maybe even spectacular!

Just like this storyline.

42. “The Surtur Saga” by Walt Simonson (Thor #349-353) – 211 points (5 first place votes)

All throughout the early issues of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor, we keep seeing someone (seemingly a blacksmith) forging a sword. Every time the sword is clanged on to continue the forging, we see a big “DOOM!” sound effect, showing that whatever this sword is, it is bad news for Thor. This continues for a number of issues (always for one page per issue) until slowly we learn that it is the gigantic demon Surtur, and we see that he is raising an army of dark elves to attack Asgard.

And again, we learn this slowly but surely over a number of issues, one page per issue.

Finally, in Thor #349, Surtur shows up on Asgard, and so begins an amazingly epic battle that involves Earth AND Asgard, and ends up ultimately with Odin, Thor and Loki being forced to team-up against their common foe, Surtur.

The defeat of Surtur would also result in a major status quo change in the Thor title, and one of the coolest last pages of the 1980s.

Simonson’s art was extremely powerful throughout the story, adding the dynamic grand quality that the epic battles required.

And it’s impressive as all heck that Surtur’s attack begins in #349, but it doesn’t feel dragged out, due to a whole ton of other little attacks and obstacles in between.

41. “Mutant Massacre” by Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, John Romita Jr., Alan Davis, Rick Leonardi, Sal Buscema, Terry Shoemaker, Jon Bogdanove and a host of inkers (Uncanny X-Men #210-213, X-Factor #9-11, Thor #373-374, New Mutants #46 and Power Pack #27) – 218 points (4 first place votes)

Here’s what I wrote about the Mutant Massacre during the Comic Book Battles countdown:

While it is a part of comic book reality nowadays, back in the late ’80s there had never been a crossover between the popular X-Men related comic books. In fact, until the early 80s, there was only one X-Men title, “Uncanny X-Men!” But by 1986, there was the regular “X-Men” title, there was “New Mutants” (detailing the next generation of mutant heroes) and “X-Factor” (starring the original five members of the X-Men), and in the fall of 1986, the first X-Crossover took place detailing the “Mutant Massacre.”

The Mutant Massacre featured the Marauders, a team of vicious killers employed by the newly introduced X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, going into the New York sewers, where a community of mutants known as the Morlocks lived (the Morlocks were mutants who tended to be disfigured or were otherwise unable to fit in living with “normal” humans). At this point, the Marauders proceeded to murder as many Morlocks as they could. The X-Men entered the tunnels to save the Morlocks, and engaged in a dramatic and deadly battle that lasted from Uncanny X-Men #211 to #213 (all three issues were written by Chris Claremont, with John Romita Jr. drawing the first issue, Rick Leonardi the second and Alan Davis the third).

The X-Men suffered critical injuries soon after entering the battle, when the teleporting X-Man Nightcrawler, who was recovering from a recent injury and had only recently regained the ability to teleport, used his powers to disable one of the Marauders. However, he was unable to use his powers once he was finished, leaving himself vulnerable to the Marauder Riptide, a mutant whose power involves sending barrages of razor sharp blades flying people at high speeds. Nightcrawler was severely injured by Riptide.

This led to one of the most dramatic moments of the war when the X-Man Colossus determined that the only way to stop Riptide was to use deadly force. As Riptide continued to pummel the X-Man’s metal body with blades, Colossus forged forward until he was able to snap Riptide’s neck.

At this point, Colossus collapsed due to the wounds he incurred during his fight. As it turned out, he was so injured that while he could survive in his metal form, he could not transform back to his human form. Meanwhile, the X-Men suffered another casualty when Kitty Pryde was injured and trapped in her intangible form.

While the X-Men return to their home to recover with the Morlocks they manage to save, the deadliest of the Marauders, the evil Sabretooth, makes his way to the X-Men’s home. During the course of his journey, Sabretooth tangled both with Wolverine and ultimately with the telepathic Psylocke, who was staying with the X-Men at the time.

In the end, the X-Men managed to save many Morlocks (X-Factor also saved some, in a separate excursion into the Morlock tunnels), but the team was forever changed, with longstanding members Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler leaving the team and new members like Psylocke joining the group. The most important change for the team was that they no longer had any illusions of safety at their home, and soon left the X-Mansion entirely.

80 Comments

In Order:

Barf.
Haven’t read it, but want to.
Never been a Spider-Man fan.
Yay! I love Beta Ray Bill!
Meh.

Hmmm… actually, Mutant Massacre is the story that made me quit reading the X-books.

Olympus deserves to be on the top 20.

So glad to see Master Planner made it. It was number 6 on my list — you can’t beat those scenes of Spidey being crushed by that weight, and finally getting over on it. With all the really recent stuff on the list, I was beginning to wonder whether we were going to see anything from the 60s. Now I think we’ll at least see FF48-50 too.

I guess I have to agree with the person who said it’s a little weird to pick all this 2000s stuff as your favorite — for instance I really enjoyed Whedon’s Astonishing X-men run, but it just seems like something ought to stand the test of time a little more for you to make a real judgment on it.

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 8, 2009 at 5:07 am

Spider-man: If this be my destiny’s is the only one I haven’t read.

The rest is superb.

Mutant Massacre was more or less a mess, right? I actually had to check Wiki to remember exactly what went down with that one (I always get it confused with Inferno and Fall of the Mutants). Then again, maybe it’s worth another look, seeing as how Wiki’s synopsis sounds clearer than I’d remembered.

What I’m more interested in, though, is the Mutant Massacre that could have been. Going off Wiki here, Claremont wanted to bridge the gap between X-Men & Moore’s Captain Britain? That’s the story he should have told in X-Men Forever!

It’s great to see Simonson’s Thor comics get some love. I left them off of my list, but it was tough doing so.
I think that Mutant Massacre was also where I decided I didn’t need X-Men comics in my life any more as well (or maybe it was Inferno). I think that whoever wrote the wiki article was doing the story some major favors…

I am enjoying the list though, and the comments are hilarious :)
Thanks for putting this all together, Brian!

The Crazed Spruce

December 8, 2009 at 6:03 am

Hmmmmmm…… “If This Be My Destiny”…. That’s the one where Spidey’s trapped under the rubble, and has to get that medicine to Aunt May, right? Never read it, but always wanted to.

I read those issues of Astonishing X-Men. Not bad, but not great. It’s not an accident that this one didn’t make my short list..

