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CSBG Archive

2013 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #50-41

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47. “Ultron Unlimited” by Kurt Busiek, George Perez and Al Vey (Avengers #19-22) – 218 points (1 first place vote)

The concept of the storyline (written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Perez and Al Vey) is that Ultron IX has decided that he does not want to simply wipe out humans from Earth – he wants to repopulate the world with his own people: robots. He begins this attempt in horrific fashion as he enters the small European country of Slorenia and proceeds to slaughter the entire human population in three hours. He sends a message to the horrified public watching at home – do not come into this county or suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, he has also kidnapped the Avengers that he considers “family” and intends to use their brainwaves to base his new world population of robots on, much like the way he earlier based his intended robot bride Jocasta on Wasp’s brainwaves, the android Vision on the brainwaves of Wonder Man and the robot Alkhema on the brainwaves of Mockingbird.

It is during this story that we learn for the first time something that probably should have been evident to readers earlier (it’s somewhat surprising it took decades until Busiek came up the concept), which is that Ultron’s mind was based on the brainwaves of his creator, Hank Pym, who happens to be among the Avengers kidnapped by Ultron.

The Avengers ultimately decide to invade Slorenia, resulting in many interesting battles within the country as the small band of heroes seem to be overmatched by Ultron’s apparently unending supply of robot drones (hence the “Unlimited” part of the story’s title). During the course of this war, the Avengers have to face off against all the earlier Ultrons, each of whom was enough to fight them to a standstill in previous years.

Ultron is quite confident that his minions are more than enough to defeat the Avengers. That same confidence leads to one of the coolest dramatic entrances ever (and winner of a Wizard Award that year for Best Moment) when the Avengers burst into Ultron’s lair, looking quite ragged, with Thor speaking for the entire team when he declares “Ultron, we would have words with thee!”

Very cool.

46. “Infinity Gauntlet” by Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Joe Rubinstein and a couple of other inkers (Infinity Gauntlet #1-6) – 223 points (1 first place vote)

The mad god Thanos devoted his entire life (and since he has been resurrected a few times, his entire after-life) to pleasing the love of his life – Death. When Death decides she needs a champion once again, she brings Thanos back to life. In an attempt to please her, Thanos goes on a quest for the Infinity Gems; the powerful items that seem to power the various Elders of the Universe.

After finally collecting all of the gems through various methods, Thanos brings them together to form the Infinity Gauntlet, a glove that, when worn, gives the user complete power over the universe. What Thanos does with the Gauntlet is the subject of the 1991 Marvel mini-series, “Infinity Gauntlet” by writer Jim Starlin and artists George Perez (issues #1-3) and Ron Lim (issues #4-6).

His first act, seen in the first issue, to impress Death is to kill half of the universe, which he does with a snap of the fingers. The remaining half of the universe, naturally, is not happy about this and sets about to try to stop Thanos. They are aided by a similarly resurrected Adam Warlock, who was Thanos’ main nemesis back when they were both first alive.

Warlock helps organize an excursion of as many superheroes as they can gather (Doctor Doom, too) to attack Thanos at his fortress. Thanos, meanwhile, in another attempt to impress Death (as suggested to him by that wily devil, Mephisto) has used the Gauntlet to make himself fallible, so that the superhero army attacking him actually has a theoretical chance at defeating him.

The heroes leave in issue #3, and it is in #4 that the battle takes place. Thanos mows through the heroes like he’s a hot knife and they’re all sticks of butter. Cyclops is suffocated, Iron Man has his head torn off, Thor is turned to glass – it is not pretty. Finally, only Captain America remains, and in an impressive act of defiance, stands up to Thanos one on one. As Thanos gets ready to smite Cap, Warlock’s real plan springs into action. The Silver Surfer swoops in at light speed to snatch the gauntlet away from Thanos. The whole attack was just a diversion so that Surfer could steal the gauntlet.

Story continues below

Only the Surfer misses.

You’ll have to read the rest of the series to see what happens next, but suffice it to say that Starlin did a heck of a job on this crossover.

45. “Identity Crisis” by Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales and Michael Bair (Identity Crisis #1-7) – 230 points (2 first place votes)

Identity Crisis is a murder mystery, where the victim is the wife of a superhero, Elongated Man.

Sue Dibny, like her hero husband Ralph, was a public figure, so when she was murdered, it threw the whole superhero community into a frenzy – are THEIR loved ones at risk, too?

Before Sue dies, we get a touching tribute to their life together…

Very sad.

The death of Sue also caused a group of Justice Leaguers to reflect back on the last time they caught a super-villain messing with a loved one (Sue, actually) – they wiped his memory clean. So they figured that this villain might have remembered it, and since Sue’s death possibly could have been caused by someone with this villain’s powers, he became the most wanted villain on the planet.

Soon other loved ones of heroes are attacked (and some killed) and the mystery ratchets up, all the while contrasting with the loss of trust between some of the heroes when they learn what these Leaguers did in the past (not to mention a major battle when the fugitive villain hires Deathstroke the Terminator to protect him).

When the murderer is revealed – it is a shock to the system, to say the least.

Rags Morales and Michael Bair do a wonderful job with the facial expressions in this series, which is important because writer Brad Meltzer includes a good deal of emotional scenes.

This series has been one of the most influential series of the past 10 years for DC Comics, as a great many comics spun out of this one.

44. “Blackest Night” by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Joe Prado (Blackest Night #1-8) – 234 points (3 first place votes)

In a lot of ways, Blackest Night is about the very artifices that make up comic book continuity, namely the false idea that comic book characters ever really die. In this storyline, a mysterious being shows up with Black Lantern Rings that can re-animate dead people.

Eventually, this approach even goes to those characters who were FORMERLY dead, as in this striking sequence in the fifth issue of the story…



Ultimately, though, this story is about the emotional spectrum, as Geoff Johns had slowly been building up a colored emotional spectrum in the pages of Green Lantern, from the rage of the Red Lanterns to the love of the Purple Lanterns. All of the colors of the emotional spectrum are going to be needed to take on Nekron and the mighty force of death.

This is a grand, sweeping epic storyline with bold and dramatic storytelling by Ivan Reis. This storyline also paid off years worth of Green Lantern stories in a way that both resolved the original stories but also set the stage for a lot more stories (most notably the follow-up maxi-series Brightest Day).

Go to the next page for #43-41…

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Sweet stories on page 1 and 3. That middle one…not so much.

Hooray for 2 Cerebus stories making the list, and I do believe they’re up higher than last time, maybe with more votes (the ‘Spruce’ll be a mensch and let us all know). Being Pariah King of Comics just isn’t the same any more ;)

I got most of the Simonson Thor run cheap in a back issue bin this year, but haven’t gotten to read it yet.

Nice to know that all the 16 year old goth girls voted A Doll’s House onto the list again. ;)

Alright, alright, I’ll look for Ultron Unlimited in the back issues! Jeez, it’s popping up here all the time, it seems!

Never cared much for what I read of the Infinity stuff.

