web stats

CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #2 and 1

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

2. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (X-Men #129-137) – 1472 points (59 first place votes)

The last few issues of the Dark Phoenix Saga, where Phoenix actually BECOMES Dark Phoenix, almost overshadow the importance of the issues that lead up to Phoenix turning evil.

To wit, those issues (which actually were a bit of a cause for celebration for the X-Men, as they were finally reunited after being split up for a year or so – real time – as Jean Grey and Professor X thought that the rest of the team had died after a battle with Magneto) introduced the following characters:

Kitty Pryde

Emma Frost


Sebastian Shaw

The Hellfire Club, in general

Think about that – Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost are two of the more memorable additions to the X-Men since Giant Size X-Men #1, and they BOTH debuted in this storyline!

Not to mention the fact that the lead-up contains the fight against the Hellfire Club where Wolverine is thought dead, only to turn up at the end of #132 vowing revenge, in a panel that you readers voted the #4 Most Iconic Panel in Marvel Comics History!

And then we get to the actual revelation of the Dark Phoenix (which also landed in the Top 20 Most Iconic Panels at #18).

John Byrne really does a marvelous job on the battle sequences involving Dark Phoenix as the X-Men do their best to take down their friend. They try their best in #135, but she quickly defeats them and flies off into outer space. Her traveling makes her yearn for sustenance, which she gets by entering and imploding a star, soaking in the energy of its destruction. She does not care that the destruction of the star also destroys the planet it orbits. A starship of the Shi’Ar Empire notices, though, and challenges Dark Phoenix.

She destroys the ship easily, but not before it gets off a message to the Shi’Ar Royal Throneworld, where the Empress of the Shi’Ar Empire, Lilandra (Professor X’s current lover) springs into action.

Meanwhile, in #136, Dark Phoenix returns to Earth where her teammates and her love, Cyclops, await her with a device meant to shut down telepaths. She destroys it and once again takes care of her teammates with ease, but Cyclops manages to calm her down by appealing to her still human side. At this point, Professor X attacks, and he and Phoenix have a telepathic battle, where ultimately, due to the aid of whatever vestiges of Jean Grey remain in Dark Phoenix, he manages to shut Dark Phoenix’s powers down.

The X-Men do not have a moment to rest, though, as they’re instantly teleported to a Shi’Ar battleship orbiting Earth, where the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard and Empress Lilandra demand Jean Grey be delivered over to them for punishment for her actions as Dark Phoenix. Professor X utters a Shi’Ar ritual challenge, which Lilandra is duty-bound to accept. Therefore, in #137, the X-Men will fight the mighty Shi’Ar Imperial Guard for the fate of Jean Grey.

The next day, the teams meet on the Moon for their battle. The X-Men are heavily outnumbered and outclassed by the Guard, who are made up of the most powerful heroes of the Shi’Ar Empire. Although the X-Men fight valiantly, they are slowly picked off, one by one, until only Cyclops and Jean remain free. When Cyclops is taken out as well, Jean begins to panic and the limits Professor X placed on her begin to crumble – Dark Phoenix frees herself and wants revenge. The X-Men stand ready to battle Dark Phoenix, but Jean manages to take control long enough to intentionally trip a defense mechanism laser, killing herself so that Dark Phoenix can hurt no one else ever again. It’s a terrible poignant moment, expressed beautifully by Claremont and Byrne.

That moment, by the way, was #17 on the panels countdown.

This storyline also provided THREE of the Top 30 Favorite Comic Book Battles when I did THAT countdown.

People sure do love the Dark Phoenix Saga.

Story continues below

1. “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen #1-12) – 2003 points (78 first place votes)

To give you an idea of how much of a game changer Watchmen was, note that the PROOFS for the issues were passed around the DC offices – that’s how much even the other DC employees were enthralled in the story that Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were producing. Everyone knew that this comic was special, and now almost 25 years later, it remains a very special story.

A remarkable aspect of Watchmen is the fact that, past the fairly straightforward plot about an older superhero getting murdered, with his former teammates investigating his murder only to find out that it is all tied to a mysterious conspiracy, there is just so much detail and nuance.

You can examine a single scene and get something new out of the scene practically every time you read it.

And that’s even counting all of the famous scenes that are awesome just on a straightforward reading of the book, like Ozymandias’ famous “I did it 35 minutes ago” line or Rorschach’s fight against the police (as I noted recently, Watchmen was clearly VERY influential on the work of Frank Miller – in fact, there’s a very strong possibility that Miller’s reading of Watchmen helped influence the ending of Dark Knight).

Dave Gibbons does not get enough credit for his amazing artwork in this story. There’s a sequence set in the past when the heroes were still all pretty naive (Rorschach was not even using his scary voice as of yet), and Gibbons gives us, ALL IN THE BACKGROUND, a beautiful depiction of Doctor Manhattan flirting with the Silk Spectre, all while his wife is right next to him. As the panels go by, not one doesn’t show some sort of interaction in the background of the panel – all of it is important to their characterizations, but none of it is central to the main story being delivered in those panels – so Gibbons basically was giving us two stories at once. The one Moore is telling with the speech balloons at the “front” of the panel, plus the one Gibbons is telling in the “back” of the panel through body language. Granted, as great as Gibbons is, Moore DOES work full script, so while I am praising Gibbons, I have to make sure I do give Moore credit for the details, as well.

All in all, there is a reason that this was one of Time magazine’s Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century – it’s a masterpiece of comic book fiction, both in story and art – and twenty plus years later, it is STILL influencing comic book writers.

Okay, folks, that’s it!

Hope you enjoyed the countdown! Thanks for coming out to vote in such great numbers!


I think it was obvious that Watchmen would be 1. People have talked about it that way for 2 decades. It made Time’s list of 50 greatest novels or whatever.

Dark Phoenix, again, never read it. Not surprised it’s on the list. I’m a bit surprised it’s this high, but I can’t argue.

This countdown was an absolute blast.

Thanks for your hard work on this list Brian. I can’t even imagine what goes into from your end.

Great selections, and equally great reasons for their placement in the list. Of course the point value jumps between #2 and #1 is also pretty dramatic. There’s a reason everyone was certain Watchmen would be #1.

Joe you have never read Dark Phoenix but are surprised it is so high? Are you secretly Comic Book Guy from Simpsons? Go read the book and find out why this is a great f’ing book.

I’ve never really followed the X-Men. “Surprised” may be too strong a word, but Dark Phoenix didn’t occur to me when I was trying to figure out the remaining 5 titles. I thought DKR, Year 1, Born Again, and Watchmen were locks, but because I’m just not familiar with Dark Phoenix it didn’t strike me as an obvious inclusion.

Although, I’m pretty sure my sister, who doesn’t read many books, has a copy of Dark Phoenix in trade. It has obviously made a big impact.

