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CSBG Archive

50 Greatest X-Men Stories: 50-41

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45. “In the Shadow of…Sauron” X-Men #60-63

Roy Thomas, Neal Adams and Tom Palmer introduce the villainous life-sucking villain Sauron in this four-parter that brings the X-Men to the Savage Land where Angel encounters a mysterious old man who is revealed to be none other than longtime X-Men for Magneto! The X-Men then battle Magneto and his Savage Land Mutates.

44. “Imperial” New X-Men #118-126

In this second New X-Men story arc, Grant Morrison further establishes Cassandra Nova’s bona fides as a major villain as Nova (who had taken control of Charles Xavier’s body in the previous story arc) heads off to the Shi’ar Empire and uses her powers to turn the entire Shi’ar Empire against the X-Men. The X-Men must now combat an alien invasion of Earth while also dealing with the fact that the X-Men are all infected by nano-Sentinels that are destroying them from the inside. Meanwhile, this storyline also introduces a number of new X-Men, most notably the Stepford Cuckoos and Angel. Angel shows up when she is targeted by the U-Men, who are ruled by the evil John Sublime, who want to kill mutants to harvest their organs to give people powers. Essentially, everything is falling apart at once. Luckily, this being the X-Men, they manage to pull it together at the last minute because, you know, that’s what the X-Men DO. They are aided by the mysterious new mutant healer known as Xorn. The artwork for this story was done by Ethan Van Sciver, Frank Quitely and Igor Kordey.

43. “World Tour” X-Men #114-121

I initially counted this Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin storyline as three separate tales (one for each of their stops on the World Tour), but if I had done so, none of the individual parts would have made the list and that didn’t seem to make sense to me, so I combined them all as World Tour. This story details the adventures of Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Banshee as they are though to be dead after the X-Men’s battle with Magneto the previous issue (they, meanwhile, believe that Jean Grey and Beast are dead). Stranded in the Antarctic without any easy way of getting back home, the X-Men slowly but surely make their way back to New York, stopping off in the Savage Land, Japan and Canada on the way home. Along the way, they fight Sauron in the Savage Land alongside Ka-Zar, fight Moses Magnum in Japan alongside Sunfire and finally battle against Wolverine’s former team, Alpha Flight, in Canada. These stories introduced Wolverine’s girlfriend, Mariko, saw Banshee lose his powers and saw the introduction of Alpha Flight. We also saw notable development of Wolverine as a character during this arc.

42. “An Age Undreamed Of” Uncanny X-Men #190-191

In a rare example of the X-Men interacting with the Marvel Universe as a whole (not counting Secret Wars), this two-parter featured the Conan villain Kulan Gath transforming Manhattan into a medieval fantasy world with the X-Men as magical outlaws hunted down by the Avengers. Onnly Spider-Man and Warlock know the truth of how the world used to be. As heroes are forced to remember the truth, a desperate battle is raged with many heroes being killed, all so that Doctor Strange can be given a shot at reversing the spell and turning everything back to the way it was before the spell was cast. Chris Claremont wrote it and John Romita Jr. and Dan Green clearly had a lot of fun re-designing all of the heroes of New York into medieval versions of themselves.

41. “Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire” Uncanny X-Men #475-486


In this follow-up to X-Men: Deadly Genesis, Ed Brubaker takes over Uncanny X-Men as a ragtag group of X-Men, led by Professor X and Nightcrawler, travel to the Shi’ar Empire to stop Vulcan, who is seeking his revenge on the Shi’ar Empire (the former Emperor sort of killed his mom). Drawn by Billy Tan, Danny Miki and Allan Martinez (with three interlude issues drawn by Clayton Henry and Mark Morales), this arc solidified Vulcan as a major intergalactic threat while also giving Havok, Polaris and Marvel Girl a strong new status quo as the new Starjammers. The story was not without great loss, though, as Cyclops and Havok’s father, Corsair, is murdered by Vulcan. At the end of the story, Professor X’s powers return to him and he and Nightcrawler are sent back to Earth.

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Cool! I voted for both Uncanny X-Men #150 (“I, Magneto”) and Uncanny X-Men #205 (“Wounded Wolf”). They are two of my all time favorite X-Men stories. I just wish they had made it a little higher up on the list :)

World Tour interests me the most here, in particular due to the ruling that it be split, then the decision that it be reassembled. I wonder if it would be higher if it had not been split; that is, the 4 stories may not have been able to beat heavyweight contenders for top ten slots, where the assembled World Tour might have.

