Comic Vine News

235 Comments

The 50 Greatest Moments In Comics: #1-10

Everybody's got their favorite moments, but here are our picks for the indisputably GREATEST ones.

The Comic Vine staff has put our noggins together to collect and codify the all-time greatest moments in comics.

We make no pretense at any academic objectivity here - - these aren't supposed to be the most "important" to the history of the medium. These are simply the times where we've been so wrapped up in a story that we literally had to say "Wow!" when we turned the page. These are the most-memorable pages or panels for readers like you (as decided by our highly-discriminating reckoning.)

These are the top fifty greatest moments in comics…

Lest we forget the time Michael Jackson beat up Spidey...

We’re counting down the final 10 today! Catch up on moments #50-41, #40-31, #30-21 & #20-11. [Major spoilers below!]

== TEASER ==

10. Batman KO’s Guy Gardner with one punch in JUSTICE LEAGUE #5

A large part of the fun of the classic Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire run on JUSTICE LEAGUE can be chalked up to how irascible of a jerk Guy was. You loved to hate this Green Lantern so much that seeing him get some comeuppance made for the biggest stand-out scene of this whole era. There’s no greater fun than seeing a jerk put in his place, so when Guy challenges Bats for team leadership, yet again, you get giddy waiting to see just how he's going to get his. The gag actually starts with a punchline, as Guy's goaded to take off his power ring and promptly clocked with a sure cross from the Batman, allowing the grown ups in the League to then get on with their meeting while Guy lays on the floor, out cold. Classic.

9. The final battle between Cap and the Red Skull in CAPTAIN AMERICA #300

Bad blood grows thicker with time, so you can just imagine how thick it was by the time Cap and the Skull’s feud finally reached this boiling point after nearly 50 years of stewing. Seriously, anybody who's seen a latter day Clint Eastwood flick knows how much nastier grudges get among seniors. Here, both men's respective gimmicks for staying young forever has run out, making their bodies rapidly age to actually reflect their years; so (even though both guys were subsequently resurrected and rejuvenated) there's a raw sense finality when these old men clawing at each-other. Out of all the ways for the Skull to check out, having him suffer a heart attack and die slowly in Cap's arms while cursing him for the indignity is certainly the most bitterly fitting.

8. Magneto rips all the adamantium out of Wolverine in X-MEN #25

Few other moments in comics have made you want to say “Ouch” as bad this. Getting your back broken might be a realer threat than having your entire skeleton ripped straight out of your pores, but the sensation doesn’t seem nearly as painful when you roll it through your head. This part of FATAL ATTRACTIONS’ conclusion was a focal point for the X-Men's past and future. Not only did it realize a couple of long-standing“What If?” questions - - What’s the nastiest way Magneto could use his powers on Wolverine’s metal? What’s the worst injury Wolverine’s healing factor could handle? - - it was also the proverbial straw to break the camel’s back, setting Xavier off to mindwipe Magneto and set up years of storylines involving Onslaught, Joseph and a “feral" Wolverine.” It doesn’t matter if he eventually got the skeleton back, this is still the Canucklehead's lowest point ever.

7. Green Goblin captures Spidey and reveals his identity in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #39

What set Spidey so far apart from other superheroes in his early days was the fact that his problems were always so much more personal. That applied to the small stuff, like how his girl problems seemed just as pressing as his crimefighting duties, and it applied to bigger business like this. Batman and the Joker may be bitter enemies, but it’s not like Mr. J is actually the father of Bruce Wayne’s best friend - - nor has he ever learned the dark knight's secret identity. With a deadly one-two punch, this shocker put a deathly-more-personal spin on the usual feud between a superhero and his arch-nemesis. Norman Osborn didn't play fair then, and he hasn't ever played fair since.

6. The symbiote costume is alive in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #258

You mean Spidey's suit is a living organism?!?! That had to be as far-out a notion as any for everybody to wrap their heads around in the 80s. Again, due credit must be given to a single moment that set up hundreds of issues, dozens of story arcs and a whole throng of characters like Venom, Carnage, Toxin, Anti-Venom and all those other symbiotes who showed up in SEPARATION ANXIETY. It all started right here, when Spidey's black duds showed that they were much, much more than an alternative outfit to wear after labor day.

