Annihilation was a Crisis Crossover for all the space-based heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe, which ran along side Civil War. Civil War pales in comparison to Annihilation in so many ways. A small handful of the moments of pure awesome are Galactus being freed from Annihilus' ship and Nova Ripping Annihilus' entrails out through his throat.
Galactus: HERALD MY RAGE!
Nova: THIS IS FOR NOVA CORPS!
Super Skrull, at the end of his arc in Annihilation, sacrifices himself for Praxagora, finally admitting he loves her, AND saves countless lives by destroying the Harvester of Sorrow
In the wake of Annihilation, Nova found himself back on Earth. Iron Man invited him along to SHIELD's helicarrier to discuss the current state of Earth. Nova was incredulous that the reason behind his call for help in fighting the Annihilation Wave was that the heroes were too busy fighting over secret identities.
Nova: Galactic culture nearly collapsed. Billions died. The Skrull empire's gone. Xandar, too, along with huge chunks of the Kree territories. Quasar died in front of my eyes. Even Thanos was killed. And you heard something... vague?
Iron Man: You say Annihilus was the driving force? What happened to him?
Nova: I pulled him inside out and saved the universe. What have you done lately, Tony?
First, scroll down to the section on The Avengers and read about what a badass Ultron is. Then go here and read about the time Daredevil knocked Ultron's head off with a stick.
The climax of the landmark Daredevil: Born Again storyline, where Matt Murdock, whose life had been utterly destroyed by the Kingpin after his identity was discovered, is getting his act together. The Kingpin gets desperate, and gets a Psycho for HireCostume Copycat to dress as Daredevil and kill Murdock's friends, framing him for the crime. Matt saves his friends, kicks the crap out of the impostor, steals his costume, and goes off to take on drug-fueledSuper Soldier Nuke in one of the most memorable issues in Marvel history.
Specifically, in issue #232, when he kisses Karen Page and dons the costume (for the first time in several issues). He gets ready to fight Nuke, and the iconic final image of the comic book is a teaser for next month's issue, with the words "'NEXT: ARMAGEDDON" imposed over a shot of Murdock in front of a wall of flames. It's that awesome.
The Avengers turning up. As the narration puts it, Captain America speaking in a voice that sounds like it could command a God, and does.
Issues #30-32 of Volume 1, when Murdock loses his radar sense due to an experimental power ray invented by Cobra and Mr. Hyde. When the two villains attempt to rob a jewelery store, Murdock goes to face them, despite having no radar or sight. He scares the duo off by walking a high-wire rope between two buildings.
Brian Michael Bendis' run on the second series also yielded some incredibly memorable moments:
Murdock beating a legion of Yakuza hitmen while walking at night...using only his walking cane.
Yakuza Hitmen who were taking superpower drugs of the caliber that once one person taking them took down Spider-Woman. 100 of them! All armed to the teeth! And the tongues!
The "Hardcore" arc saw the Kingpin send a number of enemies to fight Murdock and bring down his resolve. The story culminates in two crowning moments of awesome.
A no-holds-barred fight with Bullseye, which ends with Murdock carving a target into Bullseye's head, and
The final showdown with the Kingpin, during which Murdock mounts him on a car and drives him through the wall of a bar, then declares HIMSELF the Kingpin of Hell's Kitchen.
Mr Bullseye himself gets a few CMoAs in Daredevil. Personally his fight with Elektra (Given a Shout-Out in the Film) culminating with "You're pretty good, but me? I'm Magic" is one of my all time favourite comic moments.