Just be happy it made the list period.

I’m surprised that Germ Free Generation is counted as part of Imperial. They seem very distinct to me. They even had GFG be the first fill in arc so Quitely could do all of Imperial. But I doubt GFG would have made it on it’s own. And I’m surprised how low Imperial finished even with the GFG votes incorporated. I thought it was more popular.

I’m surprised that Germ Free Generation is counted as part of Imperial. They seem very distinct to me. They even had GFG be the first fill in arc so Quitely could do all of Imperial. But I doubt GFG would have made it on it’s own. And I’m surprised how low Imperial finished even with the GFG votes incorporated. I thought it was more popular.

Imperial’s trade includes Germ Free Generation. And yes, it is surprising how Imperial did so relatively poor. Then again, it is difficult to gain support for five different stories, ya know?

Nothing I voted for yet, but some great stuff.

I’m surprised at the “World Tour” umbrella, I figured that would’ve been broken down into the Savage Land story, the Japan story and the Alpha Flight story, plus Psi War (all great stories to my mind).

If I realized “Magik” was counted as an attachment to #160, I may have voted for it, I was very tempted to put down that Belasco issue, it’s great.

Was tempted to vote for the Kulan Gath story, it was a fun one.

I didn’t vote for I, Magneto, but am surprised it’s not higher on the list. It’s a fun, action-packed plot and a key turning point for the team’s most major villain.

This is shaping up to be a fun list…

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 23, 2013 at 10:09 am

Phalanx Covenant was on my list, and I’m glad it made it since it was one of the ones I was worried wouldn’t make the list. Besides Rise and Fall, the rest were stories that I read and enjoyed a lot.

Brian, it’s kind of funny that you say that Rise and Fall gave Rachel, Havok and Lorna a STRONG new status quo, since I’m pretty sure they were mostly ignored until Mike Carey brought them back. Between then, wasn’t the only story they were involved in Kingbreaker?

Brian, it’s kind of funny that you say that Rise and Fall gave Rachel, Havok and Lorna a STRONG new status quo, since I’m pretty sure they were mostly ignored until Mike Carey brought them back.

Seven Soldiers ended with a whole bunch of great characters ready to be used and they were were all ignored, as well. What other writers choose to do with the idea doesn’t say much about the idea itself.

/Really/ didn’t like Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire. The rest of these that I’ve read are all cool times.

I have X-men (1991) 1-300, feeling satisfied with my x-men stories (I was born in 86, so this was my first entry into comics) I know i need to get the essentials like dark phoenix, i know of all those stories, just not the small details of them.

This list is going to ruin my wallet. Basically anything that isnt in the 1991 series in this list im going to go out and buy. and im a single issue collector.

this is going to hurt. (good).

Stephen Conway

July 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

0/10, but definitely a bunch of great stories on this list. Haven’t read Rise and Fall or the Phalanx Covenant, but the rest are great stories. I may have voted for World Tour if I knew it was going to be counted as one piece. I guess it’s so low because the constituent elements aren’t all that popular by themselves, so people didn’t vote for them singularly but might have voted for the whole thing if they had the option.

Phalanx Covenant would have been a great symbolic vote for Generation X. I don’t know why I kept it off my list.

Some great classic stories in here too.

interesting to see not not only the phalax covenent on this list since it is where gen x got formed. but also the story line where Illana became magic espically since its where chris started his habbit of dangling plot lines for that story as revealed storm having a second mutant power. and also surprised to see in the shadow of sauron on the list.

I’m surprised by how “low” Imperial is. New X-Men #121, “Silence: Psychic Rescue in Progress”, is a gem and warrants higher alone.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode said, “Brian, it’s kind of funny that you say that Rise and Fall gave Rachel, Havok and Lorna a STRONG new status quo, since I’m pretty sure they were mostly ignored until Mike Carey brought them back. Between then, wasn’t the only story they were involved in Kingbreaker?”

I take it you never read War of Kings? If you didn’t, you should. It’s terrific, and Havok, Rachel and Lorna (as the new Starjammers) play a pretty sizable role in it.

The Phalanx Covenant made it onto my list out of pure nostalgia. Those were my first superhero comics, picked up out of my interest in the 90s X-Men cartoon.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 23, 2013 at 10:46 am

I didn’t vote for any of these, but I am surprised to see Phalanx Covenant and Rise and Fall of the Shiar Empire on here.