I ending of the dark knight was soooooo stupid.

I could read the Dark Phoenix saga, but I prefer to judge it based purely on the Claremont/Byrne run of JLA.

And so, two storylines worthy of their spots.

No real surprise there, and a good time enjoyed of the 100 top list.

Same time, next year, eh?


Hard to argue with these, although I’m sure some people will try.

Hmm, I suppose I should talk about Born Again here, since I’ve said so much about Dark Phoenix in Born Again’s post…

Thanks again, Brian, for creating another great list that sparked a ton of lively and fun discussions. I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve next!

While I was hoping Dark Phoenix would pull an upset over Watchmen (it was my no. 1 vote), I have to say, this is a great, fun, diverse list. Thanks for all the hard work, Brian.

As an unofficial tally in my head, it looks like Batman was the huge winner in terms of most storylines listed, Sandman cleaned up for most storylines from a particular run, and Marvel company-wide-events-that-some-people-are-horrified-to-see-on-the-list just slightly beat out DC company-wide-events-that-some-people-are-horrified-to-see-on-the-list. Little tidbits like that (along with Jeremy’s much more precise stats) are one of the reasons these lists are fun to look at, for me anyway (thanks to Jeremy too).

Also this list is a great resource for future buying. While I read 74/100 of the stories listed (8 of which were in my top ten votes) I think I’m moved to finally buy Cerebus: Church and State and maybe finally get some Love and Rockets, probably Death of Speedy. On the superhero front I wanna read Sinestro Corps War and finally read The Death of Jean DeWolff. (sorry, that’s a lot of “finallys”. I really procrastinate about this stuff, I guess).

Thanks again for the great list. Here’s holding out for Top 100 Special Double-Sized Issues (I’m calling Uncanny X-men 137 for the win)!

Having read it this past year I was surprised by how well the Claremont/Byrne X-men stuff holds up.

If you haven’t read it yet, do it soon. It lives up to the hype.

Thanks to Brian for all the hard work.

2. “Dark Phoenix Saga” – it’s been debated in past threads how well this holds up. In truth, Claremont’s style hasn’t aged especially well, in my opinion, having read it some 25 years after it was released. But the story at the core is very powerful, despite some outdated elements in the telling, and it introduces a bunch of important elements ot the X-mythos (Brian listed some above). As well, though I didn’t read it as a child, I do have a sentimental attachment to the mostly-faithful 90s animated adaptation, which I loved at the time. So I think it has earned its spot.

1. Brilliant in just about every respect. I can still remember how utterly gripping the chapter with Rorschach and the psychologist was when I read it the first time, and the fascinating sequence of Manhattan meditating on Mars.

I’m unsurprised with Watchmen winning, and pleased that Dark Pheonix placed so high. It’s one of the few comics I’ve actually gotten my wife to read, and she greatly enjoyed it.

Thanks for all the effort Brian!

Big thanks to Brian for a great list!

Thanks Brian! Awesome list, had me really enthralled for the last month, really! Even after I submitted my votes, I was checking every day to hear updates about this! Great, great fun. Geeks love Top 10 lists, and Top 100 lists even moreso!

How about Top 100 mini series of all time next…? Maybe Top 100 Artists of all time? Writers?

Just my two cents…

Regarding the points totals, the top five:

Alan Moore – 3788 (9 entries)
Frank Miller – 3772 (4 entries)
Grant Morrison – 2931 (11 entries)
Chris Claremont – 1917 (3 entries)
Neil Gaiman – 1591 (5 entries)

Morrison wins the most entries contest, while Miller most definitely got the most bang for his buck.

Also, in a nice bit of symmetry, Claremont/Byrne X-Men was the #2 run on last year’s list, and here it has the #2 story.

I’m not surprise at all.
Dark Phoenix Rocks!
And Watchmen is a Masterpiece

Great Countdown!

For me the top two complement each other nicely.

My first issue of the X-Men was issue 136, the penultimate chapter of the Dark Phoenix story. X-Men was the first comic I became a “fan” of. Jean Grey’s death really struck me at the time. I have a great deal of love for this story and the stories that followed it for the next five or six years.

I didn’t read Watchmen until after it had ended. I hunted down back issues (I think I was missing issue 11) and then read it in full when the trade paperback came out. It is very well-thought out and precise. I respect it very much. But I don’t love it. It never connected with me emotionally. I have a cool appreciation for what it does and says, but I just can’t call it a favorite.

Fun list, Brian!

Man! That was fun and served its purpose: pointless debates among insane comic book fans! Thanks for the hard work, Brian.

The unveiling of this list was a real treat, as they always are. It’s wonderful that so many voters turned out; thanks so much for combing through all those lists to compile this one!

Will we be seeing beyond the top 100 as we have with other such lists in the past? I think these lists are always most interesting at the bottom! Encore, encore!

I don’t know if I would’ve put Dark Phoenix as number two. That’s a tall order. It was definitely a masterpiece, but I can think of a few other storylines that were more interesting. For example, the Green Lantern Rebirth story shouldv’e been higher than Dark Phoenix. Also, to have “Hush” at 37 is the biggest disagreement with this list. I wouldn’t have been surprised if, other than Watchmen, it was all Batman in the top five.

By the way, cool list otherwise!

I second Shaun’s vote for subsequent posts showing what missed the Top 100. I too find this every bit as interesting as the Top 100 itself.

On a selfish note: I want to see where my vote-getters ended up, as I only had one entry make the Top 100.

How the hell am I going to waste so much time on the internet now that the list is done? I love all these top 100 lists, and this one had some of the best conversations in the comments threads, as well. Thanks, Brian. Great job as always.

It still hasn’t stopped being hilarious that people keep expressing “shock” at the influence of nostalgia on the votes (you know who you are) when it’s been repeatedly pointed out that people were to vote for “favourites” not deliberate soberly on what would be objectively “best” (if such a list would even be possible is another argument entirely).

I forgot… TAKE THAT you Dark Phoenix haters! IN YOUR FACE!!!

Thx for the list Brian…I had 5 of my picks make the list and 3 other stories from other properties make it..I can’t argue because this was a vote from the people.

But I do start feeling my age when I can say I have read 95% of this list when from last year I only read 65% of it..LOL

A few days ago I was expecting to see Dark Phoenix somewhere in the Top 20, but not at #2. I am pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the highest-ranking X-Men story on my Top 10 but it was on there.

Watchmen. It makes me smile to know that something can endure and be relevant 25 years later. It makes me sad, though, that there has been nothing to surpass to it. Which means, to this day, Watchmen in considered by many to be the pinnacle of what a comic can be.

Oh well, great list! It was a lot of fun.

Maybe you should think about doing a poll for the100 greatest non-superhero storylines to make some of the others happy?

I could read the Dark Phoenix saga, but I prefer to judge it based purely on the Claremont/Byrne run of JLA.

