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Top Five #300 Issues

Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) continues with a look at the top #300 issues.

Here are the top five…

Enjoy!

First off, do note that a lot of major books have had surprisingly poor 300th issues (with some pretty big names behind them, too). To wit, Roger Stern’s super-short run on Fantastic Four after John Byrne resulted in a fairly rushed 300th issue. Roy Thomas’ cool Thor/Eternals storyline was messed over by Thomas leaving Marvel, so replacement writers Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald saw that particular storyline sort of slowly die as 300 hit rather than pulling into it with a head of steam. Similarly, J.M. DeMatteis saw his Captain America #300 dramatically re-written (not for the better). Avengers #300 was an Inferno tie-in (’nuff said). Uncanny X-Men #300 was almost a place-holder for the “real” anniversary issue, #304 (which was good). Iron Man #300 was the end of a storyline and was not that good (the overall run was good, #300, not so much). Uncle Scrooge #300 was all reprints. Detective Comics #300 was just a regular (silly) issue. Wonder Woman #300 was not bad, but it was no great shakes. Flash #300 was almost depressing. 2000 AD Prog. #300 was okay. But the following issues are the ones that really stand out…

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Amazing Spider-Man #300

Venom was a pretty cool villain, at least at first.

Our Army at War #300

Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert gave us a very cool subdued anniversary story here with Easy Company taking its “300th Hill.”

Daredevil #300

One of the rare times making the anniversary issue be the last part of a storyline really worked.

Batman #300

An imaginary story of Batman’s perhaps final case sometime in the future. Great Simonson art, but with such a cool concept, I think David Vern could have done a lot better.

Incredible Hulk #300

One of the coolest “all-out brawl” issues ever, courtesy of Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema and a bunch of inkers.

5. Legion of Super-Heroes #300

The regular creative team of Keith Giffen, Paul Levitz and Larry Mahlstedt is joined by a variety of classic Legion artists to tell stories of alternate Legion realities, and the best thing is that all of the visions SERVE THE STORY (that’s hard to do).

4. Cerebus #300

For what Cerebus once was and what we probably all expected the last issue to be, this final issue by Dave Sim and Gerhard was a bit disappointing, but as a single issue of a comic, it was quite satisfying.

3. Action Comics #300

I don’t know if this was intentional or if it was just a lucky coincidence that such a classic story happened in the 300th issue of Action Comics, but however it went down, Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino tell a brilliant tale of Superman being stuck in the future. A good deal of future Superman stories were heavily influenced by this issue.

2. Superman #300

Cary Bates, Elliot S! Maggin, Curt Swan and Bob Oksner combine to tell one of the last few great Imaginary Stories, with this acclaimed tale of what would happen if baby Kal-El landed on Earth in the “present” (1976).

1. Adventure Comics #300

Besides being a corker of a tale by Jerry Siegel, John Forte and Al Plastino, this issue was also the first issue that the Legion became a regular Adventure Comics feature! PLUS, it was the introduction of Mon-El into the Legion! When you add in one of DC’s most iconic covers, this is a clear choice for #1!

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

58 Comments

I dunno, I thought Avengers #300 was pretty good. Some very good work by John Buscema, and the main story works pretty well even if one doesn’t know anything about Inferno. Decent bonus features, including a Marvel Universe entry for Jarvis!

I’d vote for Captain America #300, the end (not counting the epilogue in 301) of one of my favorite Cap storylines. It’s not a double-sized issue but it’s Cap vs. the Skull, fighting to the death (at least for a little while).

Cap #300 is definitely one of the greatest. Iron Man #300 might have deserved an honorable mention, as it’s generally agreed that Len Kaminski was great on that title.

Detective Comics #300, on the other hand….introduced the the Polka-Dot Man.

Hulk #300 is one of my favorite comics ever. All out brawl, with the Hulk getting bannished from Earthy by Dr. Strange. Great issue that led to a great run by Mike Mignola of the Hulk battling alien monsters on a distant planet. Great list!

