Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My top ten favorite comic book moments.

What makes a classic, timeless comic book moment? I'll be damned if I know! What I do know is what I like, and that's what this list will contain. The following list details those comic book moments that have stuck out in my mind. These are some of the scenes that have made me into the comic book fanatic typing these lines today. Before I get started though, a quick disclaimer. These are the moments I actually remember offhand. I'm sure there are tons of great moments I'm forgetting, so this list is far from perfect.

One more thing before I get started, comments are(as always)highly appreciated. Tell me what you think about my list(whether you agree or disagree)and please, tell me which moments caused you to realize, "Yes, I'm a comic book fan!". First off, some honorable mention. These are a few moments that nearly made the top ten, but were just edged out.

-The breaking of the Batman
-The death of Superman
-The wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey
-The aftermath of the nuclear blast in "Kingdom Come"
-The battle between Geoforce and Deathstroke from "DC: Last Will and Testament"
-The death and subsequent funeral of Ted Knight
-The "death" of Batman

10)The Return of Bart Allen(from Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #3)- When I began reading DC comics a little over a year ago, the first complete DC series I purchased was Peter David's "Young Justice". It was that series that first introduced me to Bart Allen, who was using the moniker of Impulse at the time. I immediately became a fan of Bart, and went on to buy the "Impulse" series along with the current run of "Teen Titans", where Bart became Kid Flash. After the events of the "Infinite Crisis" x-over, Bart wound up aging several years and succeeded Wally West as the Flash. Unfortunately, Bart's run as the Fastest Man Alive was short lived, as he was killed by his crazed clone, Inertia with help from the Rogues. Needless to say, I was bummed. Bart was dead, and since he wasn't one of the big name DC characters, I had little reason to believe he'd ever make a return. Imagine my delight upon reading the "FC: LoTW" mini-series and slowly realizing that all signs were pointing towards Bart making a comeback. Then on the final page of FC: LoTW #3, Bart made his triumphant return to the DCU. The smile on my face after closing the back cover of that comic was literally from ear to ear.

9)The stand-off between Jason Todd, Batman and the Joker(from Batman #650)- I have a confession to make... I'm a big fan of Jason Todd. Yes, I'm a fan of the most reviled Robin in the history of the Batman comic book series. I thought Jason's death at the hands of the Joker in the "A Death in the Family" storyline was unnecessarily brutal, and I was quite pleased to learn that Jason wound up returning to life after the events of "Infinite Crisis". Of course, once Jason came back, you had to know it was just a matter of time before he ran into the man who "killed" him, the Joker. This reunion of sorts took place in earnest in Batman #649. Sure, Jason ran into the Joker once before after his return and proceeded to beat him with a crowbar, but that meeting lacked any real satisfaction, since the Joker wasn't in his right mind at the time(is the Joker ever really in his "right mind?). In Batman #649, Jason manages to capture the Clown Prince of Crime, tying him up and holding him hostage. The real fireworks take place in Batman #650, as Jason and his former mentor, the Batman battle each other. During the battle, Jason leads Batman to the location where he was holding the Joker hostage, and asks how Batman could possibly allow the Joker to continue to live after what the Joker had done to Jason. The dialogue between Batman and Jason was extremely well done(nice job Judd Winick!)and the scene climaxes with Jason holding the Joker in front of himself while holding a gun to the Joker's head, leaving only his head exposed to Batman. Jason tells Batman he was going to kill Joker on the count of three and the only way Batman could prevent the death of his arch-enemy was to hit Jason with a(fatal)head-shot. Jason gets to two-and-a-half, and Batman throws a Batarang that catches Jason in the throat, freeing the Joker to blow up the building the three were in. The thing that pulled me into this scene was the way Jason just couldn't comprehend why the Batman couldn't/wouldn't kill the Joker after Jason's death. That scene has to be one of the most emotionally charged, dramatic stand-offs in recent comic book history.

