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CSBG Archive

2013 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines #30-21

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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!
Enjoy!

NOTE: All of these storyline posts will be image intensive, so I’ll be spreading them over multiple pages.

30. “Brief Lives” by Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Vince Locke and Dick Giordano (Sandman #41-49) – 283 points (7 first place votes)

In Brief Lives, Morpheus (Dream of the Endless) is at a bit of a crossroads in his life. He has just had a bad break-up with the witch Thessaily and he (and his Dream Kingdom) is feeling the ill effects. Into this strange point in his life comes his sister, Delirium of the Endless (the Endless are a group of brothers and sisters who embody powerful aspects of the universe – the others are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair and Destruction). Delirium wishes to track down their brother, Destruction, who disappeared 300 years ago. Perhaps touched by his sister’s frustrations, perhaps just looking for something to occupy his time, Dream agrees to go on this journey.

The pair then travel through the waking world in a series of interesting adventures while the people who know Destruction coincidentally seem to end up dead (or IS it a coincidence?). Here’s a fascinating sequence where Dream and Delirium fly on an airplane…

The storyline is filled with great little vignettes like that. Gaiman had a remarkable run of excellent storylines on Sandman, didn’t he?

In the end, they do, in fact, discover their brother but they are surprised to learn what he has planned for his life. Their exchange with their brother leads to a dramatic change in Dream’s life, as he decides to try to undo something he felt was a mistake in his life (the not-quite-death of his son, Orpheus, whose story was told in the brilliant Sandman Special soon before this storyline was released).

Jill Thompson was the perfect choice for the more down-to-Earth tales of tragedy and change that make up Brief Lives. She can bring empathy to anyone.

29. “Deus ex Machina” by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog, Doug Hazlewood, Mark Farmer and a few other artists (Animal Man #18-26) – 295 points (8 first place votes)

Grant Morrison concluded his run on Animal Man with this amazing final story arc, where Morrison plays with the very fabric of reality as Animal Man discovers his nature as a fictional character while tripping in the desert…

How awesome is that?

The story goes even further than that as Animal Man’s life becomes a living hell and Morrison acknowledges the way that an author’s life can affect what happens to the characters on the page. The whole thing is a bit of a meditation on the proliferation of grim and gritty comics during this time period. With his life in ruins, Animal Man finds himself on a journey to comic book limbo, where he meets the various characters “erased” by the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

This all leads to Animal Man meeting none other than Grant Morrison himself, as the two talk about life and comic books and Morrison leaves the book with a touching gift for Buddy Baker.

This storyline holds up well to this day (especially the final meeting between Morrison and Animal Man), but at the time, when meta-fictional narratives were relatively rare, this was a really groundbreaking work.

28. “Runaways Volume 1″ by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Craig Yeung, Takeshi Miyazawa and David Nebold (Runaways #1-18) – 298 points (3 first place votes)

Along with penciler Adrian Alphona, inkers David Newbold and Craig Yeung and colorist Christina Strain, Brian K. Vaughan introduced a fascinating group of young heroes. The heroes of the Runaways are all the sons and daughters of a group of Los Angeles-based super criminals known as the Pride (their kids don’t know this, of course). The parents get together once a year (ostensibly for a charity event) and when they do, their kids awkwardly hang out with each other. This year, though, they discover their parents murdering an innocent girl as part of a yearly sacrifice to some ancient gods. The kids go on the run (hence Runaways), each taking with them some aspect of their parents’ abilities (for one, futuristic technology, for another, alien abilities, for another, mutant powers, for another, magic powers and for another, a sharp tactical mind). They decided to band together to take their parents down and perhaps do a little good as well along the way. Here we see them choose their new names…

Vaughan is masterful at developing interesting personalities very quickly and by the end of the series, we have grown to know and love these characters. Oh wait, did I say “know,” well, that turns out to be a bit of a stretch as the final storyline reveals that one of the Runaways is not all together, well, non-evil.

The final conflict is brutally bittersweet.

Go to the next page for #27-24…

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93 Comments

Any list of best story lines with Civil War at #23 is worthless. Now get off my lawn!

Here’s a good batch.

Brief Lives was good but not my favourite Sandman story.

Under Siege is classic, although I don’t love it as much as everyone else. I thought it started way better than it ended (I don’t think I ever truly came around to the Wasp and Ant-Man victory over Absorbing Man and Titania…)

Loved Animal Man.

Loved Sinestro Corps, and I wasn’t even a huge GL or Geoff Johns fan, just thought that story was told in a very exciting, epic fashion.

Don’t recall much about R.I.P. except that I didn’t like it as much as the earlier Morrison Bat-stories (like the three parter with the League of Batmen, that was cool).

Finally read Civil War and was pretty underwhelmed by it. Didn’t hate it, but didn’t care much either.

Loved Runaways. It feels like including all of volume 1 may be bending the rules for a Storylines list (thought they had to be broken into trade volumes) but whatever, it’s my favourite original Marvel series of the past decade, easily.

Thought Planetary was cool, maybe not as much as everyone else did, but I’m glad it’s represented (and that’s the first Warren Ellis story, isn’t it?).

Still have never read Age of Apocalypse, which I guess is sacrilege for an X-fan but it falls in that slot where I wasn’t buying any.

New Frontier was very cool.

Starting to worry about a couple of my picks (actually one’s definitely not going to make it), though most remain shoe-ins.

and the haters keep sucking

“Civil War” above “Batman:RIP” makes me happy,

@Dhole, I was in the same boat as you when it came to “Age of Apocalypse.” I had stopped buying X-books (and comics in general) at that time, and my distaste for the whole “huge massive omfg everything changes forever but not really because we’ll be right back here next year” annual crossovers at Marvel meant I had no interest in reading it. But then I got bored about five years ago and sat down with a copy one weekend afternoon.

It’s not a great story, but it’s a pretty darn good one overall, and lot of its merit lies in strong continuity between titles. After suffering through the clusterfuck of inconsistency in crossovers like “X-Tinction Agenda” and “X-Cutioner’s Song” (christ, those were horrible) it was refreshing to see a crossover that actually feels like a coherent story across several books. Each title dealt with specific characters, and they often overlapped, but the creative umbrella is downright impressive. Some books are written better than others, and some are drawn better, but it’s all organized and executed in a fashion that results in a single story featuring consistent characters and plot lines. That’s no small feat for a crossover.

And it’s a pretty good story, too. As I said, some titles are definitely better than others, but the whole thing is worth reading. It wasn’t close to being on my ballot for this list, but if/when CBR has a “best event crossover” poll, “Age of Apocalypse” will be somewhere on my ballot.

I know it’s always fun to see heroes getting into fights, but the continued popularity of “Civil War” baffles me. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s that it’s SO bad that it makes the idea of heroes-vs-heroes (a trope as tried and true as anything in comics) no fun.

