Top-FiveLOGO3Top Five Comic Book Story Arcs

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything‚Ķ from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

This week, listeners want to know what comic books they should read. We offer up our top five comic book story arcs.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. 1. Blue Beetle: The Reach storyline. This to me is what comic story telling should be, a lot of issues are stand alone, but do build up to the epic finale. Endgame provides awesome moments for the whole cast; a story line so awesome that it was adapted as Young Justice: Invasion. The only bad part about the Reach arc is that Jaime Reyes stories will forever be in its shadow.

    2. March of the Wooden Soldiers from Fables. This is where Fables really crystallized for me as a series, what came before was good, but here it became great. The series definitely became more of an ensemble with Boy Blue, Pinocchio, King Cole, and more coming to the forefront. The threat of the Adversey was in full display, and there is a lot of dread and tension being built up through out. While there is a victory in the end, it came a terrible cost, and so much of the trade sticks with me.

    3. Seven Capital Cities of Heaven from Iron Fist. This was the story arc that got me into Marvel. Growing up I had friends who just praised Marvel, and bashed DC (with no strong arguments in my mind,) so being a contrarian and a love of the DCAU I read DC comics. However, in college a new friend lent this to me, and my mind was blown. It works perfectly as a kung-fu tale, the characters were very clear in relation to one another. The action is awesome. With any luck if there is an Iron Fist season 2, this will be it. The best martial tournaments arc in comics.

    4. Deadman’s initial arc of him trying to find his killer. Some late Silver-Age/early Bronze-Age goodness. It has the great art of Neal Adams to really boost it up. While some parts were very stand alone, I did like the continuing nature of it, and with some slight modifications could easily be your movie script. I try to be a supporter of older comics, and this one is truly awesome.

    5. World of New Krypton from Superman. I really enjoyed this two(three?) year arc in Superman comics. I really enjoyed the expanded cast, and the inclusion of Mon-El and The Guardain I felt really helped the story. I liked the multiple threads going on, Superman working on New Krypton; Mon-El and Guardian keeping the peace at street level; Supergirl dealing with Superwoman; (didn’t read much of the Nightwing & Flamebird.) People talk of the interconnected stories like Nightfall, No Man’s Land, etc. This is the one that works for me. While New Krypton couldn’t have been kept on indefinitely, having it be a thing for a few years was pretty nice and long lasting relatively speaking.

    • In listening to last few minutes of the podcast, I’m switching out Deadman for 52. Even though it’s very long, there is a clear through arc to it, and even the low points aren’t that low. Almost all of my favorite characters are present (some even get starring roles.) Plus it’s the last great jam session of DC’s best writers from the past decade or two. At a point where they are able to balance each other out; Grant Morrison as Michelangelo, Greg Rucka as Donatello, Geoff Johns as Raphael, Mark Waid as Leonardo, and Keith Giffen as Splinter smacking on the heads to keep things flowing.

  2. Malone_hasco on

    I cant really decide five in order, but here are my picks:

    All-Star Superman. Superman done just right.

    Secret Wars. My introduction to Marvel Universe. This made me realize how huge it was.

    Justice Society of America: The next age. Wonderful cast of old and new characters, my favorite DC team.

    Power Girl: Power Trip. Conner/Palmiotti Power Girl is so fun, I gotta love it.

    X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga. MY X-Men. Best run of any comics super hero team was by Claremont/Byrne.

    Honorable mentions to things that dont fit “comic book arc” description or otherwise:

    Blade Of The Immortal. Its 31 volumes of great samurai manga. Modern classic.

    Lone Wolf & Cub. 28 Volumes of older, more realistic samurai manga. Classic classic of its genre.

    Hellboy. Cant decide, I like it all.

    Batman: Year One. Batman at its finest.

    Daredevil: Born Again. Another Miller, I always liked Daredevil and this is the best I’ve seen alongside Yellow and Dark Nights.

    Gotta put Millers Wolverine here too and Wolverine/Kitty that came shortly after.

    This became longer than I planned it to be when I began typing. I guess there were lots of great stories in comics I read and that a good thing.

  3. Steve Smetzer on

    Hi Stephen,

    I agree with most of the ones in everyone’s lists. Here are few of my favorites that I don’t think were mentioned.

    Batman: Killing Joke
    Captain America: Winter Soldier
    Hulk: Future Imperfect
    Identity Crisis
    Mage: The Hero Discovered
    Thanos Quest
    Top 10 Vol. 1

    Take care,

  4. Locke & Key and Swamp Thing would definitely be on my shortlist. Others would include:

    Hellblazer v5: Dangerous Habits

    Peter Milligan’s run on Animal Man, including “Schrodinger’s Pizza,” which might be my favorite issue in all of comics

    Unwritten v1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

    Batman Year 100

    The life of Hob Gadling as told in The Sandman

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