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)! The first few days will be ten storylines a day and then it will be five a day until we hit December! I actually said the other day that we were already going to be starting the "five a day" entries, but then I thought to myself, "Eh, you're going to see a late showing of Justice League on Thursday night, so why not just skip Thursday and make Friday the last ten-storyline entry instead?" And so here we are.
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!
70. "Gifted" by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men #1-6) – 153 points (1 first place vote)
This was the first major X-Men storyline after Grant Morrison left the X-Men, and Joss Whedon gladly picked up where Morrison left off, using the set-up Morrison left with the book (notably Cyclops and Emma Frost being a couple and Beast dealing with being a cat-like creature).
There were three major pieces from Whedon’s first arc:
1. The X-Men deciding to go back to being traditional superheroes, or at least a certain group of “public” X-Men. To this end, Cyclops re-enlists Kitty Pryde, as she is one of the best X-Men in terms of “putting forward as the face of mutantkind.” Kitty Pryde serves as a sort of POV person for Whedon’s run.
2. A scientist has developed a “cure” for being a mutant. This plot was so popular that they later used it as the basic plot for the third X-Men film.
3. Colossus returned from the dead.
Whedon tied it all together nicely, with a lot of strong character moments, and wrapped it all up in beautiful stunning John Cassaday artwork.
I am particularly partial to how Cassaday handled Colossus’ return from the dead…
69. “Squadron Supreme” by Mark Gruenwald, Bob Hall, Paul Ryan, John Buscema, John Beatty, Sam De La Rosa, Jackson Guice and Keith Williams (Squadron Supreme #1-12) – 154 points (2 first place votes)
The concept of this series is a simple but powerful one. What if the superheroes of the world just decided to fix the world? It is a concept that many comics (Authority, for one) have addressed in the years since, but at the time, Mark Gruenwald’s story was quite novel. Here, see the Squadron come to their determination of going through with their plan to make the world a Utopia…
The conflict between Superman and Batman…oops, I mean Hyperion and Nighthawk is the centerpiece of this series. The rest of the maxi-series shows how superheroes would go about changing the world while also showing Nighthawk try to come up with a way of stopping his former friends from what he feels is an ultimate betrayal of the concept of free will.
There are detours along the way, of course, including some disturbing plots involving mind control and rape, but in the end it comes down to two former friends coming to an impasse in their beliefs and the bloody after effects of what happens when their conflict comes to a head.
This was truly ahead of its time and it was rightly the proudest Mark Gruenwald ever was of one of his works (even going so far as to have his family and Marvel mix his ashes with the printing of the trade paperback after he died). Bob Hall and Paul Ryan did fine work on the art for the series.
68. “Rock of Ages” by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, Gary Frank, Greg Land, John Dell and Bob McLeod (JLA #10-15) - 155 points (1 first place vote)
Rock of Ages was a multi-layered storyline that opens with Lex Luthor leading a new team of villains known as the Injustice Gang against the JLA. However, that turns out to NOT be the main point of the story. No, as it turns out, Luthor inadvertently stumbled across an artifact that will ultimately lead to Darkseid taking control of Earth.
We cut to the future where Darkseid has, indeed, taken over the Earth and Green Lantern and Aquaman have traveled through time to this dystopic situation. Their role is only to be told of what they have to do in the past to avert this horrible future. Once they’re gone, though, the people of the future still have to deal with Darkseid, leading to one of the most famous sequences of Morrison’s JLA run – the time that Green Arrow and the Atom took out Darkseid.
This whole arc is filled with fascinating little bits like that. For instance, the Joker is part of Luthor’s team and the only way that the Martian Manhunter can figure out how to deal with the Joker is to use his shape shifting ability to alter his own brain so that he can think like a madman. So cool.
One of the most amazing things about this story arc is that Morrison was not only dealing with Blue Superman, but he also had to deal with Wonder Woman being temporarily dead and, of course, a tie-in to a company-wide crossover IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORYLINE!! How Morrison pulled this off is beyond me.
Go to the next page for stories #67-64!