Somewhat surprised that Cerebus #300 isn’t on the list…

No Uncanny X-Men 300?!?

But… it had a hologram cover! As my friends in elementary school told me to convince me to buy it.

I agree with Chad, Cerebus # 300 (the final issue of the 300-issue maxi-series) should have been on this list.

Not a huge fan on Cerebus #300, but yeah, I should have at least given it an honorable mention. I can rectify that!

Avengers #300 had Gilgamesh in it; therefore, it is superior.

The problem with Cerebus #300 was that it wasn’t a high-water mark for the series artistically except in the broadest terms as a publishing achievement and the fulfillment of the creators’ stated publishing plan.

It couldn’t have been, really: Sim had long since surrendered the series’ content to his personal demons, though he remained as formally innovative as ever.

But as a story it’s nowhere near the heights of the series, and for many of us it made the whole thing something of a symbolic but hollow achievement.

No offense, Brian, but given how obscure some of these comics are, you could’ve given a little more info on them so modern fans could choose which is best. I myself have only seen a handful of these and I’ve been reading comics since the 70′s. For example Hulk #300 was both the ending of the first long-running “What if the Hulk were intelligent?” plotline (where Banner got a NEW love interest that gets killed off and is never mentioned again) AND it starts the next long arc with a (now animalistic Hulk thanks to Banner having committed psychic suicide in #300) being banished from Earth by Dr. Strange on hopes of finding a world where he could be happy. Both storylines have been effectively recycled without mention later.

Anyway, my vote for best # 300 is for The Mighty Thor’s. As in Hulk’s case, it was the conclusion (well, the climax, the actual conclusion was in the next issue) of a long-running storyline by Mark Gruenwald and Roy Thomas to a) integrate Jack Kirby’s Eternals into the Marvel Universe b) explain why the current Thor & company aren’t 100% like the ones in legend (the Ragnarok cycle thing) and c) even tie-up long running Thor plots like “what was The Destroyer created for?” They even threw in an adaptation of The Ring Of The Nibelungs! Sheer writing artistry, not to mention an Epic Final Battle that I won’t describe here because it’s worth looking up. ;)

I second Thor #300, not only did it have a truly epic battle, but it was Thor’s finest hour as a character, at least until Walt Simonson came along.

I had never seen that Sgt. Rock cover before… great, great Kubert cover!

When I first saw what today’s Top 5 was, the first issue that came to mind was Hulk #300. I’m a big fan of that one. Surprised it only got an honorable mention.

I wish more comics had pronouncements on their cover that they were a “Special Abnormally Large Size Issue!”

I never knew that Cap #300 was rewritten. What is the story behind that?

Dell never seemed to care much about anniversary issues back then but this one boasted a Carl Barks classic: http://www.comics.org/issue/8122/ . Honorable mention?

Bah! Hulk #300 is the best there is!

Re: Cap #300

The Native American mysticism doesn’t really work, but having Cap & the Skull as now two old men pounding the hell out of each other in a brutal fight to the death was a great savage end to the Red Skull that would be have been perfect to never see again (though I do like the resurrection Gruenwald gave the Skull later, as a fitting symbolic update of the Skull’s type of evil)

However yes, Thor # 300 is I think THE highlight of the years post-Kirby pre-Simonson, and should be up there.

How did Cerebrus go from “maybe I should give it an honorable mention” to #4?

Stealthwise– Uncanny X-Men #300 did NOT have a hologram cover. It was some sort of shiny-foil thing. (And it was a lousy issue, but not any worse than usual at that time.) You’re probably thinking of #304.

