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The Top 100 Comics Of A Lifetime (#25-21)

August 29, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Action Comics 775 Image Credit: DC Comics

And we are once again back as we look back at Wizard Magazine’s list of the Top 100 Single Issue Comics Of A Seemingly Arbitrary Time Period.

If you want to check up with comics #100-26 that got us to this point, click HERE.

With that, I’m VERY excited to get into this part of the list because, well, I already sneaked a peak at what’s ahead of us, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to radically alter the standing top ten in my re-rankings to this point!

#25) Batman: Holy Terror

Image Credit: DC Comics

By Alan Brennert And Norm Breyfogle

We’re starting off easy (for me, as far as writing goes) with a book I reviewed much more in depth at one point! To read my full review of this comic, you can just click HERE.

I did re-read it, though, just for fun. It’s still fantastic.

#24) Incredible Hulk #341

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

By Peter David and Todd McFarlane
Hey, weird! Last section of this list had the issue prior to this one! The famous Hulk/Wolverine fight with the McFarlane cover.

Anyway, back in the Joe Fixit Hulk era, Banner, Rick Jones, and Clay Quartermain are continuing their trek across the country and trying to stay out of SHIELD’s radar as they expose the intelligence agency’s plan to build a gamma arsenal. The Hulk comes a across Man-Bull, apparently a VERY OLD Daredevil foe, though the beast takes on the name Hulk gives him, Savage. As the two fight, Jones sees Savage for what he really is… a man turned into a beast and without the intelligence to deal with it. Just like Hulk once was. But this being the Fixit Hulk, he only resents Savage for that. So they fight, with Savage being no match for Hulk but refusing to stop fighting. He finally makes a plea to the Hulk: cure him or kill him. Fixit can’t do either, so he lets Savage be, handing him over to the locals who intend to kill him before Savage accidentally shows them his intelligence. Hulk leaves the whole scene behind with the population trying to figure out what to do and Savage being denied all that he wanted: release from his curse.

Really great issue the works as well as it does because it’s the Fixit Hulk. Old Hulk had encountered other monsters like himself before, but he never had the disdain for them that Fixit does! He doesn’t want to “cure” Savage because he himself hates Banner. And he doesn’t want to kill him because that makes Savage a coward. So instead of just having to prove he is stronger, this Hulk has a lot more shades to his emotions.

Can Peter David come back and write Hulk again, please? It’s all I ever want.

#23) Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

By Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Brooks
I loved Ultimate Spider-Man! I know people are conflicted on Bendis. Hell, I’M conflicted on Bendis. But his Ultimate Spider-Man run is untouchable, and most likely my favorite run on Spidey by any writer ever, which… given how long his tenure was, that’s… wow! For me, it’s Bendis’ USM, JM DeMatteis’ Spectacular Spider-Man tenure, Lee/Ditko’s time together (in some order) and then everything else for the webhead.

This is a completely charmingly fun story that takes place relatively early on in USM lore, but after Peter and Mary Jane have had one of their many break-ups. With Peter feeling like a loser and really finding out how out of touch with his classmates he is, he receives a call from an equally depressed Kitty Pryde of the X-Men asking him on a date. So the two go to the mall, share their feelings of what’s been going wrong in their lives, and then go beat up The Shocker for good measure.

The nice thing about all this is how long it lasted. Peter and Kitty dated for a while in USM following this, and she became a regular in his book. She stuck around as a relevant character for the rest of Ultimate Peter’s life. She even dated Kong for a bit after Peter left her to get back together with Mary Jane. It was a blast watching Bendis just create his own little Spider-Man fan-fiction universe for several years, and the arc that stemmed from this story was such a strong part of it.

#22) The Flash #182

Image Credit: DC Comics

By Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins

Imagine being a Flash fan in the late 90’s / early 2000’s. We were gifted a legendary run on the character by Mark Waid who really fleshed out Wally West as a character and made him an integral part of DC. And shortly after Waid left, Geoff Johns came on and, ho-hum, just did an EVEN BETTER RUN SOMEHOW. Waid perfected Wally, so Johns took it upon himself to perfect the world around him, including his villains. Johns took a silly rogues gallery of guys with wands and temperature guns and mirrors, and he made them flesh-and-blood real. And he did it no better than in Flash #182.

