Spilling out of the FF thread, I wondered how many characters have had their definitive run - the series of books that so defined the character and storylines that were so perfect that the property might never reach the same heights ever again, and instead books that come after will continually refer to this run. Books that ended up being the peak for the characters. Drop the mike books.
Examples might be Frank Miller’s Daredevil, or Byrne and Clairemont X Men, or Simonson Thor or Ditko Spiderman. There was before these books, then after, but they’ll define the character forevermore.
Feel free to share if you can think of any examples, and also if you think there’s any characters left in either Marvel or DC that haven’t had definitive runs. I’ll start with my choices:
Thanos - The Infinity Gauntlet. I don’t think he’s ever going to escape that story and really there’s not much point in doing anything more with him. Marvel might be wise to just retire him.
Punisher - Garth Ennis run. He so elevated the character, so defined him and captured his voice, both in comical settings and in deadly serious books, that I think they should just retire him now.
Adam Warlock - Perez and Magnus. He should have stayed dead after this book. It was so perfectly trippy and for the character that everything since refers to it and feels incredibly inferior.
Character I don’t think have had definitive runs (or anything close): Inhumans, Ghost Rider, Martian Manhunter.