Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the X-Men, we’re doing a poll of the greatest X-Family (spin-offs of the X-Men) stories of all-time (Here is our previous list of the 50 Greatest X-Men Stories)! You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 50 Greatest X-Family stories!
We’ll do 10 this first day and then go to 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.
50. “The Good and the Famous” X-Statix #21-25
In the final significant arc of their acclaimed run on X-Force/X-Statix, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred (joined by inker Nick Craine) pitted the X-Statix against the Avengers in a race to collect the parts of an exploded Doop. This distorted take-off on the Avengers/Defenders War was a brilliant contrast between the Avengers and the oddball X-Statix and all the while allowing us to see Allred go nuts drawing classic superheroes alongside the X-Statix designs. An enjoyable final storyline for the title (with one last, awesome issue to wrap the series up to follow).
49. “Days of Future Yet to Come” Excalibur #66-67
Alan Davis wrapped up his run as the writer/penciler on Excalibur (with inker Mark Farmer) with this sequel, of sorts, to Days of Future Past (as well as the more recent X-Men/Fantastic Four/New Mutants/X-Factor crossover, Days of Future Present, which introduced the mutant-hunting villain Ahab) as Rachel draws her Excalibur teammates into her future and the team joins up with a ragtag group of British heroes to take down the Sentinels in the future. It was during this story that we also learned the surprising and bizarre origins of Widget, the powerful little robot that had followed Excalibur around during the entire series. Davis manages to give Rachel and Excalibur a happy ending as he big farewell to the book, with Rachel finally adopting the present as her home.
48. “Road Trip” X-Force #71-75
After splitting with Cable following the events of Zero Tolerance (where the government was hunting down mutants), X-Force decided to go on a road trip. The road trip pretty much lasted until issue #101, but it was certainly no coherent story arc, so I will instead just spotlight the original arc, where they get from North Carolina to a stand-in for Burning Man. Written by John Francis Moore with art by Adam Pollina and Mark Morales, this storyline was likely best known for essentially ending “X-Force” for a while and making the book “New Mutants” again. Cable, Shatterstar and Domino all left the team and Dani Moonstar rejoined it. The team mostly just wore their regular clothes, it was a refreshing change of pace from the grim ‘n’ gritty era of X-Force. In #75, the celebration of the old gang getting back together culminates with the return of Karma and Cannonball re-joining the team (briefly).
47. “A World Apart” Exiles #8-10
We had already been prepared for the notion that the members of the Exiles could die at any moment, seeing as how they were all alternate reality characters and therefore unique to this title (giving writer Judd Winick free reign to do whatever he wanted with them) but during this arc, readers truly realized the power of that notion, when one of the mainstays of the team seemingly died. It is a testament to the amount of character work that Winick did that the “death” in this arc resonated so much considering that these characters had only been in seven issues before this storyline. The storyline itself was a good one. The reality-leaping mutants landed on a world where the Skrulls had invaded Earth in the 19th century and have ruled it ever since. The Exiles show up and most of them are quickly captured and put into service in the gladiator arenas, where the world’s remaining superhumans battle against each other for Skrull sport. Before the Exiles have a chance to lead an uprising against the Skrulls, however, Galactus showed up. The remaining heroes of Earth must team up with the Exiles to try to save the planet from Galactus and one of the Exiles makes a sacrifice for both the mission and to protect a loved teammate. Mike McKone and Mark McKenna drew the storyline.
46. “Renewal” Marvel Graphic Novel #4
Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod literally did renew the X-Universe with this graphic novel, introducing the replacements for the then-thought-to-be-dead X-Men. While Karma had already debuted in Marvel Team-Up, this story introduced Cannonball, Sunspot, Wolfsbane and Dani Moonstar. Their introductions were handled well, especially the way that Xavier is racing against the Hellfire Club for the young mutants, including one of the team who Xavier was actually too late for. Will this young mutant make the right decision and ditch the Hellfire Club for Xavier? Well, of course, but it is still dramatic seeing it happen!
Go to the next page for #45-41!
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