Mark Millar is the unquestioned master of squandering good ideas. The plots of every single book he’s done sound like they could’ve been great if only he hadn’t been the one to write them.

That Slow Walk panel from The New Frontier reminded me why I loved that book. One of the best ever!

Ha. I found all of these to be okay but not as good as most of what came in #40-31. The ranking of much of this just baffles me, and I have to wonder if people have actually reread things like Runaways or AoA, or if they’re just basing their love for them on the goodwill they had when they came out. Because they really don’t hold up.

Not to say I’m unhappy about any of the listings here. Just didn’t think we’d see them so high.

The exception is Batman R.I.P., which I absolutely loved. But, personally, its greatness is largely derived from the issues leading up to it and I can’t really separate the stories in my mind. I would rank the “Black Glove” collection higher than R.I.P. proper.

You give Grant Morrison a book about a superhero and he just has to wank his silly metaphysical metafiction ideas almost every time. Innovation is great, sure, but at some point people want to read a story about Batman or Animal Man, not the nature of the universe and stories about stories (see Final Crisis). Batman RIP is such a sloppy, poorly-written mess, it boggles the mind why it’s so popular. Things happen with little reason or consequence, ideas are introduced and dropped at the drop of a hat, the ideas that are supposed to be important aren’t given time to form, and it just comes off as completely pointless. Not to mention that the villains, for all their planning, are so stone dumb that it’s amazing they could even devise plans. Bane did a better job back in Knightfall. Dr Hurt is just a goofy halfwit who’s lived a long time. Terrible storyline from a bad run of comics.

I love Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier. It has that classic touch to it, bringing elements of the different approaches to the superheroes from the Golden Age and those of the Silver Age with a modern storytelling sensibility and art invoking that jet-set space age aesthetic.

Civil War… Civil War was a mess. It is what sparked some new interest in me for the Marvel universe, but it was a bit too naval-gazing in the sense that it asks that question about whether superheroes would be better off trained and organized rather than freelance vigilantes. And well, of course they would. Yeah, of course. Nobody would want these superpowered people just running around doing basically whatever they wanted to, even if their intentions were good. It’s irresponsible. But I don’t want to think about it. It was a question that was better ignoring, and certainly not handled well in the storyline, especially when the guy they paint as a near fascist dope is the winner, but it’s not clear whether the writers want you to be happy about that or not. That ending is just silly. Captain America just gives up because some rescue workers tackle him because the fight was damaging the city? And why does the Pro-Reg side HAVE to be so over the top wicked at times (Clone Thor, anyone) when clearly we’re supposed to feel that they’re being somewhat reasonable? There’s a lot of disconnect between the intention and the plot.

Not to mention we get that insufferable reporter Sally Floyd deciding Cap is wrong because he’s out of touch with stupid pop culture.

There was some pretty decent drama here and there, some good combat, and fairly interesting situations, bt a lot of it felt forced, and after a while you just tire of “hero fighting hero” and want to go back to reading about Spider-Man punching Doc Oc in the face (nowadays he’d be punching himself).

Oh, and I liked Age of Apocalypse up until the end (where Magneto wins at lot easier than you’d expect, or perhaps as easy as you expect and it just makes Apocalypse seem stupid) and Sinestro Corps War was great, even if it did lead to the many colored groups and who-is-in-which confusion later on.

Dan Ahn, it’s all a matter of opinions.
I’m a big Batman fan but I think AoA is way better than Batman RIP.
Sinestro Corps War is, in my opinion, much better than Batman RIP.
I read the three stories these year again… I think AoA holds up very well!

And The Runaways makes 5 from my list. Absolutely excellent storyline, one of the last really interesting stories I read from the Marvel Universe, and Vaughn always delivers on the character work.
I’m now pretty sure 3 more of mine will appear and the other 2 have no chance at all.

Sandman was excellent all the way through so no objections from me.

Deus Ex Machina is really bizarre but I enjoy it. I’m not a huge fan of Animal Man but it is a good read.

As I’ve said before I’ve never really been engaged by The Avengers I have read so I’ve not picked this up.

I need to finish reading Planetary, I was trying to collect the individual issues but I may just give up and get the TPB. What I have read is good.

The New Frontier is great, although I found the early stuff more engaging than the actual storyline with The Centre. Great animated film as well.

Not a big fan of Morrison’s Batman so I’ve never read it.

I never saw the fuss over Civil War, it just like another everything and the kitchen sink crossover storyline.

I read the first volume and I didn’t find it that interesting. Is the second half any better?

Age of Apocalypse is one of the few 90s X-Men stories that still holds up really well.

I’m kind of floored that Civil War and Batman R.I.P. are this high up on the list. Both were infuriating to read — for very different reasons — although I guess that makes them successful stories. They certainly elicited a strong reaction from me…

I think everything else in this batch is aces.

Chris Thrailkill

November 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Batman R.I.P., The Black Mirror, Blackest Night, Sinestro Corps War, New Frontier, and The Dark Angel Saga means I’ve got most my list. Still need to see the rest of my X-Men picks and Batman and Robin must die, but I doubt I’ll see that one.

A lot of awesome stories on this overall list, but there are a few that feel like ranking Michael Bay movies among the best films ever made. Sure, way more people have seen them, and they may look pretty, but they’re awful.

CIVIL WAR is gorgeous, but it’s horribly written. As a previous commentator pointed out, Millar almost always has great ideas, but horrible execution. Thank God Marvel decided to make Iron Man match the movie portrayal instead of this. Everyone is an @$$hole in Millar books.

The previous entries that really stood out as misplaced were “Hush,” which is essentially the DC equivalent to Civil War in being big, loud, pretty, and horribly written, and the Snyder Batman stuff — not because I don’t like it, but because I can’t fathom it breaking the Top 100 of ALL TIME. Maybe Black Mirror, if it was in the very last entries, but definitely not the Court of Owls stuff. These entries betray how of-the-time lists like these can be, as good modern stories are overshadowing amazing timeless stories from a few decades ago.

I’m a massive Morrison fan, and while I think the Club of Heroes stuff is the best of the run, I’m happy to see any of his Bat-stuff here. I kind of sickly love the trolls who come out to demean his take on the character. It seems very en vogue to hate Morrison these days.

Deus Ex Machina was my #3 vote. I absolutely loved that story.

Brief Lives – a middling Sandman story with ugly Jill Thompson art. (Still great because it’s Sandman natch)

Runaways is great. I really need to reread it. My 12 year old son rereads that on a fortnightly basis.

I haven’t read Under Seige – but if find Roger Stern dull as dishwater so I won’t.

Planetary – good stuff – though overrated IMO

New Frontier – mmmm…. Okay. I never got why people love it so much. Good art though.

RIP – Honestly I can’t remember it. IIRC I preferred the previous trades.

