Here’s the next five!
Here is the master list!
40. The Battle of Fabletown
Throughout the first year or so of Bill Willingham’s Fables, he has established the concept of so-called Fables (people we think of as fictional characters) living in seclusion in “Fabletown” in New York while their homelands are held captive by the evil “Adversary” who has turned the homelands into his evil Empire.
The first two years of the book was basically setting up the concept behind the series, and telling some engaging stories featuring the characters within Fabletown, of course, primarily the Big Bad Wolf (Sheriff of Fabletown) and Snow White (the Vice-Mayor of Fabletown, or whatever her title is). The two had just gotten together when the events of the Battle for Fabletown took place.
The Adversary’s forces launch an attack on Fabletown, using magical wooden soldiers (think Pinocchio) who are pretty darn impervious to harm.
The Fables steel themselves for the attack and set up blockades, etc.
Then the battle commences, and many Fables that readers thought would be around for a long time are killed and many more are wounded.
However, in the end, through magic and ingenuity (and don’t forget fire!), the Fables fight off the invasion.
39. JLA vs. Avengers
The basic concept behind the beginning of JLA vs. Avengers is that Krona and the Elder of the Universe known as Grandmaster decide to have a little competition, and as part of their competition, the Justice League and the Avengers have to compete to collect a certain amount of items (all notable items from Marvel and DC history, stuff like the Spear of Destiny and the Ultimate Nullifier). Since both teams are after the items, they have to split up and they have conflicts over who wins each item.
Each match-up is handled very well by writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez, but none match the coolness of Batman vs. Captain America, where the two spar for a little bit before each man realizes that they are too evenly match, and decide instead to work together and break the news to their respective teams that they are all being played for patsies.
38. Superman vs. Mongul
It’s Superman’s birthday and Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman are going to visit Supes at his Fortress of Solitude to give him some presents. However, the villainous Mongul has already beaten them to the punch by giving Superman the Black Lotus, a flower that attaches to people and forces them to live their happiest fantasy.
Now, Superman is able to fight the Lotus a little bit, and that is why his dreams of an unexploded Krypton are filled with not-so-happy memories, specifically that he is an ineffectual bureaucrat in this life.
Eventually, the Lotus is taken off of Superman, and boy, is he mad at Mongul!
Writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons (these two would later do some comic about a smiley face that some people think is okay) handle the fight beautifully, particularly Superman’s rage.
That “Burn” line is perhaps the most badass thing Superman has ever done.
37. Daredevil vs. Nuke
The battle between Daredevil and Nuke at the end of Born Again is a nice bookend to the beginning of Born Again – Kingpin just did not know when to draw the line.
The basic concept of Born Again is that Kingpin, due to information gathered by the now addicted to drugs Karen Page, knows Matt Murdock is Daredevil. So the Kingpin systematically takes apart Murdock’s life (his law practice, his money, everything). However, the Kingpin does not know when to call it quits, so he blows up Matt’s apartment – thereby informing Matt that these events are not all just horrible, horrible luck (which it appeared at the time) but an actual attack on Matt by the Kingpin.
After awhile of Matt being on the run and in hiding, the Kingpin just can’t live with just sending Daredevil into hiding – he needs to FINISH him, so he pulls strings to get Nuke, America’s current “Super Soldier” and has him attack Hell’s Kitchen to draw Daredevil out. Daredevil must, for the first time since the beginning of the storyline, return to his costume and stop Nuke, which he does (it is extremely painful, though, as Matt can experience, through his extra senses, all the innocents being killed around him).
After Daredevil captures Nuke, Nuke escapes and this time, Captain America (who is pissed over the idea of Nuke) gets involved as well, and Daredevil and Cap team-up to take Nuke down, who sadly dies in the process. Daredevil takes Nuke to the offices of the Daily Bugle and drops his dead body there, as evidence of the Kingpin’s connection to the military.
Obviously, that’s not enough to send Kingpin to JAIL, but it sure as hell tarnishes his reputation, so as the storyline ends, Matt (who has forgiven Karen) is happy while the Kingpin is fuming, knowing he went too far and got burned for it.
What an amazing storyline by Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli. It very likely is their finest work together.
36. Ultimates (and friends) vs. The Liberators
In the second volume of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates, there had been a set-up of the Ultimates being set-up, as the evil Loki was helping to manipulate events so that the team would find themselves in disarray, just in time for an invasion of America by a group of super-soldiers from the various countries that President Bush considered the “new Axis” (Iran, North Korea, etc.).
The Ultimates were down and out, but, as they are wont to do, they came back from the dead and put together a defense of America including basically every hero in the Ultimate Universe to save the day.
Loki does not take this well, so he brings down a load of Asgardian bad guys, but Thor responds by bringing in a load of Asgardian GOOD guys and there is an epic (and mostly off-panel) battle and when it is all said and done, the Ultimates are victorious!
However, they do partially agree that their attitude early on in the series, where they were getting involved in foreign countries, WAS over the line, so they split from the United States government and go at it alone (funded by Tony Stark, Iron Man).