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CSBG Archive

50 Greatest X-Men Stories: 35-31

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 #35-31.

Enjoy!

35. “Blood Feud!” Uncanny X-Men #159/X-Men Annual #6

Storm just attracts all the bad boys. First Doom and now Dracula (there was also Akron)! In this beautifully drawn two-parter by Bill Sienkiewicz and Bob Wiacek, Storm is bitten by Count Dracula. The X-Men must then fight to save their friend. Chris Claremont did a fine job following in the gigantic footsteps of Marv Wolfman on the Dracula character.

34. “The Rise of the Phoenix!” X-Men #101, 105, #107-108

You could also include #98-100 if you’d like, since that story didn’t make the Top 50 on its own and a few people included #98-100 in their vote for this one. Anyhow, after seemingly sacrificing herself to save her teammates at the end of #100, Jean Grey is instead reborn as the Phoenix in #101. Over the next few issues, her power begins to shock everyone with the seemingly unlimitless nature of her abilities. This storyline also introduced the Shi’ar Empire and the Imperial Guard. Likely the highlight of Dave Cockrum’s run on X-Men with writer Chris Claremont.

33. “A Green And Pleasant Land” Uncanny X-Men #235-238

Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Marc Silvestri, Dan Green, P. Craig Russell and Terry Austin delivered this classic four-parter that introduced the extremely subtle commentary on Apartheid-era South Africa that was the mutant island nation of Genosha. Wolverine and Rogue were kidnapped and stripped of their powers and witnessed first hand the awful goings-on of Genosha, where a handful of non-mutants ruled over an entire nation of mutants. The X-Men show up to rescue their teammates and they turn the whole nation on its ear.

32. “Here Comes Tomorrow” New X-Men #151-154

The post-script to Grant Morrison’s X-Men run, “Here Comes Tomorrow” was drawn by Marc Silvestri and Joe Weems. It is set in a horrible future where the evil Sublime has taken control of the Beast (we learn here that Sublime is really a bacteria that can infect mutants and control them) and an older version of Wolverine must team-up with a rag tag team of future X-Men to protect the Phoenix Egg from Beast. In the end, it “hatches” and Jean Grey returns and eventually takes her place as the White Phoenix of the Crown. This is not before she first uses her powers to go back in time to force Cyclops to reconsider both becoming the new Headmaster of the Xavier Institute and pursuing a relationship with Emma Frost. As it turns out, it was Cyclops leaving the school that led to this horrible future. With the timeline now fixed, Morrison’s run was complete.

31. “Second Coming” X-Men: Second Coming #1-2, Uncanny X-Men #523-525, New Mutants #12-14, X-Men: Legacy #235-237 and X-Force #26-28

In this epic crossover, Cable and Hope Summers (the first mutant born since the Scarlet Witch said “no more mutants”) return to the present. Hope is now a teenage girl. The villainous Bastion, though, has been waiting for this moment. He arranges for essentially an elaborate trap that results in the X-Men (and essentially all the mutants left on Earth) being trapped within an energy dome with an army of future Sentinels on their way to once and for all eliminate the mutant race on Earth. Obviously, the X-Men survive (with help from X-Force, which shut down the Sentinels, which were being delivered from the future – Cable, though, sacrificed himself to shut the time portal behind them) but they lose a number of their members, including longtime member Nightcrawler, who sacrificed himself to protect young Hope (Bastion’s plan involved going after all of the X-Men teleporters, since he did not want them to have any way out). The storyline was written by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Matt Fraction, Zeb Wells and Mike Carey and was penciled by David Finch, Terry Dodson, Ibraim Roberson, Greg Land and Mike Choi

45 Comments

So far, so good.

Nothing from my list this time, though both “A Green and Pleasant Land” and the original Phoenix arc were contenders (Claremont’s finale to that arc in #108 is ridiculously fun and trippy stuff, but doesn’t hold together as a narrative too well).

