77. 98 points - Thor (Jurgens)
#1 - #79 plus a couple of annuals
In 1998 following the end of the Heroes Reborn storyline, Thor was returned to Earth and given a new series, just like most of the other heroes. Dan Jurgens, fresh off his run on Superman that we saw earlier, was chosen to write the series with John Romita Jr. providing the art for most of the first 25 issues before being replaced by various other artists.
The series saw Thor battling with the Dark Gods, beings banished many years ago by the Asgardians to the furthest reaches of the universe, as well as Thor bonding with a new human host named Jake Olsen. The Dark Gods pretended to be the Asgardians in an attempt to start a war with the Olympians, but Thor and Hercules discovered the truth and lead the battle against them. He also added Thor-Girl to the series, an alien girl with cosmic powers that Thor takes in as a sidekick, which was not exactly a high point. However, he also had Thor fight Gladiator, who is basically Superman, so that was cool.
Eventually Odin died, and Thor was separated from Olsen. Thor at first was hesitant, but eventually took over for his father and led to the most controversial decision of Jurgens' run. Upon gaining Odin's power and role as the leader of the Asgardians, Thor decided it was a good idea to move Asgard to Earth, so he did and belief and worship of the Asgardian gods became one of the most popular religions around. Thor felt this was a great thing, and the Avengers did not. So the Avengers tried to reason with Thor, but instead he kicked their asses. This led to mankind turning on the gods and bringing Asgard to rubble. Thor was less than pleased, so he took over the world and ruled it with an iron fist for 200 years. Eventually he realized that he was basically a super villain, so he traveled back in time and rebonded with Olsen to make sure he didn't lose touch with his humanity and turn into a villain. While some people found this story to be really entertaining, others felt it was wildly out of character, even considering the crazy power levels he reached and the fact they might screw with his brain.
Jurgens left the book after this, and the final arc saw Ragnarok (the death of the gods) come and end the series. With the Asgardians dead, Avengers Disassembled and other stories took place before the character was brought back to life by JMS.
76. 98 points - Young Justice (PAD)
#1 - #55
As much love as this series gets on here, I'm kind of shocked it didn't get some first place votes and that it's not a bit higher.
Anyways, this write-up is brought to us once again by Allen. Take it away!
With most of the Teen Titans no longer being, well, teens, DC put forth a new team centered on three of the most well-known teen heroes in the DCU (Superboy, Impulse, and Robin). First coming together in the Girlfrenzy event during the one-shot Young Justice: The Secret, they were given their own ongoing series written by Peter David and mostly drawn by Todd Nauck.
At the beginning of the ongoing, the team is joined by the android Red Tornado, who acts as a sort of surrogate parent for the team, Wonder Girl, A new Arrowette (the daughter of the original, attempting to embarrass her mother), and Secret, a ghost of unknown origin. The team was led by Robin, who, like his mentor, was intent on keeping his identity secret and never revealed it to his teammates until late in the series. Arrowette would eventually quit her superhero career and the team after the death of her friend and her almost killing the attacker (though she would remain friends with Wonder Girl and a recurring character in the book). Eventually, the team would also add Empress, the daughter of a government agent working against Young Justice and a de-aged Lobo.
The team really came into its own during the Sins of Youth event, wherein adult heroes were de-aged, and teenaged heroes became adults. Due to the event, the teenaged heroes matured and gained the respect of their adult peers, as well as the public at large. Wonder Girl becomes more confident, and begins to assume more of a leadership role throughout the rest of the series, including eventually becoming official leader. However, the events of Our Worlds At War almost destroyed the team, as they crash landed on Apokalips coming under heavy fire. The team's distrust of Robin comes to the surface, causing him to quit along with a shell-shocked Impulse. Eventually the team comes together under Wonder Girl's leadership, with Robin as the tactical leader.
The final story revolved around Secret, her origins and her nascent dark nature, as she became Darkseid's apprentice and turned against Young Justice for refusing to free her father from prison for killing her brother (the one who killed Secret when human and made her what she was). She is ultimately given her mortality back, while Lobo is shot into the distant future and spends the rest of his days consciously imprisoned in a statue in the headquarters of Young Justice in the 853rd century. Arrowette comes to terms with her mother, Empress is left to take care of her own deceased parents reborn into infants, and Wonder Girl and Superboy come to terms with their romantic feelings for each other.
DC decided to kill the book, in order to relaunch the Teen Titans written by Geoff Johns. During Graduation Day, after Donna Troy and Lilith are seemingly killed, and Empress seriously injured, Wonder Girl dissolves Young Justice and a new team with Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire, along with Robin, Impulse Wonder Girl, and Superboy forms.
Throughout the series, Peter David gave us a light-hearted fun series with great characterization, particularly in Secret. It was a comic that did not take itself too seriously and had no pretensions other than delivering enjoyable stories, accompanied by Todd Nauck's clean pencils.
75. 101 points - New Warriors (Nicieza)
#1 - #53
In 1989 in his run on Thor, Tom DeFalco created the New Warriors, a team of teenage heroes who were not sidekicks, but rather full fledged heroes of their own. Most of them were characters that previously existed in other books, with the exception of Night Thrasher who was the leader and founder of the team.
The next year writer Fabian Nicieza was given an ongoing title for the characters along with artist Mark Bagley. The initial team consists of Night Thrasher, Nova, Speedball, Namorita, Firestar, and Marvel Boy (later to be better known as Justice). The team later adds members Silhouette and Darkhawk, along with meeting up and teaming up with other teen heroes like Turbo, Rage, Cloak, and Dagger among others.
Over the course of the run, the characters mature, develop relationships with each other and deal with serious issues like drug abuse and murder. In one storyline Marvel Boy is confronted by his abusive father and in fighting back accidentally kills him. He is found guilty of negligent homicide and goes to jail for his crimes, where he spends much of the rest of the run.
The series would continue on for another 20 or so issues after Nicieza left the book, and the characters would continue to play big roles in the Marvel U over the years, including Speedball leading a new group of New Warriors (including some originals) into a mess that kicks off Civil War, Nova becoming one of the biggest heroes in the universe, and the reunion of Nova and Namorita is his solo series (which we will see later on).
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