Top 10 Issues I'm Saving in the Fire

So this is my first attempt at what I'd like to be a weekly thing, I come up with a topic to write about involving some kind of Top X list and then go on about it for a few minutes. I decided the best place to start would be my Top 10 comics issues. Now, in a real fire I might not save any of these because comics are so easy to order off the internet to replace my collection, though the entire collection would be several hundred dollars. So I'm going to present this list as if these comics would be no where to be replaced if they really burned up in a fire, you know, up the stacks a little. These are really issues that have a place somewhere in the corner of my heart and about six of them came to me the second I stopped to make the list. Here goes. 
 

10. Amazing Spider-Man #361 (The first appearance of Carnage) 
  I can't really say I love this issue, it doesn't have the greatest story and it's not something you might rip through long boxes at a comic store looking for. But its really my first real back issue. It was the first comic I went digging through a box at my LCS specifically looking for. The issue has the first appearance of Carnage, some wonderful art by Mark Bagley and caught my interest at a young age.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Sonic the Hedgehog #114 

Over the course of this blog you'll realize how little street cred I really have, so why not start with my #9, a Sonic the Hedgehog comic. Remember the first time I read this comic was after my first day of high school back in 2002, for reasons I myself don't understand either. The issue covers the return Mammoth Mogul and some other little tidbits, but it isn't really the issue itself that I'd be digging through my long boxes for, but the cover. Yeah, another secret about me, I love Star Wars and if there are comic covers giving homage to Star Wars in someway, I'm in. You've got Sonic & Tails, Sally, an epic looking Knuckles and our villain Mammoth all falling into place on the cover and it still stands out to me as one of my favorite comic covers. 
 
 
 
 
8. Ultimate X-Men #75 (First Appearance of Ultimate Cable) 

I was a freshmen in college when I read this issue, I had been working my way through the trades of Ultimate X-Men and running to the LCS to grab whatever issues I could off the stands and when I saw the advertisement for this issue I nearly died from excitement. Cable in the Ultimate Universe and there was promises that he would be shaking the book up (a promise I've heard time and time again anytime Marvel or DC wants to get people jumping onto a book). I will admit that at the time I wasn't loving Ben Oliver's art in the issue, but the story had me and that was all the mattered.  
The story picks up not long after the X-Men have found themselves ripped apart by a new recruit, Magician, who turned out to be a little more than he seemed, and Nightcrawler, who had jumping ship and kidnapping team members. Jean Grey is face the possibility that she may be The Phoenix and Rouge has recently had her powers re-emerge. Then a time-traveler, Cable, comes bursting in trying to kill Professor X. Single-handedly takes out the entire team and it all comes down to a face-off between Cable and Wolverine in which we discover that Cable is actually Logan from the future, sans his powers. I was shocked. I was intrigued. I wanted to know what happened Logan over the next 30 years. How did he lose his powers? Why does he have a mech arm? What did Professor X do that caused all of this? 
    


7. (Tie) Super Sonic Vs. Hyper Knuckles #1 & Sonic & Knuckles Mecha Madness Special #1
I chose to mark these two as a tie because they fill the same niche in my comic history. The basic idea of both of these issues is a story I'd always wanted to see when I was playing Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles knocking the crap out of each other.  
Super Sonic Vs. Hyper Knuckles was a piece of Sonic mythos I always had some active interest in as a kid, "What would happen if both Sonic and Knuckles reached their 'Super' forms?" The story is pretty shallow by standards today, but I read X-Force and Fables now. Sonic discovers that Knuckles has been poking around in the Acorn Kingdom and goes to investigate. After a short fight they stumble upon a gateway into the Unknown Zone (The Action Zones seen in the Sonic Games), where rings and Chaos Emeralds are up for the taking. Both characters snag 50 rings and seven Chaos Emeralds and a clash of titans begins. After a long fight the two smash into each other and rip a hole back to their home world and they go back to their lives. Nothing too special now a days I guess, but it was this whole new world for back then.  
Oh, and in the back-up story we got the origin of Knuckles, so I was happy as a clam with this issue. 
Mecha Madness fits into the actual continuity of the series, after Dr. Robotnik has captured Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog #39, he turns him into Mecha Sonic and uses him to destroy Knothole Village and everything seems bleak for our heroes. Luckily Knuckles shows up and tries to stop Mecha Sonic, but even he isn't strong enough, so they Rebels have to use a device to turn Knuckles into Mecha Knuckles to even the playing field. After a long fight, Knuckles is able to free Sonic from his transformation, but not before most of Knothole Village is ravaged. Another classic comic in my opinion.   
 