I really enjoyed PC at the time it came out (I was REALLY big on Sabretooth back then: I still am, but he hasn’t been used very well lately), but it didn’t really stick with me after a certain point.

Shiar, on the other hand, I still enjoy. It’s Brubaker’s best X-Story (not counting inter-book crossovers), but I didn’t vote for it.

I kinda thought “I, Magneto” and “The Trial of Magneto” would be a bit higher. Can’t wait to see the rest of the list!

My first comic ever was Uncanny #150 (As a reprint in X-Men Classic #54) and I instantly fell in love with the X-Men. Not a bad issue to start off with, eh?

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 23, 2013 at 10:49 am

Joe C, was “Silence: Psychic Rescue in Progress” the “‘Nuff Said” (the month where all of Marvel’s comics went without dialogue and exposition) issue? If so, that was a pretty good one, though Morrison got to cheat a little on the gimmick by having some exposition on the last page.

But still, how else were we supposed to know Xavier was attacking his twin sister in utero?

1/10 – The Kulan Gath story, which has long been a favorite.

But plenty of other near hits from my list – I much, much prefer #205 to the Lifedeath issues (which I’m sure will place much higher), and both #150 and #200 are essential to the development of Claremont’s Magneto, my favorite iteration of the character (I included different Claremont Magneto stories on the list).

Phalanx Covenant is probably my least favorite of the various 90s era linewide crossover (well, that or Operation: Zero Tolerance) but it is interesting, as Brian pointed out, how little the actually X-Men are in it. Even the storyline involving the established teams (X-Factor, X-Force and Excalibur) is the weakest of the bunch.

In terms of the Thomas/Adams stuff, I prefer the Sentinel story to the Sauron/Savage Land one, but I’ve never been a big Savage Land guy.

The World Tour storyline is great, though the increasing strain on the whole “the world thinks the X-Men are dead/the X-Men think Beast and Phoenix are dead” idea becomes distracting by the time the X-Men are paling around with Jean’s roommate in Japan and is downright laughable by the end. Still, that’s the arc I tend to think of when I think “Claremont and Byrne’s X-Men”.

I voted for “An Age Undreamed Of” and Uncanny #160
Great writing and fantastic art.

Degenerate Nightcrawler was such a wonderfully loathsome character it amazes me they were able to get away with having him do what he did to Kitty. I have a hard time believing that they would try that now.

Can’t wait to see the rest of the list.

Well, now I’m curious because if the World Tour story did this well, the Magneto two-parter that precedes it should be up there. I think it’s actually one of the better Magneto fights that we ever get (though it did not make my list).

Sam Robards, it was indeed the “‘Nuff Said” issue.

Man, I cannot believe I, Magneto didn’t make it. One of my all time favorites.

Hey, something from my list! And it’s the Roy Thomas one. I do like the Kulan Gath story, though.

I’m happy to see “World Tour”, eventhough I didn’t vote for it. #43 seems about right.

With lists like these, it’s more about whether or not a story makes the cut or not, but I’m still surprised to see “I, Magneto” and “Imperial” so low. (And I would have counted “Germ Free Generation” separately, too.)

Surprised to see “Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire” here. I thought that story started out strong but ended rather weak.

Man, I cannot believe I, Magneto didn’t make it.

But it DID make it. It’s right there.

Although I didn’t vote for it, I’m glad some Thomas/Adams material made it onto the list. I do prefer the previous Sentinel story and assume it will be somewhere on this list.

Rise and Fall isn’t a bad story at all, however I’m not sure it should rank that high.

X-Men 150 was my first issue of X-Men I had read. I’m not into the X-world anymore, but I do have a question. Has it ever been explained how Wolverine used his claws in that story when it was later shown that they were part of his mutant powers? I can understand him not immediately dying from his adamantiam bones (maybe he was slowly dying from them w/out his healing powers), but he should have had no use of the claws. Other than that, a great introductory story for me, and it kept me hooked for many, many years.

“Wounded Wolf” (UXM 205) was my very first X-Men comic. Got my parents to buy it for me at our local grocery store when I was five.

I don’t hate the Phalanx Covenant, but to see a few places below “The Trial of Magneto” and “I, Magneto” feels very, very wrong.

Everything else looks good, though. Except for Brubaker’s story there, which would have made my personal Bottom Five X-storylines. I guess people like it because it seemed important and was drawn out?

