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50 Greatest X-Men Stories: 40-36

xmen3640

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the X-Men, we’re doing a poll of the greatest X-Men stories of all-time! You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 50 Greatest X-Men Stories!

We’ll do 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. Here are #40-36.

Enjoy!


40. “Professor Xavier is a Jerk!” Uncanny X-Men #168

In this issue, Chris Claremont, Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek come to terms with the fact that while the X-Men were in outer space for a time (and thought to be dead by the world, including Professor X), Professor X had decided to restart the school with a group of new mutants all Kitty’s age. Naturally, then, Xavier believes that Kitty’s place is with these New Mutants. Can Kitty plead her case to Xavier that she should be allowed to remain with the older X-Men? Obviously yes, but it is the HOW that she does it that is so impressive!

39. “House of M” House of M #1-8

This Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales crossover mini-series dramatically changed the X-Men landscape for years. The X-Men and the Avengers got together to debate what they were going to do with Scarlet Witch, who was taken by Magneto after the tragic events of Avengers Disassembled. The two teams figured that they might have no other recourse but to kill Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver freaked out and ran to Scarlet Witch and convinced her to use her powers to alter the universe and make mutants the ruling class in the world and Magneto essentially the king of the world. Wolverine, now the head of SHIELD in this new universe, regains his memories of the “real” world. He then must put together a team to return the world to its original state. However, in the final battle, Scarlet Witch ends things by deciding (in her emotionally and pyschologically screwed up state) that mutants themselves were the problems. She casts a reality-altering spell and suddenly her phrase “No More Mutants” reduced the mutant population from millions to less than a thousand (the thousand were saved by Doctor Strange luckily being on the scene when she made her move). This decimation of the mutant population obviously changed the X-titles for years to come.

38. “Earthfall” Uncanny X-Men #232-234

In this storyline by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green, the Brood bring their evil selves to Earth for the first time and the X-Men have to deal with their menace. The problem is that the Brood are taking over humans and you can’t tell that they are Brood right away. Not only that, but once they began taking over humans they decided to target mutants as well so the X-Men now have to battle against Brood-possessed superhumans! It is not a good scene for the X-Men. Especially when they realize that the only way to defeat the Brood attack is to kill the innocent possessed humans.

37. “From the Ashes” Uncanny X-Men #174-175

I don’t know what else to call this two-part story where Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor plan their wedding (“Romances” and “Phoenix” were the titles of the original issues and neither seems to work – so I went with the name of the trade paperback that collected this story), only to see Mastermind trick the X-Men into believing that Cyclops and then Maddy are actually a resurrected Phoenix! Cyclops then must take on the entire X-Men team to defend his fiancee! The storyline ends with the marriage of Scott and Maddy and Scott seemingly riding off into the sunset for his happy ending. This storyline, written by Chris Claremont, saw the departure of Paul Smith and the addition of John Romita Jr. to the X-Men art team. Bob Wiacek inked the whole thing.

36. “He’ll Never Make Me Cry” Uncanny X-Men #183

Colossus returned from Secret Wars a changed man and he breaks off his relationship with Kitty Pryde. He is also surprised when Kitty Pryde did not agree with him that it is not cheating if it happens on an alien world. Wolverine and Nightcrawler are surprised by Colossus’ callousness towards his teammate, so they arrange it so that Juggernaut beats the heck out of Colossus without them helping him in the fight to teach him a lesson about what it feels like to be let down by your friends. It is a really well-done, character-driven issue by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr. and Dan Green.

47 Comments

2/10 – “From the Ashes”, specifically #175, was #1 on my list. Smith, JRjr, Cyclops taking on the whole team and winning. Love it.

#168 is a hell of a good issue, even if you don’t particular like Kitty.

House of M as a story was okay, but all the Decimation stuff it started ultimately left me cold.

“Earthfall” is a great little three parter, one of the best “X-Men as horror stories”. I considered it for my list.

#183 juuuust missed my cutoff. Another fantastic done-in-one, and one of the best uses of the Juggernaut.

