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Posted by No_name_here (1247 posts) - - Show Bio

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 top fifty greatest moments in comics...

This isn't on the list. Psych!

We’re counting down moments #40-31 today. Catch up on moments #50-41 here.

== TEASER ==

40. Lex Luthor doesn’t believe Clark Kent is Superman in SUPERMAN #2

Admittedly, there are many conceits in superheroics that we just have to suspend our disbelief about and go along with. One of the most famous ones, obviously, is how Superman can maintain a secret identity with just a pair of glasses and a change in how he parts his hair. Still, if you know anything about human nature, you’ll know how big personalities quite often defy obvious logic, so it was a rather brilliant stroke on John Byrne’s part to let Lex Luthor learn this particular secret so early on in his rivalry with Supes (well, in his retcon, at least) and then dismiss it because the notion doesn’t fit into his twisted world view that the powerful would exert their power at all times. He has a super-advanced, super-expensive computer deduce an answer, and then still dismisses it. What an ego!

39. Death rejects Thanos in THE INFINITY GAUNTLET #1

Not even all the power in the universe can convince a girl to like you if she just isn’t interested. The fact is, Thanos’ overriding motivation in one of Marvel’s most epic crossovers - - his reason for murdering half the universe and picking a fight with its entire celestial pantheon - - isn’t too far off from a little kid popping wheelies outside the playground to impress his crush. THE INFINITY GAUNTLET put superheroes in touch with their mythological underpinnings like few other arc have, so it's very fitting that it start off like the Trojan War. Whether it's a prince stealing another dude’s wife, or a "Mad Titan" gaining omnipotent power just to impress a girl... it all comes down to same hormonal drama.

38. Cyclops vs. Wolverine, finally, after years and years in SCHISM #4

SCHISM might have been something like the X-Men’s own CIVIL WAR, but the key difference is, while Cap and Iron Man hadn’t really been at odds for most of their professional relationship, we all knew that a full-out fight between Cyke and Wolvie had been brewing for decades. So it was truly cathartic to watch these two titans of mutankind finally come to blows over a major disagreement about the appropriateness of teen soldiers (something fundamental to the notion of the team, actually.) More importantly, this wasn’t a fight that ended with these two guys just hugging and agreeing to disagree. It’s led to a major drawing of party lines in the mutant population.

37. The return of Hal Jordan in GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH #1

Resurrections are rather common in this arena, but few have had as substantial significance as this, a comeback that's ushered Green Lantern into an era of startling new popularity. Not only did this return retcon Parallax into a parasite that made all the past controversies of EMERALD NIGHT and ZERO HOUR go down a lot easier, it also “uncorked a genie’s bottle” by adding a whole spectrum of new facets to DC's cosmology by introducing, among many things, an entire pantheon of emotional entities. Suffice it to say, this return offered more - - worlds of possibilities, even - - than just the simple pleasure of seeing one of your old favorites again.

36. Superman carries Cap’s shield and Thor’s hammer in JLA/AVENGERS #4

In a lot of ways, seeing comics’ greatest superheroes cooperate (in what's likely their last crossover, ever) was even more exciting than watching them fight each other. While we saw Supes and Thor finally settle the question of “Who would win?” earlier in the mini, this actually proved to be the more memorable moment, precisely because it happens on account of these other legends willingly lending their signature weapons to the Man of Steel to allow him to defeat the never-greater threat of Krona. They were taking one for the team! That's heroism. For a series with "versus" in its title, who'd have thought that seeing the opposing parties get along like this would be the stand-out scene?

35. Animal Man meets Grant Morrison in ANIMAL MAN #26

It goes without saying that a significant portion of Grant Morrison’s body of work's concerned with him blurring the lines between superheroic fiction and flesh-and-blood reality. And it follows that the first major instance of such meta-fictional madness is still the most striking. Over the course of a long arc, Buddy Baker saw his personal life steadily torn down in a fashion that was seeming to put him on track for an attitude change that so many other heroes took in the “grim ‘n gritty” era of superheroics. All along, we were teased about some mysterious, seemingly-omniscient figure pulling the strings of this tragedy, only to find out at the very end that this villain was… the writer himself.

