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CSBG Archive

The Greatest Jason Aaron Stories Ever Told!

Every day in November 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 Jason Aaron Stories Ever Told!


10. Ghost Rider #33-35 “Trials and Tribulations”

In this series of stories from the end of Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider series (before he came back for a mini-series to wrap everything up), drawn by the great Tony Moore, we learn the history of the Spirit of Vengeance in America before Johnny Blaze – and it is AWEsome! Also, Danny Ketch fights a Demon Trucker. How can you NOT want to read a comic book like that?

10. Scalped #25-29 “High Lonesome”

In this story arc, undercover FBI agent Dashiel Bad Horse (undercover at the same reservation where he grew up) is recognized by a con man that Dashiel had arrested a few years back. The con man then blackmails Dashiel into helping him rob the reservation casino or he will blow Dashiel’s cover. Things take a series of twists and turns from that point on. In this collection, we also learn the background of the FBI Agent Nitz, who is devoted to bringing down the Chief of the reservation by hook or by crook. Here, we learn his motivations.

8. Joker’s Asylum: Penguin #1

This one-shot issue (drawn by Jason Pearson) shows the lengths that the Penguin will go to to take down anyone who laughs at him, even when doing so might lose him the love of the first woman who ever truly loved him.

7. PunisherMAX #1-5 “Kingpin”

Aaron and artist Steve Dillon launch the new MAX Punisher series by exploring how the mob concocts a fictitious “Kingpin” to help lay a trap for the Punisher. However, the man chosen to play the part, Wilson Fisk, has his own ideas of whether the role is for real or not.

6. Wolverine #62-65 “Get Mystique”

After the events of the Messiah Complex, Wolverine decides to kill Mystique once and for all. In this four-parter with art by Ron Garney, Wolverine and Mystique go at it in a deadly form of the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. We also learn about their past together.

5. Scalped #12-18 “Dead Mothers”

A drug addict is killed on the reservation and Dashiel promises her children that he will solve their mother’s murder. But her oldest son wants to take matters into his own hands. Dashiel takes the case very personal and tries to form a bond with the son. But can Dashiel keep his promise?

4. Scalped #6–11 “Casino Boogie”

While the two-parter in issues #4-5 was probably the first real sign that Scalped was a special comic book, the issues that make up Casino Boogie made it abundantly clear. Each issue spotlights a different cast member, and the lush details that Aaron and artist R.M. Guera give to all of the characters is amazing. They are fascinating as they are compelling. And just when you are truly invested in all of their lives – Aaron kills one of them off in dramatic fashion. Striking stuff.

3. The Other Side #1-5

In this mini-series, Aaron and artist Cameron Stewart depict the horrors of the Vietnam War from the perspectives of a U.S. Soldier and a Vietnamese one. However, the term “The Other Side” has another meaning in this series, as the series takes a supernatural twist.

2. Scalped #30-34 “The Gnawing”

A number of the plots in the series come to a head in this storyline, where Chief Red Crow finds himself dealing with the fallout from the dramatic decisions that he made at the end of “The Gravel in Your Guts” and Dashiel finds himself placed in a very precarious position with the FBI and Red Crow.

1. Scalped #19-24 “The Gravel in Your Guts”

This collection tells two stories, one of which, the two-part “The Boudoir Stomp,” had its own votes – but the majority of voters just said “The Gravel in the Guts,” so I guess I “have” to include them together as they are in the trade paperback. The Boudoir Stomp is a darkly fascinating character study in Dashiel and his love interest, Carol, the daughter of Chief Red Crow. Meanwhile, Red Crow is given the task of attending to the soul bundle of a dead friend. He has to do no evil for a year or else the soul of his dead friend will not make it to heaven. Can Red Crow live up to this burden? It is a fascinating dilemma and one that Aaron milks for a lot of pathos. The art is by Davide Furno for the first part and RM Guera is back for the rest of it.

Okay, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

I tried to be as vague as I could with the Scalped descriptions for those of you who have still not yet read it! But as you can see from the list, it is really, really REALLY good!


Just a small quick question, that Penguin one-shot, did you say that Jason Aaron drew it? You sure you didn’t meant Jason Pearson? ;-)

Lots of Scalped here, no surprise there!

Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to just list Scalped as ONE story by Jason Aaron?


Yeah! I’m glad to see Scalped dominate. I was worried that it being less well-known would result in a top ten dominated by Wolverine stories, but it’s nice to see that the CBR readership has exquisite taste. My top ten had 6 Scalped entries in it, and I’m pleased to see that 4 of those made the top ten, and that my #1 pick was #1 on the list.

@Acrid_Gunsmoke, listing Scalped – which at this stage has 53 issues under its belt – as one story would do a major disservice to the numerous classic arcs and storylines contained within the run.

