Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Here are the next ten storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.
Okay, as usual, the votes are more bundled together at the bottom of the list and things open up as we go along. Eventually the results will be five a day, except today (also they’ll be in smaller groups as we get to the very end)! Note, there may be some spoilers ahead! You are forewarned!
NOTE: All of these storyline posts will be image intensive, so I’ll be spreading them over multiple pages.
60. “Grand Guignol” by James Robinson and Peter Snejbjerg (with Paul Smith) (Starman #61-73) – 165 points (6 first place votes)
In the climax to James Robinson’s Starman series, Jack Knight returns from a trip to outer space to discover that his home of Opal City is under siege by a collection of Jack’s villains, seemingly led by the Shade, who, while nominally a villain, had never acted quite like this. Robinson’s Starman was not some rainbows and puppies type of book, but there was also a general lack of the same grim and gritty style of storytelling that had become so prevalent in comic books of the time. When something bad happened, the people involved truly reflected on how bad it was. You wouldn’t see stuff like buildings knocked down and it being no big deal. So when Jack returned to see such devastation in his town, it was like a slap in the face and Robinson and Snejbjerg handled it beautifully…
The epic tale continued through a series of clever battles (the Shade has cut Opal City off from the rest of the world, so the only heroes the city has are whoever was in the town at the time, including Jack, Elongated Man, Black Condor and Jack’s father, the Golden Age Starman) intermixed with flashbacks. There were plenty of twists, of course, including the revelation of who was REALLY behind the whole thing.
The storyline ended with a sad, dramatic sacrifice. This was one of those perfect sort of mixes of action and character-driven drama that made Starman such a special comic book. Robinson’s Golden Age collaborator, Paul Smith, even had the chance to return to sort of say goodbye to that era with Robinson with a flashback about the wives of the Justice Society of America.
59. “The Longbow Hunters” by Mike Grell (Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1-3) – 170 points (3 first place votes)
This is the mini-series that led to Grell’s acclaimed Green Arrow ongoing series. It is particularly notable for five major things:
1. It took a more “realistic” approach to both comic book aging and sexuality
2. It made the book a lot darker, with Oliver killing bad guys
3. It introduced Shado, a popular Green Arrow supporting character
4. It introduced Eddie Fyers, another popular Green Arrow supporting character
5. It has a very controversial scene where Dinah Lance (Black Canary) is tortured to the point where she can no longer use her sonic scream or have children
Let’s examine these, as we look at pages from the series.
To the first, here’s a nice sequence from where Ollie is complaining about getting old…
That is one of the more realistic character interactions you’re going to see in a 1980s superhero comic book.
One of the over-arching plotlines of Longbow Hunter was Shado getting her revenge on the government operatives who, when they were in the military in World War II, had dishonored her family.
Here is the controversial scene where Dinah’s torture drives Ollie to become a killer (and thus becoming the “urban hunter” of the ongoing series)…
I’m not really a fan of HOW Grell got there, but Ollie as an urban hunter certainly did have a lot of story potential.
The Shado plotline coincides with a plot involving the CIA and drug money. This introduces the CIA agent Eddie Feyers, who is an exceptionally resilient character. He is like a cockroach. You can never get rid of him.
In any event, this was a good series with strong artwork, good characters and just one iffy moment (with the Dinah stuff). The ongoing series might even be better than this first mini-series, but this story was a powerful intro. The current Arrow TV series took a whole lot from Grell’s approach to the character (plus the use of the characters Shado and Eddie Feyers).
58. “JLA/Avengers” by Kurt Busiek and George Perez (JLA/Avengers #1-4) – 173 points (1 first place vote)
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 Grandmaster, 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.
One of the most interesting aspects of this crossover was when Busiek played with the differences between the DC and Marvel Universes, namely that in the DC Universe, everyone loves superheroes while in the Marvel Universe, they tend to be hated and feared (of course, the New 52 has specifically dropped that difference, but at the time it was a notable difference). However, at the same token, Captain America doesn’t trust a world where the heroes are TOO beloved. This sets the stage for why the two groups would distrust each other at first, as seen in their first meeting…
Plus, you know, GEORGE PEREZ DRAWING NEARLY EVERY DC AND MARVEL CHARACTER! Awesome stuff.
Go to the next page for #57-54…
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