47, 197 points - Alias (Bendis)
#1 - #28
Brian Bendis is one of the most important writers at Marvel right now, a guy that basically drives the universe with his work on the AVengers titles and his involvement with writing many of the top events of the last few years. However, 10 years ago he was an indy crime writer best known for books like Torso, Jinx, Sam and Twitch, and Powers (which we saw earlier on the list) who had just started writing a new Spider-Man series that rebooted continuity (as seen earlier on the list). However 2001 saw him take over Daredevil (which we'll see later on), work on more Ultimate books, and launch a book under the MAX imprint titled Alias, which would run for 28 issues before ending in 2004. In fact, it would be the first book under the MAX imprint.
Unlike other MAX books featuring Marvel U characters like the Punisher, this series was fully in the Marvel U rather than on the fringes. The opening arc saw Scott Lang, Rick Jones, Carol Danvers, Captain America, and Matt Murdoch play roles in the story. Even Spider-Man made one small cameo. However, the fact it was a MAX book limited how much Bendis could use some characters. In fact, the limitations were mentioned by Bendis as being one of the reasons he ended the book and moved the characters over to The Pulse, which was set in the main Marvel U and printed by regular Marvel, meaning less cursing and nudity and whatnot.
The series followed a private detective named Jessica Jones, a former costumed hero. The origins of her powers and why she quit being a hero were the subject of the final arc of the series, though smaller details pop up periodically throughout the series, such as her connection to the villain known as the Purple Man and her relationship with Luke Cage. Eventually it's revealed that she was a hero that was captured and kept prisoner by the Purple Man under the thrall of his mind control powers for eight months as he mentally and physically abused her and made her a witness to many horrific acts he committed. Eventually he sent her to kill Daredevil, but she instead ended up fighting the Avengers and after attacking the Scarlet Witch, the mind control powers wore off and she tried to run away, only to be caught by Vision and Iron Man, who beat her so bad she slipped into a coma that lasted for eight months. Upon waking, she decided it wasn't worth being a hero as no one noticed she was gone and she was still traumatized by the events with the Purple Man. She would go out as a hero one more time, saving some kids and meeting Luke Cage for the first time, and then move on to her PI work. Over the course of the series Jessica would come to trust Luke and others again, while also eventually getting revenge on the Purple Man and helping get him captured by Daredevil. At the end of the series Jessica reveals she is pregnant and enters into a serious relationship with the kid's father, Luke Cage.
The character of Jessica Jones has continued to play a big role in the books by Brian Bendis, first in The Pulse, which continued the stories from Alias and followed some of the people that work for a section of The Daily Bugle focused on superheroes that Jessica becomes a consultant for. After that, Luke Cage's role in the Avengers has led to her playing a part there, including having the baby. She's recently decided to return to being a hero on the team along with her husband.
46. 201 points - Legion of Superheroes 5 Year Gap (Giffen) - 4 first place votes
#1 - #38
Four people thought this was the best book of all time. There is one more run of this book that will show up on this list and Giffen had a role in that one as well. But we'll get to that later on.
In 1989, the Legion got a relaunch that kicked off five years after the big events at the end of the Levitz run, starting with the United Planets in a dark time and the Legion no longer around. The series saw the return of the Legion, though not a new Legion as we'd see many times in the other relaunches on this list. Several changes from the previous series were seen, such as the Earth had been conquered by the Dominators and Mon-El was the inspiration for the Legion instead of Superboy. The reason for the latter change was the Byrne reboot of Superman removing his history with the Legion from continuity. Many other retcons ended up happening as the run went along, causing many of the issues that led to the team needing a massive reboot in the Zero Hour event, such as the introduction of a parallel reality version of the team that resembled the Adventure Comics era team and was put in a separate title called Legionnaires. Eventually the Earth was destroyed, the Time Trapper replaced by his former assistant, and many other big changes to the status quo of the Legion.
Giffen would leave the book following the destruction of the Earth, and the book would run until #61, before being canceled in favor of the post-Zero Hour relaunch by Waid that we saw earlier. Giffen would return to the Legion as artist or writer various times over the years for various issues and one shots.
45. 203 points - Spectre (Ostrander/Mandrake) - 12 first place votes
#1 - #62, and #0
Twelve people thought this was the best comic ever written. What I've read of it certainly made me a fan of the character. The series was written by John Ostrander with art by Tom Mandrake.
Ostrander's interest in theology would play a huge role in this book, as the Spectre's history and role in the universe since the dawn of time was explored in depth. One of the big things was revising the origin of the Spectre as a fallen angel who helped Lucifer in his rebellion against God, but later repented and served as the Spectre for the rest of time as penance for his actions. He also added the idea that the Spectre wasn't the first to serve this role, as the villain Eclipso served the role before him. Eclipso was responsible for the Flood that destroyed the majority of the Earth, while the Spectre was in charge of the deaths of the first born in Egypt. The two of them had battled many times over the centuries, and many times in the book, but were never able to totally defeat one another. The art by Mandrake was very moody and conveyed the themes of the series very well handling the smaller character moments as well as the big action pieces and battles. He excelled at showing gruesome punishments for offenders in particular, in my opinion.
Another addition to the book is the need for the Spectre's human host, Jim Corrigan, to not only punish the wicked but to understand the nature of evil. Also, Corrigan and the Spectre often come into conflict, with Corrigan needed to reign in the Spectre's views of proper punishment. Early in the series his questions about the nature of evil are played up by Eclipso, leading to the Spectre trying to destroy the Earth before Corrigan, along with the Phantom Stranger and other magic characters, is able to show him the error of his judgment.
The series saw the Spectre deal with many morally ambiguous situations, such as the destruction of the home nation of Count Vertigo which had been embroiled in civil war, ethnic cleansing, and mindless bloodshed forever. The decision was made that the country was corrupt to the core and saw everyone that lived there, except two people, killed. Another situation involved an old lady on her death bed being killed for a crime she committed much earlier in life. The Spectre also threatened to kill the entire state of New York if an innocent man on death row is put to death, holding them all accountable for the incorrect decision by the jury at the trial. As a result of this threat, the man isn't freed but his sentence is changed to life in prison.
The end of the series saw Corrigan's soul finally able to move on to the afterlife, and finding peace, his time as the host of the Spectre over. Following the series the Spectre was without a host, which always leads to bad things. The solution eventually was the bonding with Hal Jordan. Currently with Hal back among the living, Detective Crispus Allen of Gotham Central fame (seen earlier on the list) is the host of the Spectre.
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