Want more Wolverine & Punisher on this list! I didn’t vote though, so I can’t complain…

Great stories listed–the best Wolverine I’ve read from Aaron would have to be Wolverine: Weapon X 16, the Nightcrawler eulogy.

Man, his first Ghost Rider arc (issues #20-23) was so much better than any of the others (which were still pretty good) that it’s not even funny.

cool was wondering how high scalped would be on the list for aaron and surprise it took most of the slots.

Both the nightcrawler issue and the one where he’s at the bar with Spider-man are great, as is Wolverine: Manifest Destiny. All better than Get Mystique I think.

He’s had at least one great Iron Fist related story too.

the 3 issue black panther story should be included it showed how awesome BP and his army can be!!

One thing I find interesting is how great the design sense in all these covers are, with the exception of the Penguin one which is well-drawn (it is Pearson so that’s a given) but has a routine design to it. I wonder if he gives input to his cover artists or if it’s just a coincidence? The Ghost Rider one with the truck driver is hilarious.

After the events of the Messiah Complex, Wolverine decides to kill Mystique once and for all. In this four-parter with art by Ron Garney, Wolverine and Mystique go at it in a deadly form of the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. We also learn about their past together.

One thing that’s always bugged me about these types of stories…there was an old issue of the X-Men where Wolverine stops his teammate Rachel Summers from hunting down and killing Selene the Black Queen. Selene the Black Queen was a murdering vampire and Rachel thought the world would be better off without her. Wolverine says two wrongs don’t make a right, murder is murder and this is cold blood and premeditated rather than self-defense, blah blah blah and he goes off and mortally STABS Rachel, his own teammate. The only thing that keeps her alive is her telekinesis. And he lets her stumble off on her own to bleed out and die. When his teammates come back he’s pretty unrepentant and shrugs off what he just did.

Since then he’s had a ton of stories where he’s tracked down old villains with the specific intent to murder them in cold blood as retrbution for their past evils. He even became part of a hit squad dedicated to that express purpose. The character’s become a really unlikeable hypocrite in my eyes, and I wish a writer would address this.

I detest “Get Mystique,” but it’s a great list otherwise. Glad to see a whole lotta Scalped on there, because it’s a great comic. I still haven’t read The Other Side, but I guess I should!


I just read that story for the first time a few months ago and was taken back by Logan’s moral stand considering all the comics I’ve read where he just slaughters a dozen goons at a time.

I’ve always wanted to try Scalped but I was kind of turned off by the Punisher MAX arc. He just seemed like a poor man’s Garth Ennis. Is Scalped much better?

I didn’t vote, but I am thrilled that ‘Get Mystique’ made the list. The story itself is great, but it is how Aaron tells the story that is superb.

Aside from the first issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, the only Jason Aaron story I’ve ever read was a 2-part Wolverine story I randomly stumbled upon while flipping through trades at a Borders (RIP). Adam Kubert drew it, and it involved Spider-Man confronting Wolverine at a bar about how over-extended he was with commitments. I thought it was one of the best Wolverine stories I’ve ever read, and it’s a shame not to see it show up here.

I’ve always wanted to check out Scalped, but my local library doesn’t have it, and I hate buying trades (I prefer hardcovers). If Vertigo starts releasing it in hardcover, I’ll absolutely pick it up.

That Wolverine story, “A Day in the Life,” got a goodly amount of support! Just not enough for the Top 10 (I think it ended up roughly #16 or so).

Spider Jerusalem

November 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

My personal top three? In no order, “Casino Boogie”, “Insane in the Brain” and Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine.

Spider Jerusalem

November 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Also, “Bullseye” would be in my top five, for sure.

Aaron can write an incredibly rich short story in just 22 pages. He is an absolute genius and possibly the best stand-alone issue writer working today.

Hold your roll, pepper, geezus……

Know one has ever stated why Scalped is so good? Its always “man, its awesome”


I think that’s because very few writers really understand how to write Wolverine the way the character is meant to be written. When handled the right way, Wolverine is one of the best characters in comics. But sadly, Wolverine is also the single easiest character in comics to write poorly, because he’s such a “cool” character that falling into his ready-made writer traps is tempting beyond words.

Wolverine should generally be written like he was in the first mini-series. He’s one of the most honorable and principled characters out there, but he’s also utterly tortured by his past and by the nature that he works overtime to suppress. A lot of writers tend to write Wolverine as a guy struggling with his animalistic and violent side, but they seem to forget the part of him that can keep that in check. Claremont got it because he essentially created every Wolverine character trait there is. Other writers tend to only remember some of them.

Claremont should have worked the same deal with Marvel and Wolverine that Neil Gaiman has with DC and the Sandman characters. Approval on all appearances and portrayals.


