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The Greatest Matt Fraction 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 Matt Fraction Stories Ever Told!


10. The Invincible Iron Man #20-24 – “Stark: Disassembled”

After the shocking events of World’s Most Wanted, Tony Stark has to build himself up from the ground level in this impressive look into both the psyche of Tony Stark as well as how he relates to those closest to him. Salvador Larocca handles the art.

9. The Order #1-10

Spinning out of Civil War, Fraction and artists Barry Kitson and Mark Morales (plus fill-in artists) told this charming tale of a team of heroes in California that were made up of notable Americans – from war heroes to celebrities. They would have their powers for just one year. Fraction did a great job examining all of their personalities while also looking at the idea of what superheroes would be like in today’s post-TMZ culture. This is also where he began to work with the character of Pepper Potts, who he’s done wonderful stuff with in the pages of Iron Man.

8. Thor: Ages of Thunder

Ages of Thunder collects three one-shots that each interpret a classic Norse myth with Fraction putting a twist on things. Most of the art is handled by Patrick Zircher, who perfectly fits the epic feel that Fraction is going for in this series of stories.

7. The Five Fists of Science

Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla team-up to stop an evil consortium led by J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison to thwart their plans for world peace through automatons. Fraction and artist Steven Sanders provide exactly the sort of over-the-top thrill ride you expect with a name like “Five Fists of Science” with this original graphic novel.

6. Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1 “To have and To Hold”

In a precursor to their run on Invincible Iron Man, Fraction and Salvador Larocca craft an endearing tribute to the Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson marriage in a sort of a send-off to the marriage (as it was soon to be dissolved).

5. The Immortal Iron Fist #1-6 – “The Last Iron Fist Story”

In their initial story arc, writers Fraction and Ed Brubaker introduced the world to Orson Randall, the Iron Fist circa World War I! This rollicking adventure featured stunning artwork from David Aja and Travel Foreman, with brilliant spot work from the great John Severin.

4. The Immortal Iron Fist #8-14 – “The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven”

Fraction and Brubaker (and their company of artists, led by David Aja) up the ante even more in the second half of their Iron Fist run as Iron Fist finds himself the champion of K’un-Lun in a contest against the Immortal Weapons (powerful warriors like him) of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. The contest is rigged, though, so can Danny escape with his life and find out who is behind the sprawling conspiracy? LOTS of awesome martial arts and great new characters (all the other Immortal Weapons).

3. The Invincible Iron Man #8-19 – “World’s Most Wanted”

After the events of Secret Invasion, Tony Stark goes on the run in this thrilling 12-issue long event. Pepper Potts comes even more to the forefront of the title as Rescue is born! Salvador Larocca did the artwork.

2. Casanova #1-7 “Luxuria”

In this opening story arc, drawn by the great Gabriel Ba, Fraction introduces us to Casanova Quinn, a thief who is the son of the equivalent of SHIELD. However, after a jaunt through dimensions, Quinn finds himself in a world where he (Casanova) is a good guy. Quinn plays both sides, good and bad, but will he ultimately pick one?

1. Casanova #8-14 “Gula”

In this second arc, drawn by the great Fabio Moon, Casanova has disappeared, and his disparate (and bizarre) set of friends and family search for him as they search for the answer to the question, “When is Casanova Quinn?”

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


I loved the Invincible Iron Man Annual #1

Wow . . . did you random draw covers to the picks, Brian?

In serious news, I haven’t read any of Casanova, but I did check out Five Fists of Science. Nothing like seeing Tesla building mecha, while Mark Twain plays the ultimate hype man.

Covers don’t go with the descriptions, and I’m pretty sure none of these stories were written by Gardner Fox. Aren’t technical glitches fun?

nobody liked his crap run on x-men? i thought i was the only one.
thank you matt fraction.
after reading x-men since the late eighties and every spinoff available in the nineties, your run finally made me drop uncanny after twenty years.
did like casanova though. and the order rocked

Punisher War Journal Volume II.

The best ongoing for a long time. It’s just brilliant.

I knew non of the x-men stories would make it

@Andrew Brown

You should read his Thor. It might be even worse.

Gula beat Luxuria, eh? Not what I expected! I liked his Punisher work. I’m surprised it’s not on here.

meaningless albert

November 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I disliked his Punisher work intensely, but he rocked in Iron Man and Iron Fist.