Wow, seeing almost all of the parts of the full “From the Ashes” arc of issues 168-175 showing up o the list already makes me wonder how far up the whole thing would have been if we were allowed to vote for it as a whole. That is my absolute favorite arc of X-Men, but with the separation rules I don’t think the individual parts cracked my top ten.

I DID vote for “Earthfall” though (I called it the “2nd Brood Saga” in my ballot so I hope my vote counted). Claremont excelled for a time so much at the “long-form” X-Men storylines (issues 96-108, 129-136, 156-167, 168-175, 210-214, 221-227 and 248-252 being the main longer-running story threads) that a lot of his smaller stories I feel often get overlooked (except of course DoFP). Glad to see this gem made it. One of my favorites of the Silvestri era.

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 24, 2013 at 9:39 am

Four really good stories and one I’m not a big fan of, that’s kind of how the last one went lol

After this one I’m still 1/10 for my list, but I figured those stories would be higher anyways.

Earthfall was on my shortlist of stories to get cut at the last minute, I think I had it right after Mutant Massacre. I ended up picking Fall of the mutants instead of this to fill my Claremot/Silvestri spot, but this is still, to me, the strongest story out of these five. Silvestri was at his peak and Claremont had gotten better as a plotter and scripter since the first Brood story.

The Paul Smith issues were great too; picking up the copy of From the Ashes that my LCS had a year ago was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Xavier is a Jerk is a fun story, although the Whedon arc it inspired is a much different story lol

He’ll Never Make Me Cry is one of the most emotionally powerful X-Men stories I’ve ever read, let alone JR Jr’s dynamic and explosive pencils for the Juggs fight.

House of M, well, it always seemed like an AoA knock-off to me plus it helped kick off a period of some pretty bad X-Men comics, but I can see why people enjoy this story so much – it uses a REALLY fun and engaging premise, and Bendis gave it an intriguing and exciting evening.

Not that it needs my approval, but this list is shaping up to be pretty good lol

Earthfall just missed my list ( I also was thinking of it as 2nd Brood Saga.) I’m a big fan of the Claremont/Silvestri era, I’m sure in no small part because that’s when I started collecting X-Men. Brood with superpowers is a neat idea.

Well, check the first off my list: “House of M.”

I don’t get people calling it an AoA knockoff. Outside of the alternate reality and the element of one person knowing the truth, they’re completely different.

Plus, it gave us Layla Miller which is awesome.

Very interesting batch (almost a fully Claremont sweep!).

“From the Ashes” is my first to show up…I voted specifically for #175 which, in my heart, marks the last issue for my personal “golden age of X-Men” period. Some cool stories came after, but for me Scott’s marriage is such a tidy end to his arc over the whole series. Of course that couldn’t last…

I liked #183…if I recall, one of the funny things about it is that nobody acknowledges that they’re meeting Juggernaut for the entire issue (despite the cover, he’s never in costume in the story)…it was never clear to me whether Colossus knew who the heck he was dealing with (although it wouldn’t be hard to figure out, I guess).

My interest in X-Men was already waining during the Silvestri era, but that Brood arc was really cool, the last X-Men story I enjoyed for years.

I don’t love #168 as much as most seem to, just ’cause I was never a huge Kitty fan.

I dropped House of M midway through from lack of interest.

Looking forward to more good stuff to come!

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 24, 2013 at 9:57 am

Knock the first entry off my list! House of M was in the middle of my list, and it’s great to see it represented.

I must admit that I forgot about 183 (I was on a time crunch, ok?) and wish that I’d put it on my list. Great story, that one.

I am surprised that 168 didn’t rank higher.

I haven’t read “From the Ashes” or “Earthfall.” Definitely want to get in on that.

I have a feeling that this list is going to make me very poor…

I had 175 and 183 on my list, so I’m happy to see them but wished they would have been higher. Earthfall didn’t make my list, but it’s a good story and definitely deserving.

House of M is probably my least favorite of the 5 here, but I won’t complain about its inclusion on the list.

I like all these stories, but none made it onto my list. House of M was originally on my list, but I dropped it off when I realized I’d forgotten God Loves, Man Kills.

