Friday, 8 July 2016

Top 30 X-Men Stories Numbers 15 to 1


On the 13th of June I turned 30, I’m not dealing with this so instead I decided to both ignore and celebrate me lasting so long by writing a whole bunch of top 30 countdown lists.



15. Deadpool: Dark Reign
Deadpool Volume 3 issues 4-12, Thunderbolts 130-131
Daniel Way, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Andy Diggle, Bong Dazo, Joe Pimentel plus
Wha’appen? Norman Osborne is now the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. H.A.M.M.E.R. via Brian Michael Bendis being a lazy writer and he’s out for blood and on his list is Deadpool, whom he tries to have Tiger Shark kill, when that fails he sends his new Thunderbolts and when that fails he sends his new Hawkeye (really Bullseye) – let the Deadpoolness begin.  
Why? Daniel Way’s run on Deadpool is probably my favourite time for the character, I know a lot of people have a lot of affection for Joe Kelly’s character defining run and I do too but Way seemed to have Deadpool live up to what Deadpool fans think and say (and say and say and say) Deadpool’s qualities are. I pick this ‘arc’ just because it has everything I like about Deadpool in it and everything everyone else likes about Deadpool in it and for me Deadpool is at his best when interacting with the wider Marvel Universe and having his own special brand of crazy collide with their more straight-up superhero world, and because it still makes me laugh, and because Deadpool wears a meat suit and kicks ass in it. This is simply Deadpool at his best and… I’m not using the word iconic for Deadpool… at his most recognisable via cultural osmosis – the violence, the wacky solutions to problems, the duelling thought boxes, the meme and pop culture references, the blatant disregard for just about everything including story conventions and the forth wall, being randy, it’s all for your amusement and it’s all here -  oh and you know that scene in the Deadpool film where he orders a pizza to some random bloke’s house but it turns out he’s there to kill the pizza man instead? That’s in this too.

14. The Cassandra Nova Saga
New X-Men issues 114-126
Grant Morrison, Frank Quietly, Lenil Francis Yu, Ethan Van Sciver, Igor Kordey (plus inkers)  
Wha’appen? Cassandra Nova, Charles Xavier’s evil twin (yes, really) slaughters Genosha, wiping out the whole country with Sentinels and then tries to kill her brother directly, she seems to fail but switched brains. Taking over Xavier’s body, and forcing Beak to batter The Beast into a coma, she goes vacationing in the Shi’ar Empire while the X-Men deal with Mutant organ harvesters the U-Men and meet Xorn. Then she comes back, with the power of the Imperial Guard.
Why? Ok before the praise starts – no one could have looked at Igor Kordey’s art and thought ‘this is acceptable for our biggest selling title, this man has enough talent, enough grasp of the basics of drawing, sufficiently more talent than a 12 year old, to be working as a professional comic book artist and on the X-Men’ he is fucking atrocious and they use him as a fill-in artist alongside Van Sciver and Quietly two very good artist with very strong and very consistent art styles (there is nothing strong or consistent about Kordey’s work), it’s really not surprising that editorial let Chuck Austen write Uncanny X-Men not long after this, they clearly didn’t give a fuck. Right to the praise, Cassandra Nova may be a completely unoriginal idea but she is bloody terrifying; Grant Morrison may not understand Magneto’s character but he does a great job on Beast, Wolverine, Cyclops (who’s suffering from a kind of PTSD following The Twelve) and writs the bitchiest Emma Frost (even if that does kind of ignore Generation X); Igor Kordey might suck but Frank Quietly is superb at drawing big things and huge set pieces and they get him to draw several including the destruction of a whole island by a giant Sentinel; Xorn might have caused headaches later all the new characters – Beak, Angel, Xorn, the Cuckoos etc– are likeable and making the school into a full-on school was a great idea (even if it wasn’t Morrison’s); Negasonic Teenage Warhead is the most likeable character to only appear in a couple of panels ever, will someone just resurrect her permanently already?

