Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 100 Comics Of A Lifetime, #15-11

November 25, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Uncanny X-Men 159 Image Credit; Marvel Comics

And we are back! Let’s read some allegedly great comics! From Wizard’s 2006 list of the Top 100 Single Issues of all time!

#15. Uncanny X-Men #159

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

My buddies over at The Multiverse Of Badness podcast covered this issue once for their show! Take a listen.

I definitely seem to have dug this issue more than they did. Sorry guys! It’s the X-Men’s first (but not last) confrontation with Dracula! Storm has been attacked by the lord of the vampires and is at risk of being turned by him. The X-Men battle him to put a stop to that. And they do it with the legendary comics team of Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz.

The struggle of Storm as she is torn between both worlds. The absolute beatdown Dracula delivers to the X-Men. The FANTASTIC Sieniewicz art. I really enjoy this story. And it ended up being so important going forward. There was the vampire arc linked above. This story spawned a one-shot sequel (X-Men Vs Dracula) not long after it was published. And there was a GREAT What If…? where all of the X-Men turned and Wolverine became lord of the vampires.

This is a very good comic, and it had some legs.

#14. Starman #11

Image Credit: DC Comics

Matt Smith has some insanely Mike Mignola inspired art. You can tell this isn’t Mignola himself, but… just barely.

As comics had grown darker in the decades leading to this issue, we get this story of five Golden Age heroes–Starman, Hourman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Jay Garrick, and Alan Scott–seeing the world change around them. A comical nothing rogue of Starman’s, Ragdoll, has gone from ineffectual ne’er-do-well to murderous cult leader.

Love the art, especially for this story, and I also dig the subtle thematic undertones of “Have comics really changed for the better”, even while embracing the changes that have come.

The ending is quite similar to the Batman #424 climax we got a bit ago on the list: in the face of a threat that can’t just be marched off to jail… do the heroes murder their foe? No one seems to know for sure… or want to say.

#13. Planetary #3

Image Credit: DC Comics

I mentioned in the last batch of these, where we covered issue #13 of this series, that in spite of how Planetary told singular stories issue-by-issue, it actually still reads better as a complete story. And that remains true here.

Also, I think the issues that Wizard chose from this run aren’t the ones I might have gone for.

This is the story of Planetary heading to Hong Kong to investigate the stories of a spirit of vengeance–a murdered cop, back from the dead and reigning down hell on other killers. They find him in the act of taking out the men responsible for his own death, and he lets them know there is no afterlife. Hm. I really just want to re-read Planetary now.

Oh, and to note: John Cassaday is one of the greatest ever. So that’s always a plus.

#12. Superman #9

Image Credit: DC Comics

So there is a story of The Joker in Metropolis here, sure, but that’s not what got this included. We’re here for the backup story, which sees Lex Luthor proposition a young married woman working at a restaurant to come be his mistress for a month in return for one million dollars.

Forget the fact that it’s impossible to think of a bald villain saying “one million dollars” without putting your pinky to your mouth. Lex leaves her ten minutes to mull over the decision, then drives away before she can even respond. But that’s his game. He didn’t want a roll in the hay with a pretty waitress. He wanted to ruin her life by leaving her pondering what she would have said–SHOULD have said–to him.

It’s a fun little story of just a few pages to show that Lex doesn’t view the everyperson as anything more than a toy for his amusement. Is it a cartoonish and silly? Sure! But it’s a SUPERMAN comic. If you can’t be cartoonish and silly there, where CAN you?

#11. 100 Bullets #27

Image Credit: DC Comics

Then we get to this. When last 100 Bullets made its way to this list, I mentioned how impressed I was by it and how much I wanted to get into the series (I’ve never read it before). This issue? Eh, not nearly as enamored of it.

Without using any actual names, this comic is a revisionist history of Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, and John F Kennedy. JFK had Marilyn killed! DiMaggio killed JFK with the gun from the attaché given to him by Agent Graves!

This feels like it’s trying to be important or smart or shocking by tying its funnybook story into real life, but instead it’s just… silly. Don’t get me wrong, that kind of stuff CAN be done well, but I wasn’t super impressed with this.

All that said? Props to this book for inspiring me to do research. I knew DiMaggio was a MONSTER to Marilyn during their marriage, but I was unaware that he allegedly changed his ways and they had reconnected in later years. Does that make up for his being an abuser? Not for me to say. But if he did genuinely change, that’s heartening to find out.

Time to restack the list to this point and see what I’d put where if I were in charge of this!
* Action Comics #775
* The Flash #182
* Hitman #34
* Sandman #18
* Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1
* Fantastic Four #60 / #489 (legacy numbering)
* Animal Man #7
* Incredible Hulk #420
* What If…? #4
* Superman #9
* Incredible Hulk #341
* Sandman #17
* Uncanny X-Men #159
* X-Factor #87
* Batman #424
* Batman: Holy Terror
* Amazing Spider-Man #248
* Astro City #1
* Captain America #7
* Starman #11
* Tangled Web #4
* Nightwing #25
* Birds of Prey #8
* Incredible Hulk #393
* HERO #11
* Green Lantern #188
* Hitman #22
* Sandman #40
* Ghost Rider Annual #2
* 100 Bullets #11
* Uncanny X-Men #268
* New Teen Titans #38
* Amazing Spider-Man #239
* Planetary: Night On Earth
* Planetary #13
* Iron Man #237
* Avengers #217
* Animal Man #16
* Flinch #1
* Justice League #1
* Batman B&W #4
* Iron Man #128
* 100 Bullets #27
* Robin #46
* Omega Men #26
* Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey
* GI Joe #21
* Incredible Hulk #340
* Fables: The Last Castle
* Legion of Superheroes #13
* Sandman #50
* Avengers Annual #10
* Batman B&W #1
* Gotham Knights #8
* Fantastic Four #245
* Web of Spider-Man #1
* Spider-Man Vs Wolverine
* The Thing #2
* Preacher #50
* Secret Origins Special #1
* Exiles #16
* Ghost Rider #68
* Spectre #5
* New Teen Titans #20
* Planetary #3
* Adventure Comics #466
* Justice League Annual #1
* Legion of Superheroes #3
* Preacher #18
* Batman Adventures Annual #1
* Lex Luthor Special
* Preacher: Tall In The Saddle
* Classic X-Men #25
* Adventures of Superman #474
* Legion of Superheroes Annual #1
* Batman: Devil’s Asylum
* Avengers #189
* Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15
* Dark Horse Presents #1
* Conan The Barbarian #100
* Dr. Strange #56
* Alias #3
* Hellblazer #63
* Tales of the New Teen Titans: Cyborg
* Fantastic Four #3 / #432
* Punisher #10
* Legion of Superheroes #296
* American Century #9
* Demo #3
* Semper Fi #1

OH MY GOODNESS, we are finally into the top ten next time! Good books ahoy!

Until next time… take care!