8)The decapitation of Magneto(from New X-Men #150)- This is really a pretty easy moment to explain. Magneto disguises himself as a teacher at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, secretly puts together an army of evil students, and tears the X-Men apart from the inside out. Mags then takes over New York City, and pretty much runs amok. Eventually the X-Men manage to confront Mags, and he kills off Jean Grey with a electro-magnetic pulse wave. Jean's death sends Wolverine into one of his patented berserker rages, and Wolvie actually beheads Magneto with his claws! Magneto's death at the hands of Wolverine was really perfect. It fit Wolvie's character fully, and it was really the ideal way to end that particular storyline. Magneto killed off Jean Grey, one of the most beloved of all the X-Men. Magneto's punishment definitely fit his crime. Then Marvel brought Mags back... In like 2 months time! For some reason, everything Grant Morrison did during his New X-Men run had to be undone, so Chris Claremont brought Mags back in the pages of "New Excalibur". But wait, how did Magneto survive decapitation??? Marvel simply explained Mags death away by blaming the Scarlet Witch... Sure, why not blame Wanda, she gets blamed for everything else!

7)Superman vs. Thor(From Avengers/JLA #2)- It's time for another confession. I really don't like Thor. I can't even really explain why, but I've never liked him. Didn't like him when I was a kid, and I don't like him now. Maybe it's the way he speaks, maybe it's the fact that he always turns up to save the day, maybe it's his holier-than-thou attitude, or maybe it's just his hair. I don't know. When Superman and Thor met in battle in Avengers/JLA #2, I was totally expecting a stalemate. Sure, common sense tells me Superman would win, but I figured there was no way Marvel would let Thor look inferior to Superman... Boy was I wrong! The two powerhouses fought for three pages, neither one giving or gaining any ground, until Thor swung Mjolnir at Superman, and Supes stopped the momentum of the hammer with his bare hand! Thor(and myself!)was stunned by the fact that Supes had halted the progress of Mjolnir, and Supes used that momentary lapse of concentration to knock out the arrogant God of Thunder! And when I say "knocked out", I mean KNOCKED OUT! Sure, after Thor was KO'ed, a group of angry Avengers attacked Supes and took him down, but in a one-on-one fight, Superman proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was indeed mightier than Thor.

6)The Death of Captain Marvel(From the Marvel Graphic Novel, "The Death of Captain Marvel")- This really isn't so much a single moment as much as it is the entire graphic novel. The backstory here is that while fighting c-list villain Nitro, Captain Marvel is exposed to a carcinogenic which eventually leads to Captain Marvel getting incurable cancer. The "Death" graphic novel chronicles Mar-Vell's final days on Earth as well as Saturn's moon Titan, the home of the Eternals. Like I stated earlier, there's not really one particular moment that grabs my attention in this story, it's the overall feel of the story. From the start of this GN, you KNOW Captain Marvel is going to die. When I first purchased this comic a few years ago, I knew going in Mar-Vell would die. He's been dead for over twenty years. However, knowing he was destined to perish did little to soften the blow. As someone who has been touched by the big C, Captain Marvel's losing struggle with cancer is particularly touching, and Jim Starlin did an amazing job of capturing the dignity Mar-Vell faced his death with... Jeez, just thinking about this GN is making me bleary-eyed! This graphic novel definitely provided me with one of the most emotionally draining experiences I ever had reading a comic book. Without a doubt, "The Death of Captain Marvel" is a credit to the comic book medium.