I could read Batman: Year One, but I prefer to judge it based purely on the Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin.


I could read Dark Knight Returns, but I prefer to judge it based purely on the Miller’s Dark Knight Strikes Again.

Well here we are. I’ve already stated several times how I feel about these two final stories: Dark Phoenix Saga is complete crap that the older readers who grew up with it jizz in their pants about it, while Watchmen is an incredible masterpiece that still puts to shame pretty much every comic before and after it(although its not a top 10 favorite of mine, so funny how that works). A great fun list Brian, and thank you for all your hard work. Now, are we gonna get the runner-up stories?

FINAL TOTALS in a minute…

I could read Watchmen, but I prefer to judge it entirely by Moore’s issues of WildC.A.T.S.

The Crazed Spruce

December 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm

I have to admit, I cheated a little with my list. I tried to only include stories that I’d read all or most of, but the only issue of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” that I’d read was the last one, with the epic battle on the moon and Phoenix’ death. And I still had it at #2 on my list.

Watchman is a mastepiece, and totally deserves the top spot, even though it was only #5 on my own ballot.

Hey, I’m in favour of a quick rundown of the runners-up, too. I’d love to see how some stories that didn’t make the cut (like Man of Steel, or Runaways, or The Walking Dead) placed on the final list.

nice was waiting for the dark phoenix saga to show up on the list like in the top five number two is good and watchman almost can not have a list with out it and number one good choice

Another vote for as many 100+ entries as Brian is willing to show us. (Especially anything that scored within 10 points (1 #1 vote away) of tying with #100…)

(Or my own votes, 5 made the top 100. One of the other five almost certainly didn’t score anything other than my points [Buck Godot: The Gallumaufry]. Two of the remaining four suffered for not having been collected into a trade paperback with a unifying catchy title. [JLI 14-21, which took forever to get any collection and wound up with the prosaic “JLI Volume 3″ title; and Suicide Squad 17-26+DP Special, which ought to have gotten a “Suicide Squad v4: Tattered Flag” collection, but never did], and two more that are probably hanging about somewhere in the 100-150 range. [The Earth Stories and God and the Devil].)


Interesting notes – Moore barely squeks past Miller to claim to the top spot. The top five are Moore, Miller, Morrison, Claremont, and Gaiman. I just hear that little “One of these things is not like the other” song in my head right now. Still, from the beginning, if I was a betting man, these were the five writers I knew would be at the top. Also, THE 80s.

-37 are Marvel stories
-51 are DC stories(31 are DC, 17 are Vertigo, 3 are Wildstorm)

-76 are superhero stories
-24 are non-superhero stories

-1980s(26 entries, 13783 points)
-1990s(34 entries, 8066 points)
-2000s(34 entries, 7172 points)
-1970s(4 entries, 763 points)
-1960s(2 entries, 558 points)

By Writer:

-Moore (9 entries, 3788 points)
-Miller (4 entries, 3772 points)
-Morrison (11 entries, 2931 points)
-Claremont (3 entries, 2040 points)
-Gaiman (5 entries, 1591 points)
-Waid (3 entries, 1490 points)
-Wolfman (2 entries, 1274 points)
-Millar (3 entries, 958 points)
-Stern (4 entries, 881 points)
-Giffen (2 entries, 835 points)
-Ennis (4 entries, 748 points)
-Spiegelman (1 entry, 723 points)
-Levitz (1 entry, 704 points)
-Johns (2 entries, 683 points)
-L. Simonson (3 entries, 566 points)
-Brubaker (4 entries, 564 points)
-Ellis (4 entries, 563 points)
-Lee (2 entries, 558 points)
-Busiek (3 entries, 537 points)
-Lobdell (1 entry, 511 points)
-Nicieza (1 entry, 511 points)
-Loeb (2 entries, 474 points)
-DeMatteis (1 entry, 473 points)
-Tomasi (1 entry, 452 points)
-W. Simonson (2 entries, 429 points)
-Bendis (3 entries, 381 points)
-Shooter (2 entries, 361 points)
-Jurgens (2 entries, 348 points)
-Ordway (2 entries, 348 points)
-Cooke (1 entry, 314 points)
-Meltzer (1 entry, 304 points)
-Vaughan (2 entries, 295 points)
-Willingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Buckingham (2 entries, 234 points)
-Conway (1 entry, 250 points)
-Sim (2 entries, 220 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)
-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)
-Michelinie (1 entry, 141 points)
-JMS (1 entry, 140 points)
-Starlin (2 entries, 408 points)
-Javier Grillo-Marxuach (1 entry, 131 points)
-D’n’A (1 entry, 131 points)
-Furman (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 demand some sort of continuation of the list focusing on storylines from #101 and lower! Much like the runs polling! Perhaps even some comprehensive list like in the characters polling! RABBLE! RABBLE RABBLE!

Thanks as always for all your hard work, Brian. This was great. And congrats on five years with CSBG!

It’s hard to argue with any of the Top 5. The only argument would be that they’re overly dominated by superhero comics, but that is the breaks.

It’s good to see that Frank Miller’s current, more controversial work hasn’t stopped fans from honoring his earlier work. 3 works in the top 5, quite a feat.

Which creator got the most first place votes?

Thank you for the list, Brian. Appreciate all the hard work, especially the writeups.

Thank you, Brian! This was so much fun. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I would love to see something like a Top 100 either by decade or by era (Golden, Silver, Bronze, Modern). It might draw out a different kind of participation. Not all of us would have suggestions for Golden Age comics, but I would love to read something like that.

I love this top two picks! They are milestone books for this now over 40 comic reader. The Chris Claremont-John Byrne run on X-Men may have been the first time I became a devoted follower of a writer, an artist, a creative team, and an ongoing storyline in a title. It made a powerful enough impression on me that I followed everything Claremont, Byrne, and X-Men for the next ten years. I know a lot of readers were effected the same way. But, I think I also saw their influence on the other team books of the day, particularly New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes.

I was already an enthusiastic fan of Alan Moore’s work before Watchmen. I started with Swamp Thing, tracked down Warrior Magazine, picked up the continuations of Marvelman and V for Vendetta, and grabbed an other one off story he might produce including the brilliant “For the Man Who Has Everything” and “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.” But, Watchmen just blew me away and it’s impact on me is no less now.

I’ve read Watchmen numerous times over the years and often makes me think about Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Hitchcock was known for, among other things, identifying a theme and impending it in the story. In the case of this movie, it was “doubles” which included crisscross, double-crossing, and crossing one’s double. Hitchcock himself in that great interview book with Truffaut commented on the structure of the film saying, “Isn’t it a fascinating design? One could study it forever.”