And then there are 2 DC books. Ahem. Moving on.

Return of Barry Allen is so damn good. Brilliant plot, and really touching moments. I came on to Flash about a year or so later with Bart’s debut, but I read this in trade and it’s soooo good. Great Ty Templeton covers, too.

And then 2 I’m almost certain I voted for — WE3, probably the best mini ever, makes me cry every time, such great Quitely art. The trade of the new deluxe/new pages version is in Previews for order, and it’s well worth it. That 3rd issue cover, with the rabbit missing poster and the little girl’s crayoned on writing… so heartbreaking, because with those covers we really get more of the story told — these were lost/stolen pets that were experimented on by the military, and someone had loved them and missed them.

I’m getting misty here.

And the Master Planner saga, with the classic sequence. So awesome. It’s stuff like this that makes me donate to any and all Ditko Kickstarters. He’s still interesting.

Just think, there are still 40 more storylines that people thought were BETTER than these, and these are mostly fuggin’ awesome!

Can I just take this moment to remind everyone that it’s ‘Omnibuses’, not ‘Omnibi’? That is unless you would say you’re embarking on a bus trip that involves two different bi.

Oh, great list so far by the way :)

My favorite Penthouse letters start out talking about how the writer embarked on a bus trip involving 2 different bi.


Ooh, Identity Crisis will upset some people. I liked it though.

WE3 is the standout here for me. That bit where dog was calling himself a bad dog was really emotional.

Simonson’s Thor is still the best version of the character, though I don’t think that was even in the top 2 stories from that run.

Busiek’s Avengers and Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet were both OK.

I can’t decide whether Identity Crisis was awesome or complete garbage.

Blackest Night is still probably my favorite “event” in comics ever. I enjoyed it enough that I actually bothered to read every single tie-in. Speaking of which, should at least the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps issues be listed as part of the storyline? I’m pretty sure they were “official” chapters in the story and not just “tie-ins”.

The Return of Barry Allen is still the greatest multi-issue Flash story of all time and possibly the single best multi-issue superhero storyline in comic of the entire 1990s.

WE3 I never cared for. I looks excellent, but the story never did anything for me at all.

The Spider-Man story I can understand is objectively an exceptional example of superhero storytelling, but subjectively I just don’t give a crap about Spider-Man so I can’t really fully enjoy it.

Overall this is one of the best batches of stories so far. Probably the best.

WE3 is the first of mine to show up. As Travis said, it’s possibly the best mini ever. Plenty of action, strong emotion and great characterisation. The art and layouts were amazing. Simply groundbreaking. And it puts a lump in my throat every time.

Not too bothered with Cerebus.

Plan on picking up the new Simonson Thor trades. It looks very cool. And I love Thor when it’s done well.

A Doll’s House is definitely a highlight of one of the best series evah. I personally prefer The Kindly Ones and Season of Mists, but I know this one’s a lot of people’s favourite.

I read the first few issues of that Avengers run and it was good, but not really my bag.

Infinity Gauntlet is one of the better crossovers, and I do love me some cosmic Marvel. Would not rate it this highly myself.

Identity Crisis is really uncool, and is responsible for a lot of other uncool stuff. I don’t feel mainstream superhero books are the place for that type of storytelling, though YMMV. Found the mystery rather silly too.

Haven’t read Blackest Night. No inclination to.

I’ve read bits of Waid’s Flash run and would like to read the rest. I think the Return of Barry Allen trade is out of print, non? I’ll try get a copy anyway.

Haven’t read the Lee/Ditko Spidey. Still working through Lee/Kirkby FF. Will get to it eventually.

Half of these are things I already wanted to read but haven’t yet.

The greatest ever Spider-Man story made my shortlist. A Dolls House might have made my ten but I didn’t want two Sandman stories in there. Ultron Unlimited is great stuff too.

I’ve read one issue of Identity Crisis. I pretty much agree with the general opinion of it. I’m not interested in Blackest Night either.

Return of Barry Allen, only the second of mine to turn up, along with Rock of Ages. I think I can only expect another 2 or 3 to make an appearance.

Interesting section. Haven’t read Barry Allen or the Spider-Man arc. I’m sure I’ll read that someday, but I suspect, like most classics, I’ll appreciate it on a historical level but not be too emontionally invested (I could be wrong, I do like Lee’s Spider-Man stuff more than his other classic Marvel stuff, except maybe Dr. Strange).

I think my favourite thing here is Doll’s House. I’ve read We3 a couple of times but I don’t like it as much as everyone else seems to (although the art style and layouts are very interesting to look at).

Infinity Gauntlet was the second to last Marvel mini series I thought was really, really cool (the last one was Jenkins’ Inhumans).

Oh yeah, and having just seen the Thor movie last night, awesome to see Surtur here (actually that gives Sandman a run for its money as my favourite thing here).

So with doll’s house that’s now 4 from my list. The first time everything came together and showed just how good Sandman could be.

I really need to read Sutur I read it once and I hadn’t read much Thor so I was totally confused.

Identity Crisis. Had a couple of cool scenes and a vaguely interesting concept but… It is not very good and the ending barely makes sense.

Blackest Night, it started off interesting but fell apart for me when the white lantern was found.

Return of Barry Allen is pretty good. Not on my short list but enjoyable.

We3 is interesting but I don’t have a high regard for Quitely’s art style.

If this be my destiny is obviously influential and very good.

Not read any cerebrum and I don’t find the avengers I have gone through very good.

Read all these. Hopefully I can make it through this with 98/100 read. That was some DAMNED impressive hiding of true feelings in the Identity Crisis write-up. “Influential” “Good Facial Expressions…” Nicely done.

Simonson Thor: It’s remarkable that Simonson was able to break away from the limitations inherent in Thor while finding novel uses for the traditional trappings. Thor has almost always gone from Asgardian soap opera with troll-fighting mixed in to being a funny-talking Superman in New York. Simonson managed to up the stakes in Asgard while breaking up relationships and getting rid of a major character. He also integrated other Asgardians into New York while giving Thor a new identity. The art and storytelling were stellar.

I liked the Infinity Gauntlet but wish George Perez had drawn the whole series. Ron Lim did a good job taking over, but Perez’s layouts were so much more inventive.

The Doll’s House was the best of the horror-based Sandman stories. The individual serial killer monologues were chilling. Gaiman incorporated multiple genres into one story, and the art was suitably gritty. The 16 year-old girls swooned for this one and gave it two ebon-nailed thumbs up. Gaiman made the cover of Sassy the month after.

Ultron Unlimited was a great example of ramping up action and tension with each issue, as well as using both internal and external conflicts to tell an exciting story.

“The Final Chapter” is one of the best examples of art and storytelling ever produced in the genre. Ditko’ imagery and pacing were striking. Great stuff.

The Crazed Spruce

November 16, 2013 at 6:09 am

I haven’t read High Society yet, but I do have the first issue waiting for me in my ComixOlogy app.

The Surtur saga was a truly great story, but I went with a different story from Simonson’s Thor run.