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve had some hits (and near hits) already. I thought they’d be higher. X-Men 200 was on my “honorable mention list” but didn’t make the cut because of the same reason X-Men vs. Avengers and X-Men vs. FF didn’t make it…because they’re great stories where the end always seems a cop out instead of coming to hard decisions.

I did have X-Men 150 (8, I think) because you need to have at least one Magneto story on the list (he is their arch rival) and I’m not sure there are too many better ones. Thought it would be higher. (I mean, they use the whole submarine thing in the last X-Men movie).

And I’m shocked X-Men 205 is so low. I had that near the top. Beautiful art, insight into Wolverine’s background, and a great story. It was Weapon X before we had Weapon X. And it has Katie Powers in it!! Oh well, we’ll see how the others play out.

My thoughts: So far, so good.

I’ve never really cared for the Barry Windsor-Smith issues, but I understand their appeal, so I’m not really surprised to see the Wolverine solo issue or will I be surprised if “Lifedeath” or “Lifedeath II” show up on the list (although I find “Lifedeath II” to be the most depressing X-Men story ever written).

I voted for “Trial of Magneto,” so I’m glad to see it on the list. One thing to clarify here, Xavier’s injuries date back to “Uncanny X-Men” 192, and he had been concealing how serious they truly were until the attack in France exacerbated them.

“Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire” was in my sphere but did not make my list. I think I initially enjoyed Brubaker’s first “Uncanny” story, “Deadly Genesis,” a little more, but now my opinion has I think reversed.

I’m pleasantly pleased that what Brian calls the “World Tour” but what Claremont, Byrne and Marvel refer to as “The Odyssey” made the list in it’s almost whole form (Claremont and Byrne incidentally consider the entire story to be 111-121 because they structurally based the whole thing on Homer’s “Odyssey” — there’s a few interviews they’ve done on the subject, including I believe Claremont’s forward to “Uncanny X-Men Masterworks” Vol. 3). I can understand, however, Brian’s wanting to count the Magneto aspect of the story arc as a separate story and I hope to see it further up on the list.

VERY surprised to see “The Phalanx Covenant” on the list, especially the two non-X-Men sections. “Phalanx” came out at the height of my X-Men fanaticism, when I was about 14, but I’ve never really felt emotionally invested in it — perhaps because the main X-Men of the time were missing and I never really cared for the Generation X characters. I also never really cared for the Kulan Gath story (partially because it bores me and partially since it’s really actually a follow-up to a Claremont “Marvel Team-Up” story, not X-Men), but it’s a nice little oddity.

Looking forward to the rest of the list!

X-Men 150 was my first issue of X-Men I had read. I’m not into the X-world anymore, but I do have a question. Has it ever been explained how Wolverine used his claws in that story when it was later shown that they were part of his mutant powers?

I wouldn’t say that his claws are part of his mutant powers. They’re more just a function of his mutancy period. For instance, Nightcrawler could lose his powers and he’d still have his tail. Similarly, Wolverine would still have his claws. They’d just hurt like hell to pop out of his body.

To piggy back on Brian’s comment above, see the Genosha storyline in Uncanny X-Men around issues 237-239…I think.

Wipeout takes away Wolverine’s power (his healing factor), but the claws and Adamantium are still in him; among other things, he bleeds like crazy when he pops them because there’s no healing factor to cover the wounds. He also starts to die from the metal being in his body. So the power isn’t anything claw related at all.

However, this always made me wonder how Bullseye could run around with Adamantium laced bones and not collapse, but whatever (then again, Deathstrike seems screwed up as well since it would make all the sense in the world for her to hate Daredevil and not Logan).

Ah, yes. I had figured that with your ruling that From The Ashes was separate stories then things like GFG and Imperial would also be counted separately.

The Kulan Gath story was literally the last cut from my list. “Imperial” was second-to-last (it was down to it and “Riot at Xaviers” for my Morrison slot)

Nice to see Sauron show up. The reprint of this was my first comicbook I picked up (not counting the Captain N and Rescue Rangers I got when I was even younger). It helped that at the time the X-Men cartoon had them in the Savage land battling Sauron. Definitely stands the test of time, especially the art.

Phalanx Covenant was #9 on my list.

I can’t say I was a big fan of Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire. It wasn’t a bad story, by any means, I just didn’t find it to be one of the best X-Men stories. I doubt I even would’ve put it on a list of the best X-Men stories of the past decade.