Daredevil Vol 1 #304, May 1992. "34 Hours". Matt manages to stop a stressed cop from shooting an indie film star with a fake gun, a pedophile from abducting a little boy, and a martial arts performer from injuring imself, all at the same time. Ready? Matt's perched on an arch, about to eat an apple. He senses the cop's rising tension, the pedophile offering to "lift the kid up" so he can get a better photo, and the can belonging to the sword guy (who has excellent sword-juggling banter) rolling towards him. As Matt stands up, the can rolls under the sword guy's foot, and he falls backward. The pedo tightens his grip on the kid, the cop pulls his gun out, and Daredevil leapes from the arch as the sword falls. Pedo threatens to break the kids arm, and the cop flashes his badge and revolver at the actor. People react in surprise as they notice DD, who lands, rolls, and grabs the falling sword. "Mind if I borrow this?" The actor tries to show the cop the gun's fake, but he's not buying it. DD pivots with one hand on a wall, and throws the sword at the pedo. It grazes his arm, and lets go of the kid in shock. Just as the cop pulls the trigger, DD dives forward, catching the hammer on his hand. Keep in mind he has Super Senses, and it hurts like billy-o. The cop apologizes, and DD points him toward the pedo. At the request of the people of New York, DD bows. And the rest of that comic is pretty much just DD being awesome.
Daredevil in the Shadowlands arc actually murders Bullseye on tv. It's so awesome, even J. Jonah Jameson spends more time tearing Bullseye down than actually condemning Daredevil for what happened.
The newest Iron Fist series has crowning moments often. One of the first has Iron Fist and Steel Serpent create a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom when their chi enhanced kicks collide. This demolishes an office building.
The last female Iron Fist, Wu Ao-Shi, defeating an army of pirates using chi enhanced arrows and becoming the Pirate Queen.
The previous Iron Fist Orson Randall demonstrating how Wu Ao-Shi's technique can be applied to bullets.
Steel Phoenix regenerating a chopped off hand and wrecking Tiger's Beautiful Daughter's shit hardcore.
Prince of Orphans, John Aman, turning into green mist and effortlessly beating the crap out of Steel Phoenix, Davos.
Iron Fist using his chi to turn himself into a human bullet and destroying a train with enough "explosives to make Hiroshima look like a sparkler."
Davos and the all female Army of Thunder defeating invading Hydra troops. "I AM XAO'S RECKONING!"
Misty Knight to some Hydra soldiers:
Misty Knight: "Now, you might manage to bring down one of us, or maybe even both of us. But I promise you this—that before we die, we will blind one of you. We will kill two of you. And three of you will never have children. Ever."
Danny explaining to kids how math will save your company from a supervillain.
The chi of Shou-Lao taking the form of a dragon.
Future Iron Fist Wah Sing-Rand gets two; after he and his ship are put in suspended animation, it takes him 22 years to punch the side of his ship and make it crash-land, and later uses his chi to posses and transform a network of machines and computers into a giant robot.
The Immortal Weapons using blood, bones, and various other products of their gladiator fights to talk to each other in morse code while imprisoned.
In the Marvel crossover, Secret Invasion, Skrulls have infiltrated the earth. One such Skrull has taken the form of Jarvis, the beloved Avengers butler. When the invasion starts, he sneaks onto the SHIELD Helicarrier, and then when it is right over the Atlantic in the middle, the Skrull disables all Stark-Tech in the world, including the Helicarrier, which plunges into the ocean. In Jarvis form, he saunters casually up to Maria Hill, and over the course of 3 comics, lectures her about how the Skrulls were always smarter than the humans, and that he would take great pleasure in killing SHIELD Director Maria Hill. Maria plays this off cooly, and tries to get a word in edgeways but he keeps raving. Getting the hint, she just talks even though he is paying no attention. In her CMOA, she talks about how it has taken her a while to realize what being the director of SHIELD fully entails, and that she was so grateful to Nick Fury (a man whom she had hated before the events of Secret Invasion) for the piece of advice she gave him - to use the Life Model Decoy's. The Skrull misses this point, but grows tired of her talking and so shoots her. Surprise, it was a LMD, as Maria chuckles when she snipes the Skrull Jarvis from afar.
At the climax of "Secret Invasion" in Incredible Hercules #120, Hercules, upon the seeming deaths of both his friend Amadeus Cho and his Girl of the Week Snowbird, lets loose on the evil god Kly'bn, pummeling him viciously. At that point, Cho and Snowbird return, and Snowbird joins the fight, impaling Kly'bn on the spine of another dead god, saving Earth.
