In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the X-Men, we’re doing a poll of the greatest X-Family (spin-offs of the X-Men) stories of all-time (Here is our previous list of the 50 Greatest X-Men Stories)! You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 50 Greatest X-Family stories!
We’ll do 10 this first day and then go to five each day from here on out (until we get towards the end, when it’ll probably get down to 3 a day). Here is a master list of every story featured so far.
50. “The Good and the Famous” X-Statix #21-25
In the final significant arc of their acclaimed run on X-Force/X-Statix, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred (joined by inker Nick Craine) pitted the X-Statix against the Avengers in a race to collect the parts of an exploded Doop. This distorted take-off on the Avengers/Defenders War was a brilliant contrast between the Avengers and the oddball X-Statix and all the while allowing us to see Allred go nuts drawing classic superheroes alongside the X-Statix designs. An enjoyable final storyline for the title (with one last, awesome issue to wrap the series up to follow).
49. “Days of Future Yet to Come” Excalibur #66-67
Alan Davis wrapped up his run as the writer/penciler on Excalibur (with inker Mark Farmer) with this sequel, of sorts, to Days of Future Past (as well as the more recent X-Men/Fantastic Four/New Mutants/X-Factor crossover, Days of Future Present, which introduced the mutant-hunting villain Ahab) as Rachel draws her Excalibur teammates into her future and the team joins up with a ragtag group of British heroes to take down the Sentinels in the future. It was during this story that we also learned the surprising and bizarre origins of Widget, the powerful little robot that had followed Excalibur around during the entire series. Davis manages to give Rachel and Excalibur a happy ending as he big farewell to the book, with Rachel finally adopting the present as her home.
48. “Road Trip” X-Force #71-75
After splitting with Cable following the events of Zero Tolerance (where the government was hunting down mutants), X-Force decided to go on a road trip. The road trip pretty much lasted until issue #101, but it was certainly no coherent story arc, so I will instead just spotlight the original arc, where they get from North Carolina to a stand-in for Burning Man. Written by John Francis Moore with art by Adam Pollina and Mark Morales, this storyline was likely best known for essentially ending “X-Force” for a while and making the book “New Mutants” again. Cable, Shatterstar and Domino all left the team and Dani Moonstar rejoined it. The team mostly just wore their regular clothes, it was a refreshing change of pace from the grim ‘n’ gritty era of X-Force. In #75, the celebration of the old gang getting back together culminates with the return of Karma and Cannonball re-joining the team (briefly).
47. “A World Apart” Exiles #8-10
We had already been prepared for the notion that the members of the Exiles could die at any moment, seeing as how they were all alternate reality characters and therefore unique to this title (giving writer Judd Winick free reign to do whatever he wanted with them) but during this arc, readers truly realized the power of that notion, when one of the mainstays of the team seemingly died. It is a testament to the amount of character work that Winick did that the “death” in this arc resonated so much considering that these characters had only been in seven issues before this storyline. The storyline itself was a good one. The reality-leaping mutants landed on a world where the Skrulls had invaded Earth in the 19th century and have ruled it ever since. The Exiles show up and most of them are quickly captured and put into service in the gladiator arenas, where the world’s remaining superhumans battle against each other for Skrull sport. Before the Exiles have a chance to lead an uprising against the Skrulls, however, Galactus showed up. The remaining heroes of Earth must team up with the Exiles to try to save the planet from Galactus and one of the Exiles makes a sacrifice for both the mission and to protect a loved teammate. Mike McKone and Mark McKenna drew the storyline.
46. “Renewal” Marvel Graphic Novel #4
Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod literally did renew the X-Universe with this graphic novel, introducing the replacements for the then-thought-to-be-dead X-Men. While Karma had already debuted in Marvel Team-Up, this story introduced Cannonball, Sunspot, Wolfsbane and Dani Moonstar. Their introductions were handled well, especially the way that Xavier is racing against the Hellfire Club for the young mutants, including one of the team who Xavier was actually too late for. Will this young mutant make the right decision and ditch the Hellfire Club for Xavier? Well, of course, but it is still dramatic seeing it happen!
45. “Good Omens” X-Statix #1-5
After the tragic finale of X-Force, the team must re-brand themselves and continue on as a team…or do they even WANT to continue on? If they’re going to make a choice, they’ll have to make it soon since a new team, O-Force, is prepared to take their place if they hesitate. Peter Milligan did a wonderful job re-introducing these characters and all the trauma they’re all going through. Mike Allred, meanwhile, does an amazing job, especially in the way that he comes up with these offbeat yet awesome designs for new characters. Paul Pope admirably fills in on the final issue in the arc.
