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Friday, August 17, 2012

THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF WOLVERINE



THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF
WOLVERINE



By
John "THE MEGO STRETCH HULK" Cimino


WOLVERINE
Created by: Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita and Herb Trimpe  First Appearance: THE INCREDIBLE HULK #180 (1974)

The core of Wolverine's character revolves around his mystery. Logan (his real name is James Howlett) doesn't remember much of his past life or his influences yet he still carries a distinct persona. This persona is centered around instinct. He is a man who defines himself as a fighter. He doesn't shy away from fights and he doesn't take kindly to anybody getting in his way. This gives him very anti-social traits that make it difficult for him to form relationships and make friends. As a result, he is a loner who often does his own thing.

Chief among this aspect of his psychology is his anger. Because he is so driven by instinct, he is quick to anger and has little aversion to violence or taking damage. His mutant Healing Factor can heal him from nearly any wound and because of this, he is much more prone to fighting and violence. Couple this with his animal instincts, heighten senses and Adamantium-laced skeletal structure with claws that can cut through just about anything, he becomes almost predatory in nature, ferociously seeking out his enemies while protecting those that are close to him.

While the effects of the "Weapon X" project on his body (and mind) cannot be understood by most. Through the painful processes of Adamantium bonding and memory wiping, this process further robbed him of his humanity and he became very much like the "Wolverine" that identifies him. His ability to escape and resist the Weapon X manipulation process highlight his powerful desire to not be controlled, which can be both a natural reaction and an extension of his loner persona. His predatory character also helps push him to seeking vengeance on those who wrong him rather than run away. The more he is treated as an animal, the more enraged he becomes. It shows in his distinct "berserker rage" where instinct nearly completely takes over and his violence drives him even further into madness. 

However, while Logan has many anti-social traits and predatory instincts, he is not without humanity or honor. A major strength of his character is that while he is constantly being ripped away from everything that makes him human, he still retains it. In many ways joining the X-men reflects his desire to rebuild what was taken from him. It shows that while he's often adverse to relationships, he will still respond to those who reach out to him and have an unyielding loyalty to them. These are the traits that make him such a reliable teammate and one of the most respected heroes on Earth.

Wolverine is also without a doubt one of the most intense and tenacious fighters in the Marvel Universe -- which has also lead him into some of the most classic, most brutal and most referenced battles of all time, bar none! Many of his fights are so legendary that they are credited as some of the major moments that moved the industry from the Bronze Age of Comics (1973-1985) into the Modern Age (1985-present) where characters generally became darker, violent and more psychologically complex. And those memorable scraps are ranked here in this write up! So without further ado, here are the ol' Canucklehead's 5 greatest battles ever and see for yourself why he's the best at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice...



5.) THE UNCANNY X-MEN #173 (1983)



Writer: Chris Claremont  Art: Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek.
Wolverine is looking for the Silver Samurai who plans on killing Mariko Yashida, his half-sister and Wolverine's fiancĂ©e. Their father was a crime lord, and the Silver Samurai wants Mariko dead so he can control that empire. Wolverine invited the X-Men to Japan for their wedding, only for everyone but Storm to be poisoned by the Silver Samurai. Rouge shows up and she and Wolverine infiltrate Nabatone's estate to find him dead. Rogue flies in, grabs the whole gang of ninjas, including their leader, and tosses them aside; Viper orders her ninjas to kill her, while she looks for Silver Samurai. Wolverine finds and challenges the Silver Samurai and engages in a brutal, bloody battle which results in him breaking Samurai's arm. As he readies his claws from the killing blow, Mariko begs him to spare her half-brother. Viper pulls a gun on Mariko and Wolverine, demanding they let the Samurai go. The Samurai faints right as Wolverine and Mariko make a run for it. Rogue throws herself into the ray’s path before it hits them. Rogue causes the gun to overload, but suffers life-threatening injuries. Viper uses her ring to teleport herself and the Samurai away. Wolverine forces Rogue to absorb his power to heal and saves her life.

