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CSBG Archive

2013 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #40-31

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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.

40. “The Last Iron Fist Story” by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Travel Foreman and Various Artists (Immortal Iron Fist #1-14, Civil War: Choosing Sides and Annual #1) – 243 points (4 first place votes)

Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction put together a marvelous revision on the history of Danny Rand, Iron Fist, when he learns that a predecessor Iron Fist, Orson Randall, is still alive! Randall delivers to Danny the Book of the Iron Fist, which tells the history of all previous Iron Fists. It is to help Danny in the coming conflict.

Danny is quickly caught up in a plot involving the terrorist organization, Hydra, and the evil Crane Mother (an ancient enemy of K’un L’un, the mystical city where Danny gained the power of Iron Fist). There are six other mystical cities, and Danny and his allies must protect the cities from a sinister plot concocted by the Crane Mother and Xao, the Hydra representative.

Brubaker and Fraction created a story here that is an absolute blast, with lots of high-flying action, but a good deal of interesting characterization work, as well. The former Iron Fist (who quit after the trauma of World War I), Orson Randall, was a brilliant new character (and a great example of how to make revisionist history work for you as a comic book writer), as were the other Immortal Weapons, the representatives of each of the other mystical cities.

Sprinkled throughout the run were stories of past Iron Fists from the Book (as well as tales of Orson Randall’s earlier days). These allowed the writers to tell vastly different styles of stories, as Randall, in particular, worked well for pulp fiction stories.

David Aja was the main artist throughout the series, and his depictions of action were extremely dynamic. Travel Foreman was the main fill-in artist, and he was just as dynamic, although I must say that Aja also is a brilliant designer, which helped define the various characters beautifully. Aja is a large part of the greatness that is Immortal Iron Fist.

There are other artists who worked on the various one-shots, but Aja and Foreman are the main artists for the series.

39. “The Black Mirror” by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla (Detective Comics #871-881) – 245 points (3 first place votes)

Snyder’s first extended Batman story is a twisty tale of Dick Grayson (as Batman) and Commissioner Gordon as they each deal with problems with their past. In Dick’s case, he encounters the daughter of the gangster who killed his parents while Gordon is dealing with the return of his psychologically disturbed son, James (the kid who Batman saved from dying in a fall from the bridge in Batman: Year One). Their intertwined stories make up the 11 issue arc, with short stories combining to form the larger narrative. Snyder is joined by two brilliant artists, Jock (who does the Batman stuff) and Francesco Francavilla (who does the Commissioner Gordon stuff).

One of the most impressive aspects of this story is that Snyder initially was telling the Batman stuff as a main story with the Gordon stuff as a back-up tale and then lost the back-up tales shortly after his run began but still managed to make it all work very well. It is a dark, character-driven work that deals strongly with the idea of whether people can change and how you can always trick yourself into looking past the problems in the people you care about.


38. “Final Crisis” by Grant Morrison, JG Jones, Doug Mahnke, Carlos Pacheco, Lee Garbett, Matthew Clark, Marco Ruby and a host of inkers (Final Crisis #1-7, Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1-2, Final Crisis: Submit #1 plus I would throw in Batman #682-683) – 252 points (7 first place votes)

Story continues below

One of the most annoying aspects of Final Crisis is that Grant Morrison wrote the story in twelve comics, but only seven of those comics were actually labeled as “Final Crisis.” The others were an absolutely essential Superman Beyond two-issue mini-series plus a pretty darn essential Final Crisis: Submit #1 one-shot and a relatively important Batman two-parter. Luckily, DC at least changed their initial plans and released all but the Batman issues in the eventual Final Crisis hardcover collection, so it really didn’t matter in the end, but man, that was not the best laid plan.

Anyhow, the basic (and I mean BASIC) plot of Final Crisis is that Darkseid has come back to life by essentially traveling through time. This time travel has made a bit of a hole in the multiverse and has made it possible for an evil Monitor to break free from the prison that the other Monitors placed him into at the beginning of the multiverse. So Darkseid finally manages to conquer Earth with the anti-life equation, which he delivers in Final Crisis #3…

So things are really bad on Earth. Eventually, though, whichever heroes on Earth remain unaffected manage to fight back and take control of Earth and defeat Darkseid. The heroes then must take on Mandrakk, the evil Monitor, who is using this opportunity to basically destroy all of the multiverse. Superman and a legion of Green Lanterns and other heroes stand up to defeat the evil Mandrakk (Superman first encounters Mandrakk during Superman Beyond, when he gets caught up in the story while trying to save a mortally injured Lois Lane).

Morrison’s approach during Final Crisis was to deliver a series of short vignettes, which would then sort of coalesce into a larger picture, much like pointilism. Jonathan Hickman is currently using a similar approach with his Infinity storyline (luckily for Hickman, Marvel is giving him the freedom to not be constrained by just the issues of the Infinity mini-series, as the Avengers and New Avengers tie-in issues are essential to Hickman’s story).

Batman plays a major role in the story, as he is captured by Darkseid and is seemingly killed, but not before Batman mortally injures Darkseid. The whole thing was a very cool story, albeit negatively affected by the delays due to the original artist on the project, JG Jones, being unable to complete the story.

Go to the next page for #37-34…

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4 for 10 at this point…as follos..

6. Y-The Last Man 1-6
8. Immortal Iron Fist #1-16
9. Captain America “Winter Soldier”
10. Top 10 Season 1

i feel confidant everything but my number 1 is going to make the list.

It’s funny. I consider Preacher to be my favourite comic book series, in fact, as the best stuff I’ve ever read. Yet, ‘All in the Family’ is probably my least favourite part of the entire series. Not that I think it’s bad, not at all. Just that I think the rest is even better!

been wondering when both preacher and if any mircle man would show up on this list. and surprised to not see the death of gwen stacy ranked higher on this count since it showed one how nasty the green goblin can really be.

Black Mirror is one of the best Batman stories I’ve read in recent years. I’d have to go back to Long Halloween for anything remotely comparable. I’ve always thought Hush was a bit over rated, so I’m sad to see it ranked higher.

Final Crisis. How I hate that story. Such a mess. It reads so much stronger as “Rock of Ages” over in JLA where a lot of the same themes and ideas are played out in a much better way.

Glad to see Marvels in the top 3rd.

Gwen Stacy btw is a powerful story, but it is starting to be undercut by how often it’s referenced and rehashed in other media.

I like Black Mirror better than most of Snyder’s Batman, but that is more due to Jock’s artwork than the story.

I really never understood the fuss over Final Crisis, it has always seemed an okayish crossover event to me.

Preacher is a good comic and All In The Family is a strong arc.

E For Extinction is one of the few Post-Claremont X-Men stories I really like.

The Death of Gwen Stacy is obviously a very important and interesting story (even if it the downside is it helped launch the women in refrigerators trope).

Hush is entertaining but it just seemed more like a series of cool episodes than a proper story and the payoff was a little disappointing for me.

I enjoyed From Hell but I remember once mentioning it to someone who (apparently) was a big Jack The Ripper history fan and he ranted to me about how inaccurate and absurd it all was. Since then I try to see it as a piece of interesting crime fiction more than anything else.

Marvels is a great idea for a story with brilliant art work. I wouldn’t put it in top 25 but it’s one I am always willing to go back to.

Not read Immortal Iron Fist or Olympus. I will have to pick up the marvelman trades next year.

After this point I’m guessing we’re going to seeing very few new entries.

I love that you used that delightfully ridiculous Oracle moment from Final Crisis that always reminds me of the “They’re stealing the internet” thing from Penny Arcade: “Which webs? ALL OF THEM.”


I didn’t like Final Crisis, which I know puts me in the minority on CSBG. Didn’t like Hush either. But I particularly love those Iron Fist and Miracleman arcs. (I’ve read all of this batch of stories, but those are the ones that stand out the most for me.)

I think Brian just explained why I didn’t “get” Final Crisis. I only read 7/12 of it.