Make no mistake, Scott Kolins’ art was as important to this run as Johns’ stories. It was a perfect marriage. And here they tell the backstory of Captain Cold as the rogue seeks revenge for the death of his sister. We see their abusive father and their loving grandfather. We see where Cold got his weirdo glasses! After all the backstory is done, Cold gets his confrontation with Chillblaine. Snart gets a very vicious revenge and goes back home to mourn his sister and show emotion for one of the few times in his life.

God what Johns did with the Rogues. I need to re-read this whole run again, man. Captain Cold and Mirror Master and Grodd and Trickster and Zoom… it was one of those runs that makes me think “comics will never be this good again”. Not to sound like an old man hanging on to my past, but, uh… I am.

#21) Action Comics #775

Image Credit: DC Comics

By Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, and Lee Bermejo
Hey, nice little stretch of three books in a row I bought in real time when they were published!

(And for a neat, if wickedly biased, look into what this issue meant to The Authority, check out the part of Jabroniville’s Deep Dive Into Image Comics where he covered it HERE)

This is just one of THOSE Superman books. One of those books that really showcases what The Man Of Steel is about. Are there fights in this comic? Yes, some absolutely brutal ones. But the point of the issue isn’t the fighting, it’s the morality. This is one of those “This is who Superman IS” tales where it’s not about how strong he is, it’s about WHO he is. And the point is that with his strength, we need him to be SUPERMAN. Accept no substitutes.

My wife is always trashing comics because the heroes don’t MurderDeathKill all of their problem away. I should show her this book. Or at least the movie. Ha! She’d hate it and side with The Elite.

What a great stretch that is. Time to restack the list to this point and see what I’d put where!

Current #1. Action Comics #775

2. The Flash #182

3. Hitman #34

4. Sandman #18

5. Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1

6. Fantastic Four #60 / #489 (legacy numbering)

7. Animal Man #7

8. Incredible Hulk #420

9. What If…? #4

10. Incredible Hulk #341

11. Sandman #17

12. X-Factor #87

13. Batman #424

14. Batman: Holy Terror

15. Amazing Spider-Man #248

16. Astro City #1

17. Captain America #7

18. Tangled Web #4

19. Nightwing #25

20. Birds of Prey #8

21. Incredible Hulk #393

22. HERO #11

23. Green Lantern #188

24. Hitman #22

25. Sandman #40

26. Ghost Rider Annual #2

27. 100 Bullets #11

28. Uncanny X-Men #268

29. New Teen Titans #38

30. Planetary: Night On Earth

31. Iron Man #237

32. Avengers #217

33. Animal Man #16

34. Flinch #1

35. Batman B&W #4

36. Iron Man #128

37. Robin #46

38. Omega Men #26

39. Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey

40. GI Joe #21

41. Incredible Hulk #340

42. Fables: The Last Castle

43. Legion of Superheroes #13

44. Sandman #50

45. Avengers Annual #10

46. Batman B&W #1

47. Gotham Knights #8

48. Web of Spider-Man #1

49. The Thing #2

50. Preacher #50

51. Secret Origins Special #1

52. Exiles #16

53. Ghost Rider #68

54. Spectre #5

55. New Teen Titans #20

56. Adventure Comics #466

57. Justice League Annual #1

58. Legion of Superheroes #3

59. Preacher #18

60. Batman Adventures Annual #1

61. Lex Luthor Special

62. Preacher: Tall In The Saddle

63. Classic X-Men #25

64. Adventures of Superman #474

65. Legion of Superheroes Annual #1

66. Batman: Devil’s Asylum

67. Avengers #189

68. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15

69. Dark Horse Presents #1

70. Conan The Barbarian #100

71. Dr. Strange #56

72. Alias #3

73. Hellblazer #63

74. Tales of the New Teen Titans: Cyborg

75. Fantastic Four #3 / #432

76. Punisher #10

77. Legion of Superheroes #296

78. American Century #9

79. Demo #3

80. Semper Fi #1

SEISMIC shifts to my lists here, as FOUR of these five end up in the top ten, and even the one that doesn’t is still Top fifteen. This is how this list should be working out!

Will the next batch be as strong as this one? Find out next time…

And until then, take care!