6. Ultimate Spider-Man #133 

This was the last issue of Ultimate Spider-Man before the line relaunched, it was a silent issue and possibly my favorite of the series, if not evident from the review I gave it, here's a few lines of my review:
"Peter Parker is dead. As far as anything is concerned, Parker is dead. There is a white flash at the beginning of the issue, Parker is gone. (I bet Loeb undoes this at the end of Ultimatum) The issue, in all it's silent glory, revolves around Spider-Woman trying to help as many people as possible in New York. She runs into Kitty, there is a very funny moment there and the life saving continues. In the last few pages, they find what's left of Spider-Man's mask, there are tears as Kitty presents it to Mary Jane and Aunt May. The issue ends and we get an interview with Bendis about the series as a whole.
The art is fantastic. People of less artistic realization would say the writing was poor, but doing an issue without words is even harder to write than one with words. So, the team jumped the hurtle of words and did it with flying colors."  
 I really, really like this issue and if I can only have ten comics, this is one of them.  
 
5. New Mutants Vol. 3 #6
 
So, in terms of comics, I'm fairly new to the X-Men universe. Yeah, I've seen the films and the cartoons, but it wasn't until about a year ago that I really got pulled into the X-Men's rich history thanks to The Uncanny X-Cast. New Mutants #6 was my favorite issue of 2009 without a doubt. The issue revolves around the return of Doug Ramsey (aka Cypher) who has been dead since the early 90's and has the power to understand all languages, a "quiet power" at best. He's back from the grave thanks to the events of Necrosha and at the time was under the control of Selene. 
Now, when I say  Doug can understand languages the first thing that comes to mind is that he can switch between Spanish and Wookie with no problem, but his power has evolved way past that to the point where he can read body language, making him a formidable opponent against his old teammates. The jury is still out on whether he can understand women. I have to give a lot of credit to Zeb Wells who wrote the issue on his delivery of Doug and his thoughts in this issue for why this ranks so highly in my mind, because in the opening Doug is watching the New Mutants and Professor X reunite for the first time in years as a group and Doug is reading everyone in the room as to how their words are contradicted by their body language. Doug also this thinking in binary due to this exposer to the Transmode Virus and it makes him seem like more of a machine than a man for the most part. 
The issue ends with the cliffhanger and in my opinion the series has just recently hit the high marks it did with issue. But it goes without saying that if you thought a power like omni-lingualism was silly, this might change your opinion. 
 
4. Green Lantern Vol. 4 #43
 
The attentive reader might notice that I just said that New Mutants #6 was my favorite issue of 2009 and yet I am ranking this issue higher on my list. To those people I say don't ask questions. It was the cover of this book that caught my eye, the manager of my LCS had been pushing me to read Green Lantern for a few months at that point and something sinister drew me on with this book. Now, to say I loved this issue may making me a horrible person, because the entire issue revolves around the origins of Black Hand, an old school Green Lantern villain getting a very dark update, and the first time we see him in this issue he's laying in a grave with three corpses. Maybe I'm wrong for falling in love with a character who finds the dead more beautiful than the living, who killed & stuffed the family dog for taxidermy practice and who walks into his family's home & vaporizes all of them before killing himself. But I loved all of it for the layers it added to the Green Lantern mythos. In the end, Black Hand becomes the Black Incarnate of the Black Lanterns and the catalyst for Blackest Night. There isn't really much more I can say about the issue, no doubt it's dark, but I loved it. 
 
