In getting the greatest comic book issues of all time, we had to look at many comic books. There are so many great comics with an exceptional storyline and fantastic art. Still, most of these comics make complete sense when you read the whole series, here we have examined single comic issues that are great, with or without the remainder of their series. These comic issues are enjoyable and with a complete storyline.
Here are our ten greatest comic book issues of all time.
10. All-Star Superman #10 – “Neverending”
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely wrote and designed “Neverending”. DC Comics published it on the 26th of March 2008.
The whole of “Neverending” took place within the space of 24 hours, and it was a remarkable day. It was the last day of Superman’s life. The day started with Superman taking a bunch of sick kids to see ancient Egypt and returns them to their hospital. He built a new universe, Earth Q. Then, he helps the people of Kandor relocate to Mars. Also, on that day, he fought the Mechano-Man to save Lois Lane and prevented a train wreck. He comforted a suicidal teenage girl and stopped her from killing herself. He also left his DNA codes, hoping the ingenious Lex Luthor will be able to make another Superman. Then, the day ended with Superman writing his will in the fortress of solitude. Superman did all these on his last day.
9. The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #33 – “The Final Chapter”
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko wrote and designed “The Final Chapter”. Marvel Comics published it in February 1966.
“The Final Chapter” portrays Spider-Man in a mental state where he blames himself for everything that has gone wrong in his life. This blaming included the death of his uncle Ben, who an armed robber killed since he did not stop the criminal when he had the chance, his hospitalized aunt May, who the blood transfusion that he gave her had poisoned.
The comic begins with Spider-Man trapped in what looks like the basement of a lab with bad guys who appeared to have surrounded him while he was trying to get a serum to save his aunt’s life. He escaped the tons of iron trapping him and fought his way to the hospital, where he delivered the serum to his aunt’s doctors. To raise money for May’s hospital bill, Spider-Man took pictures of the scene he just left and sold it to Jonah Jameson. The comic closes with the news of May’s recovery, and the reader could feel Peter Parker’s guilt relief.
8. Watchmen #4 – “Watchmaker”
Alan Moore and Dave Gibson wrote “The Watchmaker”, published in December 1986. Chapter IV of the Watchmen comic series depicts how a young Jon Osterman’s father encouraged him to become a scientist. He heeded his father’s advice, became a scientist, and was employed in a research laboratory where he found his girlfriend.
At a party, Jon’s girlfriend, Janey, spoilt her watch. Jon helps fix the watch, but to retrieve the watch from his lab, Jon was locked in. Unfortunately, an experiment automatically kicks off. The experiment disintegrated Jon, who everyone presumed to be dead.
About a month later, Jon began to reassemble himself. Now that he was whole, he has superhuman abilities. The United States government recruited him and named Dr. Manhattan. This comic proved to be the origin story of Dr. Manhattan.
7. The X-Men #137 – “The Fate of the Phoenix”
Chris Claremont and John Byrne wrote and designed “The Fate of the Phoenix”. Marvel Comics then published it in September 1980.
This comic issue depicts a now normal Jean Grey after the Phoenix (an immensely powerful cosmic force) had previously possessed her body. While being the Phoenix, Jean Grey had previously wiped out a whole race in the galaxy. The council of the galaxy’s representatives must decide the punishment for Jean Grey’s actions while she was the Phoenix.
Proposed by Professor Xavier, the council agreed on a duel of honor between the X-Men and the Imperial Guard. The duel started on the moon, and the X-Men were on the losing end. Then the Phoenix appeared, repossessing Jean again. Now, both the Guards and the X-Men directed all their efforts at stopping her. Jean’s mind took over for a fleeting time, and she begged for her fellow X-Men to kill her. Jean then committed suicide, and the Phoenix died with her.
6. The Spectacular Spider-Man #200 – “Best of Enemies”
JM Dematteis and Sal Buscema wrote and designed “Best of Enemies”, then published by Marvel Comics in May 1993.
The Green Goblin (who Harry Osborn became after he thought his father had passed away) had snatched Mary Jane (Peter Parker’s wife) from the street. He took her to the bridge where his father killed Peter’s former girlfriend (Gwen Stacy). Presuming that her death was looming, Mary Jane asks Harry why he had brought her to the bridge. He then promised her that he would never kill her.
Back home, Spider-Man saw his wife with the Goblin and attacks him, trying to defend his wife. Mary stopped him and asked both to iron out their differences, which the Goblin refuses. In a plot to kill Spider-Man, Harry constructed a building he claims was to honor his father.
On the night he wanted to launch it, Harry lured Spider-Man to fight him on the roof then tried to destroy the building. Then, Harry saved Mary Jane and his son from the ruins of the building. Mary begged him to also save her husband. He did so at the cost of his life, leaving Spider-Man to mourn the loss of his former best friend.
5. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Vol 1 #1
Frank Miller and Klaus Janson wrote and designed “The Dark Knight Returns”. DC Comics published it on the 25th of June 1986.
“The Dark Knight Returns” depict the return of Batman from ten years of retirement. He took the break after the death of the second Robin (Jason Todd). The heavy rise in crime in Gotham City forced him back from retirement.
The now fifty-five-year-old superhero must face a group of teenage mutants, a rejuvenated Joker, and two-face. Although old, Batman lured the leader of the teen mutants to a duel, which he won by picking a venue that leveled the playing ground for him. He also defeated the Joker, who revealed that plastic surgery had cured two-face of his deformity and that he is now a handsome Harvey Dent.
4. Fantastic Four Vol 1 #50 – “The Startling Saga of the Silver Surfer”
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Joe Sinnott wrote and designed “The Startling Saga of the Silver Surfer”, which Marvel Comics published in May 1966. This comic issue depicts Galactus, who had previously invaded earth, and the earth’s heroes trying to stop him from decimating the planet.
The event took a new form when witnesses saw the Silver Surfer, who used to work for Galactus, trying to stop his master. His action bought the Fantastic Four enough time to steal a weapon powerful enough to stop Galactus. After he acquired the weapon, the leader of the Fantastic Four, Reed, threatens Galactus with it. He asked him to leave earth alone. Galactus obliged, and as a punishment for his rebellious protege, Galactus made it so that the Silver Surfer will never be able to leave earth again.
3. Wonder Woman Vol 5 #4 – Wonder Woman Year One: Part 2
Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott wrote and designed Wonder Woman Year One’s part two, which DC Comics published on the 10th of August 2016. This comic issue follows the event after a human plane crashed on Themyscira, home of the Amazons. They nursed back to health only survivor, Steve Trevor, but the Amazons contemplated what they should do with him.
Queen Hippolyta and the Council decided to use a contest to find the strongest Amazon. The winner will return Steve Trevor to the human world and stay there as an emissary of peace to protect humanity. Queen Hippolyta’s daughter, Princess Diana, won the tournament, and the queen charged her with the duty. Armed with the lasso of truth and armor made by her mother, Princess Diana set out for the human world.
2. Hulk: The End Vol 1 #1 – The Last Titan
Peter David and Dale Keown wrote and designed “The Hulk: The End Vol 1 #1”, which Marvel Comics published in August 2002. It depicts the Hulk and Bruce Banner as the only survivor of a nuclear holocaust. The nuclear explosion killed every human, superhuman, villains, and hero, leaving Hulk, who is immune because of the gamma rays in him.
This issue shows the difference in opinions between the green beast and the intelligent scientist. Unable to live with the fact that he is the last human alive, Bruce Banner attempts suicide but was unsuccessful before he transformed into the Hulk. Hulk, whose primary instinct was to show he is the strongest being on earth, in a very emotional situation, realized that he was truly alone in the world.
1. Batman: The Killing Joke
Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, and John Higgins wrote and designed “The Killing Joke”, which DC Comics published on the 29th of May 1988. This issue starts with Batman looking to make up with his ultimate villain, the Joker. While the Joker was supposed to be a prisoner at Arkham Asylum, Batman only finds an imposter sitting in Joker’s cell. Joker was on the loose. Now free from Arkham, the Joker has taken over an amusement park by killing the owner.
Joker had a flashback to when a young engineer abandoned his work to become a stand-up comedian, which he failed. To support his pregnant wife, the young man joined an armed robbery ring. At his first rodeo as a thief, he found out about the demise of his wife and unborn child. As if that was not enough for a night, the robbery plan went wrong, and his accomplices died. In a bid to escape this terrifying scene, he jumped into a chemical waste drainage system, and after coming out of the end of the tunnel, he discovers his skin was bleached chalk-white, his hair dyed green, and his lips turned red. Thus, it appears that this was the origin tale of the Joker.
The comic resumed with Joker knocking on Commissioner Gordon’s house. He shot the commissioner’s daughter that answered the door. Thereby, he permanently injured her spine and kidnapping Commissioner Gordon. Joker stripped the bleeding Barbara Gordon and forced the father to see the pictures. He did this to justify his thought that everyone can lose their sanity if presented with a very bad day. Gordons remain sane, and when Batman came, he asked him to stop the Joker by the books to prove to him that their way works. Batman did as he requested.
The comic book issues highlighted here carry interesting storylines with amazing characters. There could be differences in opinions and judgment, but these issues are unarguably some of the bests.
About the author
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!