41. 228 points - Teen Titans (Johns)
#0 - #45 minus a couple of fill ins
Also a couple of minis and one shots
No one thought this was the best book of all time, and yet it got a ton of points, which means it was on a lot of lists. This book is way, way, way too high. I swear, people must have had lists with nothing but Johns books. And I say this as a fan of Johns most of the time.
Geoff Johns took over the Teen Titans following the end of The Titans (which followed most of the New Teen Titans members) and Young Justice (which we saw earlier). The book saw the two teams have various members combined into a single team. The series struggled to find a voice and copied many classic New Teen Titans arcs, bringing back various enemies.
Probably the most well liked arc dealt with the team returning from the future where they teamed up with the Legion of Super Heroes. They accidentally come back 10 years or so in the future to a world where many of them have become villains and the world is in a dystopian state. The arc saw Robin become Batman, and having killed the Joker, he led the heroes in taking over the world. Many of the older heroes had died due to some massive event near the present, and their job in taking over was mostly only fought against by fellow younger heroes who had also replaced their older counterparts. The arc was fun, exciting, had some fun action scenes, and played up the fears of the various characters that they would become something they would grow to hate.
Other than that, it just wasn't that notable a run. Impulse got shot in the knee by Deathstroke and became Kid Flash, some other stuff happened, but honestly this book is way too high and I'm not going to waste my time looking it back up. Too many other books to write.
40. 233 points - Captain America (Brubaker) - 13 first place votes
#1 - present
Thirteen people think this is the best book ever written. From this point on every book will have first place votes.
In comics history, there are a few characters that are considered impossible to bring back to life. Bruce Wayne's parents, Peter Parker's uncle Ben, and Bucky Barnes were on that list. If you wanted to use those characters they had to be clones or it had to be a time travel story. The characters were too important to the history of other heroes to bring back to life and readers didn't want to see it happen either.
Then Bru brought Bucky back to life in a storyline that worked and both critics and fans loved. If someone had told me that he was going to do that 10 years ago, I would have first said. "who the hell is Ed Brubaker?" and then said, "there is no way that won't be terrible." and I think just about everyone would have agreed about the second part. Ed did this by creating a character called the Winter Soldier. This storyline really is the driving force of the entire run up until now. When the rocket that Bucky and Cap tried to stop exploded it was always seen that Cap fell to the water below and was frozen, and assumed that Bucky died. While dealing with various threats, Cap sees a guy that looks just like Bucky, though a few years older. Looking into it, he finds out the guy is called the Winter Soldier and is a killer for the Russian government. Eventually Cap finds out that the Winter Soldier was Bucky. After the explosion, Bucky was frozen like Cap, though he was near death. Revived in Moscow, he has amnesia and is given a new robotic arm to replace the one he lost in the explosion. Bucky is then kept in cryogenic stasis between missions, the Winter Soldier is used for various black ops missions over the years and the stasis is why he hasn't aged much, but the missions are why he has aged somewhat. In present day of the story, he kills Jack Monroe (Nomad) and apparently kills the Red Skull (though as usual it's part of a larger plot to destroy Captain America).
During the first part of his run, Bru sees Cap try to help his friend, eventually using a Cosmic Cube to return Bucky's memories. After feeling incredible guilt over his actions, Bucky teleports away. Later he helps Nick Fury bust Cap out of jail during the Civil War event. Then Cap gets killed. Bucky reluctantly takes on the title of Captain America in issue #34 and has remained Cap ever since, even after the return of Steve Rogers in the Captain America: Reborn miniseries. Currently Bucky is on trial for the actions of the Winter Soldier.
Brubaker's story since the death of Captain America in #25 has been more or less an ensemble book. Beyond Bucky-Cap, he's also had the Falcon, Sharon Carter, and the Black Widow playing big roles in just about every story arc. He also used many classic Cap villains like the psychotic 50's Captain America, Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Dr. Faustus, Crossbones, and the Skull's daughter Sin among others. All are presented as real threats to the heroes. During the series the Red Skull has seemingly been killed for good with his daughter becoming the new Red Skull and playing a big role in the current storyline.
39. 241 points Spider-Man (DeMatteis) - 14 first place votes
I couldn't find a full listing of all the issues he wrote on the various books. Lo siento.
Fourteen people thought this was the best run of all time! And based solely on one particular story, it's hard to say those people are totally off base, even if you disagree. There's certainly a case to be made. The other books he did were also pretty great.
DeMatteis and his Captain America collaborator Mike Zeck (as seen on the list) came back together to tell one of the most famous Spider-Man stories of all time, Kraven's Last Hunt. That story took place in all three of the Spider-Man books that were being published at the time. The story saw Kraven hatch a scheme to prove he's better than Spider-Man. After a battle with him, Kraven shoots Spider-Man, buries him, takes his costume, and spends two weeks fighting crime as Spider-Man. His main goal during this time is to defeat Vermin, a villain DeMatteis created during his Cap run and that Spidey needed help to defeat. Kraven is able to catch Vermin and gives him a viscous beating. Spider-Man eventually recovers from what turned out to be a tranquilizer rather than a bullet, and digs himself out of the grave. Spidey then confronts Kraven, who refuses to fight back. Instead he simply says he's better than Spidey and sets Vermin free. Vermin thinks Spidey is who beat him, so he attacks him and after beating Peter he escapes. Spidey then goes after him, while Kraven heads into his home, reminisces on his past, and then kills himself with a shotgun. Spidey eventually defeats Vermin and heads home to his family that hadn't seen him in weeks.
Eventually DeMatteis was given the main job writing the ongoing Spectacular Spider-Man and then eventually moved over to Amazing Spider-Man. During this run he brought back Harry Osborne as the Green Goblin and saw him devolve into madness, took part in the Maximum Carnage crossover event, wrote some of the stories leading to the early part of the Clone Saga dealing with characters like Kaine, and the apparent death of Aunt May (which should have stuck, at least one of the 3987 times it's happened).
No other arc reached the heights of Kraven's Last Hunt, but honestly few stories by anyone on any book have reached those heights.
That's it for this week. We should be ending the whole list next Friday, at least in theory. We'll also see the OPC, and a new feature called the LITS. What does that mean? Keep reading and you'll find out.