Comic Vine News

141 Comments

The 50 Greatest Moments in Comics: #50-41

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

It's really about time we did one of these. The Comic Vine staff has put our noggins together to collect and codify the all-time greatest moments in superhero 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 first ten of the top fifty greatest moments in comics.

Don't worry - - this moment isn't on the list. It's memorable, though, no?

So relax, have some fun and be inspired to offer your own personal choices, all right?

== TEASER ==

50. Peter Parker dies in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #160

There have been countless superhero deaths over the years and the decades, and everybody knows by now that they’ll all eventually be reversed. There are no such reassurances in the Ultimate universe, though. Dead is dead, and the familiar scenarios of the regular Marvel U are allowed to reach the logical endpoints that traditional continuity has prevented (or protected?) them from reaching. Thus, the fact that this Spidey would die defending his loved ones from the Green Goblin is doubly tragic, because it does seem like the most likely fate that would befall an underage vigilante playing around with dangerous super-criminals. Since we've seen this Spidey's entire, brief career on page, this conclusion maybe even makes us grateful that the regular one's gotten off easier in his timeline, and that we've gotten to see him in action for so much longer.

49. The true birth of the Punisher in BORN #4

No screen adaptation of the Punisher will ever get past the basics of his origin, nor the surface explanations for his vigilantism. Throughout his run, Garth Ennis dug much deeper into Castle’s motivations and explored territory in his life that had never truly been shown up until then. Here, he shows that big Frank wasn’t just a normal guy who was totally transformed by “one bad day” - - he'd actually harbored vindictive and bloodthirsty tendencies for his entire life. Vietnam gave him a savory taste of what a life at war could be like, and the taste made him hungry for more. When a rescue team searches for the sole survivor of the Fort Valley Forge massacre, they find a Frankenstein monster who’ll soon be given an identity with the death of Castle's family. It's an undeniably terrifying scene and sight.

48. Batman knows the Hyperclan’s big secret in JLA #3

Grant Morrison had the brilliant idea to keep the Leaguer’s private lives separate from their adventures during his run on JLA. Every issue had an “all killer no filler” feel and, really, there are many more moments we could've included here - - and most of them involve Batman.

The Dark Knight’s always been an icon, of course, but this was the first time he felt like a badass; a relentless tactician who holds all the cards and is prepared for every conceivable contingency. Here was his first such badass moment, showing the white Martians how it was a grave mistake to underestimate this particular “mere human.” They didn’t do their research on him, but he did his homework on them and their weaknesses to fire, deducing a way to take these space gods out with only a bottle of gasoline and a pack of matches.

No villains dismissed the Batman after this one.

47. “I’ve got the box” in ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #8

This is technically a major spoiler but it’s real hard to avoid those when discussing a comic that’s 25-years-old. Frank Miller un-apologetically revels in the power fantasies inherent to the superhero and he'll flip the bird to anybody too constipated to get the joke. ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN is a wickedly-fun satire that takes pot shots at the Right and the Left and every one in-between. It spends eight feverish issues establishing what a wonderful, misanthropic pig SHIELD Agent Garret is while also harping on the ever-escalating threat of nuclear annihilation posed by the presidential election of the Hand's demigod, the Beast. So what could its proper final trick? How about putting the power of the latter into the outrageously-inappropriate hands of the former? Few other moment in comics have gotten this gleefully anarchic.

46. Deadpool faces everybody he’s ever killed in DEADPOOL #33

Joe Kelly’s run is the definitive version of the ‘Pool for most of us. DP was still cool, he was still dangerous, his adventures had nasty snark and heartfelt pathos, and there was even something romantic about how his book was able to get away with so much because it was narrowly dodging cancellation every month. Like this very fitting end for the ‘Pool, for example...

Deadpool had gone through a three-year-long quest for redemption and had even saved the universe. It was even looking like he was just about to get satisfaction against T-Ray, the man who’d murdered his wife, Mercedes, and set his life on its horrible downward spiral. Only it turned out that T-Ray was actually Wade Wilson and Deadpool was actually the psycho killer who did the murdering and life-ruining. DP's entire life and quest for a redemption had been a farce; a coping mechanism constructed by an insane mind. With the rug pulled out from underneath so tragically, Deadpool threw his arms up at last and surrendered to his vile nature in both figurative and literal terms. At that moment, T-Ray and Mercedes used their black magic to conjure everybody DP had ever killed and the Merc with a Mouth perished against their onslaught, going down swinging and unrepentant.

