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CSBG Archive

50 Greatest X-Men Stories: 15-11

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 #15-11.


15. “Fatal Attractions” (X-Factor #92, X-Force #25, Uncanny X-Men #304, X-Men #25, Wolverine #75 and Excalibur #71)


Oddly enough, this crossover for the X-Men’s 30th Anniversary was the very first one that encompassed EVERY X-title, as Excalibur and Wolverine had to this point not yet been directly involved in major X-Men crossovers (Excalibur had an Inferno tie-in, but not directly tied into the main storyline). Five of the six titles were written by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza, with only Larry Hama (writer of Wolverine #75) being the exception. The storyline began with two prelude issues, X-Factor and X-Force, which established that someone mysterious is creating a haven for mutants and the seemingly dead Magneto’s Acolytes are in charge of it all. In Uncanny X-Men #304, though, Magneto reveals himself to be alive during Illyana Rasputin’s funeral (tacky!) and about to wage a war upon humanity, basically the same “out of character” things he did during Planet X. He offers to let any of the X-Men join him. Colossus decides to join Magneto’s team. The world decides to act against Magneto first by using the Magneto Protocols, which creates a force field around the Earth. Magneto then destroys the force field, which messes with the world’s electromagnetic field and causes major damage on Earth. Professor X thinks that this is enough, so he leads a small team of X-Men into Magneto’s outer space base to take care of things. Magneto captures them, though, and in a fit of rage, tears the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body, nearly killing him. Xavier flips out and mind-wipes Magneto. The X-Men then save their teammate and discover that Wolverine has bone claws! Finally, in the last part (basically an epilogue), the X-Men cure Colossus of a brain injury that they think causes his defection. He still decides to remain with Magneto, if only to keep an eye on him.

14. “Fall of the Mutants” (The Uncanny X-Men #225–227, X-Factor #24-26, and The New Mutants #59-61)

Fall of the Mutants is a rare storyline in that the three stories that make up the crossover never actually intersect. In the X-Factor one, they deal with Angel being turned into Death by Apocalypse by being given metal wings (he fights Apocalypse’s control and becomes the dark but heroic Archangel). The New Mutants suffer a great tragedy when Cypher is killed protecting his teammate, Wolfsbane. Magneto, the headmaster of the New Mutants, flips out and blames humanity for the death of Cypher. The New Mutants decide to leave the school and go off on their own. Finally, the X-Men are caught in a battle in Dallas with first Freedom Force and then with the evil magical being Adversary. Ultimately, the X-Men must sacrifice themselves to stop the Adversary. As it turns out, though, the magical being Roma saved the X-Men and the world just THINKS that they are dead. They are now also invisible to cameras and machines so that they can continue doing good while the world thinks that they are dead. Chris Claremont and Louis Simonson wrote the storyline and Marc Silvestri, Bret Blevins and Walter Simonson did the pencils for it.

13. “Asgardian Wars” (X-Men and Alpha Flight #1-2, New Mutants Special Edition #1 and X-Men Annual #9)

After first manipulating X-Men and Alpha Flight into accepting a gift of special powers in the X-Men and Alpha Flight mini-series by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith (that mini also saw Rachel Summers freak out when she learned that her father and his new wife were expecting a baby BOY), Loki decided to try a new approach with the X-Men. His plan was to manipulate Storm into becoming a new Goddess of Thunder. So he kidnapped Storm and the New Mutants. However, since he didn’t want anything to do with the New Mutants, he gave them to the Enchantress. Magik tried to teleport her and friends to safety but her powers clashed with the Enchantress’ and instead the New Mutants were strewn about Asgard. The various New Mutants encountered differing challenges, with the most notable being Dani Moonstar becoming a Valkyrie. Meanwhile, eventually the X-Men learned where their friends were so they came to Asgard just in time to see Storm crowned the new Goddess of Thunder. Can the X-Men convince their friend to return to sanity? Can the X-Men even convince all of their New Mutant friends to return to Earth? Will all of them even LIVE through it all? Chris Claremont and Art Adams (doing some of the most famous work of his career) were the creative team on this story.

Story continues below

12. “Messiah Complex” (X-Men: Messiah CompleX”, Uncanny X-Men #492-494, X-Men #205-207, New X-Men #44-46 and X-Factor #25-27)

After the events of Decimation, there were no more mutants born…until suddenly a young mutant baby was born in Alaska! This young baby found herself at the center of a war between Mister Sinister and the Marauders (who had secretly infiltrated Rogue’s X-Men team), who want the baby for Sinister’s…you know, sinister purposes, the Church of Humanity, who want to slaughter the kid and the X-Men, who view the baby as sort of their messiah. However, as it turns out, Bishop remembers a story about this baby from when he was a kid. She is the cause for his dystopic future. So essentially he asks himself “Would you kill Hitler if you went back in time to when he was a baby?” And he answers, “Yes.” Of course, he does a terrible job of it, instead shooting Professor X in the head. Hope escapes to the future with Cable, but at least she survives! This crossover was written by Ed Brubaker, Mike Carey, Peter David, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost with pencils by Marc Silvestri, Billy Tan, Scot Eaton, Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo

11. “Inferno” (New Mutants #71-73, Uncanny X-Men #239-243, X-Factor #35-39 and a ton of other issues)

Inferno was the third crossover between the then-three X-titles and it was the first one that became a company-wide crossover. The demons S’ym and N’astirh trick Magik by first capturing her and the New Mutants during one of their stopovers in Limbo and then convincing her to embrace her demonic side and open a portal from Limbo to New York City to free her teammates. Nastirh then use a special device to keep the portal open and the demons then essentially invade Earth. This demonic invasion served as the backdrop of the company-wide crossover as all the other heroes of New York have to deal with the invasion. Meanwhile, N’astirh cuts a deal with Madelyne Pryor where she helps him with his invasion if he helps her find her kidnapped son, Nathan (Mister Sinister kidnapped him). The X-Men and New Mutants stop the invasion but Madelyne still has Nathan, so the X-Men and X-Factor team-up to stop Madelyne, now known as the Goblyn Queen. We learn that Madelyne definitively is a clone of Jean Grey and when she dies, Jean Grey gets all of her memories. The X-Men and X-Factor track down Mister Sinister and Cyclops seemingly kills him. This story was the first time that the X-Men and X-Factor had met up with each other after the creation of X-Factor.

