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The Top Five Greatest Comics-To-Movie Scenes

Join for us a countdown of movie moments that made you say, "Hey! I know what exact issue that's from!"

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It’s probably more accurate to call most superhero movies “cumulative” adaptations. That is, they aren’t based a finite series like WATCHMEN, nor on specific story arcs like "Days of Future Past" - - they’re cherry picked from hundreds of issues spread out over several decades. Sure, the typical flick cobbles its first half from the various retellings of the origin story but, most often, the rest of its plot goes in its own direction that adheres to the comics mostly in the broad strokes.

As such, the times when you can recognize which specific issue a scene was taken are a little unusual - - remarkable, even. So, we figured we’d have some fun and think of the most memorable occurrences of this. As always, we claim no academic objectivity here. Is your favorite moment not on this list? Sweet. Go on and share it in the talkback.

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5. Jor-El banishes Zod’s gang to the Phantom Zone in Superman

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No matter how many times the DCU gets rebooted, Zod will probably always a convoluted backstory. That likely has much to do with how the character popularized in the Superman movies was actually a reworked version of an obscure villain, U-Ban. In the one-off issue he starred in, U-Ban was simply one of three Kryptonians who’d been cast in a rocket ship for attempting to rebel against. Neither that - - nor the hokey Phantom Zone projector - - carries as much grandeur as this near-Biblical opening, though. [SUPERMAN #65]

4. Wolverine kills Phoenix out of love in X-Men: the Last Stand

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The flick meshed the “Gifted” arc (or the X-Men animated series episode, “the Cure”) with “the Dark Phoenix Saga,” giving Jean Grey her fearsome Omega-level powers through evolution/mutation instead of an extraterrestrial Phoenix Force and putting her (briefly) under the control of Magneto’s Brotherhood instead of the Hellfire Club. Since she murdered Cyclops at the movie’s start, it's actually Wolverine standing in for Cyke, putting their long-unrequited romance to the forefront. And this time, it's not Jean getting killed through some contrivance of outer-space laser cannons; it's Logan making the heartbreaking decision to kill her since she's too far gone to be allowed to live. [X-MEN #137]

3. Spider-Man no more in Spider-Man 2

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It's basically a trope, now - - the superhero's always going to renounce his secret identity in at least one of the sequels. It was revolutionary when Spidey first did it in the 70's, however; so much so that the scene of Peter Parker walking away from his trashed suit has remained utterly unforgettably. Raimi and his crew would've been remiss, then, not to include the iconic image in a flick where Spidey's doubts about his double life are wrapped up into something of an existential crisis. Seriously, you don't need to know about the psychosomatic, malfunctioning web-shooters. The images above say it all - - in both cases! [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50]

2. Cap crashes into the ice in Captain America: the First Avenger

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This is effectively the “origin” of Cap’s modern incarnation; the tragic turning point that brought him into the present and centered his life on a horrible tragedy. In the comics, Cap winds up in the ice after he and a doomed Bucky Barnes stop an experimental, explosive drone plane devised by Baron Zemo. The movie splits the scene in half, with Bucky’s apparent demise occurring earlier. Now, Cap consciously sacrifices himself by crashing the Red Skull's automated plane before it can drop its nigh-atomic payload on New York. Add his awkward, teary final dialog with Peggy Carter on the radio and you've got a turning point with even more emotional oomph to it . [AVENGERS #56]

1. The Joker cracks Harvey Dent in the Dark Knight

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This flick wears its debt to THE LONG HALLOWEEN (and Heat) more on its sleeve, but many fans don’t realize that it incorporates a lot of THE KILLING JOKE's plot, as well. Swap Jim Gordon for Harvey Dent, and you’ll see that the Joker’s plan to turn a sane man insane through “one bad day” (chaos with another name) by harming his loved one (Barbara Gordon or Rachel Dawes) and subsequently crawling into his head is about the same. That Joker actually succeeds in proving his point in the film when he fails to do so in the comic actually makes both works chilling complementary pieces. [THE KILLING JOKE]