I did not vote, but Wounded Wolf might have made my list if I did.

I might reread Imperial tonight.

Ah, yes. I had figured that with your ruling that From The Ashes was separate stories then things like GFG and Imperial would also be counted separately.

Even if we had separated them, it wouldn’t have affected the rankings. GFG only received a handful of votes. We might have seen Imperial dip below Sauron, but I don’t believe so.

A bunch of Magneto and some nice stories where Kitty shows up in. I’m liking this list so far. No Paul Smith, but that makes sense as he should be near the top anyways.

Brian, do you ever reveal how many votes/voters you get for these?

Fun stuff, though I have to add my voice to the chorus of “Imperial” being surprisingly low. It’s one of the most exciting X-Men stories I’ve ever read.

Mostly great with one of my choices on this portion of the list. Had only one lip curl while reading!

However, this always made me wonder how Bullseye could run around with Adamantium laced bones and not collapse, but whatever

It’s been shown somewhere or other that Bullseye had to take pills to stave off Adamantium poisoning.

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm

@ Brian Cronin and Sam Robards

Both very good points; you can set up a great status quo and then people don’t use it, and I’ve heard War of Kings is great so that’s two stories.

Still, I’ve never cared much for R&F, but that’s mostly because it’s hard for me to excise my personal feelings for Brubaker when it comes to his X-work and specifically how he told fans after this story that if they wanted to see Cyclops deal with leaving his brother behind in space, they should go write fan-fiction about it. Uncanny X-Men has always been the character driven, family-feel book and a fan had the nerve to ask him to show how a character felt about losing a brother… the nerve of him, right? But wutevs, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good story, it’s just hard for me to read it because of that. Messiah Complex is great though.

I had a hard time leaving UXM #150 off my list. Had I submitted a list of what I thought were the best stories, rather than my personal favorites, it would have been quite near the top. Happy to see it place. Sad to see it place so low.

I’m surprised to see so many people mention they voted for Wounded Wolf, though I’m not entirely sure why. It’s a great issue, and easily ranks higher than any of the Lifedeath issues for me. The MCP Weapon X origin story is by far my favorite BWS X-Men story, though. I can’t remember if WW was first or third on my list. I had 251-252 at the top for awhile but I can’t remember whether or not I switched the two stories at the last minute. Despite it’s placement on my list, I wouldn’t say it’s my very favorite X-Men story; but it’s definitely one of the best standalone issues of Claremont’s run (and in all of the franchise, really). A couple stories I had in my top 5 were ranked so high because I was afraid they’d get overlooked on the whole, and this was one of them.

The only other story I voted for that’s shown up so far is Imperial, which I had one slot above E for Extinction. If I could have voted for both as one story I totally would have, though. Both stories are excellent, especially in light of the couple years of X-Men stuff that came before, but I always enjoyed the Imperial half of that story moreso than E. Morrison did a wonderful job sticking the landing on that whole thing, but the mostly-silent issue with Jean and Emma in Xavier’s mind is one of the best single issues in the whole franchise and such a badass moment for Jean in that whole love triangle with Cyclops.

I realize it’s a judgment call, but I would have lumped the Magneto story preceding World Tour/Odyssey under that umbrella as well. I’ve never viewed it as a separate story. I mean, it is, but it’s the story that kicks the whole thing off and always seemed integral to the greater plot. In any case, I’m glad to see World Tour as a whole on here. Not counting the Magneto story, which seems guaranteed to show up later, the Japan story is probably my favorite with the Savage Land one a close second.

Though I didn’t vote for any of it, seeing pre-Claremont X-Men make the list is a nice surprise. Roy Thomas’s stuff always seemed like the strongest of the pre-Claremont stuff, so if any of it was going to make the list I’m glad to see it’s his stuff. I wasn’t really sold on any of the pre-Claremont stuff when I read it for the first time a few years ago, but I’ve warmed up to some of it a bit since then. It started turning into a pretty good book when Arnold Drake came on board (the Polaris origin was the only story that really left any sort of impression after I read all of those early issues), and Thomas kept the momentum going.

Very, very surprised to see Phalanx Covenant on here even if it is #50. It’s by far my least favorite of the 90’s crossovers (O:ZT at least started out interesting). It just FEELS like such a 90’s story, and a very uninteresting one at that.