Please, no guessing in the comments section as to what the top ten will entail!


That is a lot of crossovers.

Nope, didn’t vote for any of these.

Regarding “Inferno,” wow, poor Madelyne Pryor! This was such an ignoble end for the woman who was originally supposed to ride off into the sunset with Cyclops to live happily ever after. That said, I thought N’astirh was a heck of a cool baddie. Is he still around nowadays?

Glad to see New Mutants making a strong showing even though it wasn’t directly eligible, although the only one of these crossovers I voted for was Fall of the Mutants.. and while all its separate parts are pretty great, my vote was primarily for the X-Factor issues. Weezie and Walt at their best!

Looks like there might be a lot of Whedon and Morrison in the top 10, which is not surprising, but could the top 10 end up being less than half Claremont? That’d be something. I’m not entirely sure all of Morrison’s arcs that haven’t already shown up will make it, though. Or Whedon’s, for that matter, though that seems easier to imagine since Whedon’s run was shorter, with more clearly defined arcs. I can think of a handful of Claremont stories that are a lock, but I know I’m probably missing some…

” Regarding “Inferno,” wow, poor Madelyne Pryor! This was such an ignoble end for the woman who was originally supposed to ride off into the sunset with Cyclops to live happily ever after. That said, I thought N’astirh was a heck of a cool baddie. Is he still around nowadays? ”

Yeah, still pisses me off to think of how she got retconned into an evil baby-killing clone just so Scott wouldn’t have to be responsible for his actions.

Never read Asgardian Wars.

I was wondering when Fatal Attractions would show up. Top 15 is awfully high. It’s possibly my favorite 90’s crossover, but it’s…it has some of the most shocking moments to ever happen in the franchise, but they occur during a very weak story overall. The X-Factor and Excalibur issues are completely forgettable, and the X-Force issue would be as well if not for Magneto completely wrecking Cable (admittedly some good foreshadowing there). UXM #304 was like reading a novel and was in desperate need of an editor’s red pen. There was so much exposition and sermonizing that Claremont in his heyday would have said “ease up there, fella”, and to make matters worse nothing really happens during the entire issue. X-Men #25 (and probably the entire event) may have started as a joke made by Peter David at a writer’s summit, but those pages of Wolverine getting the adamantium torn out of him left a hell of an impression on my young self will always stay with me. The gem of that entire event, however, is Wolverine #75. For a double-sized issue, it moves along at a quick clip and manages to cram a surprising amount of story and character moments into its pages without any of it feeling too out of place. No one had a better grasp on Wolverine than Hama did after Claremont stopped writing him, and the artwork for the sequences that took place in Wolverine’s mind was suitably messed up and trippy as hell. I almost considered voting for Fatal Attractions solely because of that issue. I still pull it out every so often and flip through it.

I’m surprised to see a modern (“modern” being post-Whedon/House of M) X-Men story this high up on the list, but Messiah Complex is a tough story to argue against taking that honor. Easily one of my favorite more recent X-Men stories and one of the few I’d consider essential reading from the last decade. House of M kicked everything off, but MC was the story that set the next few years of X-Men stories into motion while delivering a rare competent, franchise-wide crossover. I waver between MC and Second Coming when picking my favorite part of the Messiah/Hope storyline. I think I’d give the edge to SC, but it really is that close.

FotM isn’t anything that’d come close to making a favorites list of mine and is something I’ve never been eager to revisit. I don’t know why exactly, but when I read it I thought it was a bit dull. It might have to do with Storm and Forge being one of the most boring romantic pairings I’ve ever read. I’ve never read the New Mutants issues and have no interest in tracking them down. I always thought Simonson’s writing during X-Factor was pretty lousy, especially when it featured alongside Claremont’s in crossovers like this, but despite that I still liked the X-Factor story during FotM and think it’s the more enjoyable story between it and the UXM story.

I didn’t really dig Inferno either, but I at least enjoyed it more than I did FotM. The UXM story went on for an issue or two too long, but when read as part of the whole event with the X-Factor and New Mutants issues it really starts to drag. I haven’t read any of the non-X-titles involved in the event, but it must be an unbearable read with those thrown in. If the pacing were tightened up and the story on the whole were condensed by at least an issue per title I’d probably really like it. There’s a good, perfectly enjoyable story there wanting to shine through. Also, I always thought Jean absorbing all of Madelyne’s memories was always a little too convenient a solution, but whatever.

Seeing the cover to X-Men (vol. 2) #200 at the top scared me there. I liked Carey’s run, particularly the “Supernovas” stuff, and issue #200 in and of itself was good… but I wouldn’t’ve put the arc it was a part of (“Blinded by the Light”?) as one of the 11-15 best X-Men storylines. So, glad to see it isn’t here. It is a cool cover, though!

Messiah Complex . . . Yeah, easily the best of the more recent crossovers. I think the idea that it would even be top 20 is laughable, though. There’s nothing great about it that wasn’t done better in many other stories…

Ah, “Fatal Attractions”. The first crossover that I was there to witness firsthand. I like it and think that it’s remarkably strong. Uncanny 304 “reads like a novel”? Well, that’s not always a bad thing. It wasn’t the greatest purple prose ever put in a comic, but it wasn’t nauseatingly hammy Scott Snyder stuff either. ;-) The Excalibur issue was forgettable, and Wolverine #75 was more shock-value than anything else. But… “Fatal Attractions” was good. It’s the quintessential ’90s X-storyline. Magneto had already reverted to form; this was the best they could do with him as such, and it was pretty good.

“Inferno” and “Fall of the Mutants” — I never really thought they were all that great. They’re Claremont at 3/5s of his powers or whatever, so they’re still pretty good. But… actually I wouldn’t mind it if all five of these storylines showed up in the 30s of this list, not the teens…

“Magneto reveals himself to be alive during Illyana Rasputin’s funeral (tacky!) and about to wage a war upon humanity, basically the same “out of character” things he did during Planet X.”