Civil War was just a lot of fun. I still love the Punisher moment. The biggest failing for me was that Millar claimed the story put both sides of the story forward – but then completely wrote Tony Stark as the villain. It was a bit annoying really because in the real world, he was right – but then he chose to blow it by trying to force anyone with powers to work or him or go to the gulag. Still fun though.

The Sinestro Corp War is on my list to read.

Age of Apocalypse isn’t.

Chris Thrailkill

November 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I forgot Wolverine and Scott Pilgrim had appeared. That means all I need are the Dark Phoenix Saga and Batman and Robin must die!

What exactly is a “hater”?

Is it someone who doesn’t have a good reason for their totally subjective negative opinion?

I mean, explain to me how a hater’s opinion differs from a non-hater’s opinion.

And, if we can’t come up with a consistent and sensible explanation, can the word “hater” be reserved for use by those in the under-13 age group?

I like all of these, except for Sinestro Corps War which I haven’t read yet. Good choices!

I’m not trying to be in vogue, I always disliked Morrison’s Batman run. Well, except some parts of B&R.

Now that we’re down to the last 20, I’m starting to think a lot of beloved storylines may not make it. I’d assumed a lot were “locks” for the list, but there’s not a lot of room to work with. And the way the list has been skewing (i.e. only 6/80 stories pre-1980) maybe it’ll be older stuff getting the axe.

All of which is to say this has been a very interesting list. Looking forward to the finish!

Only 6 out 0f 80 predate 1980?

Who’s to blame?

Is it the fault of the 16-year-old Goth girls?

Or perhaps it’s the “haters”!

Me, I say we should blame all the folks who persist in using the phrase “short list” incorrectly.

nice to see more sandman on this list again though would not have thought brief lives. one of the other stories, and was wondering when under siege and new frontier would pop up for had them pegged as being part of the top twenty. but civil war and batman rip just proves those who voted for the lists. that ones tastes are what they are. for batman rip showed that the dc universe become a crazy one in grants hands

I blame the huge leap in quality that comics took in the early to mid 80s.

Brief Lives is my favorite Sandman storyline, and has beautiful, subtle, and nuanced artwork by Jill Thompson. I believe she was the only artist to do a complete story arc for the series, too, which wins her bonus points.

I blame the huge leap in quality that comics took in the early to mid 80s.

It’s a possibility worth considering.

BATMAN R.I.P completely owns every entry here.

Great see Brief Lives and Deus Ex machina, both were on my list.

R.I.P. is the one of best batman’s stories i’ve ever read.

Runaways is a good surprise and Apocalypse Age is a bad.

I liked Under Siege and voted for it, but to be honest I think it’s the concept I like more than the execution. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something about it that made it feel just a little underwhelming to me. Like I said, I still voted for it though.

Runaways was great stuff; my school library had a copy of all of volume 1 and about half of volume 2. I convinced some non-comic-reading-friends of mine to check it out and they quite liked it too. I’m regretting not voting for it now. Come to think of it, I really need to buy the volumes, because it’s that damn great.

I didn’t really mind Civil War, to be honest. It wasn’t amazingly mind-blowing, but the art is beautiful and it had enough cool moments to please my seventeen(?) year-old mind when I read it.

I’m really looking forward to reading New Frontier, it looks great. I also want to get round to Planetary and Morrison’s Batman run, although the later has a lot of ideas that seem stupid and a couple that seem to be brilliant. By the by a couple of years ago it seemed that nobody hated Morrison, which is why I think there’s a backlash.

Runaways looks to be quite good, but also fairly cliche. If I find it in a library I’d probably give it a chance.

Deus Ex was on my shortlist. Siege is very good too, most of Sandman is fantastic.

Unfortunately the last page of this post was somewhat disappointing, even if it was obvious they’d be on here at some point. I’ll admit AOA has a lot going for it, and would be on my list of 100 storylines if I had to do one. It’s just that I’ll be pleased when I’ve read enough great books to knock it off.

I’d been worried a few older stories, including some 80s favourites, were poised to be bumped off the list, but near as I figure, there are 20 locks that haven’t shown up yet to fill 20 spaces! If I’m right, a few older entries have jumped to knock some modern stuff out of the top 20.

Of course, all it takes is one unanticipated upset and my whole theory’s right out the window!

Maybe the fact that we don’t see a lot of pre-1980 is just because comics weren’t as focused on delivering storylines as much as one-off stories.

Either way, glad to see Brief Lives turn up. If they ever make a Sandman movie, they should probably base it off that.

The thing about this list is that it’s voted on by fans, so of course more recent story lines like Civil War and Batman: Rip are going to be up there.

A lot of differing opinions here, which is cool. That’s what these thing are for. You can definitely put me on the positive side, as this list may have more of my personal favorites than any so far.

My favorite “Sandman” story, “Runaways” (which someone said is the best original thing Marvel’s done in ten years and, even as a Marvel fan, I agree), “Planetary” (which I really need to get around to reading more of, I only read the first 6 – 7 issues, but loved them), “Batman: R.I.P.” (I can definitely see where many complaints are coming from, but I still really dug it), “Sinestro Corps War” (just awesome, no special commentary), and “Age of Apocalypse”. If you want to know how I feel about “AoA”, just go back to the “100 Best X-Men Stories” and read any of my many gushing fan-boy comments.

I actually have not read the others, but all of them have been recommended to me. “Civil War” is probably the one I have the least interest in, mainly because it was written during my long, dark Winter of not reading Marvel at all. I’ve started collecting “Wolverine and the X-Men” from that time, and it will likely be one of the only series I will bother with.

The Crazed Spruce

November 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

@Hoosier X: I can’t speak for anyone else, but my “short list” is the list of 60 or so stories that I dashed off off the top of my head when the poll was announced. I later whittled that down to 25 favourites, which I painstakingly put in order from 1 to 25. Then I remembered Runaways, and wound up rejiggering the whole damn thing. (More on that in a minute….)

I haven’t gotten that far into Sandman yet, so I can’t really judge Brief Lives. Same goes for Animal Man and Planetary, though they both look great.

Like I said, I remembered Runaways at the last minute, and it actually wound up at #8 on my list. (Yes! Finally cracked my top 10! Wooo!) It had everything you look for in a good story; memorable characters, a unique story, snappy dialogue, and a great plot twist that I didn’t see coming, but totally holds up to repeat reading.

I first read Under Siege around the same time the poll started. A great story, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype, in my opinion. I still enjoyed it, though, and it did make my short list.

Oddly enough, I downloaded The New Frontier just yesterday, and read the first half just this morning. I’m really enjoying it so far. (Then again, I consider the animated adaptation to be one of the best from DC’s straight-to-DVD line of movies, so that’s not really a surprise.)

Apparently, I liked Batman RIP a bit more than a lot of you did. (I think it was the “Batman of Zuhr-En-Arr” plotline,quite frankly.) Didn’t quite make my top 25, but it was on my short list.

