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2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #35-31

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #35-31

You voted, and now, after over 1,000 ballots were cast, here are the results of your votes for your favorite comic book storylines of all-time (this is the third time we’ve done this countdown. We’re on an every four year schedule)! We started with ten storylines a day, and now we’re down to five storylines a day (until the last week, which will be three storylines a day). You can click on the Top 100 Comic Book Storylines tag either here or at the end of the post to see the other entries, in case you missed one.

To recap, you all sent in ballots ranking your favorite storylines from #1 (10 points) to #10 (1 point). I added up all of the points and here we are!

You voted, and now, after over 1,000 ballots were cast, here are the results of your votes for your favorite comic book storylines of all-time (this is the third time we’ve done this countdown. We’re on an every four year schedule)! We started with ten storylines a day, and now we’re down to five storylines a day (until the last week, which will be three storylines a day). You can click on the Top 100 Comic Book Storylines tag either here or at the end of the post to see the other entries, in case you missed one.

35. “Planet Hulk” by Greg Pak, Gary Frank, Aaron Lopresti and Carlo Pagulayan (Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #92-105) – 306 points (5 first place votes)

Planet Hulk was an interesting idea for a storyline in that it tried to finally address the whole “Hulk just want to be left alone” idea. In Planet Hulk, the Illuminati (led by Reed Richards, Tony Stark and Doctor Strange) decided that it would be best if they finally DID put Hulk somewhere where he could be left alone. So they tricked him on to a spacecraft headed for a peaceful uninhabited planet.

Of course, this being a comic in need of a conflict, the spacecraft is damaged and Hulk instead lands on a planet practically ruled by gladiator conflict. Since the heroes were in the midst of the Civil War at this time, no one noticed what had happened to the Hulk’s ship, so he was basically left alone to fend for himself on a planet where he was not necessarily the strongest one there was.

Naturally, Hulk DID eventually prove himself to be the strongest one there was, working alongside a group of gladiators who became his friends and blood brothers. Especially when the Red King turns his own people against him when he bombs his own people (killing his own son in the process).

Greg Pak did a very impressive job setting up this epic storyline slowly, and he did an especially cool piece of work developing Hulk’s “Warbound” compatriots.

The art was strong, from a number of different artists.

The story ends with a cliffhanger leading into the follow-up crossover, World War Hulk (as Hulk gets his revenge).

34. “Winter Soldier” by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Michael Lark and Michael Perkins (Captain America #1-6, 8-9, 11-14) – 312 points (4 first place votes)

In Winter Soldier, Ed Brubaker achieved something that pretty much no one thought he could pull off. Heck, his own editor thought he couldn’t pull it off when Brubaker first suggested the idea. But after Brubaker explained it, his editor realized what readers of the title also realized – Brubaker had a really good way to bring Bucky back to life!

In this storyline, Brubaker told a few compelling stories that interacted with each other – the major one, of course, was the revelation that Bucky not only survived the rocket plane explosion that left Cap in frozen status for decades, but Bucky was rescued by Russians who brainwashed him into a deadly assassin, keeping him in cryogenic status for months and years at a time between missions (so no one would be able to identify him – after all, five years later, they’d be looking for a 25 year old man while Bucky was still 20). This is how he gained the name Winter Soldier.

Meanwhile, the Red Skull is about to start his latest plot against Captain America when a new villain steps in a seemingly kills the Skull. This new bad guy, Aleksander Lukin, was the current operative in charge of the Winter Soldier, and he used Bucky to kill Skull and steal the Cosmic Cube.

This led to a number of daring attacks and a tragic assault on the city of Philadelphia.

All the while, Captain America had been feeling out of sorts (after the events of Avengers Disassembled), so he was in a particularly poor frame of mind to discover that his former sidekick is now a pretty deadly assassin.

Brubaker does a really great job balancing the various characters and their personalities in the series, while never flinching on the action, either. Steve Epting busted out his new Crossgen style of art on this series, and it is truly excellent, with some fine fill-in work by Mike Perkins for Epting and Michael Lark does his typical brillaint work on some flashback sequences.

There is a fill-in issue by John Paul Leon that I suppose you could count as part of the storyline, if you so choose. It’s a spotlight on the last day in the life of a character who Winter Soldier murders in an early issue of the story.

This was an excellent opening story by Ed Brubaker, and amazingly enough, he managed to get even better on the title!

33. “Old Man Logan” Wolverine #66-72, Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Sized #1 – 318 points (6 first place votes)

The main conceit of “Old Man Logan” is that it is has been 50 years since Wolverine has died. By “Wolverine,” of course, we mean the superhero known as Wolverine, because the man now known as Logan retired after a horrific tragedy led to the deaths of the X-Men (the incident is slowly but surely revealed to the readers and it is so damn tragic). “Old Man” Logan is now a farmer and is married with two young children. He rents his farm land from the Banner Gang, the in-bred grandchildren of Bruce Banner (who married his cousin, She-Hulk).

The United States is now split into four parts, each ruled by a specific super-villain. Clint Barton, the former Hawkeye (who is now blind), shows up at Logan’s home after the Banner Gang threaten his family because Logan is behind on rent. Clint wants to hire Logan to help him transport some illegal goods across the country. Logan is forced to agree to do so and so the two former heroes go for a fantastic trek across America, and as they travel, we see the world for what it has become in the 50 years since the age of heroes ended (lots of dark stuff, but lots of interesting things, nevertheless).

Here’s one of the many fantastical elements they come across…

What do you need me to say about Steve McNiven? The guy is a legend. Millar, McNiven and Vines had just recently done the famous “Civil War” storyline and now this was their follow-up and boy did they hit it out of the park. The hit film Logan was based on this storyline. Think about that – Millar and McNiven did two stories together for Marvel and BOTH of them were turned into hit films! Wow! That’s the sort of batting average that would make Ted Williams go goo-goo eyes over!

In any event, as the journey continues, Logan has to keep questioning whether he is truly content with no longer being a hero. When you’ve been a beaten down as Logan was, can you ever rise back up to become a hero again? It’s a difficult question to answer and here, Millar beautifully shows Logan wrestling with these ideas and he finds that the soul of a hero might never be truly broken (how it is expressed, however, is a whole other story – as Logan as a hero is a lot different than Wolverine as a hero, as the world is now a much darker place).

Years later, the Logan from this storyline was brought to the Marvel Universe following the death of the regular Wolverine, leading to the popular Old Man Logan comic book series.

Go to the next page for #32-31!

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