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Take 10

Take 10: Top Fights of 2008

We count down the best battles of 2008

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. Last week, Marvel.com began our annual look back at the outgoing year's best of the best, and this week the celebration rumbles on with the finest fights of 2008! Which battles rocked the Secret Cabal's world in the last year? Find out! And make sure to follow all the way to the bottom of the page as we proudly present the the Take 10 Video Countdown! For each fight you get the quick rundown as well as 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. X-FORCE VS THE PURIFIERS Where It Went Down: X-FORCE (2008) #1-6 Why It Makes The List: Pint for pint the bloodiest fracas of 2008, X-Force's campaign against the Purifiers made the Alamo look like a picnic! Following their actions before and during "Messiah CompleX," the Purifiers earn Cyclops' attention in a nasty way, prompting him to send Wolverine and the newly formed X-Force to dismantle them during extreme prejudice. While the raw savagery of Wolverine, X-23 and their teammates tip the battle in the favor of the X-Men's black ops squad to begin with, but Matthew Risman has his own surprises-that could prove as detrimental to him as to his opponents! Turning Point: When the Purifiers manipulate a mind-controlled Wolfsbane into ripping off Angel's wings, they end up having to deal with a furious Archangel in his place! Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE (2008) #1-Wolverine, Warpath, X-23 and Wolfsbane unite as the new X-Force to take the Purifiers out!

9. THE X-MEN VS THE MARAUDERS VS PREDATOR X VS BISHOP Where It Went Down: X-MEN #207 Why It Makes The List: The explosive conclusion of "Messiah CompleX" featured the very height of mutant mayhem, as the X-Men and their "extended family" as well as the Marauders and their allies plus the x-factors Predator X and rogue X-Man Bishop all converge on Muir Island with different agendas! As Cable tries to protect the Messiah baby, Bishop moves in for the kill and Predator X moves in for a meal while above them dozens of mutants work out their issues with adamantium claws, vibranium knives, optic energy blasts and everything else imaginable! Turning Point: With the X-Men on the ropes due to their opponents' familiarity with their tactics, Cyclops proves his worth as a field commander by dispatching X-Force to aid Cable against Bishop and Predator X while sending the neophyte New X-Men against the Marauders, throwing the baddies off balance! Spotlight Comic: X-MEN #200-A new team of Marauders ambushes the X-Men at their weakest ebb!

8. THOR VS FROST GIANTS Where It Went Down: THOR: AGES OF THUNDER Why It Makes The List: Set in a time long before Thor learned about silly mortal concepts like "humility" or "restraint," the pair of tales presented in this one-shot special show the Thunder God in his most raw element, knocking Frost Giants' heads off and not bothering to take names. Despite being among the most feared creatures in Asgard, even en masse, the Frost Giants' raw power proves little resistance for the Odinson as he unleashes his full, unabashed might, battering his foes with his fists and bloodying his hammer as he massacres them. Never has a Thor quite like this been on display. Turning Point: After a disastrous attempt by Loki and the other Asgardians at cheating a Frost Giant out of his rightful prize-the Enchantress' hand in marriage-it seems as if the lazy gods will face humiliating defeat, until their favorite son rides over the horizon, returning from a fruitful hunt. A few swings of Mjolnir later and Thor has increased his Frost Giant hit count by one. Spotlight Comic: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #97-Thor first clashes with Ymir, mightiest of the Frost Giants!

7. IRON MAN VS EZEKIEL STANE Where It Went Down: INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #5-6 Why It Makes The List: They say a hero's challenges define him, and few Marvel stalwarts have faced more adversity than Tony Stark, aka Iron Man-this year, the Golden Avenger found himself tested on a whole new level. Going up against Ezekiel Stane, boy genius and son of one of his greatest rivals, Iron Man, always known for being on the cutting edge of technology, ended up locked in combat with the face of the generation beyond his own, an enemy with a personal axe to grind and no compunctions about how far he would go. At the end of the day, past Stane's acts of terrorism and grand manipulations, the feud between Stark and his would-be successor boiled down to a hardcore armor-against-armor showdown with neither man holding back. Turning Point: Just when Stane thinks he has wiped out Stark once and for all to claim his destiny, Tony plays the ultimate trump card: an entire fleet of remote controlled Iron Men targeted on his rival's head! Spotlight Comic: INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1-Ezekiel Stane begins his campaign to destroy Tony Stark and Iron Man!

6. COSMIC HEROES VS ULTRON Where It Went Down: ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #5-6 Why It Makes The List: Giving new meaning to the term "widescreen action," Ultron's alliance with the Phalanx and attempted conquest of the Marvel cosmos redefined the space-faring epic once again this past year. But for all the cross-galaxy rocket chases and swarms of robotic Kree Sentries assaulting alien landscapes, things really built to a fever pitch when the band of cosmic misfits committed to stopping Ultron in his tracks made their last stand against the robotic would-be overlord. In a classic case of heart trumping overwhelming odds, the good guys took their licks but found a way to win and slag Ultron's circuits once more. Turning Point: With the motley crew of Quasar, Super-Skrull, Wraith and Star-Lord being the only thing left standing between Ultron and victory, things seemed grim-until out of a stargate came rad reinforcements in the form of Nova, Drax, Gamora and the long-missed Warlock, formerly of the New Mutants! Spotlight Comic: ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #2-Ultron stands revealed and advances his evil agenda!

