2017 Top 100 Comic Book Storylines: #90-81

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!

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

90. "The Surtur Saga" by Walt Simonson (Thor #349-353) - 118 points (1 first place vote)

All throughout the early issues of Walt Simonson’s run on Thor, we keep seeing someone (seemingly a blacksmith) forging a sword. Every time the sword is clanged on to continue the forging, we see a big “DOOM!” sound effect, showing that whatever this sword is, it is bad news for Thor. This continues for a number of issues (always for one page per issue) until slowly we learn that it is the gigantic demon Surtur, and we see that he is raising an army of dark elves to attack Asgard.

And again, we learn this slowly but surely over a number of issues, one page per issue.

Finally, in Thor #349, Surtur shows up on Asgard, and so begins an amazingly epic battle that involves Earth AND Asgard, and ends up ultimately with Odin, Thor and Loki being forced to team-up against their common foe, Surtur.

The defeat of Surtur would also result in a major status quo change in the Thor title, and one of the coolest last pages of the 1980s.

Simonson’s art was extremely powerful throughout the story, adding the dynamic grand quality that the epic battles required.

And it’s impressive as all heck that Surtur’s attack begins in #349, but it doesn’t feel dragged out, due to a whole ton of other little attacks and obstacles in between.

89. “The Eternity Saga” by Steve Ditko, Stan Lee and Denny O'Neil (Strange Tales #130-146) - 120 points (4 first place votes)

Pretty early on, it was becoming clear that the ten or so pages that Steve Ditko had to work with in every issue of Strange Tales wasn't getting the job done anymore, so he slowly began to take a larger approach to his storytelling, telling more and more serialized works until he finally broke out with his epic 17-part final storyline during his run on Doctor Strange (Stan Lee scripted most of this run, but Denny O'Neil finished it out).

The main gist of the story is that Doctor Strange finds himself stuck against his two greatest enemies, Dormammu and Baron Mordo, teaming up. Sensing that he is screwed, he decides to seek out Eternity itself to help him. This leads to some of the most surreal visual work of the era. This is the sort of thing that made Doctor Strange such a cult classic among college students of the 1960s...

It was the stuff that launched a thousand black light posters. Not only that, though, but Ditko was a master at balancing both the larger narrative while making each snippet of the larger narrative work on its own. It's a remarkable story. I've heard it referred to as an adult Wizard of Oz story, and I think that that works pretty well as a description.

88. "The Kindly Ones" by Neil Gaiman, Marc Hempel, Richard Case, D'Israeli, Ted Kristiansen, Glyn Dillon, Dean Ormston and Charles Vess (Sandman #57-69) – 122 points (1 first place vote)

The Kindly Ones is the climax to Neil Gaiman’s original Sandman series and as such it draws upon so many different earlier stories of the series, primarily the idea that Morpheus, over the course of the series, has made ALL sorts of different enemies. And now, all of those debts are going to have to be paid with Morpheus’s life.

A fascinating aspect of the story is that the whole time Morpheus understands what is the ultimate end to his story, yet he cannot turn away from his responsibilities to avoid his untimely end.

Meanwhile, Lyta Hall (the former superheroine known as The Fury) believes that Morpheus is responsible for the death of her son, Daniel. She is in a total daze, as demonstrated in this page from early in the story…

Lyta is a perfect patsy, of sorts, to arrange Morpheus’ ultimate fate and, just like all great tragedies, she understands too late that her son is actually alive.

Meanwhile, we get to check in on pretty much every major character from the series, from Lucifer to Thessaily the Witch, as they all play a role in the story…

It’s a truly wonderful climax, bringing in all of the various plots and awesome characters that Gaiman had created during the series’ run. All of the favorites check in at one point or another.

Go to the next page for #87-84!

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