You dismissed it right at the beginning, but I really like Fantastic Four #300. It came just four months after the huge 25th Anniversary issue (which was awful), so they actually made it normal sized. It’s just a nice, somewhat quiet story, that featured a major event but didn’t try to turn it into a huge spectacular. The stuff with the villains was fairly simple and dull, but the Puppet Master was portrayed well, and I love that the wedding went off without a hitch (this is too rare in superhero comics). Like everyone else, I hated the stupid way in which the marriage was undone a few years later, especially since Johnny and Alicia were incompatible enough that they could’ve just divorced normally without it damaging the series. But the story of the wedding itself was just sweet.
And I really loved seeing Joe Robertson in a non-Spidey book.

Adventure 300, Action 300, Superman 300 & Legion 300, which assumed the numbering of Superboy… All we’re lacking is World’s Finest 300. Not that Impressive of an issue, but it did feature the first meeting of the JLA and the Outsiders after Batman switched teams.

Maybe Captain America #300 was rewritten for the worse by editors, I have no idea. But regardless, the final product was damn good, even if it was not as good as whatever was originally planned. Hulk #300 was great too. I can’t believe all those Superman books are better mostly because I find Weisiner and Schwartz era Superman very underwhelming, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt as I haven’t read them yet.

I also think Fantastic Four #300 was a solid book. Very understated, very mature, but still a satisfying read.

You bumped Hulk #300 from the top five because of Cerebus #300? Are you daft man?

i love top five month.
there’s waaay to many “should read” classics for me to have read even half of them and posts like this help fill in story gaps in a character’s story. i’d like to see you add the year that the stories came out to your synopsis, though. it helps keep the little gaps straight. i usually try and guess by the cover price.

I love that “Our Army at War” cover. Excellent!

As mentioned Hulk 300 is top tier although Legion 300 is remembered bt me as a favorite read at the time.

Hurm, a little DC-heavy, don’tcha think?

I’d definitely throw the 300th issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and The Uncanny X-Men in the Top Five somewhere.

Somewhat surprised at the half-assed luke warm Cerebus recognition. The lion-man-baby was a pretty big moment in the story, as was Cerebus’s rejection of whatever that was on the last few pages.

UXM #300 might have had a gimmicky cover and might have been a so-so story at best, but it also happened to be the first comic I ever bought for myself (after having read some of my older brother’s stuff, including X-Men vol. 2 #1). I haven’t looked at it in years, but seem to remember it had decent JR Jr. art and featured the X-Men gold team (plus Wolverine, back when there was a regular team of X-Men without Wolverine) and villains I had never heard of (probably because they had never been featured in a trading card set): the Acolytes.

It might not have been a “great” comic, but it was enough to make me want to buy #301 (if memory serves, a story about Forge and Mystique that also eluded me), and by #304, I was hooked and had a subscription.

Action Comics #300: excellent.

Incredible Hulk #300: really excellent, & my #1 on this list. I only wish Marvel had done more with the intelligent Hulk, the savage Hulk & crossroads Hulk (I’m referencing the Hulk as he’s seen in this story as well as the “bookend” storylines.

Eh, not enough spray-on abs in any of these for my tastes.

How did Cerebrus go from “maybe I should give it an honorable mention” to #4?

At least an honorable mention. When I sat down to put it in, it really IS a better issue than either the Hulk or the Legion issue. It is not among the top 150 or so issues of Cerebus, but it’s still a pretty good issue.

Legion #300 is my favorite here, although I haven’t read all of the ones you picked. First is the point that you mention – alternate reality stories that served the main plot. Secondly, you had a story that worked equally well with long term fans and new fans alike. As a relatively newer fan when I read it, it totally worked in spite of my lack of awareness of all the potential “baggage” Shooter’s adult Legion tale had saddled the rest of Legion continuity, so I had no idea of the emotional resonance and deep foreboding for older fans associated with having Shadow Lass/Woman fighting to save the Science Asteroid.

Now reading it as an older fan, I can perceive the bigger impact this story was having on overall Legion storytelling – setting it “free” in a sense from the predictions of Shooter’s story without just throwing them out the window.

