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2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #40-36

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #40-36

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.

40. “Blackest Night” by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert (Blackest Night #1-8) – 273 points (3 first place votes)

In a lot of ways, Blackest Night is about the very artifices that make up comic book continuity, namely the false idea that comic book characters ever really die. In this storyline, a mysterious being shows up with Black Lantern Rings that can re-animate dead people.

Eventually, this approach even goes to those characters who were FORMERLY dead, as in this striking sequence in the fifth issue of the story…

Ultimately, though, this story is about the emotional spectrum, as Geoff Johns had slowly been building up a colored emotional spectrum in the pages of Green Lantern, from the rage of the Red Lanterns to the love of the Purple Lanterns. All of the colors of the emotional spectrum are going to be needed to take on Nekron and the mighty force of death.

This is a grand, sweeping epic storyline with bold and dramatic storytelling by Ivan Reis. This storyline also paid off years worth of Green Lantern stories in a way that both resolved the original stories but also set the stage for a lot more stories (most notably the follow-up maxi-series Brightest Day).

39. “Final Crisis” by Grant Morrison, JG Jones, Doug Mahnke, Carlos Pacheco, Lee Garbett, Matthew Clark, Marco Ruby and a host of inkers (Final Crisis #1-7, Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1-2, Final Crisis: Submit #1 plus I would throw in Batman #682-683) – 282 points (4 first place votes)

One of the most annoying aspects of Final Crisis is that Grant Morrison wrote the story in twelve comics, but only seven of those comics were actually labeled as “Final Crisis.” The others were an absolutely essential Superman Beyond two-issue mini-series plus a pretty darn essential Final Crisis: Submit #1 one-shot and a relatively important Batman two-parter. Luckily, DC at least changed their initial plans and released all but the Batman issues in the eventual Final Crisis hardcover collection, so it really didn’t matter in the end, but man, that was not the best laid plan.

Anyhow, the basic (and I mean BASIC) plot of Final Crisis is that Darkseid has come back to life by essentially traveling through time. This time travel has made a bit of a hole in the multiverse and has made it possible for an evil Monitor to break free from the prison that the other Monitors placed him into at the beginning of the multiverse. So Darkseid finally manages to conquer Earth with the anti-life equation, which he delivers in Final Crisis #3…

So things are really bad on Earth. Eventually, though, whichever heroes on Earth remain unaffected manage to fight back and take control of Earth and defeat Darkseid. The heroes then must take on Mandrakk, the evil Monitor, who is using this opportunity to basically destroy all of the multiverse. Superman and a legion of Green Lanterns and other heroes stand up to defeat the evil Mandrakk (Superman first encounters Mandrakk during Superman Beyond, when he gets caught up in the story while trying to save a mortally injured Lois Lane).

Morrison’s approach during Final Crisis was to deliver a series of short vignettes, which would then sort of coalesce into a larger picture, much like pointilism. Jonathan Hickman used a similar approach with his Infinity storyline (luckily for Hickman, Marvel gave him the freedom to not be constrained by just the issues of the Infinity mini-series, as the Avengers and New Avengers tie-in issues were essential to Hickman’s story just like how Morrison’s tie-ins were also essential to the main story).

Batman plays a major role in the story, as he is captured by Darkseid and is seemingly killed, but not before Batman mortally injures Darkseid. The whole thing was a very cool story, albeit affected by the delays due to the original artist on the project, JG Jones, being unable to complete the story.

38. “Little Worse than a Man, Little Better than a Beast” by Tom King, Gabriel Hernández Walta, Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire (Vision #1-12) – 283 points (2 first place votes)

One of the most compelling things about the Vision series by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire (with a fill-in issue by Michael Walsh) is that it is very much part of the Marvel Universe. This isn’t one of those serious comic book stories that acts like it is not part of a fantastical overall narrative. No, this is firmly set within the Marvel Universe, but the Marvel Universe from the angle of the narration of the Avengers showing up in “Born Again” (which, in turn, was likely influenced by the Justice League first appearing in Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben’s Swamp Thing). Which is to say that it properly gets across the almost godly nature of the world of superheroes as compared to the world of an ordinary person. For instance, King beautifully describes to us the fantastical gifts from around the galaxy that are just sitting around in the suburban home of the Vision.

In this series, the Vision has created a suburban family for himself while he works as an Avenger. Virginia, the wife, and Viv and Vin, the two kids. They are adjusting to their new lives, with the teens going to high school, when suddenly, their seemingly ordinary lives are no longer quite so ordinary…

Destiny is a topic that gets brought up a lot in this comic, especially when it is inter-mingled with the concept of programming. If you program someone to act a certain way, are they not then destined to act that way? Or is destiny something that is always changeable? There are a whole bunch of characters in this story who try to change their destiny, while one character struggles deeply with her programming.

Walta does such a stunning job on the detailed expressions of these seemingly robotic people, you really get a perfect sense of the struggles that they are going through throughout this storyline, which is basically framed around the idea that one Virginia kills the Grim Reaper, she has to keep doing things to cover up her actions, even though her actions aren’t even technically a crime – she was clearly acting in defense of her children. However, as we all know, however bad the initial crime is or is not, it is the cover-up that will often ruin you.

In one of the strongest issues in the story, we see the history of the VIsion and the Scarlet Witch’s relationship and see the origins of where Virginia’s mind come from and how, perhaps, that played a role in her actions. Her was a mother threatened with the loss of her two children – who else do we know that went a little bit crazy after she lost her two kids?

This series also saw Victor Mancha be confronted with his own destiny, the idea that he will become the evil Victorious in the future and kill all of his fellow heroes. He is trying to get by and be a hero, but he is struggling with an addiction (a very clever one invented by King). Like I noted, this series is just filled with people questioning their destinies.

Finally, let me point out that there are rare stories that lead to other writers going, “Holy crap, I have to use these characters” and Vision was definitely a case like that, as Viv has become one of the best new young characters in the Marvel Universe and this series featured her amazing introduction. So not only does it work as an excellent individual story, but it even has a noteworthy impact upon the future of the Marvel Universe. Not too shabby.

Go to the next page for #37-36…

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