45. The Kid who collects Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #248

Many copies' collectble value was ruined due to the tears readers shed over this one-off issue's bittersweet ending. A young boy who’s Spider-Man’s #1 fan, collecting every article about the wall-crawler (even the Daily Bugle’s retractions about their favorite “public menace,") gets a personal visit from Spidey after he learns that the boy's just days away from succumbing to leukemia. The web-slinger opens up to his young fan about what it’s like to be Spider-Man, showing him a trust he'll never be able to show to any other stranger again. The story was the fulfillment of a fantasy many children involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation have when requesting to meet their favorite superhero; and it's a demonstration that Spidey doesn't always have to be punching bad guys to make a difference in people's lives.

44. The T-Bolts are really the Masters of Evil in Thunderbolts #1

We still haven’t gotten over the shock of this surprise. It struck us, like lightning, just before high speed internet made such secrets all-but-impossible to keep before streetdates. In all promos and advanced solicits, the T-Bolts were presented simply as new heroes with a vague “dark secret" who were stepping up to fill the power vacuum left by the “death” of all the heroes during the finale of ONSLAUGHT. We, the readers, were in the same shoes as Marvel U's desperate citizenry, placing our trust in what would soon be revealed as Baron Zemo ingenious, diabolical scheme to seize, control and crush the hope of the world under the new Masters of Evil's boot. It was an absolute knock-out way to set up a whole year's worth of white knuckle cape-and-mask tension.

43. Swamp Thing revives in blue SWAMP THING #56

Here’s a moment that precisely illustrates the unique appeal of a “shared universe” and an open-ended title. As with the Punisher, any screen adaptation of SWAMP THING will never get past the origin story; it'll keep Alec Holland perpetually hung up on regaining his humanity. Alan Moore and Steve Bissette show us here how that's actually the least interesting angle on the character by taking Swampy literally light years away from his original premise. After the meddling of Lex Luthor and Batman “kills” him, Swamp Thing's consciousness escapes from the Green of Earth and into the Blue of unnamed planet in another solar system. There, he re-constitutes himself out of the azure vegetation and spends an entire issue roaming throughout the alien fauna and pondering his inexplicable circumstances. It's real hard to think of many other comics that have shown how far a concept can be taken beyond any boundaries better than this does.

42. Huntress saves the universe in DC ONE MILLION #4

Superheroes forget to think fourth-dimensionally when they’re dealing with threats from the future. Who’d have figured that Solaris, the Tyrant Sun of the 853rd century, would be defeated by a street-level vigilante whose business doesn’t typically go beyond busting wise guys down at the Gotham docks? Since the Justice League and the Justice Legion Alpha are fighting the same villain in two different eras, Ms. Bertinelli realizes there’s really no rush to figure out how to defeat Solaris - - they’ve got centuries to figure it out, in fact. Under her instruction, the two JLAs set some nasty traps throughout the Solar system that nab the evil sun in a way that not even his astronomically-advanced consciousness could ever see coming. And that's not too shabby for a leaguer who never seemed that special next to Atlantean kings and Amazonian princesses.

41. Barry Allen's sacrifice in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #8

The debate over the precise dates for each superhero age’s beginning and end will go on and on. Still, if the Silver Age started with Barry Allen’s debut, it most certainly ended with his “death” here, which coincided with the onset of many years of storylines like WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS that deconstructed everything that had long been taken for granted about clean-cut heroes like the second Flash. Even though Barry eventually returned from this merging with the Speed Force - - and we’re possibly only a few years off from seeing a generation of kids who can’t remember him ever being gone - - his acceleration to light speed in a last ditch effort to thwart the Anti-Monitor still remains one of the most iconic deaths ever. It literally ushered in a new era.

Stay tuned for numbers 40-31 next week!

141 Comments
  • 141 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Posted by Neverpraying

Interesting stuff. I look forward to seeing what number 1 is.

I'm guessing Bane breaking Batman's spine will be in the top 20 at the least.

Posted by Saren

Cool list, nice to see Barry's death there. Looking forward to next week.

Moderator
Posted by ARMIV2

Ooh, this'll be good!

Posted by RainEffect

Huntress <3

Posted by Ganthetsward20

I thought barry allens death would be at least top 30 :/ but i love thoes moments, there are one i havent read but have heard of.

Edited by ssejllenrad

I think Barry's death is pretty low on the list... That is if my suspicions are real and that Superman's death is of a higher rank. Don't get me wrong. My avatar states that I'm a fanatic of Supes. But I feel Wally's sacrifice back in crisis had an extremely bigger impact. And add to that, his death was one that felt permanent at the time. Supes made me sad but I had the feeling he'd be back. But Barry's death gave me the feeling that he won't come back. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by EdwardWindsor

Heres some i think its nearly 100% we will see

Bane breaking Batman

Xavier and Magnetros fight, crippling of Xavier

Wolervine being stripped of adamatuim by Magneto

Dark Pheonix Saga

Death of Superman

Posted by Mercy_
@RainEffect
Huntress <3
Yessss.
Moderator
Posted by CitizenJP

This is a great countdown list. Can't wait to see more!