It is amazing how many good-to-great X-Men stories got told from #150-200. I always think of the post-Byrne years as “lesser Claremont”, which they were. It is just that “lesser Claremont” is still better than most super-team comics.

None of these were on my list but great choices.
I was just rereading the From the Ashes Trade Paperback last night. Not only does it collect two stories from today’s list, I will bet money that the Wolverine/Rogue Japan teamup will be appearing later.

I need to go dig Issue #183 out of my longbox and read it again. Such an amazing character issue. Something frequently lost in these days of everything being one multi part story leading into the next multi part story

Nice! Earthfall (or Broodfall, as it’s sometimes called) was on my list! This was the comic that made me a Marc Silvestri fan!

If I had voted, Earthfall might have been on my list. I think I only have the last issue, bought during a family beach vacation, so not having the whole story, I might not have considered it.

House of M I dropped with issue 2. I am not a big fan of alternate reality stories (because they almost never ‘count’ I know House of M is somewhat of an exception).

Captain Haddock

July 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

@Dean Hacker: I know what you mean. Not only were the core x-books great, but we also had the Wolverine mini, the teen titans crossover, New Mutants, Avengers annual, graphic novels like God loves…, for a while there Claremont was just on a roll. He really seemed to lose the plot around the time the team operated out of Australia, and he’s been incredibly hit and miss since, but it’s still a testament to how skilled he was that I consider his 80s work of a lower quality when it still holds up so well.

Issue #168 was the first issue of Uncanny X-Men that I ever bought or read and that splash page still stands out in my mind as one of the best ever. Seeing that and the cover of issue #174 just reaffirms the concept in my head that Paul Smith may be the best X-Men artist of all-time, even when stacked up against Byrne, Lee or Silvestri. Of course I am slightly biased since I consider his run to be my own personal “Golden Age” of X-Men comics. One of the reasons I never ended up submitting my own picks (besides I forgot) was due to the fact I had a hard time whittling my list down which included four picks from this run…*sigh*

House of M was cool and I love me some Brian Bendis, but this story always felt like an over-long “What If?” to me. I am impressed by the fact that it had consequences that sill echo throughout the MU nearly ten years later though.

The Colossus/Juggernaut issue, while probably my second or third favorite story of the Romita Jr. stuff, still wouldn’t have made my top ten. I honestly haven’t thought about in years, but it still is a pretty good issue.

I had given up X-Men around the time that Mark Silvestri came on, not because of his art, but because I thought the series (Claremont really) had lost direction. I know I’ve gone back and reread most of that era, but this story doesn’t stand out to me at all. Plus, I’ve never liked ANY of the brood stories…

earthfalls my number 10.

House of M is actually probably Bendis’ best event comic–faint praise, I know–but the bits of it I really liked were, generally, not the X-Men bits.

The scene with Peter and Gwen really got to me at the time.

2/10 so far. I had #175 at #6 on my list. This is the definitive Cyclops issue in my opinion, and as a Cyclops fan this one had to make my list.

The second Brood story is also one that I enjoy a lot. The Outback era was my favorite X-Men period (the Genosha story was #4 on my list) so I really enjoy the team that was in these issues. I’m also a big fan of horror films, and these issues have an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type feel to them (in addition to the usual Alien vibe that you get from Brood stories). If I had been able to vote for a top 20, this story would have made the list.

#168 is a fun issue, even though I don’t particularly care for Kitty Pryde. The whole Paul Smith run deserves all the praise it gets.

#183 is a well done issue. I don’t care about Kitty or Colossus or their relationship, but Claremont and JR Jr packed a lot of emotion into this issue. The fight between Colossus and Juggernaut is also one of the greats of the era.

House of M is a strong contender for my least favorite X-Men story ever. It flowed out of my least favorite Avengers story ever (Disassembled; the whole crazy Wanda thing), set up a new status quo (Decimation) that lasted way too long, and was an example of everything I disliked about Marvel over the last decade: Disassembled, Bendisvengers, House of M, Decimation, Civil War, death of Captain America, One More Day, Dark Reign, rebirth of Captain America, Fear Itself, Avengers vs X-Men, etc.