The Doll’s House was another great story, and if I hadn’t read it literally the day after I cast my ballot, I might’ve voted for it. (Though there was a later arc that I liked just a little bit better, so maybe not….)

I had Ultron Unlimited at #16 on my list. Probably the highlight of my favourite Avengers run, but it didn’t crack my top 10.

I loved Infinity Gauntlet, but it didn’t make my short list. Must’ve been an oversight.

I read the first issue of Blackest Night, but it never really caught my fancy.

I actually liked Identity Crisis when I first read it, but it didn’t really hold up to repeat reading. And I’m also not a fan of the way it stomped all over years of continuity but for a “shocking”twist.

The drugstore where I used to buy my comics stopped carrying Flasy just a couple of issues into The Return of Barry Allen, so I’ve never read the whole story. Liked what I did read, though.

Haven’t read either We3 or the Master Planner story, but I intend to someday.

Back later with the comparison….

Some good stuff here.

Great to see “High Society” on the list, though I think “Church & State” should have been the higher Cerebus story.

I enjoyed Blackest Night but to see it place so high makes me shudder.

We3 now goes on my list. Things like Final Crisis and “Batgod” make it too easy to forget how good Morrison can be.
That said, this is the first stretch to give me a strong, visceral OMG reaction. I hated Infinity Gauntlet–it’s obvious from the beginning that Thanos is omnipotent so sending endless waves of increasingly powerful adversaries to get smacked down did nothing but pad out the page count. And there was one issue that turns out to be nothing but Thanos dreaming of what will happen after he beats everyone … Lord, what an incredible waste of space.
Blackest Night was when I gave up on GL. I loved Johns’ earlier issues but by that point it was an endless string of Big Events and Big Revelations and I didn’t much like the story itself either.
Infinity Crisis. Sue gets fridged. Jean Loring turns into a murderer. Incredible amounts of angst and posturing.

i read most of these in my early comis reading days because they were recommended….yes you guys have terrible taste, deal with it…

surtur saga is run of the mill fantasy boring.
busiek on avengers was super bland.
infinity gauntlet is adolescent power fantasy turned to 11. (thats not a compliment)
identity crisis is probably the worst superhero story ever.

Hey, mckracken doesn’t like stuff! How original.

I finally get one of my picks to show up with Ultron Unlimited. I’m thinking only my top 5 are going to make the list now, which is surprising. At the start I would have thought 7 or 8 would make it.

The Doll’s House is one of the best horror comic stories I’ve read. The issue with all of them stuck in the diner is pretty amazing.

I own all of Simonson’s Thor, but all I’ve read is Ballad of Beta Ray Bill (which made my list). I have a huge run of Thor comics that I want to get to all at once, which is why I keep putting off Simonson’s run, but I might need to just go ahead and read that before the rest.

I’m pretty surprised Identity Crisis and Blackest Night made the list this time around. I would have thought Blackest Night at least would have dropped off the list.

Great to see some great stories.

The Surtur Saga is one of the best Thor stories of all time. Simply amazing.

Ultron Unlimited is simply the best story of Ultron.
Infinity Gauntlet is another amazing story.

The Doll’s House is magnificent.

The idea that the Surtur Saga is run of the mill anything is just baffling. If you hate high fantasy epics, you’re not likely to be a fan of it (unless you can just appreciate Simonson’s fantastic art & craftsmanship), but to call it run of the mill suggests a lack of ability to critically analyze anything that doesn’t appeal to your particular tastes.

Identity Crisis is a frustrating one. It’s lovely to look at, and the art holds up quite nicely. There are some terrific character moments, and it’s actually a really nifty idea to explore the concepts around a secret identity and maintaining it. But casual embrace of death of significant characters and the drastic and undeveloped changes in characterization of others makes it feel more like one of those “I’m going to come into someone else’s sandbox and fuck up their shit” deals. There’s an embrace of shock value that’s deeply at odds with the more subtle moments and it’s cheap. It’s why it doesn’t hold up as well. The first read leaves you thinking, “wow, that’s incredible!” but when you revisit it a few more times you start questioning a lot of the decision-making in the plot. It was indeed influential, but not all of it’s influences were very good.

High Society is brilliant stuff. It’s a tremendous evolution for Cerebus and it’s really really good work, funny, engrossing and subtle. (something that apparently wasn’t sustainable for Sim in later years?)

Ultron Unlimited is a solid Avengers story, one of the better ones. Busiek’s plot/script really highlights Perez’s strengths as an artist and he turns in some of his best modern work, IMHO. You’ve got some classic covers, big moments, and management of an appropriately large Avengers team in epic battle. Yeah, that’s good stuff.

What else needs to be said about Doll’s House? It’s when Gaiman started to really figure out what he wanted to do with the book and how he was going to do it. And because of that confidence he starting really designing his stories to play to his artists’ strengths.

and that “dinner” scene in Sandman, that might as well be totally unrelated to the general tone of the book thus far, is just screaming: “Look guys, Gaiman here I can do edgy gross-out, sicko Horror!!”…….

“The idea that the Surtur Saga is run of the mill anything is just baffling.”

“High Fantasy”. huh. What a fancy word with no real meaning…
Everything Simonson did, Kirby did already (even a Thor stand-in) AND way better. (that goes especially for the art) Yet, I dont see Kirby Thor here. Ergo, in my opinion, thats in bad taste.

Brian is doing an incredible job with this list giving us vital information and great write ups about each series and I hate to nit pick but would it be possible to get some dates for when the stories came out. I’m trying to date “The Return of Barry Allen” in my head but I’m not sure. I imagine it came out in the mid 90’s while Marvel was coming out of the Image studios.

I’m glad to see some love for “Ultron Unlimited”. This run is when Busiek really found his footing in this series and started to crank out the bad assness on the book. One of the great things about Busiek’s run was that he is so well read that he throws in lots of little Easter eggs for those long time readers; things like “Slorenia” which, if I’m not mistake first appeared in Force Works. The list of his foot notes is awesome. the thing about Busiek is that he was the best of the Avengers as well as being guilty of being some of the worst. While I’m glade he brought back Wonder Man, I have mixed feelings about the way he handled it. Busiek tends to get too sweet and sappy at times. And the whole Triathlon story left me cold up until the very end where Busiek redeems himself, but it was some rough going for a while there.

Walt Simonson’s Thor run is awesome stuff. I picked up the second half of his run on the news stands and have to say was one of the books I looked forward to most. He did “Kirby” almost as good as the king himself, though he made it his own. As seen in the short excerpt above, his work crackle with energy and explode off the page. The thing I love about that series is that while he did do “superhero” he didn’t limit the series to what had been done in the past. He created this whole huge wonderful world of Asgard taking up the reigns where Lee/Kirby left off and adding quite a bit to the mythos. He created these wold shattering events that bled over into the other Marvel books of the time. When he left the book I dropped Thor and have never looked back. I though Walt would move on to bigger and better stuff, unfortunately I don’t think he ever did return to the same eminence as when he wrote and drew Thor, though I stopped following him and comics all together in the early 90’s.

