Thursday, November 10, 2011

How About Your Favorite Multi-Parter?

Doug: Two weeks ago we asked you for your favorite done-in-one tale. Today we're back for your recommendations on the best continued or multi-issue story. For the sake of defining that, let's say that it has to be a yarn that stretched over at least three books (I'll say books in case it's a more modern story that ran between different titles). You can choose any era, any company as long as the story was somewhat long. As we said last time, tell us what you like and why you like it, and if you have a runner-up then let us know why we, too, should be reading it. Thanks as always!


Redartz said...

This is a tougher question than rating the single issue stories! Done-in-ones are rare now, and haven't been common in decades. So many great multi-parters to choose from, but here's a couple favorites:

Avengers/Defenders clash- a fun summer's worth of great battles; Thor vs. Hulk, Captain America vs. Namor, etc. It acuallly reminds me a bit of the early JLA/JSA stories, starting with the chapter titles featuring each character's unique logo.

Amazing Spiderman 249-251, featuring the Hobgoblin- This was a good, dramatic storyline early in Hobby's career. Also featured some interesting scenes with the Kingpin, and fine artwork courtesy of John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Ron Frenz and Dan Green.

The Groovy Agent said...

The one that hooked me, of course, was the Kree-Skrull War. Since then classics like the Phoenix Saga, Project Pegasus, Celestial Madonna, Avengers/Defenders War, Panther's Rage, and Manhunter have made me swoon. But my all-time fave, the one I can read over and over again?

Starlin's Warlock/Magus saga. Can't beat 'em in my eyes.

Ric said...

Oh man! I was all ready to say the Avengers/Defenders Clash (Defenders 10 was one of my earliest Marvels)... or maybe Panther's Rage... but then the Groove-ster had to go and remind me of the Warlock/Magus saga...

Okay, I'll say those three are a tie. I just loved the Avengers/Defenders clash, especially when I'd accumulated all the parts a few years after publication. The Cap/Subby chapter looked great (Bob Brown never looked better, IMO), and I was already on the Hulk and Sal Buscema bandwagon by that time! Plus, the story had an "epic" feel to it. And I loved how the Chapters continued sequentially through the serial. Oh, and I loved loved loved the use of the character's logos in each chapter (always loved that!).

But, when you talk about an "epic" you can't do better than Warlock. The story was terrific... I loved the "part 1, Chapter 2", "part 2, Chapter 3" stuff... made me feel like I was reading a novel. The story was an exploration into outer space and into inner space (Warlock's mind). Wow, very cosmic for a young teenager.

And Panther's Rage was just a phenomenal oddysey of triumph and tribulation!

Okay, those are tied at the top. Honorable Mention for the JLA/JSA/7 Soldiers team-up, and the first 12 issues of Micronauts.

Sorry I'm so long winded! How can you just pick ONE??


Anonymous said...

Just to get these out of the way:

Avengers / Defenders was a superb cross-over. I remember that cross-overs up to then seemed very manufactured and for-the-sake-of-it (like Superman/SpiderMan), but Avengers/Defenders seemed to grow organically out of existing plotlines and characters and old scores were settled.

Kree/Skrull & Korvac & Serpent Crown. Yum. Come to Daddy.

Dark Phoenix & Project Pegasus were definitely written as multi-parters, but I’m not sure I’d put the Celestial Madonna in there. Englehart’s entire Avengers run kind of all joins together with that as a centrepiece. If it’s a multiparter, it’s a 20 issue multi-partner from the introduction of Mantis.

I remember quite fondly that run of MTU where Spidey travels through time, but wasn’t really a multi.

OK, now for my selections:

Thanos Saga – I don’t mean Warlock so much as Starlin’s little trail that preceded it in Iron Man, Marvel Presents, Captain Marvel and anywhere else Starlin could shoe-horn it in. I liked that a lot. Made it feel like something was really going on behind the scenes, esp. when the Controller, Blood Brothers and others turned out to be Thanos’ henchmen.