The gutters between panels have never felt safe again.

34. Batman and the Joker share a laugh in THE KILLLING JOKE

Ambiguity isn’t something you find that often in these tales of capes, tights and fisticuffs. Generally, what you see is what you get. When Batgirl gets shot, for instance, it's not exactly open to interpretation. Thus, a sequence like this is pretty remarkable for how it works on a number of equally-valid levels. Is Bats leaning on Mr. J for support during this gut laugh, acknowledging that they’re both equally crazy after this terrible ordeal at the carnival? Or is he actually strangling him because he’s realized there’s no stopping this maniac from murdering, maiming and otherwise corrupting innocent people if he's allowed to live past this night? The multiple choice option is what makes this ending truly chilling.

33. Hyperion causes a North Pole earthquake in SUPREME POWER #18

Didn’t anybody learn anything from that Jim Croce song? You don’t tug on Superman’s cape… and you definitely don’t try to threaten Hyperion with anything. The conclusion of this darker reinterpretation of the Squadron Supreme saw Mark Milton doing something that Clark Kent likely would’ve done if the government ever pushed him too far. Hyperion had already been sour on Uncle Sam after learning that he’d been lied to for his whole life. When he was told to be behave, lest his alien identity be revealed to the public, he did what you’d expect any nigh-omnipotent superhuman to do. He smashed down into the North Pole and caused a 10.5 quake that sent a very clear message to America… “BACK OFF!”

32. Hulk rips Wolverine in half in ULTIMATEWOLVERINE VS. HULK #1

Sure, superheroics have gotten more and more sophisticated… but we shouldn’t ever lose sight of just how fundamentally cool the less-than-sophisticated moments can be. Case in point - - Hulk ripping the Wolverine in two like an adamantium party popper. Does that make sense when Wolvie’s got an unbreakable skeleton? Maybe not, but who cares? Even if stories in the Ultimate universe did “count” like they do in the regular MU, we’d hate if continuity ever got so stuffy as to block something as undeniably rad as this. Admit it, you've wanted to see something like this ever since Logan and Dr. Banner first crossed paths in the Canadian wilderness, however long ago.

31. The fate of all superheroes is revealed in WANTED #2

Mark Millar notably got his earliest inspiration for this anarchic series during his childhood, when his older brother tricked him into thinking superheroes had actually once existed, but had disappeared after a war with supervillains. Showing what would happen if the Secret Society of Supervillains ever got serious and competent about taking care of all these do-gooders, this series showed us a chilling vision of world where the bad guys have won and forced the good guys to waste away in living hells of forgotten mediocrity. It's a notion more unsettling than that whole rant about what the Killer's face looks like while he's getting away with certain supervillainous un-pleasantries.

#1 Edited by Jordanstine (942 posts) - - Show Bio

Super America Thor!

#2 Posted by AwesomeAquaman (161 posts) - - Show Bio

SuperPro! Was hoping this would come out soon.

#3 Posted by PrinceIMC (5505 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought I enjoyed the movie 'Wanted' until I read the graphic novel....it was so cool. I know why it would be a tough movie to make but it would be a great one to see.

#4 Posted by Billy Batson (59221 posts) - - Show Bio

#35 is one my least favorite moments but that's just me.

#5 Posted by Outside_85 (11765 posts) - - Show Bio

#37 also marked the day everything in DC pretty much became Geoff John's personal fan-fiction outlet...

#6 Posted by difficlus (10659 posts) - - Show Bio

HAha hyperions moment is sooo awesome!!

#7 Posted by Trodorne (2749 posts) - - Show Bio

The problem with schism, is that the fight was not just fought about teen soldiers, it was a decade long grudge match over a woman as well. WHICH I might add was a jerk move to include Jean Grey into the pre-battle conversation.

#8 Posted by Mighty Thorion (918 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh dear, once again all 10 are from the modern age

#9 Posted by Sammo21 (724 posts) - - Show Bio

good list but I get chills when I See Cap carry Thor's hammer and do some dirt.

#10 Posted by GuruOfFunk (459 posts) - - Show Bio

Probably dug The Killing Joke moment most. And I enjoyed Rebirth.