5)Legion killing Professor Xavier(From X-Men #41)- This is one of those comic books that still manages to give me goosebumps to this day. That's how awesome it is. The set-up here is Prof. X's son, Legion, goes back in time to kill Magneto in an attempt to make his father's life easier. Legion figures no Magneto would mean no hardship for the Professor. So Legion uses his immense mutant powers to travel into the past, but is pursued by a couple of the X-Men, who are trying to prevent his callous act of murder. Not only do the X-Men fail, Legion himself winds up killing the wrong man! As Legion prepares to deliver the killer blow to Magneto, Prof. X leaps in the way, taking Legion's deadly payload himself. While the X-Men and Legion stand around dumbfounded, reality itself begins to crystallize and break all around them as the Universe re-writes history. Eventually the crystal wave arrives in the present, and the X-Men who remained behind watch helplessly as their very existences are wiped away. Not only was Prof. X's death and the subsequent crystallization effect a truly awesome sight to behold, but it was the death of Prof. X which heralded the beginning of the greatest comic book crossover of all-time, "The Age of Apocalypse"!

4)Professor X mindwipes Magneto(From X-Men #25)- This action took place during the X-Men 30th anniversary storyline, "Fatal Attractions". If not for the Age of Apocalypse, Fatal Attractions would be my favorite comic book x-over of all time. Prof. X's mindwipe of Magneto actually wound up having some far reaching ramifications in the Marvel Universe, eventually leading to the Onslaught x-over. Why would Prof. X mindwipe his old friend you ask? Well, the simple answer is that Magneto really had it coming. Over the course of Fatal Attractions, Magneto builds a new space station home(Avalon), tears Cable apart(literally!), taunts the X-Men at the funeral of Illyana Rasputin, encourages Colossus to betray the X-Men, kills all power to the planet Earth, and finally, the coup de grace, tears the Adamantium right off of Wolverine's bones. After Magneto nearly killed the ol' Canucklehead, Prof. X finally realized it was time to stop treating Magneto with kid gloves. The panel where Prof. X unleashes the totality of his mental abilities was really a sight to behold, as was Magneto's reaction, one of total surprise. That act helped me realize that Prof. X wasn't just some old guy who sits in a wheel chair bossing the X-Men around, he was a real force to be reckoned with!

3)Hal Jordan vs. Sinestro(From Green Lantern #25)- Hal Jordan and Sinestro have a long history, and have butted heads on numerous occasions. However, to me, their fight towards the end of the Sinestro Corps War storyline was the defining battle between these two arch-enemies. After Sinestro and his Corps had attacked the Green Lantern headquarters on Oa, the villain decided to set his sights on the planet Earth. Hal and Sinestro's climatic battle ended up taking place in the rebuilding Coast City, Hal's hometown. Although Kyle Rayner was also on-hand for the big fight, it was Hal and Sinestro who stole the show. After their rings were drained, Hal and Sinestro resorted to a dirty, visceral, no-holds-barred brawl. The fight was wrought with emotion as the two former friends tore into each other with any object they could get their hands on. It was truly a wonderfully ugly street fight. In the end, Hal managed to knock Sinestro out cold, and proceeded to arrest his one time mentor. That fight is probably my favorite comic book battle of all-time.

2)Magneto is revealed to be Xorn(From New X-Men #149)- This was one of the first scenes I thought about when I decided I wanted to do this list. I've already spoken at length about what led to this scene in #8 of this list, so I'm not going to repeat the backstory. The way Grant Morrison and Phil Jimenez actually played out Magneto's shocking revelation was what made this scene into an unforgettable classic. It was just Prof. X and Xorn alone in a classroom at the school when Xorn began to show the ability to close doors and lock windows with but a thought. Xorn then took away the Professor's ability to walk(prior to this scene, Xorn had "cured" Xavier's paralysis)and began to make Magneto-ish statements. From there, the scene switches to Xorn, who proceeds to take off his helmet, revealing the familiar visage of Magneto. The way the whole scene played out was just perfectly done, and to me anyway, totally and completely unexpected!