Thor – that Ragnarok saga where the film crew goes to Asgard, the ‘real’ Thor appears, Balder gets killed and all the End of Days prophecies start coming true. Absolute corker.

Surely FF 48-50 has to be on everyone’s list?

Does Miller’s DD Electra run count as one?

Gerber’s Defenders run is pretty much continuous, but the Nebulon/Headmen stretch was excellent. Yes, I know...Scorpio. But Gerber was better.

Shang Chi – Bretnor IS Mordillo!

And, just to make everyone dig deep.....Nick Fury vs Hydra in his first run in Strange Tales. Brainosaur must succeed!


Dougie said...

Strictly Bronze Age? Then the LSH in Earthwar, definitely; the Avengers/Super-Villain Team-Up crossover (Doom and Attuma);and the Powerstone/Ultra-Humanite/Infinity Inc. story in All-Star Squadron in the dying days of the Bronze Age

Dougie said...

Oh, The MOKF Magnum Opus! Derrr! How could I forget that? The best Hammer/Bond movie there never was.

david_b said...

Yes, folks, the Avengers-Defenders saga for me...!! It was the summer I entered the MU and never looked back. From a sales standpoint, it sure worked for me. I started collecting nearly all the individual series of each hero, including Spidey and FF of course.

Arguably in second place for me was the Cap-Falc 'Secret Empire' storyline.. Kept me on the edge of my seat for MONTHS. Steve Englehart brought SO much depth to this book, with Sal's excellent art.

Lemnoc said...

ASM 89-90. Those battle scenes with Doc Ock were never more finely drawn and exciting. Parker tries something new and clever in combat. Succeeds; pays a huge and fatal penalty.

Archetypal classic.

Chris said...

One of my favourite multi-part stories is Amazing Spider-man “The Gwen Stacy clone/ Jackel” saga from #144 - #149. One of my first exposures to Spidey comics and I just loved it in the day and still enjoy re-reading. Ross Andru’s Spidey is my Spidey!

My favourite Avengers story – the takeover of the mansion by Baron Zemo. Part of a classic run by Roger Stern (my favourite Avengers scribe).

But top of the list sticking to Bronze Age will be the Dark Phoenix saga. The one by which all others are judged.

Rick J. said...

So many good stories to choose from, where do you start?
I'll try to hit on some that haven't been mentioned yet.
1. The Proteus saga in X-Men 125-128.
2. Avengers 160-162 (the Grim Reaper/Ultron loosely connected 3 part story. Perez's art never looked so good).
3. New Teen Titans 23-25 and Annual #1 - Starfire/Blackfire/Omega Men saga.
4: Defenders 47-50 (Scorpio saga).
5: Fantastic Four 204-214 - long multi-parter as the FF age due to the Skrulls sentencing, the Sphinx/Galactus duel and the intro of Terrax.
6: The Legion of Super-Heroes 290-294: The Great Darkness Saga (as reviewed here earlier).
7: Star Wars 18-23 - more as a joy when reading as a young pre-teen. Archie Goodwin could always spin a good tale. Couldn't get enough of Star Wars back in the late 70's.

Karen said...

There are so many, but I'll try to narrow it down.

1) Kree/Skrull War. You all know how I feel about this one. My first real comics saga and still my favorite.

2) Captain America Secret Empire: absolutely love it. I had to stop reading Pierre Comtois' Marvel in the 70s book when he stated that Captain America had no good stories after Stan Lee left the title! How could he disregard this saga? (He also said much the same about Avengers after Roy Thomas left.)

3)Dark Phoenix: I felt thunderstruck at the end of issue 137.

4)Legion of Super-Heroes/ Earthwar: Always preferred this to the Great Darkness saga. Outer space and super-heroes are always good!

5)Captain Marvel -Thanos Cosmic Cube: A great against-all-odds sort of story with tons of guest stars and great art.

