Take 10

Take 10: This Means War

The Secret Cabal selects the most cataclysmic conflicts in the history of the Marvel Universe



By Ben Morse Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. War—what is it good for? Well, in the Marvel Universe, it's good for drama, action and excitement aplenty, as we've seen in so many epics through the years. From the Secret Invasion currently raging on Earth to the recently announced War of Kings set to tear through space, the MU has erupted with war of late, and the Secret Cabal can't get enough. In fact, all this warfare inspired your favorite anonymous list-makers to take a look back at their 10 favorite Marvel conflicts. For each war, you also get a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. 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. THE KANG DYNASTY Duration: AVENGERS v3 #41-55, AVENGERS ANNUAL 2001 (2001-2002) Why It Makes The List: "Since his introduction, Kang has bedeviled the Avengers with his grand plans to conquer this era, but the swansong of Kurt Busiek's five-year run on AVENGERS saw the futuristic warlord's most ambitious power grab to date. Employing an army culled from across the ages and utilizing his knowledge of past history, Kang causes mass destruction and turns the Earth into a virtual prison camp, necessitating every Avenger ever to stand against him. From the lowest lows of Wasp capitulating before Kang to the highest highs of Captain America striking back, this ultimate Kang saga lived up to its advance billing." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Boiling Point: Kang takes control of a fleet of Sentinels intended to protect Earth from his advances and uses them to kill millions in Washington DC, leading to the Wasp personally signing a surrender on behalf of the Avengers. (AVENGERS v3 #49) Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS: FOREVER #12—Kang battles alongside the Avengers in the Destiny War, leading to his later campaign against all of Earth!

9. SECRET WAR Duration: SECRET WAR #1-5 (2004-2005) Why It Makes The List: "Brainwashed super heroes, ordinary thugs running around in million dollar tech suits, an infamous Latverian ambassador and Nick Fury is in the middle of it all. SECRET WAR is Fury's swan song; it's the ultimate mission in covert-ops: the war that never happened." –Secret Cabal member HeartOfOak Boiling Point: In retaliation for Nick Fury's covert strike on Latveria, Lucia von Bardas unleashes an army of over two dozen villains equipped with cutting edge technology on New York City! (SECRET WAR #4-5) Spotlight Comic: SECRET WAR #1—The mystery behind Nick Fury's "Secret War" begins to unravel as Luke Cage faces a potentially deadly attack!

8. OPERATION: GALACTIC STORM Duration: CAPTAIN AMERICA v1 #398-400, AVENGERS WEST COAST #80-82, QUASAR #32-34, WONDER MAN #7-9, AVENGERS v1 #345-347, IRON MAN v1 #278-279, THOR v1 #445-446 (1992) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "Take the Kree-Skrull War, sub the Skrulls for the Shi'ar, pump it up to a near-20-part epic packed with all the bells and whistles that scream '90s' and you get 'Operation: Galactic Storm.' Featuring dozens of Avengers desperately trying to prevent Earth from getting caught in the middle of a cosmic crossfire by working on multiple fronts, this epic also changed the nature of Earth's Mightiest Heroes for years to come, and altered the dynamic between Captain America and Iron Man forever, as an ethical debate sowed the seeds for what would eventually explode into Civil War." – Annihilator882 Boiling Point: The Supreme Intelligence detonates a Nega Bomb in the heart of his own Kree empire, killing billions, leading Iron Man to undermine the authority of Avengers leader Captain America and leading a delegation to assassinate the Intelligence! (WONDER MAN #9, AVERNGERS v1 #347) Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA v1 #400—Captain America faces the Supreme Intelligence in the fight of his life!

7. THE X-TINCTION AGENDA Duration: UNCANNY X-MEN #270-272, NEW MUTANTS v1 #95-97, X-FACTOR v1 #60-62 (1990-1991) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "The crossover that brought the X-Men back together in what may be their greatest lineup ever! They'd been building up to this story for years and it has it all: amnesiac X-Men, the art of Jim Lee, the insanely awesome Genosha and big, bright battles. This left the X-Men changed, new rosters assembled and brought a cohesive feel to the X-universe that set the standard for over a decade." – Secret Cabal member OneManDynasty Boiling Point: Cameron Hodge brutally murders Warlock as his helpless New Mutants teammate, Wolfsbane, is forced to watch, and broadcasts the event worldwide! (NEW MUTANTS v1 #95) Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #270—The Agenda begins with a bang as former X-Man Havok returns as a Genoshan Magistrate!

6. SECRET WARS Duration: SECRET WARS #1-12 (1984-1985) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "It was the first company-wide crossover for Marvel ever in its own dedicated limited series. It gave us the Black Costume, put She-Hulk on the FF, broke up Kitty and Colossus (boo) and set the stage for how Marvel would still do events 25 years later. But it also gave me something that will always be forever grateful: as a brand new reader when it came out, the toys and comics hit at the perfect time and suddenly I was exposed to all of the characters in the Marvel U. who would become my favorites even today." – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Boiling Point: The villains bury the heroes beneath an entire mountain range, and only the Hulk's incredible strength in holding up the avalanche spares their lives! (SECRET WARS #3) Spotlight Comic: SECRET WARS #1—Heroes and villains alike find themselves mysteriously on Battleworld and immediately go to war!