#150 and #200 were contenders, but I just couldn’t find room for them. Figured other people would have them covered though, especially Trial. Haven’t read Rise and Fall, the Magik story was alright but didn’t leave much of an impression aside from Illyana suddenly being a teenager (never having read the miniseries probably doesn’t help here), and I don’t remember the Kulan Gath issues at all.

Brian, any chance you could include month & year info along with the issue numbers? I’m not an X-pert, and it would be cool to know the time period(s) of the stories.

Thanks for listening!

One thing I find remarkable is that I’ve actually read 8 out of these 10 stories. Not Phalanx or the Shi’ar Empire one, neither of which I’ve even heard of, but the rest of them. I had assumed this would be full of stuff I’d never read, not being much of an X-aficionado.

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm

@ Buttler

Sounds like you’ve read a decent chunk of Claremont x-stuff, which would make you at least a little bit of an aficionado. Also, I’d wager at least half this list will be Claremont written stuff, since he was on the franchise for so long and may just be the most consistently good comic writers of all time, not counting the six-month gap.

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I’d also like to say it’s actually kind of cool that people have referred to PC as their least favorite of 90s X-Men cross-overs instead of worst (personally, I like it just for the Gen X chapters); 90s X-Men crossovers were actually decent at worst, it’s nice to see other people recognize that. Also, people have mentioned Zero Tolerance and PC as their least favorites so far, not Onslaught – does that mean people actually like Onslaught more or it’s the only one people actually thinks sucks? I’d actually like to know lol

Anonymous2, I don’t know how many answers you’ll get to your question, but I’m a legitimate fan of Onslaught. I still consider it a Marvel Universe-wide event more than an X-book one, but I don’t see how anyone who didn’t know who Onslaught was before hand could read that reveal issue and not get a chill from when Jean figures it out to seeing him standing there with the Cyttorak gem ripped out of Juggernaut’s chest, calling the rest of the team.

Same for the Onslaught:X-Men and Marvel Universe issues. The team falls apart in the first, and we see everyone else from the MU come to the rescue and being the absolute definition of heroes in the second. For me, it’s an impressively well-done event considering its size, and all the X-Men chapters did a great job of highlighting individual characters (Xavier and Magneto/Joseph especially) or showing just how badly the whole event affected them as a group. Love it. Hate that they brought him back (twice) for throwaway series, but the original is a favorite of mine.

Mike Loughlin

July 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

“Wounded Wolf” is one of the best solo Wolverine stories ever done. It’s beautifully drawn, tense, and engaging. I think it stands out even more because the issues surrounding it are some of Claremont & Co’s weaker efforts. I know ’80s JR Jr and Rick Leonardi have their fans, but BWS’s art is on another level.

“Imperial” was a good story, even better if ” GFG” is included. I think the rushed art in some of the chapters may have kept its vote total lower than the story deserved.

I like seeing off-kilter super-hero teams. I liked the 1st section of Phalanx Covenant” because it was cool to see Banshee, Emma, Sabretooth, & the future Generation X kids take the spotlight. It wouldn’t make my list of 50 greatest X-Men stories, but I liked it.

I’ve always considered Onslaught a Marvel event, albeit one very heavily rooted in X-Men. As for its relationship to O:ZT and PC, Onslaught felt like a fully realized event whereas O:ZT felt like it was drawn to a premature close. O:ZT needed a couple more parts to it, maybe another month or so of each title that was involved. I thought it started out rather well, but then it just…ended. Anticlimactically. And it didn’t even properly end in an X-title! PC was just dull and completely forgettable.

I think Onslaught would have been better if they kept with the whole “Xavier’s getting overwhelmed by all this stuff happening post-AoA and he’s cracking under the pressure” angle that they’d been building on for so long. I don’t know if the Magneto/mindwipe angle was the plan all along, but it seemed to come from almost nowhere. There was a “cold feet” sensation with that reveal, like they didn’t want to do or didn’t think they could pull off the psychological story that it should have been. All that said, I still like it more than Phalanx Covenant.


July 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Disappointed to see any Morrision make it that high on the list

VERY interesting to see a Roy Thomas story on the list! I wonder if that’ll be the last pre-Giant-Size story to make the list.

@Sleepwalker42 — Well ya better get used to it because that won’t be the last.

I didn’t vote (mainly because I couldn’t decide on a final order), but there’s some good choices here.

