"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
53. “Annihilation” by Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Simon Furman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Scott Kolins, Kev Walker, Renato Arlem, Jorge Lucas, Greg Titus, Andrea DiVito and more (Annihilation: Prologue, Annihilation: Nova #1-4, Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1-4, Annihilation: Ronan #1-4, Annihilation: Super Skrull #1-4, Annihilation #1-6) – 185 points (5 first place votes)
Annihilation is about the forces of the Negative Zone, led by Annihilus, who decide to invade our universe. They do so with the so-called “Annihilation Wave,” a large wave-like formation of powerful battleships.
The whole endeavor is powered by Galactus, who Annihilus has managed to capture and use as a power source.
In the first wave of the war, the entire Nova Corps was wiped out…well, not the ENTIRE Nova Corps. Richard Rider, of Earth, manged to survive and, once he merged with the Worldmind (the computer that ran the Nova Corps), Richard became the most powerful Nova around.
With Nova working as a sort of overall general, the remaining free planets (mostly the Kree) banded together against Annihlilus’ forces.
The series was told in an interesting fashion that was later re-used for the sequel mini-series, Annihilation: Conquest.
There was a prologue issue, where the situation began.
Then there were four separate mini-series starring four characters tied into the mess – Nova, Ronan (of the Kree), the Super Skrull and the Silver Surfer.
The most notable aspect of the initial mini-series was the way that Nova was transformed into not only a super-powerful being but also truly grew into himself as a warrior. Take this moment from Nova #3…
Once the four mini-series ended, we got the Annihilation series, written by Giffen and drawn by Andrea DiVito.
There is lots of action and a significant amount of casualties, including an Avenger!
The series basically worked to revitalize Marvel’s pretty much ignored “Cosmic Universe” of heroes.
52. “The Kindly Ones” by Neil Gaiman, Marc Hempel, Richard Case, D’Israeli, Ted Kristiansen, Glyn Dillon, Dean Ormston and Charles Vess (Sandman #57-69) – 187 points (7 first place votes)
The Kindly Ones is the climax to Neil Gaiman’s original Sandman series and as such it draws upon so many different earlier stories of the series, primarily the idea that Morpheus, over the course of the series, has made ALL sorts of different enemies. And now, all of those debts are going to have to be paid with Morpheus’s life.
A fascinating aspect of the story is that the whole time Morpheus understands what is the ultimate end to his story, yet he cannot turn away from his responsibilities to avoid his untimely end.
Meanwhile, Lyta Hall (the former superheroine known as The Fury) believes that Morpheus is responsible for the death of her son, Daniel. She is in a total daze, as demonstrated in this page from early in the story…
Lyta is a perfect patsy, of sorts, to arrange Morpheus’ ultimate fate and, just like all great tragedies, she understands too late that her son is actually alive.
Meanwhile, we get to check in on pretty much every major character from the series, from Lucifer to Thessaily the Witch, as they all play a role in the story…
It’s a truly wonderful climax, bringing in all of the various plots and awesome characters that Gaiman had created during the series’ run. All of the favorites check in at one point or another.
51. “The Dark Angel Saga” by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, Mark Brooks, Billy Tan, Robbi Rodriguez, Richard Elson, Scot Eaton, Dean White and a whole bunch of inkers (Uncanny X-Force #8, 10-180 – 200 points (5 first place votes)
Uncanny X-Force began with the team trying to stop Apocalypse from rising again. Instead, they just ended up seeing him rise again in the form of their own teammate, Archangel. With Warren Worthington slowly turning evil, X-Force must travel to an alternate dimension, revisiting the Age of Apocalypse, to bring back something that could possibly stop the increasingly evil Archangel as he slowly gathers together a fearsome group of soldiers to serve him in the celebration of the survival of the fittest (through lots and lots of killing). The problem, of course, is that the Age of Apocalypse needs the same remedy that the heroes of our Earth need, as the Age of Apocalypse is being taken over by its OWN Apocalypse-controlled X-Force member, Wolverine! This storyline is ALL about the hard choices. Which reality is more important? And eventually, the most brutal of decisions – if they cannot save their friend from Apocalypse’s control, do they have to KILL him? Archangel’s girlfriend, Psylocke, might be the one who has to make that final decision in this heartbreakingly epic tale that was written by Rick Remender and drawn by a bunch of different artists, most notably Jerome Opena, Mark Brooks and Billy Tan.
Jerome Opena is such an amazing artist (especially when paired with colorist Dean White).
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