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To me, my X-Men!
August 1, 2013 7:57 PM   Subscribe

The 50 greatest X-Men stories of all time, as picked by CBR readers. Direct links to the Top 10: 10-7, 6-4, 3-1. Fans of number 2 on the list may be excited to see what Trask Industries is up to. Bonus Link: Chris Claremont critiques The Wolverine.
posted by Artw (89 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I won't spoil it, but the correct storyline was picked for #1. Not only best X-Men story, but an absolute milestone in moving comics towards powerful narrative and emotional story telling.
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:10 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Well, OK, I probably did just spoil it, but I doubt anyone will be surprised.)
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:11 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


2 is spot on too... 3, I dunno, I can see why people are font of it but that makes no sense. I would have gone for Mutant Massacre For 3.
posted by Artw at 8:11 PM on August 1, 2013


I'll come out and say it but I thought Morrison's X-men was self-indulgent and Whedon's Astonishing is insanely overrated. Yeah they are vastly better than most of the schlock that was pushed out in the 90s but neither one is worth the praise the continually get.

It seems like event comics kinda dominate that list which isn't really surprising since Marvel is really addicted to events and have been basically pushing them since Secret Wars (plus for a lot of readers trades that collect events are the way they get to read the older stories.
posted by vuron at 8:12 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Age of Apocalypse was cool when it came out but man it really hasn't aged well. In contrast Mutant Massacre is probably the strongest of the X-men events in terms of emotional resonance Artw, I'm kinda surprised LifeDeath only gets #21.

I'd probably include some of the early X-factor, New Mutants and Excalibur before some of these stories (Executioner's song? really?)
posted by vuron at 8:19 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


PROFESSOR XAVIER IS A JERK!
posted by escabeche at 8:28 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]




Jean Grey R.I.P.
posted by homunculus at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the FPP, escabeche, hope you survive the experience!
posted by Artw at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


What are people's problems with Age of Apocalypse? Admittedly I haven't read it in over 10 years.

Yes Dark Phoenix should be #1...DAMN YOU BRETT RATNERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:35 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What the hell are you smoking?" "A small bundle of toothpicks... they serve to increase the strength and stamina of my wondrous wolverlungs to their full wolvercapacity."
posted by Slothrup at 8:41 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


What are people's problems with Age of Apocalypse?

It's okay, basically a re-run of Days of Future Past, but that's okay - pretty much all post-Claremont X-Men is a rerun of something he did. It's questionable as top ten material though, let alone top three - there's just so many other stories that are better. I suspect it being the big event that a lot of 90s readers got to read for themselves in real time rather than experience secondhand accounts for a lot.
posted by Artw at 8:50 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Years (decades?) later, most of the X-Men stories that stick with me are small in nature. My favorite might be this one completely unobstrusive issue from 1999 (#85) by Joe Kelly where Magneto decides to give humanity "one last chance" before enacting whatever world-tilting scheme he's up to.

He visits a construction site and poses as a worker for a day, zeroing in on one of the average human joes and proceeding to constantly needle him about mutants and how much of a problem they are. He provokes and provokes and provokes and the guy just wants nothing to do with this obviously-racist weirdo. It's a wonderfully stark perspective on just how twisted and deluded Magneto's personal logic is. In his mind he's acting like "the superior being" and giving humanity, through this one random guy, the chance to prove they can rise above their prejudices. Except Magneto simply won't let up until he gets the reaction that will justify his world-destroying plans.

Being a savvy X-Men reader, you know this is how the story will end, but it's fascinating to watch it unfold bit by bit. And for a moment, just a moment, you think that this random guy might actually convince Magneto to rethink his world view. You really hope for it, and find yourself rooting for him in a way that you've never rooted for the X-Men.

Honorable mention goes to X-Factor #39 in David's recent run for having one hell of an emotionally potent surprise ending. I've got a soft spot in my heart for Warren Ellis' Excalibur run, too.
posted by greenland at 8:56 PM on August 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


What are people's problems with Age of Apocalypse?

It was an OD of pure, uncut 90s Dork Age of Comics, mainlined right into the carotid artery of the franchise. It was a gritty reboot before gritty reboots were cool.

