Tuesday, December 02, 2008

1984-1988 Top 25
#1 Ryu (1987)
#2 Venom (1984)
#3 Ken Masters (1987)
#4 USAgent (1986)
#5 Sagat (1987)
#6 Lyja (1984)
#7 Tabitha Smith (1985)
#8 She-Thing (1985)
#9 Black Mask (1985)
#10 Death's Head (1987)
#11 Captain Atom (1987)
#12 Warlock (1984)
#13 Forge (1984)
#14 Terminus (1984)
#15 Apocalypse (1986)
#16 Anti-Venom (1988)
#17 Birdie (1987)
#18 Tombstone (1988)
#19 Cheetah (1987)
#20 Penance (1988)
#21 Catgirl (1986)
#22 Swordsman (1985)
#23 Arachne (1984)
#24 Amanda Waller (1986)
#25 Bekka (1985)
It's December once more which means, like last year, you must push the button, my friends. To send me back through time!

With nostalgia for the year that's been, we'll be we'll be throwing out an extra round of the C2C every post dated Tuesday, to glance back on the last twenty-five years of superheroes through issues plucked from our previous review cycles. Some will be undisputed classics, others seemingly insignificant chapters in the lives of sequential heroes, and others will be curiosities significant to their era.

If you find your nostalgia-wave coming on extra strong, we prescribe last year's round of flashbacks: 1983-1987, 1988-1992, 1993-1997, 1998-2002, 2003-2007.

I'm not sure I can adequately sum up the significance of these years, so instead, a top twenty-five based on our cumulative rankings, drawing exclusively from characters who debuted in this time.
Observing the list of characters you can almost begin to feel the sense of an attitude that would define the nineteen-nineties. Works like Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, as well as those redefining series that came out of DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, set about changing the face of the industry's most traditional major brand.

Having already compiled similar lists for subsequent eras, it strikes me as interesting to look at the most significant characters to come from these years. With the lasting popularity of characters from the creative booms of the forties and sixties, the contributions of more recent years are easily overlooked. While strong new characters are an undeniable requirement for major publishers, it's worth acknowledging lasting creations like Apocalypse, Tombstone, the new Cheetah, and the heroes pictured above. Sure, it's been twenty-odd years, but a little perspective could do you youngsters a world of good.

"Old school" in comics? Talk to me when you're loitering in the forties, punks!
Hey! While you're reevaluating your own insignificance, be sure to vote in the fantasy poll!

Super Powers #5 (November 1984)
"Spaceship Earth: We're All On It!" Jack Kirby

The tyranny of Darkseid is a tale that stretches across time and space, but for the heroes of Earth, the continued scrutiny from the distant despot remains a looming threat to all existence!

In his search for power Darkseid seeks the answers to the Anti-Life Equation as a means of manipulating life as we know it! This quest brings Earth beneath the evil New God's envious eyes, whose hopes to canvas humanity for pieces of the equation bring him into regular contest with the super powers of Earth and surrounding realms!

So great does Darkseid's evil prove that even the most vile villains are forced to team with their arch-rivals in an effort to navigate reality and reassemble to hault Darkseid's march on Earth. Defeating the a New God is no mean feat, let alone one willing to crush his own men!

Uncanny X-Men #194 (June 1985)
"Juggernaut's Back in Town!" Claremont/Romita Jr

Recovery from battle with the Hellions is cut short.
When news reports make their way to the X-Mansion, hailing the return of the Juggernaut; Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Rogue and Phoenix must ready themselves for battle.

Little do they realise, the Juggernaut will not be their greatest enemy this day. Anti-mutant forces from the future have sent their agent of death into the timestream, and he is also about to reemerge.

Dark Knight Returns #3 (May 1986)
"Hunt the Dark Knight" Frank Miller

In a grim future where the heroes have been driven away by a cowardly and suspicious society - the Dark Knight returns!

Batman's revolution fuels a dichotomy within the opinions of a modern society torn between the social impacts of a vigilante whose greatest power now seems to be his branding. As a [pop]-cultural phenom, the Batman inspires and protects the weak from a new breed of street tough, the likes of which have overshadowed the once prominent freaks and mobsters.

With Batman comes the awakening of sleeping giants whose eyes delight at a chance to live again. Public opinion supports the Joker's release and so begins the clown prince of crime's last crime wave!

Incredible Hulk #335 (September 1987)
"The Evil That Men Do!" David/Ridgway

In this moody horror tale; the Hulk finds himself confronted by his dark shadow in a creature called The Stalker.

The phantasm arises by night from a troubled horror film fan much like Bruce Banner's Hulk during this period. The Stalker acts out the hidden desires and malice of it's young host, pursuing the affections of the woman Gil Jeffers admires anonymously from afar.

As the Stalker confronts the Hulk with a proposal to eliminate the presence of Bruce Banner's balancing consciousness; the Hulk finds himself confronted with the question of his true nature, and the decision to fullfil the expectations of the monster, or to walk a purer path.

Secret Origins #35 (Holiday 1988)
"Martian Manhunter" Verheiden/Steacy

This one takes us back to the grizzled days of Detective John Jones; alias for the Manhunter from Mars, J'onn J'onnz, who finds himself unwittingly transported to Earth by the aging Doctor Erdel.

With the good Doctor startled by his Martian visitor, to the point of heart attack, he leaves the alien with a final warning and well wish, making the Manhunter's first experience on Earth one of death.

Canvasing the networks of mainstream American television, the Manhunter extracts what information he can about human society. Impressed upon this blank slate is the image of the square jawed TV detective, dedicated to truth, justice, and the battle against corruption and evil in the Earth. Thus, John Jones is born, to war against crime!

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