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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).

Enjoy!

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).

21 Comments

Glad to see ‘Quest for Magik’ making it on there – it was by far the best arc of New X-Men. I really hope that Skottie Young does more X-Book work when he’s done with the Oz minis.All the other books are good choices but I haven’t read Magneto: Testament, I thought it was another throwaway mini when it came out so I will have to check it out.
So far 4 of my picks have appeared in the Top 50, no Generation X arcs yet though either they went high or I was the only one voting them.

Good list, but I have to object to Magneto testament, mostly because it hits the home too close for me.
I was afraid to read it and for a good reason, because when I did, I really cringed. It felt very wrong.
And I’m sorry, but the only proper comic book about this period in humankind’s history is Maus and Maus only. Nothing ever comes close to this book.

The story is presented in a hollywood flick style. Let me put it this way: it’s like Turkey published a story about US soldiers who died in Vietnam. That’s how awkward I felt while reading it. The last issue with the typical hollywood ending is laughable at best.

The only positive thing about this story is that it made some people interested in knowing more about this sad period of humankind’s history.

I am now 2 for 10.

1. New Mutants Graphic Novel
9. New Mutants Quest for Magik 38-41

New Mutants 21 is one of the best X-comics ever made. Bill Sienkiewicz brought the whole concept to life- check out how expressive the characters are, the contrast between made-up Rahne and plain Rahne, how creepy the demons are, and the scenes with Warlock. Claremont turned in one of his best scripts to boot.

I don’t remember much of Wolverine 1-3 beyond the title character massacring bad guys in the first issue. That was some powerful stuff.

I just bought a bunch of X-Factor hcs cheap. I’m caught up to just before Secret Invasion, and I can’t wait to delve into the next 5 volumes. Now, I want to dig into my long boxes to find issue 13. I don’t remember the details, just the tone and quality.

I had Magneto Testament at #3 on my list. It was just an incredibly powerful story. So, so good.

I don’t even remember that Wolverine story. At all. I remember Jessica and . . . uh, Jessica in Madripoor. Truthfully, I think it’s been too long since we last saw McCabe. She needs to be brought back soon. But the story itself, I honestly have no memories of at all.

Slumbr Party is such a great one and done, and with it, the cat of New Mutants is complete. The classic cast.

I remember enjoying Re-X-Aminations, and its fun to read the first one as well with it.

Only heard of Magneto Testament and how powerful and well researched it is.

I only own issue one of those Wolverine issues. Pretty stellar first issue (if memory holds correctly) and I’m sure that team had no idea what they were starting with Wolverine’s official first ongoing.

Quest for Magik I just love. Great addtion to this list, glad its represented and it gave us back Magik! Will always hold a special place in my heart.

Just a quick correction: Jessica Drew’s pal was LINDSAY McCabe, not Jessica.

Oops, yeah, I doubled down on Jessicas there, I see. :) Thanks, I fixed it.

I voted for New Mutants #21, one of my all time favorite issues of that title. Haven’t read the Claremont & Buscema issues of Wolverine in quite a few years, but as I recall, yeah, they were good. Time to break out my copy of Essential Wolverine Vol 1 again!

Re-X-Aminations was sixth on my list. I hadn’t really read anything like it before in a superhero title (I read David’s later X-Factor stuff before I read his 90’s X-Factor run), and it blew me away. It’s one of the first issues I point to when trying to explain why art is as important as words in comics. An emotional rollercoaster like that would have sucked itself into oblivion if Raimondi hadn’t nailed the art. The humor David weaves throughout didn’t hurt either. Arguably the strongest single issue between the relaunch and the renumbering at #250.