It's also a guilty pleasure of mine. While I was aware of the X-Men since their cameos on Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, and avidly followed the Fox Saturday Morning cartoon, I had never collected the comic books themselves until 4 months before the AoA crossover. I went from just picking up one book a month (Generation X), to having to get all of them. And I loved every page of it.

So I'm probably not qualified to speak in detail about what there is about it to be critical of.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:56 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really like Age of Apocalypse, though that's probably mostly nostalgia. As a reader I came to X-Men just before Claremont* got the boot so, for better or worse, the Lobdell stuff is 'my' X-Men. It also served as a satisfying jumping off point for Marvel comics, just as Batman's Cataclysm event was my adieu to DC.

On preview, what Artw said.

*I've tried to go back and read Claremont's stuff, but Christ that's some wordy, klurdgy stuff.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:00 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll come out and say it but I thought Morrison's X-men was self-indulgent and Whedon's Astonishing is insanely overrated.

As a counterpoint, I really think Morrison's X-Men was exactly what the series needed, and it's interesting to see Marvel going back to the well he dug so much in the past few years after trying to sweep it under the rug right away after his run ended. He moved the series forward in a way that few have, and created a new world out of the old that has enough ideas to sustain years of stories, just like Claremont did.

Also, side point, but as tired as I usually am of Bendis I'm really, really loving his current All New X-Men. The perfect story premise in the midst of huge crossover event status quo change overload.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:04 PM on August 1, 2013


What, no love for the Cross-Time Caper? Seriously, hella bummed to see that both AoA and X-Cutioner's Song made the cut... These two storylines are a big part of what disillusioned me out of superhero comics altogether as a tween. This guy Jason Powell, contributing to Geoff Klock's often-aptly-named-but-seemingly-now-defunct blog, really breaks down why it all starts and ends with Claremont, like that would even be tough argument to sell.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 9:04 PM on August 1, 2013


Yeah, people can quibble over Age of Apocalypse and it's certainly got enough good points to recommend, but ehhhh X-Cutioner's Song, so terrible.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am so happy that they are doing Days of Future Past for the next film because this past week, various friends of mine have either seen The Wolverine or the viral video or the news from SDCC and have said variations on "hey, kagredon, you know comics stuff! What's all this about then, with [having both casts in this movie | this nonsense title]?"

And I get to explain to them that (spoilers, I guess?) DOFP is about time travel (but um not physical time travel they just send minds back and forth) and giant robots and saving the world from the darkest timeline by crashing a Congressional hearing and also Scott and Jean's daughter is married to Reed and Sue's son and that it's totally nuts, but in the way comics should be.

"But, uh," I add. "I don't really know how closely they're going to hew to that, all things considered."
posted by kagredon at 9:26 PM on August 1, 2013


The thing with AoA is that it's a good enough idea that the cheesy 90'sness is kind of irrelevant. You could do that story today and as long as you kept the FUN of it to balance out the, er, apocalyptic side, it would be good. Every time there's a 90's throwback in the X-Men anymore it's so ploddingly serious and forgets the ridiculous toyetic enthusiasm side of it. Archangel wasn't cool because he was grim and gritty, he was cool because he was this shockingly magenta and cyan guy with freaking metal wings! This isn't to say the 90's were a great time in comics - far, far from it, the writing and art on a lot of that stuff is an almost insurmountable barrier to enjoying them - but it was a fun moment in time. It was a good time to be 12 and read comics.

I think the only modern attempt to go back to AoA that wasn't an overserious mess was when Exiles did it, but then again Exiles did everything near perfectly for most of its run and is a HUGE oversight to leave off this list.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:27 PM on August 1, 2013


Age of Apocalypse might be best read as a stand-alone, as much an artifact of its time and the editorial climate at Marvel as the Secret Wars was in the '80s, but watching it unfold for those dreary months in 1995 while subplots I thought I still cared about just dangled and dangled some more was basically a wrecking ball of disillusionment. I was shoved out of the Marvel nest by AoA-Wolverine's weird claw-stump and switched to reading Milk & Cheese and anything that looked like manga.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 9:28 PM on August 1, 2013


and giant robots

Giant PURPLE robots.
posted by Artw at 9:28 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Years (decades?) later, most of the X-Men stories that stick with me are small in nature.

