14. BIRDS OF PREY
The cover of “Birds of Prey” #14 (2000) may advertise the “Last Stand Against The Fury of LASHINA!” but that plot line isn’t important. The true last stand belongs to a ragtag group of marshals and a busload of D-list super villain convicts marooned on Apokolips. While Black Canary tries to track down a Mother Box to teleport out, the marshals and villains form a temporary alliance to hold off against a planet’s worth of Parademons. Lead Marshall Dina even acknowledges that this will be their Thermopylae, facing a “jillion to one” odds with reinforcements a dimension away.
It’s a shining moment of the most esoteric of DC’s villains and nameless marshals — shout out to all two of you Shrapnel fans out there — in an epic battle that will ultimately rank as a blip in the grand scheme of the DC universe. From this insignificance, however, comes one of the most beautifully badass speeches: “It’s a last stand. No quarter. We can’t be sure Canary will deliver the goods. We have to face the fact we’re not leaving here. They might overrun us. They might beat us. They might kill us. But they’ll never forget us.”
13. THE THANOS IMPERATIVE
A sort of sequel series of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Thanos Imperative” (2010) focuses on Marvel’s cosmic heroes trying to close a rip in our universe known as the Fault. Through the Fault, there exists the Cancerverse, made up of nightmare Avengers and apparently everyone who died of cancer. Seriously, Captain Marvel, historically known for dying of cancer, is King Cancer in the Cancerverse. Bad taste aside, this last stand moment comes in the form of Nova (Richard Rider) and Star Lord deciding to stay behind for the final 60 seconds of the Cancerverse before it implodes, ensuring that Thanos doesn’t teleport out or pull some sort of cosmic nonsense.
The details of this suicide run was withheld until “Guardians of the Galaxy: Original Sin,” (2015) where that 60 seconds rule is changed, significantly undercutting the significance of Nova and Star Lord’s sacrifice. Regardless, it stands as a sort of infinite last stand, as 616 characters cannot die in the Cancerverse. This loophole results in a game of cracked Cosmic Cube keep-away between Thanos, Nova, Drax, Star Lord and The Revengers, with the 616 heroes dying and being reborn almost instantly to fight on.