13. Time And a Half / Overtime
X-Factor Volume 3 issues 39-50, X-Factor Special: Layla Miller
Peter David, Valentine de Landro, Marco Santucci (plus inkers)
Wha’appen? Siryn is giving birth to Maddrox the Multiple Man’s baby (don’t ask) only the moment it’s born, he re-absorbs it, as if it was just another one of his ‘dupes’. A month later a suicidal Maddrox has walked six hundred miles to confront a dupe made a life as a priest and Siryn is running X-Factor Investigations, as they take on a case from a woman who thinks everyone is trying to kill her (she’s right) Maddrox’s suicide attempt it stopped by Layla Miller, now an adult, who takes him into the future, 10 or so years after the events of Days of Future Past. Believe it or not X-Factor trying to help a paranoid and Maddrox trying to change history with the help of Cyclop’s daughter, a seemingly heroic Trevor Fitzroy and Doctor Doom AND the people trying to kill Maddrox’s priest of a dupe are actually all connected, and so is Shatterstar.
Why? *sigh* I wish I could have put the whole of Peter David’s run on X-Factor Volume 3 on here, it was so good, oh well I’ll just have to settle for putting the very best of it on here, what a shame. This whole arc (and it is one long arc, it was just collected in two trades, hence it being split into two story titles) is just fantastic, it’s so fantastic it’s made me even less able to express my feelings in words than usual – and I write a blog? How David manages to tie everything together, while giving us Trevor Fitzroys’ origin, while having Siryn deal with her loss, while reintroducing and revamping Shatterstar is just simply fantastic and more proof that while he might be a tosser, David is a fantastic writer. What’s even more fantastic is that we get a normal X-Factor investigation (well as normal as they get) to balance out the abnormality of the time-travel story, I generally find that if you just veer off and have a meddle in another genre or just ignore most of the team for a solo story my interest fades very quickly (unless it’s a Rogue solo story obviously) but this way around things keeps me completely invested, that’s a personal reason for liking it but I’m sure it’s not a trait unique to me so I hope that if this is the case with you too that by telling you you’ll think ‘oh so this doesn’t do that?’ and read this arc and love it too, and because I’ve got to fill these ‘why’ paragraphs up somehow. AND this is the story that revealed that Shatterstar and Rictor were/are lovers and features their first on-screen kiss, not only did it finally give an official answer to a fan theory (in the affirmative too) but is upset Rob Liefeld – not because he has an issue with gays you understand but because it was wrong for Shatterstar (can you smell that? it smells like, what is that smell? Horseshit! That’s what it is) – and something that upsets Rob Liefeld deserves to liked.      

12. X-Aminations
X-Factor issue 87, X-Factor Volume 3 issue 13
Peter David, Joe Quesada, Al Milgrom
Wha’appen? Doc Samson talks to X-Factor (Havok, Polaris, Wolfsbane, Quicksilver, Guido & Multiple Man) and then returns years later to do the same for X-Factor Investigations (Multiple Man, Siryn, Layla Miller, M, Rictor, Wolfsbane & Guido) and Quicksilver, who I hear’s evil now.
Why? Understanding your characters are key to writing good stories right? They tell you that in all the how-to books, but it’s even more essential when you’re writing other people’s characters which, for the most part, is what people writing for Marvel & DC do. But understanding the character is one thing, proving it is another and writing an issue that is all proving this and actually giving you meaningful insights into characters that have been around for, in some cases, decades is still another and doing all this and making it interesting is another still and then coming back an doing a sequel story years later and that being as good is just fucking showing off. I’ll be honest I never quite got where David got Polaris’ body issues from but it works from the point of view ‘all those perfect women in revealing costumes must give some superheroines body issues’ and Polaris is no better or worse a choice, but the insights into other characters, and the perfect mixing of continuity to work off of and justify them, is brilliant – M, Layla Miller and Quicksilver, Mandrox and Rahne’s original sessions being my personal favourites.

