Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Gail Simone Stories Ever Told!
10. “The Circle” Wonder Woman #14-19
Simone began her run on Wonder Woman with this powerful arc, drawn by Terry Dodosn, Rachel Dodson and Ron Randall. The main thrust of the story is a group of Nazis try to take over Paradise Island now that only Hippolyta is left (after the events of Amazons Attack). The Nazis find a surprising group of allies on the island, as they encounter “The Circle,” a group of Amazons selected by Hippolyta as her personal guard years ago. This group turned on Hippolyta when Hippolyta decided to have Diana. They felt that Hippolyta was going to ruin the Amazon race with a child. So now Wonder Woman has to not only take over a bunch of Nazis, but a group of well-trained Amazons who are experts in the “old ways.” Luckily, in this story, Wonder Woman befriended a group of Gorillas (from Gorilla City), who help her out. The Gorillas are awesome.
9. “Fade to Grey” Welcome to Tranquility #1-6
Tranquility is a seemingly normal small town, except that nearly all of its inhabitants are retired superheroes and supervillains! Watching over all of them is the breakout character from the series, Sheriff Thomasina “Tommy” Lindo. Written by Simone with art by Neil Googe and Billy Dallas Patton, the series opens with the murder of one of the town’s most popular retired hero, Mr. Articulate. Sheriff Lindo’s investigation throws the whole town into disarray and unearths more than one secret held by its townsfolk. An alternatingly funny, charming and tragic work, Simone creates a number of interesting characters in this delightful series.
8. “Healing Factor” Deadpool #65-69
In this storyline, which led into Simone’s reboot of Deadpool as Agent X, Deadpool is challenged by a master assassin named Black Swan, who feels that Deadpool is disgracing his profession. He has the power to mess with Deadpool’s mind and as a result, he gives Deadpool a debitlitating mental illness. Of course, this being Deadpool, he’s able to fight it off for a few issues before the pair have an explosive final battle against each other. During this storyline, Taskmaster got a re-design and Simone introduced two popular new characters, Deadpool’s assistant Sandi and the cowgirl Outlaw. The mixture of humor and darkness that Simone used during this run popped up a lot during her Secret Six run. Udon Studios did the artwork.
7. “The Darkest House” Secret Six #31-33
Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore bring Secret Six near its finale by going back to how the ongoing series began, with the “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” Scandal considers using the card to save her long-lost love, but soon the team is dragged to hell itself when a team member betrays them all. This story was like a love letter (a dark love letter, but a love letter nevertheless) to longtime fans of the series as there was a lot of callbacks to prior Secret Six tales.
6. “Cats in the Cradle” Secret Six #19-22
In this four-part story by Simone and Jim Calafiore, a group of men try to get Catman to turn against his teammates by kidnapping his son. He instead tells them that he will now treat his son as dead and will now hunt them all down and kill them. The rest of the story is the stark reality of Catman (the “world’s greatest tracker”) doing exactly that, as we see flashbacks to his childhood along the way. And when he discovers who was behind the whole ordeal? It, like the rest of the story, is rough stuff.
The top five is on the next page!
5. “Of Like Minds” Birds of Prey #56-59
Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey got off to a great start with this compelling four-part story that made the Birds of Prey a trio with the addition of the Huntress. It also introduced the fan favorite pairing of Savant and Creote, villains who are trying to extort Oracle into revealing Batman’s secret identity by capturing Black Canary. Canary, though, is far more formidable than they expect, but so, too, is Oracle. The artwork was done by Ed Benes and Alex Lei.
4. “Unhinged” Secret Six #1-7
Simone and artists Nicola Scott and Doug Hazelwood launch the Secret Six into their own ongoing series with this clever storyline that involves a “Get Out of Jail Free” card that gets the holder of the card out of hell. Seeing as how all the members of Secret Six figure that they are going to hell, they all want the card, but so does every villain in the world and so begins a dark, twisted version of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World ( this is after the Six have to fight off the fact that there is a ten million dollar bounty on all of their heads). Meanwhile, Simone and Scott also introduce the despicable new villain Junior. A great opening to a great ongoing series.
3. “Sensei and Student” Birds of Prey #62-67
After her sensei is murdered, Black Canary teams up with one of her sensei’s other former pupils, Lady Shiva, to avenge him. Along the way, Shiva offers to train Black Canary. Still a bit reeling from the events of Of Like Minds, Black Canary weighs the ups and downs of the offer and actually agrees to make the proverbial deal with the devil. Meanwhile, back in the United States, Oracle finds her impenetrable computer system suddenly not so secure. Someone is trying to hunt down Oracle and he eventually kidnaps everyone who could POSSIBLY be Oracle, including Barbara Gordon! Can she be rescued before her identity is revealed? Simone wrote it and the art is by Ed Benes, Cliff Richards, Michael Golden, Alex Lei and a few other inkers.
2. “Six Degrees of Devastation” Secret Six #1-6 (mini-series)
Their fist non-crossover storyline established the Secret Six as interesting leads of their own right, and also began the merry-go-round that is the cast of Secret Six. Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti join Simone in this action-packed thrill ride that involves the Six running afoul of their leader’s father, the immortal villain Vandal Savage!
1. Villains United #1-6
This is the story that started the whole Secret Six ride! In this Infinite Crisis tie-in, Simone and artists Dale Eaglesham and Wade Von Grawbadger delve into the world of the Society, the group of villains led by Lex Luthor. However, the story also follows a group of six villains who chose NOT to work with the Society. Instead, these six villains were approached by a mysterious person known only as Mockingbird who offers them vast fortune if they take down the Society (and if they don’t, then Mockingbird will just kill them). If you think fighting superheroes is bad when you’re a supervillain, how about fighting an ARMY of SUPERVILLAINS!? That’s the mess that the brand-new Secret Six find themselves in and things only get worse when they realize that one of their six members is working against them! The way Simone was able to tell a character-driven action drama while still making it work as a tie-in to a major event is just remarkable.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
NOTE: Just like I mentioned in the voting, as a general rule for all of these polls, don’t be a jerk about the creator in question in the comments. No snarky comments about the creator. I’ll be deleting comments like that.