I’m a little surprised “Blood Feud” placed. The art is nice, but the story is rather drawn out. I’ve always been kinda “meh” about it, but I suppose people love the vampires, and Marvel’s Dracula is pretty badass.

“Here Comes Tomorrow” is a story I respect more than I enjoy, but I’m neither surprised nor bothered to see it place.

“Second Coming”, I imagine, like most modern day crossover, reads much better in trade/one big chunk than as it came out month to month. I read it as the former, and enjoyed it, though it definitely fell in the traps of the modern crossover (e.g. a mandatory ‘shocking’ death).

I did not vote for the original “Jean Grey transforms into Phoenix” storyline, but I do agree it was very good. Definitely featured some of the greatest work Dave Cockrum did in his career.

I read Here Comes Tomorrow!

My X-Men collecting goal is to get Uncanny 203-280 (the issues from when I started reading superhero comics through 11th grade), so I would like to some day read A Green and Pleasant Land.

Gun pointed to head, I’d say “A Green and Pleasant Land” is Claremont’s masterpiece. An incredible combination of his social activism metaphor with well-done superheroics, nuanced characterizations, nicely rounded-out action pacing, and Silvestri’s sleek, cool Genosha designs. It even managed to naturally foreshadow Maddie’s upcoming Goblin Queen change and integrate it into the main X-men story, that you wouldn’t notice it was editorially driven unless you were told about afterwards! Only big flaw is Leonardi’s pencils for half of it, his style really doesn’t mesh all that well with Silvestri, although we’ve seen here(and later Spider-Man 2099), he does the futuristic tech just fine, its his own way. Kudos to Dan Green for trying his best to make them look similar.

It’s funny… I’ve been reading the adventures (or otherwise) of my favourite mutants for a long, long time (long enough that I can’t remember my specific jumping on point, but there’s not been anything featured so far that I think I missed, which says something) but that cover for “Second Coming” – that seemingly epitomises “MY” X-Men, as it were. That, or maybe the Whedon run.

It’s not that it’s packed full of all my favourites or anything, it’s just that the line-up simply works for me in terms of the stories and character interactions I want to read.

it’s been wonderful being reminded of the older stuff though. It really has.

I missed out on a bunch of the Outback years so I’m pretty sure I’ve only read reviews and retellings of Welcome to Genosha.

I’m more impress that Blood Fued happens in Uncanny 159 and then the Magik story happens in 160, imagine reading comics where that type of change happens in two months’ time? One moment, vampires, the other, a poor girl is force to live in Limbo for 7 years. Dman, Claremont was burning those some amazing ideas!

I remember not being terribly impressed with Here Comes Tomorrow and I’ve tried to read other people’s opinions on it so that I can get more information but it seems, to me, to be a story which an awesome final pages and then that’s pretty much it. I’ve read the first few pages of the arc and the last few pages and that was good enough for me. Morrison’s run was hit and missed for me, not enough Cyclops and Emma, and when those two are on panel together, the book really moves. But that’s retrospective for you, I guess.

Kitty only appears in Blood Fued and no Magneto in ten issues, I’m pretty impressed. Well, he’s in Second Coming but he doesn’t own that storyline like the others already listed.

Two more off my list. (Phoenix and Second Coming)

Second Coming ranking this low is a pile of horse manure.

None of these stories were on my list, but they deserve their rankings … I love the concept of Genosha but is it really “extremely subtle commentary on Apartheid-era South Africa”? I was too young to read UXM 235-38 when it first came out but it seems like its a fairly obvious allegory . . .

Ross: I assumed Brian was being sarcastic.

I voted for “Second Coming”. I absolutely loved Second Coming. The constant one-upsmanship between Cyclops and Bastion was great. I re-read “Here Comes Tomorrow” and liked it a lot better the second time around. And of course, the Phoenix stuff is just classic.