I guess I must have read all of these. I thought I’d missed the Brood story because that was right around the time I lost interest in the X-Men entirely, having been a regular reader from Claremont/Byrne till Australia. But I don’t really remember that story because, like I say, this is when I ceased to be interested in what Claremont was doing. In fact, that issue pictured was probably the last X-Men comic I ever bought. (Well, I guess I bought the first Morrison trade, but I later resold it.)

I’m a little disappointed Uncanny X-Men 174-175 isn’t in the top half of the countdown. Paul Smith’s art is fantastic and, barring some Art Adams, Alan Davis, & BWS issues, the best visuals the title would see for years. Smith’s slick action art and composition skills are perfect for X-Men. Too bad he only lasted 10 issues or so.

I like Kitty Pryde (when she’s not depicted as near-perfect) and Uncanny X-Men 168 is my favorite Kitty solo story. Again, Smith’s art and pacing enhance Claremont’s script.

Issue 183 is my favorite JR Jr. issue. I find most of his X-Men comics flat and lifeless, but he did a good job with the Colossus/ Juggernaut fight.

Earthfall was a good Brood story, but I don’t care for the Brood so it wasn’t on my radar. House of M was not a comic I enjoyed.

And the tally so far by title:

The Uncanny X-Men (1981-2011): 10 (Not incl. crossovers)
X-Men (1963-1981): 2
Crossovers: 2
New X-Men (2001-2004): 1
X-Men (1991-2001/2004-2008): 0 (Not incl. crossovers)
All-New X-Men (2012-): 0
Astonishing X-Men (2004-2013): 0
Uncanny X-Men (2011-2012): 0
Uncanny X-Men (2012-): 0
X-Men (2010-2012): 0
X-Men (2013-): 0
X-Treme X-Men (2001-2004): 0

I suspect that most of those 0s will go away soon. Whedon’s run is still a defining one, there’s a large contingent that liked Claremont’s early 2000s return, and there’s a likely wild card from those who like Vampires vs. Mutants.

My Paul Smith votes counted!
Pau Smith and Kitty Pryde love in this round, which is great!

I still got the Japan Adventure, the Morlocks first appearance and the original Brood Saga to go for my PMS votes.

Love those Smith issues. For those just with the From the Ashes trade, hunt down the previous 2 issues 165, 166 & 167, all drawn by Smith and criminally not available in a colour trade

Actually thinking about it 167 is in New Mutants classic v1. So buy it there!

Ironically, House of M reads more like an Avengers’ story rather than X-Men’s. It was an important event, and probably the best story featuring X-Men that Bendis ever wrote, back when he actually could write a solid and strong story.

I only hope that no one voted for AvX, because the inclusion of this event, would make this list automatically invalid!

Nothing here was even close to making the cut for my list, which is not to speak ill of any of it. I remember only very vague details about all of the 80’s issues except for #183 (and that one page from #168), which despite recognizing the cover I’d completely forgotten the story. Earthfall always ranked below the original Brood saga for me. Part of the reason for that is Dave Cockrum, who I was delighted to see return to art duties for that story even if it sadly wasn’t for the entirety. I never really cared for the way The Brood spoke during Earthfall either. I don’t know if it was because they were inhabiting human bodies or what, but something about the way they spoke always felt awkward.

House of M, like Onslaught, always read like a Marvel event that had strong roots in the X-Men franchise. I’d agree that it’s more of an Avengers story, though. It’s a stronger story without reading all of the various tie-in’s. Some of them are certainly worthwhile, such as the Hulk issues, but whenever I reread it I always just read the core series.

2/10 so far (though I suspect that I won’t be anywhere near 10/10 because I don’t think the annuals will rate much lower on the list; I’ll be stunned if I don’t have at least 4 more locks from my list, though).

Brood Saga and House of M were on the list for me. I get the complaints about House, but it’s still a solid story that redefines a few things for the X-Men. I’m very surprised at how the list is going so far in that there are a lot of individual stories that I didn’t think would make it.