4.) WOLVERINE #4 (1982)


Writer: Chris Claremont  Art: Frank Miller and Josef Rubinstein

Shingen sends The Hand after Wolverine, but he defeats and arrests every ninja that was sent after him. Meanwhile Mariko doesn't know what to do, she loves Wolverine but her father Shingen made her marry Noburu Hideki, and now she knows that they both are ruthless bad guys. Eventually Wolverine enters the fortress, and his friend Yukio helps him in his quest by killing Noburu. Soon Wolverine faces Lord Shingen one-on-one (who has already defeated and dishonored Logan in the past) in his dojo. Torn between his love for Mariko and his honor and obligation, both warriors engage in a bloody fight to the finish. Despite taking some major damage, Wolverine finally manages to defeat Shingen by popping his claws into the drug lord's face. Mariko enters the room and gasps, her father dead on the floor. Traditionally, since Wolverine killed her father, Mariko is honor bound to be Wolverine's enemy and kill him, but alas, she decides that her father was a disgrace to the family name and brought dishonor to the family sword. Wolverine fought for what was right until the bitter end, regardless of cost, and therefore is worthy of the sword. All obstacles now out of the way, Wolverine and Mariko finally embrace each other. 


3.) THE UNCANNY X-MEN #133 (1980)




Writer: Chris Claremont  Art: John Byrne and Terry Austin

Without a doubt, this is one of the most iconic Wolverine issues ever, and the one most responsible for cementing him as the fan favorite, breakout character of the The Uncanny X-Men title. Having received a number of cool moments since issue #109 (including his silent take down of a guard in the Savage Land in issue #116, his off panel escape from Alpha Flight in issue #121 and his rising from the sewers in issue #132 which is one of the most iconic images and cliff-hangers in comic book history), this issue features the extensive of those moments, as Wolverine takes on a trio of Hellfire Club mercenaries and mounts a rescue operation all by himself. Thrusting Wolverine into the spotlight for the first time, it put the character onto the path towards becoming not only the most popular X-Men character, but arguably, the most popular character at Marvel. 

In the issue, a quartet of Hellfire Club mercenaries are searching the basement to confirm Wolverine's death when he suddenly emerges from the shadows and attacks them. Quickly dispatching of the mercenaries, Wolverine intimidates the fourth into surrendering before pressing him for information about the Hellfire Club (this was another truly iconic moment for the Wolverine-mythos and comic book history because never had a "superhero" in comic books used such methods to scare a villain). Wolverine was becoming this new type of more darker and violent hero who would go to extreme methods to get the job done. It was such a bold new concept that readers couldn't help but jump on the Wolverine bandwagon and express to even non-comic book readers how cool this character was. Wolverine truly was the forerunner of the "anti-hero" that ushered in the Modern Age of Comics and this issue was the beginning of it.
 

2.) THE UNCANNY X-MEN #212 and 213 (1986/1987)





Writer: Chris Claremont  Art: Rick Leonardi, Alan Davis, Dan Green and Paul Neary

Wolverine stalks through the Morlock tunnels looking for survivors of the Mutant Massacre. As Wolverine searches through the tunnels, he finds nothing but dead bodies. Eventually he's attacked from behind  by Sabertooth who's looking for a fight. In the feral mutant's hands is the Morlock's Healer. Seeing that the healer is still alive, and could be a help in healing the others, Wolverine goads Sabretooth into dropping his victim and starting up a scrap. However, while Sabretooth is interested in slaying Wolverine, Logan is only interested in saving the Healer. Managing to get close enough to the man he is trying to save, Wolverine collapses part of the tunnel, putting a barrier between him and Sabretooth. Picking up the healer, he rushes off with him in his hands to take him back to the others. (The story continues into issue #213) Psylocke scans the Mansion perimeter until she detects someone on the property. When she tries to scan their mind, she is overpowered by their psi-shields. The intruder turns out to be Sabretooth, who had already overpowered Rogue and broken into the mansion. He now attacks Betsy, who temporarily sends him reeling with one of her "psycho-blasts", but not before Sabretooth has savaged her arm with his claws. Betsy dares him to follow her as she runs further into the mansion, leading him away from the infirmary and the patients inside. 