Uncanny X-Men 236 is a great example of outstanding cover design. tell me that image doesn’t make you interested in the story inside! It’s representative of the story and gives you an iconic image without just lifting a shot from something out of the interiors. Great work by Silvestri.

“Here Comes Tomorrow,” along with “Earthfall,” happen to be the two X-Men stories I included on my list that had art by Marc Silvestri. I don’t know if it’s because I’m such a fan of Silvestri or because I’m a sucker for apocalyptic future stories, but “Here Comes Tomorrow” was the only story written by Grant Morrison to make my list.

I didn’t include “The Rise of the Phoenix!” on my list, because “The Dark Phoenix Saga” beat it.

I didn’t include “Second Coming” on my list, because “Messiah Complex” beat it.

“…the seemingly unlimitless nature of her abilities.”

Wouldn’t unlimitless be limited?

Storm just attracts all the bad boys. First Doom and now Dracula (there was also Akron)!

Storm dated the city of Akron, Ohio? Must have been during the 90s….

Anonymous2 aka Saul Goode

July 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm

This time there’s three things I was considering for my list but ultimately cut.

First was the Genosha arc, which would have been on my list if we could vote for a top twenty. I love the whole Outback period up until the end of the Acts of Vengeance crossover, and this is perhaps my third favorite arc from the period after the second Brood saga and Uncanny’s Fall of the Mutants chapters. I’m a big fan of the concept of Genosha, which I agree Brian, was actually pretty subtle, plus I personally think this era of Silvestri’s work is his best. Also, RIck Leonardi during this period was doing a bit of an Art Adams riff at this point, if you ask me, and it looks pretty good. A great arc.

Speaking of Silvestri, his New X-Men arc with GM was another contender. I love these kind of DoFP riff stories, and Morrison’s is probably the best written of those. It was a hell of a way to go out, and Silvestri showed he still had it where it counts.

The Coming of the Phoenix is another personal favorite of mine. I remember the first X-Men comics I got were in the first two essentials, and I remember I couldn’t wait to get to these issues. Cockrum doesn’t get a lot of credit I think, and that’s most likely because he’s overshadowed by John Byrne, but he has a great, clean, classic style. I also count 98-100 since those issues are pretty instrumental in setting up her transformation. You get Wolverine’s real name, Sentinels, the new X-Men versus the old X-Men (kinda), an exciting character transformation, and a cosmic space opera to close it out – what’s not to love?

I’m not a big fan of the whole Dracula arc, but I do love Bill’s work, so I can see why it’s this high. Second Coming is ok, but I have the same enthusiasm for it that everybody else had for Phalanx Covenant. I will say after seeing the opening one-shot, I wondered why Marvel had never put David Finch on a main X-book. I actually like his style and I think he would have been a good fit on X-Force. I also liked Dodson’s pencils, and while Wells, Carey, and Yost/Kyle make for a solid X-Men writing stable (I think so, at least). it’s not enough to make up completely for Fraction’s weak writing on Uncanny and Land’s “pencils.” I can see why people like it though, and overall I did enjoy the story. Also, did we need ANOTHER crossover where Cable sacrifices himself at the end? Seriously, at this point that’s more of a cliche than Jean Grey dying.

So far, no stories I absolutely loath, but that’s going to change as soon as we get to the Whedon stuff that’s bound to pop up in the top ten lol

seemingly unlimitless nature of her abilities
unlimitless
wtf am I reading?

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm

And there goes another one off my list! I love Here Comes Tomorrow. The idea of evolution seemingly run amok in a chaotic future was a hugely interesting concept, and Morrison pulled it off. I’m also a sucker for the occasional alternate timeline/future story, and this was one of the best.

And Second Coming? Wow, I really wasn’t a fan of it. I thought it was easily the weakest of the “Messiah Trilogy,” but maybe if I read it again, I’d get more from it.

