The 10 Most Important Marvel Comics Of The 1990s, Ranked

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Marvel’s history in the 1990s is filled with dizzying highs and terrible lows. The publisher had some of its biggest hits of all time, but also went bankrupt. It produced some of the greatest artists the comic medium has ever seen, but has seen many of them leave for the greener pastures of the picture. The X-Men books became the industry’s biggest draw, but the rest of the line faltered for most of the decade.

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Marvel was the biggest publisher in the country, but they were often the most criticized as they chased away Image’s avant-garde vibe. However, they still released some great comics – including ones that were very important to the publisher – that changed the Marvel Universe forever.

ten Captain America (Vol. 1) #444 brought the title back to greatness


Captain America #444

Captain America struggled for most of the 90s. Sales continued to decline as readers apparently didn’t want heroes like the Sentinel of Liberty anymore. Captain America (Vol.1) #444, by writer Mark Waid and artist Ron Garney, proved that was not the case. Waid was one of the greatest writers of the 90s and Garney was the perfect artist for Cap’s adventures.

Waid ditched the whole trend the title had become known for and took a back-to-basics approach, which paid off. Captain America went viral again and fans loved it. Unfortunately, the heroes reborn the deal was already signed, and Waid and Garney were forced off the book, though they would return after this aborted reboot.

9 Onslaught: Marvel Universe #1 paved the way for heroes rebirth


Marvel Universe Assault

heroes reborn represented one of Marvel’s biggest attempts to rehabilitate the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and the seeds were planted in Assault: Marvel Universe #1, by writers Scott Lobdell and Mark Waid, and artists Adam Kubert and Joe Bennet. Tying the “Onslaught” story into an arc, it ended with the Avengers and FF being sent back to their new home.

heroes reborn is infamous in Marvel history but remains an important part of it. The “Onslaught” story, built up over months in the X-Men books, was chosen as the vehicle. And because of reborn heroes, the book has a sad reputation.


8 The New Mutants #98 introduced Deadpool to the world


New Mutants 98

Rob Liefeld’s legacy as a designer is checkered at best; however, there’s no denying how important he was to ’90s Marvel. New Mutants #98, written by Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza with art by Liefeld, introduced several new characters to the X-Men mythos – the biggest being Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth was very different when it started but would go on to do great things.

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Deadpool has since become one of Marvel’s biggest crossover stars. He even has a legion of fans who never read comic books (and that was before he starred in two popular solo films). More than any other character created by Liefeld (even X-Men mainstay Cable), Deadpool’s impression on pop culture is undeniable.


7 X-Men: Alpha #1 Kickstarted the Age of Apocalypse


The age of apocalypse is one of the most beloved X-Men stories of all time. The massive forty-issue storyline was kicked off by X-Men: Alpha #1, by writers Scott Lobdell and Mark Waid and artists Roger Cruz and Steve Epting. The issue kicked off the story in epic fashion, introducing X-Men fans to a very different world.

The age of apocalypse was a huge bet that paid off. X-Men: Alpha #1 was the perfect opener, setting up the storylines that would be carried out through the ten miniseries and X-Men: Omega #1. All these years later, the comic still holds up.


6 X-Men #25 Changed Wolverine & Magneto For The Rest Of The ’90s


X-Men 25 cropped

X-Men #25, by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Andy Kubert, was the penultimate chapter of “Fatal Attractions”, pitting the X-Men against Magneto in a climactic showdown. This battle led to one of the biggest X-Men moments of the decade, as Magneto ripped Wolverine’s adamantium and Professor X wiped him clean.

The story took Magneto off the table for the rest of the decade (until “The Magneto War” in 1998) and planted the seeds for the Onslaught storyline. It also changed Wolverine’s status quo until 1999 and kicked off the character’s Bone Claw era. It would change how fans viewed the Canadian mutant and lead to both great and lesser Wolverine stories.


5 Web Of Spider-Man #117 Kickstarted The Clone Saga


Cropped Spider-Man 117 web

Spider-Man’s Clone Saga is one of Wall-Crawler’s most infamous stories. It changed the momentum of Spider-Man over the decade, and it all started in Spider-Man web #117, by writer Terry Kavanagh and artist Steven Butler. Ben Reilly’s introduction started the long-running story – which is still debated to this day.

The Clone Saga was an idea that could have been great. Fans were actually pretty into the story early on; however, Marvel saw the sales and extended the whole thing. Years passed and fans turned to the story, damaging the Spider-Man brand until the arrival of writer J. Michael Straczynski in the early 2000s.


4 Marvels #1 reminds readers of the greatness of the early Marvel Universe


Marvel Human Torch Alex Ross

The 90s was a time when fans seemed to steer clear of the more classic elements of comics. Wonders #1, by writer Kurt Busiek and artist Alex Ross, changed all that. Presentation daily bugle Photographer Phil Seldon, as he documented the start of the Marvel Universe in the Golden Age and beyond, reminded readers of the joys of Marvel history.

wonders was the breakthrough comic for Busiek and Ross, two creators who would go on to do great things at Marvel and DC. wonders remains a classic 90s Marvel comic where the writing was just as great as the art.




3 Avengers (Vol. 3) #1 Made The Avengers Even Better


The story of the Avengers in the 90s is pretty depressing until 1998. The decade started out pretty well for the team, but as sales slumped, Marvel continued trends to try and make the book of the 1990s. popular team again. Nothing worked and Heroes are reborn’The attempt to sell the book to Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios did more harm than it helped.

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After the story ended, Marvel made the right decision and reunited writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Perez to Avengers (Vol.3) #1. Their run was the best the Avengers had been in years and made Busiek one of the most important Avengers writers. It remains a high watermark for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.


2 Daredevil (Vol. 2) #1 Held the Key to Marvel’s Future


In 2000, Joe Quesada was named editor of Marvel Comics. It reset the publisher’s cap and its management is responsible for some of the most important Marvel comics of the 2000s. The genesis of this comes from Daredevil (Vol. 2) #1, by writer Kevin Smith and artist Quesada and his inking partner Jimmy Palmiotti.

Although getting writer/director Smith was a coup, the book marked the beginning of the Marvel Knights imprint, led by Quesada and Palmiotti. The imprint took B-list and C-list Marvel properties and made them popular, showing how good the two were at running a line. Quesada’s future at Marvel changed the company and the comic book industry.


1 X-Men (Vol. 2) #1 is the best-selling comic of all time


X-Men (Vol.2) #1, by writer Chris Claremont and artist Jim Lee, cemented the X-Men as the greatest comic book franchise. The book featured the redesign of Blue Team and Lee’s iconic costumes, and it also kicked off Claremont’s final X-Men story – the end of Marvel’s longest run by a writer. It is also the best-selling comic book of all time, selling over eight million copies.

This book left an indelible mark on the comic book industry. Lee was already a star but that made him a superstar, and the end of the Claremont run was a milestone. This comic set the tenor of the X-Men for the rest of the decade and changed things in comics forever.

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