The original Dark Phoenix Saga, imho, is the gold standard for comics. Nothing has surpassed it, some have come close. (I also like the original udea that Jean Grey is the Phoenix, as opposed to it being a separate entity that took her place temporarily, according to the retcon. However, I hate 99.9% of the time characters are brought back from the dead, and I have to say the way Jean was first brought back was better than any other I can think of at the moment.) My list of stories that come close to the DPS are: Days of Future Past(X-men, 1980) The Yesterday Quest(Avengers, 1979) The Killing Joke(Batman, 1988) Age of Apocalypse (X-men, 1995. The entire multi issue arc) Captain America for President(Captain America, 1980? John Byrne) The Trial of Reed Richards(Fantastic Four, 1981, John Byrne) This Man, This Monster(Fantastic Four) The Long Halloween (Batman) The Astonishing X-Men(Joss Whedon's run) The Silver Surfer #1( Stan Lee) What os your "gold standard" and "close to's"?