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.
(As usual, just the results now and the details later)
30. “Infinity Gauntlet” by Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Joe Rubinstein and a couple of other inkers (Infinity Gauntlet #1-6) – 268 points (2 first place votes)
29. “Brief Lives” by Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Vince Locke and Dick Giordano (Sandman #41-49) – 269 points (6 first place votes)
28. “Ultimates 2” by Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary (Ultimates 2 #1-13) – 294 points (3 first place votes)
26 (tie). “Identity Crisis” by Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales and Michael Bair (Identity Crisis #1-7) – 304 points (2 first place votes)
Identity Crisis is a murder mystery, where the victim is the wife of a superhero, Elongated Man.
Sue Dibny, like her hero husband Ralph, was a public figure, so when she was murdered, it threw the whole superhero community into a frenzy – are THEIR loved ones at risk, too?
The death of Sue also caused a group of Justice Leaguers to reflect back on the last time they caught a super-villain messing with a loved one (Sue, actually) – they wiped his memory clean. So they figured that this villain might have remembered it, and since Sue’s death possibly could have been caused by someone with this villain’s powers, he became the most wanted villain on the planet.
Soon other loved ones of heroes are attacked (and some killed) and the mystery ratchets up, all the while contrasting with the loss of trust between some of the heroes when they learn what these Leaguers did in the past (not to mention a major battle when the fugitive villain hires Deathstroke the Terminator to protect him).
When the murderer is revealed – it is a shock to the system, to say the least.
Rags Morales and Michael Bair do a wonderful job with the facial expressions in this series, which is important because writer Brad Meltzer includes a good deal of emotional scenes.
This series has been one of the most influential series of the past 10 years for DC Comics, as a great many comics spun out of this one.
26 (tie). “Super-Human” by Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie (Ultimates #1-6) – 304 points (5 first place votes)
In the first story arc of the Ultimates, we are first introduced to Captain America during World War II.
When he is discovered almost 60 years later, he becomes part of the Ultimates, the United States government’s own superhero team.
Headed by Nick Fury, the team is quite dysfunctional – since Captain America’s disappearance, scientists have been trying to perfect the Super Soldier Serum that made Captain America, well, Captain America, and two of those scientists, Hank Pym and Bruce Banner, have developed other powers due to their work – Pym can grow to giant-size and Banner has accidentally created a monstrous being called the Hulk.
Along with Pym’s wife, Wasp (who can shrink – ostensibly because of Pym’s work) and the armored hero, Iron Man (who is a drunk), the Ultimates are not exactly taken all that seriously. A powerful hero claiming to be the Norse god Thor, refuses to join the group because he feels that they are just government lackeys.
When the Hulk goes on the warpath in New York City, the Ultimates have their first mission and, through the assistance of Thor, save the day, but not before many New Yorkers are killed.
In the epilogue to the first story, Pym takes out his frustrations on his wife, in a brutal scene of domestic violence.
There is not a ton of action in the first arc (the second story has tons, though), as Millar spends a lot of time establishing the various characters. However, there is also a lot of examples of “widescreen comics,” as Hitch uses the approach that made him famous in the Authority to great acclaim in the Ultimates – there are many breathtaking pages of art in this series.