After Sabretooth follows Betsy up onto the mansion's roof, the two two of them crash through the roof of Storm's attic, where Betsy tries to fend him off with Storm's knife. Her losing battle is interrupted by the arrival of Storm, Callisto, Magneto and Wolverine who wants to finish up what they started in the previous issue. He goes one-on-one with Sabretooth in one of the most intense and vicious scraps ever seen in comics up until that point. Before Magneto can use some improvised bonds to subdue Sabretooth, Psylocke explains about the psi-shields that are protecting Sabretooth and suggests they allow her to try and probe his mind while he's distracted by his fight against Wolverine. This works, allowing Betsy to probe Sabretooth's mind and learn who the secret leader of the Marauders is. When she tells Wolverine this, the two combatants have made it near the lake that is at the edge of the mansion. With the other X-Men coming to help Wolverine take Sabretooth on, the feral mutant dives into the lake, with Wolverine following after him. Sabretooth however manages to escape, and Psylocke says he cannot be detected. While "Wolverine vs Sabertooth" was a great rivalry, this two-part story made it a legendary one.


1.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #340 (1988)





Writer: Peter David  Art: Todd McFarlane

Without a doubt the legend and reputation of Wolverine went into the mythic realm of godlike after this comic hit the stands. For this battle is not only his greatest and most famous fight ever, but it is also one of the greatest fights ever... period! Never before did two heroes engage in a scrap so fierce and brutal that it left readers in total awe. The legend of this issue became so renowned that it made the "Hulk vs Wolverine" rivalry one of the greatest and most intriguing in comic book history. Even the cover became such an iconic image that many consider it one of the greatest ever.

I must admit, this comic was so hyped-up by comic fans that it made Wolverine the toughest character in the Marvel Universe. Now Logan was always a really tough scrapper -- but the toughest?? Yup, because after this fight, Wolverine became an unstoppable wrecking machine who could take on any opponent and any amount of damage given to him. He was now known as the guy who essentially killed the Hulk and stood toe-to-toe with him. Well, what fans didn't realize was that this was the weaker and far less durable "Gray" Hulk. Sure, this version of the Hulk was extremely powerful in his own right, but nowhere near the levels of the green "Savage" Hulk who knocked out Wolverine with a glancing blow back in their first fight in The Incredible Hulk #181 (1974). But creators couldn't help jumping onto the Wolverine-bandwagon and bring him from a mid-level, street-tough hero, into the realm of the Super-Heavyweights who could stand with anyone in the Marvel Universe including the Juggernaut, Thanos, Gladiator, Hyperion, Thor and now even the green "Savage" Hulk himself. Wolverine may find it difficult to beat these big guys, but he has no problem going one-on-one with them and taking everything they can dish out... really?? This is when I believe the true character of Wolverine was forever ruined because now almost nothing could knock him out, stop his claws from cutting through them and he could heal from just about anything with his out of control Healing Factor. Yup, Wolverine is the poster boy for what popularity can do to a character, especially if they get popular enough to become a company icon. This fight will always remain a mixed blessing; it is a standard in comics that took superheroes scraps to a whole new level, but it also remains a curse for what it did to a character that I used to love and made him much more powerful than he was ever truly intended to be. All hail the death of the Wolverine!!! Long Live the Wolverine!!!!

The "Gray" Hulk, Rick Jones and Clay Quartermain travel in a van and are lost in a snow storm. The Hulk gets restless and goes out to get some fresh air and find food. He leaps into the air and accidentally hits a plane. The plane starts falling and it's rescued by Rogue from the X-Patrol. When they land Wolverine picks up the Hulk's scent and notices that it's different from the one he remembers. When Wolverine finds the Hulk he notices that the Hulk has gray skin instead of green and his attitude is much more crueler than he remembers. At first Wolverine doesn't want to fight but the Hulk pushes and goads him until Wolverine loses control and starts to savagely attack! Wolverine actually wins the first battle, by hacking away at the brute's chest and leaving him lying down, with his guts all opened (this is the moment that forever changed how any comic fan would view Wolverine and show what his claws are capable of). But due to the Hulk's amazing healing factor, he stands up again and continues the fight. Both savages go nuts and engage in a back and forth blood-fest (that both seem to enjoy) until Clay Quartermain splits them up and puts an end to the fight. Wolverine feels guilty that he lost control and succumbed to one of his berserker rages because he thought he had changed. The Hulk let's him know about it and laughs at him while leaping off. Now Logan wishes he had a cigar.


Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!



Check out other "TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:


Captain Marvel

Spider-man

The Sub-Mariner

Batman
   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.


Monday, August 6, 2012

THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF SPIDER-MAN



THE TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN


BY
John "THE MEGO STRETCH HULK" Cimino


SPIDER-MAN
Created by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko   First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY #15 (1962)

Peter Parker is a bookish, bespectacled high school student, isolated and unpopular. An orphan, he lives with his elderly relatives, Aunt May and Uncle Ben. While attending a science exhibit, Peter is bitten by a spider that has accidentally received a dose of radioactivity. As a result, Peter acquires the agility and proportionate strength of an arachnid. He sews his own super hero uniform and uses his scientific knowledge to build mechanical devices that eject sticky webbing, but he is less interested in fighting crime than in making a buck. Disguised as Spider-Man, he becomes a professional wrestler and then demonstrates his abilities on television. However he blithely ignores the chance to stop a fleeing thief, but his indifference ironically catches up with him when the same criminal later robs and kills Uncle Ben. Eventually Spider-Man subdues the murderer, but for a tearful Peter Parker, there is no peace and yet he learns "With great power there must also come - great responsibility!" 

Spider-Man is the quintessential Marvel character. Although a superhero, he is spared none of the hardships of an ordinary life; he experiences difficulties with friends, family, sweethearts and employers. His powers enable him to do good, but not to improve his own lot in life, and it is his simple humanity, rather than his exotic talent, that has won him millions of enthusiastic fans. He is one superhero who has not lost the common touch, and in fact he is frequently described as "Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man." 

In his debut Spidey was motivated by the murder of a father figure, his Uncle Ben. Yet Spidey's driving force is guilt, not revenge; he must live forever with the knowledge that he could have prevented the killing if he had not been so self-absorbed. He is certainly neurotic, forever agonizing over the choices that confront him when he attempts to do the right thing. Despite his best efforts, he is viewed with a touch of suspicion by those in authority, and is sometimes considered a little more than a criminal himself. 

Although nobody seems to understand him, Spider-Man has the spirit to be a joker as well as a tragic figure. He is quick with a quip, appreciates the irony of his endless predicaments, and relishes the chance to play tricks on people who never suspect that he and Peter Parker are one and the same. 

Spider-man remains one of true icons of the greatest comic book characters. His heart, soul and willpower for overcoming unimaginable odds is legendary in the annals of the Marvel Universe, for Spidey will press on until the bitter end in order to protect the innocent and those he cares for. And this write up is a dedication to that, so here are his top 5 most defining, most heralded and most Amazing battles ever...



5.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #542 (2007)



Writer: J. Michael Straczynski   Art: Ron Garney and Bill Reinhold

Spider-man and Kingpin are squared off in the middle of a prison. Several escaped inmates are surrounding them and screaming for a fight. Kingpin tells him that he is a loser and a fool for listening to Tony Stark and revealing his secret identity. Spidey jumps at Kingpin and starts punching him from every angle. Spidey tells Kingpin about how his costume has stood for everything he is. He says he would never cross certain lines and destroy everything that the costume has stood for. He then claims he is not here to kill Kingpin in this fight. So Spidey takes off his mask and the top of his costume. As Peter Parker, he then says Peter is there to kill him.  