You can do the same thing with Watchmen and “faces,” which are afterall an important element of the masked hero genre. The theme is obvious when you think about it but it’s applied with such a careful hand (most of the references to faces being through time pieces) that you don’t think about: a set of people referred to as “Watchmen;” who are proceeded by the “Minutemen;” the nuclear clock countdown; the Comedian’s smiley face button; a button splashed with blood to look like the nuclear countdown; an image that is repeated on the surface of Mars, on the a smiling Budda poster, across an image of the moon, etc; an image that reflects the slash across the Comedian’s own face; the blood on the Comedian’s button changed it from an image of innocence to one of tradegy; the same way that the slash across the Comedian’s face was a mark of his destroying an innocent life; Dr. Manhatten’s father being a watchmaker; the accident that changed him taking place because he went back for a watch and was trapped by a timed lock; a watch broken by a fat man like the “fat man” dropped on Nagasaki shattered the watch on the Time Magazine cover; the hydrogen atom that Dr. Manhattan adopts as a symbol looks like an nuclear clock that has already run down, which is an apt metaphor for a time travelling character who already knows how things are going to end; Rorschach referring to his mask as his “face”; the face of vigilanteism being a rorschach pattern where each person that looks at determine’s their own meaning; etc.

You can tease the images out endlessly. Even the fact that the story is told in 12 parts and there are 12 positions on a clock face fits.

It’s just blown my mind again!

Sux it Phoenix Haterz!!!

DP Saga – pure superhero emotion

Watchmen- pure superhero technique, each panel in the the perfect order, with the perfect words in each panel.

I reiterate my request for Top 100 favorite artists countdown.

So does this mean no one voted for Youngblood?

Bernard the Poet

December 18, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I’ve got nothing against the Watchmen – it’s a fine comic, but if Herge’s Tintin couldn’t make number one, then it really should have been the X-Men. It is the most influential comic series of the last thirty years, in fact, I’d go further and say that every superhero comic written since 1980 has its roots in this run.

Thanks for the list Brian. Great fun. Any chance of a top 100 “done-in-one” stories next year?

And I still can’t believe Elektra Assassin couldn’t even make the top 100 :(

Cool. The expected top two. Thanks Brian!

I will throw my vote in for being curious as to what ranked 177th

Let me add my voice to the chorus thanking Brian for his hard work compiling all of this for us to read and debate. Thanks man.

My final tally 85 out of 100.

I would also love to see the next 50 or so that didn’t make the Top 100!!! Any chance of this, Brian?

I want to see where the original Wolverine mini ended up! Still tragic that it didn’t crack the Top 100…

Awesome list, with most of the usual suspects up the top, but with still enough surprises (DRK No.5?!) to keep things interesting. I reckon a Top 100 Covers list would be cool to do next – not most iconic, but best.

And where did Amazons Attack, Cry for Justice and Countdown: Arena fall on the list?

It might be interesting to see a list of top 100 recommended storylines that you think no one else has read. I think that would look a lot different….

Thanks so much Brian. If you can be bothered to post the runner ups, I’d be happy to see them as well.

Still haven’t read all of the Dark Pheonix saga, but I will. It still carries on in the X-men til this day.

I always read Marvel, so I still haven’t read Watchmen. I’ll probably pick up a trade sometime this year then maybe I’ll see the movie adaption just to yell at the screen about how inaccurate it is.


Okay, Dark Phoenix and the Claremont Byrne X-men run in general.

Historically important, as I see it, for three reasons:

1) LOTS of strong female characters. I can’t think of any previous comic book series with anywhere near as many. I mean, Engelhart did good work with the Scarlet Witch, but that’s just one. X-men didn’t just have one strong token female.

2) It was played ABSOLUTELY straight. Stan Lee played his stories mostly straight, but the purposefully overblown “Excelsior, True Believers!” stuff let us know he didn’t take this absolutely seriously. There was no ironic author disconnect in X-men.

3) Byrne was a good “moment” artist – Just great at weighing the beats (size) and flow of panels for maximum impact. And he wasn’t stuck with a crappy writer who worked against his strengths – Say, ferinstance, Alex Toth and ANYONE at DC.

I’m not arguing that it was the # 2 greatest storyline of all time (wouldn’t make my personal top 100) but the Byrne/Claremont X-men really WAS a game-changer in several significant ways.

Tales of the Boojum

December 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Someone asked if the Dark Phoenix Saga was hurt by the boneheaded decision to bring Jean back from the dead so she could be in X-Factor despite the fact doing so completely negated the power and meaning of the original story.

I’m going to go ahead and say yes, I think it did. There are several characters who really, really need to stay dead; not because they’re bad characters, but because of the effect their deaths had on the characters who survived them. I notice that this list is getting distressingly shorter lately. (Bucky, Gwen, Norman, Mar-Vell, Uncle Ben… I’m looking at you. What? Ben’s still dead? That won’t last.) For a character’s death to have any meaning, that character has to, you know, stay dead.

Bringing Jean back did to the Dark Phoenix Saga what Dark Knight Strikes Again did to Dark Knight Returns.

Very interesting

Dark Phoenix Saga has always been my 2’nd fav run, my first has always been Daredevil: Born Again.

I love Watchmen, but it down the line at 4 after Darwyn Cooke’s Final Frontier

Watchmen is no surprise, Dark Phoenix on the other hand, is kinda surprising, a really solid storyline, but never imagined it could be so high.


So the list is complete and DC has quite rightly brutalised Marvel (and yet Jeremy rather amusingly persists in listing Marvel first). DC’s characters obviously inspire superior storytelling.

Rating New Frontier over Watchmen? That breaks my heart.

top 100 super-hero comic storylines? or general comic-book?

I am not surprised by either of these choices. Watchmen has been showered by as much praise as a pagan deity and it is actually a good and deep storyline. The movie was good but to me lost a bit of the spark that the book had. Dark Phoenix was iconic, it was fun, introduced some very interesting characters and put the X men at a disadvantage through out and they kept on going no matter the odds. X Men The Animated Series did a very good homage to the whole story for all those who rather see moving pictures…it should be viewed on a whole though as the Phoenix and Dark Phoenix saga.

“So the list is complete and DC has quite rightly brutalised Marvel (and yet Jeremy rather amusingly persists in listing Marvel first). DC’s characters obviously inspire superior storytelling.”

And yet Marvel came ahead in the Top 100 runs list we did last year (and in terms of characters, one should also note that DC’s edge comes from Vertigo and Wildstorm). Not everything is a company competition, particularly something like this, where it often comes down to where fan-favourite creators worked (in this case, DC had Alan Moore for most of the 80s, and has more consistently employed Grant Morrison).

Brian, thanks for doing this. Between tabulating the votes and writing the summaries, this was a Herculean effort. I eagerly anticipated each day’s revelation.

