Saturday, March 29, 2014

Who's the Best... "Epic" Storyline?


Doug: Yesterday we discussed the Korvac Saga; how does it stack up? Multi-part crossovers, single title multi-issue storylines, and mini-series -- where resides your favorite "epic" in all of comicdom (feel free to break into periods beyond the Bronze Age)?



21 comments:

Colin Jones said...

The Hellfire Club/Dark Phoenix saga was terrific but it was spoiled later on when Jean Grey's dramatic death was explained away as not really being her. The whole thing seemed pointless after that - like being cheated.

Edo Bosnar said...

Although I agree with Colin about subsequent events kind of spoiling it, I would still give my vote to the Hellfire/Dark Phoenix saga. That was "my" first big epic storyline, one I was reading as it was coming out, and - having reread it a few years back - I can say it still holds up well.

Probably a close second for me would be Panther's Rage, which I think was pretty epic, followed closely by Starlin's Warlock (to me his whole run, encompassing both the Magus and Thanos story arc, reads like a single epic story).

Stephen said...

The Great Darkness Saga - Legion of Super-Heroes

William said...

When it comes to epic storylines you really can't beat the "Dark Phoenix Saga", which to me is still the gold standard by which all other epics are judged. The art and the writing were nothing short of awesome, and the story continued to build to a climactic finale that, unlike a lot of other comicbook sagas, did not disappoint.

The later revelation that the Dark Phoenix wasn't actually the real Jean Grey does diminish the impact of the events somewhat now, but at the time, it was the comicbook equivalent of a Shakespearian tragedy.

Pat Henry said...

I thought DC's Crisis on Infinite Earth was a great epic at the time, and you understood they intended consequences with it, so that made it important.

They didn't handle it at all well afterward, and they wrecked a lot of cool stuff doing it. And they set a marker for bad future knock-offs. But at the time epic, yes.

Fred W. Hill said...

I'll go with the Warlock/Magus/Thanos storyline -- great art & story! But the Dark Phoenix story is great too, regardless of Jean Grey being brought back a few years later (well, isn't a Phoenix supposed to come back from the ashes?). Other contenders for me are the Headsmen/Nebulon tale in The Defenders; Born Again in Daredevil; the first Thanos tale in Captain Marvel; the first extended Hercules/Thor story during the Kirby era; that long Dormammu/Baron Mordo Ditko tale in Dr. Strange; and Moench & Gulacy's grand 10-issue finale in Master of Kung Fu. I've also got to mention Walt Simonson's run on Thor -- even during the period when Sal Buscema took over on art, his entire run had a great epic feel, which makes it one of my great favorites from the late Bronze Age.

david_b said...

There's a lot of days/columns that go by and I surmise that I'm **not** a big of comic fan/collector as most contributors here. My main thrust was the early Bronze, and since then primarily focused on Silver Age Marvel and some noteable series of interest in the late '70s/80s. So by virtue of that description, I'm by no means familiar with most of the awe-inspiring epics that'll be regailed here.

Also, never much of a X-Men fan, so I'll take everyone's word the Dark Phoenix saga was the gold standard (no, I don't have an interest in reading the tpb..)

Soooo, as I pontificate here, I share Colin's lament about being cheated by managerial 'take-backs'.., especially when Gwen came back, but it also made saga's like yesterday's post on Korvac just bit trite, especially after a cosmic-climatic cliffhanger of killing all the heroes, then they all come back to life, and it's like nothing happened. Yes, trite is a good adjective.

I agree it's hard to have a good objective view of comics that employed such storylines after 30-40yrs of repeated tactics, trying to remember it was indeed the "first time" it had been done. You really have to remind yourself how it actually made you feel when you read it, rather than the strength of later 'repeat readings', although I see both aspects are being weighed here.

For me, the Bronze epics were the Avengers-Defenders Clash, the chapters of MarVell and Avengers I read with Thanos, the Secret Empire, and even the mini-epic 2-part Gwen/Gobby demise in ASM.

I dunno, can you call the 'Death of Captain Marvel' an epic..? Sure feels like it, even though it's only one graphic novel.

I find myself really enjoying the Silver Age Thor/FF epics (like with Galactus, Mangog..), even Cap and the Sleepers far more than the Bronze epics, even though I'm buying them all nearly 50yrs laster. To me, primarily for the majestic art (aided greatly by those full-page Kirby spash pages), those stories had far more grandeur than what came in the Bronze.

Anonymous said...

The Clone Saga! OK, OK, I was kidding, put down the knives. (Actually, there were some not bad stories in the Clone Saga, but the overall idea (and result) was garbage as far as I'm concerned.)

Seriously though, I remember loving the Judas Contract when it first came out, and I think it holds up.

Mike W.

david_b said...

