"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Peter David Stories Ever Told!
I’ll give you the top five stories that DIDN’T make the Top Ten…
15. Incredible Hulk ” Lest Darkness Come”
Gary Frank drew this powerful issue where the Hulk’s friend and former sidekick of sorts, Jim Wilson, passes away from complications due to AIDS.
14. Atlantis Chronicles
This series does just what it says in the title – it chronicles the history of Atlantis.
Esteban Maroto supplied the artwork.
13. Young Justice “A League of Their Own”
This was the first storyline of the superhero team consisting of Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret. Todd Nauck did the artwork.
12. Fallen Angel “To Serve in Heaven”
This was the first storyline of the IDW version of Fallen Angel. This provided the origin for the star of the comic. JK Woodward did the artwork.
11. Incredible Hulk #467 “The Lone and Level Sands”
This was the final issue of David’s long run on Hulk. It featured a look “back” at the past ten years of the Hulk (told ten years in the future) featuring tons of stories that David was planning to do with the Hulk had he not been taken off of the book. This was the issue after Betty Banner’s death.
The artwork was done by Adam Kubert.
10. X-Factor Vol. 2 (I’m not counting that mini-series as Volume 2) #1-6 “The Longest Night”
This was the first storyline after David returned to his X-Factor characters in their own title. It dealt directly with the events of M-Day, as the folks of X-Factor Investigations are based in Mutant Town, a town that is, well, now pretty much devoid of mutants. David shows us how the team deals with this change (new members join the group in these issues, as well).
The artwork is handled by Ryan Sook and Dennis Calero.
9. Hulk: The End
In this tragic tale set far in the future, Banner and his alter-ego, the Hulk, are the only humans left on Earth in a post-apocalytic nightmare.
Hulk and Banner are set against each other in this future – Banner just wants to die, while the Hulk wants to live to show that he is the strongest one.
How David figures out how to resolve this conflict is clever and full of somberness.
Dale Keown, David’s former Hulk artist, teams up with David once again for this tale of the future.
8. Madrox “Multiple Choice”
Very often, you’ll hear something like “We’re giving the idea a shot as a mini-series first. If it is popular enough, it’ll get an ongoing series.”
Very much LESS often, you’ll actually see an ongoing series come of it all.
Well, MadroX proved to be one of those rare successes!
In this mini-series, with art by Pablo Raimondi, Peter David returns to one of the members of X-Factor, Jamie Madrox, who is now a private investigator (alongside some other mutant heroes).
The series is a noir tale of betrayal and intrigue, and it was popular enough that David basically WAS able to “go home again,” setting up the current X-Factor series.
7. X-Factor #71-75
In 1991, a second X-Men comic debuted. With two X-Men titles, all the original X-Men (who were in a team called X-Factor) merged with various newer X-Men to form two full teams of X-Men.
This left the X-Factor name available, but not many famous mutants left to fill up the team. Peter David, along with artist Larry Stroman, somehow made a government-sponsored mutant team made up of the riff-raff that the main titles did not want, WORK.
Havok, Polaris, Madrox the Multiple Man, Wolfsbane, Quicksilver and Strong Guy (because every team needs a strong guy, right?) came together in this first arc against a plot by Mr. Sinister.
It was funny, it was touching and it even had a good deal of action. It was a great beginning to a memorable run.
6. Incredible Hulk “Ground Zero”
I’ll admit – I combined votes for “Ground Zero” with those that just voted for Incredible Hulk #340, the fight with Wolverine. I did not double-count anyone’s votes (like if you voted for both, I would just count the higher ranked one – but I don’t believe anyone voted for both).
It just seemed to make sense, especially since both of them would have made the Top 10, thereby taking a spot from another story.
Anyhow, Ground Zero is the culmination of the “Banner, Clay Quartermain and Rick Jones go on the run” storyline that started more or less right from Peter David’s first issue of Hulk.
It ends through the machinations of the Leader, with one of the more shocking endings you’ll see in a comic book.
And yes, in the midst of it all, Hulk and Wolverine have a knock-down, drag-out fight. All drawn by Todd McFarlane.
5. Supergirl “Many Happy Returns”
In a decision that still makes very little sense, DC allowed Peter David to try a story where the “original” Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, would show up in the pages of Supergirl, along with David’s current Supergirl, Linda Danvers.
Allowing him to do so is not the thing that makes little sense – it’s the fact that they then canceled the book before they saw if the idea WORKED, and it totally did!
But it was too late and the book was already canceled, even though sales picked up a lot, and as you can see, people still fondly remember the story, which also had a bunch of cool issues set on alternate realities.
4. Incredible Hulk “The Unification of the Hulk”
I suppose you can differ on just when this story began. You can make an argument for Incredible Hulk #369, but I think #370 makes the most sense (with #377 being the conclusion, of course).
In any event, The Hulk was gray at this time, but by the end of this story (ably drawn by Dale Keown), the Hulk was a brand-new configuration – a UNIFIED Hulk – Banner’s intellect with the Hulk’s strength!!
On the way to this conclusion, we get to see some fun stories involving a Defenders reunion and the return of Betty Banner AND Rick Jones!!
Some of the finest issues of David’s Incredible Hulk run (he and Keown ended up winning an award for Best Writer/Artist Team).
3. Spectacular Spider-Man “The Death of Jean DeWolff”
David made a real name for himself with his first major story arc in his Spectacular Spider-Man run.
In killing off minor supporting character Captain Jean DeWolff, David got to really play around with the guilt that often drives Spider-Man – what happens if that guilt drives him to go TOO far? Guest-star Daredevil shows up to debate both the idea of what is “too far” and basically what is the meaning of justice itself?
Strong work with nice Rich Buckler artwork.
2. X-Factor “X-aminations”
Joe Quesada was just beginning to make a name for himself as a major artist when he was assigned to X-Factor.
He and David combined to tell one of the great single issues of the 1990s.
In “X-aminations,” David has the members of X-Factor be, well, examined by a psychiatrist.
The insight into each character’s personality was really brilliant, including probably the very best explanation for Quicksilver’s attitude EVER.
The clincher was when we get to see how the team “boss,” Val Cooper, saw her team members and how lost she was with their actual personalities. Wonderful story.
1. Hulk: Future Imperfect
This story pitted the Hulk against perhaps the one enemy he could not defeat…himself!
Rebels from the future arrive in the past and take the Hulk to the future where he is needed to take down the evil tyrant Maestro, who, naturally, is an older Hulk who has gone crazy over the years.
Hulk’s old friend, Rick Jones, is still alive and it was he who had the younger version of his friend brought to save his world. Jones is the only person keeping alive the history of the Age of Heroes (an age wiped out by the Maestro). In a brilliant sequence, we see Jones’ museum of sorts to all the heroes and villains who died over the years (either through nuclear war or at the hands of the Maestro).
George Perez supplied the artwork, and his attention to detail REALLY served him well on that two-page splash.
This was an action-packed adventure tale that really tested whether Hulk could pull off the victory – and even if/when he won the day, he had to live with the knowledge that the Maestro, this ultimate evil, DID lurk somewhere within his mind and soul.
It was certainly a heavy burden, one that David addressed later on in his epic Hulk run.
That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!
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