Friday, February 26, 2016

Top 5 Fridays: Top 5 "Old Heroes Return" Stories

Welcome back to another exciting installment of Top 5 Fridays! This week's Legends of Tomorrow had an old Oliver Queen come back out of retirement to help save his city, we currently have a series with an old Batman ready to protect the world from kryptonians, that same old Batman is the inspiration behind the Dark Knight in Batman vs. Superman, and we have a middle aged Superman from pre-New 52 flying around. So this had me wonder: What is it with Older Heroes? What makes these heroes that should belong in a retirement home so cool? While I don't know everyone's answers, I believe its the fact that even at old age these heroes can be bad ass, and thats why today we'll be covering the Top 5 "Old Heroes Return" Stories. The rules to qualify are that the story must deal with a hero that is over 50 years of age. As per usual there are a lot of comics out there, and it's impossible to read them all, so if you don't see a comic you like, I apologize. Enough talk! Bring out your old man reading glasses and dive in..

5: Spider-Man: Reign
Writer/Artist: Kaare Andrews
In this world, Spider-Man retired many years ago after the death of Mary Jane Watson-Parker, and without him a new force polices the streets: The Reign. Meanwhile the mayor plans to launch a protective laser system called the WEBB to protect the city, but also make it a police state. With corruption on the streets and a sinister plan in the Mayors office, Peter Parker dons his mask again as Spider-Man to save the city one last time! When the reviews for this story came out, it was described as The Dark Knight Returns with Spider-Man... And while this is somewhat true, it is an enjoyable story. In my mind, I always see Parker as the joking child friendly superhero, so to see him in a dark future is awesome. The art in the story fits the world perfectly and the story takes a dark twist that I didn't see coming. To those who are asking, "why haven't I heard of this story?" Well you probably have. The story is infamous for how Mary Jane dies: Peter's "love" is radioactive just like his blood, and while it definitely needed to be phrased better, it is a dark take on a side effect of Peter's origin. If you can find the story in trade, I recommend it...just don't show your kids.

4: The Blue Flash Story Arcs
Writer: Van Jensen, Robert Vendetti
Artist: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Alright, this is cheating a little bit as the storyline isn't contained in its own world like the others on this list. Let's face facts though, Future Barry Allen is one dark speedster for a Flash story. His storyline is full of tragedy since the moment we saw what happened to Wally five years from the present. When we find him MANY years later he's old, tormented, looking like half the man he was. He then shows off how dark he actually has become by blowing up Gorilla Grodd's head. After stopping other events, and sending Barry to the savage lands of the speed force, he gets to work protecting the future by pureeing hearts, cutting off limbs and other violent acts. He had a point but to see the Flash, a man who inspires more hope than Superman(according to the Blue Lantern Ring) kills off villains, it's insane! Even after the Rebirth, I hope people find these arcs and reads the heck out of them!

3: Wolverine: Old Man Logan
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
If there's one thing both fans of DC and Marvel agree on, it's the fact that Wolverine is one of the most bad ass characters in comic history. So when Mark Millar wanted to write a story Apocalyptic future with him, it was almost to good to be true. It follows  the story of Logan, 50 years from the present. An all out villain attacked wiped out many superheroes, leaving Red Skull in charge of America, and splits it with other big villains. One day a blind Hawkeye comes to Logan for help with a job that would take him across the country. With a debt owed to the Hulk Clan, Logan reluctantly agrees. If I could use a single word to describe this arc, it would be VIOLENT. You feel every stab and slice as people are gutted, decapitated, shot, and die in other violent ways by the villains, Hawkeye, and even the pacifist Logan. Every fight in this story is bloody, the settings are dark, and the characters are memorable. It might be one of Marvel's most violent stories, and with a character like Logan at the center, you know it's good.

2: The Dark Knight Returns
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson
Like there was any chance in hell THIS story wasn't going to be on this list. To say this story needs no introduction because of how good it is would still be a disservice. This story could possibly be the first old hero returns story in comics and set the standard on how epic comic storytelling should be. This essential Batman story has memorable characters and quotable scenes that truly shape the world and make the readers feel what it's like to be in this dark future. One of my favorite scenes, doesn't have any violence in it, but actually analyzes the character of Batman. After listening to a bunch of news reports, Bruce begins to hear the voice of Batman, telling him that he needs to return. Yes, the satire can get in the way sometimes. Yes, sometimes the art can be a little distracting, but at its core the story itself is really good and it shows that no matter how old the heroes got, Justice doesn't let age stop it.

1: Kingdom Come
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Alex Ross
You know what's as good as one old hero returning? An entire league returning! While the story focuses more on Superman's return we do get the return of other heroes with their older, wiser way of keeping Justice on the forefront, along with their issues as they grew older. Batman's body is much to fragile, Wonder Woman's mission took too long and was deemed a failure, Billy Batson too afraid of becoming Captain Marvel again because of a world that hates Superheroes, etc. It's a dark world the Justice League returns to as the 'Heroes of Tomorrow' bring their own special brand of Justice to the world, turning the term Superhero and make people afraid of it. Lines are drawn and by the end we see an all out superhero war with mixing ideologies. Add the magnificent art of Alex Ross into the mix and you have a story that surpasses even the Dark Knight Returns as legendary.

That's it for this week's Top 5 Fridays! What story with an old hero making a comeback do you enjoy? Leave a comment and I'll see ya next time!


  1. Thank you Jody. Finally some remembers one of the best stories ever written at DC that is Kingdom Come.
    As for the rest of the list, the only one I had a problem with was the Flash. I'd replace the Flash with almost any Batman Beyond Story.

    1. As I do like the Batman beyond stories, those stories revolve more around terry than an old man