50 Greatest X-Family Stories: 35-31
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! Here is a master list of every story featured so far.
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).
35. “Slumber Party!” New Mutants #21
This classic one-off issue by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz is exactly what it sounds like. The girls at the Xavier School have some friends over for a slumber party. Essentially, it is a whole issue full of character development for the various members of the New Mutants, with Rahne especially getting some strong work in (as the girls give her a makeover and Sam ruins everything by not recognizing her when he sees her later in the night). Meanwhile, Warlock comes to Earth and by the end of the issue he has become a member of the team. Issues like this were a rarity then (a double-sized issue by a top creative team just for the hell of it) but they are even rarer today.
34. “Re-X-aminations” X-Factor #13
In this sequel to the original “X-aminations” from the previous X-Factor series, Doc Samson is back to do psych evaluations for all the members of X-Factor Investigations. Just like the previous classic issue written by Peter David, David once again does a wonderful job investigating the various personalities of the group, but always with a slight twist. Pablo Raimondi re-joined David (they had done the Madrox mini-series that launched this series) as the artist on the title with this issue. He does a great job with the various facial expressions each character makes (and there a WHOLE lot of emotions being worked through in this issue).
33. “Magneto Testament” X-Men: Magneto Testament #1-5
This powerful tale by Greg Pak and Carmine Di Giandomenico tells the full origin of young Max Eisenhardt, who will one day be known as Magneto. This is a gripping coming of age story of a young boy growing up in Poland right before World War II and how he endured the Holocaust before his mutant powers change the course of his life. It is striking how authentic Pak’s story feels, despite it starring, you know, a kid who can control magnetism. Something like this could feel very wrong, almost like it is making a mockery of something so awful, but Pak toes that line well, paying full respect to the millions of real people who died in the Holocaust.
32. “The Black Sword Saga” Wolverine #1-3
Chris Claremont, John Buscema and Al Williamson set up the basic conceit of the Wolverine ongoing title. Wolverine has taken the alias “Patch” while he works in the deadly nation of Madripoor (think a criminalized version of Hong Kong, only an island). In this opening arc, Claremont brings Jessica Drew to Madripoor as a private detective (along with her friend and patner, Lindsey McCabe). They and Patch are on the track of the mystical Black Sword, which can turn people evil. That’s exactly what it does to Wolverine. Things do NOT look good. Can Jessica and the Silver Samurai turn the tide somehow?
31. “The Quest for Magik” New X-Men #38-41
Through a Superboy punch, Illyana Rasputin was brought back to life. The demon Belasco, ruler of Limbo, wants her. To get her he kidnaps a whole bunch of students from the Xavier Institute. Most of these students had never actually seen real superhero combat, but they surprisingly held their own to help save each other. Eventually, they discover Illyana, who is in Limbo but without a soul. The innocent young mutant Pixie vows to help her and gives up a piece of her soul, but just a piece. This piece was enough to form a soul dagger (as opposed to a soul sword). Eventually, the young X-Men and Illyana defeat Belasco and Illyana takes over Limbo and sends the young mutants away. Craig Lyle and Chris Yost wrote it and the amazing Skottie Young drew it (it is nuts seeing Young drawing a four-issue superhero story. Quite the rarity).