UGH. Final Crisis?! It was a mishmash of nonsense! They defeat Darkseid with a Wish Fulfillment Machine and Superman SINGING. Killing the net, Batman using a gun, those Japanese superheroes that did nothing, the sloppy storytelling, the (mostly) awful tie-ins, Mandraak… an endless stream of Grant Morrison’s awful ideas and bad writing (and tying into his terrible Batman run with THE HOLE IN THINGS, Dr. Hurt, the Hyper-Adapter, and all that other horrendous crap). I would certainly like to read some kind of reasoning for voting for this from somebody who voted for it, because I cannot wrap my mind around it, even as far as differing opinions. It’s pure dreck.

Hush isn’t much better. Loeb was just doing his Long Halloween storyline all over again. Which he had done twice before. Except this time the villain cameos are even bigger reaches, Superman’s in it, the villain is some guy we never heard of with the back story of Black Mask and Post-Crisis Lex Luthor, and Loeb killed off Harold Alnut, FFS. The only thing this had going for it was Lee’s art. I love Long Halloween and Dark Victory, but Hush was a stinker. The only person to do anything worthwhile with that character is Paul Dini (though Snyder used him fairly well in Gates of Gotham).

Can’t argue with the death of Gwen story. My favorite part isn’t even the death, but Spidey’s final confrontation with Goblin (well, at least until the reveal at the end of the big Clone Saga and the millions of times since) where he has to hold himself back at the last minute to prevent him from killing the villain.

That Miracleman arc… wow, I wince just thinking about it. Oh, not because it was bad, it was quite good, but all that bloody death, wow.

I didn’t like Final Crisis either. Only read the main story (imagine that!), but it wasn’t till now that I learned that Darkseid apparently traveled through time to escape his own death. I didn’t get that from reading it. Was he dead before that story and it was just back info I didn’t know, or did he do that in the story?

It was all over the place, for me at least. I might not be bright enough to have gotten it or maybe I didn’t pay attention that closely. Guess I’m just surprised it was this well received.

The Black Mirror was good, but I like Snyder’s other stuff better.

Lots of hate here for Final Crisis. For me it was the best superhero story I’ve read in years – and it narrowly missed my top ten.

Preacher is great. Marvels is a classic. E for Extinction was one of the weaker arcs in New X-Men for me. Wolverine and Cyclopse in particular we’re just nasty to that poor Ugly John (IIRC) character.

Olympus was another one that narrowly missed my top ten. From Hell is excellent toon.

Hush is mediocre in both story and art.

I’ve no idea why Iron Fist is even here. I didn’t like the first TPB at all – or anything written by Matt Fraction for that matter.

Wow, lotta GREAT, GROUNDBREAKING comics here…

…and two vastly overrated Batman stories.

And, ack, a commenter reminds me that we’ve yet to see The Long Halloween, i.e. Baby’s First Mystery Story. It’s okay but I can’t believe that it holds up for so many people as a story they want to continue to champion and care about.

Lastly, I think that Final Crisis is deeply flawed, but I’d still give it a ton of points for ambition and innovation. I’m surprised to see it so high on the list, but I agree that it does belong on a top 100.

Very pleased to see Miracleman so high.

Wow, that’s a lot of crappy Batman stories…

Miracleman is my first entry to show up! I was actually tempted to vote for any one of Moore’s three arcs, but ended up just going with the craziest final one.

Some day I’ll reread from From Hell, I remember enjoying it very much.

I vaguely recall finding Final Crisis okay while I was reading it, but it evaporated from my mind immediately after I closed the book.

Hush was fun popcorn fare.

Death of Gwen is classic (loved the final Spidey/Goblin battle).

Liked that Preacher arc but it’s not my favourite (probably Crusaders would be).

E for Extinction was a very cool gear shift that got me into X-Men after a decade away.

Everything else I haven’t read.

“The Death of Gwen Stacy” is great. It’s a little before my time, but I had some back issues from just after it first appeared that were full of both praise and condemnation, and it sounded like something special. So I was not disappointed when I finally read it in Marvel Tales.

I first saw “From Hell” when it was being serialized in Taboo, and I stuck with it for years. Jack the Ripper is one of my favorite historical mysteries and “From Hell” really delivers on “the facts” despite focusing on someone who is not really a very likely suspect. (I think Alan Moore was fully aware of this but chose his suspect for story purposes.) One of my favorites. A likely candidate for a Top Ten list if I had made one.

“Marvels” is another one I like a lot. I don’t think it would have made my Top Ten though.

I’m glad “Black Mirror” made the list because I have read it and I did like it (though not as much as the people who voted for it) so it shows that I will read modern material and judge it fairly and I’m not a hater who criticizes comics just because they are new. (The last three issues of Black Mirror are what got me (temporarily) back into comics after a long hiatus.)

I have not read anything else on this list. I will assume everything else on this list is rated so highly merely because of the influence of 16-year-old Goth girls.

And I would also like to add that Final Crisis – which I’ve never read – certainly sounds wretched.

Wait a minute, of course I read Marvels! Enjoyed that one, too, but haven’t revisited it for a while.

I’m really glad to see Marvels on here. Besides the fact that it has spectacular Ross art, now a days it’s not super special but in it’s day it was a game changer. It brought the whole super hero thing home to a normal person scale and made them feel realer than they ever had before. “So what. I don’t want my super heroes real” some say, but they are not seeing what that really means. It means that while they still have absurd powers, the heroes motivations are much more intricate and much more relateable to us as humans and that’s what gives them emotional depth and incredible emotional impact. Busiek hit on something so great that now a days it’s just how most pros write heroes, and thus it just doesn’t seem that special any more. But despite this, the stories themselves still hold up incredibly well. That’s because they refer to emotions that everyone has felt and can relate to. This is a truly special book that deserves to be on this list if any do because without it the world of comics would be a very different place than it is today.

Iron Fist is brilliant, especially after Brubaker leaves. No complaints as to placement.

Snyder’s Dick-Bats run is the only thing he’s done that I liked. It’s purty. Doesn’t deserve to be this high.

I’ll talk Final Crisis and Hush together–Final Crisis is brilliant and Hush is awful. I understand both people might criticize them from the same direction of “it’s just a bunch of shit that happens” but that’s disingenuous. When you read a Jeph Loeb story (okay, when I read a Jeph Loeb story, but I can’t be the only person who feels this way) you are struck head on by the *sheer lack of thought* that went into the plotting. Characters just kind of show up and then leave so that Jim Lee can draw whatever fights he wants. Subplots don’t really build on each other so much as they are one-by-one tossed into a mass grave to decay together into so much fertilizer. If you’re going to criticize Final Crisis on its disjointedness, you can at least agree that it’s a question of *too much thought* going into it. Put another way, Morrison started with a complete, well-thought out story and *subtracted* and reorganized things, to the frustration of many of the readers, whereas Loeb started out with barely anything and *added* things to pad it out.

All in the Family was, yes, one of Preacher’s finer moments. I prefer Alamo.

E is for Extinction is sacrosanct, being a Morrison/Quitely collaboration, but, honestly, this is like rooting for Swamp Thing 20, the issue /before/ Anatomy Lesson. It’s more prologue than actual story, and there are plenty of bits of New X-Men I liked better.

Death of Gwen Stacy holds up. Seriously. MIght be my favorite Spider-Man story.

Miracleman I’ve never been able to get my paws on. /Hell yes/ I’m getting the “Original Writer” rerelease. I want to read these comics and I want to buy them in shiny hardcovers. If the big faceless corporation has to be the ones to give that to me, so be it.

From Hell is one of my favorite Moore works. The pacing is heavier and more novelistic than you normally expect from your comics–and that’s not Moore’s /thing/ or anything, because most of his major works are pretty quick and engaging–but completely worth it for the myriad payoffs. Campbell’s art is perfect for the story.

Marvel’s is great! I probably wouldn’t have it this high, but, come on, it’s great.

Olympus is the 1st on my list to turn up so far, excellent story with a lot of ideas and some memorable tragedy.