I hope that Zero Tolerance makes the list somewhere. I know a lot of people didn’t like it, but for me it did a very good job of presenting a nightmare scenario for the X-Men (at the time) whilst clearing up a hell of a lot of danglers that had been left hanging for years and years. And the Generation X installments of the event with Jubilee in captivity were excellent.

I also loved X-Men 62-64, with the X-Men in Japan trying to get a cure for the Legacy Virus from Sebastian Shaw. Loved that story, and it was made all the better for the amazing art of Carlos Pacheco (I actually prefer his 90s work, his modern work is just far too generic).

One outta my 10 has made the list so far, ‘The Kulan Gath story’ yay! Add me to the list of surprised people seeing Rise and fall of the shi’ar and phalanx covenant, never even considered either of them to make my list. Kinda surprised to see a lot of talk about Wounded Wolf, I mainly didn’t consider it because it seems the 80’s was inundated with similar one-off Wolverine stories such as It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…! and Fever Dream.
Glad to see some of the others on the list so far, such as The trial of Magneto, and I, Magneto. Sad that looking at the list so far, it looks like at least two of my picks, Earthfall and X-Men: The End wont make the cut.

I hope the Magneto story I voted for makes the list (Magneto, Triumphant UXM112-113). It was difficult narrowing a top 10 list with only 1-2 Magnus arcs/lines. The trial (#200) – while significant for the team history, was not that great as a storyline, imo. I have a feeling the earlier, original team fights with Magneto will get preference.

“The Phalanx Covenant”…really? I hated that storyline. The “computerized” covers were a gimmick I detested. “Magick” is one of my most beloved. You had to read Magick miniseries to fully understand the saga, but it was an orignal idea back then.

Uncanny #200 is great, and probably deserves to be ranked even higher. Magneto submits to the law and eloquently explains his motivations before a world court, and shows mercy even towards the Fenris twins trying to kill him, while the X-Men engage in an epic battle outside. Xavier leaves the book (unfortunately not for good), while Magneto is given a second chance, and we’re actually given reason to believe it could’ve stuck.

Three of my top ten made it: 150, 200, and 60-63. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing as far as my other choices ranking any higher … Although pretty sure my Claremont / Byrne picks will at least crack the top 5.

I started reading Uncanny X-Men around the time Claremont brought Professor X back, and oddly enough one of the first back issues I ever picked up at an antique show (held in a shopping mall of course) was Uncanny #200. I was hooked from the start and HAD to know what all the backstory was between #200 and #275.

Looking back, #200 really changed everything for quite a long time. Hard to imagine a real status quo change like that happening in today’s world of comics.

“Wounded Wolf” was another story I voted for. The Barry Windsor-Smith art is beautiful and not only do we get Katie Powers and Logan teaming up but we get I believe the first appearance of Lady Deathstrike. That issue is just very powerful in seeing Logan beaten up so bad. A precursor for The Mutant Massacre really.

The ending to Uncanny X-Men #200 was one of the best ever. Talk about a turnaround! I was hoping Magneto would stay on the side of good after all that character development. As it stands, he’s been portrayed that way more often than not thanks to this issue.

I had the Sauron part of World Tour on my list, as an arbitrary pick over the Japan and Canada parts, since I wanted to include the whole thing but didn’t want to use 3 picks for it.

I surprisingly haven’t read most of the others.
While I loved E Is For Extinction, I dropped X-Men before Imperial started because I thought the post-Quitely art was terrible and I hate the ShiAr (and the stupid Starjammers too).

I expected Trial Of Magneto to be much higher, this should make for a very interesting list overall.

Uncanny X-Men 183 is my all-time fav so hoping that makes the list. Also hope to see Annual 10 which is a masterpiece. Issue 195 was the first comic I bought so it holds a special place in my collection.

So far, Imperial is the only one here I’ve actually read. That was my #8 vote

Rise and Fall was my comeback to the X-Men, bought the trade because it was mostly out of regular continuity. I didn’t hate it, but I felt the writing was awkward (strange, considering who did it), the story was way too stretched and the ending was disappointing. Surprised it made it, considering the competition.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 24, 2013 at 7:15 am

I’ve heard it mentioned on here a couple times now, but will I be the only one that’s hugely surprised if Onslaught makes it on this list?

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the story when it first came out, but I haven’t read it in years and don’t know if I’d like it as much now as I did then. It was bombastic and big and explosive and all that stuff, but it probably could have been a bit more personal in terms of the psychological factors behind Xavier going nuts, which would have made it a bit more interesting.

