Big, dramatic, and even world altering: these are a few of the words that describe massive comic book events.
In these comics, the heroes face a threat so large it affects the entire universe. They’re actually a lot like blockbuster movies, a huge spectacle with lots of action and suspense. Other times, they have a lasting impact on characters and it becomes the status quo that lasts years or becomes permanent.
While there were a few stinkers time to time, there were actually a lot of great event comics out there. Heck, there’s even a few that fans consider to be classics. So, sit back and relax as we take an epic look back at ten of the best event comics!
[Some SPOILERS ahead for certain storylines!]
Secret Wars (2015)
The Marvel Universe you know is gone! From the many fragments of reality pilfered from the multiverse, a new world has formed: Doom’s world (though most prefer to call it Battleworld). Here, Doctor Doom is a god, so is there any chance he can be stopped?
This sequel/reimagining of the original series of the same name is quite the epic. After the dramatic build-up through New Avengers and Time Runs Out, we see the Marvel Universe collapse! From its ashes rises this new Battleworld, filled to the brim with interesting locations and elements.
Doom himself is a great villain in this series, being powerful and imposing while also having a human side. His court also adds an underlying dynamic of deception that reminds you of Game of Thrones. We also get to see the heroes that survived fight back with what little they have left.
Despite the heroes not having much, there are still a ton of epic battles in this war. This includes Mr. Fantastic’s amazing final battle with Doom!
While this is the story that made readers say goodbye to the Fantastic Four and the Ultimate Universe, they are treated with respect and it feels more like a “’til we meet again,” rather than a tearful goodbye.
The only issue is, this event can only be appreciated if you’ve read the buildup and tie-ins. It is a big event with a complicated story and diving right in without them would only confuse you! Regardless, this event still deserves credit! An intricate story with larger than life battles and a great villain makes this comic worth the read. Not to mention it also washes the bad taste of Secret Wars II out of our mouths!
The heroes are now divided! Captain America fights for freedom while Iron Man fights for safety! Both sides come to blows; it’s heroes vs. heroes, but at what cost?! Which side will win? And whose side are you on??
This one needs little introduction; it’s one of the most famous Marvel events of all time.
This event has no shortage of big moments and huge (and I really mean huuuuuuge) hero on hero fights. The idea of these two ideals clashing was as relevant back then as it is now, and that gives the comic a timeless feeling.
While it is still a really good event, it’s unfortunately not perfect. There’s a lot of out-of-character moments throughout and Iron Man may have expressed the worst of it. His actions in this story are borderline villainous and does ruin some of the uncertainty regarding which side is right.
Still, as far as hero vs. hero events go, this is the best. Great action and good social commentary make Civil War one of the most memorable events in comic book history!
Annihilation + Annihilation: Conquest
The Annihilation Wave is here! With the Negative Zone’s forces ravaging the universe, it’ll be up to the best of Marvel’s cosmic characters to stop it!
This event comic is the space opera to end all space operas. We get to see just about every cosmic Marvel character enter this war for survival. Nova, Star-Lord, the Super-Skrull, and Adam Warlock all have a part to play and some time to shine, too!
The first is a great, desperate war that makes you want to see everyone survive and its sequel is a worthy follow-up! So much so, that you can count them both as one big story.
It’s also worth mentioning these events introduced the Guardians of the Galaxy we know today!
Annihilation is a war worthy of its galactic scope, one that brings all these characters together and, in turn, creates one of Marvel’s greatest team. It’s definitely one you should look into.
Death of Superman
After a fierce battle against the monster Doomsday, Superman is no more! With the Man of Steel dead, many mourn him while others wonder what the world will be like without him.
It’s the death of a hero like no other. Yes, other notable characters have died before this, yet this death was a huge moment in comic book history. To see someone as compassionate and kind as Superman die in battle is no less than heartbreaking.
We also see the fallout of his sacrifice as many normal citizens and superheroes alike come to mourn his death. It’s through this that we see just how important Superman is and what he means to those around him. It truly felt like a friend to all had died.
While he did return, his death remains an important moment in Superman history.
Many other heroes tried the “death and rebirth” formula since, but none were as affecting as Superman’s.
World War Hulk
After being banished to space, the Hulk returns to Earth and he’s not happy. The Hulk and his alien allies wreak havoc across the world to get revenge on the heroes who exiled him. Can he be stopped or is Hulk truly the strongest there is?!
Hulk fans are given a real treat in this event comic. If you ever wanted to see the Hulk cut loose, then this is the comic for you. We get to see Hulk fight Marvel heroes and the destruction he leaves behind.