I’ve got no qualms with the others, though I’ve never read the Storm/Dracula story. That’s one I’d like to get to.

Nor have I read all the original Phoenix story: I’ve read a couple of issues from it, but I definitely want to read all that one. Is it available in trade, or will I be hunting down singles?

Don’t remember Blood Feud at all.

Second Coming is fantastic. It did not make my list, but if I could have done a Top 15 it would have been in there. House of M, Messiah Complex, and Second Coming get lumped together in my mind as the major stories anyone new to the franchise would need to read to get caught up on post-Whedon X-Men, and they’re all fun and worthwhile reads. Second Coming might be my favorite of the bunch.

Here Comes Tomorrow is nothing but crazy-freaking-weird Morrison and I love it. There’s no one in comics that gets more “wtf?” reactions out of me than Morrison, and there were plenty in that story. And it was SO NICE to have a New X-Men story with some great art for once! If there’s one thing I do not associate with NXM, it’s good art. And yet I absolutely love NXM, which I think is a compliment to Morrison’s abilities as a writer.

That first Genosha story is still my favorite Genosha story. It’s some really harrowing stuff, especially when it comes to Rogue. There’s some heavily implied unpleasantness there that made me feel sick, and even though things were cleared up later on I didn’t feel much better about any of it. Of all of Claremont’s original run it’s the hardest story for me to revisit. In fact, I don’t believe I have revisited it.

Not a lot to say about that first Phoenix story. It’s awesome. I can understand the issue divisions, but I’ve always considered the entirety of 97-108 as one long arc for a couple reasons. #97 is the obvious start of Claremont’s long term plans for the series running all the way through Dark Phoenix. My primary reason, though, is because my first introduction to that story was the excellent adaptation from the 90’s cartoon. The only glaring omission between the two versions was the Magneto story in #104, which was completely omitted (#97 wasn’t really touched on either). But the space station, dark Xavier, and Muir Island stuff that was omitted from this list were all represented in the cartoon and will always be part of that story in my mind.

if you think of those a spent shells on Silvestri’s #236 cover, it’s implicitly “too late” —when great covers contain narrative cues, by their design, they are excellent covers. Genosha One is very harrowing reading: as perilous as the Brood stories yet fraught with chilling reminders of Man’s inhumanity. It’s emotional stuff, to remember how some of us have lived and to be thankful for the little honest triumphs of daily life in a free society. Rogue’s twist is very clever.

That story line and the great intergalactic coming out party for Phoenix are two of my selections. As a late comer fan of Tomb of Dracula, I admit it was a treat to see one of Drac’s very rare interactions with superheroes—the one that worked best, too!

The one I haven’t read is Second Coming, but when I get a chance to catch up on post-Morrison X-Men I’ll be looking for it. Whaddya know, ten minutes down the road, they just announced the return of Nightcrawler this weekend.

I was really busy and rarely around a TV when the cartoon came out; I liked what I caught (“hey, they’re doing Cyclops and Corsair just like the comics! Rad!”). Sounds like a “must” for bonding with my slightly younger peers, though!

The price of economic “success” and material privilege is discoursed well, considering “Genosha” was “just” comics. Beyond the South Africa analogy, there’s even more food for thought about the way we as a planet live. Along with the tight pacing, thematically it’s easily one of Claremont’s best stories.

If you can get the first 15 issues of Classic X-Men, that was how I first read the Rise of the Phoenix story. The additional pages are very interesting. Whether or not you take or leave Chris’ s mysticism is a matter of taste, but it added a lot to the mind-blowing quality of the saga beyond the Shi’ar gates for me. Re-reading it all the insomnia-driven night before returning to public school for the fall was one of my most atmospheric comics experiences. For a long time school was pretty daunting to the nervous system, ya know?

Mike Loughlin

July 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Lue Lyon, thanks for the heads up about the return of my favorite X-Man!