I will echo the calls for the picks that just missed the top 100. While the drama surrounded which storylines would finish at the top, the bottom of the list was more useful for finding works to add to the “to read” list. In the top 20, the only storyline that I hadn’t already either read or consciously decided I had no interest in reading was “Under Siege.” Lots more to put on the “to read” list in the bottom 20.

I don’t know what to make of the fact that only six of my picks made the top 100, but all six that did were in the top 20. I knew “Casanova: Luxuria” and “Serial Boxes” were longshots, but I’m surprised “Supreme: The Story of the Year” didn’t make it. I guess “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” and “All-Star Superman” drew a lot of votes that could have gone to Supreme.

What were other people’s surprise misses?

I was lucky enough to come in on the ground floor with the All New, All Different X-Men when Marvel started the revamp way back when.

For me, it’s hard to isolate the Dark Phoenix Saga from the entirety of the Claremont/Byrne run because it was a roller coaster ride from the get-go, story after story, concept after concept. There wasn’t a sense of defining things by chapters for the inevitable trade. It was just one big magnum opus for this reader.

And the final act of that opus, the Dark Phoenix Saga, created such excitement that I couldn’t wait to read UXM #137. I still vividly remember getting that comic home from the drugstore, anxiously reading each page until discovering the (at the time, what seemed to be) final fate of Jean Grey… !

So, anyway, yeah, I can understand how the Dark Phoenix Saga placed #2 on this considerable list, even after all this time.

It was THAT good.

The thing I most like about Dark Phoenix is that the seeds were being planted as far back as UXM 100. The tragedy of Phoenix, while shocking, had an organic development, a sense of inevitability. It was very unlike the “shocking” status quo changes of today, that feel so forced and abrupt.

One of the few comic book writers of today that gets this is Ed Brubacker. The way he developed the death of Captain America and the Winter Soldier thing very gradually over the course of more than 25 issues is what won over most readers.

What brought me to X-Men was…Terry Austin. I was a DC guy but after the DC Implosion, I actually found myself with more spare change than comics to buy and began looking thru Marvels and saw Terry Austin’s names in the credits of X-men. I was wondering where he had gone to after he inked Marshall Rogers’ Detective Comics. (I wound up getting Iron Man for similar reasons: I missed Bob Layton after he stopped inking Joe Staton on All Star Comics.) Anyway, the issue of X-Men I started with was a knock down drag out with Alpha Flight. I had NO idea who these people were but I was drawn in and I kept coming back. This is how I came to read the Dark Phoenix saga. It’s a truly powerful storyline and one I would have missed if DC had not severely cutting it’s line of comics and because of the Terry Austin’s name in the credits.

As for Watchmen, I like others came to this enthralled with Alan Moore from his run on Swamp Thing but my biggest expectations for this project were stoked by the Superman Annual. Except when Watchmen#1 came out, it was clear this was going to be different. No one got punched thru a wall; no one shot fire from their eyes. But it was unique among mainstream comics: it was complex, it was intricate, always something going on both up front and in the background. 2 decades later and a re-read of Watchmen still produces moments of surprise when I find something unnoticed in prior readings. It’s almost a cliche to extoll how good this book is….but it really is that good.

“So the list is complete and DC has quite rightly brutalised Marvel (and yet Jeremy rather amusingly persists in listing Marvel first). DC’s characters obviously inspire superior storytelling.”

Or DC does a better job of keeping their trades in print.

Man, this kind of obnoxious, slavish corporate loyalty is gettin’ on my nerves today. Must be a Christmas thing.

DP Saga is a typical mainstream comics with action, battles and superficial caracters. If compared with the great Morrison run in JLA, DP Saga is nothing.

I’ve read Watchmen and V for Vendetta three times, and each time I think V for Vendetta is better.

The three Miller’s masterpieces deserve the recognition, but not necessarily in that order. The Dark Knight Returns is a groundbreaking masterpiece and should be in the top 3 with V for Vendetta.

Grant Morrison is a hated guy but I think he is a genius always searching the new and trying something unexpected. Sometimes he misses the target but even so his work is interesting. I prefer a writer who challenges himself and tries something new than a hack who rehashes the same old thing.

Doom Patrol: The Painting that Ate Paris was the revelation of a brave new world. It was so fresh, bold and with great sense of humor that made me smile for a long time. I know it’s impossible that it would make the top 5, but it certainly deserves the highlight.

Not surprised. I still think the Dark Phoneix saga would stand up more to the people that don’t like it if JEAN WOULD JUST STAY DEAD, instead of dead, then alive, then dead, then…

Watchmen, of course it’s good, I think it’s talked about so much people might have different expectations if they read it but let’s face it, it did deliever.

My Top Ten had three of these in it. (Watchmen, All Star Supes, and DP saga). I think my favorite surprise of the countdown is Avengers:Under Siege making the Top 20! That was great! Never even thought to vote for it, but glad it made it!

Where are the “30 greatest battles”? I never saw that one and would love to read it!

Next year suggestion, 100 greatest characters?

“if JEAN WOULD JUST STAY DEAD, instead of dead, then alive, then dead, then…”

This is such a bizarre stance, I find. She died in “DPS”, came back (in a sense), and then stayed alive until Morrison’s run. Those are the only significant periods when she was dead (dying and coming back in the same issue or story is nothing; that happens to everyone in superhero comics).

Well, for the very first time, I’ve read all the books on the list for the day.

What can I say? Well, they’re both really good stories, and both are overrated to some degree. Really, there’s no way either one could live up to the constant praise they’ve been showered with, and I think they both suffered from it by the time I finally got around to reading them. So that makes it a bit hard for me to judge them accurately.
I read the Phoenix story a few years ago, when I found it at the library, but I was already aware of much of the story. I think the Hellfire parts are better than the Shi’ar parts, but that could just be because I’m a little prejudiced against the space stories (which I think only work well for the Fantastic Four amoung Earth-based Marvel characters). I loved the debut of Kitty Pryde, mainly because I love any story that centers around her. (And it should be pointed out that Emma Frost debuts in the exact same issue, so that’s two great characters appearing at the exact same time.) And the debut of the Dazzler, in the very next chapter, was a pleasant surprise. She was much tougher (and apparently lower-class), than she was when her own series began. If the writers there had continued the character as she’d been portrayed here, she might’ve been a much bigger success. The story also turned Mastermind into a much greater villain than he’d been before, but unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge he was never this interesting again.