I’m only about halfway through Civil War. It didn’t make my short list, but the mini-series itself isn’t all that bad. You ask me, it really suffers from all the tie-ins and crossovers that came along with it.

I’ve only read bits and pieces of both Sinestro Corps War and Age of Apocalypse. Liked what I read of it, though.

Hoosier X said, “What exactly is a “hater”? Is it someone who doesn’t have a good reason for their totally subjective negative opinion? I mean, explain to me how a hater’s opinion differs from a non-hater’s opinion.”

Good points. We all understand that this list is made of people’s opinions and that it’s not a definitive list. Not everyone is going to agree with the books on the list. Yes it’s suppose to be fun. Understood, but can’t we have fun expressing opposing opinions, or is it only fun if every agrees with the mass opinion? I think that it’s fun to her opposing opinions as long as they’re expressed in a calm and rational manner. I think that it is equally obnoxious to hear people raving as it is ranting. So as far as I’m concerned rant away, though do it calmly and rationally.

Speaking of which, Dancj said, “I haven’t read Under Seige – but if find Roger Stern dull as dishwater so I won’t.”

Really? I find Stern one of the best writers to have worked in the business. When he wrote the Avengers, everything he wrote was great. The same goes for his Dr. Strange run, a comic of which I haven’t been able to read since because no one can write him but Stern and Stan. I haven’t read his Spider-Man or Cap books but I hear they are great as well. I can see your point about his books being boring. They are slower paced than other writers of the time but the thing that makes them great is his characterizations. He pulls the story along with the characters. The other thing that makes his work great is that his books don’t rely on Does-ex-machina or suspension of disbelief. In Under Siege Hercules is put in a coma and Jarvis is beaten to within an inch of his life and the mansion is left in ruins. These are logical conclusions to a battle between heroes and villains but it took someone like Stern to actually pull off what was obvious to us fans. I think his focus on characterization not only makes his books more interesting but that they are more relateable and closer to the way books are written today rather than the fight fests they were in the 70′s and 80′s. It’s also what makes Claremont so popular even to this day.

Brief Lives was on my list. It’s my favorite Sandman arc. Delirium is a great character, as fun as she is tragic. Gaiman wrote his best dialogue for this arc and I liked Thompson’s art.

Batman RIP had some great moments and concepts but also some garbage (the magical black guy being the worst). Tony Daniel’s art was mediocre and the storytelling was disjointed. Batman rising out of his own grave was cool, though.

Under Siege remains my favorite Avengers story. I liked the high stakes, the feeling that the attack on the Avengers was personal, and the cavalry coming in to save the day while the captured Avengers struggled to free themselves. Buscema & Palmer provided solid artwork. (Ok, Ant Man & Wasp vs. Absorbing Man & Titania didn’t work, but everything at the mansion was gold).

Runaways v1 and Planetary 1-12 are two favorites. I miss the Cassaday who would experiment with his inking textures. I think his work calcified during Astonishing X-Men.

Civil War sucked. I can read and enjoy super-hero comics that are stupid, but not stupid and devoid of fun.

I loved New Frontiers. The art was gorgeous. I like how most of the characters had at least one standout scene. I wish Cooke could have done a Martian Manhunter: Cold War Detective series.

I got bored halfway through Sinestro Corps War. I understand a lot of people lIke it, so I may give it another look.

And while we’re on the Civil War hate, let’s not forget the absolutely terrible characterizations that Millar wrote. In my mind, Reed would be too busy calculating the size of the universe to bother taking sides. He would see that taking sides is creating a dichotomy in which the only outcome would be disaster. It doesn’t take a genius to see that coming. Sure, Civil War is an exciting book if you suspend your disbelief…ALOT.

Planetary and Animal Man are decent. Avengers and Green Lantern are cool.

Never cared for Morrison’s Batman.

New Frontier was ambitious, but fell flat IMO.

Civil War was SHIT and the impact it had on Marvel made the company mostly unreadable to me for years. Even now I can’t bring myself to give a crap about the large majority of their books when everyone is a S.H.I.E.L.D. shill and the heroes just fight each other instead of villains.

mckracken
November 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

BATMAN R.I.P completely owns every entry here.

If he’s being serious, this is one time mckracken is 100% correct!

And that’s with several of the other choices being pretty great themselves. Nothing else has both the sentimentality and audaciousness of Batman R.I.P.

The Crazed Spruce

November 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Brief Lives slipped from 29 to 30 (though it gained 14 points and a first-place vote)
Deus ex Machina bumped up from 32 to 29
Under Siege dropped from 17 to 27
Planetary jumped from 75 to 26
The New Frontier slid from 24 to 25 (and lost 7 points, but gained 8 first-place votes)
Civil War dipped from 18 to 23
The Sinestro Corps War sank from 16 to 22
Age of Apocalypse fell from 12 to 21

Runaways is new to the list. (Yay!)

For the five people who voted Civil War as the #1 storyline of all time, this middle finger is for you.

Amazing that people would give up a spot on their list for Civil War. It could have been a good story had Millar bothered with characterization instead of forcing characters into the roles he wanted, regardless of whether it made sense.

“Under Siege” was a pile of “meh” the first time I read it. I’m willing to give it a second chance in context of what was going on at the time (with Stern’s run about to be released gradually in trade.) Somebody was on the money when they said the concept was great but it was lacking in execution. I think the story is hurt by a weak Avengers roster as well. I know some people like them, but there have been extended periods of time where no one has given a crap about The Black Knight, Hercules or Monica Rambeau for a reason.

In my opinion, Age of Apocalypse isn’t even a top 10 X-Men story and probably doesn’t crack the top 20 for me personally. I anticipate only two X-Men stories making the Top 20 ahead of it and it isn’t difficult to figure out which.

The Crazed Spruce

November 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm

As it stands right now, 5 slots have opened up in the top 20. The top 10 looks pretty much locked down (though the order will probably shuffle around a bit), but half of the next 10 is up for grabs. And looking back through the list, I can only think of 3 that are guaranteed to rise up to fill the gaps, so 2 spots are wide open. And that’s assuming that a couple from the top 20 don’t drop off the charts completely.

Either way, the next couple of posts should be pretty darn interesting…

I don’t agree with a lot of people’s choices, but New Frontier is personally one of my favorite books. I’m glad to see it near the top of the list.

Ugh. What a list of lame here. Animal Man? Really? Is there a writer more hyped than Morrison? Probably not. Some may consider his work ‘ground breaking’ and then others call it ‘lame’. His most recent run on Batman another example of weak story. He had some ideas way back when and then his breaking walls was a novelty act that couldn’t be taken seriously. Sure, it hadn’t really be done before but there’s reason for that.

I did enjoy some of his work but most of it is very forgettable or memorable for the wrong reasons. “I can see you.” Give me a break.

Brief Lives was strongly considered for my list. I think I even voted for it the last time around.

