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Top 10 Greatest Marvel Storylines Ever Written

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Shane O'Gorman They’re marvelous for a reason. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will be counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest marvel storylines ever. For this list, we looked at both standalone stories and overarching plotlines in marvel comics that we felt to be the most memorable, due to either their epic scale or powerful dramatic weight. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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They’re marvelous for a reason. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will be counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest marvel storylines ever.

For this list, we looked at both standalone stories and overarching plotlines in marvel comics that we felt to be the most memorable, due to either their epic scale or powerful dramatic weight.

#10: “Demon in a Bottle” (1979)

Just because Tony Stark is a genius, billionaire, philanthropist and has dozens of wicked metal armor suits he can wear, doesn’t mean he is totally impervious to real-world problems. Case in point: alcoholism. Written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, this much more mature take on the character focused on his addiction to alcohol and how he comes to completely rely on it in order to cope with the many struggles and frustrations in his life. The story takes several dark turns, uncommon for ‘Iron Man’ comics up to that point, showing the impact that Tony’s drinking has on him, as well as the consequences it brings to those around him.

#9: “The Winter Soldier” (2005-06)

When the mysterious Winter Soldier appears on the scene, Cap does his superhero thing to bring him down, but upon further investigation…the true identity of his foe is revealed and it is quite the shocker. The Winter Soldier turns out to be Bucky Barnes, Cap’s comrade from World War 2, who was frozen in time and had been enhanced (not to mention brainwashed) by members of Hydra. Cap knows he must be stopped, but considering that it is someone that he was once very close to, it makes matters more than difficult for our star-spangled protagonist. No spoilers for how it ends, all we’ll say is that Ed Brubaker’s storytelling ability is out of this world.

#8: “God Loves, Man Kills” (1982)

William Stryker, a vocal mutant hater, claims that ‘mutants are an abomination in the eyes of god’. He hates them so much that he decides to kidnap Professor X, hook him up to a makeshift Cerebro and manipulate his psychic abilities to effectively murder all the world’s mutants – and it’s up to Magneto and the X-Men to stop him. This shocking scheme ties in with the latter half of the story’s title, showing how cruel humanity can be to one another, simply based on fear and prejudice. The X-Men series has always been concerned with themes of equality and segregation, but X-Men legend Chris Claremont’s magnum opus hits the nail on the head harder than ever before.

#7: “Original Sin” (2014)

The all-knowing being known as ‘The Watcher’ has been murdered. In response to his death, Nick Fury and other Marvel superheroes band together to investigate why he was killed in the first place. The story’s strength lies in its excellent pacing and consistently escalating sense of mystery. If you ever wanted to read a ‘who dunnit?’ piece of fiction in the same vein as crime thrillers but with the flair of a Marvel superhero tale, then look no further than Jason Aaron’s brilliant run. We won’t spoil it, but you probably won’t see the big reveal coming. Unless you did see it coming, in which case you might be a ‘Watcher.’

#6: “Days of Future Past” (1981)

Those X-people can’t catch a break, can they? In the future, mutants have been officially wiped out by a legion of vicious hunter-killer robots known as Sentinels. That’s right, mutants are on the verge of being extinct. The X-Men are going to be caput. The end…. Or, maybe not! In order to ensure their survival and undo the wrongs committed to them, Shadowcat volunteers to travel back in time and warn the X-Men of the past of their possible future, so that they can prevent these horrendous events from ever happening. It’s a thrilling concept to combine the X-Men and time travel, and Claremont once again delivers a page-turning narrative.

#5: “Ultimate Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility” (2000-01)

We know Spidey’s origin story by now. Radioactive spider, Uncle Ben kicks the bucket, stuff about responsibility etc. The ‘Ultimate’ run of the classic superhero keeps the fundamentals intact, however, it considerably spices up the formula to make it more interesting for modern day readers. Peter acquiring his powers is far more than just a freak accident, as it gets him tied up in a huge conspiracy involving Oscorp, who have been performing other zany scientific experiments. Furthermore, the character development, dialogue and down to earth issues makes this interpretation of the web slinger more relatable and compelling than he’s ever been. With great writing, comes great entertainment and Brian Michael Bendis’ retelling has great writing in spades; give it a spin.

#4: “The Dark Phoenix Saga” (1976-77; 1980)

After a mission in outer space, the X-Men return home, but not all is well with Jean Grey. During the mission, she was exposed to deadly radiation from a solar flare, a force which helps unleash her hidden potential as both a telepath and telekinetic, endowing her with such fierce power that she becomes known as ‘the Phoenix’. These new abilities seem helpful to her comrades at first, but things take a dark turn very quickly. The Hellfire club twists Jean’s mind, turning her near omnipotent strength against the X-Men. In a storyline that spans across earth and the far reaches of space, packed with action and tragedy.

#3: “Kraven’s Last Hunt” (1987)

This one takes the relatively goofy character of Kraven the Hunter to new, and incredibly dark places. In J. M. DeMatteis brilliant story, Kraven hunts down the ol’d webhead and seemingly shoots him dead before burying him six feet under. Kraven then dons the black Spidey costume, all while the real Spider-Man digs himself out of his grave. The storyline really ventures deep into the psychology of Spider-Man and what makes him who he is. It’s more than just the costume. It’s not the great power, but the responsibility that defines Spider-Man.

#2: “Old Man Logan” (2008)

Far in a dystopian future, nearly all of the Marvel superheroes have fallen at the hands of the supervillains. Wolverine is still tickin’ thanks to his mutant healing factor, but that’s not to say he hasn’t seen better days.
The Wolverine depicted here is old, grizzled and vulnerable; which in turn makes him less patient and more violent than ever before. The arc as a whole is extremely unpleasant and arguably grittier than anything Marvel has done prior, with plenty of mature themes and a great abundance of blood and gore. Managing to breath new life into a decades old character, writer Mark Millar proved you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions…

“Annihilation” (2005-07)

“The Infinity Gauntlet” (1991)

“The Death of Captain America” (2007-08)

#1: “Born Again” (1986)

Even a ‘man without fear’ can be broken down. When Kingpin discovers that Daredevil’s alter ego is Matt Murdoch, he immediately places all of his efforts into guaranteeing that the blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen’s life becomes an absolute nightmare. First the Kingpin destroys his law firm, freezes his bank accounts and ruins his reputation, just before proceeding to beat Murdoch within an inch of his life. For the first time, Daredevil, a character without fear is depicted as being terrified of his enemy. This however, makes his struggle and return all the more triumphant, showing that even a superhero can be beaten, but get back up no matter the obstacle ahead.
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