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23. “Civil War” by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines (Civil War #1-7) – 384 points (5 first place votes)
Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines reshaped the Marvel Universe for years with this storyline that pitted Captain America against Iron Man over the idea of whether superheroes should be forced to register with the government (and thereby trusting the government with their secret identities). Captain America leads a group of heroes who want nothing to do with registration while Iron Man leads the heroes who are willing to comply with the government’s request. Eventually, Iron Man and his Avengers end up having to hunt down Captain America and his Secret Avengers and, well, things do not go very well, especially when Cap and his crew try to turn the tables and break into the prison where Iron Man had been holding captured un-registered heroes.
This series massively shook up the Marvel Universe as a whole but especially the Avengers, who ended up splintered into two teams, an officially sanctioned one and a rogue one.
22. “The Sinestro Corps War” by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, Peter Tomasi, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Patrick Gleason plus a whole lot of other pencilers and inkers (Green Lantern Sinestro Corps Special #1, Green Lantern Vol. 4 #21-25, Green Lantern Corps #14-19) – 386 points (7 first place votes)
This epic crossover brought to fruition a number of ideas first introduced during Green Lantern Rebirth (the storyline where Geoff Johns returned Hal Jordan to life and the Green Lantern Corps to existence). Sinestro had returned during that storyline and in this story, he returns to vex the Green Lanterns with his OWN Corps – the Sinestro Corps! The idea of a Corps of yellow-ring wielding villains (chosen because they possess the ability to instill great fear in others) was an amazing high concept and this storyline opened with perhaps one of the most over-the-top thrilling debut issue you’ll see in superhero crossovers.
Kyle Rayner had temporarily been the host of “Ion,” the entity that essentially powered the Green Lanterns. In the debut issue of the story, Sinestro not only removed Ion from Kyle, but substituted Parallax, the YELLOW entity (that Johns had introduced in Green Lantern Rebirth)…
What a stunning sequence. What a way to start a crossover!
The story continues with a number of battles until it concludes in a free for all for the planet Earth. Johns ends the story with a powerful message about standing up to fear.
21. “The Age of Apocalypse” by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Joe Madureira, Steve Epting, Roger Cruz and a pile of other artists and writers (X-Men: Alpha #1, Amazing X-Men #1-4, Astonishing X-Men #1-4, X-Men: Omega #1 plus a bunch of tie-ins) – 389 points (12 first place votes)
In this alternate universe storyline, Charles Xavier’s crazed yet powerful son, Legion, went back in time to kill Magneto, figuring that he’d put a stop to the Magneto/Professor X feud before it ever started. A group of X-Men went back in time to stop him, including the X-Men’s resident time-traveler, Bishop. They fail to stop Legion but young Charles Xavier DOES stop Legion, but only by sacrificing himself to save Magneto. This, as you might imagine, throws the whole timeline out of whack. First of all, no Xavier. Second of all, Magneto now has to vow to take up Xavier’s dream for himself. Third, and perhaps most importantly, this big mutant battle years before mutants were supposed to be up and around at this level woke up Apocalypse earlier than the world was ready for. So Apocalypse proceeds to pretty much take over the world, as no superheroes were yet around to stop him. Magneto, for his part, puts together a ragtag group of mutants known as the X-Men (I think Xavier can cut the BS about the team being named after their X-tra powers when it turns out it is named after him even with him dead) to fight against Apocalypse. Sott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Joe Madureira, Steve Epting, Roger Cruz and a pile of other artists and writers show the adventures of the X-Men as well as every other X-related character, with the titles of each book being changed for four months (X-Factor became Factor-X, X-Men became Amazing X-Men, Excalibur became X-Calibre, X-Force naturally became…Gambit and the X-Ternals?! Okay, not all changes made sense). Bishop, being out of time already, retained his memory of the changes and he eventually helped the X-Men to get him back in time to put right what once went wrong. This was a tremendously fun and very well-coordinated crossover and the idea of actually stopping all of the books for four months (and then return them to normal) was a shocking move at the time, especially because most of the books ended on some dramatic cliffhanger before the timeline shifted (Wolverine had just popped a third claw into Sabretooth’s brain, Rogue had just kissed that slimy Gambit, etc.)
Magneto even gets to see his world end with his wife and child (after first taking care of some much-delayed business)…
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