This one scene is easily the best part of the otherwise lackluster Secret Invasion. Just to clarify, the entire Skrull race is at war with Earth for religious reasons. And what does Herc do? Goes and kills the god whose name the war was waged for.
Oh there's also this small gem in the climax of the Secret Invasion. Veranke delivers a speech that the Skrull God (that Herc would soon kill) are with the Skrulls. How does Nick Fury replies before he launches his full-scale assault?
There's also something from the Thor Mini-series: A Skrull with the powers of all of the strongest female gods of earth (in a mocking of Asgard's patriarchal society) and Beta-Ray Bill's hammer Stormbreaker, is held off for a time by Beta-Ray Bill (borrowing Thor's Mjölnir) and the Warriors Three. On Thor's return, to a bloodied and crippled Bill, Donald Blake announces with Mjölnir at his feet that the beast shall not pass. What follows is a drag-out brawl throughout Asgard, only ending when Thor holds a sword at the beast's heart and hammers it in with Mjölnir. In its dying screams, it powers up and throws Stormbreaker at the local town. Thor rises to meet it and takes the blow squarely to his chest, praying for strength before he ends up a flaming ball crashing into the ground. As the beast flails in its death throes, Thor appears in tattered armor holding both hammers and exclaims "Villain. Yield. I shall not ask you again." Eventually, first Asgard is dropped on the Skrull to kill it, but Thor and Beta-Ray Bill catch it on their backs, and slowly stand back up. When Thor uses Mjölnir to restore its place in the heavens, a teary-eyed Volstagg finishes the series with "and that, fellow warriors, is why Thor is the son of Odin."
In Marvel vs. DC, all the heroes and villains of the Marvel and DC universes are "witnessing the end of everything", the end of both their universes. Everyone, Lobo and Darkseid included, are serious and grim at this. Thanos is the only one who isn't. He's smiling. And he isn't speechless like the others, either. What does he say, watching the death of everything that ever was? "It's... it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen..."
In Excalibur #5, Captain Britain and his longtime love Courtney Ross are about to go on their first date after years of separation. Ecstatically happy, Courtney walks into her apartment to find a woman who looks just like her standing inside; Cap's archenemy Sat-Yr-9, Courtney's Evil Twin from a Mirror Universe. Cut to Captain B with roses in hand, being met at the door by a ravishing seeming-Courtney. They move in to kiss— on the floor is an odd human-shaped silhouette of ash reaching toward the roses he'd dropped... A poignant, post-mortem moment of creepy and awesome at the same time. Sadly, this storyline will never be revisited due to the revolving door of writers.
Everything Ares does in his original mini; the most well known is lighting himself on fire and being thrown by Hercules in the middle of the Zombie Samurai horde guns blazing.
The whole of Alan Moore and Alan Davis' run writing Captain Britain could count, but the best has to be when Captain Britain faces the Fury. The Fury had, earlier in their run, killed Captain Britain (he got better), and had just killed Mad Jim Jaspers, who was effectively God. What happens? Captain Britain pounds the shit out of the Fury.
...until he goes down himself, at which point Captain UK—who lost all her friends and loved ones to the Fury, and who's spent the whole storyline in a state of paralyzed terror—steps up and finishes the job by ripping out the Fury's spine.
The Captain's twin sister Psylocke (in her pre-X-Men days) got one in the story in which Cap got replaced by his Evil Twin. Kaptain Briton attempted to rape Psylocke, who responded by burning out his brain. By the time Cap came flying to the rescue, it was all over.
Of course, Mad Jim Jaspers has had several impressive moments of his own: one of the best is arguably during the final battle, where he transforms himself into a giant, makes Captain Britain believe that his adventures were All Just a Dream- twice, then takes on a number of different forms just to humiliate him before running him over with a combine harvester.
YOU WERE SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT FIGHTING WITH EVERY LAST BREATH IN YOUR BODY, I BELIEVE. FIRST CLASS SENTIMENTS, CAPTAIN, AND I'M SURE THAT THEY WERE REAL... but nothing else is.