Death of Gwen Stacy was packed with good stuff. Looking back at it there’s actually a lot of iconic scenes here, Norman’s crazy rant and breakdown, Gwen Stacy’s death, Pete leaving Harry in his hour of need, Pete pulling himself back after nearly losing it, Goblin’s self destructive death scene etc etc.

E is for Extinction I liked, but was a little underwhelmed by.

Hush is complete garbage, but I think everyone knew it would turn up eventually.

A great list. A mix of things I have read and enjoyed, and things I would like to read.

I’m on the side that thinks “Hush” was fun popcorny action-comics. It definitely suffers from the classic problem of a Whodunit where the Who is extremely obvious from the very beginning. But again, it was fun. I also quite enjoyed that the Riddler got to shine a little at the end.

“Marvels” is one of those stories that’s almost unquestionable. I’ve only ever seen or heard of a handful of people who weren’t fans, and even they were usually willing to admit that it wasn’t for lack of quality, it just wasn’t their “cup of tea”.

Very much looking forward to reading “Miracleman” now that Marvel is finally reprinting it. I’ve only ever heard good things of “Iron Fist”, and will be sure to read it when I can, especially as a fan of Fraction/Aja’s “Hawkeye”.

What an odd grouping of comics.

I love, love, love “The Last Iron Fist Story”. It is probably the best use of the conventions of modern comics (e.g. multiple artists, cinematic narratives) that I can recall. It is so much fun and so smart that you can hardly believe it exists. Amazing stuff.

“The Black Mirror” is one of the better recent Batman stories, I guess. It doesn’t seem like a mortal lock for the Batman cannon, or anything. Something older that was equally good probably dropped out of the list in favor of
“The Black Mirror” and ten years from now it will be replaced in its turn.

“E is for Extinction”has to be the greatest thesis statement in comic history. Morrison and Quitely knew exactly what they wanted to do with the franchise, knew exactly how radical it was and just did it. Neither Morrison, nor anyone else, has quite lived up its promise, but damn was it an awesome promise.

A re-print of “The Death of Gwen Stacy” was one of the first Spider-Man stories that I read. While I don’t think the influence of the story has been a good one, the central sequence and the closer are a masterpieces of comic story-telling.

“Olympus” is another great story that has had a terrible influence. The arrival of EC Comics level gore in superhero action was thrilling when Alan Moore and John Totleben were hammering home the horrorific nature of living with demi-gods on a daily basis, but it has not been a welcome addition to the standard superhero tool-kit. Still, there are so many amazing ideas that Moore was toying with here and packed into such a short run that it is sort of astonishing. The “good guy” aliens are so damn creepy.

“Hush” is a hard one to evaluate. The story is rather clearly the third best of Loeb’s Batman mysteries and that makes it rather pedestrian in my book. The art, on the other hand, is arguably the career best for Jim Lee (a.k.a. – the defining mainstream superhero artist of his generation). It is a reversal of Grant Morrison’s frequent inability to get decent art on his epic Batman run.

“From Hell” is brilliant, but a tough read. Eddie Campbell is an awkward fit with Moore and his watch-like precision, the lettering is terrible and tit is dense. On the whole, it makes one wish that Moore had found a way to do creator-owned stuff with Vertigo. Karen Berger & co would have produced a better package around his brilliant script.

As time has rolled along, my affection for “Marvels” has grown while my affection for “Kingdom Come” has shrunk. The human scale of Busiek’s story is a nice compliment to the art by Alex Ross. The real time progression of the Marvel U is interesting.

Final Crisis is interesting. Some of the (many) tie-ins are better than the main story, which doesn’t happen all too often with events (major exceptions being Zero Hour and Final Night).

It amazes me that people bitched about Ultimates being on the list for being “mean spirited” when Preacher is infinitely moreso, regardless of what you think about its quality (or lack thereof I suppose depending on your perspective). It’s a comic that enthusiastically wallows in its own shit (for better or worse).

The New X-Men arc is by far the best thing Morrison ever did with the team (I’d argue the only arc that still holds up, but that’s perhaps another matter…).

The Death of Gwen Stacy is a classic, whether you like Spider-Man or not. And I might be in the minority here, but I honestly think Gerry Conway’s run on Spider-Man was better than Roger Stern’s.

Never cared for the ending to Miracleman and thought that it ruined the book. The start was compelling, but the ending was just unnecessary. It was trying too hard to be dark and depressing for the sake of being dark and depressing.

Hush sucks. Who voted for that?

Marvels was probably my favorite Marvel Comics story as a kid, but looking back I just can’t get into it anymore. It’s still a classic though and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to know the history of the Marvel Universe and its superheroes.

I’m not sure if anyone else here has played “LEGO Marvel Heroes,” but having Gwen Stacy as an unlockable character just feels… wrong to me.

The fact that Hush beat both Final Crisis and ‘All in the Family’ is the greatest injustice in the history of hyperbole!

@Hoosier X — Final Crisis is a clusterfuck of Morrison self-indulgence, but it works somehow. The Superman Beyond tie-in doesn’t quite know if it’s a masterpiece or not and neither does anyone else. The “event” also gave us possibly the greatest Martian Manhunter story of all time (no hyperbole) wherein his death (however temporary that turned out to be) and the entire extinct civilization of mars is paid tribute by the Justice League of America via telepathic “thought implants” left in their minds before his murder at the hands of… I think it was the Human Flame (not really a spoiler at all, BTW)?

@TJCoolguy — For me the problem with Marvels is tonal. It just doesn’t “feel” right.

@Dean Hacker — For me it’s the exact opposite. I used to think Marvel was the best miniseries ever (or close to it) and that Kingdom Come was overrated. With the benefit of historical perspective I can appreciate Kingdom Come more while the luster has worn off of Marvels. And I think Alex Ross’ work fit Kingdom Come (which I can’t even imagine anyone else illustrating) much better than it did Marvels (which had the same problems that all the rest of his work does [too posed, “middle aged truck drivers in halloween costumes”, etc.], save for Kingdom Come of course).

Open question: Does anyone else think the Preacher tie-ins/special issues (of which there were a shitload) were (mostly) better than the bulk of the main series?

I predict Marvelman/Miracleman stories will rank higher next year when more people have had a chance to read them.

I’ve never read “Hush” the storyline, but one of the first Batman storylines I got as a back issue when I got back into comics was “Heart of Hush” in Detective Comics (and the Faces of Evil stories with Hush and Catwoman), and I enjoyed that whole arc immensely. As much as I enjoyed “Black Mirror.”

Later, I came across a lot of hate for Hush on some of the fan sites, and I haven’t liked Hush at all in any other appearances. So I’ve been wondering if “Hush” is all that bad. Are there very many people who didn’t like “Hush” who did like “Heart of Hush”?

Was “Heart of Hush” a happy accident where a decent writer got hold of Hush for a change? Or was I just so taken by the art that I lost all critical abilities with regards to the story? Or what?

(I read “Heart of Hush” just a few weeks ago. It’s just about the only recent Batman story (i.e. since the mid-1990s) that I read every so often. (I don’t think I’ve read all of Black Mirror since the first time I had all the issues.) I’m thinking about reading it again tonight.)

@Chris — The new issues of Miracleman aren’t coming out until 2016 AFTER the old issues have all been reprinted at one per month. The next time we do this list’ll be 2017 and by then the Miracleman hype train will be going full steam and you can bet ALL six Miracleman arcs will SKYROCKET up the list (although obviously most of them aren’t even on at present and the last one isn’t even out yet).

It isn’t just the art, I’d say a lot of Hush’s mainstream popularity is because it has a load of (irrelevant) cameos from Batman’s popular rogues gallery. Every chapter someone famous will turn up and fight Batman, then leave. It also includes a tried and true, ever popular Batman/Superman fight.

Heart of Hush is a much better story IMO, it just doesn’t have the gimmicks of Hush.

I know people who hated everything Marvel was doing when Marvels came out and they still gushed. With reason. It’s excellent.
Final Crisis, jeez. Dark Mary Marvel alone costs it points, plus Batman using the gun plus generally … not that good. I do hope Seven Soldiers ends up somewhere higher.

