Here we are in the final 5. Remembering my initial rules, it’s easy to see why this last five was the hardest.

My number one choice has been number one since I read it in 1984, and to me will always be my favourite comic story of all time.

Once again – The Rules
The rules were simple, they had to be comics I was incredibly excited when they came out. I had to have bought them off the shelf when they were released (so Watchmen, Camelot 3000, Dark Knight Returns, Captain Britain, and a few others were disqualified). One shots didn’t count, so that left out Killing Joke (which is one of my favourite stories comics or otherwise of all time), and original graphic novels were out too. This list was about anticipation, and these are the comics that I went absolutely nuts waiting for 30 days to go by so I could find out what happened next.

Without further ado…the finale of my top 50 comic runs of all time.

5 – Authority 1-6 (1999)
“Widescreen action” was somewhat of a buzz word in the early 2000’s, and it’s largely because of what Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch did in Authority: Relentless. This series was written for the trade, it collected arcs together in 6 issue runs, and they all had massive set pieces.

It was because of this series that The Ultimates came out, and since the Ultimates directly influenced the Avengers movie, you could say that without this series, the Avengers movie might never have seen the light of day.

The Authority is a revamping of the StormWatch title (which you may remember from entry #43), the difference being that The Authority is essentially a secret society that protects the Earth from the things we don’t want to know about.

The stories were huge, hundreds of clones attacking a fictional island nation, or alternate universes attacking our universe. The action was just as huge, and the solutions to the problems were often mind blowing (like evacuating an entire planet onto the Authority’s sentient ship).

4 – Sandman 21-28 (1991)
Sandman is one of my favourite series of all time. It has just enough horror to be scary, just enough fantasy to be incredibly interesting, and just enough ties to comic continuity to pique my nerd-hood.

Seasons of Mist, the storyline collected here, tells the tale of what happens when Lucifer decides to torment Dream…by giving him the keys to the kingdom of Hell.

There is prophecy, there’s torture, and there’s philosophy. Beneath it all is a great story by Neil Gaiman, who is at his peak here, and amazing illustrations by Kelly Jones, who is channelling Bernie Wrightson here, and who’s style informed my own meagre artistic talents for about a decade.

3 – The Walking Dead 97-102 (2012)
I was late to The Walking Dead party. I read the first trade paperback, as well as a few issues here and there, and they were interesting, but never anything I really fell in love with. This seemed like stuff I’d seen decades before in Vince Locke’s awesome “Deadworld”. After really enjoying the first couple of season of The Walking Dead TV show, I decided to read as much Walking Dead as I could, so last summer I plowed through the first “Omnibus”, consuming 48 issues in about two nights. It was awesome. I then bought a bunch of TPB’s digitally (they were on sale for $4.00 each), and caught up to the then current story arc “Something to Fear”.

It all led to issue #100. Even though a lot had happened since the Governor, the group had kind of gotten into a rhythm, and things seemed…stable. Then we met Negan. More importantly we met Lucille.

This issue had a moment in it that made me so angry I actually tossed my iPad down, and refused to look at it for ten minutes. I was viscerally angry at a character, and the moment rocked me. Even a dozen issues later, that single moment still resonates and informs the world of The Walking Dead where the motto is now “Fight the Dead, Fear the Living”.

2 – Starman 12-17 (1996)
Starman is one of the most influential series that I ever read. I connected with Jack Knight because he was just a guy, wearing a not so ridiculous outfit (seriously, a leather jacket, flight goggles, and a staff that allowed him to harness the sun’s energy and fly. That’s pretty cool), trying to live up to his father’s ideal of him. There was something about Tony Harris’ art that really appealed to me as well, and when Harris left the title, I feel like a little piece of it broke.

This stuff was mind bending though. Having killed the new Mist’s father in the first story arc, Jack Knight is confronted by the new Mist again, who this time captures him, and basically rapes him so that she can have his child…a child she plans on raising to hate his father so that the child will one day destroy the father. It’s crazyness, ridiculously compelling, and ultimately something that could only be told in a comic book.

1 – Tales of the New Teen Titans 42-44 & Annual 2 (1984)
In the 80’s it was hard to get comics consistently. I loved the Teen Titans, and would scour the local convenience stores for copies (I had to travel way down to the Macs Milk to get Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes on the local spinner Rack). I got a subscription around issue #40, and comics actually started coming to my door.
This might be why “The Judas Contract” stands out so vividly in my mind. Not only did I get the 12 issues for a year, but it also came with the “Giant sized Annual”, all discreetly wrapped in a brown paper cover (they were never delivered in what one could call “near mint” condition).
The Judas Contract was the culmination of more than two years worth of stories. Deathstroke, the Titans primary nemesis, had embedded a mole in the Titans, and his plan finally came together during these four issues. In the end, the Titans made it out of the death trap, but the team would never be the same again.