A villainous example from the Sleepwalker comics of the early 1990s features 8-Ball pulling off a successful robbery, defeating Sleepwalker in the process. Taking both his loot and the unconscious Sleepwalker back to his hideout, 8-Ball proceeds to celebrate his robbery by detonating a collection of giant explosive fireworks painted like billiard balls over New York City, with Sleepwalker attached to the biggest one to try and blow him up in the process. Sleepwalker just barely manages to escape alive, and even then he's badly hurt by the shockwave of the exploding fireworks.
One of Sleepwalker's own moments comes in the second-to-last issue of the series, when he's nearly manipulated by Psyko into murdering one of his former enemies, which would have permanently driven him insane. At the last moment, however, his former enemy helps bring him back to his senses, and he realizes what Psyko's been doing to him. After spending the last three or four issues struggling against the Mind Rape Psyko put him through, Sleepwalker overcomes it all, turns around, and flattens Psyko with one punch.
In the final issue of the series, Sleepwalker and his Heroic Host Rick Sheridan are trapped in the Mindscape, imprisoned by Sleepwalker's Arch-Enemy Cobweb. Rick has been Mind Raped by Cobweb into thinking that he's dead, but when he sees that his body hasn't decayed he's able to free himself and Sleepwalker from Cobweb's bindings. Sleepwalker, now thoroughly pissed off by everything Cobweb's put him through, tears through Cobweb'sMooks as if they were nothing and tears his Imaginator right out of Cobweb's body, before using it to banish the demon once and for all.
Reed Richards has one in the opening arc of Illuminati. The Infinity Gems, when placed in the Infinity Gauntlet, grant godlike power and getting them all together with the gauntlet is the stuff insanely long and convoluted Crisis Crossovers are made of. Reed Richards managed it in one issue. One! Issue!
Adam Warren's Livewires miniseries (technically done for Marvel Comics, but almost never mentioned since then) ends with a humdinger. Stem Cell, the team Woobie, is left running around free while her fellow robot secret agents have been captured by a hivemind army of Nick Fury robot duplicates. In desperation, she starts modifying her own programming (which required prying out her eyeball with a screwdriver to physically hack her own brain— and she had fully human pain senses and emotions at that point!) to find a way to save them. Later, she faces her enemies:
Stem Cell: This is Stem Cell, broadcasting loud and proud from your roof!
Hollowpoint Ninja: Stem Cell - No! Hide!
Stem Cell: You know, I'm considering changing that name. Stem Cell's a noob name... and I'm an ops virgin no longer.
Nick Fury Android Copy Groupmind: (with big evil grin) That's somethin'. Be kinda sucky if you was gonna die a virgin.
(strange noises start coming out of the ducts)
Stem Cell: Nossir, not a virgin of any sort. You want proof? YOU WANNA SEE MY BABIES?!
(And then her army of jerry-rigged fusion-powered nanotech monsters on fire come out of the ducts and kick the crap out of the Nick Furies)
She then tops this by escaping a nigh-inescapable situation (the nanotech monsters having no 'off' switch). While leaving she gets in a parting shot: "My advice? Think of something insanely clever. I know I just did. Good luck, you eyepatch-wearing piece of hiveminded crap."
MODOK's Eleven was a miniseries where the title character (an encephalitic man on a floating chair) assembles a team of D-List villains to steal a MacGuffin, in this case a miniature supernova, called a hypernova, kept continuously exploding so it can be used as a power source. The macguffin is secured, and MODOK's true nastiness reveals itself: MODOK's chief rival and ex-girlfriend decides that it would be easier to buy him off than just attempt to force it from him, so she offers one billion dollars. MODOK accepts the cash and hands over the hypernova. The kicker? The hypernova's containment field is incredibly unstable, and has been deteriorating ever since it was stolen. Soon, while trying to use it to power one of her own evil schemes, the ex-girlfriend and all her minions get blown to smithereens. As MODOK himself puts it, "Killing my greatest enemy? Exquisite. Tricking my greatest enemy into paying me one billion dollars to kill her? Priceless."
Vance Astrovik of the New Warriors refused to let his teammates break him out of prison because even if the crime he commited was an accident, he was still sentenced and found guilty.
