When it comes to superheroes, there’s always a debate as to which character, series, or artist is the best. However, there aren’t many conversations about which particular issue of a comic book is the best. While it’s all subjective because of how many genres, styles, and characters there are in the comic book world, there are still some that stand out. Here are five contenders that should be brought up in every conversation about the best comic book of all time.
5. Infinity Gauntlet #6
Almost everyone has seen the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that deal with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet that gives him the power to eliminate half of all living beings in the universe. The plot for the films is quite a bit different from the comic book series that shows how Thanos came to power, though.
In “Infinity Gauntlet”, Thanos has already erased half of life by the time the series’s finale comes along. In a twist that never happened in the films, though, Nebula ends up taking the gauntlet from Thanos. Therefore, Thanos has to team up with the heroes (albeit briefly) to stop her from gaining ultimate power in the final showdown.
4. The Incredible Hulk #181
First appearances for heroes will always be valuable, but the quality of that first issue might not hold up so well. One of those debut issues that still holds strong to this day is the debut of Wolverine as he shows up in The Incredible Hulk #181.
After trying and failing to attack Hulk, Wolverine briefly turns his attention to another enemy before he and Hulk go back and forth multiple times throughout the issue. On the cover, Wolverine has a bit of a different look and is dubbed as “The world’s first and greatest Canadian superhero.”
3. Superman Vol. 2 #75
When Superman Vol. 2 #75 was released in November 1992, almost everyone that was familiar with Superman (and even those that weren’t) had to have their hands on this issue. After all, it was known as “The Death of Superman.” Featuring an absolutely brutal battle with Doomsday, this issue also has the famous cover with Superman’s tattered cape on a pole, symbolizing his demise.
During their epic fight, Doomsday and Superman both take each other out for good with one massive simultaneous punch. Lois Lane and paramedics rush to help Superman, but he quickly fades into the beyond, and Earth is left without its greatest hero.
2. The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #121
Perhaps nobody has had as many memorable comic book storylines as Spider-Man, and “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” really resonates as his best. Norman Osbourne really becomes unraveled after his son overdoses and blames Spider-Man for his shortcomings. As the Green Goblin, Osbourne kidnaps Gwen Stacy, ultimately leading to a battle on the George Washington Bridge.
Gwen gets knocked off of the bridge, and Spider-Man naturally uses his webs to catch her. He thinks that he’s saved the day, but realizes that catching her with his webs snapped her neck. It’s a very important storyline for Spider-Man, who then seeks revenge on the Green Goblin.
1. Batman: The Killing Joke #1
No list of great comic book issues would be complete without The Killing Joke. As a warning for those that are introducing people to comic books for the first time, though, this one is very graphic. This once-off issue dives deep into the psychology of the Joker, who kidnaps Barbara Gordon.
The Joker then commits heinous acts against her father, commissioner James Gordon. Batman and the Joker do battle, which ultimately ends with the Joker telling Bats a joke about two inmates escaping an asylum, which gets a chuckle out of Batman. However, the Joker didn’t get away. The ending is open for interpretation, with many thinking that Batman snapped Joker’s neck on the spot for his crimes.