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The Greatest Peter David Stories Ever Told!

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.

Story continues below

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!


I didn’t vote because I haven’t read many Peter David stories, but I love “The Death of Jean DeWolffe”, it might be my favorite Spider-man story.

Yes, finally! I’ve been waiting all day to see these results.

There are too many Hulk stories. (Well, maybe they’re good. The only one I’ve read is the issue with Wolverine. I just don’t like the Hulk.)

Didn’t ANYBODY vote for Spectacular #103 with the Blaze? Or ‘The Commuter Cometh’?

I really thought The Death Of Jean DeWolff would be #1. Wasn’t it the highest ranking David story in your Greatest Storylines Ever poll?

Although I can’t complain because I was too lazy to vote, it’s a tragedy that Atlantis Chronicles didn’t make this list. I’m assuming not many people who voted for all the stuff above have read it.


May 3, 2010 at 1:58 am

I voted for Blaze. But it is a somewhat obscure story.

Brian Cronin

May 3, 2010 at 2:00 am

Atlantis Chronicles actually was the next story on the list. I’ll add it for you, Jeff, so you can feel slightly better! :)

Brian Cronin

May 3, 2010 at 2:03 am

And since I just realized that that would give us 14 stories, I figure I might as well make it an “even” 15, so I’ll put the #15 story up, as well.

good list overall, but it’s too bad the following didn’t make it: aquaman 37, “one demon life,” which was the best issue of david’s tenure on that title; wolverine: blood hungry, from marvel comics presents 85-92, which features some mesmerizingly good sam keith art; and x-factor 70, the epilogue of the muir island saga, and really the gap-bridger of the entire claremont mutant tenure with the mutant genesis of the early 90s.

The Crazed Spruce

May 3, 2010 at 5:18 am

I abstained from voting in these because I was having trouble coming up with a complete list of ten stories without including ones that I haven’t actually read, and I didn’t feel right about adding stories like “Future Imprefect” and “The Death of Jean DeWolf” on reputation alone. My short list definitely would’ve included your #2, 4, and 5, though. (Along with “World Without Grownups”, the first Supergirl arc, and the ‘free speech” issue of Supergirl where she fought Steel. That was about where I was stuck, though, so I didn’t bother submitting it.

It’s kinda disappointing that his Captain Marvel run didn’t make the cut, though…..

Eric L., Sofer, the Silver Age Fogey

May 3, 2010 at 5:19 am

And if you liked Future Imperfect – and who didn’t? – get the sequel, the novel “What Rough Beast.” It ain’t got many pi’tures, but the ones in it ARE drawn by George Perez, and that book is an “incredible” read. You won’t be able to put it down – it’s that good and that much fun.

I remain,
Eric L. Sofer
The Silver Age Fogey

The Crazed Spruce

May 3, 2010 at 5:20 am

And does anyone else find it ironic that I misspelled “imperfect” in that last post?

The Hulk remains his best work, not surprising that it dominates the list.

It’s a good list. The only surprise for me was the absence of The Last Avengers Story.

And I totally forgot to vote on Future Imperfect, even though I voted on several Hulk stories.

Hey Mary, Spectacular #103 made my runner up list on my votes.

Mike Loughlin

May 3, 2010 at 6:04 am

Eric L. – If I’d put prose novels on my list, “What Savage Beast” would have been on it. It’s one of my favorite Hulk stories.

Mary W. – Peter David made his name with a lot of us readers on Incredible Hulk. If you like his other work but haven’t read most of his run on that title, I can’t recommend them enough. Peter David himself wasn’t a Hulk fan, but used the assignment to tell fun, offbeat, and moving stories about a character with admittedly limited potential. Greg Burgas did a great write-up of the good issues (330-426, most of 454-467 plus many of the Annuals, Future Imperfect, The End, and issue -1) a few months ago.