This guy gets it.

Fatal Attractions is my second choice to make the list. My vote was mainly for X-Men 25, which I originally read alone and felt worked very well. As a whole I think it’s far from the best X-Men crossover, I sort of wish I’d voted for the Mutant Massacre instead.

If I’m right about the content of the top 10 four more of my votes will place.

For my money, Asgardian Wars is the only story up there worth its salt.

“Fall of the Mutants is a rare storyline in that the three stories that make up the crossover never actually intersect.”

If the stories never intersect, is it really a crossover? I mean, if all three stories hadn’t been branded “Fall of the mutants”, no one would ever perceive them as having anything to do with each other.

A lot of crossover and name-recognition.
I would be interested to see the number of first place votes for these stories as I feel they were ballot-feeder (big events with a name which counts and let a mark etc).
I fear we won’t see a lot more of done in one in the list.
Please Brian, at the end of the countdown, could you publish the whole results ?
thanks ^^

Stephen Conway

July 30, 2013 at 1:31 am

Of these entries, I’ve only read the X Factor issues of Messiah Complex so I have no real thoughts or opinions on this part of the list.

Upon sitting down with “Greener Land” yesterday to read it with Angela Dawn, she asked how did the Magistrates “scan” Maddy, Rogue, and Wolvie for teleportation if Roma made them invisible to technology? Oops…we’ll keep reading, but that’s a big plot hole. At least it opens with a baby…that always gets points with her.
Sprawl of the Mutants makes me 8/10. Action-packed, and return of Colossus to boot!
I read a lot of “Fatal Attractions” at the time (I was collecting X-Men sporadically again after the relaunch) and this summary sounds very cool, in a traditional superhero comics way!

5/10. I voted for Asgardian Wars as two separate stories (New Mutants Special Edition & X-Men Annual #9 was my #2 pick, while X-Men/Alpha Flight was my #3). I’m surprised that it didn’t make the top 10. How can you go wrong with both Paul Smith and Art Adams at the top of their games? Oh well, to each his own I guess.

Fall of the Mutants was one of the last stories to be cut from my list. I really enjoy the period between the Mutant Massacre and Fall of the Mutants. The instability/sense of danger that the X-Men were living under with the constant threat of the Marauders hanging over them was something that really sucked me into the stories. Fall of the Mutants serves as a good end to that period with the X-Men having to “die” to finally put all of that behind them.

Inferno has its flaws, but I (mostly) like the story. I understand and agree with the criticisms of how Maddy was treated after the launch of X-Factor, and that turning her evil was rubbing salt in the wounds, but I much preferred to see her go out with a bang rather than for her to just be killed by the Marauders. Even though she’s about as evil as one can possibly be in this story (with the whole attempting to sacrifice her baby to demons thing) I still can’t help but root for her. You also get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to the resolution of long running plots threads: the origin of Madelyne Pryor, the first face-to-face meeting between the X-Men and X-Factor, X-Factor finds out the X-Men are still alive (after Fall of the Mutants), the X-Men find out Jean has returned from the dead, the X-Men get their revenge on the Marauders for the Mutant Massacre, and the resolution to the Illyana/limbo stuff.

I loved Fatal Attractions when I read it as it was coming out, but haven’t read it since. Since I don’t want to ruin a childhood memory, I don’t think I will be rereading it.

Messiah Complex was an above average X-over in my opinion. I’m not a fan of the status quo that House of M/Decimation set up, but post-Messiah Complex, writers did a better job of selling the dire straits that mutants were in. As a Cyclops fan, it was also cool to see him take over the team and really come into his own.

The story of how we ended up with Hama’s Wolverine run would be the most entertaining thing in the comments yet, possibly, but is not terribly X-Men related. When you have an uninterrupted run to read they are quite enjoyable, and leaving behind that box made Anj’s sister Dixie an unabashed Wolverine fan!!

The moment in the Genosha One run where Maddy dreams of Scott taking her features away to place on a blank mannequin that comes to life as Jean is excellent. I too wish her story had been resolved differently. If you ever see Nathan Adler’s column on “How to Fix” certain stories, he did Scott, Jean and Maddy better justice, albeit much too late. I haven’t read Jason Powell’s X-Men column in a long time (could NOT stop reading it when I found it, then actually got to know him later) but he had great commentary on “Inferno” that helped redeem it critically for those who remember it with crossover fatigue. Other matters of taste are understandable.
For example, the second half of the X-Men/ Alpha Flight two part limited, which I finally got last year, was just sooo boring to me for some reason, despite my memories of part one being so cool. Those Annuals were really fun though!!! But Paul Smith’s always very good.

Is Messiah Complex the missing piece of newer X-Men for me to look up when I get back to civilization? This I keep hearing about Cyclops leading a “terrorist” X-Men sounds intriguing so far!

@Mike helping anyone find a little joy and excitement’s its own reward…hope they don’t let you down!

I haven’t yet read The Asgardian Wars or Messiah Complex (yet) but that cover of Storm as The Thunder Goddess looks good.

Fatal Attractions was good but you only really need to read UXM, XM & Wolverine to read the essential chapters, although X-Force 25 is well worth a read.

I wasn’t too impressed with either FOTM or Inferno, the latter leaving me cold after I’d paid for the TPB. Demons never do too much for me and I’ve always struggled to understand just why they would be a relevant foe for the X-Men (OK, Magik’s sheer presence alone makes it relevant but still…).

I want to speculate on tge Top 10

I’m surprised to see Fatal Attractions here. I thought that was shockingly bad.

Fall of the Mutants and Inferno are merely meh in both art and writing. It is nice to see rabid killer post boxes though.

I haven’t read the other two.

I agree with the surprise over Fatal Attractions. The best part of that story is the Wolverine and Dark Xavier stuff it kicks off.

Thinking now a few of the entries in my list are out of the running. I think this will be a surprising top 10.

Inferno and Fall of the Mutants too high IMO, not bad just not top 15. Never read Messiah Complex. Asgardian Wars definitely belongs for me, and probably Fatal Attractions too.

Lue: Maddy, Rogue, and Wolverine were scanned for teleportation by Pipeline, a member of the Press Gang who was a mutant, and alive.

