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...
30. Ganthet becomes a Green Lantern in BLACKEST NIGHT #6
Few times has a bit of cosmic wordplay had this kind of dramatic significance in a comic. For the Guardian who fatefully gave Kyle Rayner the last power ring after EMERALD TWILIGHT and subsequently raised his resurrected brethren after Rayner brought them back through Ion power, “Hope” is truly the first word anybody should use when describing Ganthet. Thus, it makes perfect sense that he’d found the Blue Lantern Corps? And it's perfectly fitting that Ganthet, after being expelled from the Guardians for having emotions of all things, would put himself back into the GLC during the entire Emotional Spectrum’s darkest hour.
29. Gepetto revealed to be the Adversary in FABLES #40
Nobody in million years would ever expect an arch-villain called “the Adversary” to actually be the gentle old carpenter who created Pinocchio… but it is always, indeed, the last one you suspect. This shocking revelation connected so many puzzle pieces in the mythos of FABLES; not least of which was an explanation for why exactly it was an army of wooden soldiers who drove our favorite storytime characters out of their homes and into their little ghetto in New York City. The man who shaped the fates of so many - - who was really the driving force behind the series - - was a man who most people picture doing the jitterbug and wishing upon a star. Brilliant.
28. Plastic Man survives for 3000 years under the sea in JLA #76
If you’ve ever had trouble keeping track of all the paradoxes and concurrent happenstances in a time-travel story, just imagine how confused the actual participants must get. Such was the case in THE OBSIDIAN AGE, when two JLA teams were fighting two battles some 3000 years apart from each other. In the fracas, the main League actually lost track of Plastic Man and the flexible funnyman was accidentally left behind in pre-historic times. Oops! When the League returned to the present, they realized their mistake and went back to find Plas was right where they left him on the bottom of the Atlantic… three millennia prior. Punchlines rarely get as epic as this. Plas should count himself lucky for being immortal, and we should count ourselves lucky for him not being bio-degradable.
27. Magneto found “Not Guilty” in UNCANNY X-MEN #200
It goes to show that the letter of the law can allow for even the most inconceivable of verdicts to be reached. Case in point: the most infamous mutant terrorist in the world getting this sort of favorable sentence from a UN tribunal when he’s put on trial for his countless crimes. It certainly helped that he had Prof. X working as his defense attorney. Even if the entire jury wasn’t totally convinced during the actual hearings, they were certainly grateful to be on Magneto’s good side when he subsequently saved them from an attack by Fenris. Chris Claremont packed one wallop after another for this milestone anniversary issue and the fact that we’re putting this up here instead of Cable’s birth speaks volumes as to just how shocking it was to witness.
26. Superman reboots the sun in ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #12
Even if you haven’t a clue as to what a “solar-radio consciousness” actually is, you’ve got to admit that the greatest “labor” of Superman - - a superhero powered by yellow sunrays - - would just have to center on the Sun. Embracing the Silver Age's surrealistic whimsy full-on, this maxi-series concludes with Supes literally diving into the Solar core and building Sol a new, mechanical heart to keep it running after the meddling of the tyrant sun, Solaris. You get the sense that Lois Lane holds this exact image in her mind when she insists that, despite world opinion, Kal-El actual isn't dead, just preparing to return; and that says something profound about Superman's power as a symbol of hope. Fun fact: In Morrison's DC 1 Million, Superman remerges from the Sun as a golden Superman Prime after 15,000 years of collecting energy.
25. Tony Stark injects himself with Extremis in IRON MAN #5
The tough part about updating Iron Man is trying to find new, clever gadgets and properly fresh gimmicks for each Mark of his armor. From transistor power to modular assembly and from underwater capability to the outer-space variety, the cool exec with the heart of steel has incorporated it all. So where can you go in the 2000s? Well, you can merge Tony with his armor. This storyline saw Mr. Stark taking in a substance that’s variously called a “virus” or a “super-soldier serum” (fittingly putting him into Cap’s lineage) called Extremis; a cutting edge variety of nano-technology that connects his brain directly to computers and alleviates a lot of his human frailties (like heart problems!) More importantly, it lets him put his armor instantaneously at any moment. After this, there was really not much point in Tony upgrading his suit because, ever after, he is the suit.
24. Peter Parker reveals his identity in CIVIL WAR #2
As we all know, the quality that defines Spider-Man the most is larger-than-life sense of responsibility. Thus, if Iron Man asks him to answer to the American people and submit to the Superhuman Registration Act, Peter Parker will own up to what he feels is required of him and blow a secret he’s gone to great lengths over a great many years to keep secret. That this would eventually bring super-villainous reprisals onto his loved ones actually put Spidey right between two very big responsibilities and gave us, the readers, some very great drama.
Even though this particular genie was eventually put back into its bottle with ONE MORE DAY, there’s still no denying how striking this particular unmasking remains.
23. Batman shoots Darkseid in FINAL CRISIS #6
Who can think of a more fitting way to conclude one of the single most far-out crossovers ever than to have the mere human Batman mortally wounding the evil god Darkseid by popping a cap in him? After millennia of galactic wars and after countless failed attempts by superhumans, this legendary despot's undoing finally came down to a small “Radion bullet.” Granted, to do this, Bats also had to get hit by some pesky Omega Beams that sent him back to primeval times and put him through a long spot of trouble… but it was still a hell of a finish. And a lasting one, actually. Darkseid may have returned in the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE, but it’s the New 52 version. The classic one? He’s still dead. Batman's win is still good.
22. Morpheus (Dream of the Endless) dies in SANDMAN #69
Dream, as depicted in SANDMAN, was more like the gods of classical mythology than any of the gods we’re used to in comics. His personality couldn't quite be understood in normal, human terms and his “life” couldn't quite be compared to a normal, human cycle. Thus, it fit that his death would embody both of those qualities. He was killed by the Furies in act of vengeance after his servants stole a superhuman baby, Daniel, whose parents violated rules of the Dreaming during his incubation. And, after he died, young Daniel took his place in the Endless, but in a way that actually somehow preserved Morpheus' identity. It was a very artistic take on that old phrase of "The king is dead, long live the king" and a very appropriate ending to a series defined by many such supernatural nuances.
21. Wolverine regains all his memories in HOUSE OF M #8
It was an enduring debate; one that would seemingly never end - - if you took away Wolverine’s mystery, would you also take away his appeal? This particular genie was finally let out of the bottle in ‘05, a few years after another of Logan’s genies was released in ORIGIN. It was the perfect irony to have a man who can’t remember his own past be the only one to remember what life was like prior to the Scarlet Witch's “world gone mad” reality warp. So it was truly fitting that one lasting consequence of this event would make this famous amnesiac finally regained all his once-hazy memories in perfect lucidity. Now that the debate's been solved, for good, we think you'll agree that Wolverine's still cool, even if he does remembers a lot of things he once forgot.