At long last, round two! We looked at the top ten stories from the Marvel (Comics) Universe’s first five years a few months ago, so let’s move on to the second five years.
In that previous five-year span, everything was fresh, exciting, and unlike anything previously seen in comic books. The freewheeling creativity resulted in a wide range of quality, but certainly plenty of enduring ideas and memorable stories. In this second increment, the Marvel creators have settled into a more comfortable rhythm, achieving a more consistent level of quality. It won’t be every modern reader’s cup of tea, but the era definitely has its share of classics. Here’s ten of them:
10) The Amazing Spider-Man #65 (by Stan Lee and John Romita)
The police arrest an injured Spider-Man…right before the prisoners revolt. Spidey has to use his wits to navigate the situation—and save the life of his girlfriend’s father, Capt. Stacy. It’s a fun adventure that offers a different type of threat than usual, while ongoing subplots continue to simmer in the background. The issue helps strengthen the growing bond between Spider-Man and Capt. Stacy, giving Peter a much-needed friend and mentor, one who instinctively knows Spider-Man can’t be all that bad. Continue reading →
Iron Man takes on a classic sci-fi trope—the invention rising up to replace the inventor. This wouldn’t be the last time Tony Stark’s technology causes trouble, but it’s the first time it happened in an exciting story that holds up pretty well compared to its contemporaries, thanks to the exceptional writing of Archie Goodwin, one of the all-time greats of the industry.
In an earlier issue, Tony made use of a Life Model Decoy (LMD) to help preserve his secret identity, but a freak accident causes the robot to come to life…and this time, it possesses the ambition to become both Tony Stark and Iron Man in the eyes of the world. It has his exact looks, all his knowledge, and none of his heart troubles, and it easily convinces people that the real Stark is actually the imposter. And in order to get his life back, Stark has to resort to working with new villain Madame Masque.
These two issues culminate in an Iron Man vs. Iron Man battle, with Tony donning his original, less sophisticated armor to fight the tireless LMD. And the victory is not without a cost.
Goodwin puts Tony through hell, and in doing so, he gives us one of the highlights of the late ‘60s.
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Penciler: George Tuska
Inker: Johnny Craig
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Essential Iron Man vol. 3 (TPB)