Mike W, good call on Judas, was trying to come up with a DC epic but couldn't. I did like the Trigon 'epic' in the first issues of the new Baxter format, but NTT took such a nosedive afterwards.

Tony said...

I don't know how "epic" it was but I always thought that "Camelot 3000" was a great storyline.

Doug said...

I think I would agree with the posit that the Dark Phoenix Saga may be the overall best epic. There have of course been many, many others. I'd hoped, like David, for some of our DC fans to give us some insight into these sorts of stories from the Distinguished Competition. For example, one of the things I've heard about the Trial of the Flash storyline is that it became overly long. Any verification out there, or love for other DC stories?

Doug

Anonymous said...

The Clone Saga!?! Bwaahahaha. Mike W, you slay me........

I think Colin has hit the nail on the head when we start looking back on some of our favorite epics.

If I was going to start throwing out favorite epics, I would go with the Dark Phoenix saga, especially the Hellfire Club episode when Wolverine fights his way up from the sewer and the Moon finale, when Jean dresses in her classic green and yellow (!?!) costume.

Elektra story arc wrapping up with her death at the hands of Bullseye.

Kraven's Last Hunt, Ultron Unlimited and the twelve part Avengers Forever.

All in their time, great stories.

But then, like Colin mentions, they, the PTB, had to muck things up. To quote Proverbs Chapter 26, as a dog returns to its vomit... They had to bring Elektra back, which cheapened her death, same with Kraven, etc etc etc.

Crisis on Infinite Earths lasted how long? Wasn't the whole universe destroyed except for Dr Strange and three others? And then reset....

I choose to ignore some of these resets or remining. Some, I was gone from comics before they happened.

The Prowler (reeling in the years and stowing away the time).

PS Two quick notes, Scarlett Johansson mentioned on ET that she is in talks for a Black Widow movie/franchise and SAVE THE DATE, all you Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fans, the gang takes over National Geographic Channel on April 1st for a 3 hour block of lampooning the channels programs. Be there........

William said...

Wait a minute people. I think we've all overlooked a little epic saga called "Secret Wars", and it's far superior sequel "Secret Wars 2" (great title). Talk about drama, excitement, and a storyline that can't be equaled. What is wrong with us?

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, on the topic of DC epics, I'd agree with Stephen about the Great Darkness Saga. It was nothing if not epic, as you and Karen should know, since you reviewed it previously.
Also, two New Teen Titans story arcs come to mind: the first six issues, which loosely form a single, rather epic, story, and the cosmic storyline from issues 23-25 and Annual #1.

Anonymous said...

A lot of great "epics" mentioned here, and my favorite would probably be Starlin's Warlock saga.
But one I always really loved was the "Who Remembers Scorpio" mini-epic from the Defenders.
David Anthony Kraft, Keith Giffen, and Klaus Janson!
Funny, tragic, and action-packed!
Moonknight takes on a raging Incredible Hulk!
Well, no, actually Moonknight runs
like hell away from a raging Incredible Hulk.
Can ya blame 'im?

Anonymous said...

I'll go with the crowd and say the Dark Phoenix saga was truly epic but like Colin said they really muddled its legacy by saying it wasn't Jean Grey at all. I felt like someone had pulled a really bad Bobby Ewing Dallas type hoax on the readers - 'wait she isn't dead after all?!'.

I know in comics no one ever truly dies (well except Gwen Stacy but even she was resurrected as a clone!) but I felt cheated when they revealed this subsequent plotline. That was the beginning of the end of my X-men fetish.

Like Fred, I was also a fan of Walt Simonson's epic run on Thor climaxing in the Surtur storyline. He revolutionized how our favourite Thunder God was depicted in many ways.


- Mike 'what sayest thou?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Since others have already mentioned the Dark Phoenix saga--which is NOT diminished by subsequent stories, since I never read those ;)--my choice would be the Frank Miller-Klaus Janson Elektra saga from Daredevil.

Redartz said...

Can't add much to everyone's comments here; many truly great stories listed already. I do have one to add, though- the "Galactus Trilogy" from Fantastic Four 48-50. Dating from 1965, this might qualify as the first "epic" story arc in comics...

Anonymous said...

Redartz has a point.

William Preston said...

Since someone mention early Thor: The run with Jack Kirby when space-faring Thor meets the Recorder and the Rigelians and Ego . . . again, that's one of those epics that doesn't see itself or sell itself as an epic, but becomes an extended narrative arc that's unbeatable. They tried to recapture that lightning when they sent Thor into space again in the '70s, again with the Recorder, and he encountered the rock men from his first adventure. That, too, was a wonderful, "epic" arc.

No love for Spidey's time-travel wanderings in MTU? More modest in scope, but such a hoot.

Garett said...

Hey Edo, yes that story with Starfire's sister from Teen Titans 23-25 + Annual 1 was a great one, and super Perez art.

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