Same here. One I still remember, although I probably haven't read it in a dozen years, is Uncanny X-Men #297. It's the epilogue to the otherwise crummy X-Cutioner's Song, in which the X-Men rebuild and just hang out with each other. No fights, just some nice character-building. It's a particularly good depiction of Jubilee, who was badly used by most of the writers on the X-titles.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:29 PM on August 1, 2013


We can all agree that "The Draco" storyline by Chuck Austen is literally the worst though, right? Because it's just the worst.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:33 PM on August 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


We can all agree that "The Draco" storyline by Chuck Austen is literally the worst though, right? Because it's just the worst.

People keep telling me I'm being unreasonable, but I cannot watch First Class because it appears to have Azazel in it.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 9:38 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


so much so that CBR has another 10-item list of the 10 dumbest moments in a 10-issue arc
posted by kagredon at 9:38 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


People keep telling me I'm being unreasonable, but I cannot watch First Class because it appears to have Azazel in it.

It overcomes that, but it's a super unfortunate thing. Also apparently he shows up again in the Wolverine and the X-Men series? Which is a really really good series but I'm quite a few issues behind and now I'm really apprehensive.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:40 PM on August 1, 2013


Jean Grey R.I.P.

She got better.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:43 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


And then she got un-better.
posted by dipping_sauce at 9:48 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think the only modern attempt to go back to AoA that wasn't an overserious mess was when Exiles did it, but then again Exiles did everything near perfectly for most of its run and is a HUGE oversight to leave off this list.

I just recently got around to picking up the trade paperback of the 10 year anniversary AoA miniseries and reading it, and there were some weaksauce moments in it.

The "It's 2005 and we've added new characters so of course we have to do AoA versions of them" made me groan inwardly, but they at least gave it a few good twists.

The part where they forgot that everything was pretty much an apocalyptic wasteland or had a reubuilt-by-the-mutant-ruling-class architectural vibe was a mild WTF.

The part where they take one of the crossover's big Wham Line moments, "Jean Grey is no Phoenix", and cheerfully disregards it... well, I should have seen it coming, it's Jean Grey, she dies and comes back more often than Optimus Prime. But it still feels like they cheated her out of one death that actually could count for something.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:53 PM on August 1, 2013


Years (decades?) later, most of the X-Men stories that stick with me are small in nature.

Likewise. My personal favorite is #36 on this list, “He’ll Never Make Me Cry.” Wolverine takes Colossus to a bar to teach him a lesson for cheating on Kitty and breaking her heart, with Nightcrawler tagging along to make sure he doesn't actually murder the kid. Small world, the Juggernaut happens to be drinking at the same bar, out of costume and trying to hook up. Colossus displays all the wisdom of any drunken teenager and starts a brawl. Wolverine just sits back and watches Colossus get beaten down. Learn anything about loyalty, kid?

If you care about the characters you don't need to see a planet explode. Actually,you probably won't care about an exploding planet unless you care about the characters involved.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:56 PM on August 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm considering my movie options for this weekend and Claremont didn't sell me on the Wolverine there.
posted by immlass at 10:00 PM on August 1, 2013


Colossus displays all the wisdom of any drunken teenager and starts a brawl.

Is there a top ten list somewhere of stories where the X-Men drink a lot? Because there ought to be.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 10:05 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Greg Rucka did a really good Wolverine-getting-drunk small scale story on his Wolverine run, "A Priest Walks Into a Bar" (featuring, naturally, Nightcrawler as the priest).
posted by jason_steakums at 10:07 PM on August 1, 2013


there's the issue in NXM where Cyclops goes to drink his sorrows away in a strip club after being discovered psychically fucking Emma and then Wolverine and Fantomex show up to rope him into breaking into a secret government compound with them (but at least half of the issue takes place in the bar)
posted by kagredon at 10:08 PM on August 1, 2013


For one off episodes I'm rather fond of the one with Wolverine in the snow teaming up with Power Pack (who are eight year olds) against The Mauraders (evil cyborg mercenaries) and its totally the Power Pack that are saving Wolverine.
posted by Artw at 10:09 PM on August 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Wolverine was so much better back before he was completly invulnerable and almost the most badass at everything.)
posted by Artw at 10:11 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


there's the issue in NXM where Cyclops goes to drink his sorrows away in a strip club after being discovered psychically fucking Emma and then Wolverine and Fantomex show up to rope him into breaking into a secret government compound with them (but a good half of the issue takes place in the bar)