In the new run of Thor, the titular hero and Tony Stark give us this little gem after Thor smacked Iron Man around a bit.
Tony Stark: My suit's busted, how am I supposed to get home?
That same issue had Thor give Iron Man a verbal beatdown along with the physical one:
Tony Stark: You've been working out...
Thor: No, in this time, and this place, I am no longer holding back.
(Thor rips off Tony's helmet and looks him right in the eyes.)
Thor: Give your orders and ultimatums to those who chose to obey, or are too cowardly to fight, NOT to me. Or learn again the difference between a God of Thunder... and a mortal man in a metal suit.
Considering that Tony and Reed cloned Thor, attempted to make their friends believe the clone was the real deal, and send the clone after said friends, resulting in the death of one, Tony is very lucky that Thor was that nice to him.
Speaking of Thor, from the final battle of Civil War proper: Hercules going head-to-head with the Pro-Reg side's robotic clone of Thor. It seems that in general, readers on both sides agreed that this was an awesome moment.
Hercules: How darest thou wear the flesh of The Odinson?! I knew Thor... Thor was a friend of mine... and you know something, imposter? [smashes Robo-Thor's head in]THOU ART NO THOR!!
Tony counters by an incredibly (and witty) CMOA of his own in Invincible Iron-Man: After spending most of the (very long) arc dismantling his brain to keep Norma Osborn from picking it for secrets he finally succeeds, going comatose. Norman has him in custody but can't do anything to him, and it turns out that he made a living will and appointed someone to execute it.
Norman Osborn: Who the hell is "Dr. Donald Blake"!?
Marvel 1602: The leader of the anti-Witchbreed (ie, mutants) inquisition is attacked by an assassin who expresses his pride in his steel knife. He responds by revealing that he's Magneto, when he takes control of the knife and uses it to back the assassin into the same pit he was about to be thrown into.
Matthew Murdock scares the crap out of King James, and promises to watch him for the rest of his life, making sure he never hurts mutants again.
During the over a year long "Dark Reign" story arc, Iron Man was branded an enemy of the state by Norman Osborn for hiding the identities of all of the superheroes from Osborn, and spent the majority of the even slowly deleting his brain to the point he was rendered comatose, at which point a number of allies worked on restoring his brain from a back-up. As Stark was recovering from this, Osborn lead all the supervillains in an assault on Asgard. The first thing Tony Stark does as Iron Man following his recovery? Put on an old suit of armor, fly over to Asgard & promptly disable Osborn's stolen "Iron Patriot" armor without firing so much as a repulsor ray at it. Oh, but only after asking the president of the United States if it's okay if he flys over to beat up the clearly insane super villain in charge of a branch of country's military.
Heroic Age - Prince of Power #3, appropriately titled "Our Lady of Slaughter", was surely DelphyneGorgon's finest hour. Having escaped from imprisonment when the Pantheon invade Olympus Group, she applies her "Death Scrunchie" (adorned with skulls), arms herself to the teeth and kicks some ass. When some goons get the drop on her, she uses her snake hair to fire four guns at once and proceeds to slaughter everyone in a whirlwind of reptile fury. Her enemies make the mistake of trying to track her in darkness by infrared. It doesn't end well, and Delphyne reminds the last surviving Mook that she's cold-blooded as she shoots him in the head.
A fairly recent She-Hulk mini-series saw a pretty impressive one for D-List villain The Wizard. After being captured by the two current She-Hulks (odd story), the Hulk pumps him for information on his fellow mad scientists. When the strongest hero in the Marvel universe is basically saying 'Tell me what I want, or I will crush you,' most people would fetch their Brown Pants. The Wizard however instead manages to end up practically pampered in return for the information, not once panicking, and actually managing to use this situation to regainn his equipment to break out and attempt revenge on the She-Hulks. That part doesn't go down too well, but DAMN!
Mr Fantastic's "Anti-Galactus suit". Do we have enough examples for a "Crowning Moment Of Awesome: Comics Mecha" yet?
Tony Stark tops this in ''War Machine: Weapon Of S.H.I.E.L.D." when Jim Rhodes takes control of a satellite with a Giant Robot mode.