I’m happy to see Ditko on the list though I’m sorry that we won’t be seeing his Dr.Strange. It’s one of my all time favorites that I pick up every now and again. It’s got incredible quirky art and really compelling story telling. His style is so particularly his that it has a timeless quality about it. It’s actually my favorite Silver Age Marvel book that I dig it more than Lee/Kirby FF and Lee/Ditko Spidey.

I have to say that though I like 16 year old gothy stuff, I have to agree, Sandman appeal to me about as much as the Twilight series did, which is, very little. I found the Corinthian idea a little too obvious to be interesting and the whole “Cereal Convention” a little too cute for my taste. I love Death and really wanted to like the book but it, more than not, left me flat. Now Gaiman’s Books of Magic and his Miracleman work I can get behind!

Are you talking about the “diner” scene? The one that’s not in “Doll’s House”?

The amazing thing about Simonson’s Thor (okay, one of the amazing things) is that he gave it a totally fresh feel without having to reboot or retcon. Among the many memorable moments, I loved it when Karnilla is giving Baldur the “I’ll help Asgard if you swear to be mine!” and he just grabs her, smooches her and tells they’ll talk after they save the world. Amazingly refreshing.

And yes, Thomas, the arc of Stephen Strange vs. the Mordo/Dormamu alliance definitely deserves a place. Like you, the Lee/Ditko Strange may be my favorite Marvel work of the time.

mckracken said, “High Fantasy”. huh. What a fancy word with no real meaning…
Everything Simonson did, Kirby did already (even a Thor stand-in) AND way better. (that goes especially for the art) Yet, I don’t see Kirby Thor here. Ergo, in my opinion, that’s in bad taste.”

While it’s true that Simonson took over the reigns from Kirby, I find Simonson’s work easier to read and more dynamic. While I do find that Tales from Asgard is my favorite Lee/Kirby stuff, I find a lot of Kirby’s stuff poorly written to the point of being really hard to get through, though I find this much more on his 70’s work than his 60’s stuff. But that’s just me. I know I’m probably stepping on a lot of people’s toes when I say this. Simonson’s work was dynamic like Kirby’s but it had a flow that compelled you to read on. And I love all of the grand characters that he came up with for them to fight. So, while you have to admit Kirby;s greatness, I think Simonson did the Kirby legacy proud by taking what he had created and really running with it in a respectful and yet totally dynamic way… the way a truly great creator will.

On the other hand I find myself in agreement with mckracken’s assessment of the Sandman. The whole dinner thing was just boring. Gore doesn’t interest me in the least and to see someone be so self indulgent as the main character of the story is not something that I can relate to easily or have any interest in seeing. This is stuff a 13 year old day dreams about while he is in school ignoring his math teacher’s lessons. Gaiman is a highly intelligent guy and should be above such melodramatics and fascination with gore.

The Crazed Spruce

November 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

By the by….

High Society jumped from 84 to 50 (and BTW, Travis, it gained a whopping 91 points and 2 first-place votes!)
The Surter Saga slipped from 42 to 49
The Doll’s House dropped from 31 to 48
Infinity Gauntlet fell from 30 to 46
Identity Crisis plummeted from 26 to 45
The Return of Barry Allen slid from 35 to 43
We3 climbed from 53 to 42
If This Be My Destiny rose from 43 to 41

Both Ultron Unlimited (!) And Blackest Night are new to the list.

@Thomas Morrison & fraser– yeah, the Dr. Strange VS Mordo/Dormammu IS the greatest Silver Age run, and probably one of the best runs of all time. I was totally shocked that it didn’t make the list last time around, but there’s always hope for this one…rapidly fading hope!

Ultron Unlimited is the first from my list to appear.

Infinity Gauntlet almost made my list as my 8-10 kept changing.

WE3 is excellent, just not top10 material for me.

Someday I’ll read all of Simonson’s Thor run, I’ve only got a few chunks of it.

On WE3:
“The story is only three issues long, but with the emotional punch it packs, you’d think you were following these characters for years, not three short months.”
Well, “three issues over eight months” but yeah, you’re still deeply invested in the characters.

Yay for WE3 climbing. I hope it continues to do.

As others have pointed out, the diner scene isn’t in Dolls House. It’s in the first trade, which is definitely a step below the rest of the series, though still decent. It’s only from Death’s first appearance (issue 8, the last one in the first trade) that Gaiman gets on track and becomes more than an homage to Moore’s Swamp Thing.

My number one was “if this be my destiny”, its what got me into comics.

is Cerebus just Dave Sim’s personal Soapbox, dressed as a comic?

those pages ive seen here, look really unappealing…

Yeah, mckraken, that’s all Cerebus is. You don’t need to worry your pretty little head about it.

Disappointing to find that Identity Crisis would be on any “best” list let alone best 100. The entire “crisis” is just one horrible, pointless red herring.

And Blackest Night is just blah.

I stil don’t know why Brian keeps calling that Ultron “Ultron IX,” when Ultron’s been in double digits since the mid-80s when we first met Ultron-10, Ultron-11 and Ultron “Mark” 12. Even the Busiek/Perez story acknowledges that, and its “main” Ultron just goes without a number at all!

Identity Crisis.

Hm. Well, opinions. But still… Identity Crisis.

I guess the art was pretty good.

Still waiting for one of mine to show.


funny, because Cerebus scored pretty high on the Comics Journal list…

I get the feeling Dave Sim’s personal views and their influence on the later volumes have soured Cerebus’s reputation as a whole.

I’m assuming that “High Society” and “Church and State” did well on this list because of all the 16-year-old Goth girls who (apparently) flock to CBR to vote on comic book storylines.

Well, the first clunker on the list. The comic so bad it made me quit my weekly comic-buying habit. The story so bad it has polluted DC Comics to this day. Identity Crisis. Doctor Light and Brad the Meltzer rape my childhood with a flame thrower.

whats funny about that? Plenty of stuff there i dont agree with…(Watchmen wouldnt even make my list, whereas “From Hell” would)

also: Cerebus is NOT on the list. I guess they found it too soapboxy ;)

mckracken believes the comic medium reached its zenith in 1948 so everybody should take his opinions with truckloads of salt

Everybody knows that only 16-year-old Goth girls read “From Hell.”

Thanks for that breakdown, Crazed Spruce. To me, it looks like we’re getting more votes from readers who have first encountered these stories in trades, rather than guys like me who read them all off of the rack.

I don’t know if I would enjoy the Cerebus stuff as much if I had read it in one volume. I read Cerebus from the beginning, after my local Comic Book Guy insisted I was insane if I didn’t. Watching the comic evolve month to month was fascinating, and many, many hours were spent around the counter in heated debate.

The art and the visual storytelling was always top notch. It could get frustrating when there was an art-heavy issue and story wouldn’t move an inch for two months, though. Cerebus did become Sims’ soapbox, but in the way that the best satire does.