Nobody got Fantomex's silly cockiness right after Morrison, he was fun.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:11 PM on August 1, 2013


Fraction and Gillen did okay with him, I thought.
posted by Artw at 10:12 PM on August 1, 2013


Ooh, I missed that run and I do love Fraction. Sold!
posted by jason_steakums at 10:16 PM on August 1, 2013


Recent comic, Logan in a bar explaining how a loner like him ended up on seventeen superhero teams: "I never said I was a loner. I never said I was anything. I like people."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:18 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


dipping_sauce: "And then she got un-better."

I wish Cyclops would get un-better. Seriously. That guy, what?

-----------
So - I started comics with GI Joe and a friend of mine introducing me to it. Then I heard about X-Men and only vaguely knew of it and said friend lent me some issues, and I got hooked. The Siege Perilous and Australia was probably one of my favorite periods... Did I miss it on that list or was it not there?

So the first issue I ever bought was 268. Jim Lee's first issue as official artist of the series, though, IIRC, he had already done the few issues before that (Jubilee, Psylocke, Mandarin plots?) And yeah - X-Tinction Agenda. I regret never having bought the X-Factors (which I thought were the stronger ones in that x-over).

What I really really really wanted to see was THE plot that I loved: Inferno. Sinister was just too fucking awesome looking. And S'ym and N'astirh (and yes, I might have just liked S'ym for the name :P)... I can't have been the only one to notice that S'ymN'astirh is a bit like "Sinister", no? Anybody know if it's collected in a TPB?

I never got to read any of the Dark Phoenix stuff. If I were married to Scott, I think I'd have gone dark much earlier than Jean LOL... (seriously. Fuck that guy).

Chris Claremont is probably one of my all time favorite comic writers. He tapped into a lot of things in the zeitgeist. He dealt with topics that mattered, I think. In some ways, he certainly did help push a world of tolerance and compassion...

I really want to try Grant Morrison's run, because I fucking loved the Invisibles.

It's amazing just how much has happened in X-Men, and to think of how much has happened since I stopped reading in the mid-late 90s.
posted by symbioid at 10:22 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jean Grey R.I.P.

She got better.


She's dead. She died in Uncanny X-Men #137. And if you denigrate her sacrifice with talk of clones or stasis cocoons, I will fight you.
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Artw, that Power Pack story in the snow was great - Wolverine barely functional while the Power Pack do the best they can with sweet Barry Windsor-Smith artwork.

#8 on the list gets my vote. That was when Rogue really became part of the team and we saw a subset of the team (Wolverine, Storm, Rogue) working on their own in an intimate kind of story (with my favorite X-Men art from Paul Smith).

For a single issue I'll take the end of Dark Phoenix but mostly for the battle in the Blue Area of the Moon against the Imperial Guard. Our plucky band of heroes take a noble stand against the overwhelming team of bad guys and...get hunted down and picked off one by one, pretty much like a competent Imperial Guard should work. Not at all what you expected from comics at the time, Claremont and Byrne really did some good work.
posted by N-stoff at 10:27 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Claremont & John Romita Jr. Will always be the definitive X-Men to me, but Byrne comes a close second. Loved the Morrison & Whedon runs, too. Let us never speak of Chuck Austen again.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:35 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Siege Perilous and Australia was probably one of my favorite periods... Did I miss it on that list or was it not there?
Fall of the Mutants made the list, but nothing else from the Australia-era. I would also have loved to see more recognition of that period, though. They lived in a bunker and got around by aborigine instead of stealth aircraft and they all just looked like music video refugees. Man could Mark Silvestri draw a mullet or what?
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 10:37 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sadly, my first exposure to the Dark Phoenix saga (and maybe even to the X-Men?) was reading a friend's copy of What if (#27) Phoenix Had Not Died.