So to sum up, you have a story that read well to a newcomer, celebrated Legion history, and opened up doors for the series’ future. Plus contributions by artists like Curt Swan, Dave Cockrum, and James Sherman when it was still possible to do so. And that awesome double-page spread at the end that I believe included Spider-Man and Matter-Eater Lad eating a carrot.

It took me a while to warm to Legion #300 – it seemed rather a let-down coming so soon after the Great Darkness Saga. However, once I began to appreciate just how deeply it dug into Legion continuity (I hadn’t been reading the LSH all that long), I really enjoyed it on its own terms. I also liked the in-jokes: the disembodied Wildfire “haunting” Invisible Kid; Proty 2 as the photographer; Brainiac 5′s complete disinterest in the multiverse concept; and of course Matter-Eater Lad munching a carrot. It would take a long time to dig my copy out of the loft, but I seem to recall that it is never actually specified what the ‘ceremony’ that forms the basis of the issue is in aid of. Or am I mis-remembering?

I think you’re right. As far as we see, the ceremony consists of everyone having the group photo on the cover, and standing around in the plaza at the end.

Looking at the list, I see that apparently I haven’t read that many 300th issues – Batman 300 came to mind immediately and it would be higher on my list (i.e. it would actually be on the list). Legion 300 was outstanding – I think that would be my no. 1.

I agree with adibisi that you should add in the years these books were published, when possible. Because you don’t do enough work for our free entertainment, Brian :)

I believe that Brian covered the Cap 300 “rewrite” issue in a CBLR column. Dunno which one, but I believe the story was that Cap would get replaced by someone else (a Native American character?). Shooter, uh, shot that down.

Okay, here’s my big Cerebus post. When I saw this top 5, I immediately thought of Cerebus. 300 is THE number associated with that book. So kudos to Chad and Tom for mentioning the book, and big kudos to Brian for figuring that it deserved to leapfrog onto the top 5 itself. (although I don’t seem to be seeing the cover image…)

Cerebus 300 doesn’t actually have the lion-man-baby, joe, that comes an issue or 2 earlier.

But 300 is the fulfillment of the prophecy from the end of Church and State, the fulfillment of the light/void ideas percolating since that same section (Walking on the Moon, the title of that part comes, I believe, from the Police song), a sad ending for Cerebus, but not an undeserved one. And I was dumb enough to think that at the end of 299 that Cerebus would be kicking ass at the end.

Cerebus 300 was one of the few books that I actually made sure to get to the comic store on the day it came out. Cerebus is my all time favorite series. Check out the Dave Sim Collected Letters 2004 index for my name, and see Dave’s reply to my fan letter written when Cerebus ended. And despite what you might think of his ideas, he’s a nice guy. But that story’s for another time…

The cover for Hulk 300 was done by Bret Blevins.; a great moment by itself

I dont really like the 290-301 Thor period.; the story is good, but the heavy inking of Chic Stone always makes me shy away from that run .

Enjoyed LoSH #300 when it came out. Reviewed Batman #300 for my Web site last year and didn’t like it all that much (it earned a C+). And even with my obvious bias for Bronze Age comics, I can’t argue with Adventure getting the top spot. Fun list!

Cheers,
Andrew
ComicsBronzeAge.com

Thor 300 was my first big anniversary issue I read and I thought it was great. Legion of Superheroes was my first (and may be my only) DC 300th issue, and I loved that too!

Hulk 300 is one of my favourites, as is Captain America 300. And Daredevil, too. Surprisingly, I’ve never been impressed with Marvel’s group books that made it to 300.

What about Uncanny X-Men #300, and why it wasn’t on the list? It’s such a cool issue.

Maybe it’s just that I’m a big giant Earth-2 nerd, but I really liked Wonder Woman #300, which had that Roy Thomas story with the introduction of Lyta Trevor (daughter of Earth-2 WW and Steve Trevor, and later The Fury of Infinity Inc.)