6)Warlock/Magus: Really tripped me out when I first read it. Took me a few years to actually 'get it'. Warlock's suicide has stuck with me -"My life has been a failure. I welcome its end." Heavy.

7)Avengers Celestial Madonna/Origin of the Vision: Englehart ably picks up on threads left by Thomas and gives us a story that tells us the history of the universe.

8)Project Pegasus: just plain fun.

I'll stop there!


dbutler16 said...

Nice list, Rick J! I think I agree with Redartz in that this is probably more difficult than listing the done in ones. Basically, I have no idea what my all time favorite multi-parters are. Some that come to mind are:

Korvac Saga (Avengers)
Bride of Ultron (Avengers)
Avengers Under Siege (The Avengers #273-277)
Kree-Skrull War (Avengers)
Proteus Saga (X-Men)
Hellfire Club story (X-Men #130s)
Dark Phoenix (X-Men)
Great Darkness Saga (Legion of Super-Heroes)
Earthwar (Legion of Super-Heroes)
Universo Project (Legion of Super-Heroes)

If I had to choose just one, I'd probably go with the Great Darkness Saga. I loved the buildup which started several issues before the saga really started, this is back when Giffen could REALLY draw, and to me, the ending lived up to the hype.

Also, I haven't read my Fantastic Fours and Teen Titans in ages, and am in the process of doing that, so maybe in a few months I'll have something else to add to this list. I did read New Teen Titans 23-25 and Annual #1 which Rick J. mentioned, and it is indeed excellent.

Doug said...

Two books with pretty darn good stories that blew me away on the format alone were The Dark Knight Returns and Marvels. A square-bound comic that looked like the old Giant-Size, but with no ads?! And Ross's painting -- wow...

Thanks for all of the suggestions, everyone -- I can say that for the stories cited that I've read, I would not disagree with any of the nominations so far.


Inkstained Wretch said...

This is as tough of a call for me as for anyone else.

A few favorites:

The Squadron Supreme 12-issue mini-series (does a mini-series count?). A great tale of superhero hubris, a story I think is on a level with Watchmen, even if I disgree with some of its premises.

The New Teen Titans #13-15, a great, belated wrap-up of the original Doom Patrol storyline.

Booster Gold #1-4, a great kick-off to a great concept. Later issues never quite lived up to the potential, alas.

Grimjack #35-39. Our hero dies and them comes back for vengeance. Hardcore stuff.

Justice League of America #207-9 and All-Star Squadron #14-15. The last great JLA/JSA crossover.

Redartz said...

Had to come back with one more! It seems the Avengers are well represented here, so what's one more entry: Avengers 129-133 and Giant-Size Avengers 1 and 2. Kang, Kang and more Kang (not to mention the death of the Swordsman, an appearance by the Frankenstein monster, and Cold War politics as espoused by Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo...

Redartz said...

Sorry, make that Giant Avengers 2 and 3!

Fred W. Hill said...

So many great ones to pick from, especially if you include the Silver Age as well as the Bronze Age and beyond. Sentimentally, the first that really awed me as a kid in the early '70s was Starlin's original Thanos epic in Captain Marvel. The Magus story in Warlock was even better but simply for that first impression I'll give the nod to C.M.
A few other favorites, just off the top of my head, Kirby & Lee's Thor/Hercules/Pluto & FF/Dr. Doom/Silver Surfer sagas; Ditko & Lee's Spider-Man/Master Planner and Dr. Strange/Dormammu/Eternity stories; the Kree-Skrull War, natch; The Defenders/Headmen/ Nubulon fracas; and Moench & Gulacy's final epic Master of Kung Fu/Fu Manchu story. So many more, but I'll stick with those extra picks.

Fred W. Hill said...

I loved that Kang/Legion of the Livind Dead story too, Redartz. I read those original regular-sized Avengers comics when I was a kid, but I had to wait until I was in my 20s before I was able to get those Giant-Size issues and get the complete tale, with the Swordsman's death and seeing how Iron Man and the Vision came back from death and near death.

