9. Daredevil and Spider-Man "Devil's Deliverance" from Daredevil #8 (Marvel, 1998)
by Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, and Jimmy Palmiotti
This was how I got into Daredevil. I hadn't liked the first couple Daredevil issues I'd picked up as a young child and thus never really collected them. But in 1998, I was interested in Marvel's "Marvel Knights" line, and brought all 4 new titles. Inhumans remains one of the best comics I've ever read. Black Panther was great. And the Punisher series is infamous for turning him into an angel, but I enjoyed it well enough at the time. Probably haven't gone back to it in 20 years, though.
This is also how I got into Kevin Smith. Not long after reading this I'd see Chasing Amy and Mallrats and finally Clerks, which remains one of my favorite comedy films ever. I've since taken every opportunity to see Kevin Smith talk live, probably a couple dozen times by now.
This story is a loving homage to Frank Miller's work on Daredevil, specifically the "Born Again" series, which I had not read at the time, so did not appreciate. I've come to love that series (hint hint) and it's complicated the question of how to appreciate this homage series in my mind. In "Born Again", Kingpin tore at Daredevil's life, trying to take away hope. In this, a MYSTERIOus villain attempts to claw at Daredevil's faith.
The story is mostly wrapped up in 7 issues. The villain stands revealed and dead. But Daredevil is left to deal with the insanity of just how many people, including Karen Page, died for seemingly no reason.
In need of a friend, Spider-Man is there. As Daredevil struggles to make sense of it all, blaming himself and all superheroes for their failings and these mad vendettas they end up entangled with, Spider-Man provides him the needed perspective to restore balance: "You saved that baby girl's life."
I'm not a fan of his take on Batman but I've seen his Daredevil praised several times, I think I really need to try it out.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
9. Spider-Man/Red Sonja, "Sword of the She-Devil!", Marvel Team-Up #79 (Marvel, 1979)
As much as I enjoy team-up books, I do have to acknowledge the complaints made by some of the other posters: the stories are often inconsequential, the characterization is often off, one character is overshadowed, etc. However, despite all of that, I have to admit that I am a sucker for the oddball team-up: ateam-up between two character who shouldn't be teaming up at all, like Batman and Scalphunter (and, yeas, that is an actual team-up from TB&TB). If I see one of these, I just have to check it out, even if only to find out how they justify the crossover.
Often the justifications feel contrived and gimmicky, but it is possible to do this kind of team-up well. And my #9 pick is probably the finest example I've encountered. It shows that you can do this kind of story and have it feel natural (within the confines of comic book reality, of course ).
The story itself is simple enough. The proper confluence of mystic events allows the spirit of ancient sorcerer Kulan Gath to escape from the necklace where it is trapped, and possess a nightwatchman at the museum. Gath starts preparing a magical ritual to regain his full power. Peter Parker and reporter Charley Snow are called away from the Daily Bugle Christmas party to cover the strange goings on at the museum. MJ decides to tag along. At the museum, Peter sneaks inside to change into Spidey and find out what is going on. MJ thinks is trying to get a scoop and follows him inside. Once inside, a corroded sword in a display case reaches out to MJ's mind, compelling her to pick it up. When she does, MJ is transformed into a double of Red Sonja, and believes herself to be Sonja. Sonja and Spidey team-up to battle Kulan Gath, despite not being able to speak a common language (a nice touch). Eventually, Kulan Gath is defeated, and Spidey rips the necklace off his neck, causing his form to revert to that of the guard. With Gath banished, everything reverts to normal, and Sonja turns back to MJ, leaving MJ with no memory of what happened.
The credits list Claremont and Byrne as co-plotters, and Claremont as scripter. I wonder how much input Byrne actually had into the plot, as it feels very Claremont to me. Especially telling is that Claremont would later do a sequel to this story in Uncanny X-Men where Kulan gath returns and transforms Manhattan into a Hyperborean Age city.
The art is John Byrne at his finest, long before he disappeared up his own self-importance. It actually makes me wish he had down more work on Red Sonja, as he does a gorgeous version of the She-Devil with a Sword; seeming to channel Frank Thorne without actually imitating him.
So the odball team-up done right earns my #9 slot.
Just added this as my pick for the Day 5 thread and reading yours again made me remember something I forgot to mention: yes, Byrne does an excellent job of using Frank Thorne's version of Red Sonja's face without departing from his own style. It's really Byrne's art that makes this a memorable comic book to me.
Deadman usually gets some kinda minor involvement in a lot of massive DC crossover events. And once again bad guys do bad things and a buncha heroes need to band together to save the day in the "Silver Age" event.
In this one shot the JLA have been accused of going bad and Deadman investigates and discovers villains have swapped bodies with the good guys to wreck havoc. Things are getting hot on the planet Rann, so starting with Adam Strange Deadman assembles a team of 6 other heroes to get zapped into outer space and stop them bad dudes. They are not successful, so this leads to the final chapter of this story in the SILVER AGE 80 PAGE GIANT #1 where Deadman helps save the day.
This isn't a great comic, but this mix of heroes is so intentionally funky & the art is solid so I found this to be a memorable fun romp.
Post by Reptisaurus! on Dec 18, 2019 2:53:55 GMT -5
4. Superman/Martian Manhunter/Supergirl/Spectre DC Comics Presents 27-29 (The Key that Unlocked Chaos!/Warworld!/Where No Superman Has Gone Before!) Dc Comics, Nov. 1980-Jan 1981
Sooo this is pretty damned good kosmic komics anyway, from Jim Starlin and Len Wein who are no strangers to bigger than life comics epics. We got a whole planet being tricked out as a weapon (shades of the Death Star!) A villain strong enough to challenge Superman physically and smart enough to use him as a pawn earlier on in the story by imprisoning Lois, Jimmy and etc. (in a Cosmic Cube, basically!) some mind-bending theophilosophical musings about where we go when we die and Superman humanized forced to face the limits of his Pre-Crisis powers.
But what really sells me on this ish is not the art but the cartooning, which is frequently... kind of hilarious?
Here we have Superman and Supergirl trying to figure out the best, desperate plan to defeat a weaponized planet hell bent on their destruction and then you have... Mongul, our bad guy du jour wearing his space hat with the goofiest look on his face.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I love that panel so much.
Basically: I think that the true master craftsmen of comics can trust that the serious side of their stories WORKS, and that their mood is not destroyed by some goofity-arsed humor, even sight gags at the expense of the Big Bad. The first fight between the Spectre and the Anti-Matter Man in the Silver Age JLA is my favorite example of this... But this panel right here is my # 2. Look at his angry, squishy little face! Lookit it! Bravo!
Post by Paste Pot Paul on Dec 20, 2019 3:43:31 GMT -5
9. PPTSS 9 and 10 Spider-Man and the White Tiger
Marvel Comics 1976
Mantlo and Sal Buscema
To be honest I have no recollection of the story, but I loved these as a kid. Amazing was around 200 issues, I could never collect all of that, but a dozen or so of PPTSS, that was doable(I never did). Tiger had appeared in a few of the Kung Fu magazines I would occasionally see at school, handed around like Playboys would be a few years later, and I thought his outfit was the shizzle. It also had the advantage on me of being by MY Spider artist, THE Mr Sal Buscema. My Spidey, Hulk, and Captain America artist (well 13 or 14 year old me hadnt "discovered" Kirby yet).
It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.