O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
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 Kurt Busiek Stories Ever Told!
Busiek and Stuart Immonen combined for this action-packed tale of an elite fighter pilot squad who fly specialized alien ships and basically protect the world – but when an evil general shows up with similar technology, things get crazy. Our POV character is the newest member of the pilot team.
14. Superman #654-658, 662-663, 667, Annual 13 “Camelot Falls”
Camelot Falls revolves around an intriguing dilemma, is civilization MEANT to not rise and fall? Is Superman, in putting off the fall of society, just making its inevitable decline WORSE? A sort of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” type of situation? That is the dillemma that Superman is faced with in this storyline, when he is informed that his assistance to the world has only made its future decline WORSE. So should Superman fall back? Well, read this storyline by Busiek and Carol Pacheco (plus others) and find out!
13. Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Vol.2) #10 “Show ‘em All
In this acclaimed one-off issue of Astro City, the villain the Junkman pulls off a major heist. The problem is – he is not getting the CREDIT for the success! So the question becomes, if a villain pulls of a super-crime and no one notices, does it really count? Find out in this issue by Busiek and Brent Anderson (note – I suppose I could have combined the various issues that were collected in Family Album and therefore Family Album would be ranked higher, but pretty much no one voted for the collection, so I’m thinking everyone looked at these issues individually, hence they are ranked that way).
12. Avengers (Vol. 3) #41-55, Avengers Annual 2001 “The Kang Dynasty”
An older Kang from the future, along with his son, Marcus, decides to finally devote ALL of his efforts into once and for all CONQUERING the 21st Century Earth in this epic storyline with art by Alan Davis, Kieron Dwyer, Manuel Garcia and Ivan Reis. Among Kang’s devastation was the death of all the citizens of Washington D.C.!! The Avengers were at their lowest ebb here, but, naturally, they found a way to fight back!
11. Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Vol.2) #14-20 “Tarnished Angel”
Finally released from prison, former supervillain Steeljack wants to just live the rest of his life as normally as he can, but, of course, that’s quite difficult for a former supervillain who is covered in metal. Busiek examines the prejudices that affect supervillains in Astro City and we see how the best of intentions can not really amount to much when you come down to it. Brent Anderson did a marvelous job on the artwork.
10. Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Vol.1) #1 “In Dreams”
This is our introduction to Astro City, as we see a day in the life of perhaps its greatest hero, the Samaritan! Like “Family Album,” I suppose I could have collected all the votes for the first mini-series together, but like I said, very few people voted for the collection, while lots and lots of them voted for the individual issues, so I went with the individual issues. If I collected all the votes for the first collection (while knocking off duplicate votes, of course), the first collection would probably rank somewhere around #6 on the list. Brent Anderson drew the issue, and Alex Ross’ designs were integral to the process.
9. Avengers (Vol. 3) #1-3 “The Morgan Conquest”
Along with George Perez, Busiek brought the Avengers back to the Marvel Universe in grand fashion in this story where Morgan Le Fey has manipulated reality so that she is the queen of the world and the Avengers are her servants. However, the power of being an Avenger is shown to outweigh pretty much everything, and the heroes manage to break free from her control and a new era in Avengers greatness is begun!
8. Superman: Secret Identity
Busiek and Stuart Immonen show us what happens when mild-mannered teenager Clark Kent discovers that, just like the fictional Clark Kent in the Superman comics, he DOES have powers! His journey of self-discovery with his powers is wonderfully handled by this terrific creative team.
7. Thunderbolts #1-12
Busiek and Mark Bagley (plus some assistance over the run from Roger Stern and some additional artists) tell the tale of the Thunderbolts, the new superhero team taking the place of the missing Avengers – only they’re secretly the Masters of Evil, plotting to take over the now-Avengers-less Earth! However, some of the Thunderbolts find that they sort of ENJOY being heroes – and when the Avengers return, can the wannabe heroes redeem themselves?
6. Avengers Forever
Busiek and Carlos Pacheco (along with Roger Stern as co-writer for most of the series) tell this sprawling time-travel story of epic proportions as a rag tag team of Avengers plucked from different time periods must team up to stop the machinations of Immortus and his masters, the Time Keepers.
5. Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Vol.2) #1/2 “The Nearness of You”
This brilliant one-off issue by Busiek and Anderson show how the real-life effects of superhero epic battles, as a man’s wife disappears from existence due to a battle in the past (where her grandfather is killed). A spectral hero gives him the option of remembering a woman he will never see again or having the memories taken from him for good. A touching, beautiful tale.
4. Avengers (Vol. 3) #19-22 “Ultron Unlimited”
The Avengers villain Ultron ups the ante as he takes over his own country, wiping out the human population and populating it with robots!! The Avengers are sent into the fray while, at the same time, Ultron kidnaps a number of Avengers, including his “father” Hank Pym as we learn an important facet of Ultron’s origin story. This is the story that is especially known for Thor’s “Ultron – we would have words with thee” scene. Too cool. George Perez and Al Vey drew the arc.
The team-up of the century, as Busiek and George Perez tell this epic tale of the Avengers and the Justice League first being pitted against each other by Krona and the Gamesmaster, before they then team up to take Krona down, who wants to merge the universes of the JLA and the Avengers, which would destroy them both.
2. Kurt Busiek’s Astro City (Vol.2) #4-9 “Confession”
This storyline, written by Busiek with art by Anderson (Ross, of course, on covers and designs) examines the world of sidekicks, as a young man becomes the sidekick to the mysterious Confessor. When he discovers the Confessor’s secret, well, it is quite interesting. I don’t feel like spoiling it. Of course, while this story is going on, Busiek manages to weave lots of other stories together, as Astro City is very much a tapestry of tales.
Busiek and Alex Ross re-examine the Golden and Silver Ages of Marvel Comics in this story, with the age of heroes being viewed through the eyes of “everyman” photographer Phil Shelton. The comic that launched Alex Ross’ career!
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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