I like “Heart of Hush” a lot. I wouldn’t mind seeing modern Batman represented by “Heart of Hush.” But it doesn’t seem likely.

I suspect we won’t be seeing “Where were you the night Batman was killed?”, that classic 1970s storyline from Batman #291 to #294, in the top storylines either.

Hush? How did that make the list? Hush was a wandering, painfully slow-moving morass of a story, with mediocre art. Please don’t mention Hush on the same page as Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Miracleman.

The Crazed Spruce

November 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I haven’t read Immortal Iron Fist, Miracleman, The Black Mirror, or From Hell, so I can’t really judge them.

Final Crisis, in my opinion, is overwrought, overwritten, and overrated.

All in the Family was on my short list. I haven’t read very far into the Preacher series, but it’s my favourite out of what I’ve read so far.

E is for Extinction was #22 on my list. I’m a sucker for stories that mess with the status quo.

I’ve read the issue where Gwen Stacey died, but not the one following it, so I can’t really judge the story as a whole. Great comic, though.

I read Hush just before I voted, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. It was a mishmash of ideas in search of a cohesive story, and was riddled with “plot twists” that were either telegraphed a mile away or pulled out of the writer’s ass.

I loved Marvels, but haven’t read it in years. Didn’t quite make my short list, but I still enjoyed it.

Miracleman reads well enough, but its basically a “what if” sidekick so and so turns apeshit insane and goes on a killing spree…..you know, like a “mature portrayal of superheroes” (chuckle)

Bah humbug! I hope that this is the darkness before the dawn, because this is a ridiculously grim group of comics (with a few exceptions)

Iron Fist: Somewhat fun but way too decompressed
Black Mirror: Yuck
Final Crisis: Braindead
Preacher: Juvenile
E is for Extinction: Lazy writing and ugly art
Gwen Stacy: Necessary, well-written, and well-drawn, but hard to love
Miracleman: Over the top. A disappointing ending to a great run
Hush: Fun
From Hell: A masterpiece
Marvels: A near-masterpiece

This list is becoming somewhat depressing. I think that the gap between the “comics should be fun” crowd and the “comics should be nasty” crowd is growing so wide that it’s becoming too hard to find any middle ground.

Final Crisis owns and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.

Boy, that “The Man Called CAGE” blurb really kills the moment, doesn’t it?

The Crazed Spruce

November 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

And, just so y’know….

The Last Iron Fist Story skyrocketed from 83 to 40 (though it was called “Immortal Iron Fist” on the last list.)
Final Crisis rose from 50 to 38
All in the Family dropped from 23 to 37
E is for Extinction fell from 20 to 36
The Death of Gwen Stacey slipped from 34 all the way down to 35
Olympus climbed from 44 to 34
Hush jumped from 39 to 33
From Hell leapt from 58 to 32
Marvels rose from 49 to 31

The Black Mirror is new to the list, and I’m willing to bet it’ll be the top debut this time ’round. (Though there are now at least two openings in the top 25, and 26-30 is almost completely up for grabs, so anything’s possible.)

Boy, that “The Man Called CAGE” blurb really kills the moment, doesn’t it?

Ha! I did a whole feature based on that concept. That one of the most famous Spider-Man events of all-time was directly followed by an attempt to push Luke Cage down the readers’ throats.

Elpie said “Miracleman I’ve never been able to get my paws on. /Hell yes/ I’m getting the “Original Writer” rerelease.”

I picked up most of them on E-Bay for $5 or less each with the exception for 15 which seems to be a $50 or more item. I don’t think we’ll see the Gaiman issues of Miracleman here though it’s a shame because I was really impressed with what he came up with after Moore basically left the series with all possible new stories exhausted. Much more than his Sandman stuff I appreciate him for his Miracleman and his Books Of Magic which I’m sure we won’t see on this list either. And I’m super excited for Joe Quesada’s announcement that they will not only be reprinting the whole series but that Gaiman will be finishing his trilogy, though it won’t be for a number of years (2016?)

That ending of the Gwen Stacy story is notable for pretty much single-handedly redeeming Mary Jane’s character. She was kind of a bitch before that and FAR less popular among fans in comparison to Gwen. Pretty much everything done with the character after that all can be traced back to that one single page.

I don’t remember if it was on my list or not, but From Hell is my favorite Alan Moore comic. Its density worked in its favor, as Moore had to recreate an era, mindset, and context we aren’t accustomed to. Campbell’s detailed scratch work was perfect for the story and its grimy 1880s London setting. Thought-provoking, entertaining, and creepy without wandering into cliche.

Hush is not a very good comic, but it benefitted from serialization. The cliffhangers were the only interesting part of the story. If you like Jim Lee’s art, it’s a good showcase, I guess.

Black Mirror was Snyder’s best Batman story. The scene in which Gordon confronted his son in the diner was one of the tensest I’ve read in a comic. The art was very good. I liked how Snyder wrote Dick Grayson. The “gotcha” ending worked for me; its implications wee chilling.

Marvels was a great series, and Ross’s art was breathtaking. I think his work stiffened up a bit after that, even though it retained its technical excellence.

I liked Final Crisis, but I think it got too muddled at times. I don’t want Morrison to dumb down his material, but I agree with Steven Grant’s review of issue 7: it seemed like someone had ripped out half the pages of the story and we were reading what was left. I like a lot of Morrison’s output, including other 21st Century works We3, Seven Soldiers, New X-Men, and Seaguy. I just wish he didn’t let his post-modern leanings get in the way of telling a good story.

E for Extinction was great, though. Quitely’s storytelling, figure work, layouts, and action art were great. Morrison redefined the series, provided snappy dialogue, and broadened the X-Men’s world in one fun story.

All in the Family was my favorite Preacher arc. Jody & Grandma were effective enemies, and the three lead characters seemed to be in insurmountable jeopardy. Powerful stuff.

@Thomas Morrison — Yeah, one issue of the original series reprinted per month for 24 month, then the new issues. Stars a few months from now, runs into early 2016 and then the new issues will run into roughly late that year.

All In the Family is my second pick to make it to the list. Was a little worried it might have fallen completely off the list. It barely made it on to my list, even. Preacher is probably my favorite comic ever, but as a whole more than any individual story. I actually would have rather put the Jody and TC one-shot drawn by Carlos Eszquerraon my list, but figured All in the Family had an actual shot of making it, and it was neck and neck anyway.

A lot of these others selections were comics that I didn’t like anywhere near as much as I thought I would based on the hype. Iron Fist, Black Mirror, Hush and E for Extinction all were pretty underwhelming to me. I for the most part liked all of them, but I also didn’t get all the buzz surrounding them.

From Hell is pretty much the opposite of those previous comics, because I was expecting not to like it very much, and ended up loving it. I’ve always been a big fan of Moore’s, but I had flipped through this and read the first 30 pages or so years before, and it just didn’t seem that good. Then I sat down to give it a real shot a few years back and couldn’t put it down. Really captivating stuff.

Final Crisis I only read the first issue. I had just recently dropped Morrison’s Batman because I didn’t like it, but figured I’d give this a shot. Didn’t like this either.

I can’t wait until the Miracleman reprints start coming out. I’ve read one issue of that comic in my life. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a Miracleman story makes my list next time.

While I quite like Ed Brubaker and definitely love David Aja, and even liked that Iron Fist story, I can’t quite justify in my head why it’s so high.

I haven’t read Black Mirror. I can only judge by my impression of Court of Owls, which suggests to me it is probably too high. But I’ll add it to my to-read list anyway.

I get that Final Crisis is something that everybody but me liked, so I guess I won’t complain. Too much. See also E is for Extinction. And Hush.

No arguments with Preacher or From Hell. From Hell was considered, but the truth is I appreciate its brilliance more than I enjoy rereading it, so I stuck to the things I like to read over and over. I’m very glad that others voted for it and that it climbed so high.

Death of Gwen Stacy could maybe be a little higher, but then I’m a Spider-Man fan. And I can’t really complain anything I didn’t vote for should be higher. It was on my short list. I disqualified it because I like to spread my votes out, and Spider-Man was already represented on my list with Master Planner Saga.