5. Clark tells Lois his secret identity in ACTION COMICS #662

Maybe it’s not as… flashy a method "to take the mask off" as it is for your cowl to be ripped open by a goblin hauling you around in the sky, but this is certainly one of the most romantic ways to go about it. Throughout this list, we've put a lot of significance on the times genies have been let out of their bottles, and few genies have ever waited as long in their respective chambers as this one did. Indeed, it took Supes 661 issues and about five decades to finally open to the lady he loves. That’s all right, though. Still waters run deep, and all that, and the big man's got deeper feelings than anybody else on Earth (or even the rest of the galaxy for that matter.) What's more perplexing is the fact that Ms. Lane, the notorious snoop, didn't deduce this for herself, beforehand.

4. Ozymandias reveals he already “did it” in WATCHMEN #11

For all of the deconstruction that WATCHMEN performs on the superhero genre, its most masterful deconstructionist stroke cuts the legs out from underneath the most basic conceit of all action-adventures. That is, the notion that might equals right. Forget about how this is a response to all the times you’ve supervillains talk too much about their master plans. The more cutting commentary lies in how Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre - - the heroes of this story - - simply can’t defeat this antagonist with punches, bullets or even impassioned appeals to reason. He’s already taken this drastic measure to change the world, and they have as little say in it as all normal civilians do when these capes elect to take the law into their own hands.

3. The death of Phoenix in UNCANNY X-MEN #137

Imagine the classic Jekyll & Hyde struggle played out on a galactic scale and tied up with an ending tragic and romantic enough to make even the biggest hard-case misty-eyed. One of Jean Grey's first deaths came at her own hand, as she simply couldn't handle the guilt of the atrocities she'd committed while hosting the Phoenix Force (or while the Phoenix Force had re-shaped itself to assume her identity. It gets complicated.) The Shi'ar Imperial Guard was after her to make the Dark Phoenix answer for its unspeakable act of snuffing an entire solar system, star and all, and rather than make her family, the X-Men, and her love, Cyclops, suffer any further for her crimes, she elected to sacrifice herself. Few space operas have ended with as emotional a crescendo as this, let us tell you.

2. The Avengers find Captain America in AVENGERS #4

Much like how Barry Allen meeting Jay Garrick was the first of the sort of parallel world team-ups that have defined the DC universe for decades, so too was this “reunion” one of the earliest examples of long-term continuity and “retconing” at Marvel. Just think about how typical those two things have become by today! Not only did this establish that there was a whole history to this fictional universe, it also reinterpreted past issues' plots so as to say Captain America had actually been missing since World War II and the one seen in comics for the previous two decades wasn’t really him (an issue that would be explored with even more retcons, later.) This moment defines Cap and the Avengers more than their respective origins even do, and the forthcoming movie’s going to have one seriously tall order to live up to when it does its spin on this scene.

1. Batman kicks Superman’s ass in DARK KNIGHT RETURNS #4

It's an age-old question that's been hotly debated in playgrounds and on message boards with equal seriousness - - “Who’d win in a fight? Superman or Batman?” Though he did it in an Elseworld (or a "Tale from the Multiverse," if you prefer) Frank Miller offered up the answer as the crux point of his most unforgettable and intense vision of the future. More so than any other versus thread, this grudge match carries with it a thematic struggle between justice and law as the far more politically-dissident Batman exerts his philosophy against a Superman who's long since sold out and become big government's loyal lapdog. The man beats this godlike alien through grit, guts and sheer force of will, and even winds up tricking the Man of Steel into thinking that the fight's killed Bruce Wayne, once and for all. Not bad for a superhero who's infamously never had superpowers.

235 Comments
Posted by slick23

Eh

Posted by Primmaster64

>_> Hell No....

Posted by tensor

death of superman not in the top 10 really comic vine

Posted by danhimself

how is the Death of Superman not on the list?

Online
Posted by BlackArmor

Meh some where close and some where way off. Nice try though better luck next time

Posted by BatMark_

The best moment in comics is from the best comic in history, really makes me wanna go back and read it again...

Posted by VioletPhoenix

no more mutants! WHERE'S NO MORE MUTANTS?!

Posted by Dracade102

I loved every aspect of this list except the #1.