1)Magneto tears the Adamantium out of Wolverine(From X-Men #25)- The first time I read X-Men #25, I was 12 years old and I was really hitting my stride as a young comic book fan. That's probably why this event had such an impact on me(and still does to this day). Here was Wolverine, far and away the most popular X-Man, facing off against Magneto, the greatest adversary the X-Men have ever dealt with. From the start of X-Men #25, there was a feeling that the confrontation between Magneto and the X-Men was going to lead to something special. It had to! With all Magneto had done, and the promise made by Prof. Xavier that Magneto wouldn't harm anybody ever again, this comic book just had a big event feel. That big event came when Magneto, distracted by the combined telepathic assault of Prof. X and Jean Grey, was attacked by Wolverine, who cut an "X" shape right into Magneto's chest. After getting over the initial shock that Wolverine would assault him in such a manner(remember, Wolvie and Mags served as teammates together in the 80's), Magneto grabs a hold of Wolverine with his magnetic powers and tears every last drop of Adamantium from his body while quoting Aeschylus' Greek Tragedy, "Prometheus Bound"(which I obviously didn't realize as a 12 year old!). The panel where Magneto is standing in the background with his fist clenched, magnetic energy coursing from his body, and Wolvie is in the foreground, literally being torn apart is without a doubt my all-time single favorite comic book panel. Andy Kubert more than did himself proud with that piece of art. After Magneto's vicious assault on Wolverine, I was hooked on comics big time. Today, I can point back to that scene as the defining moment in my comic book collecting career. Without a doubt the biggest, most important comic book moment in my life was Magneto's destruction of Wolverine.

Huh, I didn't realize just how X-Men heavy my favorite moments list was until finishing up. I guess that just goes to show how important the X-Men were/are to me. Well, those are my favorite comic book moments, what are yours?


  1. There are some great moment mentioned here, but for me its like someone asking what my fav song is, its always changing, and there are so many great ones. Good post, got me thinking.

  2. Now you got me thinking X-Man i gotta write some down. like you Im gonna name some moments that just come off the top of my head. Moments in comics I personally really enjoyed for one reason or another, so in no particular order.
    1) A death in the family -Jason Todds death, and batmans heart broken - Great early memories of dramatic story telling in comics
    2) Age of Apocalypse - Alpha - The start of the greatest storyline in comics history, the x-men re-designed into total bad-asses in a post apocalyptic world. Awesome.
    3)Wanted by Mark Millar - The whole story is probably my fav 'Graphic Novel' (I hate that word but this is def not a comic for kids). I love all of it but my fav part is without a doubt the very last page where main character wes addresses the reader. I wont spoil it in case you havent read it, but it just summed me up as a reader and person and made me laugh and feel like I been pucnhed in the nuts at the same time. Utter brilliant.

  3. Yeah, you know, I should have just listed the AOA: Alpha comic like you did. AOA is my favorite x-over, and I really should have found a way to get it on my list. The ending was pretty cool as well, with a beaten Mags huddling with his family as the bombs fell... Damn, I wish I would have put that on the list!

    This is pretty much the reason I did this post Matthew, to discover some good comics that I haven't read yet. I've never heard of the Wanted series before, but after reading your description of it, I've got to get my hands on it!

  4. well i hope you like 'wanted' now youve gone out and bought it, i feel under pressure now as I recommended it, but I think you will, I think its briliant look at the superhero/ super villain genre.
    From the other comments you and kello were having the other day I managed to get my hands on heroes for hire 1-6. I read most of issue 1 yesterday and it was quite fun. Im a big iron fist fan and its a cool list of other characters too. Ill read some more of the issues and maybe do a post about what I thought. Im looking out for the maverick series also. Is it the same style of writing?

  5. That H4H comic was one of those under the radar gems back from 90's. It's been a while since I gave that series a read, but I remember it was filled with many seconadary characters, which always appeals to me. I like those c-list characters, the writers tend to take more liberties with a guy like Black Knight than with an established guy like Spider-Man.

    Maverick was another series I haven't read in a LONG time. It's probably been like 4-5 years since I last read those books. If you know/like Maverick you'll probably like this comic. I remember Maverick battling Omega Red, some Russian guys whose names I don't quite recall, and I also recall a pretty cool throwdown between Maverick and Sabretooth. You know, talking about this series kind of makes me want to pull 'em out and give 'em a reread!