I really, really enjoyed all of those early Patch/Wolverine in Japan stories that ran right up until #34. Claremont and Buscema started that series out strong. I’m not sure anyone really came as close to their original 8 issue run during the Japan era of the series. It was a pain in the ass trying to pick out just one story from the Japan era — it was all I really had room for on my list — and while The Black Sword Saga is enjoyable in its own right, I went with something else. I always looked at those first 8 or 9 issues as parts of a more unified story, and if I could have voted for all of them as one entry I absolutely would have (and it would have been pretty high on my list). Marvel needs to get to work collecting that series, and I wish comiXology would get more of it up on their service.

Haven’t read the rest, though this is the first I’m hearing of Magneto Testament. Sounds interesting. I’ll have to give it a look.

nice was hoping to see if the story that told what magentoes time was like in the camp before his mutant power came to being would dare make the list due to its content plus also where peter davids revisit of the classic issue where he had the x-factor team has a shrink pay them a visit.

the deadly nation of Madripoor (think a criminalized version of Hong Kong, only an island)

Err… you know that Hong Kong actually IS an island, right?

Slumber Party makes 1/10 for me. If it is in the middle of the pack like this, then I have strong hopes for the Demon Bear Saga.

So far the only stories on this countdown I haven’t read are the Wolverine ones. Not sure if that makes me a bad X-Men fan or not…? Just never cared for solo Wolverine, I preferred him in a team setting.

Captain Haddock

August 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

@Chakal: I would respectfully disagree with your conclusion. It’s been established in canon for a while now that Mags was a holocaust survivor and this had already been given the hollywood treatment in the 2000 movie. I thought it was really respectfully done and liked the way they treated his “powers”. Plus that room witht he glasses was haunting, this was around the time I read I was in uni and took a course on the holocaust, seeing it this way made it seem more real and more devastating to me. It’s no Maus, that’s for sure, but then again few things are. For an x-men book to take on such a distressing topic and come out so well I think is tremendous and I applaud the creative team and Marvel for taking the risk.

Again, just my opinion, and not to denigrate yours.

Hey Madripoor isn’t a criminalized version of Hong Kong, its supposed to represent Singapore! Close though

As an avowed Magik fan, I really need to read the issues with her return. Guess I’ll get to ‘em eventually as I go back through the “X-Men” stuff I missed.

I really should pick up David’s X-Factor run, shouldn’t I?

RE-X-aminations is the first one on my list to make the cut. Surprised to see it so low on the countdown.

NEW MUTANTS #21 : The Claremont/Sienkiewicz run was New Mutants at its best. Claremont was always about characterization, and this issue is a great showcase for that. The art of Bill Sienkiewicz on this was eye-catching… it was so surreal and dark and strange and beautiful. It just fit an X-Book perfectly. I really wish he was doing more comics work currently.

Hell, the entire Claremont/Sienkiewicz NM run should be on this list. I’m sure DEMON BEAR SAGA will appear, at the very least.

WOLVERINE #1-3/BLACK SWORD SAGA : To me, Chris Claremont (and later Larry Hama) wrote the #1 depiction of Wolverine ever. They ‘got’ Wolverine…they did his characterization just right. A far cry from the inconsistent portrayals we get of Logan nowadays.

The Patch/Madripoor stuff was enjoyable as hell…if I remember correctly, Silver Samurai initially did not recognize Wolverine in his “Patch” identity. Which is pretty damn laughable, as he had already seen Logan without his mask not long after the events of Uncanny X-Men #172-173 took place. I mean, the only difference is an eyepatch !

bad johnny got out

September 10, 2013 at 4:08 am

chakal:

Magneto Testament seemed to be an exercise in the magical realism genre done as a comic book. Since comic books lend themselves better to outright fantasy, this attempt was a little strange, but I think it mostly succeeded.

The Hollywood ending is an illusion, intended to be. Longtime Marvel readers know the character Magda will die shortly after the war, so read the happy ending here as irony. This is not a spoiler, just established background information.

What else about it struck you as false?

Also, Turkey really needs to take a crack at Vietnam. Turkish Vietnam sounds like the best thing ever.

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