 
11. The Breakworld Saga
Astonishing X-Men Volume 3 issues 1-24, Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men issue 1
Joss Whedon, John Cassaday
Notes: usually this is separated into its four arcs on people’s lists – Gifted, Danger, Torn and Unstoppable (well Gifted, Torn and Unstoppable, Danger doesn’t make it onto anyone’s lists as a general rule) but re-reading it I decided that it really didn’t suit splitting up, while it is in story-arcs they blend into each other the whole way through and it really just becomes one long story with three different antagonists attacking at different times throughout it.
Wha’appen? The Breakworld’s precogs have seen the future – and it’s a future where their planet is destroyed by a mutant, most probably an X-Man. S.W.O.R.D.’s attempt at meeting them halfway – the mutant cure ‘Hope’ – doesn’t go quite as planned, though it does allow the X-Men to reunite with Colossus. After the Danger Room is found to be sentient (following a suicide of a student who lost his powers to Breakworld ‘ambassador’ Ord) and defeated in the ruins of Genosha, the Hellfire Club make their move and their move is to break out Cassandra Nova, also a lot of the members appear to be dead or Emma Frost, as the X-Men are put through hell Ord and Danger break out of S.W.O.R.D. and Colossus is the mutant who’ll destroy the Breakworld, and they have a marvellous answer to earth – they’re going to shoot it, with a massive gun, really.   
Why? Because it’s fucking great, Joss Whedon at his best writing the fucking X-Men, with a perfect mix of drama, action and comedy – the three things that X-Men needs – with top notch dialogue, even at its worst (parts 3 & 4 of Danger, pretty much) the dialogue and character interaction makes up for things, though I’m still not ok with Professor X knowing and ignoring that the Danger Room was sentient, it was completely unnecessary for the story and I sometimes feel that writers don’t’ realise what damage they’re doing when looking for the plot twists for their story and how it might affect the reader’s perception of the character in all stories, before and after, or they just don’t care. It’s that and the final choice to send Kitty off on a giant space dildo (she came back but Whedon had no intention of bringing her back as far as I know, though he’s savvy enough to know she probably would be) that keeps this out of top 10, but the Top 10 is so packed with good shit it should show you that I know these are pretty weak reasons to do that but I had to use something to put these in order, and kind-of-but-not-really-killing of Kitty Pryde will have to do. Oh and John Cassaday’s art is amazing throughout, one panel or two aside, you should see his Sentinels!

10. We Were Only Foolin’
New Mutants issue 45
Chris Claremont, Jackson Guice, Kyle Baker
Wha’appen? Larry Bodine is a local kid having moved to Salem Centre not long ago, he’s also a Mutant with the ability to create light sculptures. At hi school’s annual summer mixer he thinks he may have found a not only friends but a potential girlfriend when the kids from a private school nearbye – Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngesters – attend and he ends up dancing with Kitty Pryde. But before he leaves he finds a prank threatening letter left by a group of bullies, threatening to ‘out’ him to X-Factor who hunt and apparently kill mutants, they don’t actually know he’s a mutant but Larry doesn’t know that – and worse he misjudges the situation back a Xavier’s and tells anti-mutant jokes, seemingly ruining his changes there, after weighting up his options and receiving a joke threatening phone call from the bullies, Magneto comes to the New Mutants the next day to tell that he’d killed himself. Wolfsbane had followed the boy and found out he was a mutant but had held off telling the others until the morning, too late, as the New Mutants reactions fun the whole spectrum from dismissal to blaming themselves and Rahne actually wants to kill the bullies, in the end Kitty Pryde gives a brilliant memorial speech at Larry’s school.  
Why? Powerful, that’s the word, it took me a minute to run though all my usual exclamations of praise until I found the right one, it works not only as a good example of the power that racism, even casual racism and bigotry has and the damage it can do but also bullying, even the simplest of bullying like name-calling, and how that can affect, even kill, those on the receiving end. Larry thinking to himself after he pisses off the New Mutants is just spot-on, as a depressive and a suicidal I can relate totally to it and I’m not a closet Mutant! And something I never really noticed until just now, Marvel let Claremont keep all of the real racial slurs used in Kitty’s speech uncensored to add to the impact and power of her speech, I’m shocked they did that, maybe ‘labelling’ people has become a bit of a punch line and Tumblr and it’s personal pronouns and such aren’t helping but this book shows how problematic it really can be (amongst many other things).