I think it was a decade before I got properly sorted out in my head what had "actually" happened on the moon in UX#137.
posted by straight at 10:53 PM on August 1, 2013


I know X-Men titles can be very self-referential, but Jason Aaron's Wolverine and The X-Men is happily mining the entire history of the X-books, no matter how amazing or terrible the original subject matter is. Yeah it looks like Azazel is about to be featured, but this is a book that also has regular appearances by Doop, the school is built on a Krakoa, and they have the amazing triumvirate of Kid Omega, Kid Appocaplyse, and Kid Gladiator.
posted by thecjm at 11:40 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Wolverine: The Spoiler FAQ
posted by kmz at 12:44 AM on August 2, 2013


Ooh, ooh, and there's the Power Pack where Jack dresses up as Wolverine for a Halloween party and is all bummed out that almost everyone else has a Wolverine costume too, and then they run into Wolverine and fight Sabertooth in the woods. Power Pack is basically the best thing ever.
posted by Akhu at 12:58 AM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is Wooverine being pals with a bear whose death he must avenge from his cave stuffed with empty bottles of whiskey in any of these comics? Because, er, I may have a thing for ursine revenge based on my reaction to the film.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:26 AM on August 2, 2013


I won't spoil it, but the correct storyline was picked for #1.

Wrong. 1 and 2 should've been reversed. The Dark Phoenix saga is overrated anyway, but Days of Future Past set up everything the X-Men struggled against afterwards, with that nightmare future of mutant repression.

It's also one of the few superhero comics that ever made me have nightmares when I first read it at age twelve (along with the Hell on Earth storyline from Defenders 100 a few years before).
posted by MartinWisse at 2:42 AM on August 2, 2013


There was a series called Classic X-Men, which reprinted old stories and inserted new short ones, written by Claremont and drawn by John Bolton. Those were the best.

Uncanny X-Men from #200 to about 219 were just great. Everything went down hill after that.

Now get off my lawn, you dirty morlocks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:05 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a simple metric to test the worthiness of an X-Men comic: Did Dave Cockrum or John Byrne do the pencils? If yes, then it is one of the greatest X-Men comics. If no, fuck right off.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:28 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


One story I loved, but can't remember the name of, was the newish X-men (Dazzler, Longshot, maybe Psylocke and?) fighting the Juggernaut and losing badly. Dazzler is buried under rubble, and presumed dead at n cliffhanger. The next issue begins with Dazzler regaining consciousness under the rocks, completely drained, and shows how she focuses on the tiniest sounds around her to build up enough to shoot up flare to let the others know where she is. Just a fantastic study of the powers of a character that always seems to get the shortest shrift when her powers (if not embarrassing disco origin) and character deserve so much more.

As for Jean Gray, why hasn't anyone set up an "Is Abe Vigoda Still Alive" type site for her? Seriously, is she currently alive? I know there's some nonsense about having the teenage original X-men in the present day for some reason, but I mean, Jean Gray, the real one? Alive? Dead? Cloned? Memory wiped?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:10 AM on August 2, 2013


X-Men is a soap opera featuring spandex.

It has the mansion, the family patriarch, the goody two shoes scion battling the outsider for the main girl's affections, and a rotating stack of scheming rivals in another mansion.

I loved it. I'll have to work up will power not to get sucked into it again.
posted by ocschwar at 7:14 AM on August 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


One story I loved, but can't remember the name of, was the newish X-men (Dazzler, Longshot, maybe Psylocke and?) fighting the Juggernaut and losing badly. Dazzler is buried under rubble, and presumed dead at n cliffhanger. The next issue begins with Dazzler regaining consciousness under the rocks, completely drained, and shows how she focuses on the tiniest sounds around her to build up enough to shoot up flare to let the others know where she is.

That was Dazzler in Uncaany X-Men#217 and 218. Great issues! They dealt with the continuing repercussions of the Fall of the Mutants story line, which decimated the team, forcing new members to come aboard and find their own way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uncanny X-Men 217 & 218 happen before Fall of the Mutants, but after The Mutant Massacre. I quite like those issues as well. Mark Silvestri was my favourite penciller at the time. Really dynamic but still classic style.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:35 AM on August 2, 2013


Ah, you're right, I'm thinking of the Mutant Massacre and calling it Fall of the Mutants. Damn memory.

Fall of the Mutants was actually quite terrible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on August 2, 2013


As for Jean Gray, why hasn't anyone set up an "Is Abe Vigoda Still Alive" type site for her? Seriously, is she currently alive? I know there's some nonsense about having the teenage original X-men in the present day for some reason, but I mean, Jean Gray, the real one? Alive? Dead? Cloned? Memory wiped?