The Five Fists of Science would have placed higher, had I noticed the invitation to vote. But good choices nonetheless!

i agree generally with the stories included, however the order of the top three is hardly tied to the quality of the books. luxuria bests gula specifically for its character work with cass. there are some nice character moments in gula, but without cass the structure just doesn’t hold. it investigates but it chops, it jumps, and it doesn’t resolve.

the cut-aways were cute in luxuria but i always felt they were a little too cute. somewhat too ‘hey, look how clever and convention-breaking i’m being.’ i think they can be used to a little more potency but i found them to be in exactly the same vein in gula. this struck me as a piquant lack of growth from a writer i was excited to be tracking. so ultimately, i felt a little disappointed by gula.

world’s most wanted is, i feel, his best work. absolutely getting to the core of tony stark. taking him from the center of the marvel universe and stepping him back, little by little, not only to its fringe but to everything that he’s not. he turns tony into his own nightmare plausibly, and touchingly. he develops relationships, sets other stories in motion and provides excellent action along the way. it’s a superhero story, an espionage story and a love story and it is sweeping in scope without glossing over details. it is superb and it is a high water mark for marvel for the past 5 years. too bad the series has lost its way.

Spider Jerusalem

November 16, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Well, three of these are good…

Casanova forgives Fraction for any bad stuff he might produce.

World’s Most Wanted and Seven Capital Cities of Heaven were fantastic. I’m setting Casanova aside for a rainy day.

His X-Men stories weren’t BAD, Greg Land aside, but… okay, they weren’t very good

” after reading x-men since the late eighties and every spinoff available in the nineties, your run finally made me drop uncanny after twenty years. ”

How can any writer MAKE you drop a title? Did he hold you at gunpoint?

No love for Last of the Independents????

People voted for it. It just didn’t get enough votes for the top ten. It was roughly #15.

Barry Kitson pencilled The Order not Salvador Larroca.

Hated Ironfist and first Punisher trade. Casanova was merely okay.

I’ve had Five Fists of Science on my shelf waiting to be read for yonks.

Punisher War Journal Volume II.

The best ongoing for a long time. It’s just brilliant.

Issue 4 (?) The Stiltman’s Wake issue just rocks big time. Loved Iron Fist and the Stark Disasembled Iron Man.

yes much to my shame Matt Fraction came to my house put a gun to my head, pistol whipped me, and made me reevaluate my love of the x-men. Or maybe his run was so terrible it just felt like i was being tortured

Wwhhhaattttttt?!!!? No Fear Itself? LOL

Andrew: Man, if Chuck Austen’s run didn’t make you give up on Uncanny X-Men, I can’t believe Fraction’s did. As bad as Fraction’s was, Austen’s comics are some of the worst ever, especially considering the sustained awfulness for something like 40 issues.

I’m surprised Gula beat Luxuria. Gula was the one that made me feel like maybe there were other weirdoes out there in the world like me, and made me want to keep trying at making my own comics though, so I’m not upset at all.

So glad The Order made the list! I’m also surprised that Disassembled beat out Five Nightmares, though. What’s “Last of the Independents” like, guys? It’s the only thing I haven’t checked out yet.

And his Uncanny stories weren’t all that bad. Not the best, but he was stifled somewhat by an artist who didn’t seem to get his style and what seemed like a fair amount of editorial direction. Not that he didn’t get to tell his stories, but the way they were executed often seemed too conventional when compared with Fraction’s usual output.

I was going to ask Andrew the same thing Greg did. I didn’t read Fraction’s X-Men, but I did read Austen’s and it’s hard for me to imagine something being worse than that, unless it was written by Jeph Loeb or Brad Meltzer.

As bad as Fraction’s was, Austen’s comics are some of the worst ever, especially considering the sustained awfulness for something like 40 issues.

I thought this had to be a mistake. I couldn’t believe he could have lasted this long, But sure enough I looked it up and it was like 33 issues. Wow. And if you throw in his 8 or so issues of adjectiveless X-Men he did indeed break 40 issues of X-work.

Iron Fist, the one great thing he’s done, doesn’t make the top 3!?! Being 30 years old + should be required to vote in these.

Agree with most of the list here. I feel though his Iron Man run should on top of the list for the storyline “Most Wanted” brought him the Eisner awards. But nonetheless, a great and also an essential list!

Loved his Iron Fist run, and was surprisingly delighted by his Iron Man, considering that I’m not particularly interested in the character. And yeah, his X-Men was a load of old rubbish, but there are a lot of otherwise fine writers who write lousy X-Men comics. (I’d count Warren Ellis among them, but others’ tastes will surely vary.)