Haven’t read any of the other three. Miracleman and Thor are at the top of my list, though. Mutant Massacre… not so much. Sure, it was the first big X-book crossover, so it probably deserves points for that, but it’s also the story that wound up sticking the X-Men in Australia for a couple of years, and that’s just unforgivable.

The Crazed Spruce

December 8, 2009 at 6:04 am

And I STILL haven’t cracked my Top 10! I’m startin’ to get a little nervous here….

Crazed Spruce- it was actually Fall of the Mutants that ended the X-men up in Australia.

I really like Astonishing X-men, despite some of the worst decompression I’ve ever seen and various annoying plotholes. I actually voted for “Unstoppable”, the last story arc I believe, but Gifted is the second best story arc in the run, so alright.

Miracleman! It was inevitable when this would show up.

The Master Planner arc from ASM is something I have no plans on reading, but I’m sure it’ll make the old people happy to see it here ^_^

Its about time Simonson’s Thor showed up. Beta Ray Bill > *

And so it begins with Claremont’s X-men. The first big X-men crossover, and it wouldn’t surprise me if theres more of these to come.

NEW TOTALS in a minute…

I liked them all except the first… which I haven’t read.

The Mutant Massacre was great… at the time. Now that flavour of “OMG, what is going to happen?!” has been watered down so much that the effect is lost.

Only Miracleman (that unicorn of comic books) keeps me from another fiver. I’m up to 39/60 now after a pretty mainstream five (with Miracleman again being the exception, as the sole non-Marvel superhero book out of the bunch).

I’m glad to see the sixties getting some love this go around, but the eighties are really starting to rev up now.

I loved Mutant Massacre as it was coming out, but then I was a 13 or 14 year old boy. I haven’t re-read it since (and didn’t really consider it for my list in this vote). I was devastated at where it left Nightcrawler and Kitty. Thor’s appearance in the tunnels was one of my first “fuck yeah!” moments. Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe I should re-read it. It was probably a large part of the “end of the innocence” for me as a comics fan and pretty influential on the direction that mainstream superhero comics have taken since its release…

Some solid mainstream choices, but its a shame Olympus is stuck in the mid-forties.

I like mutant massacre. Granted I read it as a child but even now the art stands up and it has some great moments. Particularly Peter snapping riptides neck.

I know im wrong but I just found miracleman online so am now just about to start on issue eleven. If i can ever find it in a store or marvel makes a reprint I will immediately buy it all. So far the first ten issues were amazing.

Brian asked this before but would We3 have made your top ten? and thanks for the whole series this is a great countdown.

NEW TOTALS:

Interesting notes – Alan Moore closes in on his fellow European magician, and we get an entry from the 1960s! Good job, old people.

-23 Marvel stories

-25 DC ones(13 DC, 9 Vertigo, 3 Wildstorm)

-43 of these are superhero ones
-17 of these are non-superhero ones

-2000s(25 entries, 3413 points)
-1990s(21 entries, 3074 points)
-1980s(10 entries, 1500 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 513 points)
-1960s(1 entry, 206 points)

By Writer:

-Morrison (7 entries, 1168 points)
-Moore (5 entries, 692 points)
-L. Simonson (2 entries, 566 points)
-Brubaker (4 entries, 564 points)
-Ellis (4 entries, 563 points)
-Busiek (3 entries, 537 points)
-Stern (3 entries, 520 points)
-W. Simonson (2 entries, 429 points)
-Bendis (3 entries, 381 points)
-Jurgens (2 entries, 348 points)
-Ordway (2 entries, 348 points)
-Gaiman (2 entries, 312 points)
-Vaughan (2 entries, 295 points)
-Willingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Buckingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Sim (2 entries, 220 points)
-Claremont (1 entry, 218 points)
-Ennis (2 entries, 208 points)
-Ditko(1 entry, 206 points)
-Lee(1 entry, 206 points)
-Whedon (1 entry, 195 points)
-David (1 entry, 179 points)
-Kessel (1 entry, 167 points)
-Jones (1 entry, 167 points)
-Pak(1 entry, 165 points)
-Miller (1 entry, 162 points)
-Rucka(1 entry, 160 points)
-Grayson(1 entry, 160 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)
-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)
-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)

I am super happy to see “If This Be My Destiny” (aka the Master Planner saga) make the list. It was #5 vote. I got a copy of ASM #33 as a gift for being my brother’s best man in his wedding, that is how much he knows I love this story.

Not surprised to see an Astonishing story show up, given the more current slant the list is showing. I’m an X-Men fan, so I enjoyed it, but nowheres near enough to consider it a favorite. Plus, I’m definitely in the camp that thinks something needs time to become a favorite. I can’t just read something once and call it a favorite.

Like most of the comics reading world, I haven’t read much more than a few pages of any Miracleman story.

Very happy to see the Master Planner story show up. It was definitely the highlight of the phenomenal Lee/Ditko run. It just barely missed my list; I really wanted to vote for something from that run, because I enjoy it so much, but I had a hard time separating that story from the rest of the run. I rarely go back to read JUST that story; I’m more likely to pull out a Masterwork or Essential and just dive in.

Will this be the only Simonson Thor to show up on the list? Probably not. I didn’t vote for it but it’s great stuff, no question.

Oddly enough, Mutant Massacre is probably my least favorite of the various X-Men crossovers though it’s arguably the best. I didn’t doubt it would place. Now I’m curious to see if any of the other X-Men crossovers like Fall of the Mutants shows up.

Mutant Massacre was definitely the end of an era for the X-Men. It was pretty much started the largest team turnover since Giant Size X-Men #1. It also set up the Wolverine/Sabretooth thing. It was also was the first step towards Angel becoming a blue skinned badass.

Unfortunately, it began the “we need a mutant crossover every year” mentality which ultimately hurt the titles because storylines had to be put on hold for months to accommodate them. It eventually got to the point where a title like X-Factor put out a book without a single member of the cast in it.