She's been dead since 2005, her longest death. Crazy thing is? Technically, she didn't die until 2003, due to the whole weird duplicates/plot wankery thing around her in the days of the Dark Phoenix Saga and a healing cocoon and Madelyne Pryor and all that stuff, but nobody really buys that in their heart. It felt like she died and you thought it was her at the time.

Anyways, in Morrison's New X-Men in 2003 she was killed by Wolverine when they were stranded on Asteroid M and hurtling into the sun. She was intentionally killed to sort of make her "Hulk out" into the Phoenix during the rebirth (which was never actually a thing for her before then) to save the X-Men and it worked. And shortly after she was killed by Magneto in the process of saving everyone. She could have stayed dead at his hand, it was a good and heroic death, but Marvel decided to release the really shitty Phoenix: Endsong in 2005 where she died a whole bunch of times - basically like the Phoenix Force was all screwed up and wouldn't let her die so they kept trying because Dark Phoenix gonna Dark Phoenix - until she finally just let herself be consumed/merged with the Phoenix Force in the White Hot Room (sort of another plane of existence where Phoenix hosts go to die and spend their afterlife inside the Phoenix) and that's where she's been ever since, save some brief whispered words to Scott through the Phoenix Force when he had it during Avengers Vs. X-Men.

So basically "Jean keeps dying and coming back" wasn't really a thing until the idea was repeated enough times that writers started making it a real thing circa 2003. Before that it was actually "everyone thinks Jean keeps dying but she kinda just disappeared for a while and there were clones and they died and it was weird and she eventually came back".
posted by jason_steakums at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, dead then? Thanks for clearing that up.

Also, which was Stryfe? Was he the real son, or the clone? And Cable, he's alive again? How? Didn't he die saving Hope/defeating Bastion?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:02 AM on August 2, 2013


Stryfe was the clone, Cable was snatched away to the future at the last second during his "death" and then he came back in time and went crazypants on the Avengers kicking off the whole Avengers vs. X-Men thing until dying/being resurrected sans techno-organic virus by Hope going Phoenix for the first time.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:10 AM on August 2, 2013


X-Men is a soap opera featuring spandex.

Not all of them have those literal plot points/tropes, but pretty much ALL superhero comics are soaps with spandex. Surprise parents, evil twins, amnesia storylines, impossibly attractive people, personal scandals, good guys turning bad, it's all there.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:39 AM on August 2, 2013


Got it. One last question, then: If Cable is free of the techno-organic virus, doesn't that mean he's now one of the world's most powerful mutants? I remember the thing about Stryfe being this all powerful telepath/telekinetic mutant, and when it came down to it, Cable was just as powerful, but was forced to use all of his power to keep the virus at bay, making it seem like he was just a guy with big guns and lots of metal parts. Now that he's free of that, is he freakishly powerful, or did they just hand wave that away?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2013


Also, House of M. Suck it, haters.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2013


In the Cable & Deadpool series from a few years ago, Cable suppressed the virus and his powers got crazy, he started up a utopian society on an artificial island called Providence and went on a big attempt to benevolently change the world with his powers, but by the end of it he was stripped of the majority of his psionic powers and I think that's still the case although who knows what Hope did when she Phoenixed him back to life. I liked that series, it was the first time I actually liked Cable.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:14 AM on August 2, 2013


I just don't understand someone who is willing to read a story about a comic book superhero named Phoenix and then gets all upset when she comes back from the dead.
posted by straight at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Reading through that list, I see only one story from X-Men's initial run. Is anybody here able to recommend other good bits from the 1960's X-men?
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 10:02 AM on August 2, 2013


I was glad to see the Proteus story in there; it's always been one of my markers for how to write a super-team coordinating with terrifying effectiveness. Proteus was just the right scale to allow Claremont to write the team at maximum efficiency; a lot of the time they were either fighting smaller-scale threats or Society(tm) (sometimes alien Societies), but Proteus was both enormously powerful and limited in range.
posted by tavella at 10:40 AM on August 2, 2013


@jason_steakums - I really dug the Cable (and Deadpool) issue where Cable fights Captain America and he reveals he carried Cap's shield in the future. Which also makes me want to dig out my old Guardians of the Galaxy run.
posted by PlutoniumX at 11:11 AM on August 2, 2013


I really dug the Cable (and Deadpool) issue where Cable fights Captain America and he reveals he carried Cap's shield in the future. Which also makes me want to dig out my old Guardians of the Galaxy run.