How are there no issues of 300 here? Frank Miller is rolling around in Will Eisner’s grave!

I loved Uncanny X-Men 300!!! And I thought it was FAR superior to #304. Eh well…

This is a great list any way you cut it and an interesting debate. Will there ever be another comic hit that 300th anniversary issue?

I’m sorry, any list that does not include Flash #300 is invalid. It’s an amazing Cary Bates/Carmine Infantino story that manages to recap the entire career of the Flash with an awesome hook– Barry Allen is lying in a hospital bed; the accident that gave him powers actually scarred him for life and the Flash is simply a delusion.

Brilliant stuff, and I think certainly more worthy than some of the honourable mentions at least!

Biff, I think we can count on the X-books for future #300 issues. I’d be surprised if X-MEN: LEGACY didn’t make it to #300 (issue #240 came out a couple weeks back, and sales are still quite healthy). If X-FACTOR continues to be a steady seller, it could make it too. And, I suppose there is always a possibility that WOLVERINE could return to it’s original numbering by the time #300 rolls around (by my count, that would be issue #21 of the, newly launched, current volume).

Over at DC, HELLBLAZER will hit it’s 300th issue fairly soon.

Flash #300 was almost depressing

In the immortal words of Amy Poehler. Really? Depressing? Really? How? I’m honestly not seeing it.

I enjoyed Flash #300 as well, at the time it came out. But then I was interested in the Flash but not too familiar with his career or rogues gallery. I wonder how well the story holds up if either of those things were not true. In other words, if you were not a Flash fan, I don’t think this story would be the one to hook you. And if you already knew about all his villains, would most of the issue feel like treading water? Haven’t read it for years, so not sure.

Avengers #300 may not have been the greatest issue of the series, but it was still fun. And at least it was better than, say, Avengers #200, or #350, or #400, or Avengers West Coast #100… good grief, except for maybe Avengers #100, the team hasn’t had a decent anniversary issue ever!

Similarly, J.M. DeMatteis saw his Captain America #300 dramatically re-written (not for the better).

I agree with Omar, though, when he says “Cap #300 is definitely one of the greatest.” When I first read it, I enjoyed it. And I thought it was a great anniversary issue, featuring Cap’s final battle (or so it seemed at the time) with the Red Skull. I had no idea about all the behind-the-scenes changes that were taking place, and didn’t find out about them until years afterward. It was probably Comic Book Legends on this very website where I first learned about the disagreement between J.M. DeMatteis and Jim Shooter over the issue.

Really, if you look at Captain America #300 by itself, the only indicator that there might be anything unusual going on was that DeMatteis was only credited as plotting the issue, with someone named Michael Ellis listed as the scripter. But that wouldn’t necessarily mean anything, because it just could have been due to deadlines. There were a number of fill-in issues during DeMatteis’ time writing Cap, so it would not be unreasonable for a reader back in 1984 to conclude that #300 had been running late, so someone else had been brought in to script it at the last minute, to make the deadline.

Say what you will about Jim Shooter, but at least under him Marvel’s books sold very well *and* they shipped on time.

Another great idea for a list! Will we see best #250, #500, etc?

The issue that leapt to my mind when I saw the title was Iron Man #300, but these are all good choices.

Uncanny X-Men #300 had the holofoil “X’s” in the background and wasn’t a bad story, but had a fantastic ending where Fabian Cortez gets stripped of all his points as an Upstart and slowly comes to the realization why.

Let me add a belated vote for Captain America #300, one of the best handlings of a major character’s death I’ve ever seen. I was extremely ticked (and, at that young, naive age) a bit surprised when they brought the Skull back, because his death was so well handled.

here I am two weeks later with my two cents…

Daredevil #300 is my favorite of the bunch, and even tho I didnt even read the previous 3 parts of it, it was an amazing story that tied in nicely with Born Again.
I wish there was a current TPB reprint of it. (Or is there? because I’ve never seen one)

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