#11 Edited by ApatheticAvenger (1726 posts) - - Show Bio

@Trodorne said:

The problem with schism, is that the fight was not just fought about teen soldiers, it was a decade long grudge match over a woman as well. WHICH I might add was a jerk move to include Jean Grey into the pre-battle conversation.

Agreed. The fight itself may have been epic, but the mention of Jean was uncalled for. Jason Aaron sucks goats.

@Billy Batson said:

#35 is one my least favorite moments but that's just me.

Totally called it. =P

#12 Posted by Remixxxde (5 posts) - - Show Bio

I remember that Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine. Kinda knew it was coming when Betty said I know your bones are unbreakable but not your joints that connects those bones.

#13 Posted by PikminMania (4766 posts) - - Show Bio

I really disliked Wanted, and i don't think i should've been on this list. Come to think of it, most of the picks for 40-31 didn't seem very memorable, but that is just me.

#14 Posted by haydenclaireheroes (10412 posts) - - Show Bio

There were some good picks in 40-31. Can't wait to see the rest of the list. My favorite picks from this list were Superman carrying Thor's Hammer and Cap's Shield and the return of Hal Jordan

#15 Posted by ReVamp (23014 posts) - - Show Bio

#38 is on here?

Hurrah for some Wanted love!

#16 Posted by kennybaese (1209 posts) - - Show Bio

I just recently read Morrison's Animal Man run and the end of that book pretty much blew my mind. I read it after reading Supergods, so I, unfortunately, knew where it was going, but it didn't stop it from being one of the most insightful pieces of writing in superhero comics in response to the "grim and gritty" comics of the 80's. Great stuff.

#17 Posted by Vitality (1832 posts) - - Show Bio

Wait...so who won between Superman and Thor in the JLA/Avengers crossover?

#18 Posted by azza04 (1594 posts) - - Show Bio

Glad Hyperion is on there, that series was FULL of epic moments.

#19 Posted by PrinceIMC (5505 posts) - - Show Bio
@Vitality said:
Wait...so who won between Superman and Thor in the JLA/Avengers crossover?
Superman beat Thor but then every powerhouse on the Avengers piled on Superman. Course Superman carrying Cap's shield and Mjolnir were by Cap's and Thor's permission, it wasn't the end of a fight between them. When the battle was over and Thor wanted his hammer back Superman couldn't lift it anymore.
#20 Posted by Tellumo (525 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jordanstine: Supergod of AMERICA!!!

#21 Posted by TheMadMonkey (150 posts) - - Show Bio

I never understood #40 or why people hold it in such high regard.

That was easily one of the worst moments in Byrne's Superman run. Luthor may be a lot of things, but he is not a complete moron. With the evidence right there and presented with absolutely no bias, he disregards it and fires Kitty Faulkner on the spot. Give me a break...

#22 Posted by Yumulu (764 posts) - - Show Bio

It feel like 50 to 41 and 40 to 31 have been inverted.

#23 Posted by GreenFuse (301 posts) - - Show Bio

"...Hulk ripping the Wolverine in two like an adamantium party popper." - I lol'd so hard! Good stuff.

#24 Posted by laabitres (546 posts) - - Show Bio

this is intense

#25 Posted by Wattup (682 posts) - - Show Bio

Wait a minute...didn't Cyclops and Wolverine agree to disagree at the end of their fight?

#26 Posted by SpidermanWins (4142 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice choices

#27 Posted by CitizenJP (681 posts) - - Show Bio

HULK ftw! ^_^

#28 Posted by Fetts (5043 posts) - - Show Bio

#36=HUGE PIS. Thank god its not cannon. I mean Supes stopping Mojhnir with his hand? Yeah no.

#29 Posted by BatUniverse (153 posts) - - Show Bio

Great Moments! #34 AND #32 are my favourites!

#30 Posted by TheBane2890 (1972 posts) - - Show Bio

@PikminMania: agree

#31 Posted by SexualLobster (995 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't like the whole 'Superman with Thor and Cap's stuff' thing. Then again, I also dilike the hell out of Superman so I'm kinda biased here.