That Cable & Deadpool run, and the Deadpool stuff before it after he became a comedy character, is like exhibit A for "there are no bad characters, just bad writers".
posted by jason_steakums at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2013


Next up, the 50 greatest US states of all time!

Seriously though, number #1 was pretty easy. If a person can only name one X-Men story the odds are overwhelming that that's the one. Until I started playing catchup a couple of years ago it's the only one I could have named.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:26 AM on August 2, 2013


Reading through that list, I see only one story from X-Men's initial run. Is anybody here able to recommend other good bits from the 1960's X-men?

IMO there really isn't a lot of good stuff in that run, it was possibly the weakest series going at Marvel at that point and was cancelled for good reason.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:35 AM on August 2, 2013


Is Wooverine being pals with a bear whose death he must avenge from his cave stuffed with empty bottles of whiskey in any of these comics? Because, er, I may have a thing for ursine revenge based on my reaction to the film.

The Wolverine comic miniseries on which the film is very loosely based has a version of this encounter, but it is far less over-the-top sentimental and better structured dramatically.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Original X-men is pretty terribad except for the brief Neal Adams run. It's worth reading if you are an X-book completist (you poor bastard) but otherwise it's really not that great. Magneto is really one dimensional and most of the villains and arcs are really mediocre.

Claremont's run on Uncanny has some noticeable problems but basically he was X-men and Lee's ego basically ruined that and the books were generally mediocre until the 2000s even though I'm generally not a massive fan of most of the recent arcs with the exception of Gillen's run on Uncanny.

Aaron's run on WatX is really irritating me with it trying to be a quirky Morrison-lite but generally just being boring and unlikable.

The biggest problem with modern X-men of course is the omnipresent Wolverine who's popularity has basically resulted him being involved in just about every x-book that isn't Peter David navelgazing.
posted by vuron at 6:49 PM on August 2, 2013


Kids, at one point there was only one X-Men comic book and no Wolverine comic. Believe it or not!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kids, at one point there was only one X-Men comic book

And, it was nothing but reprints!
posted by ogooglebar at 6:32 AM on August 3, 2013


Aye, it was the Dark Age of Reprints.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 AM on August 3, 2013


Cross-Time Caper?

List explicitly is for X-men titles, so that doesn't rate a mention, which is crazy, considering how good Excaliber was early on. Then it wasn't, then Davis started writing and I never got around to it.

I can pretty much trace my X-men reading from the Claremont/Cockram era, up through to the Australian-era. I tapped out after that because clearly something was going seriously wrong (and, I know it didn't involve acid), and then it was all Jim Lee and horrible crossovers.

I've been giving Marvel Now a read more recently and, well, I don't understand how Mr Fantastic (he's travelling in time and space),Iron Man (he's in outer space with the Guardians of the Galaxy for reasons I am sure have no link to a certain film) and Wolverine (he's, well, he's EVERYWHERE) are managing anything approaching continuity.

It's like they're not even trying anymore. Wolverine and the X-Men (which doesn't even make sense) conflicts with New X-Men (wherein the old X-men's teenage selves are in the now, and Mistique's doing stuff that conflicts with her insanely evil Hellfire Club teaching character in W+TM) conlficts with Davies' Wolverine in which Logan has (again) lost his healing factor (in a plot which rips off Morrison's John Sublime plot, which rips off an old That Which Endures riff from Byrne's West Coast Avengers), but meanwhile Wolverine is off in the Microverse, and...

Continuity isn't that important, but this is a mess.
posted by Mezentian at 8:39 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like I've said before, love him or hate him, Jim Shooter ran a tight ship. Now the inmates are running the asylum, and it's a new batch of inmates every few months.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


How many regular X-Books are there these days?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:53 AM on August 3, 2013


off the top of my head, probably missing some:

Wolverine and the X-Men, which is about Wolverine running the Jean Grey Academy (as an "alternative" to Xavier's)

X-Men, which is Storm's team, and the first(?) all-female Marvel team roster.