@Jeremy: If you have any interest in Spider-man as a character, you should probably give “If This Be My Destiny” a read. I mean, sure it’s dated (it’s from like 1966 or something), but IMO it distills the essence of Peter Parker’s character better than any other story before or since. Every time a writer or editor is about to have Peter make a decision, this story should be in the back of their mind… sure he can grow as a character, but the ‘core values’ that make him identifiable should remain consistent, and those values are basically encoded in this storyline. I have no problem with RetCons and ReBoots and such (I mean, I lived through Crisis, the biggest ReBoot of them all), and believe continuity is a tool to be used, not a cruel taskmaster to be obeyed, but I do believe in the consistency of a character’s personality and values. That’s why Superman should stand for Truth, Justice and the American Way, and Spider-Man should always strive to make the responsible choice at any cost, over the easy choice… he should never give up and accept the inevitable, yet he should always accept his mistakes and own them and find a way to either set them right or grow from them…

But, if you have no interest in Spider-Man, then it would be just fine to skip this story

2 of 5, 23 of 60; damn, closer and closer to just a third of the entries.

“Gifted” was the first arc I ever bought in single issues, and it’s quite a good one overall. even if, on the whole, I find Whedon’s run very overrated.

“Olympus” – would have read it, if it was available.

“If This Be My Destiny” – never had the finances to go back through all those old Spider-Man stories.

“Surtur Saga” – read it, a very good Thor story.

“Mutant Massacre” – not read it.

I didn’t vote for Miracleman.

I haven’t read all of Olympus (you try getting hold of the issues/TPBs/HCs!) so it wouldn’t be right voting for something that I’m sure is VERY GOOD, but I HAVEN’T READ.

I nearly included Miracelman: Red King Syndrome, but remembered my favourite story of all which bumped him off…

Not surprised at how high Joss Whedon’s fans bumped Astonishing, but I am a bit disappointed… Glad to see some older storylines beating it though!

I’ve read Coming Home. Everything you ever needed to know about Spidey is right there. He’s selfless, a genius, strong, caring, funny, and will never compromise, even if it means his life. Also, totally badass fight scenes from Romita JR doesn’t hurt.

Hey, the Surtur Saga! It’s been a while since I had a vote make the list.

I thought Moore’s Miracleman was a little bit uneven. I very much liked the run, but I thought Olympus was a let-down.

VAGUE SPOILER AHEAD

I thought the last issue coda where he re-made the world was wonderful, however, and redeemed the story in my eyes. I guess it was more what I was looking for.

It also served as a bridge to Gaiman’s run, which, though I’ve not read all of it, I think I actually prefer to Moore’s.

I only read the Spider-Man arc but I do plan on reading Miracleman once it is all collected. I’m glad we finally got something from the sixties and some DItko. I was hoping for his Dr. Strange but I’d be surprised if it’s on here, because it would have already made it.

I forget everything I voted for but I know at least 3 made it so far.

Spider-Man 31-33
DP: Crawling through the Wreckage
Locas: Death of Speedy

I forget what else I had but it probably won’t make it anyway.

Hmmm. One thing that slipped my mind is that in the better part of the sixties (and before that, to the beginning of the art form) most stories were “done-in-ones”. Things like the Spider-Man story above were special, whereas the opposite would be true now.

That helps to account, I think, for some of the bias towards newer material (and of course, the general age of a voting audience too).

I’m surprised that Mutant Massacre has drawn so many less-than-enthusiastic comments. Perhaps I’m looking through rose-colored glasses because I pulled it off my bookshelf and began to read it again last week, but it’s far better than many of the X-Men crossovers that would come in the wake of its success.

– It’s a fight that the X-Men lose, badly, and don’t really get their revenge for quite a while. The Marauders make a few return appearances, but they don’t really “lose” until Inferno, over two years later. Nightcrawler remains in a coma until the Fall of the Mutants (about a year later), and Shadowcat remains intangible until the X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover.

– X-Factor is still new here, and the X-Men are largely unaware of their activities. There’s even a scene where Wolverine detects Jean Grey’s scent, but doesn’t believe it because last he knew, she was still dead. There’s another interesting scene where X-Factor sees Magneto entering the Hellfire Club building. Still identifying him as an “evil mutant” (particularly due to his allegiance with the Hellfire Club), X-Factor mourns the fact that the X-Men are now being manipulated by an evil force.

– The Thor tie-in has always intrigued me. Building off the fact that Thor met the Morlock known as Piper when he was a frog, and a single panel in Uncanny X-Men 211 where Piper calls for help from his animal friends, Thor ends up being enlisted by the frogs in Central Park. So many crossovers work feverishly to keep their events separated to their “families” of books, but here are two issues of Thor where he gets drawn into the Morlock tunnels, fights the Marauders, and rescues Angel from being killed after he was pinned up on the wall.

– Simply put, continuity is just so tight here. A wall collapses in X-Factor, and the X-Men are showing reacting to it on the other side. Wolverine runs into Power Pack before his fight with Sabretooth, referenced both in Power Pack and Uncanny X-Men. Thor burns the tunnels to give the dead Morlocks a “Viking burial”, and the X-Men see it. The Marauders are portrayed in teams, and every writer made sure the teams are shown correctly. When one character dies, you don’t see that character alive again. There aren’t characters jumping from one team to another haphazardly. It is actually possible to map the sequence of events through the crossover without needing “part one, part two” etc. labels.

– The events continued to be felt through the books for years. As noted above, Nightcrawler came out of his coma during Fall of the Mutants. Shadowcat’s intangibility is fixed in the X-Men/Fantastic Four mini-series. Angel’s loss of his wings leads to Archangel (and we even see Apocalypse make a cameo, recruiting Pestilence for his Horsemen!). Sabretooth name-drops Mr. Sinister, setting up almost a year of build to his reveal. Gambit was also involved, years before his first appearance, though that’s more of a ret-con than a seed planted by Claremont.

I remember being very young, getting an assortment of Marvel books from Montgomery Ward’s or Sears via mail-order for Christmas. Uncanny X-Men 211 and 212 were in that assortment. I read them until they literally fell apart, then replaced them years later (not a cheap proposition at the time). It was such a foreign concept, seeing protagonists beaten down with so little revenge. Mutant Massacre is definitely a great crossover that stands the test of time. #41 on this list is well deserved.

For those interested in the First Place votes, here are the titles ordered by number of first place votes.