On another topic, would I be wrong to think that Fantastic Four was the first superhero comic to really start using multiple-issue story arcs? I remember some two-parters from DC when I was first reading comics, and some “soap opera” carry-over from issue to issue, but it seems like the FF is when it really started it.

@The Mutt

The epic Monster Society of Evil from Capt. Marvel certainly predates it; I also believe the same is true of Kirby’s Asgard stuff and my personal fave, Dr. Strange.

Could there be a more perfect, more ‘comic book’ name for a group of villains? The Monster Society of Evil!

Gasp! Choke! ~shudder~

High Society just missed my list.

Yeah, the Surter storyline was very, very good.

I’m just reading the complete Sandman and read The Doll’s House last week. Very good, but it still wouldn’t be on my Top 10 list.

Lots of hate for Identity Crisis but not from me. It was extremely powerful, and horrible, and I hate what happened but like how it shook up the characters and broke some new ground.

cool to see sandman get some more love on the list though thought the dollhouse would rank higher. and idenity crisis surprised to see it even on the list for its kind of the start of the dcu going all dark all the time. blackest night gave green latern some new cred . though thought the infinity gauntlet would be higher like not till the list is in the top twenty or so . same with the spiderman story for figured it would be in the top five

Nothing from my list this time. I’ve read many of the tales (but not Cerebus or Thor. I may hunt out the Thor, but I think Ill skip Cerebus. Nothing I’ve read indicates that the book would in any way appeal to me.)

I will admit that the appeal of The Infinity Gauntlet escapes me. To me, it is Starlin demonstrating how awesome and unbeatable his pet character Thanos is. I found it really dull. After this, I avoided any story with Thanos in it.

I really wonder how Identity Crisis plays to folks who hadn’t spent years reading the adventures of Jean Loring and Sue Dibny et al.

I should say, my hate for Identity Crisis is all about what happened, not how it happened. It was a quality comic book. Ralph’s meltdown is one of the greatest panels ever.

On another topic, would I be wrong to think that Fantastic Four was the first superhero comic to really start using multiple-issue story arcs?

Some of the very first Golden Age strips were basically serials, since they tended to be built on the newspaper strip model. Even the very first Superman comics, Action Comics #1 and 2, were a two-part serial story (partly because Siegel and Shuster had tried packaging Superman as a newspaper strip character at one point). Action #1 ends on a cliffhanger! However, as superhero features caught on and displsced the pulpier backup strips, the seriality of the medium and genre vanished for awhile.

The Monster Society story is interesting, because while it’s echnically a 25-part storyline, it’s extremely episodic; few of the Society members last more than one chapter, and each chapter tends to be a new, separate scheme from Mister Mind.

Chris Thrailkill

November 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Blackest Night, I think, Is justified being on this list. Easily the best event comic of the decade, made me a huge fan of Mera and the Atom, was, for many, THE big story in Geoff John’s run, and Ivan Reis drew the comic of his life here. It reads well as a trade, but it positively shines as a monthly read as well, and kept me breathless throughout.

The inspiration for Capt. Marvel vs TMSOE was the old movie serials. This can be seen on the very first page, in which the comic is metaphorically projected onto a theater’s movie screen, complete with a cheering audience. It’s advertised as the “World Premiere” and promises a “Colossal Cast…Starring Captain Marvel!” Although it’s true that each issue acts as an individual episode, each also ends on a cliff-hanger and is part of a single, overall arc …much like the serials it is emulating. It’s more than “technically” a 25-part storyline–it IS a 25 part storyline!

Not sure how the diner scene in Sandman (which wasn’t in A Doll’s House, as it’s been pointed out) didn’t fit in with the tone of the book to that point. It was in issue 6, and we’d already gotten the capture of Dream leading to the Crowley stand-in eternally trapped in dreams, the issue with Constantine’s ex strung out from playing with Dream’s bag of sand, and the issue in Hell where Dream outwits the one demon. 24 Hours just ups the ante to be really fucked up and creepy, but isn’t some out of nowhere story in tone.

Mike Loughlin and Hoosier X had some pretty nice lines about the 16 year old goth girls. Good ones, guys.

Thanks to the ‘Spruce for the points breakdown again. Go Cerebus!

And ye gods, I think I actually agree with mckracken about Identity Crisis. My world is all a-tilt!

I didn’t comment on Identity Crisis because I have never read it.

But, ye gods, does it sound bad!

“High Society” is great. I bought the last 11 or 12 issues when they were brand new and I read them over and over for years before I made the effort to get the ones I hadn’t read.

“A Doll’s House” is probably the best Sandman arc, but I also liked “Season of Mists” (the first one I read) and I thought “The Kindly Ones” was awesome from the first issue.

Simonson’s Thor was one of the best things on the stands when it first appeared. Yeah, I still prefer Lee/Kirby, but it’s no great disgrace to be second place to them.

Lee/Ditko Spider-Man is the best thing in comics ever. So it’s very nice to see The Master Planner story here.

I’ve not read anything else on today’s list, but the local library has WE3, so I might look into that.

@The Crazed Spruce — Blackest Night wasn’t on the last list? Are you sure?

I never ever ever ever ever Ever EVER thought I could like Thor until I read Simonson’s Thor. It’s actually as good as you guys have said forever.

WE3, I found utterly and completely underwhelming. It’s just an action movie. It makes no sense whatsoever to steal pets for a military project. And the entire mini-series can be summed up in one sentence. Different strokes, I guess.

@mckraken: Guys are having at joke at your expense and you’re not getting it. Of course Cerebus isn’t on TCJ’s list. They fell out over political matters that turned personal. Up until that point TCJ loved Sim to the point of shamelessness.

The point is, you should stop letting other people tell you what to think and read Cerebus for yourself. At least the early volumes.

@Dan Ahn: You can’t fool mckraken. He knows that your a 16 year old goth girl trying to trick him. Apart from him, the entire readership of CSBG is made up entirely of 16 year old goth girls.

High Society was part of the second volume of Cerebrus, which was the only one I read. Quite the epic tale.

Ultron Unlimited is how one tells a story starring Ultron or a titled Ultron tale. The Avengers, their history, Busiek and Perez are all on top form.

Infinity Gauntlet, has a great moment with Cap. It also has this moment with Spider-Man looking for Mary Jane, that is insane if the heroes didn’t win.

Amazing Spider-Man Volume One Issue 33, I could read about all day. When they started volume two, I wished they had skipped that number, as the original is a masterpiece.

Edit to add, Ultron Unlimited is my first story to rank. At this point, only two others will appear.

@Dan Ahn: Did TCJ really love Dave Sim and Cerebus to the point of “shamelessness”? I know Kim Thompson’s review of the book pretty early on was one of the first to take Cerebus and Dave’s work seriously, but Dave has claimed that after that, they never reviewed another portion of the series and didn’t take his achievement seriously, to the point of not including Cerebus at all in their top 100 of all time.