“Blood Feud” is fun, if light. Sienkiewicz was still working in Neal Adams mode, and issue 159 is my favorite work of his from that period.

“The Coming of the Phoenix” was a good showcase for Dave Cockrum, and Claremont’s plotting was noticably better than in previous issues.

“Here Comes Tomorrow” wasn’t bad, but I thought Marc Silvestri and his inkers provided some truly ugly art. The unnecessary lines and poor anatomy and facial expressions weakened the story.

“A Green and Pleasant Land,” however, featured some of Silvestri’s best X-Men work, not to mention Leonardi at his tightest. It’s the second story from my list to make the countdown, and my favorite story from its era. Claremont & Co turned in a great story full of good character moments for Rogue and Wolverine. The tension and stakes were suitably high. I can’t remember another X-Men story in which the danger was so palpable.

I haven’t read “Second Coming” yet, but I look forward to it.

3/10 so far. The Genosha story was #4 on my list. The Leonardi issues (235, 237) aren’t bad, but Silvestri really hits it out of the park in his (236, 238). #236 is one of my favorite X-Men issues of Claremont’s entire 16 year run.

I like Blood Feud a lot. X-Men vs Dracula shouldn’t work, but it does here. I’m a big fan of Sienkiewicz, and he does a really good job with the fight scenes in #159.

The Phoenix Saga issues are quite good; the best of the first Cockrum run I think. It was fun seeing what was basically the X-Men vs the Legion of Super-Heroes in 107-108.

I (mostly) enjoyed Second Coming, as well as Messiah Complex & Messiah War, but didn’t consider it for my list.

Morrison’s X-Men was more hit than miss for me, but Here Comes Tomorrow wasn’t one of the better stories from his run in my opinion.

Blood Feud was on my list. The combintion of fantastic art and Marvel’s Dracula (accept no substitues) make it one of my favorites.

Plus how can you beat Nightcrawler throwing up the cross at Dracula?

While I didn’t vote for A Green and Pleasant Land or Rise of the Phoenix I cant argue with them. Both are great stories.

Second Coming was second on my list, which was very heavily tilted toward the last decade or so. IMHO, M-Day and all the fallout from that was the best thing that ever happened to the X-men creatively.

The only one I’ve read is Rise of Phoenix, but I don’t remember much about it.

Blood Feud and Green and Pleasant Land have been on my to-read list for a long time.

Zero Interest in the other two.

Nothing from my list. Nothing even from my shortlist. All good stories, though. Just not among my top 10.

Apparently I’m only one on here old enough to know Akron is a city in Ohio, while Arkon is a warrior from a parallel
Earth.

Welp, “Blood Feud” makes the second story from my list to show up so far. I don’t imagine even half of my top 10 will show up, though I’d be happy to be wrong about that.

I didn’t see this one listed .But Marvel really took a step out of the box. When back in the day they had Northstar come out of the closet .This was big in the comic world .And should not be forgotten .This story helped me come out !

I had thought of putting the Genosha story arc on my list, but I had realized that I actually prefer, blasphemous as it may sound, the sanitized version from season one of the animated series, “Slave Island.”

At least to me, it is a much more interesting concept. A resort nation, advertised as being inclusive to mutants as a ruse to enslave mutants, in order to use their mutant powers as resources to build and stockpile sentinels in order to eradicate mutants…. the layers of irony are superb; stunning for a children’s cartoon.

So, UXM #235-238 didn’t make my list. But X-Men Adventures #7-8 did.

Is “A Green and Pleasant Land” the one where it appears as though Rogue is raped (though from what I gather that wasn’t intended by Claremont)? If so I’ve read that and wasn’t particularly impressed – though it’s among the better Claremont stuff I’ve read.

Here Comes Tomorrow was my #5 vote – and that’s despite it being completely screwed in the trades by the big villain reveal being a character who was introduced in the Annual which wasn’t reprinted in the trades.