I have a request, Brian. When you get to the end, would you mind posting which writers/artists showed up, and how many times each? I’d be really curious to see that.

Illyana’s funeral is issye 303, not 304. #thatguy

One of the things I did appreciate about how Madelyne Pryor’s exit was engineered is that Chris Claremont clearly was less than happy with the order from on high to make her a villain… so when she does accept N’astirh’s deal, it’s in a dream and she thinks that it doesn’t matter because it’s not reality. Essentially she’s tricked into being corrupted, rather than actually being outright evil; it was probably the closest Claremont and company were allowed to get to still portraying her in a positive light.

@Greg McE- except that’s a cheat, and it has Unfortunate Implications- both Maddie and Tyger Tiger are turned from modern women into dominatrixes by men, with the implication that they secretly liked it, and Gateway, who was involved in both incidents, never had to pay for any of it.

With Asgardian Wars, the only missing Paul Smith work is the Wolverine failed wedding, good job voters! We’re doing it!

Meghan Ansbach

July 30, 2013 at 6:27 am

That’s 4 stories featuring the New Mutants in the top 20, and I will gladly take it. Even if I did think Fall of the Mutants was only enjoyable for the X-Factor issues. The Uncanny stories were difficult to read and the New Mutants issues were really frustrating, not just for Doug’s death, but seeing Weezie write my favorite characters so wrong while making so many dramatic changes to the roster. I always blamed Liefeld for ruining my beloved team when Simonson actually deserves more of the credit for that.

The Asgard story just missed my top 10 list, but I am thrilled to see it here. I reread it earlier this year and still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ugh, except for Asgardian Wars these are getting worse as we get closer to the top. Inferno & Fall of the Mutants were what made me stop reading X-Men back in the day.

If you haven’t read Asgardian Wars you really need to go out and pick it up. It is a great story.

Fall of the Mutants – While the X-Factor story certainly had the longest repercussions of any of the stories I think that the X-Men storyline was the best of the lot. Some great art and character moments. Of course it lead to the Australian stories so…..there’s that.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

July 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

Well, I’m only 3/10. Messiah Complex was number 3 on my list (I adore that story), and, while I’d have preferred to see it in the top 10, I’ll take 12th.

I’m kinda surprised that this part of the list was dominated by crossovers. Especially Fatal Attractions. I get the nostalgia factor, but there was only 1 ’90s crossover that I think holds up (it hasn’t shown up on this list yet, but I definitely voted for it).

I haven’t read all of Inferno, FotM, or Asgardian Wars (I only have portions of each in singles) but I’m definitely interested. I went looking for an Inferno trade a while back but couldn’t find one for a decent price. They really need to reprint that. Same with FotM. I think there’s a recent Asgardian Wars reprint, but I haven’t gotten around to getting it yet.

Call me old-fashioned, but the top ten should be AT LEAST 50% Claremont. I can see a certain ’90s crossover and a Morrison story or two, but the rest should be Claremont…though if another Mike Carey story wants to sneak its way in (I voted for another one), I wouldn’t object to it.

Yeah, Whedon was ok, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near the top ten, especially the second half of his run. His plots just became stupid at that point. Granted, since one of his two second-half stories has already shown up, I have the feeling I’m going to be disappointed.

Oh well! This list has given me a rather large shopping list! Looking forward to seeing how things shape up!

Asgarsdian Wars: Paul Smith and Art Adams. Can’t go wrong.

I’d like one day to see a trade with the Alpha Flight epilogue, Alpha Flight #50, reprinted in it.

Asgardian Wars! Two great stories that taste great together.

And Fall of the Mutants! I don’t know about those other two crossover stories, but the Uncanny X-Men FotM trilogy is pretty damn fantastic, with Claremont throwing out ideas left and right and Silvestri/Green more than capable of keeping up with his imagination. Silvestri X-Men era > *

Speaking of which, the Claremont/Silvestri issues of Inferno are great. X-Men vs the Goblin’s Queen New York, X-Men vs the Marauders, Claremont’s X-Men vs the Original Five X-Men…the X-Factor crossover issues aint so hot though, so I couldn’t vote for this with good conscience.

I told myself I wouldn’t get involved in the pre-Morrison/Morrison Magneto characterization argument, but Fatal Attractions is a favorite, SO…. Magneto’s not declaring war, he’s taking as many mutants as he can to Avalon before he lets humans wipe themselves out, which he regards as an inevitability. He only gets “aggressive” when S.H.I.E.L.D. and the government turn on the Magneto protocols in an attempt to keep him off Earth and from fulfilling his/Exodus’ ferryman (or whatever pseudo-religious terms he was applying to his mission at the time) duties. In fact, this was where he executes Senyaka for bragging about killing humans, as it’s not what he’s after this time out.

Good. I was wondering if Asgardian Wars would show up. I didn’t vote for it, and it’s higher than I would have guessed, but it’s a good story and I think more deserving than the other stuff on this section. The X-Men/Alpha Flight stuff is a really nice story…and the New Mutants Special Edition was great. The X-Men annual finale was actually my least favourite part, but still had great moments. Claremont writes a really good Loki, I think.

Like posters above, my interest in X-Men started crashing right around the above crossovers, with Fall of…not that great and Inferno even worse. I think I was starting to get sick of Claremont’s writing habits by then: awkward dialogue, overwritten exposition, repetition (“no quarter is asked, and none given”…”you are mine, body and soul”…”nonetheless, we must make the attempt…” yadda yadda…)

I’d been lapping that stuff up happily for years, but that’s ’cause I was following beloved characters…when Mutant Massacre changed the status quo I no longer had the dream team of Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus to follow, but a bunch of new members who didn’t interest me as much. Which I think made me notice Claremont’s habits more, and made me less tolerant of the whole shebang.

Luckily, I expect the top 10 will be full of lots of fondly remembered adventures of “my” X-Men, so that’ll be cool.

@John Klein, voters have indeed come out in full force for Paul Smith, although completists will probably miss the presence of the Marvel Fanfare Savage Land opening arc, where Smith drew #4…that was a good story, too (also the last Cockrum X-Men I remember reading, with #3).

