Take 10

Take 10: Great Escapes!

From prison breaks to the depths of hell, we rank some of the greatest escapes in Marvel lore



By John Cerilli Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. This week, in honor of Harold & Kumar's visit with Marvel.com during New York Comic-Con 2008 and the release of "Harold & Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay" on Friday, April 25, we bring you the greatest escapes in Marvel history! The Secret Cabal selected their personal picks for the most exasperating, exciting and just plain excellent escapes! For each blockbuster breakaway you get a quick recap as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Also, come back tomorrow and check out postcards from Harold & Kumar's own escapes and adventures in the Marvel Universe! As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

10. DR. DOOM'S ESCAPE FROM HELL Where It Happened: FANTASTIC FOUR #536-537 (2006) Why It Makes The List: "Dr. Doom escaped from hell, my friend. You don't get much bigger than that. More to the point, the fact he survived long enough to grab ahold of Mjolnir as it passed from the battle of Ragnarok back to Earth proves Doom's status as one of the toughest baddies around. While not the smoothest escape, it served its purpose, dropping a bruised and battered Doom back in his home dimension." —SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comics: FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #536—Doom leaves behind his demonic prison with one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe in his grasp!

9. WOLVERINE TEARS THROUGH THE HELLFIRE CLUB Where It Happened: X-MEN v1 #133 (1980) Why It Makes The List: "The X-Men duped and captured by the nefarious Hellfire Club? The evil Harry Leland expanding Wolverine's mass to presumably lethal levels until he's swept away in a torrent of water? Phoenix believing she's the Black Queen? Oh my, all did not bode well for our mistreated mutants in this classic Chris Clarmont and John Byrne tale—until the very last page of X-MEN #132 that is! Wolverine makes his escape and sounds this warning, "Okay, suckers—you've taken yer best shot! Now it's MY turn!" His turn comes in X-MEN #133 when Wolvie once again proves he's the best at what he does—shredding his way through masked minions and the Hellfire Club itself!"—Duke of Yancy Street Spotlight Comics: X-MEN v1 #133—Wolverine slices and dices the Hellfire Club's soldiers as he attempts to stage the rescue of his fellow X-Men!

8. DAREDEVIL BUSTS OUT OF PRISON Where It Happened: DAREDEVIL v2 #82-86 (2006) Why It Makes The List: "After months of biding his time behind bars, Matt Murdock takes advantage of a full-blown riot to make his escape from Ryker's Island, all the while trying to not give away his secret identity. With a helping hand from the Punisher, Murdock makes escaping from one of the highest security prisons in the Marvel U look easier than a M.O.D.O.K. joke." —SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comics: DAREDEVIL v2 #82—Matt Murdock adjusts to life behind bars!

7. THE SILVER SURFER GETS OFF OF EARTH Where It Happened: SILVER SURFER v2 #1 (1987) Why It Makes The List: "What, the fact that the Sentinel of the Space-Ways managed to outwit Galactus, freeing himself from the exile the Devourer of Worlds had forced upon him, doesn't make this escape's position on the list self-evident? Not many people have managed to disrespect Galactus' authority and live to tell the tale. Of course, the Surfer survived only to find out his former love, Shalla-Bal, no longer had time for him, so you can't call it a total win…" —SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comics: SILVER SURFER v1 #1—Trapped on Earth, the Silver Surfer recalls his awe-inspiring origin!

6. SPIDER-MAN SURVIVES THE "FINAL CHAPTER" Where It Happened: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #33 (1966) Why It Makes The List: "This is everything that makes Spider-Man the most popular super hero in the world. In one single moment, we see that the reason we root for Spider-Man isn't because he's got cool powers or because he's got a nifty costume—it's because he's Peter Parker. Trapped under an enormous weight—a great metaphor for his life—Spidey experiences a moment of doubt, where his physical and mental anguish seems to overpower his innate sense of personal responsibility to those in his life. In overcoming this doubt, Spider-Man reaffirms he's more than a super hero by embracing his better side and being the man his Uncle Ben always believed he'd be. It's his struggles as Peter Parker—and that which matters to him most—that gives him his real strength." —OneManDynasty Spotlight Comics: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #33—Spider-Man struggles against impossible odds to save the life of Aunt May!