I will read Marvelman/Miracleman when it is in print again.

Marvels was my #3 vote and my second choice to make the list. I will accept it’s placement but obviously wouldn’t mind it higher. I’m glad it jumped as much as it did, obviously.

The best Superhero of comics of all time are in this order:

Morrison’s Batman, Final Crisis, and his X-men

those ragging on Hush can go fly a kite…Lee’s art is mediocre? haha, go read some Fantagraphics you elitist snobs

Just read From Hell last month, very good, very hypnotic

How anyone can not like FInal Crisis boggles my mind. Reading it monthly was a hoot too

@Trey — Jim Lee’s work is not exactly technically exceptional. His grasp on anatomy and proportion are poor at best and his perspective isn’t a whole lot better. He’s also infamous for his inability to realistically render texture and “compensating” for this by just drawing random lines all over everything. His fundamentals are weaker than most pencilers in comics, which is already a low standard as it is. This is purely an issue of technical skill and has nothing to do with what you or anyone else thinks about the quality of the comics that he happens to draw.

The fact that he leans toward 90s era stylization and design aesthetics doesn’t do a whole lot to endear him to the comics buying market either, if only by association.

Is this “fair”? That’s subjective. But the technical shortcomings of his pencil work are not.

what a bunch of sour old men you people are. seriously, it’s only comics… no need to pull out your (already scarce) hair about it.

For once, I’ve read most of these and enjoyed most of the ones I’ve read on some level or another. Reading the early issues of Final Crisis in serialization may have been the most excited I’ve ever felt about a comic. Morrison botches the landing pretty badly (as I think he does often, a natural consequence of putting too many balls in the air), but yeah, those first issues, especially with the Jones art are amazing.

As for Hush, I do not like Hush, but I totally understand its placement here. Enjoyment of Hush is 100% a function of your view on Jim Lee’s art. If you think his art is super rad, then Hush will be super rad for you. As with other Loeb projects, there’s no attempt to tell any kind of satisfying story. His purpose is merely to squeeze in the narrative glue that attaches Jim Lee’s drawing of Killer Croc to his drawing of Poison Ivy. I enjoyed when he did this for Tim Sale in the Long Halloween, and since the plot of both stories is essentially the same, I can’t say that Loeb failed with Hush just because I happened not to like it.

What are you even referencing?

Final Crisis was on my list. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read, and I make time to go through it again every year. Like Morrison’s best works, it has many facets that only become clear on subsequent readings. In a world where the vast majority of entertainment across various mediums spoon-feed us everything, I like a comic that expects me use my brain.

Never read Miracleman; looking forward to the reprints. Haven’t read Iron fist either, but it’s on the “to read” pile.

I’m not a fan of Hush, but I was expecting it to appear here. People like what they like, I’m not about to hate on them for it.

The rest are great stories that I enjoy a lot, although none of them made my top ten. Marvels was close, though. I was 14 when it came out, and not really enjoying anything Marvel was doing, and this series just blew my mind.


You are the anti-me. Morrison’s Batman run is probably my least favorite run and I despise Final Crisis as one of the worst comics I ever read. Certainly one of the worst event books, right behind Countdown.

Not going to comment on his X-Men, because I never completed it. I couldn’t stand Quitely’s artwork. I gave it a pass in Morrison’s All-Star Superman because it was a shorter series.

Hush was a lot of fun to read as a monthly thing with those cliffhangers, but I agree that a lot of it seemed to be thrown in rather randomly, and the last issue reveals were terrible. Still a lot better than anything else Jim Lee has worked on since where not even his art can make up for the abysmally shit stories. Looking at you, New52 Justice League!

E Is For Extinction and Death Of Gwen are both great.
Enjoyed the hell out of the first Iron Fist story but it lost me when the second dragged on needlessly for wayyyy too long to an underwhelming ending.

Marvels was okay, I liked the idea but didn’t care at all for Phil as the point of view character.

I’ve got Black Mirror in the to-read pile.
The rest I’ve got zero interest in.

A lot of stuff I haven’t read this time (and nothing from my list), so not much I can comment on.

Personally I found Final Crisis a disjointed mess, but I may just have been completely sick of massive events by the time it came out.

Black Mirror was a vast improvement over Court of Owls, and one of the better recent Batman arcs.

Hush was a neat idea poorly executed, and too long. I’m surprised to see it rising in the rankings rather than dropping.

The Death of Gwen Stacy is a classic and deserving of a spot (even if I didn’t vote for it). Too bad Marvel felt they had to undo its impact by bringing back Norman Osborne.

The rest I haven’t read, although haven’t recently developed an interest in the Jack the Ripper story I may have to hunt out From Hell.

From Hell is a very demanding story, but it’s really worth the effort.

Marvels is great but didn’t make my list.

All in the Family is amazing. I still remember the day I read it. Couldn’t put down the trade from my hand. That’s the trade that made me fall in love with Preacher. It made #4 on my list.

The whole Alan Moore run on Miracleman is simply brilliant. Olympus is a great finale to his take on the character. This story made my #1 choice on the list.

I am now pretty sure that 8 of my choices will make the list. The only entries that will be left out are probably the second trade of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Moonshadow.

The Crazed Spruce

November 20, 2013 at 12:40 am

Looking at my top 10 list (which STILL hasn’t been touched), I’d say that 5 are pretty much locks for the top 25, 3 stand an outside chance of turning up (although they weren’t on the last list), and 2 aren’t gonna turn up if they haven’t already, especially since my #9 is from a webcomic.

Happy Black Mirror showed up, it just missed out on making my ballot. Easily Scott Snyder’s best Batman story and one of the best with Dick-Bats. Hoping there’s more of that to come on the countdown.

The Death of Gwen Stacy is the first one from my list to make the countdown. A great storyline and probably gets my vote as Spidey’s best story as well.

I like the divisive Hush but never considered voting for it.

If two issues for Death of Gwen count as a storyline then yeah, there should be more Silver Age stuff on the list. Which is not to question it’s inclusion, it’s good (I particularly like the moment after the Goblin’s death where Spidey realizes how utterly meaningless their final battle feels).

And, ack, a commenter reminds me that we’ve yet to see The Long Halloween, i.e. Baby’s First Mystery Story. It’s okay but I can’t believe that it holds up for so many people as a story they want to continue to champion and care about.

You know, what’s really strange for me isn’t that Hush is on here. It’s a panderfest at its worst, and there are always people who like pandering stories, especially in the geek crowd (not meant in a derogatory way, as I consider myself part of that crowd).

What really, REALLY, fascinates me about the high placement of Hush is all the people who hate it but say “Long Halloween was great, but Hush was terrible,” or “Hush was a bad recycling of the far superior Long Halloween,” or “Hush was the weakest of the Loeb Batman trilogy.”

How do people see a difference between Long Halloween and Hush? I can understand if one was to like the art better on one than the other, but the people who actually claim there is a difference in story quality fascinate me. Storywise I cannot think of a single element of craftsmanship that elevates the writing in one storyline over the other. Can someone please explain to me how Long Halloween, writing-wise, is so superior to Hush? Is it because one is a more “original” terrible story (and I use original hesitantly since the book is just a mishmash of Silence of the Lambs, Presumed Innocent, and Godfather) while the other one is a rehash of a terrible story, making it like xerox of a xerox?

I don’t get the adoration for Final Crisis. Or maybe the connection to Countdown makes it impossible for me to be objective about Final Crisis. Regardless, deduct about a 100 points for Dark Mary Marvel. That was vile.

Has there been a vote for Top 100 Worst stories of all time? Because that would be a fun list, and there might be some crossover with this list.

From Hell is the second one from my list to appear. I think it’s Moore’s best work to date, and Campbell’s the perfect penciller for it. They managed to squeeze so much in there. Glad it’s risen (as did the other of my picks to appear so far – WE3)

Haven’t read Iron Fist, but I plan on getting the complete hardcover collecting the whole run. Should I prioritise that or the first Hawkeye hardcover?