I have four stories left: two Claremont, two Whedon and I expect them both to make it.

“Fatal Attractions” is more than a tad overrated. I’m also stunned at the split between “Second Coming” and “Messiah Complex” since I believe they are both of high quality.

“Fall of the Mutants” is OK, though the best stuff in my opinion happens in “X-Factor.” Since it wasn’t much of a crossover, given the rules of this vote its high placement and inclusion of the X-Factor material is a little shady.

Sad that “Inferno” barely missed the top ten. People have their foibles, but there is so much awesome contained within those pages you have to work hard at being a cynic to dislike it.

“The gem of that entire event, however, is Wolverine #75.”

I only voted for Fatal Attractions to sneak this otherwise ineligible issue in.

On the other hand, I considered Asgardian Wars for my list, but ultimately I decided that I only really like the New Mutants part, so I left it off.

I’m 3/10 so far. Two more I’m 100% confident are coming. One of them I expected to come in lower, but I would more surprised to see it excluded entirely than make the top ten, so I think it has a good shot.

7/10 – Asgardian Wars made it, as I hoped it would. Just good old fashioned fun comics.

Not surprised by too many of these, as we’re getting down to where all the major crossovers are going to appear. Fatal Attractions almost made my cut for the sheer nostalgia of, but as much as I enjoyed the second half of the crossover, Magneto’s portrayal in Uncanny #304 really irks me, and I didn’t want too many 90s-riffic stories on my ballot.

There’s parts of “Fall of the Mutants” I like (the X-Men/Freedom Force battle, most of the X-Factor stuff), but man, the New Mutants portion is rough, and the lack of overall cohesiveness amongst the stories doesn’t excite me.

“Inferno” I enjoy a bit more than “Fall of the Mutants”, even though the New Mutants stuff is rough again and I hate what it does to Madelyne, but that was seeded years ahead of time, so its not entirely that story’s fault.

“Messiah Complex” was pretty meh. A bit long, and in terms of modern day crossovers, I much preferred “Second Coming”.


Inferno because it helped resolve a few issues with the Marauders and the meeting with X-Factor. These were a pretty big deal at the time and helped them set a new direction for the team (by wiping it out…but whatever).

Fatal Attractions still has one of the best high moments in that fight. Yeah, we can debate bone claws and Onslaught (Onslaught FTW! Who’s with me?) and everything, but the build up to that was nice and the immediate pay off worked.

That said, a little surprised it was this high.

Never cared for Fall; forgot Asgardian Wars or I would have tossed it a vote; Messiah Complex I just couldn’t get into. No problem with these on the list, though.

Brian, I beg to difer…

“In Uncanny X-Men #304, though, Magneto reveals himself to be alive during Illyana Rasputin’s funeral (tacky!) and about to wage a war upon humanity, basically the same “out of character” things he did during Planet X.”

The “out of characters” things I believe are:

– Magneto taking drugs repeatedly becoming a complete junkie (with sudoration and black rings included). Magneto always showcased a strong will… no way he will become drug-addicted.

– Magneto surrounding himself with a bunch of idiot and insufferable young mutants that don’t respect him… and spending time arguing with them all the time!!!!

– Magneto directly killing a fellow mutant member of his own group (the one thing that he always fought against) without an important justification

– Magneto beign controlled by a mad bacteria, converting him in a waste of a villain (he wasn’t even himself doing all that nasty things, the mastermind behind it all was the bacteria!!!!). Againn… Magneto always showcased a strong will… no way he will be a puppet for so long nor until the end.

– Spending months in the X-Mansion covering as Xorn? Magneto? Really?

– Many more I don’t remember…

The one thing I kind of like was the idea of an holocaust survivor becoming the new Hittler and applying the same horrible things he had to witness or suffer… but I don’t think that the way it was taken was the correct regarding Magneto as a character.

Yes, after Genosha he probably would have declared war on humanity but… creating the Xorn character, living with the X-Men for months, surrounding himself with the best of the worse kids in the block, becoming drug-addicted and stupidly mind-controlled by an evil bacteria, totally losing it and starting to kill young mutants for being ignorant… THAT’S NOT MAGNETO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I can’t believe the stories that are making the top 15-11! Really?

In my humble opinion this 5 spots will leave out of the countdown many stories that are much better (because we all know the top ten is reserved to some specific storylines).

Fatal Attractions… The only good part of this crossover is X-Men 25 and Wolverine 75. When I was making my list, I thought to include X-Men 25 but better stories occupied its place… And there is no way I was going to vote for the complete crossover!!!

Messiah Complex this high?

I think, as with Giant Size 1, Fall of the Mutants and Inferno are voted here for its importance back in the day, but there are far better X-Men stories out there. And, X-Men fighting demons? And this kind of demons? Not my coup of tea… And I like giant robots, aliens, parallel dimensions… even Savage Land! But this demons? Uhhh nop!

This is great: One from my list (Asgardian wars), three I’ve never heard of, and the story that finally made me give up on the X-Men and Claremont as a writer entirely (Fall of the Mutants). Fun!

I always loved the fight scenes in Fall of the Mutants and Inferno – the battle against the Marauders in particular.
Does anyone recall the two demons doing commentary on the X-Men’s battle during Inferno?
“Soul on skunk hair.” “Sucker bet. Seen her fight.”

There were some great moments in these issues and I feel they do well in these listings because of the time period and name recognition. If the Kulan Gath story had happened in the 90s and had been expanded to included Spider-Man and Avengers titles, it’d be a top twenty finisher for sure.

@John Klein sorry you’re wrong, Illyana’s funeral IS issue 304 … her DEATH was issue 303.

Anyway, I didn’t vote any of these, I actually had zero crossovers on my list. But if I had any, it would have been “Inferno” first, then “Messiah Complex,” then “Fall of the Mutants.”

The “Uncanny X-Men”/”X-Factor” part of “Inferno,” which is the main true part, is one of my favorite X-Men stories but it’s not in my Top Ten. As with most ’80s crossovers, “The New Mutants” portion does nothing for me because I have no attachment for the New Mutants, since Claremont almost always wrote them as whiney, selfish, and insufferable. I was always completely unsympathetic toward them, with the exception on maybe Cannonball.