In Scalped, Jason Aaron & R.M. Guera created a fully-realized world full of distinct characters. Life on the reservation is hard, steeped in poverty, and the people either drown in it or carve out an existence of their own choosing. Aaron piles on the despair but allows some of his characters a measure of hope. Dash, the protagonist, and Lincoln Red Crow, the villain, are morally-conflicted men whose actions are often shocking. Aaron’s view of the rez and his characters is unflinching, but his strong storytelling makes the series more than an exercise in “extreme” writing. Scalped is, for my money, the best monthly comic book being published.

I couldn’t get into SCALPED…everybody was too ‘badass’ and seemed to overdose on testosterone.
His PUNISHER left me cold.

tough, THE OTHER SIDE is a masterpiece.

While I’m happy to see “Get Mystique” on the list, I am deeply disappointed that “Hell-Bent & Heaven-Bound” – his first Ghost Rider arc – wasn’t on the list when it’s easily been his best work. But that’s what I get for not voting, lol.

My choices were:

1. Scalped #21-24 (“The Gravel in Your Guts”)
2. Wolverine Vol. 3 #62-65 (“Get Mystique”)
3. Scalped #6-11 (“Casino Boogie”)
4. The Other Side #1-5
5. Scalped #19-20 (“The Boudoir Stomp”)
6. Scalped #1-3 (“Indian Country”)
7. Scalped #13-17 (“Dead Mothers”)
8. Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1-4
9. Scalped #4-5 (“Hoka Hey”)
10. Wolverine Vol. 2 #175 (Backup story: “A Good Man”)

Yeah, I haven’t read Scalped in a very long time (in trades), my last one was “The Gravel in Your Guts”.

PunisherMAX (“Kingpin”) almost made it into my list, but instead I picked the backup story from Wolverine #175, Aaron’s first published work. It was featured before by Brian on at least one occasion. The art was pretty lame (by UDON, back when they were providing lots of work for Marvel, and I hated most of their stuff), but Aaron’s great talent was already there.

In retrospect, Wolverine: Manifest Destiny might’ve been the best thing to come of that X-Men “event”, but most of its charm came from Mater Po and Aaron’s take on campy kung-fu action.

“Get Mystique” is also the best thing to come out of an X-Men event/crossover. A few years later, I forgot everything that happened in “Messiah Complex”/”Divided We Stand”, except for that cool story.

Other than leaving off the Wolverine days of the week story in vol 73, but other than that pretty good list

Claremont should have worked the same deal with Marvel and Wolverine that Neil Gaiman has with DC and the Sandman characters. Approval on all appearances and portrayals.

That’s good in theory and all, but one of those stories where Wolverine wanted to kill someone in cold blood that I can remember was written by Chris Claremont himself. In Dreamsend Part 4, after the assassination attempt on Robert Kelly, Mystique is unconscious and held captive and Wolverine is considering killing her in cold blood while unconscious as revenge for all the things she’s done in the past, while no one is around. Then someone comes in and interrupts and he doesn’t go through with it. And like I said, this was done by Claremont himself.

Regardless of what later writers have done anyway, I think Wolverine stabbing Phoenix II to protect a vampire with a body count in the thousands was totally disgusting, especially how unrepentant he was afterward and how everyone just kind of shrugged it off after giving him a quick lecture. Then they never really stressed about tracking her down.

“Astonishing Wolverine & Spider-Man” is the correct answer for #1. That series is mindblowingly good.

I assume many people read it in issue form, and not graphic novel as I did. It is really strong in 1 read. Breaking it up bi-monthly, it’s tougher to follow that plot. That’s the reason it didn’t get as many votes on here, and why Scalped (Largely read and enjoyed in trade) did.

Ed (A Different One)

November 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm

@ Annoyed Grunt

“I’ve always wanted to try Scalped but I was kind of turned off by the Punisher MAX arc. He just seemed like a poor man’s Garth Ennis. Is Scalped much better?”


Yes it is.

Scalped, IMHO, is the best ongoing series that’s been written (and is being written) in the last decade. I like PunisherMax but can understand some people not liking it. Scalped is on a whole different level. It is truly a Jason Aaron work – they’re his babies and he’s “all in” on them. While I like what Aaron has done with some the big 2’s “legacy characters”, there’s just a qualitatively different feel and level of enjoyment with Scalped – it’s all Aaron all the time. (And that’s not even mentioning the art, which deserves it’s own blog post . . . )

That being said, it can be violent, and it’s natural habitat is the dark ugly side of human nature. But to quote my heroine shooting friend down the block, “man, that’s the good shit . . . ”

I just hope he can stick the landing as the series ends with #60 coming up . . . .

Not that his other stuff is bad (no comment on Schism) but Scalped is EASILY his best work and a true masterpiece that is in a whole different league than his other other stuff (including The Other Side).

I’m still making my way through Scalped, which I agree, is amazing. But I also agree that that Black Panther story should have been on this list. My guess is that not enough people knew about it to vote on it.

And his Ghost Rider is my single favorite Ghost Rider story ever. Nothing else even gets close.

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