5. THOR VS ODIN Where It Went Down: THOR: MAN OF WAR Why It Makes The List: His patience with his son's arrogance and callousness at an end, the All-Father Odin sends the deadly Valkyrie after Thor, but is displeased when his hand-picked assassin ends up allying with the Thunder God against a Frost Giant and then joining him in celebration. His hand forced, Odin descends from Asgard and engages his wayward progeny in a battle that literally rocks the heavens! When the thunder and lightning clears, both gods have suffered grievous wounds and Odin has taught his boy a lesson that will reverberate for millennia, but not without a price. Turning Point: Never one to do things halfway, Odin dons the devastating Destroyer armor and unsheathes the fabled Odinsword to pit against his son's battle prowess and mastery over the elements of the sky! Spotlight Comic: THOR #353-Thor and Odin stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the threat of Surtur!

4. THE NEW AVENGERS VS THE HOOD'S SUPER VILLAIN ARMY Where It Went Down: NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #2 Why It Makes The List: After seemingly routing the Hood and his cadre of super villains on their turf, the New Avengers are caught by surprise when the would-be Kingpin and his troops ambush them in Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum! Desperate times call for desperate measures as Spider-Man, Luke Cage and the rest of the Avengers push themselves to their limits, but in the end it is Dr. Strange who must make a supreme sacrifice to save his friends! Turning Point: The Hood has Iron Fist dead to rights when an unexpected save comes in the form of Tigra, the heroine who the villains tortured to learn the Avengers' location. Hell hath no fury like a cat-woman scorned! Spotlight Comic: NEW AVENGES ANNUAL #2-The Avengers go on the defensive when the Hood and his allies storm their homebase!

3. IRON FIST & THE IMMORTAL WEAPONS VS HYDRA Where It Went Down: IMMORTAL IRON FIST #14 Why It Makes The List: Iron Fist is a character built for awesome fights, and since its debut two years ago, his current ongoing title has provided no shortage of said rad battles, but perhaps none have come close to the jaw-dropping, spin-kicking, kung fu crazy finale to the "Seven Capital Cities of Heaven" opus. Having battled his way through an intense martial arts tournament, Danny Rand-aka the Immortal Iron Fist-must unite his rivals and the armies of K'un-L'un to stave of the hordes of Hydra and save his immortal city from destruction! Lucky for Danny, he's got the original Heroes For Hire and more than a few surprises up his skintight sleeve to overcome the odds. Turning Point: It's a tie here, as it's pretty tough to choose between Danny transforming himself into a human bullet powered by a combination of chi and electro-magnetic force to shatter Hydra's death train before it can reach K'un-L'un and Davos, the Steel Phoenix and long-time rival to Iron Fist, choosing to finally fight on the side of right and preventing the duplicitous Yu-Ti from escaping his punishment. Spotlight Comic: IMMORTAL IRON FIST #8-The tournament of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven kicks off!

2. SPIDER-MAN & ANTI-VENOM VS THE GREEN GOBLIN & THE THUNDERBOLTS Where It Went Down: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #568-573 Why It Makes The List: Among the classic Marvel rivalries that have permeated the past 70 years, Spider-Man vs the Green Goblin-or Peter Parker vs Norman Osborn, if you prefer-stands out as one of the most personal and brutal feuds ever. It's been a couple years since the two faced off, and Norman rarely dusts off the ol' Goblin togs these days, so when Spidey and his archnemesis pitted webs against pumpkins once more during "New Ways to Die" this past summer, it felt like something special. Of course, a Wallcrawler-Goblin clash was only the main event, with a long-awaited showdown between Venoms past and present, a deadly duet between Spidey and Bullseye, and the elder Osborn's first meeting with Menace peppering an action-packed undercard! Turning Point: When the new Venom tracks down Peter Parker at the F.E.A.S.T. shelter where Aunt May works, it seems as its curtains for Spider-Man, until Eddie Brock, the first Venom, undergoes a shocking transformation to become Anti-Venom! Entering the fray as a wild card, Anti-Venom initially causes even more problems for Spidey, but ultimately ends up driving off the Thunderbolts and his successor with his incredible new powers. Spotlight Comic: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300-Long before they became uneasy allies, Spider-Man and the original Venom, Eddie Brock, engage in a brutal war!

1. THE MARVEL HEROES AND VILLAINS VS THE SKRULLS Where It Went Down: SECRET INVASION #1-8 Why It Makes The List: Incredible stakes-who gets to keep Earth-and a wide range of participants-the Skrulls on one side and everybody from the Avengers to the Thunderbolts to Nick Fury to Thor to Captain America to the Hood and many many more on the other-made Secret Invasion not just a skirmish or a battle, but a literal war. The personal rage felt by heroes like Ronin and Reed Richards at the Skrulls' deceptions and the effects on their own lives added to the already breakneck intensity of every punch thrown, arrow shot or repulsor blast unleashed. Throw in an army of Super-Skrulls combining the powers of every Marvel hero and villain ever, a tragic casualty among Earth's Mightiest, and the unlikeliest of "heroes" firing the final shot, this campaign that stretched from the Savage Land to New York City with stops and side trips to Wakanda, Great Britain, San Francisco and just about everywhere else, Secret Invasion was without a doubt the fight of the year. Turning Point: With the Avengers distracted in the Savage Land and an overwhelmed corps of the Young Avengers and Initiative recruits falling before the might of the Skrulls, New York City seems poised to become the aliens' new beachhead until Nick Fury makes his triumphant return! With the Secret Warriors at his back and a big ol' gun in his hands, Fury lives up to his name, tearing through the Skrull ranks and refusing to trust anybody-including Ms. Marvel-as he shows the chops that made him a war hero in the first place. Spotlight Comic: SECRET INVASION #1-The battle for Earth between human and Skrull begins!
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