09. Weapon X
Marvel Comics Presents 72-84
Barry Windsor-Smith
Wha’appen? Logan undergoes the Weapon X programme’s treatments, only to break free (well that was quick)
Why? I’ve been in love with this book for so long and that should mean I know just how to express my feelings on it but honestly it’s hard to really get across why, I think it’s mostly because it’s just a great display of sequential art, that sounds really pretentious but is really is a lesson in how to tell a story in panels, which is good because there really isn’t much of a story but it’s so enjoyable and so well told that it feels a lot weightier than a story with a plot that can be summarised in 10 words, some of that is what’s in it, Wolverine’s narrations and so on, but a lot of it is just how it’s told to us, Windsor-Smith at his very best when it comes to everything. There are better stories in this top 10 but there really isn’t any better drawn stories than this, everything from basic layout to shading and use of shadows is just perfect.

08. Wolverine
Wolverine 1-4, Uncanny X-Men 172-173 
Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, Paul Smith, Joe Rubinstien
Notes: like my irritation about people who don’t include Thanos Quest when they talk about Infinity Gauntlet, I only consider this story complete with the two issues of Uncanny that followed it.
Wha’appen?  Wolverine follows his lover Mariko Yashida to Japan and finds that her father – Lord Shingen – has returned and along with The Hand is taking over Japan’s criminal underworld and he has married her off to an abusive toad, in his fight Wolverine fins an ally in Yukio, a local woman who’s infatuated with him, but her loyalties are…questionable and even if everything does go well, even if Wolverine can defeat Shingen, even if Mariko does come back to him, The Silver Samurai and Viper might have a hand in stopping their wedding day once the X-Men arrive.
Why? How would you like a 70’s kung-fu crime thriller, but with X-Men? That sounds good? Great, now how would you like it drawn by Frank Miller at his very best and written by Chris Claremont at his very best? That’s what this is. But I suppose I should write a little more here. Miller’s kung-fu and ballet inspired fight choreography was fantastic at this point, it’s one of the many things he lost along with his marbles, while Claremont doesn’t shut up and let him get on with it as much as Miller would if he was doing this alone, Claremont understands the X-Men better than anyone else, or at least he did then, and the two populate the series with a great list of ‘shades of grey’ characters fitting a character like Wolverine that makes them seem completely human (while doing pretty inhuman things) and completely complex, Shingen is pretty much a straight-up bastard as is Mariko’s husband but everyone we’re supposed to be rooting – even Mariko – for does bad things for reasons that aren’t always good but can always be understood and we still root for them all the same; this is the sort of thing that comics in the early 90’s and comics now wish they could do well but, well, they don’t’ have the talent nor the insight into humanity to pull it off, Claremont and Miller, at least back in the early 80’s, did. This is also the story that saw Wolverine and Rogue bond and Rogue accepted into the X-Men and when Storm went punk and as it’s how confirmed that Yukio was one of Storm’s lovers, it’s the first time we get a LGBT X-Man. There is so much good shit here, it’s almost illegal.

