Here are the next three storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.
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.
15. “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin (X-Men #141 and Uncanny X-Men #142) – 449 points (2 first place votes)
Days of Future Past was a major X-Men storyline, as it introduced many key figures and plotlines that would reoccur many times over the next 30 years (and counting).
The main concept of the book is that a group of X-Men in the future, a dark future where most mutants have been hunted down and killed by government-mandated genocide (using giant robots called Sentinels), decide to try to change their present by sending one of them back in time to stop the problem before it began.
The way they do this is by sending the mind of Katherine Pryde into the mind of herself as a teenager, Kitty Pryde of the X-Men.
You see, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are destined to kill Senator Robert Kelly, an anti-mutant Senator who wants to run for President. If they succeed, this will lead tot he backlash that made their timeline occur. So the idea is to avoid that by saving Kelly’s life.
The rest of the comic mixes in the present-time X-Men trying to stop the Brotherhood along with the future X-Men facing off against the Sentinels.
The battle between the X-Men and the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was one of the best battles Byrne and Austin ever drew…
So all in all, this story introduced the dark future timeline, which became a major trope for the X-Books (alternate timelines), plus introduced major characters like Rachel, the telepath who sends Katherine’s mind to the past, and a few new evil mutants who kept popping up over and over again over the years (Avalanche, Destiny and Pyro). Not bad for just a two-issue story arc!
This was also notable in that it was the last storyline that the classic X-Men team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne did on the book (Byrne left the book after one more issue, a classic Christmas tale).
14. “The Great Darkness Saga” by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt (Legion of Super-Heroes #290-294) – 451 points (10 first place votes)
Probably the most notable aspect of the Great Darkness Saga is just how well Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen developed the drama of the storyline. It was very much a slow burn as things slowly got progressively worse until, well, all hell broke loose at the end of the story.
Larry Mahlstedt was Giffen’s inker at the time, and the duo produced some strong, dynamic and characterization-filled artwork.
After some small references in the issues before, the storyline began proper in Legion of Super-Heroes #290, as some mysterious powerful “dark” creatures keep popping up around the world capturing items of power, with the Legion trying (to no avail) to stop them at each opportunity.
In the next issue, the situation continues to deteriorate, and the mystery of WHO these “dark warriors” are becomes a bigger issue, as it APPEARS as though the dark creatures are actually powerful beings from the past – beings that have been long dead for years (centuries in some cases).
The slow burn is perhaps highlighted by Dream Girl having a dream of the future and, well, the dream not going so well for the Legion…
The Legion keep finding setbacks in their fight against the dark ones until finally having a minor victory in #293, but even in victory, things look pretty damn bleak, as the big bad guy has turned the entire populace of Daxam into essentially an army of Supermen…and that’s before they reveal that Darkseid is the big bad guy!!!
The impact of that reveal was a lot bigger back when Darkseid was not such a popular villain for people to use (how freaky is seeing the brainwashed super-powered Daxamites use their new powers to literally sculpt their planet so that it looks like a giant vision of Darkseid’s head?!!? Holy crap!).
And that, of course, leads into a dramatic last issue that has all the drama and action you would expect from the previous issues, as Darkseid eventually takes the fight directly to the Legion…
Of course, this being a superhero story, there has to be a final twist to save the heroes (hint – it involves the mysterious looking boy in the above double-page spread). But here I think Levitz and Giffen played fair and the twist was realistic. What a wonderfully told story.
13. “Kraven’s Last Hunt” by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod (Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132 and Web of Spider-Man #31-32) – 511 points (3 first place votes)
For a story that was originally going to star Batman and the Joker (see this Comic Book Legends Revealed installment for more information), this sure did turn out to be a great Spider-Man story, huh?
First off, the very NOTION of one writer (John Marc DeMatteis) and one art team (Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod) taking over all three Spider-Man titles for two months to tell a six-part epic was, in and of itself, pretty revolutionary.
But DeMatteis’ idea of taking a fairly typical (by that point in time) Spider-Man villain, such as Kraven the Hunter, and then having him take his fight with Spider-Man to a whole new level (a level Spidey is clearly not prepared for) was a shocking idea…
Kraven then dresses as Spider-Man and “bests” him at that, too (well, in Kraven’s mind, as well). Meanwhile, Spider-Man is buried alive. His love for Mary Jane, though, pulls him through, in a brilliant sequence…
That’s already a ton of awesomeness, and we haven’t even gotten to the confrontation between Kraven and Spider-Man that follows!
A breathtaking piece of work that inspired countless imitations by other writers over the years. And, according to you folks, one of the greatest comic book storylines of all-time.