“Messiah Complex” is probably the best modern X-Men story post-M-Day (I haven’t read “Second Coming,” as I’ve said in other posts I don’t care for Fraction’s X-Men). Surprised it’s this high but I’m glad to see it.

“Fall of the Mutants” is OK, “Inferno” and “Mutant Massacre” are both much better. I think it’s blah because of the Storm Forge pairing, as others have said. I like the pre-“Fall” issues of “Uncanny” much better, the San Francisco arc from issues 220-224 that sets up “Fall.” In fact, if Brian had allowed the vote to not include the pretty much unrelated “X-Factor” and “New Mutants” portions and instead allowed “Fall” to simply be 220-227, I would have maybe considered voting for them.

Here’s what worries me at this point: We’ve seen 40 of the 50 listed, and because Claremont wrote the titles for so long and was so prevalent, we haven’t seen ANY non-crossover Lobdell or Nicieza, any from Roy Thomas’ first run (slim hopes for “The Factor Three Saga” at this point), nothing from Lee/Kirby, and even more shockingly, NOTHING from Alan Davis’ superb late ’90s run, which just about saved the franchise (until of course they brought Claremont back and almost mucked it all up again). And at this point I don’t expect to. I didn’t expect to see Arnold Drake or Peter Milligan or Chuck Austen, but to not see any top votes for Davis or Lee or even for one of Lobdell’s character-driven one-and-done’s (his specialty since all the crossovers pretty much kept him from writing multipart storylines) is shocking.

Can’t wait for the Top Ten!

“Oddly enough, this crossover for the X-Men’s 30th Anniversary was the very first one that encompassed EVERY X-title, as Excalibur and Wolverine had to this point not yet been directly involved in major X-Men crossovers (Excalibur had an Inferno tie-in, but not directly tied into the main storyline).”

It didn’t quite cover every X-title, since “Cable” (which was only a few issues into its run) wasn’t included.

I didn’t mention “Fatal Attractions” in my above post — it was OK, not great. Again, another X-Men crossover that was saddled with non-X-Men portions that do nothing but empty my wallet.

X-Factor (post issue 71) and X-Force are MUTANT books to be sure, but not necessarily X-Men books, and they kept getting hastily tacked on to crossovers like “Fatal Attactions” and “The Phalanx Covenent” where they barely did any interacting with the actual X-Men. And Excalibur … remember when Excalibur was not a mutant team, but were superheroes tasked with policing reality? That book sure took a turn for the worse when the writer of X-Men happened to take on a book starring two former X-Men and was forced to make it into “the British X-Men.” That title should not have been a part of “Fatal Attractions” at all.

I might have voted for “Fatal Attractions” if we were solely judging it as a crossover between “X-Men” and “Wolverine,” with “Uncanny X-Men” 304 considered it’s own entity (actually, I’d have voted for “Uncanny” 304 OVER the Magneto/adamantium stuff).

Yeah, I don’t know if there’s going to be room for anyone else in the Jeff Parker X-Men: First Class sweep of the top ten. Well, Claremont might slip in there with either the Micronauts or the Teen Titans crossover.

I know Brian detests us doing predictions, but between Chuck Austen classic “Draco”, and Bendis long-form instant classic All-New X-Men/Uncanny X-Men, I think some of our faves might not make it, guys

I would have voted for both Inferno and Fall of the Mutants. FotM was going to be in my top four I think.

As much as I’m totally kidding with my predictions, everything I mentioned there was actually in my top ten.

Wow, so I think I can see the top 10 now. Much less Morrison than I thought, but probably more Whedon than I imagined. Hope it’s at least >50% Claremont, though.

It looks like 9 out of the 10 I voted for will make it.

I had Inferno on my list. Viewed at a distance (as a self-contained story) it’s overwrought, but taken as individual scenes (the X-Factor/X-Men meeting is so good, and the pay-off to what had been building with Madelyne really made her into her own distinct character, a villain whose motives you could really sympathize with, whose rage could be shared, similar to Magneto, but coming from a completely different perspective), it does very well for me.

@Jerzy I know what you mea about the X-Men X-Factor payoff, it was great. There was SO MUCH pent up aggression between those two teams — X-Factor lied about their agenda; the X-Men faked their death; X-Factor’s mistrust of the X-Men regarding their dealings with Magneto and the Inner Circle; the X-Men’s (justifiable) anger of them hiding the fact that Marvel Girl was alive; the fact that Cyclops abandoned his wife and child — and it finally came to a head. The fact that the X-Men were amped up on Madelyne’s demon powers and manipulation just added fuel to the fire. That one particular issue (I think possibly the one pictured, “Uncanny” 242) was possibly the best of the crossover — at least the first few pages.

It rarely gets mentioned as one, but the cover of Uncanny 242 is clearly an homage to Giant-size X-men #1. I didn’t care for Fatal Attractions, but loved the x-men parts in both FotM and Inferno. I’m also glad Asgardian Wars made it onto the list, especially Annual #9.

Well…those horrible 90’s crossovers had to be loved by someone. Evidently a lot of someones as they are cracking the top 20 more than I thought they would.

I dig the nostalgia factor but the art on the Lobdel/Kubert-era books was pretty bad. Not horrible, but certainly falling prey to the grimace and boobs syndrome of the times. I know Liefeld gets ridiculed for never drawing feet but The Kubert Brothers were right up there with him in the early 90’s. I hope Prof X got a bulk discount on all of the dry ice he was buying as the mansion always seemed to have about three feet of fog covering the ground at all times. Winter, spring, summer or fall.

Asgardian Wars = pure fun. While I don’t love X-Men in space stories (except that epic in which the captial of Arizona experienced a blackout), I liked the fish-out-of-water storytelling from Claremont & Adams.

Haven’t read Messiah Complex.

Fatal Attractions: as has been pointed out, X-Men 25 & Wolverine 75 are all you need. At the time, I liked the art of Joe Quesada & Greg Capullo on the X-Factor & X-Force issues, respectively.