3. Civil War : The Confession
 
If Civil War was the event that changed the Marvel Universe, then this issue was the one that I think best set the bar for the stories that could be told in the post-Civil War universe. It's a talking issue, there is no explosions, no good vs. bad, just two old friends ripped apart by the war of super heroes and the reaction of Tony Stark to Steve Rogers' death. 
This is what I would call the second part of a three part story from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. I'm referring to the one-shots, New Avengers: Illuminati (Road to Civil War), Civil War: The Confession & Secret Invasion: Dark Reign.
You can tell from this issue that Bendis did have plans for Secret Invasion (not to say that he was lying about having plans). There are many references to how "the mighty will fall" like Stark does at the of Secret Invasion. But it also works for the purpose that I loved it for when it first came out, the motives of Tony Stark.
He confesses to being a futurist, that he saw what the world would become. That he saw the citizens of world that rely on super heroes to protect them and how one day they'd take them for granted. And once Nick Fury presented the documentation for what we would one day know as the Registration Act, he knew it would take just one slip up from a super human to bring everything down. He confesses that he knew who would fall on what side and that this war that was coming wasn't going to be over good guys vs. bad guys. He knew he'd have to take a stand and be the leader for that people he saw would be portrayed as the "bad guys". And once it started, he confessed that he and Steve would never be teammates, friends or allies again. And after all of that, he confesses, to Steve Rogers' dead body, "It wasn't worth it."
The brilliant part of this issue is that we then turn the pages back two days and see what might be Tony and Steve's last conversation. Tony is the dickish victor. Steve insists that just because he's sitting in a jail cell doesn't mean he lost. Tony insists that if Steve actually understood the kinds of things Tony's armor could do, Steve might have won the war. And after all that, Cap asks Tony if it was really worth it, which Tony brushes off and walks away from.     
All of the weight of Civil War, all the context and relevancy was right here. I come back to this issue from time to time when I'm searching through my long boxes and every time I get a kick out of this issue. 
 
2. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man # 1

I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man and will be indebted to Brian Michael Bendis for the rest of my days for his work on Ultimate Spider-Man. When the story ended in Ultimate Spider-Man #133 we were left to believe that Peter Parker was dead and in the closing pages of Ultimatum, we discovered he had in fact survived the slaughter of the Ultimate Universe. So here we are with a chance for a fresh new world for Peter Parker and once again, Bendis delivered. This issue is exactly what I, as an Ultimate Spider-Man fan, have been waiting for. I really don't want to give away the two big reveals, but it set the series to live up to it's quota, bring us Spider-Man stories we'd get no where else. 
Peter, now without the Bugle to employ him, is working at a McParody called Burger Frog and the job is, as anything in customer service would be, very very annoy and rough. But I loved it, the scene rings true to anyone who has even had an annoying customer would has no idea what the heck they're doing and a boss who could care less about their side of the story. 
We find ourselves in a New York City six months after the Ultimatum and finally the city is "open for business" again, echoing the world after 9/11 in many ways. All from the prospective of Mary Jane as the school's internet reporter. We get a look into the crime world as a small store gets ran into by car. The driver and his assistant get out of the car and try attempt to rob the place, only to get stopped by the new hero in town who fight crime wrapped in a crimson trench coat and with their face in shadows (it's Kitty Pryde). Spider-Man shows up after the fight dies down and the cops show up. Best part: The cops are honored to meet Spider-Man and want to shake his hand, a much different relationship that even Peter hasn't gotten used to. 
This is the point when the issue takes a turn I really loved, Peter Parker is dating Gwen Stacy! Finally, I get my Spider-Man they way I've dreamed of since learning of the character and her death in Marvel 616. It's all kind of left up in the air was to what has happened  to all the characters we knew and loved in the last 6 months, but I was along for the ride. I think I read this issue 8 times the day I got it, finding something knew I loved every time. 
  
1. Sonic The Hedgehog #42 

And now we've come full circle, I've covered some of my favorite issues of all time that sit in my collection, and yet we come back to Sonic The Hedgehog. This was the second comic book I'd ever owned and it still is my absolute favorite comic I own. The cover draws me, the opening with Sonic fighting Knuckles, the almost black-ops style story that follows that gave me all the context to what this series was about and would continue to be about until about issue 50, a war against Dr. Robotnik. I'm not even 100% sure how to sum up what I liked so much about the issue, because it all just clicks with me. I loved the video games, I saw the comic, I read the comic. There is no doubt that when I have kids some day, I'll want to buy the digests of the series and hopefully they'll want to read them, or maybe I just will. 
It's tattered now, sitting bagged and boarded in my long box, but if there is ever a fire, this is the first thing I'm grabbing. 
 
Thanks.
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Posted by jstarzyk

The Confession was a great issue.  It was included in the Civil War: Iron Man TPB and I liked it so much that I ended up buying it and getting it signed by Bendis and Maleev!