The fights in this series are its best feature, as epic and gigantic as the Hulk himself! We even see the Hulk strategizing to take down certain enemies, not something you get to see very often.
This event was really well-handled as both a follow-up for Planet Hulk and a good way to close it out. Filled to the brim with incredible action, this is the Hulk book Hulk fans deserve.
Barry Allen, AKA the Flash, wakes up one day to find that the world around him has completely changed. Batman’s a killer, there is no Superman, and Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war! As the only one who remembers what things were like before, Barry is the world’s last hope! Can the Flash put the world back together again before it’s too late?
Flashpoint feels a lot like the comic book version of the Twilight Zone where everything is not what it seems.
The “Flashpoint” reality is a dreary, nearly hopeless world with many “what ifs” that make you want to read the tie-ins. It’s also a very brutal one; there are many violent battles and deaths in this event. As the reader, we feel the shock and horror Flash feels witnessing all of this, making the story more personal.
The only sad part is that it marked the end for pre-New 52 DC! Still, it was a great story with great ideas that have not been forgotten.
With a suspenseful story that took characters to a strange new place, it’s a Flash story like no other!
Secret Wars (1984)
A being known as the Beyonder has summoned both heroes and villains to fight each other for the ultimate prize. What is this prize? And can the Beyonder be trusted, or is this all some mad game to him? Either way, it’s heroes versus villains and only one side can win this war.
The 2015 Secret Wars may have done its namesake justice, but you just can’t beat the original! Being the first big Marvel event comic, Secret Wars pits the most popular Marvel heroes and villains against each other for one big epic brawl.
There are many twists in this event including shifting alliances, the true purpose of Battleword, and Doom’s quest for ultimate power!
This event also had a big effect on Marvel’s future! Examples include many of the comic’s covers becoming iconic and, most importantly, the first appearance of the Venom symbiote!
Unfortunately, it does have a few problems. The Dialogue can be cheesy and there a few plot holes throughout the story. Regardless, the original Secret Wars is a fun, action-packed adventure that’s still enjoyable to this day. It’s the original Marvel event comic that many fans still consider the best!
The dead have risen! The day the Green Lantern Corps fear the most has come to pass! Fallen friends and enemies have returned, and they attack in full force. Can the heroes of the DC Universe survive this or will the Earth become a planet of the dead?
Ever wonder how many DC heroes and villains have died? Well, you’ll learn if you read this!
Blackest Night was heavily built up throughout the Green Lantern titles and the result was worth the wait. Tons of familiar faces returned as Black Lantern zombies and our heroes fought tooth and nail to survive.
The whole event gave you this tense feeling that the Black Lanterns couldn’t be defeated and anyone could become one! On top of that horror movie feeling, this event delivered a lot of big moments. There were actually so many, you had to pick up the tie-ins to see them all!
Blackest Night had tons of characters fighting terrifying enemies and rallying together to cheat death one last time. It’s an idea that was built on for many years and it didn’t disappoint!
After obtaining the six Infinity Stones, Thanos formed the Infinity Gauntlet! Now, with just a snap of his fingers, reality is his to control! Marvel’s heroes will have to band together to stop the Mad Titan, but do they stand a chance?
This story is another Marvel classic and one where the unexpected was around every corner. Don’t believe me? Well, for example, Thanos actually succeeded in killing all the heroes. With the Gauntlet, Thanos was all-powerful and he used that power to impress the embodiment of death.
The more he failed to do so, the more insane and threatening he became. Thanos was the main attraction, but lesser-known characters like Adam Warlock and Nebula got to shine here, too!
The Infinity Gauntlet is a cautionary tale of absolute power falling into the wrong hands. It also solidifies Thanos’ status as one of the biggest threats in the Marvel Universe. The havoc Thanos caused will not be soon forgotten.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
It’s the end of the multiverse! As the Anti-Monitor destroys universe after universe, DC’s finest in every dimension will have to band together. With an enemy this powerful, the only question is: which worlds will live and which worlds will die?!
Crisis on Infinite Earths stands out not only as a great event comic, but also the very first! Originally, it was made to simplify DC’s long continuity, but the impact it left was so much more.
With the multiverse destroyed, DC had to rearrange characters (like the Justice Society) and fit them into a new history. It also led to the deaths of Flash and Supergirl!
Despite all these changes, Crisis on Infinite Earths celebrated everything that is DC while paving its future. It laid the groundwork for DC’s stories and characters going forward and helped shape the direction of the “Modern Age of Comics.”
Many fans consider it to be the most influential storyline in comic book history and it’s easy to see why.
Did I miss one? What is your favorite event comic? Let me know in the comments below!