Here are the next five storylines on the countdown, as voted on by you, the readers!! Here is the master list of all storylines featured so far.
Okay, as usual, the votes are more bundled together at the bottom of the list and things open up as we go along. Eventually the results will be five a day, except today (also they’ll be in smaller groups as we get to the very end)! Note, there may be some spoilers ahead! You are forewarned!
NOTE: All of these storyline posts will be image intensive, so I’ll be spreading them over multiple pages.
65. “Tower of Babel” by Mark Waid, Howard Porter, Steve Scott, Drew Geraci and Mark Propst (JLA #43-46) – 156 points (2 first place votes)
How do you follow up Grant Morrison’s epic JLA run? In Mark Waid’s case, it was to take a concept that Morrison had teased since the beginning of his run and bring it into play. From the start of Morrison’s run, Batman had been treated pretty much like Batgod, and the feeling soon was that Batman would be able to defeat ANYone. This idea soon expanded to, “Well, if Batman could beat anyone, could he beat the rest of the JLA then?” Morrison gave an interview where he came up with a possible scenario where it could happen, using the notion that Batman being Batman means that he would likely have plans in place to take out any hero who went rogue. The fans were into the idea and when Waid took over the title, his first arc has Ra’s Al Ghul discovering Batman’s plans and using them on the JLA, all the while distracting Batman from seeing what is going on by distracting him with an audacious plot – stealing the corpses of his parents!
Al Ghul’s plan involved ridding the world of all language (and failing that, to then start a war in the Middle East to cause unrest in the world) but really, the heart and soul of this storyline is the rest of the League dealing with the fact that Batman had, in his own way, betrayed them all. What a way for Waid to begin his run!
64. “Dangerous Habits” by Garth Ennis, Will Simpson, Mark Pennington and a host of other inkers (Hellblazer #41-46) – 158 points (1 first place vote)
In one of his very first storylines as the writer of Hellblazer, Garth Ennis ended up with likely the greatest John Constantine story of all-time (it was roughly adapted into the Constantine movie). The basic concept of the story is that John Constantine discovers that he has terminal lung cancer, likely a result of a lifetime of cigarette smoking.
John tries to keep from dying by pursuing various means, including a fellow magician named Brendan. Brendan, though, not only can’t help him but is dying himself. Constantine takes a detour from his plot to help save Brendan’s soul from the First of the Fallen. This, of course, only makes the First of the Fallen even happier to see Constantine when he finally decides to kill himself…
Of course, this being John Constantine, he has something up his bloody sleeve. It’s a brutally clever story by Ennis with strong work by Simpson and a host of inkers. Ennis really nails Constantine’s personality in this arc.
63. “Wolverine” by Chris Claremont, Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein (Wolverine (1982) #1-4) – 160 points (5 first place votes)
When Marvel decided to expand their publishing approach with the addition of mini-series as a standard publishing tool (rather than a very rare occurrence), there was little doubt that Wolverine would be one of the characters getting one of these new mini-series. However, it likely still took people back at just how GOOD the mini-series was. A lot of these series turned out to be fairly forgettable but when you put the top Marvel writer, Chris Claremont, with the top Marvel artist, Frank Miller, you were bound to get quite a comic book. This series (with finishes by Joe Rubinstein, whose contribution to this series is often overlooked). This series takes Wolverine to Japan for an epic battle between Wolverine and the evil ninja Lord Shingen and the Hand (the evil ninja organization from Miller’s Daredevil).
We also meet the free-spirited Yukio, who helps Wolverine in Japan. In the end, Wolverine manages to achieve enough of a position of honor that his Japanese girlfriend, Mariko, can agree to marry him. By the way, the first page of this mini-series debuted the phrase “I’m the best there is at what I do.” So for that alone, this series would be pretty memorable.
62. “Safeword” by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan Jr. (Y: The Last Man #18-20) – 161 points (2 first place votes)
In this storyline, Yorick (the titular “last man” on Earth) is tortured by an associate of his bodyguard/traveling companion, Agent 355. The associate, Agent 711, reads 355’s journals of their travels so far and determines that Yorick is suicidal, so she basically does an intervention for him – although to him, it appears to be torture. What is striking about this storyline is that Vaughan really turns the book on its end a bit, by having Yorick almost be re-envisioned. He had always been a wiseass, and that had been seen as part of his charm, but in this story, Vaughan’s strips him of this defense mechanism in a highly abrupt fashion. By tearing down the character, Vaughan allowed him to grow as a character. It’s really quite striking work.
This story also has probably the most memorable moment of the entire Y the Last Man series, the famous scene where Yorick tells of his first sexual encounter with a member of the opposite sex.
Penciler Pia Guerra and inker Jose Marzan Jr. do a bang-up job on the art for the arc.
61. “The Great Cow Race” by Jeff Smith (Bone #7-11) – 163 points (2 first place votes)
If you were going to pick one Bone storyline to represent the series, The Great Cow Race is a great one to pick, which is helpful, because it is the only Bone storyline on the list!
This story, which is the second story arc in Jeff Smith’s acclaimed series, gives you a quick and telling introduction to the world of the Bones.
Our hero, Fone Bone, is his traditional heroic and love-sick self. The greedy Phoney Bone has cajoled the dim-witted Smiley Bone into another one of Phoney’s hare-brained ideas – disguise themselves as cows and win the Great Cow Race against Gran’ma Ben!
(I used the more recent color version instead of the original black and white version)
The Great Cow Race itself shows readers the wacky nature of the valley folk, and the irascible nature of Gran’ma Ben (the lady races cows, for crying out loud!!!).
At the same time, there is a dark side, too, and we see that through the rat creatures and through some new details about Thorn, the love of Fone Bone’s life.
This is a fun, engaging story arc with great Smith art – a real winner.