Runaways, Under Siege, New Frontier, all awesome.

In fact, this was going fine until the end. I haven’t read Batman RIP or the Sinestro stuff and probably don’t need to. While I quite enjoy Age of Apocalypse, this seems absurdly high.

Civil War had more of a positive impact on me than any other comic. It caused me to stop buying monthly comics and drastically cut back on my reading of bad superhero comics. I used to read everything, and now just try to read what I expect to be good. It also taught me I didn’t need to finish reading every story I started. One of the worst comics I ever read, but it’s good that I read most of it.

I’ve only had two of my votes make it. One more is coming, but I was expecting a couple more which at this point look pretty doubtful. Maybe I’ll be surprised. More likely I’ll yell a bit at the end.

I wish Cooke could have done a Martian Manhunter: Cold War Detective series.

Oh, yeah! This would be so great. Guest starring Captain Harding, Patrolwoman Diane Meade and Zook!

I would defy the haters and put it on my short list!

@dhole

“Thought Planetary was cool, maybe not as much as everyone else did, but I’m glad it’s represented (and that’s the first Warren Ellis story, isn’t it?).”

Ellis’ first work is Deadline #24 almost a decade earlier.

“Brief Lives” is another good Sandman entry. (It makes me wonder if “Season of Mists” is going to be on the list. I really don’t know which Sandman arcs are the most highly regarded. I’m surprised to see “Brief Lives” rated higher than “A Doll’s House.”)

“Under Siege” was probably the last great “pure superheroics” story that I read before I took a hiatus from comics in the late 1980s. It’s so great! The art! The cast of characters! The assault on Avengers Mansion! I haven’t read it since it came out, but it’s stayed with me.

I haven’t read anything else from today’s entries, but some of it looks interesting, especially New Frontier and Sinestro Corps War (I’m a sucker for all things Green Lantern, no matter how stupid it is).

Look up “short list.” Does it make any sense at all that the longest version of the list is called the “short list”?

@DK

he meant the first Ellis’ work on this list…

As a person who’d put RIP pretty high on my list I clearly understand why some people might hate it, but specially for them DC published Night of Owls which is basically a remake of every RIP plotpoint in more traditional for Batman manner.

I re-read “Heart of Hush” last night, and it is phenomenal. Does anybody have a guess why it doesn’t get the kind of love that’s showered on “Black Mirror,” “Hush,” “Batman RIP,” etc.?

(My favorite Batman storyline of all would be “The Joker Fish” in Detective #475 and #476.)

By the by a couple of years ago it seemed that nobody hated Morrison, which is why I think there’s a backlash.

The comments on the countdown four years ago were pretty much identical.

The Crazed Spruce

November 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm

@Hoosier: For the purposes of balloting, “short list” refers to the initial list of nominees, from which the final nominees are selected. So yeah, while the “short list” is actually the longest list, it’s still called the “short list”.

I know I probably said the same thing about Civil War, almost verbatim. I’ll say it again in four years.

I limited myself to only one Sandman story on my list, and Brief Lives was the one I chose. It has some of my favorite scenes from anything I’ve read. Of course, that goes for every Sandman arc. I had a hell of a time choosing a single storyline, and it could easily have been another one on any other day. They’re all so damn good.

The New Frontier was also on my list. It’s one of the few stories I love enough that I coughed up the money for the Absolute edition.

Batman RIP and Deus Ex Machina are both remarkable stories that I adore, but I limited myself to two Morrison stories, and they didn’t quite make it. Both of them were on my final fifteen.

The Sinestro Corps War was in my top twenty. The Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern is very good overall, despite a good bit of stumbling in the past couple of years, but I still consider this story its high point.

Civil War was… not one of my favorites by a long shot.

I’ve never read any of the rest. I’m currently working my way through classic issues of The Avengers, so I’ll get to Under Seige sooner or later. Planetary is on the “to read” list. I’m ambivalent about Runaways. It’s highly acclaimed and all, but I’ve thought everything I’ve read by Vaughn has just been okay. I may get around to it at some point, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit over here. Age of Apocalypse is one of those stories I doubt I’ll ever feel much desire to read.

Wow, the 16 year old goth girls managed to vote another story into the top 20.

Under Siege is the third story from my list to make it. As great as that story is, I think it overshadows the almost as good Assault on Olympus story that takes place just a few issues later. That was a really good time for Avengers comics.

Overall I’m not a fan of Morrison, but his run on Animal Man is a favorite of mine. I probably would rate the middle third of his run higher than the end, but it’s all good.

Age of Apocalypse made my list last time but not this time. Not because I don’t like it anymore, I just used my bottom 4 spots to rotate in some new picks. I haven’t read it in quite some time, but one of my favorite aspects of it was the world building they were able to do with a limited number of issues. AOA only lasted 4 months, and despite what they said no body thought it was actually a permanent change, but they managed to fully flesh out this alternate reality and I’ve always found that fascinating.

Runaways is one of those titles I read because there was so much hype about it, and I just didn’t get the hype. I liked BKV’s entire run, but none of it was groundbreaking to me. I’d rate it as slightly above average super-hero storytelling.

Sinestro Corps War I really liked, partly because it didn’t start as a big event, it was just some issues of Green Lantern and then all of a sudden the War was a big thing. For the most part I liked Johns’ run on GL, but this was the high point for me.

Civil War is one of those few stories that I not only do n’t like, but I have a hard time believing that anyone that liked it likes any of the same things I do. Thanks to this blog and lists like this I know that’s not true, but I still have a hard time believing that anyone that likes anything Marvel did pre-1999 could also like Civil War. It just seems like super-hero comics for people that hate super-hero comics to me. But obviously that’s just my opinion. At least it dropped a couple spots from last time.

I really liked a lot about Civil War initially. There was a genuine philosophical difference that you could actually imagine well-meaning people being harshly divided over, nobody seemed to obviously mind-controlled, and when it was Iron Man and Spider-man v. Wolverine and Captain America with Thor and Hulk sitting it out, there was enough of a split that it didn’t feel like the popular character division was stacking the deck for one side.

By the end, it was every A-lister versus an Iron Man who was cloning his dead buddies to fight for him, which seemed like the easiest possible way out, word of god to the contrary notwithstanding.

I like this group of ten much better than the previous group.

Runaways was very close to making my list. I hadn’t considered Under Siege, but I have very fond memories of the story and it will be on my radar for next time.

I just read The Age of Apocalypse for the first time, and it turned out to be largely unreadable trash. The best thing I can say about it is that it was an ambitiously coordinated crossover, that some of the art is only slightly below average, and that I quite liked the Sentinel designs. On the other hand, there’s nothing noteworthy about the plot, the art is generally as terrible as most 90s art was, and I’m not sure there’s a single image of Apocalypse that doesn’t inspire ridicule.