Similarly, haven’t read Black Mirror, but plan to get the hardcover. I’ve heard better things about it than about Snyder’s Batman stuff.

Final Crisis I need to re-read. Very good, but I don’t think Morrison managed to do quite what he wanted to do. I prefer Seven Soldiers.

I also need to re-read the whole of Preacher. It was without a doubt my favourite comic when it was first being published, but the memories have faded a bit. Disappointed this storyline has fallen.

E is for Extinction is excellent, as you’d expect from a Morrison/Quitely comic. I personally prefer Riot at Xavier’s, but this is still a great comic. And the balls these guys had to do this. Man, in those days Quesada helped some great stuff get published at Marvel.

Haven’t read Death of Gwen Stacy, even though it’s been referenced 50 gajillion times in other comics I’ve read. I plan to pick up the Death of the Stacys trade.

Haven’t read Miracleman. I have all but five of the Moore and Gaiman issues, but am waiting to get the others until I read them (though I may not hold out for 15). Will probably also buy the collections when Marvel eventually publishes them.

Haven’t read Hush and have no plans to.

Marvels is excellent. Another one I need to revisit.

“…than Snyder’s OTHER Batman stuff.”

FINALLY, a list of these comics that is actually really good! (Well, except for Final Crisis… )

The storyline also worked as a sort of basic guideline for many later story arc by different comic book writers. Much like how Die Hard became the foundation for a number of other action films, so, too, did Hush become the prototype for many other significant superhero stories.

Like what? It’s not that I don’t believe you. I’m just scared to live in a world where people actually aspire to write like Jeph Loeb on purpose. I must avoid these people’s future books at all costs.

“Has there been a vote for Top 100 Worst stories of all time? Because that would be a fun list, and there might be some crossover with this list.”

I’d love to see that list too! Pretty please Brian.

The Black Mirror was confusing to me. The Francavilla parts were pretty beautiful and told a fairly solid and interesting story, while the Jock parts were just straight silliness. That’s fine and all but what confuses me is how much people laud the Jock/Snyder portion of the story. Here’s an example of why I’m confused:

Snyder introduces villain, Bixby Rhodes, an exotic car dealer who has associates who call him Roadrunner. The reason for this nickname remains unsaid throughout, but it’s possible they were mocking the fact that he says things like, “Meep, meep, sucker,” before running away. Here’s how it goes down. Batman arrives at Rhodes’ exotic car lot and begins sneaking around. Some hoods open fire with semi-automatic weaponry and Batman chastises himself for forgetting that he’s not dealing with mobsters from the ‘40s—who apparently wouldn’t have opened fire on him? Batman surprises himself by ducking down a loading ramp into a below-lot warehouse filled with more exotic cars. Rhodes closes the roof on the warehouse, remarks to a crony that he thinks it’s possible they over-ordered that month (to which his crony agrees), and pushes a button that will crush everything inside. He has a button that anyone can push (it’s just sitting on a post like a light switch) that will crush his entire stock of exotic cars? That’s as silly as Jude Law having a button inside his incinerator that can start his incinerator. Anyway, Batman escapes by shooting electricity from his finger into the ignition of a car without a battery in order to start it. He drives up the ramp, busts through the roof in an explosion, flies through the windshield because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, and dispatches the hoods. After defeating everyone else, he confronts Roadrunner—this level’s end boss—and says: “This is the part where you run.” Rhodes says, “All right, Bats. If that’s the way you want it, then all I can say is… Meep, meep, sucker.” (I told you he said that.) Then Rhodes rolls up his pant legs one at a time to reveals that they’re mechanical. I know you’re thinking: mechanical legs, they call him Roadrunner, he probably runs really fast. But Snyder (or Jock) has outsmarted you (and me), because Roadrunner then hops on the roofs of no less than four exotic cars (one of which is a minivan and another a hatchback) with his ultra-bouncy machine-legs—all the while narrating for himself: “He’s at the twenty, the ten, and he—.” He gets cut off before the touchdown by being captured by Batman, who jokes with Rhodes and then says he never jokes.

Juxtaposed with the clever, interesting, moody Gordon story, I felt the series suffered a bit too much whiplash.

This list makes me want to reread From Hell and Hush, with oddly more emphasis on Hush (I guess ’cause it’s the breezier read). And Identity Crisis’s placing makes me want to reread, not that series, but the JLA follow-up by Johns and Heinberg. ‘Cause I recall that was all right.

From Hell would be in my top ten for Comics to Give to People Who Don’t Read Comics, I think it’s a good example of the possibilities of the medium beyond superheroes. Interestingly, that top ten list is almost completely different from my Favourite comics list I submitted to this poll. Guess I like comic books for comic book fans, go figure.

Warning: Black Mirror spoilers below.

I re-read Black Mirror last night and I enjoyed it, but I did see a bunch of stuff that was kind of stupid, such as some of the stuff that Seth T. Hahne remarked on above. I would add the incompetence of Dick Grayson Batman at the auction, a situation where he’s saved and we don’t see it because he’s unconscious and it’s assumed Red Robin rescued him (somehow) and later we find out that James Jr. (somehow) hid him from the mob of people at the auction. It’s some lazy writing.

Another bit that bugs me is James Jr. using the Joker as a pawn in his grand scheme. It’s one of those cases where an established character (the Joker) is degraded and de-powered just to puff up a new character (James Jr.) More lazy writing. The Joker suffers from overexposure as it is, but it’s even worse when he’s misused in a way that’s so completely inconsistent with his character.

There’s more, but that gives you an idea of some of the things I don’t like about Black Mirror.

But there’s so much good stuff here! The scenes between Commissioner Gordon and James Jr. are all first rate, The final scene between Barbara and James Jr., the flashbacks to that scary summer when Barbara’s friend disappeared, these are all highlights.

(One minor thing that bugs me is Dick calling Alfred “Alfie.” Seems out of character and disrespectful.)

I also thought Dick Grayson Batman was a little less than competent in too many scenes. Not just at the auction, but also in the fight with Tiger Shark, where he gets caught pretty easily and then lets Tiger Shark escape. Very unsatisfying. And I don’t think Tiger Shark was ever caught as the New 52 reboot was just around the corner.

I know Dick Grayson Batman isn’t quite as good as Bruce Wayne Batman, but he should still be a little better than how he’s shown in “Black Mirror.” For one thing, he’s been fighting crime almost as long as Bruce. For another thing, if he’s not any better than this, he should’ve been killed long ago.

Like I said, I like “Black Mirror” but “Heart of Hush” is so much better.

“marvels” is one big snoozefest. (also i cant stand Ross)

(Astro City is much, much better)


“The best Superhero of comics of all time are in this order:

Morrison’s Batman, Final Crisis, and his X-men”

To me, those aren’t even the three best Grant Morrison super-hero comics. Take Doom Patrol and add any of these two: Animal Man, Seven Soldiers, All-Star Superman, JLA, Flex Mentallo. I haven’t read Zenith but heard it’s fantastic. I liked New X-Men, some of Batman (Batman & Robin & Club of Heroes, especially), and a lot of Final Crisis, but can’t say they come close to most of Morrison’s other major super-hero comics.

Yeah, to be honest, even as a fan of Morrison’s work, I’ve never read “Final Crisis” or any of his X-Men stuff. I loved what I read of his (pre-New 52) Batman stuff, though.

Based on its placement and the amount of love it gets in the comments (and various reviews), I feel like I must be missing something with Marvels. I read it, and thought it was ok, but except for a couple of cool panels, none of it was memorable to me.

I thought that maybe the reason it didn’t connect with me when it did with so many other people is that I don’t really care much about continuity comics. It’s cool to have comics characters have some history, and interact sometimes, but obsessing about it seems unnecessary. They’re like modern-day mythic heroes. You can’t fit all the Hercules stories into a coherent life-span, and the same is true of Spider-man. Maybe I shouldn’t have read the author notes in the back where Busiek talks about how much care he put into matching up the Sue Storm-Reed Richards wedding with something the X-Men were doing, and I thought “Who cares?” So much effort put into syncing continuity without explaining where the first Human Torch went once the FF came around, or why Spider-man and the X-Men are still young when Phil got so old.