Of course, Dave saying TCJ never said anything about his stuff could just be him cryin’, because there ARE times he acts like a 16 year old goth girl. And I say that as a MAJOR Dave Sim/Cerebus fan.

Da Fug doesn’t like WE3? I suppose there’s another Morrison mini that he likes better, actually. ;) Da Fug?

I’ve read all of these but Cerebus, though I do have it and I’ve promised Travis Pelkie that I’ll get to it one day. From everything I’ve read, I’d probably really like the series at least through Church & State or Jaka’s Story, but maybe no further than that…

I voted for The Doll’s House. It’s really a toss-up between that and Brief Lives for my favorite Sandman arc, and I only wanted to include one on my list for the sake of diversity. I went with Doll’s House because I can more readily recall exactly what happens and how the individual parts are structured–I remember scenes, dialogue, panels, and everything. With Brief Lives, it’s mostly the themes of the story that I find immensely powerful, as well as the issue-long conversation with Destruction, but there are a lot of aspects of it that I find I don’t remember that well or don’t stand out for me. So Doll’s House it was. But I assume Brief Lives will still be showing up on this list…

The Return of Barry Allen would be in my top 25, and came close to making my list. I see it as one of the most quintessential DC stories, in the sense that it embodies what became DC’s publishing model better than most other stories. While very little in the Marvel universe has ever really changed, DC effectively uses changing status quos all the time (or at least they used to, before Geoff Johns returned the whole DCU into what he remembered from his childhood). I sometimes think of New Teen Titans #39 as the first modern DC comic, because that was the issue where Dick Grayson and Wally West abandoned their original identities as Robin and Kid Flash, starting the long DC tradition of legacy heroes and former sidekicks changing identities and new generations stepping to the forefront. And the Return of Barry Allen is arguably the best/first/most important story of a DC character truly embracing his new identity and status quo. And Waid did such a fucking good job with it. While Wally West had been the star of the Flash comic for six years when this storyline started, this is really when he became the Flash for good. (Until fucking Geoff Johns.)

Other stuff here… I like We3 quite a bit, but like most of Morrison’s 2000s output, I don’t like it quite as much as the internet makes me feel like I’m supposed to. Ultron Unlimited is a nice Avengers story, but it’s writing technique feels a little dated for my taste. I know Busiek was going retro for the series, but I just don’t think that run has aged very well. It all feels about 20 years older than it is, but even still, it’s well done. Master Planner is, of course, one of the best comic book stories of the 60’s. Stan Lee’s writing style is a bit of a slog for me, but I still appreciate it, and Ditko’s art on this story (particularly those first few pages of #33) are some of the best the medium had ever seen to that point. Simonson’s Thor run is, along with Miller DD, Claremont X-Men, and Moench/Sienkiewicz Moon Knight, one of the true high-water marks of the Jim Shooter era at Marvel (which I would still argue is Marvel’s best era). Personally, I’m a bit partial to the frog story as Simonson’s best Thor tale, but the Surtur Saga is probably objectively better. Anyway, the whole run was amazing, and I’ve been meaning to reread it for a while now.

As to the three mega-events that showed up today, I think Infinity Gauntlet is quite good (though I think the Thanos Quest and the Silver Surfer lead-up stories were even better), and I think Blackest Night sucks, although I mostly think that about all of Geoff Johns’ event output. I do think Johns did some good work within his long runs on JSA, Flash, and Teen Titans, but every time he tried to make something an event, I pretty much hated it. And man, I loathe his Green Lantern run. But I know Brian doesn’t like us dogging stuff, so I’ll stop there.

And Identity Crisis…. well… I actually like it, but with some reservations. I voted for it in the ’09 list, but didn’t even consider it this time. I do think, as a story, that it does a lot of great stuff, and there are (in my eyes) a lot of really amazing moments and character beats in the work. But I also understand all of the complaints, and I really do hate the ways in which Identity Crisis ended up changing DC’s publishing model (changes that feel sadly permanent). Like Star Wars, it’s the classic example of the suits and higher ups learning all of the wrong lessons from something’s success, and I think Didio started using Identity Crisis as the rallying cry to completely destroy DC Comics. So while in ’09 I could allow myself to simply like it as a 7-issue comic story, now I know and have seen too much, and I can no longer separate it from all that it has wrought. I do wonder how differently people would react to it if it were published as an Elseworlds story, as was originally planned (or so I’ve heard). Would people think of it the way they do The Golden Age and Kingdom Come? Or would people still hate it? Who knows.

And Mckracken, we’re all still waiting to find out the ten stories you voted for. Please tell us what the ten greatest comic stories ever are, so that we may be saved and enlightened by your divinity.

@Da Fug — It makes no sense whatsoever to steal pets for a military project.

You really underestimate the military.

I enjoyed that Thor story more as part of a run (including all of from Beta Ray’s Bill debut to this point).
It was good to see Loki making a stand against Surtur instead of fleeing (as in an earlier story) – cowardly villains are less dangerous…

on High Society I have 3 words

Even though I like both Busiek and Avengers I never got into his run on the book. I’m not quite sure why.
Wally West, more than any other DC legacy hero earned the right to his mentor’s mantle. He’d been a super-hero almost as long as Wally, he’d been the Flash almost as long when Barry came back–even though i love Silver Age Flash, bringing Barry back infuriated the hell out of me.
Third Man, what do you see as the changes to DC’s publishing wrought by Identity Crisis?

Suppressing a gag reflex, Richard Cohen-style, on the presence of Identity Crisis and Blackest Night.

I absolutely LOVE the ASM Master Planner 3 parter, and I’m proud to own the original issue of it’s conclusion. To see the original comic that someone may have read in 1965 is special to me indeed, as a diehard Spidey fan. One of the very few sequences in all of comics that I still literally cheer out loud for every time.

Why the hate for Blackest Night? Is it just because it’s an “event”? The main issues of the story are actually solid. DC has done some quality events over the years. It seems that Marvel’s non-stop event mode has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.

There’s a lot to like about the first volume of Cerebus. Keep in mind that it collects 25 issues, and by a third of the way through it already evinced a lot of the characteristics that make it enjoyable later on–great character work, sharp and funny dialogue, beautiful art, political intrigue, and some well-done sword and sandals stuff. High Society has portions that are a lot more rewarding if you’ve read the earlier stuff, as well. I was always advised to skip it and was very pleasantly surprised when I went back to it. (It’s a little like Self Portrait to a Dylan fan–you couldn’t possibly just tell people to skip it now, could you, Brian?)

“Doll’s House” is great. I find myself wondering if my favorite “Sandman” arc will show, but unfortunately I don’t know most of the storyline names (I originally read it all in one long Summer, so I know only the trade names that I’ve heard discussed recently). Is “Brief Lives” the one with Delirium and Dream seeking out Destruction? Because that would have to be my favorite, if only because I love both Destruction and Delirium.

I know I have “We3″ sitting in a box somewhere around here, and really need to get around to reading it.