Parker starts to beat up and bloody the Kingpin. He tells him that he has no real power, and all he ever was was a fat man with a bad attitude. Kingpin is completely humiliated before all the inmates. Peter comments on how he could fill his lungs with webbing and suffocate him. Kingpin tells Peter to just kill him and get it over with. Peter tells him that someday he will, but not today. The beating he gave Kingpin will be far worse then his death. The inmates were witness to Peter totally beating down The Kingpin of Crime. And with Kingpin being very prideful with everyone viewing him as unbeatable, he was humiliated. This beating was far worse than death for him. Before leaving, Peter makes a final few comments; he tells Kingpin that if Aunt May dies he will be back to kill him. Kingpin knows that he can not do anything to prevent it. Peter then tells all the inmates to tell everyone they know that Peter Parker's relatives are off limits and he will kill anyone who touches them slow and painfully. He then leaves and Kingpin crawls back to his cell. This fight stands as one of Spider-man's most personal because when his family and loved ones are hurt  by being in the line of fire of his enemies, there is nothing he won't do to protect them.


4.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #269 and 270 (1985)





Writer: Tom DeFalco  Art: Ron Frenz, Josef Rubinstein and Bob McLeod


Spider-man always seems to be at his best when the odds are stacked against him. When he faces a power so much greater than his own that even he isn't sure what he's up against, yet somehow he finds a way to prevail. This is the case when Spider-man comes face to face with the former herald of Galactus himself: The Firelord! After barely surviving this back and forth fight, Spidey manages to bury the him under a building. Spidey soon realizes that this will only buy him a few minutes before Firelord comes back to continue fighting. Spidey even considers changing into Peter Parker to let someone else deal with the former herald of Galactus. But then his sense of responsibility kicks in and Spidey decides to make a stand and fight Firelord to the finish.  

Spider-Man eventually tricks Firelord into shooting a blast at a gas station, and then leaps out of harm's way, and Firelord is caught in the heart of a blazing explosion as all the gas in the station explodes with devastating force. Spider-Man thinks that he has killed Firelord, and sees the former herald of Galactus lying on the ground. Spider-Man approaches Firelord, who then gets up, completely unharmed by the explosion and ready to kill him. Spider-Man, with nowhere left to run, attacks in desperation. He hits Firelord again and again and again with his Spider-speed and agility! Spider-Man yells that he's not going to give up and keeps hammering away on Firelord until finally he feels a hand on his shoulder. The hand is Captain America's, as the Avengers have finally showed up. Cap tells Spidey to relax and that he's already won. Spidey clears his head and takes a look at Firelord, who is unconscious on the ground. Spidey was in such a fighting frenzy that he humbled Firelord in his rage.


3.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 (1964)




Writer: Stan Lee  Art: Steve Ditko


Having broken out of prison, Dr. Octopus gathers Mysterio, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, the Vulture and Sandman to get revenge against Spider-Man as the Sinister Six. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has once more found that his spider powers have faded and has to exercise more caution getting back home lest someone take advantage of his lost powers to find out his secret identity. As Peter wanders the city lost in thought over all the stress caused because of his Spider-Man identity, he doesn't turn up to school. This prompts the school to call his Aunt May. Worried about Peter, he goes to Betty Brant for help, and they in turn see if J. Jonah Jameson has seen Peter recently. This makes them a target for the Sinister Six, who had decided to use Betty Brant as bait to lure out Spider-Man, and so they kidnap both Betty and Aunt May. When Peter shows up at the Bugle, he arrives just in time to see the Vulture delivering a message to Jameson. The Vulture tells him that the Sinister Six has gone to six different locations and at each location has a clue to the whereabouts of Betty Brant and Aunt May. While superheroes all over the city try to find Spider-Man, Peter decides that powers or no powers, he's going to try and save his Aunt May and Betty from his enemies. He goes to the first location, the local power plant owned by Stark Industries, Peter faces Electro. During the fight he realizes that his powers have returned, and is able to easily defeat Electro and learn the next location he is supposed to go to. 