07.  The Age of Apocalypse
X-Men: Alpha, Astonishing X-Men 1-4, Amazing X-Men 1-4, X-Man 1-4, Factor X 1-4, Generation Next 1-4, Gambit & The X-Ternals 1-4, X-Calibre 1-4, X-Men Chronicles 1-2, Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen, X-Universe 1-2, X-Men: Omega   
Scot Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Jeph Loeb, Larry Hama, John Francis Moore plus a lot of pencillers and inkers  
Wha’appen? The X-Men followed Legion into the past to stop him killing Magento, only for Legion to kill Charles Xavier instead and completely change the present day, now only Bishop is left from the old reality in an America ruled by Apocalypse where humans are culled and Mutants are in charge, and Magneto leads the X-Men. But Magneto is convinced by Bishop and starts a plan to save the world, Gambit’ X-Ternals are sent to the Shi’ar Empire, Nightcrawler is sent to find Destiny, Colossus & Shadowcat and their students are sent to rescue Colossus’ sister Illyana while the X-Men deal with matters closer to home, meanwhile Wolverine and Jean Grey help a mass evacuation of America and Prelate Scott Summers betrays Apocalypse, while Nate Grey’s life comes crashing down around him, everyone better hurry though because the end of reality is coming from outer space.    
Why? Hmmm… why, why do I like this so much that I voted it above the Wolverine mini-series? I think I’d better go back to bullet points 1) it’s the best executed event Marvel have done, the concept of shutting down all the books and having them replaced by different titles really helps make everything feel different and doing this feels very necessary to the story 2) I like these dark For Want of a Nail realities and they work best when there’s a LOT of characters to give different lives to, thus the X-men of the mid-90’s are pretty well suited to things and it works very well 3) there is shit loads of continuity porn to be enjoyed by long time and pathetically sad fans like me, half the fun of the series is spotting who’s who 4) I like the ‘one last chance to save things’ plot and the ‘big final push’ plot and this is both, and being an alternate reality that we know is going to go back to the original ‘verse (we knew it then too, all the series were advertised as being 4 issue minis) allows the writers to kill, maim and destroy at will without worrying about upsetting fans and allow readers to enjoy the story regardless of who dies, is maimed or what is destroyed 5) it’s a who’s who of good Marvel artists from this time-frame: the Kubert Brothers, Joe Madueira, Steve Epting, Steve Skroce, Charlos Pacheco, Chris Bachalo…and Roger Cruz, Cruz is a shitty swiping son of a bitch they clearly only got in to do the extra work for the specials but other than Roger Cruz and a very green Tony Daniel, there’s a lot of good art going on here.  6) The story’s good and engaging (though the dialogue gets clunky once or twice but it IS Lobdell and Nicieza) that’s kind of the most important thing really innit?

06. He’ll Never Make Me Cry
Uncanny X-Men issue 183
Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr, Dan Green
Wha’appen? Coming back from Battleworld where he fell for a local girl, Colossus dumps Shadowcat, Wolverine takes Colossus out for the night (with Nightcrawler playing referee) intent on giving him bollocking – and a kicking – but instead fate gives him a better way to prove his point when they bump into Juggernaut and he and Colossus gets into a bar fight.   
Why? Get used to seeing the name ‘Chris Claremont’ because number 7 was the last story on this list he didn’t write/co-write and this issue is a bloody good argument for why. It’s a character piece really, there is action and one of the most enjoyable fights in X-History at that – what’s not to like about Colossus and Juggernaut having a bar brawl? – but much of it feeling sad over Kitty having her heart broken and feeling conflicted about Wolverine’s ‘revenge’ for this which is another major part of why this issue’s so good – Colossus and Wolverine are both doing what they think is right and you can see their point but you’re also not quite in agreement with either, though you can totally see yourself doing both, yes I am using the royal we but read this and see if I’m wrong, it’s not so much a case of moral ambiguity but rather just characters being human and with Claremont doing a great job of encapsulating what it’s like to be dumped in the first few pages (I guess he had some experience, maybe the women he paid to dress up as Storm -ALLEGEDLY- packed him in one time).