As for Watchmen, I first read it when I borrowed a copy from someone earlier this year. I’ve only read it the one time, so I’m aware there’s probably a lot that I missed. It is a really good story, but I have trouble understanding why it’s rated as highly as it is by everyone. Rorschach and Dr Manhatten are both somewhat interesting, but also cold and distant, and neither was quite clicked with me. I was more interested in NightOwl (was that his name?) and Silk Spectre, who happens to be the only female character of much significance. I definitely found the story female-deficient, but I have seen many that are far worse. But it does suffer a little in comparison to the Phoenix saga because of that. Despite his many faults, Claremont was always good with female characters.
I think Watchmen is very good from a craftsman-type perspective, with all the symbolism and pacing and symmetry, but it doesn’t make much of an emotional impact, at least not for me. Maybe I just read it at a bad time. I also have some objections to the ending. Maybe I read it wrong, but it seemed to suggest that perhaps Ozymandius could be somehow justified in what he did, and that perhaps he really was saving the world in the long run, but that just didn’t work for me. The idea that a nuclear war within the next three years was somewhow inevitable sounds ludicrous to me, but I know that was a very common belief in the ’80s, particularly amoung the far left. And it is true that Watchmen takes a very deterministic view of reality, as Dr Manhatten clearly illustrates.

I hadn’t planned on being this critical. Sorry. Let me emphasise again, that it is a very good story. I just don’t think it should rank as highly as it always does on every list.

Well, only two of my choices showed up at all, but that’s better than I feared for awhile. In addition, I’ve read about nine, I think, of the others that showed up (I haven’t gone back and counted), and they were all great choices. And I’ve read parts of several others, but still just a small minority of what’s appeared here.
I have no idea how my other choices might’ve done. I figure two of them got some other votes, because people mentioned them during the voting, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the other six got no votes at all other than mine. I don’t think my tastes are quite mainstream, even though I’ve only been reading mainstream super-hero books.
I am disappointed that Marvel did so poorly compared to DC.

“So the list is complete and DC has quite rightly brutalised Marvel (and yet Jeremy rather amusingly persists in listing Marvel first). DC’s characters obviously inspire superior storytelling.”

That strikes me as off-base. There are 37 Marvel stories compared to 51 DC stories (31 are DC, 17 are Vertigo, 3 are Wildstorm)… but since DC Universe stories total 31, I think that hands Marvel the crown.

Although, ff you counted some of the Vertigo books–such as Doom Patrol–in the totals, then DCU might match or just edge out Marvel, depending on which books count. I would say that it’s an impressive showing by DC, considering their secondary status in market share these days.

I am NOT a big Marvel fan, by the way. I largely read Vertigo titles and some DC books like Suicide Squad. But I think we should give props to Marvel here, for what it’s worth. And props to Brian for fueling fanboy flames and then some!

@Mary Warner

I also had problems with the ending of Watchmen. It seemed incredible to me that Ozy’s squid plan actually worked. But I do think the ending is more ambiguous than you give it credit for. It’s possible that the war could break out if the conspiracy were to be revealed. As for Dan and John going along with Adrian’s plan at the end… okay, that bothers me too. This is starting to make me want to see a “What If…” Watchmen series!

Still, I understand why Moore ended it as he did. He could have given us the apocalyptic ending we expected, but for (presumably) literary reasons, he chose to defy expectations and give us a subtler ending.

I wouldn’t have ranked Watchmen #1 on my list (it’d be a Sandman story), but it would probably be in my top 5. (Because the Internet needed to know that!!!)

@Mary: I think its mainly that you read it once. I don’t know anybody who came away with a reading much different from yours on their first go through. However, while the straightforward plot is problematic for all the reasons you have listed, what makes Watchmen so great is just how layered and nuanced it is. The amount of narrative detail tucked away in what at first seemed an innocuous background detail or an unnoticed allusion is awe inspiring.

The ending is incredibly ambiguous. Adrian’s dreams mirror the plight of the damned sailor in The Black Freighter, and his need to have “done the right thing, in the end” is left entirely unfulfilled when Jon points out that “nothing ever ends”. There’s also a connecting thread to do with the Gordian Knot that I won’t go into because it is best found by the reader herself.

That the heroes are all deficient in their humanity is important to the narrative. Most people overlook the people on the street, but these characters are the true heart and soul of Watchmen and their reactions to the events in the climax of the story are the true lynchpin of the book.

I also don’t think the book is nearly as deterministic as you think. Indeed, the unpredictability of humanity ultimately proves Jon (the walking allegory for the nuclear bomb) to be fallible. Moreover, while I can sympathize with being unable to relate as strongly to the fear of nuclear holocaust, I think the narrative is still powerful as a meditation on a messianic culture. To be human, in America at least, is to live constantly in the shadow of Armageddon whether it be from cataclysmic climate change, terrorism and the looming threat that instability in the Middle East may erupt into World War 3, or just plain old fashioned Rapture. I think Watchmen does a very good job of examining how that effects the way we compose ourselves from Kovacks’ moralist obsessions with The End to the media consumption of the two Bernies.

Watchmen was not my #1, that spot was reserved for Jimmy Corrigan. However, it was my #2, and while my sympathies almost always lie with the contrarians, I really do think that Watchmen deserves the praise it gets.

God Mark, I think I’m falling in love with you. I meant to point out that among the spandex set in Watchmen, Laurie really does emerge as the most compelling.

Thank you Brian, g’head, take an hour or two off, relax.

I would also love to see a future poll based on eras or decades or whatever.

To me the biggest surprise at the top was that Born Again beat out DK and Year One. I was happy with the top two placements, if my cherished Thor “Thunder in the Netherworld” had to somehow be over-looked. Rat bastards.

I’m still surprised that Flex Mentallo didn’t make the list given how prevalent Morrison’s work is on it.

Yeah, to all you DP haters…suck it! Just suck it.

Yeah, to all you DP haters…suck it! Just suck it.

Watchman isn’t something that would’ve made my Top 10, but I did like it, and I’m not shocked it made #1. I know I keep saying if Brian ever redoes the poll, it would be a different list, but I have a feeling Watchman would consistently be # 1 each time.

This was a lot of fun to follow. Thanks Brian.

I still prefer Days of Futur Past over Dark Phoenix Saga

ha! suck it morrison fans! watchmen had more first place votes (78) than all of morrison’s entries put together (67)!

in all seriousness, i love grant morrison, but it bothers me that many his fans treat him like the all-time god of comics when alan moore is clearly superior.

interesting that all of the first place votes on the list add up to 665, while brian said that around 850 votes were cast. that means that nearly 200 first place votes went to storylines that didn’t make the list whatsoever.

if someone would have asked me before this poll who i thought the 5 best comic writers ever were, i probably would have said moore, morrison, gaiman, miller, and claremont. even though this list did have a few abberrations, the fact that those five writers finished as the top five in points shows that the gist of the list was accurate, more or less.

here are, in my opinion and in no particular order, the most worthy storylines that didn’t make the list:

squadron supreme (1-12)
wolverine miniseries (1-4, plus x-men 172-3)
green arrow: quiver (1-10)
supreme: story of the year (41-52a & b)
iron man: demon in a bottle (118-128)
zot: the color stories (1-10)
swamp thing: anatomy lesson/woodrue story (21-24)
sandman: preludes & nocturnes (1-8)
death: the high cost of living (1-3)
the golden age (1-4)
batman: ten nights of the beast (417-420)
magnus robot fighter: steel nation (1-4)
legends of the dark knight: blades (32-34)
preacher: the alamo (59-66)
hellboy: wake the devil (1-5)
jon sable freelance: the origin (1-6)
new mutants: demon bear (18-21)

most of the above i never expected to appear, but i’m still utterly shocked about the first two not making the cut.