All-New X-Men, which is about the original five time-travelling to the future only to find out that Scott has gone totally off the deep-end following AvX.

A+X sort of counts, I guess? One-off stories involving team-ups between A's and X's.

Individual books for Wolverine and Gambit.

X-Treme X-Men, which is an Exiles-style alternate universe thing with a gunslinger Wolverine that I keep meaning to pick up.

Cable and X-Force, which I'm sure is about something but I don't know what or who (though presumably it involves Cable in some way.)

X-Factor which either just ended or is just about to end, which was really fun in the beginning when it was about a mutant detective agency (mostly Jamie Madrox fucking up in various ways), but things took a dark turn about 20 issues in and I'm way behind so I don't know exactly what's happened since then.

Extra confusing because Marvel had a soft-relaunch about a year ago.
posted by kagredon at 10:29 AM on August 3, 2013


Cable and X-Force, which I'm sure is about something but I don't know what or who (though presumably it involves Cable in some way.)

Cable, Domino, Colossus, Boom Boom, Forge and Dr Nemesis.
Cable has visions of calamities and they try to stop them.

There's also Uncanny X-men (Cyclopes, Magneto and Magik are terrorists), Ultimate X-Men (?), What If: AvsX, X-Men:Legacy (about Legion), and Astonishing X-Men, which is ending and being replaced by Amazing X-Men(?).

Also, Uncanny X-Force.

If you count them, there are three or so Deadpool titles, two Wolverine solo titles, and Uncanny Avengers (if you want to count that). And X-Men: Battle For The Atom, which may be an upcoming mini-series.

There are almost as many Avengers and Superior Spiderman titles as well.

So, pretty much Marvel is creatively out of ideas. Which is the only way New 52 looked good.
posted by Mezentian at 7:31 PM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Marvel NOW kicks the ass of New 52 so hard it's funny, TBH.
posted by Artw at 7:39 PM on August 3, 2013


New 52 could have worked, were it not for the fact that DC is pretty much creatively bankrupt and the relaunch threw that into sharp, painful focus. Marvel NOW mostly just...shuffled around a bunch of creative teams?

(just kidding. there was no way New 52 was ever going to work)
posted by kagredon at 7:43 PM on August 3, 2013


Marvel NOW seems like they mixed up a bunch of creators and characters and had then take then in crazy directions with an emphasis on fun. New 52 seems to be about bullying creators into producing what editors think fans want.
posted by Artw at 7:56 PM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


It also seeks like the A-List of the upcoming generation have all gone over to Marvel, with DC favoring older creators or whoever happened to be left.
posted by Artw at 7:58 PM on August 3, 2013


Marvel NOW seems like they mixed up a bunch of creators and characters and had then take then in crazy directions with an emphasis on fun

I'm not sure I'd class Avengers Arena (which seems to Avengers Academy meets Battle Royale), the blood-soaked torture porny moments of Secret Avengers, or New Avengers (See the Avengers blow up random worlds... because New Universe) is being fun.

Some of the DC grimdark is at Marvel too. DC just does it worse.

FF is fun. And I have enjoyed Fearless Defenders. But I can't say I have enjoyed huge amounts of anything I have read.
posted by Mezentian at 8:21 PM on August 3, 2013


So basically "Jean keeps dying and coming back" wasn't really a thing until the idea was repeated enough times that writers started making it a real thing circa 2003.

So I'm skimming this thread to get myself in the right mindset for DragonCon, when I notice it hasn't expired yet. Which is a good thing, because it gives me a chance to comment on jason_steakums' observation above:

Marvel either needs to get back the rights to the comic books for the Transformers Franchise, or work out an inter-company crossover with whoever's doing them these days (IDW? I lost track)... just so we can have a two page spread of Jean Grey driving Optimus Prime's semi-truck alt-mode, both of them getting killed in some spectacular way, and then having a double resurrection all the way across the sky (what does it mean?) of a combined Phoenix Force/Matrix of Leadership tag team. The idea place for this spread would be somewhere in the first five pages of the crossover.

Of course that just may be the sleep deprivation of trying to do convention preps while pulling 12.5 hour shifts on six consecutive days talking there.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:53 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


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