OH goodie, thank you Brian! I’ve stalked this site like seven times waiting for the list to begin :-D I had a feeling there was a long roll-out of Comic Con stories (hello from downtown San Diego). I knew I would love it, and I bet it got more voting than any other individual series or character list (what do you say?).
Two of mine are here already (150 & 200 do have killer endings), and I think Imperial may have just missed my list (haven’t read my Morrison issues in a decade), as did “An Age Undreamed Of,” over which I already reminisced with others in the comments. Pretty high concept for 1984! I remember, in sixth grade, sneaking peaks at those borrowed back issues in class, just dying to get them home and find out what horrible think had happened to Spidey! I dropped those two at the end of a very rocking list!

July 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm

VERY interesting to see a Roy Thomas story on the list! I wonder if that’ll be the last pre-Giant-Size story to make the list.

I’m pretty sure that Roy Thomas and Neal Adams’ “Sentinels arc” will make the list. Those are the issues that came before the “Sauron/Savage Land/Magneto” ones.

I imagine that some Stan Lee and Jack Kirby original issues will also pop up, but it will be more a nostalgic feeling than a case of really good stories.

One down, nine to go. I’m glad Rise and Fall made the list. It was my first story back reading X-men books and I really enjoyed it, I especially liked that it tied into the awesome cosmic stuff Marvel did after.

I’m quite looking forward to seeing what of the 60’s X-Men makes this list and also what from recent years appears (I basically drift in-and-out of the X-Men these days after sucking up everything in sight from the Claremont era and the 90’s).

Surprised to even see Rise and Fall… on this list as this was a story that took me away for a few years but pleased to see Phalanx Covenant. Under-rated, imo, and a very neat introduction to Generation X.

1/10 so far. The Kulan Gath story was #5 on my list. It was fun to see the reimagined versions of the X-Men, New Mutants, Spider-Man, etc., and it was a really good stand-alone story.

#150 just missed my top 10. I am a fan of Claremont’s take on Magneto much more so than the one dimensional villain he often is with other writers. If it had been a top 20 list, #200 would have made it as well.

I like #160 as well. I’m big fan of the New Mutants and Magik in particular, and it’s an interesting change of pace to see the X-Men in an occult themed story.

I would have included the world tour/odyssey issues on my list if I had known they would be combined, but none of the individual stories (the Savage Land, Japan, Alpha Flight) made my top 10.

I liked imperial enough, and (mostly) enjoyed Grant Morrison’s X-Men, but didn’t really consider it for my list.

I don’t really care for #205 (I’ve never liked Power Pack) or Phalanx Covenant. PC was around the time I started getting board with the X-Men and comics in general, and would eventually lead to me taking a four year break from them.

I’ve never read the Sauron story, or any of the Roy Thomas X-Men issues (although I want to). I’ve also never read the Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar empire (which I have no desire to).

I’m surprised Phalanx Covenant made the list. I remember thinkin it was cool back in he day but I don’t know about top 50.

I wouldn’t say that his claws are part of his mutant powers. They’re more just a function of his mutancy period. For instance, Nightcrawler could lose his powers and he’d still have his tail. Similarly, Wolverine would still have his claws. They’d just hurt like hell to pop out of his body.

That’s a great way to word it. I couldn’t think of as good a way to say it. Nightcrawler doesn’t stop being blue and furry either. (Though sometimes Beast does…?) But I’d say it always hurts like hell to pop out of his body. It just heals faster.

Though really, at that time, in the Handbook and the comics, there were openings for them to come out of, covered by those metal cups three to a hand. Slide through the opening, and lodged in the metal arches. Which made more sense. What kind of mutation makes your pierce skin? It’s was more like a cat’s retractable claws. So it even works better as them being part of his body.

Phalanx Covenant also poignantly introduced and killed off Blink.

I had 8/10 in the Avengers top 50 and expect I’ll probably match it.
Flying start with 3 of my 10 already.

150 I, Magneto – great story and one of the first XMen issues I bought (though I have since read most of the earlier stories)

And I voted for the classic Thomas/Adams tale of Magneto in the Savage land (was not sure if Sauron would count as the same story)

And I voted for the savage land part of the World Tour – I think the best thing about the World tour was it got the group away from the Mansion for a prolonged period allowing significant character development during downtime with people from other cultures.

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