The only Peter David story I voted for that didn’t make the Top 15 was Hulk -1. It’s a heartbreaking tale of what happened to Bruce Banner in the time right before he became the Hulk. We readers learned the real reason Thunderbolt Ross is disgusted by Banner’s weakness. Adam Kubert & Mark Farmer turned in a top-notch art job, and Peter David did a great job handling the pathos.

Rusty Priske

May 3, 2010 at 6:44 am

My favourite came in at #15, but at least my second favourite was at #3.

The part that sticks with me isn’t Jim WIlson, it is the scenes with the Hotline.

Nothing beats the Quicksilver ATM analogy. We all know what it’s like to be behind the person taking way too long to do something. 30 seconds seems like a year. Now imagine 1 second seeming like a century, and you can see why someone would be a jerkass. It was really a testimony to his enormous patience that Quicksilver didn’t beat people to a bloody pulp.

I was going to be annoyed if you hadn’t mentioned Many Happy Returns.

Yeah, I remember his first Hulk run fondly, but the only one I was really passionate about was that last Supergirl arc. Never cared that much about the non-Kryptonian Supergirl till then, but that story was a beautiful homage to the Silver Age.

Wow….I was out of comics for a long stretch and didn’t know Jim Wilson died of AIDS. I just remember him from the Mantlo/Trimpe days.

I am so glad that Many Happy Returns and Fallen Angel both made it on the list. They’re both amazing stories, and MHR is probably the one tpb that I pick up and read whenever I’m bored.

Wow….I was out of comics for a long stretch and didn’t know Jim Wilson died of AIDS. I just remember him from the Mantlo/Trimpe days.

Hulk’s old hippie sidekick Fred Sloan was my pick for who the Red Hulk would turn out to be, just because the randomness of it would piss a lot of people off.

I wish spiderman 2099 made it. That’s comic was just so much better than it had any right being. One of my favorite Peter David Comics.

Wow I got 6 of mine mentioned…..highest percentage EVER for me…

And just to show I learn something new everyday…I had NO IDEA that David did the Death of Jean DeWolff arc…

So pleasantly surprised….

Thanks for expanding the list Brian! Hopefully Atlantis Chronicles will finally be collected now that Johns wants Aquaman to be a big player in the DC universe…but it might just get swept under the rug of past continuity. At least the single issues are still cheap.

I didn’t vote in this one, simply because it would be so hard to narrow down a Top 10. Peter David is the first writer in comics that I found that I’ve pretty much got to get _everything_ they write. I do find it somewhat ironic that the work that Peter himself counts as his best work (at least, last time it was brought up in an interview) didn’t even make the official Top 10 list. But, hopefully, Atlantis Chronicles will get collected one of these days so more people can see it to be able to vote for it.

I’m surprised there was no mention of Captain Marvel in the top 15. That would have made up a good chunk of my list if I had voted. The Last Avengers story was good too.

Number two was such an excellent issue of X-Factor, and as many other people have stated, Quicksilver became a favourite of mine with that issue.

That said, it then provides the problem of what happens when you get a strong, in-depth look at a character, only to have another writer take over and use that character as a cog in a much weaker story. When you get an internal look at Pietro and begin to sympathize with him, it’s hard to view him as a realistic villain. Nothing that’s been done since that issue (at least, from what I’ve read) makes much sense, even PAD’s stuff with Pietro in the more recent X-Factor run.

Other honourable mentions I’d make include the Hulk issue showing Rick Jones’ bachelor party (one of Marvel’s funniest single issues since Assistant Editor’s Month!), and the one guest-starring Cap where Marlo recovered from her coma.

And really, the whole Pantheon saga was terrific reading.

Other than his X-Factor work, I’ve always been partial to his Star Trek comics work, which several times (against the rules from Paramount) he did his best to sneak continuity ties between the comics and his novels.

For example, he intended for Worf’s mate (and mother of Worf’s son, Alexander), Kehylar (spelling), to be descended from either the half-Klingon in his DC comics, or the couple (a Klingon and his human wife, both in starfleet and on board Kirk’s Enterprise!) that found and raised that boy. Of course, by the time he had this going, the Paramount continuity cops decided that Worf was the first official Klingon in Starfleet, and that ended that.