44. “Multiple Issues” X-Factor #14-17
After a rough patch in his life, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man decides to collect some of his errant dupes. As we learned in the Madrox mini-series by Peter David and Pablo Raimondi, Madrox discovered that he could send his duplicates out to learn all sorts of different skills and when Madrox re-absorbed them, he would learn those skills, as well. A few of his dupes, though, have been out on the range a bit too long and have carved out lives of their own. What will Madrox do when it comes time to collect them? Will they fight him? Will he let them stay away? The three duplicates he follows are an Agent of SHIELD, a pastor and a private detective. Each visit comes with it its own particularly tricky pitfalls. This was the first time that Raimondi had re-joined David on the X-Factor ongoing that had launched off the back of their Madrox mini-series, and their pairing works really well. Meanwhile, the other members of X-Factor have all gone through some rough patches of their own, and the story arc also tells their tales, like Siryn and M getting over their differences while on a shopping trip in Europe only to get caught up in an international incident. Plus, Guido deals with the fact that he murdered a man while under the control of a bad guy. Can he really face the man’s widow? This is a gripping four-parter.
43. “Longshot” Longshot #1-6
While now best known for the series that launched the career of superstar artist Art Adams (who penciled the series with inks by Whilce Portacio), this series also introduced not only future X-Men member Longshot, but also the alien dimension that Longshot comes from, ruled by the entertainment obsessed tyrant Mojo. Longshot and his fabulous luck powers land on Earth after escaping the “Mojoverse,” but Mojo is not one to give up on an asset so easily, so Longshot finds himself on the run from a number of hunters, none more notable than the mysterious Spiral. Adams and writer Ann Nocenti brought a rare sense of charm and dynamics to this delightfully fun tale of adventure.
42. “Pawns of the White Queen” New Mutants #38-40
Magneto had just recently taken over as the Headmaster of the Xavier School for Mutants when the worst tragedy that could happen to his students happened – they were ALL killed! However, they were all killed by the omnipotent being, The Beyonder, who then brought them back to life with the memories of their death. No one but the New Mutants KNOW this, though, so as you might imagine, they are all wound extremely tight. They are just going through the motions of life in a total daze. This makes them easy prey for the White Queen, who uses one of her young soldiers, the Hellions, to manipulate Magneto’s emotions and make him susceptible to Eamma Frost’s entreaty to allow the New Mutants to join Frost’s Massachusetts Academy. While there, remarkably enough, Frost actually does some strong work using her powers to help the New Mutants get over their death experience, When Magneto figures out he had been manipulated, though, he comes for his kids. White Queen is one step ahead of him, though, and lets the Avengers know that the mutant terrorist Magneto is showing up at a private school to kidnap enrolled kids. This leads to a confrontation between Magneto and the Avengers before Emma Frost actually surprises everyone with a decision regarding the kids. Rick Leonardi and Bill Sienkiewicz drew part 1 (with the iconic Art Adams cover), Keith Pollard and Dell Barras drew part 2 and incoming art team Jackson Guice and Kyle Baker drew part 3. Chris Claremont wrote the whole thing.
41. “Angels and Demons” X-Force #1-6
The concept of this series (written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost) is that there are certain threats to the X-Men that need to be taken care off BEFORE they can hurt the X-Men, with extreme prejudice. So Cyclops and Wolverine put together basically a small hit squad. The toughest and deadliest X-Men all on one team, taking out targets before they can take out the X-Men. However, they might have bitten off more than they could chew when they track down whoever stole the head of the evil robot, Bastion. They learn that an anti-mutant group has rescued Bastion and then he, in turn, has used a techo-organic virius to return a number of anti-mutant villains back to life to torment the X-Men. The bad guys kidnap Wolfsbane of the New Mutants but unbeknownst to Wolverine’s team when they rescue her, she has been programmed to attack the X-Men. She tears Angel’s wings off. Unexpectedly, this turns out to be a change in Angel’s personality – has his Archangel persona actually been there all along? He finds himself changing between the deadly Archangel and the normal Angel. This opening arc to the series was drawn by Clayton Crain.
Okay, that’s it for the first day of the countdown!