Thank you Brian, this list sure was great fun.

One thing, though, as this is probably the last chance to ask it: Do you still plan to fill in the missing details for earlier parts of the countdown?

My favorites that didn´t make it:

-Midnight Nation by JMS and Gary Frank. For some reason, this story really connected with me. I thought it was very interesting and full of soul.

-Death: High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman and Chris Bachalo. After reading the 8th issue of Sandman I had to read more about Death, one of my favorite characters. This miniseries is exceptional.

-Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson. I thought the premise was good but I didn´t expect such good execution. I started respecting Luthos as a villain with All Star Superman, but after this comic my image of Luthor is even better. Really good stuff.

-Buffy Season 8: No Future for you by Brian K. Vaughan and Georges Jeanty. After years of only reading Spider-man, I got back into comics because of the Buffy series. This storyline was so good that it made me get all of BKV´s stuff and all of Joss Whedon which paved the way to a lot more comics. I love this storyline and it was the biggest step into reading lots of comics.

Some people don’t seem to understand that just because they don’t enjoy stories that have been praised for 20-30 years doesn’t mean that the stories are horrible. It’s fine to not like some of these stories, but I hope you realize that it’s possible to not enjoy something personally, but still realize that they are landmark stories for a reason.

I agree with Philip 100%. There is some great insightful commentary here. When the comments slide into the vein of “I don’t like this story so it’s crap” it’s very disheartening. Its comes off as very childish, and IMO is a large factor in why the medium doesn’t get more respect as a serious artform.

Love Watchmen.

And despite loving X-men(at least I used to, haven’t read it for several years), I have tried reading Dark Phoenix a couple times but just can’t get through it. I guess I’m too young for this era of comics.

final count for me is 23 read/ 5 included in my list.

I should mention again that I’ve been reading comics for less than a year now…

The 5 I voted on and were not included were:
Miracleman: A Dream of Flying
Miracleman: The Red King Syndrome
Sin City: The Hard Goodbye
Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen II

I’m happy with Watchmen in 1st place (that’s really the book that got me into reading comics), but never read the Dark Phoenix Saga.

[blockquote]Thanks for the list Brian. Great fun. Any chance of a top 100 “done-in-one” stories next year?[/blockquote]

be a pretty boring list. you’d have 40+ issues of Jonah Hex.

Dark Phoenix lovers, Dark Phoenix haters, somewhat interested peope, I don’t care, go here:

And start at the October 02, 2007 entry, here:

watching Jason Powell perform a scholarly review of every issue of Chris Claremont’s X-Men run. It’s great stuff, exceedingly well done, and may open your eyes to stuff you’ve never seen going on there before. Here’s the start of the Dark Phoenix run:


I’d also really love a “best of X era” list one day! There’s hardly ever any representation of the landmark comics work prior to the 70s in these otherwise invaluable lists.

For those who doubt, here’s the deal with the Dark Phoenix Saga: just like everyone in the 1960s and 1970s (in mainstream comics) was trying to do their version of The Galactus Saga, everyone in the 1980s and 1990s was trying to do their version of this story. It’s nearly impossible to list the number of comics and storylines that were influenced or directly inspired by it (nearly every Image comic, for one.) It deserves its place on this list for historical importance alone. (In fact, I’d argue the DPS is probably the template for what we today think of as a “storyline,” with its sprawling, shaggy-dog quality, its false endings, 1and its major dramatic beats revolving around changes in character.)

Out of curiosity, Brian, how many storylines were there that got a #1 vote from two or more people but didn’t make the top 100?

Any chance of a brief overview of things that just missed, or an overview of things that got first place votes but didn’t chart?

I should amend my earlier comment and say that everyone in the 1980s and 1990s was doing either The Dark Phoenix Saga OR Watchmen…

Mary, Watchmen features a alternate reality in which Dr. Manhattan’s presence exacerbates things. Nuclear war was made much more likely in that reality, because America was more aggressive until Manhattan’s self-imposed exile. But yes, the story is much motivated by the spectre of nuclear war, and people who didn’t experience it firsthand in the 80s may find it strange. A couple of friends read the story for the first time this year, after watching the movie with me, and they both liked it, but they both said the story is so very eighties.

Julian – NO! That wasn’t written by me. (You can tell ’cause everything is spelled right.) In fact, I pretty much would’ve agreed with Mary until I read that. And agreed with everything.

“in all seriousness, i love grant morrison, but it bothers me that many his fans treat him like the all-time god of comics when alan moore is clearly superior.”

I agree that Moore is better at using the comics form in original ways – The Fearful Symmetry issue of Watchmen, the Moebius strip in Promethea and so on. I don’t think any other writer in the mainstream – and very, very few writer/artists in the Mainstream – is as good at expanding the possibilities of how a story can be told with comics.

But that doesn’t count for nothin’ on a list of favorites! I like Morrison’s body of work better ’cause it’s less grumpy. :P

Am I the only person that was bored by Watchmen? I mean, sure I’d say it was in the top 100 given its influence, but it was soooooo boring and predictable. You could tell Ozy was the villain by book 4. It was creative sure, and the supersymmetry with the pirate story was interesting, etc….but I couldn’t rank it higher than 55 maybe? but, it does have a huge following…I just don’t see the appeal…kinda like Dane Cook

Mark – I think Patrick from “Thoughts on Stuff” said it best about Moore vs Morrison. “Morrison’s work is much looser, based on pop extravagance, full of energy, but often sloppy. Moore’s work is perfectly structured, working on countless levels, but lacking the sheer joy of Morrison at his best.” I think that summed it up pretty pefectly.

I think instead of just a “Done in One” poll the next one should be “Favorite Single Issues.” So I’m sure there’d be plenty of done in one stories, but it wouldn’t be quite so limiting.

Surprised to see Watchmen on top, but not surprised to see Dark Phoenix Saga up there.

Ugh… I’m so disappointed Red Son and especially Vol 1 of JMS’s Supreme Power/Hyperion didn’t make this list, as I thought they were pretty good stories… Hyperion is the best Superman, Superman can never hope to be. :p

So Brian, are you at any point gonna post the commens on earlier ones that you forgot? Like The Panting that Ate Paris and some others before and after that?

X-Men for me begins and ends with Dark Phoenix Saga. I never read an X-Men story prior to it, and I loved it so much that anything they did with the X-Men afterward is non-canon to me.