#183 is a fantastic solo story that I forgot about when I voted; it also starts a bit (to the best of my knowledge) with Juggernaut that seems to run forever with Claremont but that makes total sense: Juggernaut as just a guy with powers who doesn’t really need to be rampaging all over the place all the time (to my knowledge, that pretty much characterizes him for the next 3 or 4 times he shows up). Great character piece that really puts some realistic elements into the characters involved.

Whenever I need to remind anyone how awesome Cyclops is, I refer them to From The Ashes. That entire issue of Cyclops managing to outsmart both the X-Men and Mastermind at every turn is the absolute perfect showcase to his tactical skills.

Meghan Ansbach

July 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm

There’s my #1 choice sitting at #40. I think a few of my other picks will pop up on here, but seeing as how I went with stories that I have an emotional connection to rather then being defining X-Men stories, I don’t think it will be very many of them. And I am ok with that.

I know Wolverine and Rogue in Japan will be showing up, I’m just curios where.

So glad to see Earthfall make the cut, I didn’t think it would make it at all, I’m glad they chose to use the 234 cover to represent it, its my 2nd favorite of Silvestri’s covers, behind 251

I’m quite fond of Earthfall, even though it didn’t make my list. Despite Claremont’s intricate & long-running plots, this is an impressively accessible story that’s an easy entry point to the X-Men. It wasn’t the first X-Men story I ever read, but it was the first one I bought when I started collecting and it holds a special place in my heart. Marc Silvestri drew a marvelous Colossus, didn’t he?

“He’ll Never Make Me Cry” is a terrific one-off and does a nice job of making Juggernaut into a more interesting character while giving great insights into several X-Men. It’s really good stuff and packs a lot into a single issue what lesser creators today would have stretched into at least 3 issues and done much more poorly.

A little surprised “Professor Xavier is a Jerk!” didn’t get a bit higher; it’s a pretty iconic issue. I am a big fan of the Paul Smith era, but this one missed the cut for me as well. (my list could have easily been all-Claremont, I admit)

I recently -finally!- read House Of M, and I enjoyed it more than I expected I would, partly because of the amazing Coipel artwork. But it is nothing like Age Of Apocalypse.

What did it remind me of?
Let’s see…. someone uses Wanda’s insane magic powers to remake the world in their own twisted image, with the heroes having new characters, and one by one they must ‘snap’ out of it and regain their memories, so that they can go and defeat the villains and put the world back the way it was.

Oh, it’s just like Avengers Volume 2 #1-3 by Kurt Busiek and George Perez, but with mutants instead of Morgane LeFey’s medieval touch!

I thought House of M had an interesting concept, I just didn’t like the execution. It did not need to be 8 issues. I just read Earthfall the other night and was pleasantly surprised.

Glad to see 183 make the list. Reading that issue made me want to grab a beer with Logan and Kurt.

I found “Professor Xavior is a Jerk” and “From the Ashes” to be a bit ‘meh’ (which in fairness puts them above most Chris Claremont stuff for me).

House of M was passable.

Stephen Conway

July 25, 2013 at 3:55 am

“Professor Xavier is a Jerk” was my number 1. I just love that issue. Paul Smith’s artwork and Kitty Pryde from before she became obnoxiously perfect. I struggled to not make half my list Paul Smith issues, so while I didn’t vote for #174-175 I’m very glad it showed up.

183 was on my list. I don’t remember if I put 174-175 or 172-173 on my list. But that whole Paul Smith run from the end of the Brood storyline to the wedding is fantastic; up there with the Claremont/Byrne and Morrison/Quitely runs as my favourite X-Men comics.

@Drax:

Whenever I need to remind anyone how awesome Cyclops is, I refer them to From The Ashes. That entire issue of Cyclops managing to outsmart both the X-Men and Mastermind at every turn is the absolute perfect showcase to his tactical skills.

Totally agree. When someone asks me why Cyclops is my favorite character, I hand them issue #175 and say “this is why”.