On the topic of “Infinity Gauntlet” artists, I’ve never really gotten in general why many people seem to think of Ron Lim as sort of an also-ran. I guess, as always, it comes down to what I read as a kid. My older brother was a HUGE fan of the Lim-penciled “Silver Surfer” run, and I remember fondly reading and re-reading stuff like the issue-long battle between Galactus and the In-Betweener. Also, he had a framed drawing Lim did at a collection (full-pencilling, not just sketch) of Colossus hanging on his wall for basically my entire young life that not only imprinted Lim as an artist I loved, but also Colossus as a character I loved.

So, I’ve never read “Identity Crisis” (mainly because I’ve heard so many people say it’s a pile of shit), but I’ve read so many write-ups, reviews, and dissections of it that I kind of feel like I have. This is an outsider’s perspective, so feel free to correct me if you disagree, but I feel like I’ve kind of painted a picture of what it’s main issues stem from:

Brad Meltzer was a novelist first, and a political writer, and built his career on that. At the time he wrote “IC”, he had done very little comics work (the only thing Wikipedia has listed before it is a 6-issue “Green Arrow” run). The pros that people usually are willing to (begrudgingly) admit about “IC” (besides the art) are that it has decent dialogue, great moments, and a very good atmosphere. The many cons include the horribly nihilistic (some even say cruel) nature of the main events, the mis-characterization of some established characters, and the out-of-nowhere “shock-for-the-sake-of-shock” ending. It sort of seems like every pro AND every con point to it simply being a case of a guy who should stick to novels trying to work in another genre.

What does a novel need? Dialogue, moments to keep you reading, and a general atmosphere or “feel”. The cons are things that, in a self-contained work, would be fine, possibly even commendable. A nihilistic style is not for everyone, but caters to a specific readership (Chuck Palahniuk comes to mind as a popular author with an extremely nihilistic and often cruel tone). Characterization is less of an issue in a novel, because the author is usually creating the characters himself. He/she doesn’t need to worry about them matching any previous representation, only that the character is consistent throughout the book itself. And the twist ending can be a positive in a book (as long as it’s not COMPLETELY out of nowhere), because the author controls that universe, so all he needs to do is drop hints throughout, or make it make sense after the fact.

So it really seems like this was a guy who was a good writer for his field, but shouldn’t have been allowed to play in someone else’s sandbox.

(Sorry for the length of this, and the abundance of parentheses, but I was trying to pack a lot in there.)

Also, if anyone is curious about that Galactus Vs. In-Betweener issue, I just posted some related links on Greg Hatcher’s latest column (regarding awesome comic-book ass-kickings):


Doll’s House used to be my favorite arc, but on more recent rereads I’ve come to appreciate The Kindly Ones much more.

Out of curiosity, when in the run does the rampant misogyny that gets brought up every time I read a discussion about Cerebus kick in?

Or have all of these accounts been exaggerated?

For my money, The Surtur Saga was the best arc on the best ever run on Thor. Literally was #12 on my final list because I already had another Simonson in my top 10.

Feel much the same about Ultron Unlimited, which to me is the defining Ultron arc… and was my #11 choice. I actually had more from my first 5 eliminated show up in this group than I’ve had from my entire top 10 so far. At any rate, I’d put Busieks work with the Avengers up against the best Avengers runs from the likes of Stern, Shooter, Thomas, etc. without shame, he was that consistently great on the title.

Can’t help but love the irascible aardvark, though I did prefer Church and State to High Society.

Admittedly, read through the early few storlines of Sandman when they first came out but they never really stuck with me; I see them listed so often I’m thinking it might be worth revisiting them now that I’m (much) older and my tastes have evolved somewhat.

Never loved Infinity Gauntlet, it was a great premise with so-so execution, and I personally prefer any of Starlin’s older work above his writing of that era, which is when I felt his scripting started to fall off a bit. That, and changing mid-stream from Perez in his prime to Lim was just jarring, especially at such an inopportune point in the series. It’s not that I even dislike Lim’s work, he just definitely wouldn’t be my first choice for a big event series.

Darkest Night was another great premise, but even worse execution; which is how I’d define the whole Johns run on GL. I can’t put my finger on anything specific about DN… maybe it was just because I disliked the rest of Johns GL run so much. He showed an amazing gift to make EVERYONE so unlikeable and turned what used to be incredible, enjoyable, escapist cosmic fare into stories that made me feel like taking a long, hot shower as soon as I put down the book… and not in a good way. Though I did think Reis really did a fantastic job.

That goes double for Identity Crisis. I have a general dislike of making a story dark just for the sake of being dark, and to top it off he had to drag most of the classic line-up through unnecessarily ugly events and questionable moral territory for no good reason but shock value. This was a story that seemed desperately to want to bring some of the more controversial aspects of two much superior stories (Watchmen and Squadron Supreme) into the mainstream and I thought it failed completely to do in any acceptable or credible way. Someone actually posed the question earlier about whether being “in continuity” made a difference and I’d give a resounding “YES!” in answer. Having to have this as part of the accepted continuity might have led to more sales in the short term, but it did little more than sully a lot of main characters in the long term… and provide fodder for yet another company wide reboot.

Speaking of which… The Return of Barry Allen (and… my #15). Waid crafted such a beautiful passing-of-the-torch story I couldn’t help but start to appreciate Wally as THE Flash during his run. Still baffled by the choice to bring back Barry after all that time and after so firmly establishing Wally as a quality successor to the title.

I know it’s blasphemous… but while I can readily acknowledge the classic status of Lee and Ditko’s Spider-Man, I always preferred their work on Dr. Strange.

Oh, and thanks for putting together these lists. They hurt my wallet but are always a joy to read!

Out of curiosity, when in the run does the rampant misogyny that gets brought up every time I read a discussion about Cerebus kick in?

Or have all of these accounts been exaggerated?

It comes up more in Dave Sim’s personal rants about “the feminist-homosexualist axis” than in the comic itself, but it does gradually get woven more and more into Cerebus, “kicking in” around the end of Jaka’s Story and especially in Mothers & Daughters.

Eric, I’ve been told that despite Sim’s tremendous personal misogyny, his Cerberus women are actually good characters. I’ve never read the book, so if anyone who has wants to weigh in ….
I should add I was told that by someone quite repulsed by his personal views on women so she wasn’t defending him.

One thing about Ditko/Lee Dr. Strange is that when Ditko left the dip in quality was massive. I didn’t see that when Romita took over on Spider-Man (though it was very different and I prefer the Ditko era myself).

The key “misogynistic” parts of Cerebus are mostly text pieces, in issues 186 (part of Reads, iirc), and the “Tangent” piece in 265. The 186 text piece is considered part of Cerebus itself, so that one is “Dave’s views encroaching on the story he’s telling” (um, isn’t that the point of telling a story, though?), although in my reading of it, Dave’s basically saying that if you are a creative (male) light, your creativity will be sucked out by any relationships you are in.

