It’s probably safe to say Marvel has put out some reasonably good comics over the last 60 years. It’s probably also safe to say that it’s put out some of the greatest and most beloved comic stories of all time. We asked you, the readers, to give us your favorites, and here’s some of what you told us. Please note: this list is by no means in order or exhaustive! So to see more of io9 readers’ favorites, check out our Facebook page for more—or weigh in yourself.
The Dark Phoenix Saga
The story that put the X-Men on the map, writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne’s Dark Phoenix saga is justly held as one of the greatest comic stories of all time. After Jean Grey is hit with a solar flare and rechristens herself as Phoenix, the power corrupts her, forcing the X-Men to battle their nearly omnipotent teammate to disastrous consequences.
Doug Brown: It’s got everything, and it still packs a punch when I read it now. Any story that introduces Emma Frost, Dazzler, Kitty Pryde, and Dark Phoenix is hard to beat. Also, John Byrne’s art is still amazing to behold.
Michael F. Copado: For many of us kids at the time, it was the first time our heroes died.
Alex Ross gave Marvel the Kingdom Come treatment with this wild, dystopian view of the future of the Marvel universe. Captain America quits the Avengers after killing the Red Skull. Reed Richards replaces Doctor Doom as ruler of Latveria. The Avengers die in battle. And then things get bad.
Garrett Landon Clark: Earth X is pretty darn good. The way they wove in lore from 50 years of Marvel history, and found ways to reinvent and reimagine these characters.
Greg Minjoot: Earth X, hands down. It reads like a Marvel version of Stephen King’s The Stand.
House of M
When Scarlet Witch’s power to rewrite reality grows, so does her mental stability, and she’s manipulated to create a new world where Magneto rules and the human population has become mutants. As Marvel’s heroes slowly realize what’s happened, tragedy piles on tragedy until a distraught Wanda utters one of the most iconic lines in all of superhero comics: “No more mutants.”
Nelvin Chand: House of M! Would love to see it adapted, but I have a feeling MCU is already doing it with nods in Wandavision and in Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Jose Dos Santos: The House of M storyline is my favorite. The character development of some of our favorite heroes in this alternate world really highlights some of the struggles they have, and the repercussions of the ending can still be felt in storylines today.
X-Men: Magneto Testament
Greg Pak writes the definitive origin of Magneto by focusing solely on his childhood in 1930s Germany. When the Nazis force him and his Jewish family into the Porajmos concentration camp, the young Max Eisenhardt begins to realize the cruelty of humanity... and his own powers.
Ethan Wagstaff: X-Men: Magneto Testament 1-5 (2008) was absolutely badass. It was an amazing story and after it was over they added in information about what happened in the real world during that time period.
The creation of the Superhero Registration Act—a law that forces heroes to reveal their secret identities and work solely for the government—divides the Marvel universe. Tony Stark, wanting accountability, supports the act, while Captain America, who knows that the government can’t always be trusted to do what’s right, forms a secret resistance group. When the two groups come to blows, nobody wins.
Tate Austin: The relationship between Reed Richards, scientist, and Tony Stark, engineer, and their conversations about ethics yield some of Marvel’s all-time best writing.
Jonathan Hickman’s Marvel Saga
Before he was busy fundamentally overhauling the X-Men with a host of writers and artists to establish the golden Krakoan Age for Marvel’s Merry Mutants, Jonathan Hickman basically re-wrote the entire goddamn universe in a legendary run across a series of main titles, each delicately laying the piece to culminate in Secret Wars, the line-wide reshuffling of the entire Marvel Multiverse. From the seeds sown as early as six years prior in Fantastic Four, to the machinations of the secretive Illuminati in New Avengers, Hickman’s tenure as a Marvel writer is lauded for good reason.
Rishi Joe Sanu: Jonathan Hickman’s big interconnected story which starts with Fantastic Four and FF in 2009, runs through SHIELD, Avengers, New Avengers, Ultimates, and ends with 2015's Secret Wars. It’s by far the largest and the most ambitious crossover story that either DC or Marvel has done to date. It reads more like a science fiction novel than a classic comic book.
Frank Miller’s Daredevil
If there’s a single reason the character of Daredevil got a TV series, look no further than Frank Miller’s widely acclaimed work on the series in the ‘80s. He brought ninjas into the mix, as well as the hero’s doomed love affair with Elektra—and most of all, he perfected the dark, tragic ton that has defined the character ever since.
James Corsiato: Frank Miller’s original run on Daredevil. Took a trash B-list character and made him world-class.
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