Thanx a lot Brian. Done a wonderful job. Great list. Dark phoenix Saga definitely deserves to be at the 2nd place.

“Mark – I think Patrick from “Thoughts on Stuff” said it best about Moore vs Morrison. “Morrison’s work is much looser, based on pop extravagance, full of energy, but often sloppy. Moore’s work is perfectly structured, working on countless levels, but lacking the sheer joy of Morrison at his best.” I think that summed it up pretty pefectly.”

Yeah, nice, I completely agree with that.

Hangman: Days of Futur Past is better

Once again, excellent work Brian. You continue to entertain the comic book fans in between one Wednesday fix and the next. Very enjoyable list and although I don’t always agree with the placement of the storylines (ahem, Dark Phoenix) the large majority deserve a spot on the list.

There are a few titles I wish we could have shown some love for, such as:
Ex Machina
Umbrella Academy
Shade the Changing Man
Vimanarama (very fun stuff by Morrison)
Runaways (although I admit its debatable weither it’s top 100 material or not, you have to admit the ‘my parents are evil’ thing was well executed by Brian K Vaughan et al)
That’s all that I can think of just off the top of my head but i’m sure others have more to add.

Again, great stuff! Thanks for the fun.

No love for Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E?
None at all?
Was i the only one who voted for this series?

I pity all those fans too young to have read the Dark Phoenix Saga when it originally appeared. It was an exquisite sort of torture for a 12-yr-old in 1980 to have to wait a whole month between chapters…I’d have the brown wrapper ripped off my subscription copy and the first page read before I could get from the mailbox to the house.

It’s been fun.

Watchmen too the place that should have gone to The Dark Knight Returns.

The Dark Phoenix saga took the place that should have gone to Watchmen

Rob Leifeld’s Captain America took the place that should have gone to The Dark Phoenix Saga.

I’m surprised not to see Red Son, Secret Identity, Flex Mentallo, Sin City and Riot at Xaviour’s.


Although, ff you counted some of the Vertigo books–such as Doom Patrol–in the totals

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol was DC, not Vertigo.

If we just count the ongoing titles, this is the top 50:

50. “A Game of You” (Sandman)
48 (tie). “The Magus Saga” (Strange Tales/Warlock)
48 (tie). “Coming Home” (Amazing Spider-Man)
47. “The Korvac Saga” (Avengers)
45 (tie). “Knightfall” (Batman titles)
45 (tie). “Sins of the Father” (Starman)
44. “Authority” (Authority)
43. “New World Order” (JLA)
42. “No Man’s Land” (Batman titles)
41. “The Elektra Saga” (Daredevil)
40. “Year of the Bastard”/”The New Scum” (Transmetropolitan)
39. “Planet Hulk” (Incredible Hulk)
38. “Reign of the Supermen” (Superman titles)
37. “Whys and Wherefores” (Y The Last Man)
36. “The Kindly Ones” (Sandman)
34 (tie). “Confession” (Kurt Busiek’s Astro City)
34 (tie). “The Death of Jean DeWolff” (The Spectacular Spider-Man)
33. “The Death of Superman” (Superman titles)
32. “Batman R.I.P.” (Batman)
30 (tie). “Rock of Ages” (JLA)
30 (tie). “Death of Captain America” (Captain America)
29. “Gifted” (Astonishing X-Men)
28. “Olympus” (Miracleman)
27. “If This Be My Destiny” (Amazing Spider-Man)
26. “The Surtur Saga” (Thor)
25. “Mutant Massacre” (X-Men titles)
24. “Hush” (Batman)
23. “Dangerous Habits” (Hellblazer)
22. “The Painting That Ate Paris” (Doom Patrol)
21. “Return of Barry Allen” (Flash)
20. “The Death of Gwen Stacy” (Amazing Spider-Man)
19. “Deus ex Machina” (Animal Man)
18. “Doll’s House” (Sandman)
17. “Brief Lives” (Sandman)
16. “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” (Superman titles)
15. “All in the Family” (Preacher)
14. “American Gothic” (Swamp Thing)
12 (tie). “Days of Future Past” (Uncanny X-Men)
12 (tie). “E is for Extinction” (New X-Men)
11. “The Galactus Trilogy” (Fantastic Four)
10. “Under Siege” (Avengers)
9. “The Sinestro Corps War” (Green Lantern titles)
8. “Kraven’s Last Hunt” (Spider-Man titles)
7. “The Judas Contract ” (Teen Titans)
6. “The Age of Apocalypse” (X-Men titles)
5. “The Great Darkness Saga” (Legion of Super-heroes)
4. “Season of Mists” (Sandman)
3. “Year One” (Batman)
2. “Born Again” (Daredevil)
1. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” (Uncanny X-Men)

I voted for Master of Kung Fu: Golden Daggers at #1, but I’m not really surprised it didn’t make the list.

But not a single storyline from Hitman? Shocking!

Great list, but I’m sorry nothing deposed Watchmen.

Troy Smith: I know how you feel. I was 12 years old when I read The Dark Phoenix Saga too and it delivered. Just to see the inner monlogue of each X-Men members when they’re on the moon and they have to fight for Jean. And then they decide to fight her instead. If you include the Hellfire Club story in this too, it produce a nice tapestry.

I still prefer Days of Futur Past, though.

Do you think the X-Men/Dark Phoenix cover is the most iconic “homage” cover, based as it is on the Neal Adams X-Men cover?

Depends on whether you feel George Perez was intentionally homaging someone with his Crisis #7 cover.

If no, then yes, perhaps Byrne’s cover takes the cake. If yes, then Perez’s cover is the clear top choice.

Can´t believe Lone wolf and cube isn´t in the list ( could be in #1). not even any of Sin city´s albums.
but i agree with the most

[…] Watchmen 2º. A saga da Fênix Negra 3º. Born again” (Demolidor) 4º. Batman – Ano um 5º. Batman – O […]

Thank god Watchmen is #1.

There is hope for humanity.

…Except for the movie. The Watchmen movie was almost the single greatest disappointment of my cinematic life.

I read it before I knew what it was. Simply put, the greatest thing I have ever read. I read it once per year. I cannot say that about any other comics in history except maybe Transmetropolitan.

The only other thing I read as often is The Lord of the Rings.

[…] 2. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (X-Men #129-1… […]

[…] V de Vingança foi publicado originalmente entre 1982 e 1983 em preto e branco pela editora britânica Warrior e é considerado o 15 maior graphic novel de todos os tempos segundo críticos. […]

[…] (becomings?) and S and M as corrupting influence can also be discerned in the classic X-Men story The Dark Phoenix Saga. Taking place over several issue Jean Grey/Marvel Girl is possessed by the Phoenix Force, a cosmic […]

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives