Here is an archive of all the past top five lists I’ve one over the years.
In looking at the best X-Men crossovers, I’m not talking about stuff like quick two-title crossovers, like when the Avengers and the X-Men had a crossover back in Roy Thomas’ run on each book. I mean big “event” crossovers, stuff that involved at least three titles. So here are my picks for the top five X-Men crossovers…
5. “X-Tinction Agenda” New Mutants #95-97, Uncanny X-Men #270-272 and X-Factor #60-62
This was pretty much the first modern day X-Men crossover (where each individual book worked as part of an overall narrative instead of individual books having their own separate story that tied together on a larger scale – Inferno was almost there, but New Mutants was a bit divergent). I liked how organically that the story seemed to flow out of Chris Claremont’s strong earlier work with Genosha, a stand-in for South Africa, where mutants are the majority but are ruled over by humans.
Genosha has now become more aggressive in their attacks, as they are now associated with the evil Cameron Hodge (one-time ally of X-Factor). A team of Genoshan magistrates, led by a brainwashed Havok, show up and kidnap a group of New Mutants as well as a de-aged Storm. The remaining New Mutants, Banshee and Forge hook up with X-Factor to go rescue their friends. Meanwhile, Wolverine, Jubilee and Psylocke make their way to Genosha on their own. By the end of the storyline, New Mutant Warlock was dead, Wolfsbane was trapped in wolf form, Storm was re-aged and the X-Men were finally reunited for the first time in over a year. Plus, the world learned that the X-Men were actually alive. This storyline also saw the New Mutants’ roster so decimated that they would soon reform as X-Force. Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson wrote it and Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld and Jon Bogdanove (plus a bunch of inkers) drew it.
This turned out to be the only major X-Men crossover event Jim Lee was a part of and he really killed it on it…
4. “X-Cutioner’s Song” Uncanny X-Men #294-297, X-Factor #84-86, X-Men #14-16 and X-Force #16-18
This epic crossover began with Cable seemingly shooting Professor Xavier with a bullet containing the techno-organic virus. The X-Men naturally headed off to hunt down Cable and X-Force, as well. Eventually, the X-Men discovered that “Cable” was actually Stryfe. So now their mission involved hunting down Stryfe while also contacting Apocalypse to acquire a cure for the virus (as Apocalypse created the virus). Mister Sinister kidnapped Cyclops and Jean Grey in the middle of the chaos and essentially sold them to Stryfe. The finale involved Cyclops and Jean Grey realizing that either Cable or Stryfe was Cyclops’ long-lost son!! Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell and Peter David wrote the story and a variety of artists drew it.
This was perhaps the crossover that broke people’s backs in terms of taking the idea of each book being the chapter of an overall narrative and going perhaps TOO far, as the lesser titles essentially gave way to the main narrative (with the infamous issue of X-Factor that had nearly no members of X-Factor IN it). However, Nicieza, Lobdell and David combined for a story that held together remarkably well for being thrown together essentially on the fly. I still can’t get over how well it holds together. It’s a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess. I’ve highlighted it before, but I really like the work Nicieza does with Apocalypse, Stryfe and Archangel…
First, Stryfe get revenge on Apocalypse in X-Force #17 (art by Greg Capullo and Harry Candelario) in an awesome fight sequence…
Then Apocalypse has a few plots in the other books as he helps save Charles Xavier’s life. He is very weak, though, and his own minions decide to finish him off (since he is no longer fit, after all). This leads to a great death sequence in X-Force #18 (by Nicieza, Capullo and Candelario) where Archangel doesn’t even give Apocalypse the dignity of a quick death…
There were a lot of cool little moments like that throughout the storyline.
3. “The Age of Apocalypse” X-Men: Alpha #1, Amazing X-Men #1-4, Astonishing X-Men #1-4, X-Men: Omega #1 plus a bunch of tie-ins
In this alternate universe storyline, Charles Xavier’s crazed yet powerful son, Legion, went back in time to kill Magneto, figuring that he’d put a stop to the Magneto/Professor X feud before it ever started. A group of X-Men went back in time to stop him, including the X-Men’s resident time-traveler, Bishop. They fail to stop Legion but young Charles Xavier DOES stop Legion, but only by sacrificing himself to save Magneto. This, as you might imagine, throws the whole timeline out of whack. First of all, no Xavier. Second of all, Magneto now has to vow to take up Xavier’s dream for himself. Third, and perhaps most importantly, this big mutant battle years before mutants were supposed to be up and around at this level woke up Apocalypse earlier than the world was ready for. So Apocalypse proceeds to pretty much take over the world, as no superheroes were yet around to stop him. Magneto, for his part, puts together a ragtag group of mutants known as the X-Men to fight against Apocalypse. Sott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieza, Andy Kubert, Joe Madureira, Steve Epting, Roger Cruz and a pile of other artists and writers show the adventures of the X-Men as well as every other X-related character, with the titles of each book being changed for four months (X-Factor became Factor-X, X-Men became Amazing X-Men, Excalibur became X-Calibre, X-Force naturally became…Gambit and the X-Ternals?! Okay, not all changes made sense). Bishop, being out of time already, retained his memory of the changes and he eventually helped the X-Men to get him back in time to put right what once went wrong. This was a tremendously fun and very well-coordinated crossover and the idea of actually stopping all of the books for four months (and then return them to normal) was a shocking move at the time, especially because most of the books ended on some dramatic cliffhanger before the timeline shifted (Wolverine had just popped a third claw into Sabretooth’s brain, Rogue had just kissed that slimy Gambit, etc.)
The alternate timeline stuff also allowed the writers to try some dark stuff, like when Scott Lobdell had Colossus (who is the head of a young group of heroes in Generation Next, basically Generation X) essentially say “screw it” and lets his charges die to protect himself, his wife and his sister…
Go to the next page for the top two!
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