Edited by The Myth

Death of Superman has to be in there somewhere!

Posted by G-Man

:)

Staff
Posted by ThanosIsMad

Huntress was someone I did not expect to see on this list.

Posted by Billy Batson

41 and 43 were the best.

BB

Posted by AwesomeAquaman

Rochambeau!!!

Posted by jordama

loved this

Posted by ravisher

barry only 41?

cant wait to see the rest

Edited by DarkShadows
Posted by Mighty Thorion

Be interesting to see if all 50 Greatest Moments come from the modern age of comics or whether the whole of comics history has been considered.

Posted by Saren

48 was also very cool. I remember reading that story and getting an electrifying feeling when Batman dropped the White Martians a note that said "I know your secret".

Moderator
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Grant Morrison should basically just have the Top 10 to himself. 

Posted by The Mast

The death of Elektra will be there. It's hard to imagine what an impact that had. Also, Karen Page selling Daredevil's identity.

Posted by cody1984

@Tom Pinchuk: While I'm glad a Punisher moment (especially from the Garth Ennis MAX run) got on the list I do have one problem with your statement of

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

The Punisher is no superhero and that scene shows that its foolish to claim otherwise.

Posted by The_Tree

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

Grant Morrison should basically just have the Top 10 to himself.

Yes, yes he should.

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Constantine conning the unholy trinity into curing his lung cancer.
  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).
  • Batman kills a god, then returns from being lost in time in the most epic manner possible.
  • The death of Jason Todd.
  • Cyclops accepting Emma Frost's offer to be with her and reopen the school.
  • Magneto saving Kitty Pryde.
  • The formation of X-Force during Messiah Complex.
  • Cyclops forming Utopia.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@cody1984 said:

@Tom Pinchuk: While I'm glad a Punisher moment (especially from the Garth Ennis MAX run) got on the list I do have one problem with your statement of

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

The Punisher is no superhero and that scene shows that its foolish to claim otherwise.

He's an anti-hero. It counts.  
 
Sort of.
Posted by cody1984

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

@cody1984 said:

@Tom Pinchuk: While I'm glad a Punisher moment (especially from the Garth Ennis MAX run) got on the list I do have one problem with your statement of

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

The Punisher is no superhero and that scene shows that its foolish to claim otherwise.

He's an anti-hero. It counts. Sort of.

Trying to claim he is a hero is by him being an antihero is one thing. Claiming he is a superhero is an injustice to both Frank Castle and superheroes.

Posted by Yumulu

Love 45.44.41.

Man I miss the old thunderbolt serie.

Quite surprised to see Barry Allen this soon on the list tough.

Posted by Billy Batson

Preacher had many great moments but it's shame this is only going to have superhero moments.

BB

Posted by Billy Batson

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).

probably one of my least favorite moments

BB

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

@Billy Batson said:

Preacher had many great moments but it's shame this is only going to have superhero moments.

BB

Agreed. Jesse breaking Jody's back was epic, just to name one.

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).

probably one of my least favorite moments

BB

Really? I loved Morrison's Animal Man.

Edited by Billy Batson

@ApatheticAvenger said:

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).

probably one of my least favorite moments

BB

Really? I loved Morrison's Animal Man.

It was good but the last issue ruined it for me. Why even kill Buddy's family if he was going to bring them back?

BB

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).

probably one of my least favorite moments

BB

Really? I loved Morrison's Animal Man.

It was good but the last issue ruined it for me. Why even kill Buddy's family if he was going to bring them back?

BB

Drama man, all about the drama.

Posted by Billy Batson

@ApatheticAvenger said:

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).

probably one of my least favorite moments

BB

Really? I loved Morrison's Animal Man.

It was good but the last issue ruined it for me. Why even kill Buddy's family if he was going to bring them back?

BB

Drama man, all about the drama.

and then thanking the readers and co-workes. Kinda wished that he wouldn't have done that on the panels.

BB

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

@Billy Batson said:

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Animal Man meets Grant Morrison (fourth wall be damned).

probably one of my least favorite moments

BB

Really? I loved Morrison's Animal Man.

It was good but the last issue ruined it for me. Why even kill Buddy's family if he was going to bring them back?

BB

Drama man, all about the drama.

and then thanking the readers and co-workes. Kinda wished that he wouldn't have done that on the panels.

BB

See I thought that was hilarious. To each their own I guess.

Posted by Dirk_Dexter

Joker shooting Barbara Gordon in Batman: The Killing Joke.

Posted by RazzaTazz

This list is pretty subjective, but it would be nice if they thought to include Wonder Woman versus Superman controlled by Max Lord on it someplace.