EIGHT

59. Y: The Last Man: “Whys and Wherefores”

SIX

44. Miracleman: “Olympus”
53. Spectacular Spider-man: “Death of Jean DeWolff ”
71. Amazing Spider-man: “Coming Home”

FIVE

42. Thor: “The Surfur Saga”
63. Transmetropolitan: “Year of the Bastard”/”The New Scum”
68. Starman: “Sins of the Father”
79. Avengers: “Kree-Srkull War”
84. Cerebus: High Society
93. Punisher MAX: “The Slavers”
97. Jimmy Corrigan

FOUR

41. “Mutant Massacre”
43. Amazing Spider-man: “If this be my Destiny”
45. Astonishing X-men “Gifted”
46. Seven Soldiers of Victory
47. Captain America: “Death of Captain America”
49. Marvels
56. Sandman: “The Kindly Ones”
57. Avengers Forever
74. Sleeper Season 1
87. Love and Rockets: “The Death of Speedy”

THREE

47. JLA: “Rock of Ages”
50. Final Crisis
55. We3
68. Batman: “Knightfall”
71. “The Magus Saga”
75. Planetary
80. Fables: “Homelands”
88. Cerebus: “Church and State”
94. Love and Rockets: “The Blood of Palomar”
97. “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck”

TWO

51. Batman R.I.P
53. Astro City: “Confession”
60. Superman: “Reign of the Supermen”
61. Planet Hulk
61. House of M
64. Daredevil: “The Elektra Saga”
67. Authority
73. Sandman: “A Game of You”
76. Annihilation
78. Captain America: “Winter Soldier”
88. Fables: “March of the Wooden Soldiers”
91. Punisher: “Welcome Back Frank”
91. Batman: “First Tale of the Demon”
96. Swamp Thing: “Love and Death”
97. Doom Patrol: “Crawling from the Wreckage”

ONE

52. “The Death of Superman”
58. From Hell
65. Batman: “No Man’s Land”
66. JLA: “New World Order”
70. Avengers: “The Korvac Saga”
76. Y The Last Man: “Unmanned”
81. Thunderbolts: “Faith in Monsters”/”Caged Angels”
82. Daredevil: “Hardcore”/”King of Hell’s Kitchen”
83. Immortal Iron Fist
84. Top 10 Season 1
86. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1
90. “Weapon X”
94. Bone: “The Great Cow Race”

ZERO

100. Powers : Who Killed Retro Girl?

Fair enough. I guess people can say they don’t need to see “Dr. No” or “From Russia With Love” or “Goldfinger” to understand James Bond because they saw “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” and I couldn’t really argue with them. I would just feel that they aren’t getting the full picuture, the entire history and depth and breathe of the character. “Casino Royale” couldn’t exist without the foundation of “Goldfinger”, and “Coming Home” couldn’t exist without the foundation of “If This Be My Destiny”.

If you aren’t interested in the roots of the character, fair enough. But personally, I think you’re missing out. (And I’m not that old! I’m only 33!)

To me, it is kinda like only watching Star Wars Episodes I – III and dismissing IV – VI as ‘old and dated’, or only enjoying the new Star Trek movie (which I loved) and ignoring the glory of “Wrath of Khan” or the hilarity of “The Trouble With Tribbles”. Or looking forward to the new Sherlock Holmes movie without any curiousity about the work of Arthur Conan Doyle.

“The Master Planner arc from ASM is something I have no plans on reading, but I’m sure it’ll make the old people happy to see it here ^_^”

Well, as a crotchety old man of 23, I’m happy to see it place so high; it’s the highlight of the Lee/Ditko run, which is a heck of a lot more dynamic than the Lee/Romita run. It also beats the pants off of Coming Home.

Why isn’t the Master Planner story (great pick, by the way) called the Master Planner story?

Olympus was the one storyline that made my list primarily because of the art. Because Moore’s writing, at the peak of his powers, is pretty much a push, but fully-painted Totleben covers and interiors thumps anything Gibbons, Lloyd, or Bissette can do seven times a week and twice on Sundays. Maybe if Big Numbers had actually been completed it would be competition, but nothing else comes close.

Roquefort Raider

December 8, 2009 at 9:40 am

The Mutant Massacre, for once, delivered on the premise of “nothing will ever be the same again” -but not in a good sense, as it turned out. That was pretty much the point where the X-Men ceased to be a book with developing characters and when it turned into a franchise. (It wouldn’t be that apparent for a couple of years, but the seeds were planted right there). It’s also too bad that most characters who were killed in that storyline turned up again later (thanks to the magic of cloning, retconning, and other McGuffins). That really dilutes the dramatic effect.

The 1st arc of Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men should be higher in the list. Its one of the best X-Men stories ever 2nd only to Grant Morrison’s Mew X-Men: E is for Extinction. Don;t get me wrong, there are several other X-Stories that belong in this list such as follows, but Astonishing X-Men: Gifted and New X-Men: E is for Extinction should be the top 2 X-Stories IMHO!!
Other X-Stories that should make the cut:
Inferno
The Fall of the Mutants
Age of Apocalypse
X-Tinction Agenda
X-Cutioner’s Song
Wolverine: Old Man Logan
Excalibur: The Cross-Time Caper
Cable/Deadpool:

Also (and I can’t beieve I forgot to vote for these):
Kingdom Come – (After The Sinestro Corps War this is probs the best DC Proper story I’ve ever read).

Earth X / Universe X / Paradise X – (I voted Grant Morrison’s New X-Men: E is for Extinction as my #1 but I totally forgot about the Earth X trilogy!!!) (This is HANDS-DOWN my #1 pick as Earth X was prob the greatest Marvel story I’ve ever read, EVER!)
I’d like to know what some of the rest of you think about the Earth X trilogy as a whole or just the 1st book as a stand-alone…

Loved Olympus. I picked up the TPB, because I was a big Swamp Thing fan at the time. It’s so beat up now from multiple re-readings, it’s a wonder it’s still intact. When I recently found out would much the collection sell for I was astonished. It’s a shame this isn’t more widely available, it’s an essential part of the the Watchmen/Swamp Thing/Miracleman study of superhero to godhood beat that Moore was on at the time.