It’s utterly laughable that it’s higher on this list than e.g. Jaime Hernandez’s work. The only reason I can imagine for it being that high up on the list is nostalgia from voters who grew up in the 90s and bought in to the hype. Civil War is a Nobel prize-winning piece of literature in comparison.

The Crazed Spruce, Hoosier X is right about your use of short list. The initial longer list (in your caser the list of 60) is often called (somewhat unsurprisingly) the long list. This is then narrowed down to a shorter list before picking a winner (or in this case a final top 10). The shorter list is called (also somewhat unsurprisingly) a short list (in your case, this would be your list of 25).

Civil War would be in the top five if this were “Most Disappointing Storylines in comics history”, might even be number 1…

This group started so well and fell of the cliff so very fast.

R.I.P.? Civil War? Sinestro War? Age of Apocolypse?

Ugh.

Wow, Civil War really gets a lot of hate. I like a lot of it, I like what they did with it, how they brought every title together and how they paved the landscape for the succession of the eras/crossovers of the Initiative, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and Siege. All of this actually opened up the Marvel world for me. I was only collecting Spider-Man before, but added many titles to my collection since, including older material. I read many stories since which are much, much better – but I still like Civil War.

I don’t see everyone acting out of character. Reading older Avengers stories afterwards, I could clearly make sense out of Iron Man ending up in a commanding role with his vision focused on the future & present actions suffering for it.
Many tie-in issues were pretty good, especially those where Iron Man and Cap provided more detail to their viewpoints.

I did, however, always have some problems with the story.
-I dislike the extremely forced manner in how SHIELD is trying to bully Cap at gunpoint into taking a pro-reg side at the start of the story.
-I totally agree that the pro-reg side is depicted as doing too many questionable things, because of which they automatically fall into the ‘bad guy’ role. It would have been so much better if there wasn’t any good vs evil distinction, but good vs good with equally sensible arguments AND actions. At the start of the story, I wanted to agree with the pro-reg side myself, but after a couple of issues in the story (AND the tie-ins) distinctly give the impression that the pro-reg side are the baddies.
-I agree that some (not all, but certainly some) characters suffer from Millar’s writing style, I especially hate the part where Spider-Man doesn’t understand why Cap beats up the Punisher as they’re “practically the same guy” – Spider-Man would never, ever think that. I’m also not keen on JMS’ depiction of Reed Richards in an issue of ASM, wherein Reed tells Peter about his uncle protesting the anti-communist movement and actually argues that his uncle should have complied. Reed is a dick, sure, but he’s truly awful in this story.
-Paul Jenkins’ Front Line tie in provided a nice extra dimension to the story and has lots of good bits to it, but several major flaws. There’s a bit where someone’s smiling in the shadows about the hero’s being betrayed by the one person they’d never expect – this someone should be Tony Stark. But there’s no sense for him at all in taking pleasure in scheming. Then there’s the thing where Urich and Floyd ‘figure everything out’, but while Stark is shown to have cleverly manipulated events, the issues try to present the reporters as having figured out ‘the real reason behind the Civil War’, which they really didn’t. Then there’s the thing with Floyd talking to Cap – trying to make some kind of point about Cap fighting for values and ideals that may very well be rooted in a mindframe of the past, but done so clumsily that it results in a notorious laughable nonsense scene.

Anyway. Overall, I’d say Civil War is pretty good. I would not include it in my top 10 (didn’t send one), I AM surprised that apparently many others like it that much for it to list so high, but I don’t mind – and I don’t think it deserves the amount of hate it gets.

The Crazed Spruce

November 22, 2013 at 6:07 am

@BDaily: Yeah, in the light of day, that actually does sound reasonable, and makes perfect sense. I was actually thinking of it as a “short list” as compared to the list of storylines that I’ve read in my lifetime, or even the list of stories that I read and liked (which would’ve been at least four or five times longer than what I called my “short list”). Either way, my apologies, Hoosier.

I feel the need to preface this by saying I didn’t vote for it, but Civil War as an overall storyline was decent. It’s just that all of the chapters that appeared in the mini-series titled ‘Civil War’ were pretty bad. I wonder if any voters wanted to reflect their liking for one but could only do so by voting for the other? I especially rated the tie-ins for the books featuring pro-registration heroes (Iron Man, Ms Marvel and even the fantastic Four) which did as convincing a job as possible of making them seem like conflicted people struggling with their own morality. As pointed out above, they were obviously in the right, but in the realm of fantastic fiction, they are the villains.

Also, I feel it’s worth pointing out (others have said this already, but, y’know, for emphasis) that although the list is titled ‘greatest storylines’, because we’re talking comics here the art really is key. I’m not personally mad keen on Jim Lee or Steve McNiven, but I can definitely understand people who are, and imagine people getting into comics on the strength of a few panels here in there in both Hush and Civil War. And this is going to leave a mark on what you hold up to be the best stories ever.

Top of my list was Nemesis the Warlock (genuinely my favourite comic storyline, but I knew it’d never appear on this countdown), which is in part because both Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill worked equal wonders. (And if I’m honest, O’Neill more so than Mills)

Yay lists!

When Animal Man was Animal man.

Deus Ex Machina is the third from my list to appear, and it was my number one pick. I personally consider everything from the Coyote Gospel to the end of Morrison’s run to be one storyline, but I voted for the final storyline in accordance with Brian’s rules. Glad it’s also increased (as did my other two to appear so far – From Hell and WE3).

Brief Lives is great, but if I had voted for a Sandman storyline, it wouldn’t have been that one. Still, an excellent storyline and a good choice of sample pages. Man, those 16-year-old goth girls have some great taste.

I’ve bought the first four trades of Runaways as a Christmas gift for my girlfriend’s teen sister, and I plan to borrow them once she’s done. Love me some Vaughan.

Haven’t read Under Siege. Hope to get to it someday, but it won’t be any time soon.

I seem to be in the minority, but I actually prefer the second half of Planetary to the first half. It’s all great though. Exceptionally good comics, in both story and art.

Definitely have to read New Frontier asap.

I like RIP a lot, although there are a few other parts of Morrison’s run (including The Black Glove/The Island of Mr. Mayhew) that I prefer. Still, makes sense to pick this to represent his initial Bat-run. I can understand it not being for everyone, but I don’t get that so many people actively dislike it.

Civil War was okay blockbuster comics. But, as others have pointed out, the characterisation was terrible. And I also fall into that camp that just can’t get involved with mainstream Marvel following that and Secret Invasion.

Haven’t read Sinestro Corps War and not terribly inclined to.

I’m a big fan of AoA. It came out not long after I first began getting into comics and the X-Men, and will therefore always be one of my favourites. Certainly an exemplary crossover event. I do think it’s ranked a bit high though.

I’ve read a lot of these, didn’t enjoy many of them.