I love the idea of a street-level view of fantastical events, but Phil never felt like a real enough character to me. Everything flashed by so fast that I didn’t connect with him as a character, it felt like his perspective was just forced to be what it should be to make the narrative work.

I like the execution of the idea much better in Astro City, where continuity is not an issue at all, but even there I only loved a couple of issues. Maybe there’s something about Busiek’s writing that doesn’t fit my taste. I’ll have to read a bit of his Avengers that so many people love to see.

Obviously a lot of you disagree with me about Marvels, and I’m wondering if I missed something, or if it’s just a taste issue.

On the other ones, I enjoyed The Black Mirror, as it really dialed up the horror/suspense quite effectively, and was good to see how Dick deals with his differences from Bruce.
I loved Brubaker’s Catwoman, Gotham Central, and Criminal, and have loved the few issues of Fraction’s Hawkeye that I read, so I’m curious to read Iron Fist, but haven’t yet.
From Hell is a masterpiece, I think I might have left it off my list but shouldn’t have.
I tend to not fully enjoy older comics because of the cheesy narration and so on, but Death of Gwen Stacy does hold up as a great story, I think especially the second, post-death issue. It is referenced way too often, but for good reason.
E for Extinction was good, although so short, I think it’s really just Morrison clearing the way for the other ideas he wanted to pursue. I think some other parts of his X-Men were a bit better, but I have to read it all again to appreciate it. I still can’t decide if Planet X was great or terrible or both.
Hush was just goofy Batman fun with big superhero muscles. The only part of the story that was good was the Catwoman-Batman romance. Doesn’t deserve a high place, but it’s an entertaining dumb comic. A lot of people compare it to Long Halloween, which I think does actually hold up as a great story, but maybe that’s me overlooking flaws because I love Tim Sale’s art.

I thought of a couple of other storylines from the Bat-titles of the same era that are noticeably better than “Black Mirror” (IMHO):

“Pipeline” from Detective #854 to #865 with The Question (Rene Montoya) and The Huntress.

and “Jokerz” from Detective #867 to #870. (I call it “Jokerz,” but I think it’s actually called “Impostors.”)

Wow….so many of these are so incredibly dark…

lookin at those bland “black mirror” panels, i think ill get Batman and the whole GCPD umbrellas for Christmas!

From Hell was my number one story. I’m glad it got more recognition than last time. Marvels was on my list too, which brings me to 4/10. My other six choices all made it to the last top ten, I’m certain I’ll end up with a full house. Strangely it makes me wish that I had voted for some things that didn’t appear.

E is for Extinction, I hated at first, never been much of a Quitely fan. But reading the omnibus really made me reread it and it sets everything up. Plus, Emma Frost.

Death of Gwen Stacy, such a milestone moment, followed bt Norman’s death. If only Marvel didn’t completely undo it with Revelations and Sins Past.

Olympus, the only Miracle Man I have read and the only one I need to read. Cost me like eighty dollars.

I like Hush, but I read no Batman for years before and jumped off right afterwards so it worked for me. Plus, Jim Lee art, like a solid year’s worth.

From Hell, ooof, I am pretty sure that trade beat me. I don’t believe I ever finished it. I tried again after the movie, but there is so much prose. Even Claremont would have to shake his head at the amount of it

Marvels such a grand story. The Gwen chapter is amazing. Busiek kills it. Ross does what he does. Ruins is a speculatorly twisted Marvels if you haven’t read it.

Like what? It’s not that I don’t believe you. I’m just scared to live in a world where people actually aspire to write like Jeph Loeb on purpose. I must avoid these people’s future books at all costs.

Really, the main thing was the introduction of the 12-issue arc by a major creative team on an ongoing title. Jim Lee followed Hush with For Tomorrow, then Mark Millar did a similar thing on Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Fantastic Four.

Really, the main thing was the introduction of the 12-issue arc by a major creative team on an ongoing title. Jim Lee followed Hush with For Tomorrow, then Mark Millar did a similar thing on Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Fantastic Four.

Ohhhh, I got you now. I misunderstood and thought you meant people were trying to emulate the specific writing style and story elements of Jeph Loeb stories.

Ohhhh, I got you now. I misunderstood and thought you meant people were trying to emulate the specific writing style and story elements of Jeph Loeb stories.

Marvel Knights: Spider-Man DID do that, but yeah, I’m mostly talking about the idea of coming in and doing a year-long “everything but the kitchen sink” run on a title.

Brian Conin: ” Luckily, DC at least changed their initial plans and released all but the Batman issues in the eventual Final Crisis hardcover collection….”

Yo Brian, DC released then the Absolute Final Crisis edition where two Batman tie-ins (post-Batman: R.I.P) are included. The result: better read and more comprehensible.

Yo Brian, why is your “E is for Extinction” story-arc doesn’t include artist Leinil Yu? Wasn’t that the first publication BEFORE Yu’s New X-men Annual 1 was included? Thanks.

You’re absolutely right, Paul. Good call. And yes, it is definitely a better read with the Batman issues included.

Yo Brian, why is your “E is for Extinction” story-arc doesn’t include artist Leinil Yu? Wasn’t that the first publication BEFORE Yu’s New X-men Annual 1 was included? Thanks.

I’m including “E is for Extinction” as just #114-116. The weird thing is that I don’t even know where the 2001 Annual is even reprinted nowadays besides the New X-Men Omnibus.

I had two votes in this batch, with Marvels and Olympus. Marvels is something I can always go back to and feel like it restores my sense of wonder to superhero comics. And as much as the Marvel Universe can be a bogged down mess at times, Marvels always makes it feel like something we have a privilege to read about.

And Olympus is something I’ve always viewed as a companion piece to Watchmen. In a way, I think Watchmen is Moore exploring the possibility of Batman trying to “fix” the world, while Olympus is Moore exploring Superman trying to fix the world. I agree with other commenters that the industry seems to have learned all the wrong lessons from Olympus (especially Johns with Infinite Crisis), but that isn’t something which should be held against the original work. Though imagine how much Olympus will be copied in the next few years, once everyone can suddenly read it? A scary thought.

Totleben’s art on those stories is, I think, some of the greatest comic art of the 1980’s.

I haven’t read From Hell or Final Crisis, though I have both. Final Crisis just kinda seems like something that will piss me off, both because I don’t expect to like it nor do I expect to get it. And From Hell I actually bought the trade when it first came out 15 years ago, and I STILL haven’t read it. I dunno, it just seems too dense and intimidating, like a homework assignment that will take a month to finish. I just can’t get myself excited about it, even though I do think I’ll like it.

As for the others here…

Iron Fist I read a few years ago in trades from the library and it didn’t do much for me, but I keep thinking I should revisit it. I think I raced through it too quickly and didn’t really get absorbed by it, though one of the reasons I remember not liking it was that it just felt like the whole thing was retcons and info-dumps about the retcons. But it was the first Fraction work I’d ever read, and now that I’ve read a lot of his stuff and I feel like I “get” him as a writer, maybe I’d like it better.

Gwen Stacy obviously had to be here. I do think it’s executed pretty well, and I love that last page. It’s funny to think that there used to be a time in comics when a major character could be killed without the readers knowing in advance. Nowadays Previews would have told us three months out which issue Gwen Stacy was gonna be killed in, and the five issues leading up to it would be called “The Death of Gwen Stacy Parts 1-5.” Sadly Marvel and DC don’t really care about surprising their readers anymore, because you can’t milk extra sales out of something that people didn’t know would happen.

E is for Extinction was obviously gonna be here. I don’t love Morrison’s X-Men run. There are definitely elements of it that I like, and some ideas I love, but I find the execution to often be lacking. The issues often read like there are missing pages, it tried a little too hard to be a little too cool for it’s own good, and the art inconsistencies really bothered me. I do also find it interesting that so many of the commenters who loudly lament all of the huge death tolls in comics over the last several years never seem to mention or care that Morrison killed 16 million mutants in his first issue. But that’s because Morrison can do no wrong with internet commenters, it seems.