When Iron Man arrives to offer help, Spider-Man refuses. His next fight is with Kraven the Hunter who attacks Spider-Man in Central Park with three tigers. Spider-Man easily fights off the attackers and secures the next clue. Along the way he's offered help by the Human Torch, and once again Spider-Man refuses help. His next location is controlled by Mysterio who sends robots based on the X-Men to attack the wall-crawler. Spider-Man easily defeats the robots and Mysterio. Although Mysterio is defeated the next clue is set ablaze, Spider-Man is able to recover it's message with his web-fluid. His next battle is against Sandman, he manages to best this foe when they are sealed in an airless room, and Spider-Man is able to defeat Sandman with his superior lung capacity. Next he battles the Vulture high over the city and manages to defeat him as well gaining the location of Dr. Octopus who has been holding Betty Brant and Aunt May hostage (May being completely oblivious to her situation believes that they are guests being hosted by Octavius.) There, Spider-Man battles Dr. Octopus and his mechanical arms, their fight takes them to a giant fishbowl where Octopus battles Spider-Man in his "natural habitat", however Spider-Man manages to defeat Octopus by filling the tank up with his webbing and tangling Octavius up in said webs. Spider-Man frees Aunt May and Betty Brant. Returning to his civilian guise, he meets up with them as Peter Parker where they are happily reunited, although Aunt May is upset with Peter over skipping class. Jameson is once more made a fool when he has to publish a story about how heroic Spider-Man is, and as for the Sinister Six? They were all rounded up by the authorities and have been put in prison.


2.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #229 and 230 (1982)





Writer: Roger Stern  Art: John Romita Jr. and Jim Mooney


As in his battle with Firelord, Spidey finds himself face-to-face with an opponent much more powerful than himself. But in the Juggernaut's case you're talking about someone who can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk, shrug off missiles and toss around tanks with the slightest bit of ease. Let's say that Spidey is waaaay over his head in this one. But Spidey of course, lives by the credo "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility," but often, Spider-Man's sense of responsibility will conflict with his common sense, getting him into trouble when he tackles problems that are seemingly beyond his grasp. And that is just what the Juggernaut represents! 

During this time period, Spider-Man was friends with a psychic known as Madame Web, a blind woman stuck in a chair that worked as a life support for the frail woman. Juggernaut and his partner in crime, Black Tom Cassidy, have traveled to New York City to capture Madame Web, figuring that with a psychic on their side, they could not be beaten. Madame Web has a vision of someone coming to harm her and she enlists the aid of Spider-Man. Soon he sees the Juggernaut coming for her, but although he gives it his best, he cannot slow him down. At Madame Web's apartment, Spidey uses the building's backup generator to shock Juggernaut with thousands of volts of electricity. It does nothing. Juggernaut proceeds to Web's apartment where he takes her from her chair, not knowing it serves as a life support for her. When he realizes his mistake, he drops her and then turns to rejoin Cassidy on the boat. Spider-Man is distraught that he let Web down. As she is taken to the hospital, he vows that he will make Juggernaut pay for what he did!  

Spidey leaps into action again and uses many attacks from a local construction site against the Juggernaut. They achieve nothing. He even drives a gasoline truck into the unstoppable brute, with Spidey leaping from the truck before it hits, causing a giant inferno. Spider-Man's first instinct is horror -- he feels that he just murdered the Juggernaut! However, his fears are allayed as the Juggernaut calmly walks out of the inferno, but now he has a new fear -- he's finally made the Juggernaut mad! With his webbing depleted, Spidey's only hope is to cling to Juggernaut's back and try to slow him down, which does no good, especially as the Juggernaut can finally reach Spidey and continually pounds on him. But despite the tremendous pain he has to endure, Spidey refuses to let go of the brute. Suddenly, Juggernaut realizes that he's sinking! During the melee, they walked into a patch of quick drying cement! In the muddy concrete, the Juggernaut cannot get any traction to pull himself out, and only sinks deeper! Spider-Man leaps away as the Juggernaut sinks fully into the concrete without any hope of saving himself -- the unstoppable Juggernaut was finally stopped! This fight remains one of the most defining and most referenced moments in Spider-man's career and is considered one of the all time greatest slugfests in Marvel's history.



