The Top 100 Comics Of A Lifetime, #20-16

And we are back! Let’s read some allegedly great comics!

#20. Planetary #13

I’ve read Planetary but one time, a few years ago, and all at once beginning to end. It works better that way, I think. As I made my way back through issue 13 here, I found myself wanting to revisit the story the series told in its completion.

That said, Warren Ellis and John Cassasay crafted a story where each issue took some reference point and worked it all towards the major goal. So you’d think the individual issues would stand alone just fine. But this tale of Elijah Snow finding Sherlock Holmes feels like what it is… just a piece of the puzzle. Without the rest of the book around it to tell why he was alive in 1919 and why he was looking for Holmes and what the “shape of the Earth” stuff is about, it’s all kind of… incomplete.

But this was a good series, back before we all found out Ellis was kind of a sexist abuser. Oh well. And I definitely think they could have picked better issues than this one for this list.

#19. Spider-Man Vs Wolverine

This is a story that, when it was written, probably felt really deep! It was the 80’s! This comic was dark and gritty! Spider-Man doesn’t quip much because he’s struggling with being surrounded by death and despair! Wolverine is killing lots of faceless minions! Oh man, don’t cut yourself on that edge!

This is still a somewhat fun book. The actual Versus fight, as short as it is, is a damn good one. Especially for its brevity, it might be one of the better hero vs hero fights in comics. Spidey pummeling Wolverine’s skull against a tombstone so hard that the tombstone cracks.

But when you get outside of that? You get a very sloppily handled death of Ned Leeds. You get Wolverine’s narration VERY OBVIOUSLY playing the pronoun game early on just so the book can pull a Samus-esque “Charlie is a GIRL” reveal that doesn’t really do anything that try to catch you by surprise that a hardened spy can be something aside from a dude.

And you know what? I’m not a particularly big fan of Mark Bright’s art here, either. It’s not frustratingly awful or anything, it just doesn’t strike me as anything worthy of a top 20 story.

Also, this little ditty reminds you how little Marvel’s shifting timeline makes sense. In his LIFE, this happened how long ago for Spidey? 10-15 years? That’s how much Pete has aged since here. But this story has a lot to do with THE BERLIN WALL. So… how much sense does that make in 2022?

#18. Justice League #1

Ah, the introductory issue of the incredibly beloved Justice League book written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis! The introduction of the new Justice League that, despite various roster changes that are typical of team books, would be the standard JL team until what? Grant Morrison’s run? Around that era, at least.

As an issue, this is fine. Can I make a confession? I actually never liked this title that much, at least not in the early going. And I say that as a huge Giffen and DeMatteis fan! But this book always felt somewhat immature to me. The characters all sounded like they were 12 year old boys. Which, I mean, was the target audience of this book, sure… but other comparable team books of a similar era (New Teen Titans, Uncanny X-Men) were, to me, written so much better.

This title grew as it went. And it gave Guy Gardner his obnoxious, awful character that he would eventually get great growth away from. But this was just never for me, as it were. I’d rather, as I mentioned, read other team comics from the late 80’s.

#17. Fantastic Four #245

Ah, John Byrne’s influential turn on the Fantastic Four. One of the highlights of his run on the team was growing up Sue Richards from hapless damsel into a true powerhouse of the team.

This issue is just a microcosm of that growth. She is still very young here–and still going by the moniker Invisible Girl instead of Invisible Woman–but she is finding her own voice and is able to stand up to a strange threat that has neutralized the rest of her team. She pushes her powers to new heights she had never tried to that point and does far better than Reed, Ben, or Johnny. And then, it’s her… maternal instinct, I guess?… that allows her to recognize the peril as her own son.

And then, haha, the book shifts and makes Reed the most important character in connecting with the confused Franklin and helping him figure out how to get back to normal.


But like I said… this was just a step in her development, not the whole tale.

#16. Amazing Spider-Man #239

Hey, speaking of Ned Leeds a few entries ago…

This is the tale of Spidey’s first ever encounter with Hobgoblin, as the latter is looting all of Norman Osborn’s stashes to equip himself for villainy.

The really interesting aspect here is that Spidey whoops Hobby’s ass, and the foe is only able to escape by distraction and the fact that Pete is worn out from his dealings with Black Cat and Dr. Octopus. We get some narration into Hobgoblin’s thought process about how physically draining it was to battle Spidey for even a few minutes, and that will be the impetus to set him on the path to finding Norman’s goblin serum.

Not a bad story here, though there is a weird focus on the lovelife of Pete’s photography rival, Lance Bannon, and I had forgotten how the best Spidey arcs had this low-key soap opera element to them!

Time to restack the list to this point and see what I’d put where!

  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. Amazing Spider-Man #239
  31. Planetary: Night On Earth
  32. Planetary #13
  33. Iron Man #237
  34. Avengers #217
  35. Animal Man #16
  36. Flinch #1
  37. Justice League #1
  38. Batman B&W #4
  39. Iron Man #128
  40. Robin #46
  41. Omega Men #26
  42. Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey
  43. GI Joe #21
  44. Incredible Hulk #340
  45. Fables: The Last Castle
  46. Legion of Superheroes #13
  47. Sandman #50
  48. Avengers Annual #10
  49. Batman B&W #1
  50. Gotham Knights #8
  51. Fantastic Four #245
  52. Web of Spider-Man #1
  53. Spider-Man Vs Wolverine
  54. The Thing #2
  55. Preacher #50
  56. Secret Origins Special #1
  57. Exiles #16
  58. Ghost Rider #68
  59. Spectre #5
  60. New Teen Titans #20
  61. Adventure Comics #466
  62. Justice League Annual #1
  63. Legion of Superheroes #3
  64. Preacher #18
  65. Batman Adventures Annual #1
  66. Lex Luthor Special
  67. Preacher: Tall In The Saddle
  68. Classic X-Men #25
  69. Adventures of Superman #474
  70. Legion of Superheroes Annual #1
  71. Batman: Devil’s Asylum
  72. Avengers #189
  73. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15
  74. Dark Horse Presents #1
  75. Conan The Barbarian #100
  76. Dr. Strange #56
  77. Alias #3
  78. Hellblazer #63
  79. Tales of the New Teen Titans: Cyborg
  80. Fantastic Four #3 / #432
  81. Punisher #10
  82. Legion of Superheroes #296
  83. American Century #9
  84. Demo #3
  85. Semper Fi #1

Yes, I know how long this series is taking to wrap-up, haha. I’m going to FINALLY put off some other articles and ideas and recordings to get this wrapped up. My attention span is just awful in general, but WE ARE GETTING THERE.

Until next time… take care!

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