Inferno: Not a favorite, but I love the prologue issue. Claremont & Silvestri did a great job creating a creepy backdrop as New York became increasingly demonic. Fall of the Mutants never appealed to me. The Forge vs. Adversary conflict was boring, although it was cool to see an uncomfortable Wolverine take charge.

Can i just say, without giving predictions, it looks like the rest of Joss Whedon’s run (apart from Gifted) won’t make it into the top 10. shame :(

Messiah Complex was #8 on my list. I thought it was a really well-done event. Some impressive coordination between all the writers, strong characterization, and plenty of great fights. Watching all the different sides maneuver against each other was fun to see, and the climactic battle was great.

So that puts me at 4/10. Three more from my list will definitely make it, one will probably make it, one might make it, one definitely won’t make it. Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any Gillen. I had “This Strange Unpleasant Land” at #10 – the Phoenix Five vs. Sinister. But no way that arc makes it into the top 10.

@Lou25 Re: Fatal Attractions

“I told myself I wouldn’t get involved in the pre-Morrison/Morrison Magneto characterization argument, but Fatal Attractions is a favorite, SO…. Magneto’s not declaring war, he’s taking as many mutants as he can to Avalon before he lets humans wipe themselves out, which he regards as an inevitability. He only gets “aggressive” when S.H.I.E.L.D. and the government turn on the Magneto protocols in an attempt to keep him off Earth and from fulfilling his/Exodus’ ferryman (or whatever pseudo-religious terms he was applying to his mission at the time) duties. In fact, this was where he executes Senyaka for bragging about killing humans, as it’s not what he’s after this time out.”

I’m with you Lou! You are correct with all that. I also voted for “Fatal Attractions.” I think its spot on the list is deserving, even moreso than “Fall of the Mutants” and “Inferno.”

Nitz did a good job a few years ago of summing up why Inferno was misogynistic trash:

@Jeff…yeah #242 is THE issue it all hinges on, the climax really, for me. I loved that issue as a kid.

@Daniel… I’m actually thinking Whedon will have two or three in the top ten, but we’ll see…

@Michael…yeah, I disagree with Nitz’s assessment. It seems so generalized, I wonder how much he actually read of the story. Madelyne wasn’t simply portrayed as “psychotic”. Claremont laid out her motives pretty clearly and gave the readers plenty of opportunity to empathize with her. Her arc had parallels with the Dark Phoenix saga and with Claremont’s exploration of Magneto’s past and psyche. To me, the treatment of Madelyne Pryor as a villain is no more “misogynistic” than the treatment of Magneto is anti-semitic.

Hmmm…I was so sure I was going 10/10 this time around.

At 4/10 (Supernovas, Earthfall, Dancer in the Dark, Claremon/Lee in Outerspace #274-277)

I feel like I am going to be lucky to hit 7/10.

I guess I didn’t realize how many great X-Men stories there are.

I have noticed the last few years that it only takes me about five minutes to read new comics. I thought that perhaps in addition to new comics having fewer words, that I was reading to fast.

Then I bought X-Men Annual 9 at Heroes Con 2012. It took me close to an hour to read it. I had to take a bathroom break. I wish my recent $3.99 reading investments would provide even a third of the reading that that $1 I paid for the Annual did. One of the reasons I like Uncanny Avengers so much…

It’s misogynistic because in Magneto’s case, we saw clearly the choices that Magneto made. In contrast, in Maddie’s case, she didn’t so much as choose evil as magically get turned evil. The fact that Maddie refused to let the X-Men get themselves killed to save Scott when she was pregnant was irrelevant- all that mattered was that she was a woman that was dumped.
More to the point, Magneto didn’t get turned evil so that a Christian guy didn’t have to pay for his bad behavior.
Further, if there was a Christian guy in Magneto’s origin that was encouraging him to kill people, and in the end he got away unpunished and the X-Men considered him a great guy, then I would consider that anti-Semitic. The fact that Gateway got away unpunished and the X-Men still considered him an OK guy is proof that Inferno was misogynistic.

I actually found myself rooting for the X-Men against X-Factor in Inferno because Madelyne had been so sympathetic and Scott seemed like such a piece of shit.

” @Michael…yeah, I disagree with Nitz’s assessment. It seems so generalized, I wonder how much he actually read of the story. Madelyne wasn’t simply portrayed as “psychotic”. Claremont laid out her motives pretty clearly and gave the readers plenty of opportunity to empathize with her. Her arc had parallels with the Dark Phoenix saga and with Claremont’s exploration of Magneto’s past and psyche. To me, the treatment of Madelyne Pryor as a villain is no more “misogynistic” than the treatment of Magneto is anti-semitic. ”

The ability to actually empathize with Maddie were null and void by the time Inferno started, as it became clear she was working with Nas’trith to demon-form New York, manipulating Havok into being her “boy-toy” (and given his skimpy clothes during most of Inferno, that further demonstrates Maddie as the “woman who actually has sex=evil” figure), and using her mistreatment simply as an excuse. Much in the way that Magneto uses the Holocaust as an excuse–and yes, I do think that the backstory of Magneto has its own problems.

And thanks, Michael, for bringing that essay back to the light of day! Almost forgot I even wrote it.

I believe I voted for three of theses stories, iirc it was Messiah Complex (near the bottom of my list), Fatal Attractions (number 10 on mine), and Fall of the Mutants (number 3 or 4 on mine).

Lots of crossovers in this segment, which isn’t surprising considering the X-Men, imho, do crossovers better than anyone else. Messiah Complex is probably still the best X-Men one of the 2000s. I know people are going to bitch about the Silvestri art, but I still think he turned in some solid work for the opening one shot. Not sure if the whole story deserves the 12 spot though; honestly, I’d have it switch places with X-Cutioner’s Song on this list, but I’ll admit I’m biased.

Haven’t read Asgardian Wars, despite the fact that I love Arthur Adams and Paul Smith, but I just got the trade so I’ll be sitting down to enjoy it any time now.

Inferno is a solid story, but it felt a little bloated to me, plus it didn’t seem to take itself seriously enough. It resolved some very important stuff, and I still love the art teams on the main books, but this didn’t survive going from my top 20 to top 10.