1.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121 and 122 (1973)






Writer: Gerry Conway  Art: Gil Kane, John Romita Sr. and Tony Mortellaro


Not only is this Spider-man's greatest battle, this is arguably his greatest story ever! The impact these issues made on the Spider-man-mythos and the entire comic book medium is undeniable. This story arc is so important and controversial that it is considered one of the markers of the end between the more innocent Silver Age of Comics into the more realistic and more socially-relevant story lines of the Bronze Age! And the story itself defines the history of Spider-Man almost as much as his actual origin did back in Amazing Fantasy #15! Even Stan Lee himself was angry about the issue when it came out and furiously called writer Gerry Conway about it. As it turned out, Gerry said it was Stan himself that gave him the permission to kill Gwen and Stan forgot all about it (honestly, Stan had a habit of always forgetting things). Yup, it was that big of a deal!!
As a character, Spidey is known for his humor, but his history is also filled with tragedy. But none of his past woes, though, could prepare him for the tragedy he suffered in these issues. The Green Goblin was a thorn in Spider-Man's side for a few years before he discovered that the Goblin was actually Norman Osborn, father of Peter's best friend, Harry. Norman discovered Peter's identity, but due to amnesia forgot both Peter's identity and all his actions as the Goblin, and he seemed to be acting normal. However, stress due to Harry's drug problems brought all the memories rushing back, and Norman decided to take his revenge on Peter Parker by kidnapping Peter's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. The Goblin left Peter a note telling him he had Gwen and Peter tracks them to the George Washington Bridge, where the Goblin has an unconscious Gwen at the top of one of the bridge towers. After a pitched battle, Spidey races to rescue Gwen, but Norman reaches her first and throws her off of the bridge! Spidey valiantly tries to save her with his webbing, but it is too late -- she's dead. Marvel Comics editor Roy Thomas wrote in the letters column: 

"It saddens us to have to say that the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her. In short, it was impossible for Peter to save her. He couldn't have swung down in time; the action he did take resulted in her death; if he had done nothing, she still would certainly have perished. There was no way out." 

Comic readers were in absolute shock at this. Previously, it had been unthinkable to kill off such an important character -- the girlfriend of the main character and a character with a large fan base. But now the readers have entered into the Bronze Age of Comics.  

The last page from Amazing Spider-man #121 remains one of the most iconic and legendary scenes in all of comic book history! And there is no doubt that this page ended the more innocent and satire filled Silver Age of Comics and ushered in the more realistic and darker plot elements of the Bronze Age!

As the Goblin begins to gloat about how Spidey's death will be even easier, Spidey shouts at Goblin and swears his revenge for killing the girl he loves! Eventually, Spider-man tracks him down to an abandoned warehouse where the Goblin hears him, and decides to wait by the entrance, to surprise him when he enters. Spidey figured he'd be there, though, so he surprises the Goblin from a side entrance, taking the Goblin's glider out of commission. The two fight from a distance for awhile with pumpkin bombs and webbing flying back and forth at each other before eventually getting in closer to trade blows. Spider-Man ultimately gets him against a wall and begins to batter him into submission in a blind rage. Eventually, though, his conscience gets to him -- he cannot lower himself to the level of the Goblin -- he cannot kill him! He drops the battered Goblin to the floor and tells him he's going to jail. The Goblin uses this opportunity to use a remote control to send his barely operating glider flying at Spider-Man, its sharpened point ready to impale him! At the last moment, though, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense alerts him to the danger and he leaps out of the way, sending the glider directly into the Goblin, impaling him against the wall, killing him. Despite the death of his greatest enemy, Spider-man does not think justice is served and the death of Gwen Stacy will forever haunt him.



Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!



Check out other "TOP 5 GREATEST BATTLES OF..." here:

Captain Marvel
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-captain.html

Wolverine
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-wolverine.html

The Sub-Mariner
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-sub.html

Batman
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-batman_21.html

The Thing
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-thing.html

Superman
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-superman.html

Thor
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-thor.html

Iron Man
http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-iron-man.html

Juggernaut
  http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-juggernaut.html

The Avengers
 http://hero-envy.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-top-5-greatest-battles-of-avengers.html 

Hyperion


   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.