Ram said...

I know most are not bronze age, but anyway:
- Batman #404-407: Year One
- X-men #141-142: Days of Future Past (coolest name ever name)
- Excalibur #42-50 Alan Davis great build up, perfect character development, beautiful art it ends with Rachel Summers' death or disappearance. My favorite.
- Thor #350-353 Surtur Saga
- Spider-man #226-227 with Black Cat
- Spider-man #229-230 against Juggernaut.
- Aquaman #1-25, It's a weird choice but Peter David did a great job holding a story for so long.

Doug said...

Speaking of the "Year One" format, I have for the most part enjoyed DC's forays into these retcons.

Any love out there for JLA: The Nail or for Superboy's Legion?

Speaking of the Legion, the Legion Lost storyline was pretty good, as far as more modern comics go.


Lemnoc said...

Loved Colan's early run on Doctor Strange (v2), from #11 to #18 or thereabouts-- the whole Eternity/Sorcerer Supreme arc that felt all of one piece. Fairly adult themes and packed with mystic arcana.

Anthony said...

I like a lot of the choices mentioned here so far but I may be in the minority when I express a fondness for The Eternals /Celestial Saga in The Mighty Thor
( 283-300 )
I also liked the Dark Rider story in
MTU 41-44.

The Lassiter said...

FF 257-264 Galactus, heralds, Dr Doom and the trial of Reed Richards.

It was a wild ride!

Rip Jagger said...

The Fourth World material by Jack Kirby at DC qualifies in my book. While individual stories didn't necessarily extend, the broader epic did and did so magnificently. The story spanned eleven issues of New Gods, eleven issues of Forever People, and sixteen issues of Mister Miracle, not including some issues of Jimmy Olsen. This is a sprawling storyline.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

This is really tough, because you're basically asking about a favorite story arc - so the discussion could go on forever. Pretty much everyone mentioned some great stories; I'd say at the time (i.e. late '70s/early '80s) my favorites were the Proteus story followed by the Hellfire/Dark Phoenix saga in X-men, FF #204-214 - the now misleadingly titled "In Search of Galactus" story, Project Pegasus, and the Doom Patrol/Brotherhood of Evil story from New Teen Titans #13-15.
And I'll just add one that nobody but me ever mentions in this kind of discussion, just because it slips under everybody's radar and will probably never get color reprint treatment: the Black Widow's amnesia story from Marvel Team-up #82-85.

dbutler16 said...

I should probably have added a couple of those JLA/JAS crossovers to my list.

Anonymous said...

There’s something very interesting on this thread: where we talk Avengers, the same arcs come up over & over again, likewise X men, likewise Captain Marvel, likewise Warlock etc, but actually Thor has the best showing because four of us picked him but all for different storylines. I picked the Ragnarok saga from the 270s, Fred went for the Hercules/Pluto plot, RAM went for the Surtur Saga, Anthony went for the Celestials.

Now how often does that happen?


Doug said...

Richard --

Tales of Asgard?


Anonymous said...

That's just shameless bandwaggoning on your part, mate.

William said...

Dang! I've been so busy with work, I missed getting in on this discussion when it was fresh.

For me you can't go wrong with the "Dark Phoenix Saga". I also loved John Byrne's version of the "Galactus Trilogy" when he was on the FF. But my favorite "multi-parter" (3 issues or more) is probably the "The Avengers: Super Count Nefaria" story by Jim Shooter and John Byrne.

Gee, I just realized all of these have Byrne artwork. What can I say? I like the guys art.

Steven R. Stahl said...

The Serpent Crown storyline from AVENGERS #141-#144, #147-#149.


William said...

Doug and Karen, now you have to do "Favorite Two-Part Story". I have a bunch of those I could discuss.

Doug said...

William --

Great idea! Ask and ye shall receive. You have until the weekend of the 26th to think up your nominations -- Open Forum on favorite 2-parters will be coming your way!



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