I read Mutant Massacre shortly around the time that House of M had finished, and I couldn’t read it without thinking “Geez, some editor must have hated the idea of the Morlocs to make the writers kill them all and then have Thor destroy their city, just ‘cuz.”

well, just had my first 5/5 day (the slant towards newer stuff on the list has really hurt my average as i typically don’t read most things until a few years after they come out).

gifted-i liked this and i knew we’d be seeing it on here, but i do think whedon’s run overall is extremely overrated. like i said, it’s good and there’s nothing really wrong with it, but it just doesn’t compare to the great x-men stories. but cassaday’s art is always near perfect, so it’s got that going for it.

olympus-really really happy to see it on here, as i was almost losing hope of it showing up. it’s too un-widely read to be much higher than about 35. it’s just an absolute masterpiece. it didn’t make my list (one of the last 2-3 i cut off) simply because it’s my 4th favorite moore story and i didn’t want my list dominated by a single writer (unlike, apparently, a lot of morrison fans). john totleben’s art is superb. he’s probably my favorite ever “forgotten artist.” i wonder though- of the 850 people that voted, how many have read miracleman? maybe 200? possibly far less? i bet the percentage of people that have read it who also voted for it is inordinately high, maybe the highest of anything on this list.

if this be my destiny-as i’ve said before, i’m not a fan of lee/kirby/ditko stuff just because i find so much of it nearly unreadable by today’s standards. but i absolutely understand the influence, and in light of the direction this list was taking over the last few days, it’s quite refreshing to see something on here that’s truly old.

surtur saga- this is awesome. simonson’s thor was one of the first run’s that got me into comics that predated me (i started reading in 91/92), and i absolutely loved it. like miracleman, i had almost given up hope on this. does this mean that the “thor as a frog” story still has a chance of showing up?

mutant massacre-my favorite of the claremont era x-crossovers, and second only to age of apocalypse as the best one ever, in my book. mutant massacre holds up extremely well. there were only three x-books at that time, so the story doesn’t get too fragmented the way they do these days. interesting that the two thor parts make simonson’s thor run show up twice today. the artistic pedigree on this story is amazing, as major part were drawn by alan davis, john romita jr., and walt simonson- all among the best super-hero artists ever. you also get two covers by barry windsor-smith. amongst all the important aspects of the story mentioned above, people forget that this story also introduced psylocke to the x-men. as a kid i always thought that the fight with the marauders in #211 was the greatest x-men battle ever. there’s no doubt this story became extremely influential to a lot of pure crap over the years, but since i don’t blame faith no more for the existence of limp bizkit, i also don’t blame claremont for the tragedies committed in his name.

overall, it’s good to the list so suddenly skew towards older stuff, which is where i think it will basically stay with probably only 5-10 more things coming from this decade.

is miracleman the last non-marvel/dc story that will show up? i think 300, wanted, supreme: story of the year, and maybe some hellboy or sin city all still have outside chances, but if i were to bet, i think it’s all marvel/dc from now on.

as for the moore/morrison race- moore has two more definites (watchmen & v for vendetta), three more that range from probable to 50/50 (whatever happened to the man of tomorrow, american gothic, and anatomy lesson/woodrue), and three more longshots (league of extraordinary gentlemen vol. 2, supreme, and miracleman: dream of flying). morrison has two more definites (all-star superman & e is for extinction), two more 50/50’s (animal man: deus ex machina and some second new x-men story), and a few more longshots (seaguy, flex mentallo, flith, a third jla or new x-men story). so moore will finish with at least 7 entries, potentially as many as 11-12. morrison will finish with at least 9 entries, potentially as many as 12-14. i’m actually guessing they both finish tied at 10 entries, with moore winning the points. it’s also possible that miller, gaiman, and claremont all win the points race, as they have at least 3 more entires each that will be coming, and probably ranking quite high.

Man, I’ve only read 1 out of 5 today. I have all the Simonson Thor issues, but haven’t read them yet. I’m looking forward to that. And I really hope that with Marvel getting the rights to Miracleman there might ffinally be hope for trades of that coming out, as I’ve wanted to read it for years I had one issue of the ccomic as a kid (I think Eclipse published it) and it pretty much blew my mind. Might have been the first time that I realized that super heroes and comics in general could be more than just a kid’s story.

Mutant Massacre is the only one I’ve read. I really liked it last time I read it, but that was at least 10 years ago. As other’s have noted, it was much more tightly plotted and written than the crossovers to follow, and at the time really had the feel of shaking things up in a pretty major way. Plus Collosus was a total bad-ass in this story.

Watchmen is almost definitely #1, and DKR is a very possible #2 (love the former, dislike the latter). Anyone want to guess at what the highest-ranked Marvel story will be?

“Dark Phoenix” seems like the best bet to me; Claremont/Byrne came second on the Top 100 runs poll, the X-Men are Marvel’s biggest franchise.

Is this list supposed to be the best, the biggest, or most popular storylines?

I thought it was supposed to be the best. But then became confused when I saw Retun of Superman and Batman: Knightfall show up. I’m going to assume it’s just fan favourites. I suppose fans (including me) will usually vote for their favourites regardless of their merits.

I think that Sin City will appear, and will probably be the top non-big-two.

Speaking of Miller, Daredevil:Born Again is a strong candidate for top Marvel book…

Is this list supposed to be the best, the biggest, or most popular storylines?

Favorite. Favorite storylines.

At least, that’s how I voted; for the ten stories I consider my favorite. I could easily come up with a list of ten stories that I think are better than the ones for which I voted.

For example, I did not vote for Watchmen. I think Watchmen is great, I enjoy it, and have re-read it multiple times. While it may not be the best comic book story ever, it is certainly well done and worth consideration of that distinction.

That said, it’s not one of my ten favorite stories. There are other stories that, for a variety of reasons (including nostalgia, personal preferences and tastes) I enjoy more, and am more likely to pull off the shelf and read when I’m looking to have some fun. Those are the kinds of stories for which I voted.

2/5 for me, for a total of 12/60.

I read the spidey sory, and like all early spidey stories is very dated. Maybe you have to read it to understand the character, but that doesn’t make it a good story.

Olympus, I feel, is the weakest part of Alan Moore’s Miracleman (hold your pants, it’s still great) as it suffers from a very slow beginning. I’d love to see A Dream of Flying or Red King Syndrome on the list (both on my list), but I doubt it.

I’d love to read Simonson’s Thor.

Wow, I thought the Mutant Massacre was the low point of Claremont’s X-Men. Talk about never getting a clean win! (as we were over in another post)

@ Teebore

Thanks. I figure that nostagia was the biggest factor on most people votes.