The Uncanny X-Men (1981-2011): 10 (Not incl. crossovers)
X-Men (1963-1981)
Crossovers
New X-Men (2001-2004)
X-Men (1991-2001/2004-2008)
All-New X-Men (2012-)
Astonishing X-Men (2004-2013)
Uncanny X-Men (2011-2012)
Uncanny X-Men (2012-)
X-Men (2010-2012)
X-Men (2013-)
X-Treme X-Men (2001-2004)

Don’t forget X-Men: The Hidden Years

“Wow, seeing almost all of the parts of the full “From the Ashes” arc of issues 168-175 showing up o the list already makes me wonder how far up the whole thing would have been if we were allowed to vote for it as a whole.”

Yeah, tell me about it. >:-(

Instead we’re forced to see silliness like “Prof Xavier is a Jerk” being beat by House of M.

The PMS issues here (not the earlier, Brood ones) are very much “of a piece to me”. We’re introduced to Maddie in this same “Prof X is a Jerk” issue, and we also see Cyclops with Lee Forester, which leads into everything that culminates in 174-175.

But, oh well.

I guess if the Dark Phoenix Saga was chopped up like this, then we might have already seen the first appearances of Kitty and Dazzler, underneath . Maybe next time around the Days of Future Past issues can be split up so we have to vote for them separately as well.

Claremont will end up having written 25-30 entries on this list. He’s already got 10, and there are at least 13 more that are definitely coming. Then I can think of 7 or 8 more on top of that that seem at least somewhat likely to show up (stuff like Uncanny 139-140, 169-170, 256-258, Annual 10, etc. – stories that aren’t sure things, but definitely might be here).

Good for Claremont, he deserves the recognition. Hopefully some younger X-Men fans that haven’t discovered his stuff yet will use this list to do so.

I didn’t have 183 even on my honorable mention list, but I admit, the story did cross my mind. But none I voted for this time around.

I think House of M is one of the better of the very average crossovers, but really what gets people is they actually did something with it at the very end, rather than just status quo. If you take out the last few pages of the last issue, do people still think it’s great? It’s kinda like Secret Invasion (though much better written) in that you had a overlong needless story with a cool twist at the end.

And I’m surprised by all the Kitty hate.

To me the controversy each time over placement is good clean fun. I always look at it like 50 hella good comics stories to remember/ check out. Or, likely, 45, with the reasons I can skip a few of them for the sake of time or money :-D
The debate on how to count a run means we all often turn in drastically differing ballots, which must be logistical madness. The comments represent pretty well the arguments for alternative groupings, and with a serial, a good creative team is always telling one story and a successor team actually picking it up faithfully? That’s a huge part of what made Marvel Marvel: continuity!
It’s fascinating and appalling to see stories over-turned and status quos change like waves. it can never please all of the people all of the time. It’s a very unique meta-quality of long-running American comics, as opposed to other media creations. These lists spotlight a great many well-done individual parts of that fantastic and even grueling tapestry. It’s not entirely unlike celebrating the highs and lows of any favorite entertainment franchise, like your favorite ball club.

was wondering when prof x is a jerk would make the list for it shows that kitty is a really a strong addition to the x-men plus xavier can be wrong. from the ashes interesting to see it already thought it would be higher. he will never make be cry not only does it show that some x-men are not afraid to call some one out when they are wrong like with Collusus but also has collusus squaring off against juggernaut one reason to buy the issue

Cannot believe I didn’t remember #36 (X-Men 183) when I put together my list. I got it as a back issue right when I started collecting comics (and when I was just slightly older than Kitty in the story) and it was the issue that changed my opinion of the X-Men — which previously I had considered just another “beat-‘em-up” team.

My first two issues of Uncanny X-men were 183 and 190! Amazing they both made the list. Both issues were just random comics bought for me at random times. It makes me so happy to see them both on the top 50. 183 was the issue that made me fall in love with the X-Men. It was the strong character moments and action that made that such a great issue. It was not on my list because I thought it was more of a personal thing but glad I am not alone in loving this gem.

Good picks except for House of M. That one was another Bendis crapfest. A bunch of heroes, lacking depth and moronic, pointless dialogue. The final result was a big deal but that doesn’t save the weak book and delivery of the story.

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