Edited by Decept-O

I won't argue too much with the Top 10 moments here, I actually agree with most, although I'd have chosen something else for #5.

Plenty of key moments from the Fantastic Four I don't think were included in the lists. I am not saying for the top 10 but at least for inclusion: Sue Storm becoming the Invisible Woman after the Psycho-Man messed with her and the rest of the FF always stood out to me. So did the "This Man, This Monster" story centering around the Thing. Unless I missed them if they were included but I don't recall seeing them mentioned.

However, this is a very good Top 10 moment list.

This should encourage other comic book readers to create their own lists if they disagree with the ones featured here.

Posted by Billy Batson

@danhimself said:

how is the Death of Superman not on the list?

could have been replaced with #10, 9, 2 or with first one.
BB

Posted by The Impersonator

K.O.! BATMAN WINS! :P

By the way, another great list. :)

Posted by StarKiller809

That was a good list. I really liked that. I think that those are all good moments in comics.

Posted by Mr. Kamikaze

now let's see some honorable mentions XD

Posted by themanwoaname

really? that was number one?

we were all robbed.

Posted by DarthShap

Love N°10, totally disagree with N°1. To me, the fight is really the low point of TDKR. The story should have stayed Batman-centric and really did not need to involve Superman.

Yes, it is an awesome moment, and so is the fight in Batman Hush but this is just giving the fanboys what they want and not in the best way. To make Batman look good, just make Superman look bad is not great writing, like the rest of TDKR is.

How can we now take a look at this scene and not think that from this would emerge the awfulness of TDK2 and All Star Goddamn Batman and retarded Robin?

Now, from Superman's awesome wink at the very end of TDKR, we understand that back then, Miller was more nuanced than that but this does not make that much of a difference. This just did not need to be and to my mind, TDKR could have been way better without it.

This is just petty.

Posted by jsphsmth

#10 was entertaining, but does it really belong with the rest of these stories?

Posted by Xtremeperson

Death of Superman should be somewhere here, maybe even in the top 5. It was pretty important in the comics and even outside of comics.

Posted by The Devil Tiger

Mmmmh, no. Some of it are legit (N°1, 3, 4), for the others, really, I don't think so.

Posted by cloudzackvincent

is this real????

Posted by entropy_aegis

Knightfall and Death of Superman>>The Dark Knight Returns.

Posted by BigTPotts

I really disagree with most of these, the depowerment of mutants, where? The only one i agree with is 7.

Posted by clemj
@cloudzackvincent: it looks like it
Posted by G-Man

I think a lot missed this part in each post:

We make no pretense at any academic objectivity here - - these aren't supposed to be the most "important" to the history of the medium. These are simply the times where we've been so wrapped up in a story that we literally had to say "Wow!" when we turned the page.

Death of Superman was not a shock. We all knew it was coming. Superman and Doomsday punching each other to death with the final blow?

Staff
Posted by Primmaster64
@tensor said:

death of superman not in the top 10 really comic vine

I know right?
Posted by Saren

Fail list is fail.

Moderator
Posted by InnerVenom123

@danhimself said:

how is the Death of Superman not on the list?

Edited by Godlovesusall

Batman kicking Superman's ass? Yeah,NO WAY! Superman has something,what do you call it..yeah,INVULNERABILITY.Not only Batman shouldn't be able to inflict pain,he wouldn't be able to move him at all.Superman wouldn't feel a thing if kryptonite isn't involved.

And what's wrong about Hal Jordan beating the crap out of Sinestro while still under the 'yellow impurity' disadvantage?

Posted by cloudzackvincent

@G-Man: i did read that part in every post ..but never paused to think about it...now that u have mentioned.... the lists feels right.. and yeah there was no "wow" moment in the death of superman..

Posted by the_fallen11

tho i dont agree with #1 this list must have taken time and effort for everyone involved..that being said great job CV staff this list was super cool :)

Posted by roarshock

Yeah, I agree with VioletPheonix above, the "No More Mutants" was just a stunning event that was simply a genius punch in the gut for Marvel Comics since the day that was uttered. That should have been on the list. Glad to see Watchmen references in there, as that story is just full of incredible moments. I would also agree that the Death of Superman, while it had no real lasting effect after the main story arcs, was undeniably a major moment in comics history, selling literally a ton of books. Can't believe that didnt make it. Guy Gardner getting punched had no business anywhere near the top 10 (or 20 or 30). But, most of this is, of course, subjective so I do enjoy remembering all the stories here. Oh wait! as a Byrne fan, what about Alpha Flight #12 when Vindicator/Guardian died, that countdown panel and then his suit exploding? No One saw that coming. No one.