The Red King Syndrome suffered greatly from (1) the constantly shifting art teams, (2) the shift from pacing at Warrior-installment sized chunks to full issue-sized chunks, and (3) having issue #10, which was more properly a Prelude to Olympus, grafted onto the end instead of being able to end the story much closer to the climax. Also, those of us who actually got the issues as they came out have (4) Anglo-reprint-fill-in-issues to hold against it. I’d be stunned if it made the list. A Dream of Flying is plausible, though, I guess.

Mutant Massacre doesn’t really hold up to me as well as say Age of Apocalypse or really even Inferno. Inferno brought everything to a head back in the day and I just remember having my jaw on the floor the whole time. Personally, I loved the Australian team. Maybe not the location choice, but the line-up was wonderful. Anyway, my bet is that Age of Apocalypse, E is for Extinction, and the Dark Phoenix Saga are all coming up at some point.

I’m basically enthusiastic about Whedon’s Astonishing run, and don’t have the deep dislike for it that a lot of people have… but one of the top 50 storylines of all time? That seems clearly nuts to me.

Mutant Massacre, on the other hand– clearly right. I’d echo what Craig said above. In retrospect, MM was the beginning of the end of greatness for Claremont’s X-era, but man-o-man did it rock at the time. I still think it’s one of the best crossovers ever. It did a great job using the whole family of titles, it radically disrupted the status quo, it enriched the characters’ histories (in some sense I wish now that Wolverine and Sabertooth had never met at all, but it’s undeniable that alluding to a history that they had together was a big, powerful idea), it had lots of standout individual character moments… and it gave us an off-panel Mister Sinister who was so very much cooler and more interesting than the nitwit who eventually showed up with cloning tech.

28 of 60. 50% might be within reach, but I have my doubts due to the preponderance of more recent stories, and the near-complete absence of non-Marvel/DC at this point… Miracleman #11 (along with the trades of the earlier issues) was one of the first things I bought when I got back into comics in the late ’80s, having been blown away by Swamp Thing. I had no idea that something that thoughtful and beautiful was being done in the medium. (Agreed that it’s the art that puts it above the earlier issues.) Olympus should be top 10. Given the number of people that haven’t been able to see it, I wonder what the response will be if Marvel is now able to re-release it…. I’m tempted to say it’s better than Watchmen, but will say instead that I liked it better than Watchmen…

Thor + Walt Simonson = MADE OF WIN

My problem with Mutant Massacre is that, like a lot of later Claremont stories, there’s no ending. The whole ting is middle. They fight the bad guys in the tunnels, everyone wanders off in different directions and then… it becomes a subplot that drags on for the next year and a half. This was an event in the truest sense of the word: it was something that happened to the characters, but it wasn’t a story per se. i thought it was cool as a kid, but even then I was let down when it turned out there was no climax, just a dozen more issues of people pouting over that one fight.

I’ve read the Master Planner story!!! (Reprints, of course.) That makes three now that I’ve actually read all the way through.
I think it’s somewhat overated, but it’s still a decent story and the dialogue isn’t too unrealistic for the time.

I’ve read Thor #349, as well as the two issues preceding it, but the grocery store I bought comics from at the time didn’t have any of the next few issues. That really disappointed me, because I was really getting into the story. It was the first, and only, time I have ever been involved in a Thor story.

I’ve got all the X-Factor issues of the Mutant Massacre, and the New Mutants. My brother had X-Men #210 back in the old days, but he got rid of it some years ago. I’ve always wanted to read the rest of the story. The X-Men did go downhill rapidly after that, but the first part of this story looked really good, and I don’t think it deserves the blame for what came afterwards.
From what I can see, the conitnuity is pretty tight in this story, like people said above, and nothing seems to contradict anything else that I am aware of. But… does anyone else remember that Sabertooth had his face smashed in by the Black Cat just one month before, or possibly the same month, that he appeared in this story? (Yes! Sabertooth, who began as an Iron Fist foe, was a Spider-Man enemy before he was ever an X-Men enemy.) Anyway, he was beat up very badly in that story, and his healing factor seemed to be working much more slowly back then (he still hadn’t recovered from the injuries he got fighting Spider-Man a few issues previously), so I was wondering if he was still sufffering from any of those injuries in the Mutant Massacre? He wasn’t in that first X-Men chapter, and he only briefly appeared in X-Factor, so I’ve never known what it was that Sabertooth did in this story.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

December 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Mary, the Thor Visionaries volumes, while pricey, are worth it. Simonson genuinely builds Surtur up from his very first issue, with the “DOOM!” drumbeat in every issue as an interlude as he forges his universe-ending weapon.

It’s the only time since Kirby I’ve really felt Thor work in terms of scale, and I think it’s telling that the more recent Thor revival hasn’t been about gods shaking the universe so much as about mundane reality shaking the gods. You’re not gonna top Simonson for the former.

Dear Jeremy, “If this be my destiny” is a classic, sure, but I’m 23, and I like this story, so if you consider being 23 as being old you’re right, otherwise you can agree with me that a storyline is beatiful no matter how old it can be. Anyway, I liked JMS Spider-man as well, so i’m not just the nostalgic type.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

December 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Bah, hit “publish” too soon. One thing I notice is that several of these are kind of “lasts” too, culminations and climactic arcs, or the final flowerings of beloved long creative runs followed by mediocrity and decline.

— I’m not surprised to see Miracleman on the list, but oddly, I’m a touch surprised to see it so high. Not because of quality, but because it’s a great example of a story that — at least from personal experience — was damned hard to actually find and read. If you weren’t there for the Eclipse reprints (and first prints) in the late 80s and early 1990s, those things could be Hell to find for affordable prices anywhere for years thereafter. Given the legal much, I’d say there’s been close to 15 years in which a new comics reader would have to work to buy and read the material. I know it took me much of that time to do so.

— Mutant Massacre looks bad in retrospect for its knock-on effects and the beginnings of the X-Men’s franchise zombification, but yes, as everyone seems to say here…it felt like a game-changer at the time of publication. It was the first superhero story us non-Miracleman #17 readers saw that felt like a war, and in its way it was rather timely. Characters genuinely seemed like they were being changed and having their limits tested and sometimes broken, and the X-Men’s foundations really do seem to rock when the school turns into a makeshift morgue. And the fragmentation of the line turns out to have thematic consequences, to boot. What came after didn’t work out as intended, and wasn’t good in any case, but Mutant Massacre is a hell of a climax to the golden period of the Claremont X-Men. Once it was over, though, the X-books’ quality did seem to plummet as that fragmentation was clumsily reversed, reenacted, and spinoffs continued to dribble out and dilute everything. But the massacre storyline, however briefly, seemed to justify the existence of a the satellite books.