@Thomas: Spidey 2099 was #10 on my list when I voted, if I remember correctly.

I put off voting as I didn’t feel I’d read enough different david comics. BUt I wish I had now, just to see if it could’ve helped push his Captain Marvel on the list. As a few people have commented already, those were some terrific comics, not least his exploration of a superhero first going and then gone mad.

[…] CBR: The Greatest Peter David Stories Ever Told! […]

My PAD list…

1. Hulk # 377 Honey I Shrunk the Hulk
2. Hulk # 340 vs Wolverine
3. Hulk : The End
4. Hulk : Future Imperfect (# 1 – 2)
5. Last Avengers # 1 – 2
6. Supergirl # 1 Body and Soul
7. Supergirl # 75-80 Many Happy Returns
8. X-Factor # 79 Rhapsody in Blue
9. X-Factor # 71 Cutting the Mustard
10. Savage Hulk # 1 the Hulk on trial

I forgot what issue was the great Quicksilver issue. It really “made” the character for me.

I have that last issue of PAD’s Hulk but hadn’t read it yet.

Fallen Angel

John Trumbull

May 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

I’m surprised none of PAD’s Star Trek stories made the list.

I didn’t vote so I can’t really blame anyone, but I’m surprised by the lack of PAD stories I really enjoyed on here:

Aquaman: Time & Tide
Sachs & Violens
Spider-Man 2099

All great books that seem to have missed out.

What nobody liked spyboy?

@HondoBrody: It was #87, and don’t worry, it’s #2 on the official list ;)

I have been away from CBR lately, and I’m mad that I did not get to vote. I really liked X-Factor #79 Rhapsody in Blue (the actual story didn’t conclude until #80), because we get to see some great Quicksilver/Madrox interaction that fleshed out both characters. However, the real overlooked gem of PAD’s X-Factor run was #78, which guest starred the Mutant Liberation Front. Leave it up up to David to take some 3rd rate X-Force throw-away villains and craft a story of social consciousness that had impact.

Alex A. Sanchez

May 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm

That last post was by me, I forgot to fill out the name.

Very good list….altho i put the examinations as my favourite of all time from peter david…and for the exact reasons given on the list. The only story i felt that is unappreciated from peter david, is the hulk issue where Doc Samson meets a super villianess called Crazy eight behind bars and she get the death penalty for murder. The twist ending and the characterizations done….make it in my mind….the greatest single issue of a comic written…..even better than the X factor Xaminations issue. And both issues featured Doc Samson……go figure!!

Have they ever reprinted the Atlantis Chronicles?

Peter David was taken off the Hulk?!? Wow. I did not know he intended to do those stories. Why was that?

Death of Jean DeWolff was generally well-written, but it had at least one flaw that was prevalent across Marvel titles for a period of time. It seemed like every character was being pushed to an edge and another hero would step in and provide a voice of reason. It was such a cliche.

His Hulk vs. Thing fight should have made the list.

As I was checking out the new version of this listing I thinking to my… why the hell didn’t that include Peter David! … Well, here it is from 2 years ago, with and extra 5 top stories to boot! :)

Alot of Hulk and X-Factor inclusions – which is great (Madrox is top notch).And some stories that I’ll still need to check out. But I gotta say Supergirl 1 – 9 was AMAZING! With Gary Frank art too. And his Aquaman run was awesome, with some great Marty Egeland art, first few issues set the standard. I also really enjoyed his brief horror stint on the Hulk – 425 – 432. Loved it! :)

Heath Richards

May 5, 2013 at 11:11 am

Very disappointed that Spy Boy was not on the voting list. That was one of the best series ever written by PAD.

[…] initial bombardment slowly die from radiation poisoning. The only person left? Dr. Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk. Banner slowly realizes, as weeks turn into years, that his mutation has not only allowed him to […]

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