Didn’t have a problem with Age of Apocalypse a few months ago when I first read it though to be honest, it was an entertaining story that was just too long. I most enjoyed the Colossus/Kitty rescue mission sections, and the alternate Cyclops/Jean/Wolverine interactions with the bombing run and Cyclops having second thoughts etc.

I think Age of Apocalypse is strictly more for die-hard X-Men fans though, a lot of what makes the story interesting is just seeing what changes have happened to all of the major and minor characters.

Wouldn’t have placed in my own top 10 (heck maybe not even in a top10 X-Men stories list either), but I can still somewhat see what the appeal of it is for some people.

Didn’t like the Civil War or Sinestro stories at all personally.

Found the Avengers story disappointing, but it was OK I guess.

New Frontier was nice enough, though I honestly can’t remember if I read it in the library or just watched the cartoon adaptation they made of it, might have to have another look just in case.

Loved Sinestro Corps War. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the beginning of the endless GL Big Events and Status Changes and Guardians finding new ways to be douchebags.
Civil War was like a mutant-registration story where they crossed out “Mutant” and penciled “super-hero” in in crayon. That is not a compliment. Though I did like the 50-state initiative set-up afterwards.
Planetary … I read the first few issues which mostly seemed to be Look! We Have Famous Fictional Characters All In One Room!!!!! and stopped. But of course, Warren Ellis just writes on a frequency I don’t pick up, so that’s not surprising.
Under Siege I enjoyed rereading much more than when it first came out. I don’t know why I didn’t like it better.
I preferred the DVD of New Frontier, which moved a bit faster.
Animal Man was good but the last issue with Morrison? Nowhere near as clever as he seemed to think it was.
Runaways yes!

I did pick up a TPB of the later Planetary at my library which didn’t change my feelings, but I was struck by how abusive the Reed-analog was to Sue. And the Venture Brothers version of Reed is also very creepy towards her. I wonder why.

I like Planetary the most in this current list. Grant Morrison’s RIP made me return to serious comics reading due to his story title alone (and way so disappointed until his excellent run Batman and Robin, which for me, the best Bat story-line he ever made). Indeed, Mark Millar’s more clever and smarts, but intellectually speaking, just average for my cup. He just know how to incite controversies and shock value than many writers around. But undeniably, his Civil War event is still felt. But overall, I feel a strong sense of nostalgia whenever the phrase Age of Apocalypse is mentioned. One of the very few stories Lobdell did good, and the story overall was (and still is, way superior than all later AoA combined, which often makes me think, can’t we leave a great story ALONE?) heart-wreaking, particularly the last pages. Still resonating.

I still haven’t heard a reasonable answer to why everyone loves Sandman so much. I read it and found it very boring. I had to force myself to read it the whole way through and didn’t even finish the last book because I couldn’t make myself. I was that under whelmed. Though I really want to knwo what the appeal is to the book. It may not be for me but I at least want to know why it’s not for me. What was the appeal of the book?

As far as my criticism go, I found that it had no real plot that carried me along. The little excerpt above is a good example. Dream talks to a little girl and says some cute stuff and Delirium is being cute. So he has good characterization but is that really enough to carry peoples attention through 100′s of pages? It didn’t work for me. I didn’t care enough about the characters. Perhaps it was the vague way that Gaiman deals with the characters feelings. We are told that Dream has a lover though I never feel it. He’s just a cold character that enjoys being emotionless. Emotionless and cute. Though not really.

Civil War is a great idea that was horribly executed.
I totally get the premise of the government saying “these superpowered people have been running amok for too long, let’s take control of them” but I can’t see how all of these heroes -or most, some of them have questionable personalities- who have been allies, teammates, friends and even family for so many years would so easily start fighting, backstabbing, manipulating, hurting and ruin each other’s lives because of it.
Too much ridiculous going on in that story.

New Frontier was spectacular and I loved it. It didn’t make my list, but it might have if I had voted for only actual ‘greatest’ instead of ‘storylines I just enjoy the hell out of’.

Why I like Sandman:

1. Dialogue: Sometimes witty, sometimes tense, occasionally deep, very readable. I found most of Gaiman’s writing on the series original and memorable.
2. Scope: Any type of story could happen, with any setting or character.
3. Plots: While Gaiman & Co. could meander with the best of them, his stories often unfolded in both logical and unexpected ways. The entire series culminated in The Kindly Ones (with The wake as an epilogue) and it was impressive how Gaiman wove the various plot threads into a satisfying, cohesive climax. His tendency toward anti-climaxes wasn’t always successful, but sometimes worked perfectly.
4. Characters: Even one off characters felt fully developed. I felt sympathy for Element Woman and Emperor Norton, wanted to read more about the caliph of Baghdad and Johanna Constantine, etc. The Endless themselves were fascinating, with Death and Delerium getting most of the best lines.
5. Art: Not every issue was well-drawn, but the contributions of P. Craig Russell, Kelly Jones, Marc Hempel, Mike Zulli, Jill Thompson, Charles Vess, Coleen Doran, Jon J. Muth, and others added a lot to the overall product.
6. I am secretly a 16 year-old Goth grrrl. Like, whatever and stuff.

Of the entries above, Brief Lives is my favorite and second only to Season of Mists as my favorite Sandman arc. The interactions between The Endlesss were always my favorite parts of the series and this arc had more of that than any other.

Animal Man, Runaways, Planetary, Batman RIP, and Brief Lives are all stories I adore. Brief Lives was on my list, I’m pretty sure.

I voted for Age of Apocalypse. It’s not only my favorite line-wide event crossover, but it’s one of the only ones that I really think holds up well. I also think this is the greatest ever alternate reality story, and the way the X-writers of the time crafted this new continuity to play around in for four months was truly masterful. Virtually every important character who had ever been in a mutant book showed up during this storyline, and they were almost all used well. The art (other than Roger Cruz on the bookends – blech) was by some of the best in the industry at the time: Andy & Adam Kubert, Chris Bachalo, Joe Madureira, Steve Skroce, Steve Epting, Carlos Pacheco, and others, and each individual mini-series told a compelling story in its own right. Generation Next and Astonishing X-Men are particularly great. Most event crossovers think of something cool to do but don’t necessarily have a great story to tell. Age of Apocalypse really had both.

I’ve read everything else here but the Sinestro Corps War. I have read 5 or 6 other trades from Johns’ GL run and I strongly disliked them, so I don’t have too much interest in the Sinestro Corps War, but maybe I’ll check it out one of these days.

Brief Lives I came very close to voting for. I only wanted one Sandman story on my list both in the interests of diversity and because once I had my list down to about 16 or 17 entries I needed to figure out some arbitrary ways to get it down to 10. So I went with The Doll’s House over Brief Lives, but it was a total toss-up. Brief Lives is definitely one of my favorite stories ever, and I think it does a better job of exploring the themes of the whole Sandman series better than any of the other arcs. In particular, the issue-length conversation with Destruction (#48) is truly phenomenal.