The storyline proper doesn’t really get “misogynistic” in my view. One issue is that what Dave thinks he’s saying/is trying to say isn’t necessarily how many people interpret what he’s saying (with Jaka’s characterization, f’r instance).

Latter Days has some iffy bits as well, I suppose.

I’d say if you’re offended by what many people see as a “misogynistic” POV, you’re probably good to read the book through the first half (Cerebus, High Society, Church and State v1 and 2, Jaka’s Story, and Melmoth). The 4 books of Mothers and Daughters (Flight, Women, Reads, Minds), Guys, Rick’s Story, Going Home, Form and Void, Latter Days, and the Last Day are the remainder of the story. Rick’s Story on is where Dave’s personal religious views tend to encroach on the story a fair amount, so keep that in mind.

Personally, I tend to see Dave’s viewpoint as more of a male chauvinistic one rather than a misogynistic one, per se, but YMMV.

Despite any of that, however, I really do believe that Cerebus is the greatest comic book of all time.

Think I had High Society #2, I at least had it top three, so glad to see that here. A dense read, but also very, very funny. And his female characters are generally pretty good, at least they were at that stage anyway.

@fraser — The difference there is that Dr. Strange was as much about the trippy visuals as it was about the writing.

It never fails… You can’t bring up Cerebus without people ranting about Dave Sim. I think the reason why is because people want the comic to be crap so they can just dismiss it and its author along with it, but it isn’t so they can’t. A lot of comics readers don’t seem to be comfortable with the fact that someone they might not agree with on EVERY FUCKING THING IN EXISTENCE might have actually written a better comic than most or all of the people they do agree with.

Why is it that the Best Comic Book Runs list comes out so well and the Best Stories has been so… not good?

Infinity Gauntlet was really terrible and Blackest Night was worse.

Identity Crisis was a well done story that made people angry because they didn’t like the content. I get that, though I don’t agree with it (and it still isn’t THAT good…)

The Ultron story was very strong and Simonson Thor is GREAT. Cerebus is overrated… but still good. That goes for We3 as well (though it isn’t as good as Cerebus). Lee/Ditko Spider-Man is never a bad choice.

Sandman is the best long-form comic in the history of the medium.

I never read the Flash thing.

Someone tell me if I am wrong, but I remember Blackest night like this;

Black Hand and Nekron are in a grave yard and raise the dead. Superheroes fight them and then Nekron takes over heroes who had been dead once, saying the revolving door of death was all part of his master plan. Then people with power rings discovered if they work together an shoot at the same time they can re-kill the dead so they go to the grave yard and shoot Nekron.

It just seems straight forward and dull.

In contrast, Identity Crisis had characters you could care about, moments of real anxiety and plot twists (I think if IC had been an Elseworlds or had less in story impact it might be disliked less than it is).

Also, while I am here, I was nice to see (earlier in the 100) that the Ultimates are declining in popularity.

“One thing about Ditko/Lee Dr. Strange is that when Ditko left the dip in quality was massive. I didn’t see that when Romita took over on Spider-Man (though it was very different and I prefer the Ditko era myself).”

Hmm… Maybe this has something to do with the fact that Ditko and Lee left Dr. Strange at basically the same time, but Lee stayed on Spider-Man? Yes, I know that we’re all supposed to believe now that Lee was barely writing the books, but the problem with that supposition is all the evidence to the contrary we get from actually *reading* the books.

I’m more inclined to believe it was just harder to write Dr. Strange well, especially during that era.

Okay, can we just start ignoring mcjackass now?

@Travis Pelkie: Thanks for that.

“Despite any of that, however, I really do believe that Cerebus is the greatest comic book of all time.”

For me, that would be Sandman.

My bad on getting people talking about the diner issue as part of Doll’s House. I haven’t read the series in a really long time, and I always picture Corinthian as having something to do with that issue.

It looks like I was also wrong in thinking Blackest Night was on the last list. I will say that even though I found the main series of Blackest Night to be way too navel gazing and not very good overall, I thought the Green Lantern tie-in issues were pretty good. And the weird thing is both titles were written bu Geoff Johns. The mini could have just been left out and the story told in the GL books and nothing would have been lost. And then I’d probably remember it as a slightly above average story, as opposed to remembering it mainly as crap.

TJCoolguy, I’ve always been a big fan of Lim myself. For me the switch in Infinity Gauntlet was no big deal, because while Perez is one of my favorites, Lim is too, especially at that time. I can see why it seems pretty jarring in that story to a lot of people, though. It obviously would have been preferable to have one art team throughout the whole book.

I’ve read through the first eight volumes of Cerebus and haven’t found anything particularly objectionable, and I’ve been on the lookout the whole time. There are a few silly stereotypes, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the characterization on women in the book. And that’s in fifteen years worth of comics! I’ve always planned to stop if I felt it got bad, and I haven’t quit yet.

It’s not just the loss of Ditko’s visuals on Dr. Strange, it’s also the storytelling went downhill. Even on the issues where Stan was writing. Though that may also reflect that Lee wasn’t writing it regularly or that he was more interested in other books at that point.

I have not read High Society. I plan to.

The Surtur Saga is great. So is Ultron Unlimited (new to the list?!?). And Doll’s House. And We3.

I will admit to not fully appreciating Return of Barry Allen, but I’ve always been more of a Marvel guy, so I don’t begrduge it its place.

I mentioned last time how nostalgia can be as much an influence as a comic being recent. This is probably where Infinity Gauntlet comes in. I think it’s great. I think if all crossovers were like that (and came out a quarter as often) I would have no problem with them. Does it belong where it is? Hard to tell. I love the story because it’s one of the first (maybe the first) truly great comics I read. I thought really hard about voting for it too. I decided not to. I had other Starlin stories in mind and really fear nostalgia’s pervasive influence on my psyche. Does it belong here? I don’t know, but I’m not complaining. I will complain about…

Identity Crisis. I know this is a polarizing story frequently discussed. I think I have a moderate attitude as I basically enjoyed it and understand both the praise and criticism. But I think it’s absurdly high on this list.

Blackest Night I haven’t read and probably won’t. I have read a bit of it and know the creative team and concept well enough to guess what my opinion would be.

The Master Planner Saga (which I swear is the name everybody knows the story by) was my #1 vote and the first of my votes to show up. I’m content enough with its placement, though would prefer it higher, obviously. I think Spider-Man is the greatest character in comics, the Ditko era is the best era, and this story is the second best Spider-Man story. (The best Spider-Man story ever is not eligible for voting. Perhaps Brian should consider allowing shorter stories for next time. We could get Giant-Sized X-Men #1, Nearness of You…)

Heh. If This Be My Destiny is pretty much my favorite comic book story of all time, and Identity Crisis may be my least favorite (or at least in the bottom 25 or so).

If Identity Crisis was an Elseworlds, I’d probably dig it, but as an in-continuity comic, it just irks me for some reason. I suppose with the New 52 and all it shouldn’t matter any more, but somehow it still does.

That Infiity Gautlet & Blackest Night isn’t even in the top 10 is a travesty.

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Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

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