— The Master Planner issues of Spider-Man are simply a textbook on how to do a good superhero comics story. You can play with the graphical methods Steve Ditko laid out in #33, and you can draw in non-comics influences, but the sequence probably is the formal acme of a certain kind of genre comics. It’s also a surprisingly protagonist-centered story, definitively more Ditko than Lee. Ock gets little panel time or motivation here; it’s all about Peter Parker on the brink in various ways for three straight issues, with the villains and plot as just big set pieces for his bitter angst to play out across. This is the other rather formally purist element, of course, as the plot is just about taking a kind of abstracted passion and drawinbg it out by whatever means necessary. Plus the whole arc has some beautiful design; there’s a reason John Romita, Sr. reused the Planner gang costumes here in his first Doc Ock arc, and why Doc’s outfit here became his default togs for another 30 years. Afterwards, alas a disgruntled Ditko started phoning it in for the rest of his truncated run on the title due to disputes with Stan Lee about…well, no one seems to quite agree what, and Ditko ain’t talkin’.

— “Gifted,” however, strikes me as an arc that won’t be on this list if it’s voted on 10 years hence. It’s not because the arc isn’t good on the merits, of course: it’s Whedon’s best writing on the title of his four arcs, and John Cassaday drawing…well, anything is gonna be beautiful. But so much of the arc’s appeal is in it’s technical prettiness, and unlike the formalist display of powerful emotion I noted with Ditko’s work, technique on “Gifted” seems to replace rather than complete a genuine creative involvement. “Gifted” is as good as work-for-hire superhero stories, understood as exactly that, are gonna get. Whedon doesn’t stretch many muscles here, and Cassaday barely does; both are slick enough that this doesn’t matter, of course, but the story’s not the turning point it promises to be, not even in the run that followed. The cure that’s at the arc’s center, for instance, sort of vanishes from the plot after this, and the far less successful Ord and Breakworld stuff is what sticks around. It’s pretty, and witty, but not wise. And the next technically superb X-work that does have something to say about something other than the X-franchise itself will rightfully displace it in the popular memory. This is high-art skill brought to bear on lowbrow plot and theme.

On the Simonson Visionary trades (newly reprinted), the first two are definitely worth reading. After that, there’s some decent stuff, but it’s mostly not as interesting to me (there’s the standout Executioner scene, of course).

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

December 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I actually like the raiding Hel arc at least as much as the Surtur stuff, but after that I do think Simonson wasn’t quite as good. Still, it’s worth reading to the end of the run to see Loki’s comeuppance.

I never had it on my list, but it’s good to see Gifted making it. That story was brilliant and it was before Joss Whedon’s lateness began on that title.

re Miracleman: “I’d say there’s been close to 15 years in which a new comics reader would have to work to buy and read the material. I know it took me much of that time to do so.”

…probably shouldn’t bring it up, but don’t understimate the dissemination of pirated scans over the last few years…

Read all these but Miracleman. And I blame the trades not being in print. I believe it’s an excellent comic.

The other four are all excellent comics as well.

The Spider-Man story being my #1 vote. As with all my votes that have shown up, I’m sad it’s so low.

I suspect that’s almost it for the ’60s except for the Coming of Galactus. Hard to tell how much the lack of ’60s Marvel (the greatest era of superhero comics ever IMHO) is to blame on short memories and how much it’s because of the tendency of the era to focus one one-issue stories. I suspect a combination of both.

I didn’t vote for Mutant Masacre, but I have to assume that at least part of the hate directed toward it comes from reading it out of context.

At the time, if the Masters of Evil attacked the Avengers, the Avengers would win. If Doom attacked the FF, the FF would win. If the Key attacked the JLA, the League would win. But, the X-Men decidedly did not win the Mutant Masacre. In fact, most of them were effectively written out of the series.

Oh, sure, years later Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Angel would all recover in one form or another, but at the time it was nigh unheard of to remove high profile main characters in this fashion. It was as if Trigun had killed Changeling, Cyborg and Wonder Girl.

The four heroes who fell in the MM were not backup characters or second stringers. If I recall, Nightcrawler was the most popular X-Man at the time, with Kitty a close second and Wolverine only somewhat recently recovered from the “kill this character” fan response he started out with.

True, today’s comics would do a MM with more main character deaths, and they’d be in character limbo for a year or two and we would all know that they’d be back soon. But, at the time, it was still generally assumed that the average comic book reader “grew out” of the hobby within 3-5 years. Taking Nightcrawler off the table for 2 years was a major thing.

Theno

If I recall, Nightcrawler was the most popular X-Man at the time, with Kitty a close second and Wolverine only somewhat recently recovered from the “kill this character” fan response he started out with.

Wolverine was already WOLVERINE! by then.

The Claremont/Miller mini-series was about four years before Mutant Massacre, and Wolverine was already WOLVERINE! by that time.

Even beyond its “event” status, Mutant Massacre seemed like a solidly told story to me. Wasn’t a mess to follow, despite being a crossover.

Some comments suggest people are lumping it with every other X-crossover ever, all the rest of which were a bloody mess. But Mutant Massacre (and Fall of the Mutants) told cool stories, changed some things for the longterm, and remained easy-to-follow. If all crossovers were like that, people would complain about them less.

From Angel being crucified to Wolverine fighting Sabretooth, to a lot of mutants being massacred, this was just good superhero comics.

Wolverine was already WOLVERINE! by then.

The Claremont/Miller mini-series was about four years before Mutant Massacre, and Wolverine was already WOLVERINE! by that time.

Good point.

Now I want to re-read MM again. I’m getting the continuity all muddled up in my head. I don’t remember if this was before or after the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini. Or, even, who was leading the X-Men at the time. Was it Nightcrawler?

I do agree with Chris in that I wonder how many people see “Mutant Masacre” and think, “Fall of the Inferno Massacre of Apocolypse’s Song.”

Theno

I’m inclined to object to Fall of the Mutants, which was a hot mess due mostly to the fact that it’s far from clear why these three stories are branded together, little yet why there are tie-ins in other titles. But Mutant Massacre was aggressive and sharp in a very, very solid manner.