5. THE HULK DEPARTS SAKAAR FOR EARTH Where It Happened: INCREDIBLE HULK v2 #105 (2007) Why It Makes The List: "The Illuminati thought they'd seen the last of the Hulk when they sent him hurtling into space…but this just proves that nothing can keep the Green Goliath down! After surviving Sakaar's gladiatorial rings and numerous attempts by the Red King to kill him and his companions, the Hulk sparks a revolution and essentially beats the snot out of an entire world. Said world then explodes, and he still manages to escape. And that, my friends, is why you never mess with the Hulk."—SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comics: INCREDIBLE HULK v2 #92—"Planet Hulk" begins as the Green Goliath crash lands on the savage planet of Sakaar!

4. VILLAINS BREAK OUT OF THE RAFT Where It Happened: NEW AVENGERS #1-6 (2005) Why It Makes The List: "What event could bring a new team of Avengers together after the Scarlet Witch—one of their own—went crazy, killed a few members and pretty much destroyed the team? How about when the supervillain Electro storms The Raft, an island super-prison, and busts out dozens of vicious, homicidal, uber-villains? While just one part of a larger chain of events, this brouhaha ushered in a new era for the Avengers—and very nearly destroyed it at the same time." —Agent M Spotlight Comics: NEW AVENGERS #2—A rag tag team including Captain America, Spider-Man and Luke Cage struggles to contain the mass breakout on the Raft!

3. WOLVERINE LIBERATES HIMSELF FROM WEAPON X Where It Happened: MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS v1 #72-84 (1991) Why It Makes The List: "Before there was Wolverine, there was Weapon X. Awash in blood and ensnared in a berserker rage, the man who would become one of Marvel's most beloved characters escaped the Weapon X facility after enduring the process that gave him his adamantium skeleton. What's more brutal than surviving the excruciating process of having your whole skeleton covered in an unbreakable metal? Eviscerating everyone and everything on your way out. Wolverine, FTW!" —Agent M Spotlight Comics: MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #72—The epic story of how the man called Logan became the engine of destruction called Wolverine begins!

2. CAPTAIN AMERICA LEAPS FROM THE S.H.I.E.L.D. HELICARRIER Where It Happened: CIVIL WAR #1 (2006) Why It Makes The List: "When Captain America is told by S.H.I.E.L.D. head Maria Hill that he'd be tasked with rounding up dissident heroes unwilling to register with the U.S. government, he stands his ground and says he won't do it. But when she calls in the shock troopers armed with tranquilizers, ready and willing to take Cap down, he busts some heads and begrudgingly tears into the unlucky soldiers. What ensues is one of comics' most kinetic actions sequences as Cap holds his own against a horde of troops, smashes out of the helicarrier and lands atop a fighter jet, surfing it to safety." —Agent M Spotlight Comics: CIVIL WAR #1—A tragedy of the highest degree drives a wedge between the heroes of the Marvel Universe!

1. IRON MAN IS BORN Where It Happened: TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 (1963) Why It Makes The List: "There's so much about the Iron Man origin story that sets it apart, from the change in Tony's life at a period other than adolescence to the fact that he's not really a very nice guy, and the escape story really ranks right up there. Taken captive because of his skill—something the villains know because of Tony's ego and arrogance—Tony Stark is removed from everything that makes him 'Tony Stark.' The women, the toys, the fame, the money, it's all taken away in an instant and he's stripped bare of that by which he defines himself. His subsequent escape—including the Iron Man armor creation—is a rebirth of the man as something more, someone better than the person who was captured. This transformation makes Tony's escape more than just an act of survival—it's now about Tony escaping the shell of his former self to become a hero." —OneManDynasty Spotlight Comics: TALES OF SUSPENSE #39—A captive in the midst of a war, Tony Stark's only hope of freedom is to rely on his wits and become more than a man!

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