05. Green and Pleasant Land
Uncanny X-Men issues 235-238
Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Marc Silvestri
Wha’appen? The Press Gang come to Australia to find two escapees from the island nation of Genosha and end up taking Madeline Pryor with them, bringing the X-Men7 into things. Rogue and Wolverine are captured by the Press Gang and now forced to escape themselves, with Wolvernie dying without his healfing factor and Carol Danvers’ psyche having taken over Rogue’s body8 and the son of the Gengineer, one of the most important people in Genosha, as a tag along. 
Why? The best way to show someone something is wrong is to show them, that may sound daft but if you just keep telling someone something is wrong, saying ‘this is wrong because…’ is just not as effective as showing them why and a good way to show ‘em is to write a good story – why do you think the bible’s got so many parables in it? – the first Genosha arc isn’t always subtle, the Gengineer who makes the Mutant slaves is called Dr Moreau and one thuggish Magistrate literally says ‘I was only following orders’ but it is a bloody good look at bigotry, slavery and indoctrination and it’s handled very well, we have a nation of people brought up with someone and can’t comprehend it could be wrong, we have people who don’t see a problem with something until it directly affects them, how the privileged and rich never even consider the problems of those who don’t fall into those categories, how positons of authority like the police can attract those who only want the power to abuse it – to use it bully or express their own bigoted desires etc – and how it attracts more people like that when you’ve got a right wing government encouraging this behaviour, albeit to benefit their own causes, all stuff that irritating lefties like me witter on about and are fucking ignored. Now obviously I agree with the writer’s personal politics (well except the ones that say it’s ok to pay women to dress up like comic characters and do horribly deviant things to you – ALLEGEDLY – but only because I’m too poor to afford those) so of course I’m going to like the story, but my point is that it’s also good because it gets it’s point across well and does so in an actually pretty fair handed way, while there’s no doubt the Genoshans are wrong we get a wide variety of Genoshan people, from the blissfully ignorant to racist thugs and bullies to those who’ve known no other life to those who doing thing for the god of the country to those who are doing thing for their own benefit to those who stand against the country’s policy on Mutants, we get a country that feels like it’s filled with people and does a good job of disguising any strawmen Claremont might throw in. it’s also a good little story about people trying to escape from a hostile country.      

04. God Loves, Man Kills
Marvel Graphic Novel 5
Chris Claremont, Brent Anderson
Wha’appen? The Purifiers are killing mutants and Magneto is angry, at the same time Reverend William Stryker is leading a campaign against mutants, they are connected – as in Stryker is leading them, and they’re ready to go after their biggest target – the X-Men: Storm, Cyclops and Xavier might be dead and the rest, plus Magneto, are being hounded through New York. 
Why? With Stryker and his Purifiers the X-Men could literally fight Anti-Mutant feelings, and with the Marvel Graphic Novel series Claremont could also write an anti-bigotry story without fear of Comic Code censorship – hence this has one of the most effective opening and closing scenes in X-Men history, neither is especially radical as an idea, child murders and a big debate but they’re still child murders and a big debate that ends with a normal person making the decision (a metaphor perhaps? Hmmm *strokes chin) and that shit works. I rank this just higher than Green and Pleasant Land because although I think that arc might be slightly better written this whole thing just feels better quality, Anderson’s art gives the whole thing a cinematic feel and while a lot of people focus on the anti-bigotry aspects and the last scene at the sermon this story’s also a bloody brutal story in other respects – we get two fake-outs about Storm and Cyclops being dead and both times it looks convincing, civilians get shot by Purifiers in pretty damn intense fight scenes and the whole crucified Xavier nightmare is just…fucked up.     

03. Days of Future Past
Uncanny X-Men issues 141-142
Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin
Wha’appen? In a desperate attempt to avert their future, where the remnants of Mutantkind live out their lives in concentration camps across America, Rachel Summers sends the mind of Kitty Pryde back to her past self to prevent the murder of Senator Kelly by the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  
Why? This and my next pick have been talked about so fucking much online and in print I cannot add anything to it simply because there’s nothing to add, every word in the English language (and all of the wrds in txt spk) have been used in relation to these two stories I would have to invent new words so in that case the reason Days of Future Past is so good is flturd denentiouy sedinefgurh, breurlk bnuque plonoids and zenaque flenemenend huvenwas wue dlorg.

02. The Dark Phoenix Saga
Uncanny X-Men issues 129-137 
Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Wha’appen? Mastermind has been getting into Jean Grey’s head the unfortunate side effect is that it kind of drives Jean Grey (who’s really just the Phoenix Force in human form but we didn’t know that) a little mad and she becomes Dark Phoenix during a long battle with the Hellfire Club and an attempt to recruit new mutant Kitty Pryde, the end result is a battle on the moon between the X-Men and the Imperial Guard.    
Why? See my previous ‘why’ paragraph but if you must have something more substantial for my number 2 pick: Kid Miracleman killed a city, Ultron and Black Adam killed a country – Dark Phoenix killed a planet. The Dark Phoenix Saga is THE X-Men story; you have everything that makes up The X-Men - from anti-mutant bigotry with Kitty Pryde and Senator Kelly to all out space battles with The Shi’ar, from fighting other mutants with the Hellfire Club to personal dramas, hell even the biggest of the X-Men personal dramas – the Wolverine/Cyclops/Jean Grey love triangle, you get to see how tough Wolverine is physically and emotionally, Dazzler, brightly coloured violence and touching emotional scenes and you get issue 137 – one of the best written comics not by Alan Moore, which includes one of the saddest bits of text I’ve yet to read in the medium (Once upon a time there was…oh just read the bloody book, it’s sadder in context anyway) - FUCK Proteus, Dark Phoenix Saga FOR THE FUCKING WIN.      

01. The Mutant Massacre
X-Factor 9-11, Uncanny X-Men 211-213, New Mutants 46, Mighty Thor 373-374, Power Pack 27 plus Daredevil 238
Chris Claremont, Louis Simonson, Walter Simonson, Ann Nocenti plus artists
Wha’appen? The Marauders have been unleashed on the Morlocks and they’re to kill everyone, the X-Men, X-Factor, The New Mutants, Power Pack and… Thor (right) end up caught up in the horror. 
Why? So if the Dark Phoenix Saga is THE X-Men tory why I have I voted Mutant Massacre above it – complete personal preference, I’m a miserable bastard by and large so I do like to see characters put through large amounts of shit in horrible situations, but I don’t like to see characters killed off because I consider that wasteful – but hold on this is a massacre dwitefry, well yes it is but very few established characters actually die, Piper and Analee is about the total and no X-Men cop it, what does happen is that the X-Men get utterly brutalized – Colossus is paralysed, Angel has his wings irreparably fucked, Nightcrawler’s put into a coma, Shadowcat it stuck In phased form, it has the same affect for me, in fact I’d say it has a bigger effect as we get to see them characters suffering afterwards to drive home how horrible the event was, you can’t really suffer once you’re dead – unless you’re in a hell dimension or something. There’s lots to like about the story other than this obviously, the story is fantastic, the mood is perfect and the tension is very high, but I needed something separate the two and ended up using the fact that the Dark Phoenix Saga killed an X-Man and Mutant Massacre didn’t, in fact it gave us a new X-Man with Psylocke joining at the end of the story, I did say I was quite desperate when it came to ordering this top 10 right?      

I feel like I’ve been writing about X-Men comics for a year so I am quite glad to stop and am going to, now you know my top 30 X-Men stories you can feel as confident as I am that this is objectively the most correct list of high quality X-Men stories ever made and even though it doesn’t include Proteus.  

5 Psylocke was off the active roster following a fight with the Shadow King, Maggot was supposed to transfer Generation X, the Original X-Men were away together, Bishop was trapped in another time, Gambit had been off the team since his trial in Uncanny 350, I’m not actually sure where Cannonball fucked off too – X-Force?
6 Marc Silvestri left to form Image Comics which I am almost certain is why his last issue is followed by an unrelated filler story by a different team.
7 the X-Men had been living in Australia since facing the Adversary, dying but being brought back to life, but with the additional ability to not be seen or recorded by technology, living in Australia was part of them pretending to still be dead for tactical advantages and forgetting about their families and friends, it is not a direction I like but it was mercifully short, unlike say Utopia or Schism. 
8 ok, Rogue was NOT raped during this story-arc, Claremont has gone on record as saying this wasn’t what happened or what he intended to imply happened 

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