EXCL. PREVIEW: Marvel's "Darth Vader" #9 Puts the Sith Lord at a Crossroads
Every day in April 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 Jim Lee Stories Ever Told!
10. “Heroes Reborn” Fantastic Four #1-6
Jim Lee penciled and co-wrote this reboot of the Fantastic Four with co-writer Brandon Choi and inker Scott Williams. Lee was clearly quite respectful of the original Lee and Kirby Fantastic Four and much of his new take on the Fantastic Four’s origin was adapted by the Ultimate Fantastic Four’s version of the Fantastic Four’s origin. In addition, Lee was ahead of the game when it came to tying in all of the various super scientists in each other’s origins, something that was a key element of the Ultimate Universe. As for the art, it was just what you would expect, Lee and Williams doing dynamic renditions of all of the Fantastic Four’s most popular friends and foes. Lee’s take on the Fantastic Four reborn is generally thought of as the best of all of the Heroes Reborn titles, and it is not surprising that for many years, it was the only one that Marvel reprinted.
9. “Resurrection Day” WildC.A.T.s #1-4
It seemed evident that one of the things Lee was most interested in in his first release from Image Comics was that he could come up with a lot of interesting new characters. Much of his early work at Image consisted of him and co-writer Brandon Choi introducing new characters. While the introduction of so many characters at once obviously ended up being hit or miss, Lee hit on enough of the characters that a number of the characters introduced in his first WildC.A.Ts storyline are still being used to this day by DC Comics (most notably Grifter and Voodoo). In addition, Lee and Choi provided a compelling set-up for the WildC.A.T.s, as we are introduced to a covert war being two warring alien races who are both hidden on Earth, one good and one evil (the evil aliens were also shapeshifters). The WildC.A.T.s represented the Kherubim, who waged their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Daemonites. The twist was that the Daemonites impersonated Vice President Dan Quayle, leading the WildC.A.T.s into conflict with Youngblood, in one of the first Image crossovers.
8. “Omega Red Trilogy” X-Men #5-7
In his first arc on X-Men without Chris Claremont, Jim Lee also showed off his character creation skills by introducing the villainous Omega Red as well as the mercenary Maverick, both of whom had connections to Wolverine’s then-mysterious past as an international special agent. X-Men #4 is a “breather” issue that leads directly into the story (as Wolverine is captured by Omega Red at the end of #4). Lee was joined by John Byrne as the scripter on the first part of the story with Scott Lobdell coming in to script the final two parts. Similarly, Lee’s inkers changed during the story, as well, with Scott Williams beginning the arc and Art Thibert finishing it. The story is filled with some dynamic artwork from Lee and some good character work with Wolverine and Sabretooth (who is working with Omega Red). There is a reason both Omega Red and Maverick continue to show up in comics to this day – they’re interesting characters, both visually and also background-wise.
7. “To Become a Bat” Batman: Gotham Knights #1
This was the first of a series of Batman: Black and White back-up stories in Batman: Gotham Knights #1-49, inspired by a 1996 anthology mini-series called Batman: Black and White (Lee did the cover for the first issue of that series, although he did not do an interior work), which was one of the many brilliant comic ideas by Mark Chiarello, who must have the greatest collection of great ideas of anyone working in comics today. Anyhow, this story was written by Warren Ellis with pencils and inks by Lee. It is a clever tale showing the background for every piece of knowledge Batman uses on a given case (the murder of the above woman). For instance, he sees her bullet wounds and we cut to a flashback of pre-Batman Bruce studying every different kind of gunshot wounds. We see pre-Batman Bruce with a case of every aftershave and cologne on the market so that he can identify certain aftershaves and colognes instantly. Stuff like that. It’s a strong tale.
6. “Psylocke Reborn!” Uncanny X-Men #256-258
This was Lee’s first extended stint on Uncanny X-Men, as he drew this three-parter that introduced the new Asian ninja version of Psylocke. Written by Chris Claremont with inks by Scott Williams, this was likely the arc that told Marvel that they had to get Jim Lee on this title on a regular basis STAT. It is a powerful story of Psylocke fighting the corruptive forces of the Mandarin. It also introduces the saying “focused totality of my psychic powers,” which is a classic turn of phrase!
The top five is on the next page!
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