#32 Posted by PikminMania (4766 posts) - - Show Bio

@Fetts: It is considered canon and Supes used a WHOLE lot of power to lift the hammer. Besides, Hulk and other characters have done it before, and Superman is actually worthy to be holding it.

#33 Posted by RedR0bin (83 posts) - - Show Bio

This is good stuff. I have mixed feelings about #37. Although I'm glad that Hal Jordan is back, and Rebirth did get me into Green Lantern for a while, all of the different laterns are kinda giving me tired head.

#34 Posted by RedR0bin (83 posts) - - Show Bio

And I thought Batman laughing with the Joker was genius. With both their lives intertwined the way that they are, I can't imagine that they wouldn't at one point or another share a laugh. It definitely gave me a different outlook on their "relationship."

#35 Posted by Deadcool (6900 posts) - - Show Bio


#36 Posted by DarthOrange (14 posts) - - Show Bio

American Super Thor should have been number 1!!!!!

#37 Posted by JDC_1959_delete (3 posts) - - Show Bio

#34 & 37 FTW!

#38 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent! I still love that picture from JLA/Avengers. It makes me smile.

#39 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (89 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanos and Death are my favorite couple in comics, mostly because they aren't. I love that Spider-Man issue when he "dies" (so to speak), and visualizes a scene between him, Thanos, and Death. That was a remarkable comic.

#40 Posted by Fetts (5043 posts) - - Show Bio
@PikminMania: I still find it hard to believe that Thor was taken down that quickly. You'd think he'd stick to lightning rather than keep on hitting him with the hammer. Especially Classic Thor with Odin Force.
#41 Posted by Hoboseid (1043 posts) - - Show Bio

Killing joke definitely deserves a spot

not a big fan of the jla avengers fan wankery crossover and SupermanComics = boring , shi t

#42 Posted by PikminMania (4766 posts) - - Show Bio

@Hoboseid: I don't think it was fan wanking at all. If it was then Batman would've defeated Captain America.

@Fetts: I'm pretty sure that he didn't have odin force, and I think they just kept the fight short because they needed more for the story.

#43 Posted by ssejllenrad (13028 posts) - - Show Bio

GL Rebirth aka the day Johns wanked Hal Jordan. Nyahaha!

#44 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14985 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, I actually read a lot of these...weird that so many great moments happened so recently.

#45 Posted by Fetts (5043 posts) - - Show Bio
@PikminMania: He didn't have Odin Force??? Why???? 
At the very least they should of made it close. But I still think if the writers stuck to his more usual fighting style (lightning, Odin Force ((if he had it)) and hammer hits) and not just simply hitting him with the Moljhnir (I'm probably spelling that wrong), than he would of won.
#46 Posted by Video_Martian (5650 posts) - - Show Bio

My faves were #32, #34, and #37.

#47 Posted by SC (14743 posts) - - Show Bio
@PikminMania:  Eh personally I think it was - but I think its okay. Its comics. All writers involved even the Marvel ones, are admitted Superman fans, they knew the character when they were children. Thor is just some character a contemporary made, almost like Rulk. They were sincere with their opinions, and thats great but for every IIRC Kurt Busiek and Tom Brevoort you have, you have a Jim Shooter and Dan Jurgens. So Superman did get pretty well treated but that makes sense too, he is the most profitable character in that book and one thing both Marvel and DC care about more than who wins is making money lol
(also that mini series I think this didn't settle that age old debate, if anything it ripped off the lid lol)  
Cool thread and moments. Superpro! 
#48 Posted by Mokey (195 posts) - - Show Bio

"Or is he actually strangling him because he’s realized there’s no stopping this maniac from murdering, maiming and otherwise corrupting innocent people if he's allowed to live past this night?"

Huh.. I never saw it like that.

#49 Posted by Bluefox170 (414 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mokey said:

"Or is he actually strangling him because he’s realized there’s no stopping this maniac from murdering, maiming and otherwise corrupting innocent people if he's allowed to live past this night?"

Huh.. I never saw it like that.

Already been established that Bruce just has his hands rested on jokers shoulders. He's even got a big ass smile on his face.

#50 Posted by Jayso4201 (617 posts) - - Show Bio

#34 A great joke- I've ruined it many times!