Reading how awful readers think certain runs are is more entertaining than reading about the best stories. How about some “Worst Run” lists?

Disappointed War Journal didn’t make it, and I honestly didn’t care for his Thor or Iron Man.

Or don’t, rather, since he’s still writing those comics and as of the beginning of the year they still weren’t that good.

How about The Last of The Independents? That was the best and most overlooked Fraction book written. Hands down!

I missed the voting for this I guess, and I read a lot of Fraction’s work..
I agree with much of the list.
Casanova is likely my top too. And loved The Order, it was the first to make me aware of Fraction.
Iron Fist was a lot of fun, and the Ages of Thunder books were sometimes even more exciting than Straczynski’s Thor work, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
His Iron Man has lots of great character work.. loved the Stark Disassembled stories and the encounter with Ghost… pretty tense, especially having Ghost appear an almost virtuous character (especially next to his more ruthless Thunderbolts teammates), we are reminded of his villainous roots.
His X-Men wasn’t the best, this is true… but I haven’t read much great X-Men stuff in a while. The Second Coming arc was amazing, however, which he was involved.
I liked Fear Itself better than Secret Invasion and about the same as Siege, but not as much as Civil War.

Surprisingly, I’ve read most of these. I love the second story arc for Immortal Iron Fist. I like but not love the Iron Man stories and I didn’t like Five Fists of Science. I didn’ t read enough Casanova to judge the work fairly.

yep, i stuck through onslaught (crap), claremont’s second run(ditto), and casey’s odd little run (which i quite enjoyed, but i’m the only one). To be fair, bad as Chuck Austin’s run was, I became desensitized early and learned to relish its horribleness. must be a masohcist.

But Fraction just killed me. Nobody sounded right, characters rose and faded, and it was so very, very left wing. Land’s art did not help matters at all.

Now I’m no Frank Miller Fox News nutter, but I’m a small town Tennessee man and my values tend to trend conservative, and I’m not the biggest fan of being told quite so matter of factly that my views are wrong, his are right, and go fuck yourself. Not in my X-men comics anyway. .

I remember getting to meet him at University of Oregon and personally tell him how much I enjoyed his run on Iron Fist. Fat Cobra FTW!

Oh yeah, loved me some iron fist. And I can never say enough good things about the Order and Casanova

World’s Most Wanted was the greatest Iron Man story I’ve ever read, and easily in my top 10 best Marvel stories of all time. The character work for the addled Tony Stark was peerless.

World’s Most Wanted was the greatest Iron Man story I’ve ever read, and easily in my top 10 best Marvel stories of all time. The character work for the addled Tony Stark was peerless.

It’s very very good, but for me 2nd behind Denny O’Neill’s run, which is criminally not available in trades save for a few issues at the end.

Hmmm, my 2 favourite Tony Stark runs involve the character being ripped to pieces and put through the ringer…….

I am planning to buy the Casanova trades. I notice that the most recent ones are published by Marvel. I assume that these trades are of the colour version of the series that Marvel published. Could anyone confirm whether this is the case?
If so, is there much difference between the colour version and the original, i.e. is one better than the other?

Yes, they are just colorized versions of the original trades (with some extra story pages, though). I would recommend the Marvel trades (particularly because of the new story pages). But really, you can’t go wrong either way.

Oh, did Image do trades of both storylines? I remember seeing the ads for the Luxuria trade through them, but I kinda thought Marvel stepped in before they collected Gula. I’ll have to search for the Gula trade. I am such a nerd that I like to compare the original to the colorized…

Do any of the trades collect the original back matter, though?

Sorry, I was just referring to the difference between the Image Luxuria trade and the Marvel Luxuria trade, since Image never did a Gula trade.

Ah, my memory didn’t fail me, because I didn’t think Image did Gula in trade.

Guess I’ll have to hunt down the originals for 9-14….

Thanks Brian.
Once again, your knowledge has helped me.

After seeing so much praise online, I tried the first CASANOVA booka couple of months ago. It fell heavily from my hands after 30 pages, confusing storyline, clunky art, obtuse dialogue. Sorry it didn’t work for me. The way I see it, Fraction is the 21th century’s Mark Waid, overhyped fanboy supreme.

Just about every issue of his Hawkeye run has been brilliant. The only thing worth reading right now from the House of (no) Ideas.

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