All in the Family is amazing. The first four issues of Preacher were very good (issues 5-7 are extremely forgettable, I think), but this is really the story that ensured Preacher would be a legendary series. The series still hit quite a few high after this, particularly Salvation and the Alamo, and the final issue was, for my money, maybe the most perfect last issue in comics, but All in the Family is still the story that the series gets remembered by, and rightfully so.

Hush is, to me, like listening to Journey and Styx: something I can enjoy for it’s epic commercial sheen even as I know it’s actually bad. I own Hush and wouldn’t want it stolen from me. I love looking at Lee’s art in the series. I think it’s about as perfect as “pure” superhero art can be. I do think it’s a fun story. But the whole thing is just so much pandering, and it’s really not good by most arguable measures. I think it’s defendable to an extent, but I struggle to imagine anyone who’s read a pretty good amount of stuff naming it as one of their ten favorite stories. But whatever. I’m not offended that it’s here in the way that others appear to be.

Black Mirror is a story I liked quite a bit, but thought the ending was a bit rushed. I do wonder if Snyder wanted it to go longer but had to end it because the New 52 was starting. Anyway, the art on this story is consistently gorgeous. Jock and Francavilla are both top 25 artists working regularly right now, and arguably even top 10. But I’m happy this story enjoys such a great reputation because it means that the brief Dick-as-Batman era will be remembered.

And T.

I think you’re both dead-on and a little off in regards to Hush vs. Long Halloween…

In terms of writing style and story, yes, you’re correct that they’re mostly identical. But I do think it’s possible to like Long Halloween and not lie Hush for more than simply Sale’s art over Lee’s.

When I think of Hush, I think of a story that cared far more about being mega-popular than it did about being good. Everything about it is pandering, giving the people what they want, milking sales for all they could possibly be worth.

Long Halloween really didn’t do any of that. It’s easy to forget this in hindsight, but Loeb and Sale really weren’t stars when Long Halloween started, nor were they even that well known. And Long Halloween really didn’t pander to mainstream fans because 1) it was a bit more of an “arty” and special interest comic, and 2) Loeb and DC really didn’t know whether it would sell well.

Even though the stories are pretty similar, I think hush was obviously meant for teen comic fans looking for their wet dream of a Batman comic, while Long Halloween was actually intended for serious adult comic readers. And yeah, I agree that Long Halloween really wasn’t that complex or smart, but it at least was artistically ambitious, while Hush was, I think, only ambitious in a commercial sense.

So while it’s true that it’s difficult to argue one is a good story and the other isn’t, I can definitely see how someone might like one and not the other, because they represent such different aesthetic qualities and ambitions.

And T.

I think you’re both dead-on and a little off in regards to Hush vs. Long Halloween…

In terms of writing style and story, yes, you’re correct that they’re mostly identical. But I do think it’s possible to like Long Halloween and not lie Hush for more than simply Sale’s art over Lee’s.

When I think of Hush, I think of a story that cared far more about being mega-popular than it did about being good. Everything about it is pandering, giving the people what they want, milking sales for all they could possibly be worth.

I think everything in Long Halloween was just as pandering, in my opinion. Except maybe the art.

Long Halloween really didn’t do any of that. It’s easy to forget this in hindsight, but Loeb and Sale really weren’t stars when Long Halloween started, nor were they even that well known. And Long Halloween really didn’t pander to mainstream fans because 1) it was a bit more of an “arty” and special interest comic, and 2) Loeb and DC really didn’t know whether it would sell well.

Yes, I agree that Loeb and Sale weren’t stars and that it wasn’t as guaranteed to sell as Hush was, but I still think it was wall-to-wall pandering designed to sell as much as possible. It was not WRITTEN in any way that was more “arty” or “special interest”, at least in my opinion. All of that “arty” feel is an effect of the artwork to me.

Even though the stories are pretty similar, I think hush was obviously meant for teen comic fans looking for their wet dream of a Batman comic, while Long Halloween was actually intended for serious adult comic readers.

…looking for THEIR wet dream of a Batman comic, meaning a new Dark Knight Returns or Batman Year One. Dark Halloween is as designed to be a wet dream fangasm as Hush is, just for Dark Knight Returns and Year One fans.

And yeah, I agree that Long Halloween really wasn’t that complex or smart, but it at least was artistically ambitious, while Hush was, I think, only ambitious in a commercial sense.

I respectfully disagree. I find nothing more artistically ambitious about Long Halloween writing-wise than Hush. I think the art is more artistically ambitious for Long Halloween, and perhaps that gives the illusion the writing is as well.

So while it’s true that it’s difficult to argue one is a good story and the other isn’t, I can definitely see how someone might like one and not the other, because they represent such different aesthetic qualities and ambitions.

Again, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree here. Writing-wise, I see absolutely zero difference in ambitions or approach.The only possible difference is that he focused more on Sale’s strengths and more on Lee’s strengths (lots of tech, butt shots and busy, cluttered scenes) but that’s it.

“I’m including “E is for Extinction” as just #114-116. The weird thing is that I don’t even know where the 2001 Annual is even reprinted nowadays besides the New X-Men Omnibus.”

Maestro Brian, I have a copy of “E is for Extinction” that includes Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan’s New X-Men Annual 1 that took place after issue 116. Marvel reprinted that TPB a couple of times (perhaps, your copy is the first edition, until Marvel came up with the 2nd or whatsoever edition which included Yu’s work). And currently, Yu’s New X-men Annual 1 is included in Chris Yost’s X-Force “Sex and Violence” trade where that issue started the so-called Wolverine and Domino’s “sexual tensions.”

T, here’s the difference, in a nutshell: Hush took place in present continuity, and Loeb plays around in the sandbox around and break shit.

Long Halloween takes place in the magical land of “kinda sorta after Year One” where he couldn’t really do any damage.

Some fans view the first as “disrespectful” and the second as “iconic” whereas others would view the first as “ambitious” and the second as so much plate-spinning.

Aside from that, ayup, they’re the same damn story.

Well, this was an interesting list for discussion….

Kinda surprised to see Iron Fist so high, but not particularly disappointed.

Not sure I get the Snyder Batman obsession. Seems like so many other writers have done far better jobs with the character.

Final Crisis is what happens when you let Morrison completely go without an editor. He starts well then gets his kitchen sink mentality going. As said above…Superman SINGS the bad guy away. Really. Inferior to Infinite Crisis.

E for Extinction starts off a good run on X-Men for Morrison, but has some conception flaws. That there are even 16,000,000 mutants and that there are whole neighborhoods and countries of them, and it’s only a matter of time before they take over the world, not only undercuts a bit of the Marvel U’s connection with a real world, but also makes it hard to take mutant oppression seriously when there are so many people who are their own army. If anything normal people are the oppressed minority. It becomes more of a fantasy world and undercuts what the X-Men are. No more mutants at least had that good effect.

Preacher and Miracleman were expected.

Death of Gwen Stacy seems like it should be higher, but there are probably a lot of good things to come.

Hush isn’t great, and probably too high, but gets more hate than it deserves too. I think part of it is anything they did that was kinda cool was undercut in stories right after. Besides it being cooler to bring back Jason Todd in this story, even if he’s not back to actually have him come back later kills the surprise in this one. And he comes back in a far inferior story. But what this story really did was make the Riddler a bad ass instead of a joke, and someone higher up said immediately after “no, he’s got to be a joke.” It could have been a great Riddler story, making him much more formidable. But for some reason the didn’t want that to happen.

From Hell isn’t Moore’s tightest work….

And I voted for Marvels. It’s been awhile since one of mine has popped, so it breaks a streak.

I read Final Crisis one issue at a time when it first came out, and frankly was less than enamoured with it.

One of these days I’ll get around to re-reading it all in one shot, and seeing what I think of it then.

[…] 33. “Hush” by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Batman #608-619) – 274 points (5 first pl… […]

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