Moderator
Posted by Eyz

The 90s Deadpool series had so much "Kodak moments" :P

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Barry's death *sniff*

Online
Posted by Mighty Thorion

Hopefully the higher numbers won't be full of "deaths" (Yawn!) Although I'm sure the "deaths" of Jason Todd, Superman and Supergirl will probably be in there, but since we now nearly always know dead characters come back, are their "deaths" really considered great moments?

Posted by Mighty Thorion

As I thought - and feared - nearly all the suggestions I'm reading are from the modern age. Either that means people are relatively new to comics or they think everything is just getting better all of the time. If this is supposed to be the 50 Greatest Comic moments of all time, then perhaps we should consider some of the following - which I list off the top of my head and in no particular order;

A Kryptonian rocket ship landing on Earth (Action #1)

The murder of Bruce Wayne's Parents (Detective #27)

Flash of two Worlds (Flash #123) which introduced the concept of alternate Earths

Death of Ferro Lad (Adventure #353)

Death of Captain Stacey (Amazing Spider-Man #90?)

Deaths of Gwen Stacey & Green Goblin (ASM #121 &122 respectively)

Speedy taking drugs (GL & GA # 85)

Wonder Woman losing her powers (JLA # 69)

Odin taking half of Thor's power's away (Thor #145? or thereabouts)

The coming of Galactus (FF # 49)

I'll list some more stuff from earlier days as and when they come to me - maybe some of them will feature - who knows?

Posted by spaceboy
@cody1984 said:

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

@cody1984 said:

@Tom Pinchuk: While I'm glad a Punisher moment (especially from the Garth Ennis MAX run) got on the list I do have one problem with your statement of

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

The Punisher is no superhero and that scene shows that its foolish to claim otherwise.

He's an anti-hero. It counts. Sort of.

Trying to claim he is a hero is by him being an antihero is one thing. Claiming he is a superhero is an injustice to both Frank Castle and superheroes.

The Punisher first appeared as a Spider-Man villain and while he  didn't have super powers he has always been considered an antihero in a superhero universe. Excluding him would mean other unpowered characters like  the Kingpin or Lex Luthor  would have to be excluded as well.  

 @RazzaTazz
You mean the actual fight or the neck snap aftermath?
Edited by MysterioMaximus

Shouldn't, technically, the greatest moments in comics be all the origins of the major characters considering...without them...we wouldn't have anything else?

But I doubt that's how it'll go down. Death of Gwen Stacy, Death of Elektra, Paralyzing of Barbara Gordon, Bane breaking Batman, Death of Superman, "Face it, Tiger. You Just Hit the Jackpot," Magneto ripping the metal out of Wolverine, Thano's killing the Marvel universe in Infinity Gauntlet, Death of Jason Todd, Galactus cometh, Death of Bucky Barnes, so many other moments.

For my money, when you're doing a list of "Greatest Moments in Comics," how the heck did modern comics make this? How can something that's less than a year old be included on a list that has competition from as long ago as the 1930's? Premature...if you ask me. Meh! To each their own, I suppose. It's all opinion and entirely debatable.

Edited by MysterioMaximus

@spaceboy said:


The Punisher first appeared as a Spider-Man villain and while he didn't have super powers he has always been considered an antihero in a superhero universe. Excluding him would mean other unpowered characters like the Kingpin or Lex Luthor would have to be excluded as well.

Um...what? I don't even sort of get your logic.

Punisher first appeared as a villain, per se, who was fooled into being against Spider-Man by the Jackal. He's an antihero, which is not the same as villain. Kingpin and Lex are villains. Nor does non-powered equal morally questionable. Having no super-ability means just that...they don't have super powers. It doesn't say ANYTHING toward their allegiances or ethical code. There are powerless characters of light, gray, and dark.

So...what the hell are you talking about? o.O

Not to mention, this is "50 Greatest Moments in Comics" according to ComicVine...not "50 Greatest Superhero Moments"...who says it has to be superhero?

Posted by They Killed Cap!

Death of Cap needs to be in it...

Original Secret Wars

Death of Sups

Death of Torch

Batmans Back

Hal Jordan becoming Parallax

Civil War

Siege ( I loved it..I know most of you won't)

THe Sentry's introduction

Death of Gwen Stacy

Maximum Carnage

Killing Joke

Kingdom Come

Blackest night

...this could go forever

Posted by TheRedRobin

Somewhere on this list should be Ted Kord's death and Guy Gardner getting KO'd.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

wait a minute... 46. Is it me, or does that show Kidpool waaaay back in 1999?

Posted by animemike

shouldnt jason todd revealing himself as being alive be on here somewhere

Posted by Rell127

Superman Death will probably number 1.

Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k

I do that the Batman-scene in JLA is really cool/awesome, but I never couldv`e guessed that I`d see it in this list. But, then again, it deserves to be in this list.

Posted by entropy_aegis

LOL that was a really bad day for the Martians.

  • 141 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3