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2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #50-46

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #50-46

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.

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!

50. “Brief Lives” by Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Vince Locke and Dick Giordano (Sandman #41-49) – 206 points (3 first place votes)

In “Brief Lives,” Morpheus (Dream of the Endless) is at a bit of a crossroads in his life. He has just had a bad break-up with the witch Thessaily and he (and his Dream Kingdom) is feeling the ill effects. Into this strange point in his life comes his sister, Delirium of the Endless (the Endless are a group of brothers and sisters who embody powerful aspects of the universe – the others are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair and Destruction). Delirium wishes to track down their brother, Destruction, who disappeared 300 years ago. Perhaps touched by his sister’s frustrations, perhaps just looking for something to occupy his time, Dream agrees to go on this journey.

The pair then travel through the waking world in a series of interesting adventures while the people who know Destruction coincidentally seem to end up dead (or IS it a coincidence?). Here’s a fascinating sequence where Dream and Delirium fly on an airplane…

The storyline is filled with great little vignettes like that. Gaiman had a remarkable run of excellent storylines on Sandman, didn’t he?

In the end, they do, in fact, discover their brother but they are surprised to learn what he has planned for his life. Their exchange with their brother leads to a dramatic change in Dream’s life, as he decides to try to undo something he felt was a mistake in his life (the not-quite-death of his son, Orpheus, whose story was told in the brilliant Sandman Special soon before this storyline was released).

Jill Thompson was the perfect choice for the more down-to-Earth tales of tragedy and change that make up Brief Lives. She can bring empathy to anyone.

49. “Mutant Massacre” by Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, John Romita Jr., Alan Davis, Rick Leonardi, Sal Buscema, Terry Shoemaker, Jon Bogdanove and a host of inkers (Uncanny X-Men #210-213, X-Factor #9-11, Thor #373-374, New Mutants #46 and Power Pack #27) – 210 points (1 first place vote)

While it is a part of comic book reality nowadays, back in the late ’80s there had never been a crossover between the popular X-Men related comic books. In fact, until the early 80s, there was only one X-Men title, “Uncanny X-Men!” But by 1986, there was the regular X-Men title, there was New Mutants (detailing the next generation of mutant heroes) and X-Factor (starring the original five members of the X-Men), and in the fall of 1986, the first X-Crossover took place detailing the “Mutant Massacre.”

The Mutant Massacre featured the Marauders, a team of vicious killers employed by the newly introduced X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, going into the New York sewers, where a community of mutants known as the Morlocks lived (the Morlocks were mutants who tended to be disfigured or were otherwise unable to fit in living with “normal” humans). At this point, the Marauders proceeded to murder as many Morlocks as they could. The X-Men entered the tunnels to save the Morlocks, and engaged in a dramatic and deadly battle that lasted from Uncanny X-Men #211 to #213 (all three issues were written by Chris Claremont, with John Romita Jr. drawing the first issue, Rick Leonardi the second and Alan Davis the third).

The X-Men suffered critical injuries soon after entering the battle, when the teleporting X-Man Nightcrawler, who was recovering from a recent injury and had only recently regained the ability to teleport, used his powers to disable one of the Marauders. However, he was unable to use his powers once he was finished, leaving himself vulnerable to the Marauder Riptide, a mutant whose power involves sending barrages of razor sharp blades flying people at high speeds. Nightcrawler was severely injured by Riptide.

This led to one of the most dramatic moments of the war when the X-Man Colossus determined that the only way to stop Riptide was to use deadly force. As Riptide continued to pummel the X-Man’s metal body with blades, Colossus forged forward until he was able to snap Riptide’s neck.

At this point, Colossus collapsed due to the wounds he incurred during his fight. As it turned out, he was so injured that while he could survive in his metal form, he could not transform back to his human form. Meanwhile, the X-Men suffered another casualty when Kitty Pryde was injured and trapped in her intangible form.

While the X-Men return to their home to recover with the Morlocks they manage to save, the deadliest of the Marauders, the evil Sabretooth, makes his way to the X-Men’s home. During the course of his journey, Sabretooth tangled both with Wolverine and ultimately with the telepathic Psylocke, who was staying with the X-Men at the time.

In the end, the X-Men managed to save many Morlocks (X-Factor also saved some, in a separate excursion into the Morlock tunnels), but the team was forever changed, with longstanding members Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler leaving the team and new members like Psylocke joining the group. The most important change for the team was that they no longer had any illusions of safety at their home, and soon left the X-Mansion entirely!

48. “Saga, Volume 1” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Saga #1-6) – 212 points (4 first place votes)

The opening arc of Saga throws us right into the middle of a fascinating story, as two couple from warring planets (well, one is a planet and one is a moon) have a baby. They are sort of like an intergalactic Romeo and Juliet, and many people want to track them down.

The story is narrated by Hazel, the baby in the series, as she tells her story from the future and Vaughan uses this plot device very well, as he allows certain hints to drop here and there about future stories. Also, the way that he breaks off her narration to form powerful cliffhangers is quite impressive. Vaughan has always been a big cliffhanger guy, but I think that Saga is his best use of the cliffhanger that I have seen from him yet. They’re much more fluid. They feel like they arise naturally and are not being forced.

I like that we get consistent flashbacks filling us in on Marko and Alana’s courtship. It is a strange one, to be sure, so I think it was a smart move to begin the book with them already together and fill us in as we go along.

While this approach is admirable in and of itself, it would mean nothing if Vaughan and Staples did not create compelling characters that we’d like to follow through this unvarnished fantasy world. Luckily, that’s just what they do, and not just Alana and Marko. Slowly but surely, Vaughan and Staples populate this world with a variety of fascinating characters. Most notable are the the bounty hunters hunting down the couple and their child and the robot prince who is tasked with their capture, as well, in an official governmental capacity.

Some of the most striking aspects of the series come from the bounty hunter known as The Will, who is accompanied by a Lying Cat, a cat who can tell if you are lying. The Will is not a good man, but he is also driven by a certain code of honor that comes up in a bizarre fashion while on a pleasure planet. The Will has had his heart broken by a fellow bounty hunter and their interaction is fascinating in how it drives him.

Another major addition is the ghost who acts as Hazel’s nanny, of sorts.

I’ve long been an admirer of Staples’ prodigious talents and she is absolutely destroying this series. Her designs are excellent, her character work is sublime and she is an amazing storyteller. Vaughan sure is lucky to be working with her.

Here we see Alana, Marko and their nanny try to head for a rocketship forest to find a way to get away from the people tracking them down…..

Very cool stuff.

Go to the next page for #47-46!

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