Dare I say it? I think all this stuff belongs on the list!
Astonishing : it’s at the bottom of this five for a reason. Test of time argument. Good stuff, but still, time will tell.
Miracleman : only read samples and only from that it belongs.
Spider-man : oh yeah, issue 33!
Thor: BETA RAY BILL! ’nuff said.
Mutant Massacre : best x-men crossover?

“best x-men crossover?”

Oxymoron.

Two of the stories I voted for made it this round (Surtur War & Master Planner Saga), which is good. That these two stories will be beaten by other comics not fit to be in the same store as them is slightly annoying. The ’60s are being underrepresented in this countdown, but considering a) the amount of done-in-ones vs. extended stories, plus b) the more modern stories being experienced firsthand by the voters rather than through reputation then reprints, it’s not too surprising. I know, I know, it’s “favorites” not “best.”

Speaking as a newer reader, I find it harder to really “love” a story the farther back I go. Stylistically, comics become more and more of an acquired taste the farther back in time. It’s not that you can’t enjoy reading them and admiring many aspects of them (myth-building, for example, and appreciating how significant the stories were to the characters), but I just can’t call something as stilted as a 60s Spider-Man comic a favourite in the same way I can in something where the dialogue isn’t awful (while still recognizing that Lee’s dialogue was revolutionary for the time).

I loved the first issue of Whedon’s X-Men. Rest of the series never lived up to the first issue or the first arc, but I can understand that some people see it as personal top10 material.

Never read Miracleman. Moore is a genius and I’m inclined to believe that his and Totleben’s Miracleman is of highest quality. Must read it once it becomes more easily availlable.

Glad to see Master Planner here. To many people it is the defining story of Spider-Man and it’s always a joy to read about their appreciation for it (like JoeMac in this discussion). The defining Spidey story for me is ‘Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut’ and I hope to see it somewhere in this list.

Had I voted, easiest decision would have been the #1 of the list: Simonson’s Thor – Surtur Saga. It changed a pretty unreadable comic book into near perfect one. The slow build up of Surtur. DOOM! Ditching of Don Blake identity. Loki actually becoming menacing. The supporting cast develope personality, become competent and get to do something else besides wail ‘Save us, Thor!’ Title character himself is at his very best. And the climax is magnificent. Iconic Marvel panel vote had two panels representing the final battle.
Yes, it is my most favourite comic book storyline and I’m happy to see it make top 50.

Many people have already shared their memories of Mutant Massacre and I had similar feelings. As a kid, Marauders were scary. X-Men suffered heavy losses and were forced into hiding. A very memorable story to me and worthy addition to this list.

The Horror…

All of these except 45 are freaking excellent! Four of them are indesputable classics. 45 is not bad at all but I wouldn’t put it any higher than top 60 or 65. Being all the way past the Top 50 mark now and seeing these 4 wonderful yarns akes me really excited to see the final 40 greatest stories in the history of comicdom!

Damn – Only 3 out of 5 today making 48 read/12 unread.

Gifted – Fun. Unspectuacular. In no way top 100 material.

Olympus – Classic. The final two issues are the high point of Miracleman for me. Tottleben is one of the best artists of all time!

Spider-Man – I read the first volume of Essential Spider-Man and that was enough for me so I doubt I’ll ever read this.

Thor – I enjoyed the first volume of Thor Visionaries: Walt Simonson well enough, but I haven’t got this far yet.

Mutant Massacre – I didn’t like this at all – but I haven’t liked any Chris Claremont X-Men stuff I’ve read.

Oh and still none of my votes have turned up!

“I don’t remember if this was before or after the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini. Or, even, who was leading the X-Men at the time. Was it Nightcrawler?”

Storm–this was about a year after Cyclops left. The KP&W mini was a couple of years earlier. (Coincidentally, I just finished reading Essential X-Men 6, which has the whole story except the Daredevil issue.)

I voted for MM. I think, scrolling through comments, that a lot of people are confusing this with Fall of the Mutants, which was an abysmal mess and was the story that put the X-Men in Austrailia.

If read as an arc, I think you can break it down this way:

Massacre: Chance to start altering the dynamics of the X-Teams (Angel gets a face lift, X-men gets 4 new members and a couple of new villains for the teams in Marauders/Apocalypse).
Fall: solidifying what those new teams are, including Excalibur (though very weak; that cosmic crap and a focus on Forge and Storm was downright boring; the X-Factor/Angel storyine worked though)
Inferno: Culmination of the storylines started in Massacre across all the X-Books.

Oddly enough, Claremont then repeats the same process immediately. Immediately after Inferno, the X-men are dissolved completely and then it takes until X-Tinction Agenda and the Muir Island Saga to re-establish the status quo (exit Havok, Dazzler, Longshot, and Psylocke; enter Gambit, Jubilee, Professor X and Ninja Psylocke) and the blue/gold teams.

If people want to blame the massacre as the start of the mess the books became, I get that, but keep in mind that there were a number of years and issues (almost 70-80 issues, if I remember correctly from the start of the massacre to the Blue and Gold books), and I doubt that Claremont was planning that far ahead.

Personally, I still think it reads well, even though the Daredevil tie-in (missing from the list above) is baffling (it’s a one on one DD vs. Sabretooth fight that sort of explains where Sabretooth was during the heart of the massacre).

The strength of Claremont’s X-Men was in the big picture, so super-strong individual arcs are hard to find. Mutant Massacre is a solid choice. I hope that Lifedeath/Lifedeath II (with possibly his part of The Fall of the Mutants added on) makes the list.

The Mutant Massacre is a good enough story, certainly better than many of modern-day crossovers, and lots of older ones too.

But I suppose I can see how some may object to it on account of the results. It may be considered the event that “darkened” the X-Men for good. Angel and Colossus start their pathways to darkness, Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde start their pathway to England, and those four were some of the more idealistic/”softer” X-Men.

The X-Men as a whole become a little less like a family, a little more like a paramilitary group.

Still, with stories like Secret Wars and Hush and Death of Superman on the list, why not Mutant Massacre? It’s certainly superior to all ot those others.

Oh and the Mutant Massacre, which was on my list turned up. People can say what they want to about that story, but like the Phoenix saga, that started many things that are relevant to stories taking place today.

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