5. WORLD WAR HULK Duration: WORLD WAR HULK #1-5 and assorted tie-ins (2007) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "HULK SMASH! Not only did this feature some of the Hulk's greatest battles ever—who wasn't terrified of the Hulk after that Black Bolt fight?—but it also featured a very compelling morality tale. When is revenge justified? How much is justified? And who pays the price for the sins of others? Excellent storytelling from Greg Pak and jaw-dropping visuals from John Romita Jr. make this a must-read for any Marvel fan." – OneManDynasty Boiling Point: Iron Man launches a full frontal attack on the Hulk in mammoth modified Hulkbuster armor, but the Green Goliath shatters Shellhead in a pitched battle that demolishes Avengers Tower in the process! (WORLD WAR HULK #1) Spotlight Comic: WORLD WAR HULK PROLOGUE: WORLD BREAKER #1—See the events leading up to the Hulk's violent return to Earth through the eyes of the World Breaker himself!

4. INFINITY WAR Duration: INFINITY WAR #1-6 and assorted tie-ins (1992) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "You know the old phrase, 'You're your own worst enemy?' It's wrong! Your worst enemy is a twisted version of yourself, a doppelganger who sports a giant mouthful of razor-sharp teeth, maybe some extra limbs or cracked-out versions of your abilities and who'll take your identity after kicking your behind. So imagine a whole limited series where Earth's heroes have to battle their evil dupes, near-mindless beings who are under the control of Magus—a blue-hued dude who is all the evil aspects of Adam Warlock's soul given physical presence! And Magus's right hand man is a dupe of Thanos. And Kang and Dr. Doom travel through time and space together to surreptitiously secure the Infinity Gauntlet, all the while planning to betray each other! GAH!" – Secret Cabal member Agent M Boiling Point: Galactus succeeds in activating the Infinity Gauntlet just as the Magus claims it, enabling the villain to unleash a devastating attack on the heroes already overcome by his army of doppelgangers! (INFINITY WAR #5) Spotlight Comic: INFINITY WAR #1—The Magus and his doppelganger force begin their assault on Adam Warlock and the heroes of Earth!

3. ANNIHILATION Duration: ANNIHILATION #1-6 and assorted tie-ins (2006-2007) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "You want war? Well, Annihilation has it in cosmic proportions! Think about it: you got a war that spans two entire universes, destroys nearly the entire Nova Corps and is so epic that it actually warrants the attention of the almighty Galactus! Not to mention it brings back Richard Rider as the lone Nova Centurion into the grand scheme of things and makes him the epitome of badass. What's not to love?" – HeartOfOak Boiling Point: In his opening attack, Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave cut a swath of destruction that obliterates the Kyln and devastates the entire Nova Corps, save for sole survivor Richard Rider! (ANNIHILATION PROLOGUE #1) Spotlight Comic: ANNIHILATION #1—The war begins in earnest as Nova leads his battered forces against Annihilus' seemingly unstoppable horde!

2. THE KREE-SKRULL WAR Duration: AVENGERS v1 #89-97 (1971-1972) Why It Makes The List: "What could possibly save the Earth from becoming the casualty of an intergalactic war between the Kree and the Skrulls? Although you might guess it'd take a whole boatload of super-powered heroes like the Avengers or the Inhumans, you'd ultimately be wrong! It's all on sidekick-supreme Rick Jones, an otherwise ordinary Joe, with no superpowers whatsoever! This complex story of the Kree-Skrull war in fact highlights the strengths of humanity, from the Vision's increasing awareness of emotion to the intuitive intellect of Hank Pym to Rick's heroic actions that bring the war to a close. Writer Roy Thomas reminds us that you don't have to be a God of Thunder or an Iron Man to be a hero!" – Secret Cabal member MightyMsM Boiling Point: In a gambit to turn the tide, the Supreme Intelligence unlocks the dormant "Destiny Force" within the mind of Rick Jones, giving the young Earthling near omnipotent power! (AVENGERS v1 #96-97) Spotlight Comic: NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #1—In the aftermath of the Kree-Skrull War, the Illuminati visit the Skrull homeworld with disastrous results!

1. CIVIL WAR Duration: CIVIL WAR #1-7 and assorted tie-ins (2006-2007) Learn More…here Why It Makes The List: "The war that changed the Marvel Universe on a fundamental level. This was more than heroes battling—this was a debate over the very ideals we all hold dear. The shocking ending puts this event in a whole other level, but the nature of this conflict makes it the stuff of comic lore—was Cap right? Was Iron Man right? Were they both wrong?" – OneManDynasty Boiling Point: The pro-registration faction's cloned Thor blows a hole through the chest of Goliath, killing the massive hero and escalating the conflict to another level! (CIVIL WAR #4) Spotlight Comic: CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES—In a series of short stories, Iron Fist, Venom, USAgent and Howard the Duck take their sides in the Civil War!

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