Posted by kartron

I agree with most of the chosen events in top 10. As another reader said over here, this list makes me wanna go back and read all those stories - some not read and some once again. The #1 is definitely a remarkable event. Gave me butterflies in my stomach when I read that!!!!

Posted by Primmaster64

Nevertheless The Death Of Superman was still a great moment :/

Posted by _Zombie_

Well, this was a disappointing conclusion.

Posted by maxicere

@tensor said:

death of superman not in the top 10 really comic vine

I can't understand why not. I become a collector thanks the dead of Superman.

Also, the death of Robin, Captain Marvel and Gwen Stacy don't stay in the list

Posted by Saren

"The man beats this godlike alien through grit, guts and sheer force of will, and even winds up tricking the Man of Steel into thinking that the fight's killed Bruce Wayne, once and for all."

The fight ended with Batman's unconscious/supposedly dead form on the ground with Superman crouched over him, not sure how that's beating the godlike alien. And at his funeral Clark could hear Bruce's heartbeat, so it was more than clear that he knew Bruce was still alive.

Moderator
Posted by Saren

And where was "No more mutants"?

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger

(Sigh) Typical. Batman beating up Superman is the best comic moment in history according to CV. There are other far more shocking, emotinally worthy moments in comic history that deserve the title more than this. Besides it's PIS. Writer bias and Batman's popularity are the only reasons he ever wins or stalemates fights against a godlike alien. For once I'm disappointed in the choices on here which is a first for me.

Posted by Azrael66

This is... the most disappointing list in all the 5 articles.

Posted by TheRedRobin96

Where is "Death of Superman"? That easily should have been apart of the list, I mean Batman beating up Superman should be replaced where Captain America points to his "A" and Superman dying should be #1

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

@tensor: I agree i was surprised by that also was surprised that the Death of Gwen Stacey was not in the top 10

Edited by SpidermanWins

And I was so sure #1 would be a great one..... I was wrong. Some of the other ones I would have had lower too. Anyway overall on the entire list 1-50 I say you did well. Still, Batman owning Guy Gardener should not have been over Gwen Stacy's death which btw is NO WHERE ON HERE. C'mon CV.

Posted by _Cain_

No. Action Comics #1 NOT ON THE LIST!?!

Online
Posted by HolySerpent

Hell no

Online
Posted by wdchefdave

The Executioner fighting it out with a horde of demons, holding his ground, automatic weapons in both hands, and Wolverine catching a ninja sword in the back of the neck for the first time. No real complaints because some of the books I did not read over the years.  Well done, anyway!

Posted by DarthShap

@G-Man said:

I think a lot missed this part in each post:

We make no pretense at any academic objectivity here - - these aren't supposed to be the most "important" to the history of the medium. These are simply the times where we've been so wrapped up in a story that we literally had to say "Wow!" when we turned the page.

Death of Superman was not a shock. We all knew it was coming. Superman and Doomsday punching each other to death with the final blow?

OK but then most of this moments were advertised on the cover. Hell, a lot of your illustrations here were actually comic book covers.

Edited by Man of Lengend

woa woa woa #1 is great but should not be number 1 on the list I say 10 , but as always haters gonna hate

Posted by The Poet

cool.

Moderator
Posted by ReVamp

@Primmaster64 said:

>_> Hell No....

I bet #1 hurt, eh Primm?

Trollface.jpg.

I love Spidey, but 6 and definitely 7 doesn't belong here.

Posted by SuperDoahBoy

I agree with most people Superman's death should've been in here, while reading #50-11 I was kinda hoping that his death would've been #1 cause all comic readers and non-readers know about that.

Posted by U R Sofa King We Todd Did

in my personal opinion my favorite comic moment was ultimate peter parker meeting uncle ben in the afterlife. that image resonates deep.