Planetary and Animal Man are both things I voted for in the Top 100 Runs poll, but I didn’t consider either of them here because I just don’t think the whole can be separated into arcs. Planetary feels like a 27-issue story to me, and Animal Man #’s 5-26 feel like a 22-issue story to me. So I love both and think they’re among the truly great comic runs out there, but I don’t think they should be here because I just don’t think these storylines work on their own the way others do. But damn good series.

DC: The New Frontier and Under Siege are both awesome stories. Neither made my short list, but they’re both deserving of this countdown. I’d like DC to put out New Frontier in a nice hardcover.

Runaways was good, but for some reason it didn’t work for me. I think part of it may have been the coloring, which was too pastel. It’s another one that I keep thinking I should try again.

Civil War I found stupid and R.I.P. I really didn’t like. I knew they’d both be here, but can’t say I’m happy to see them.

Hold on… I mean… did someone actually say that everyone who likes Sandman is a 16-year-old goth girl? Really? Reeeeaaaalllly?

And did other people actually have to defend why they like Sandman? With a list of reasons or something? Is this a thing that actually had to happen? Can we finally shut down the internet, or…?

“Can we finally shut down the internet, or… ?”

That may be a bit of an overreaction in this specific case, but… no, yeah, shutting down the internet is probably a good call in the long run. I’m behind you.

Hold on… I mean… did someone actually say that everyone who likes Sandman is a 16-year-old goth girl? Really? Reeeeaaaalllly?

And did other people actually have to defend why they like Sandman? With a list of reasons or something? Is this a thing that actually had to happen? Can we finally shut down the internet, or…?

It’s been fun, despite the vote-rigging by the 16-year-old Goth girls and the “haters.” There is so much on this list I haven’t read because I read so few comics between the mid-1990s and 2011. I’m hoping the library has Final Crisis or Sinestro Corps War or The Long Halloween so I can get caught up on SOME of these potential gems.

I read Justice! Is that likely to be in the Top Twenty? Justice is great!

And I’m not a big Grant Morrison fan, but I very much enjoyed Flex Mentallo back in the day. Is that likely to be on the list?

Runaways Vol One, I was a huge fan of the first two volumes of the title, then I just sort of lost track of it. Really liked Gert & Old Lace and Power Princess, they were my favorites. Nico was an interesting character as well.

Under Siege was my go to best Avengers story for years, prior to the Busiek run. Such a historic storyline. It may be my first Avengers story I read or own (in trade). I may have even read it prior to the Thunderbolts reveal, which made that even better back in the day. It was a wonderful way to learn about that team of Avengers and how awesome Cap is, and how awesome a foe Zemo is.

Who is the Fourth Man, by Ellis and Cassaday, is the only Planetary I have ever read. Bit confusing but it was a good story that I am sure I would appriciate more if I knew more about the characters. I also didn’t “get” who the fourth man is. Should reread it and the series.

Batman RIP is such a fun Morrison story. It feels straight forward but there is a great deal of subtext going along with it too. Huge payoffs for Morrison’s Batman.

Civil War at 23, ooof, that is telling. Of what, I am not sure but in the Top 25 is impressive for that story. The thing I will forever remember is how it was the plot for Ultimate Alliance 2.

Age of Apocalypse, such an awesome epic. Gave the world the second best alternate version of Kitty Pryde (it was the first until Ultimate Kitty came along). It also sheds like on how poor a character Colossus is. Generation Next is the best part of the crossover. Also gave us Rogue and Magneto, as an actual couple. I also adore the super commitment to tell this story, as I imagine it was a production nightmare and having to get all of the copyrights and what not. Its success though, spurred the X-Men into being the “alternate timeline” franchise that it dips into far more after this than it did prior to this.

The appeal of Sandman at the time was that it was one of the few coherent books published by the big 2. The first half of the nineties were truly a scorched earth wasteland of utter crap. I have never felt the desire to revisit Sandman once it ended as things improved in the industry.

The first half of the nineties were truly a scorched earth wasteland of utter crap.

This may sound harsh to readers who didn’t live through it.

Under Siege is also one of my favorite Avengers stories. Everything is clicking in this one: the characterization is spot on, giving multiple characters truly great moments, the art is absolutely stellar (for my money it’s as good as Buscema/Palmer has ever been on a super-hero book), it’s a terrific plot…the only flaw is it introduce Dr. Druid, possibly the worst Avenger of them all. But it’s worth dealing with that purple-robed twit for the rest of this awesomeness. the bit where Cap just calmly tells Zemo, “I’ll remember this.” is beyond cool.

Civil War is frustrating as hell. It’s a great concept, but it’s not an original one (thank you, Mutant Registration Act!). The execution is incredibly poor, because it requires heroes to act drastically out of character to service the plot. Sure, the art is terrific, but it’s just not good enough.

Brief Lives isn’t one of my favorite Sandman arcs. It’s not bad (none of them are), but I’m not a huge fan of Jill Thompson’s art here (It’s not bad, just not my cup of tea) and it feels like a small story trying to be a bigger one. Season of Mists is probably the best extended arc but I would argue that the books was at its absolute best in the one-offs and shorter stories like “Three Septembers and a January”.

I feel that Jill Thompson’s art could’ve been far better than it was in Brief Lives if she’d finished it herself. Vince Locke’s inking seems lazy and inconsistent and really dragged the art down as a whole.

Some great stories in this batch. The Batman runs are far from my favorite Morrison work, but I did enjoy RIP. And, well, I didn’t much like anything on page 3, but it’s not like I didn’t know they were popular, so I’m not surprised to see them here.

Animal Man is an example of Morrison at his best, while RIP might not be him at his worst, but his not so great at least.

Can Runaways 1-18(!) really be considered one story arc?

Glad Sinestro War was over Blackest Night.

Under Siege was on my just missed the cut list.

Civil War – if you voted for it in your top ten, I would strongly disagree, but different strokes. If you voted that #1, you need a new hobby. They guy who fought the Armor Wars and got on Cap’s bad side then is now all “let the government know everything about us??” I’m not sure Cap who’s a soldier or Cap who’s Nomad is more appropriate for this story, but their promise of two equal sides of a reasonable debate falls horribly flat, and the cast is way out of character. (I mean, we do get to include “Hi everyone, I’m Peter Parker!” in this mess too, right?)

I know I’m way late in reading this, but I have to put my Civil War two cents in. I had the opposite reaction to the gentleman who cut way back on comics after reading it. I loved it so much it boosted my pull list. I love that book. I didn’t make a list, but if I had it would be near the top, if not my number 1. For some context – I would probably also have some of Millar’s Ultimates, some Sandman, some Preacher, some Scalped, some Y the Last Man, probably Top Ten, some Hickman Fantastic Four, maybe the original Secret Wars, and, I dunno, House of M maybe.

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