Fatal Attractions nabbed a vote from me purely because of the X-Force chapter; Brian brings up the final Kitty issue by Byrne as the possible best goodbye issue by someone of all time, this one may have been the best one of the 90s, or at least I think so. As soon as Liefeld quit X-Force, Capullo jumps on to join Nicieza, and the book really worked into a great groove. Capullo goes out in a big way, bringing back Cable, some issue between Cable and the team are finally resolved, and the team engages Exodus while Cable fights Magneto in some brilliantly rendered action sequences. It’s the end of an era and the beginning of another. The X-Factor issue has some nice Quesada art mixed with some interesting character moments, X-Men has some decent art from Andy Kubert plus the famous Adamantium scene, the Wolverine issue is a solid beginning to Adam Kubert’s run on the book with Hama, and the Uncanny issue has what I think is some decent Romita Jr art and an exciting confrontation between Magneto and Xavier. Overall though, the whole thing doesn’t feel as well plotted as the previous crossover and overall feels very disjointed.

Fall of the Mutants is, to me, the best of the Claremont-Simonson crossovers. To be honest, I’ve never read the X-Factor or New Mutants issues, but the Uncanny issues, along with the half dozen or so preceding ones, are some of the best Uncanny issue of all time. By this point, Silvestri is at his peak as an artist and Claremont is still a phenomenal plotter, while at the same time he’s toned down some of his more egregious eccentricities, like how how he would overscript pages. The X-Men team goes from its lowest point after the Massacre, having lost the Morlocks and several teammates replaced by some inexperienced scrubs, to a team that is finally trusting and getting along well enough that they beat the Marauders in a rematch and can also hang with Freedom Force, only to die in one the most epic confrontations I’ve ever seen in comics. Every time I go back to read FotM, I start immediately post-Massacre and it’s a joy to watch the new team evolve up until their battle with the Adversary, and a hell of a way to start the Outback era with a bang.

It never amazes me how some people will read a list like this and not just disagree (of course everyone is going to have their own opinions), but seem to take a position of “this is incorrect, you guys all voted wrong”. Everyone enjoys things for different reasons, all of us have our eras, maybe a few people (certainly not everyone, as most commenters are being thoughtful and respectful) need to calm it down a bit. Rant over. Sorry.

Anyway, I never read “Fatal Attractions” (sort of at the end of my big X-Men reading period), but was aware of it, and “Messiah Complex” was during my Marvel sabbatical. The other three all have some meaning to me for various reasons. A big part of my love for “Fall…” and “Inferno” is my love of the New Mutants in general, and my love for Magik in specific. Even regarding “Fatal Attractions”, the one issue I actually did read at that time was the one in which Illyana died, and I absolutely remember crying.

“Asgardian Wars” was the jump-off for one of my favorite “What If?” issues ever: “What if the X-Men had stayed in Asgard?” It was great, and surprisingly emotionally affecting for a “fake” story.

Yeah, I don’t get the “you’re wrong wrong WRONG” thing either. I think it’s really cool that a couple of people have singled out the Australian Outback era as a personal favorite, whereas for me it was the last straw that kept me off X-books for more than a decade. This sort of thing wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if we all pretty much agreed on what the good stuff was.

@ buttler and TJ

Couldn’t agree more. I knew going in that there was going to be stuff I wouldn’t agree with and that there would be stuff I voted for on the list that other people would call out, but I’ve looked at it this way – this isn’t MY top 50 lost, this is a top 50 list that should represent the collective tastes of all the people who frequent CBR. It shows what the different tastes of everyone that voted are, and it’s cool to see what other people like. There are going to be stories that pop up that I have rants for, but overall people liked those stories and that’s why they made it this high. If they didn’t have some redeeming qualities, people wouldn’t like them enough to vote. At most, I state my PERSONAL reasons for not liking a story on the list, make it clear they’re my own reasons, and leave it at that.

The only part of Inferno I read are the Daredevil issues.
First he’s in a ditch where Typhoid Mary dumped him in the previous issue to kill him, trying to not die while fighting an evil vacuum cleaner or something.
Then he’s in the hospital and fights an evil subway train.
Then he’s just going around town beating up random demonic things with a stick.
Great stuff!

I enjoyed the X-Force issue but other than that I thought Fatal Attraction was terrible.

Inferno is one of the worst events in Marvel history. I can only chalk this up to mass nostalgia, because it’s horrible beyond words.

figured fatal attractions would finaly show up for it showed how xavier can resort to really crossing certain lines like mind wiping magneto . plus also that wolverines claws have always been a part of them. fall of the mutants interesting since it revealed forge has magic powers plus where the x-men get the siege perlious. inferno showed that cyclops really has bad luck with red heads. and mr sinister seems to be stuck to the x-men side like a thorn.

Asgardian wars was great and 13th on my short list (I can’t vote for everything) – loved Art Adams’ take on the Enchantress.

the rest – crossovers – the first crossover (Mutant Massacre) had good ideas, the second (Fall of the Mutants) wasn’t really a crossover, after that these events merely interrupted storylines/runs and dragged down the quality of the better series… I didn’t like them…

Madelyn’s handling during Inferno was a trainwreck. It didn’t help that while she still possessed some biting wit in UX, her dialogue in X-Factor was dry and didactic. The whole idea of turning her into a magickal supervillain was needlessly complicated when her latent Jean Grey -clone powers would’ve done the job. What’s especially irritating is that she could have been this complex character who stood for the ideals of mutant-human coexistence and still hated Cyclops (and by extension X-Factor), but instead became this whiny drone who wanted to conquer earth. And of course the misogyny of Cyclops remaining squeaky clean while she becomes the punching bag of the plot.

@Phil – Get “Asguardian Wars” A NICE over-sized $30 Digitally remastered GN came out
5-6yrs back, GO. GET IT!

So “Fall of the Mutants” & “Second Coming” our in Top 30!?
But Nothing From Ultimate X is anywhere on the List?
– Kubert’s Ultimate X art alone is worth A Top 20.
– “Magnetic North” (Ultimate X) is Top 12.
– “New Mutants” (Ultimate X) is easy Top 20.

& why isn’t anything from Gillen’s Uncanny Run on here..
Like the “Sinister London” storys? They were excellent.

Maybe its to new-

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