Stephen Conway

July 26, 2013 at 3:26 am

I’m surprised Blood Feud made it. That was one of two stories on my list I didn’t expect to have a chance. Here’s hoping I get a full house.

WOW, the art on #32 looks like SHIT!

How on God’s green earth does the “Rise of the Phoenix” story arc get relegated to #34?!?! Granted “Dark Phoenix” is an EVENT…. But not without a character that u care about. This meeting of the Phoenix force and a dying Jean Grey was fuel for fires still burning today: Xmen: the last stand. Avengers vs Xmen, Phoenix.: End song… So much existed because of this storyline (and milked, too).

@Anonymous Re: WOW, the art on #32 looks like SHIT!

It does look a little busy, but I don’t think it’s really all that bad. Marc Silvestri’s later stuff does seem to be more highly rendered with lines and detail than his earlier work, but usually it doesn’t look so messy as it does with this cover for New X-Men #154 (his most recent covers for Cyber Force look amazing). It may be that this cover suffers not only from being over-rendered, but also because of the amount of characters in the shot and the somewhat forced layout composition. Being the last issue of the arc, maybe he rushed it. I definitely think it is the weakest of the four “Here Comes Tomorrow” issues — #151, 152, and 153 each have single character images of Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Beast respectively, and they look awesome!

was wondering when blood feud would make the list for it showed how strong kitty and storms friendship and love for each other is. and kind of waiting for second coming to show up even though the story line was in some ways nasty yet proved that the x-men will fight no matter what. even though hated that nightcrawler was a casulty

I didn’t get to comment yesterday so I’m a little late for the party.

The one I voted for on this list was the first Phoenix saga. Brian said some people included issues 98-100 as well, but when I voted, it was for 97-105 & 107-108 because the villain throughout is Erik the Red, aka Shi’ar agent Davan Shakari. He’s the one who kidnaps Havok and Lorna in issue 97 (turning Lorna into Polaris in the process), plus sics Black Tom, Juggernaut, Magneto and Firelord on the team in issues 101-105, leading them into the space battle where Phoenix knits the universe back together.

Much like the “DARK Phoenix Saga” and the “World Tour” were each smaller tales that made up one longer narrative (sort of like chapters) so was the Original Phoenix Saga (as opposed to “Mutant X” or DoFP, which were just shorter stories).

Anyway, as for the rest of this list, “Green …” probably would have come in at around number 25 or 30 on my list, as I’ve never cared for Genosha stories that much (likewise, I’m not really into the “X-Tinction Agenda,” which all my friends loved). I get the appeal of the Storm/vampire stories but they are not for me. And as for “Second Coming,” that came after I gave up on X-Men because I did not like what Fraction was doing.

“Here comes tomorrow” is also my only Grant Morrison pick!
I don’t like much on his run, but I love this story. It has a lot of action and cool situations.
And I love that Sentinel!!!!
I’m seeing a lot of love for this storyline… I tough many considered it pretty bad and I was asking myself “Am I the only one who like this arc?”

I guess my vote for “Xavier’s Dream” encompasses the same issues as the Phoenix arc…although I think issue 97 should be listed as well, since that’s where Xavier has the dream that kicks off the whole Shi’ar storyline (it’s the Shi’ar’s first appearance) as well as the first attack of Eric the Red.

Didn’t vote for it, but I’m a big fan of the Dracula storyline, too.

Damn, don’t have my list at my fingertips, so I can’t remember if Dracula just made it or was just cut. But it was the only one to come close of these.

“tomorrow comes today” higher than “imperial”? thats… unexpected.

Blood Feud puts me up to 4/10 …an interesting different story

rise of the Phoenix was one I considered but didn’t love enough to include on my short list of 19 (unless you count 98-100)

..it has occurred to me that BloodFeud was either the most recent story I voted for or a close second

though there were some much more recent stories in my top 19 shortlist but not included yet
(98-100 was my number 14)

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