Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
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).
20. “Why Do We Do the Things We Do?” New Mutants Annual #2/X-Men Annual #10
With this two-part storyline in the New Mutants and X-Men Annuals, Chris Claremont brought both the Captain Britain world as well as the Mojoverse to the X-Men. In the first part, drawn by Alan Davis, Psylocke is captured by Mojo and has her eyes replaced. This is the first time that Cypher and Warlock merged together. At the end of the story, Psylocke decides to remain at Xavier’s. This leads to the X-Men Annual, where the X-Men are captured and replaced by the X-Babies so the New Mutants must temporarily “graduate” and become the new X-Men to rescue their friends from Mojo. This story was drawn by Art Adams. At the end of the story, Longshot decides to join the X-Men, as well.
19. “Origin” Wolverine: The Origin #1-6
This mini-series by Paul Jenkins, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove decided to, for once and for all, give a real origin for Wolverine. The story opens in rural Canada in the 19th century. A rich plantation owner named Howlett has a sickly son named James. Howlett brings a local girl named Rose to stay at the plantation to be James’ companion. Meanwhile, Howlett has a cruel groundskeeper named Thomas Logan who looks like modern day Wolverine with a rough and tumble son named Dog Logan. Shockingly, of course, it turns out that the future Wolverine is the sickly James and not the young Dog. His powers manifest themselves in a striking sequence when his claws emerge when he is defending his father from Logan. The altercation ends with Logan dead and it pretty clearly alluded that Logan was James’ father (as his mother then kills herself after the death of Logan). James and Rose go on the run together and James takes the name Logan and pretends to be her cousin. As time goes by, the man we know to be Wolverine slowly comes about (and we see how his healing factor works to block all of this trauma out of his mind – and there is plenty of trauma still left to come!).
18. “Endgame” X-Factor #65-68
The final storyline of their own before merging with the X-Men with the Muir Island Saga, Endgame is essentially an attempt to clear away “debris” before the merger. Said debris is really Cyclops’ son with Jean Grey’s clone, Nathan Christopher Summers. Having a little kid around is a bit of a bummer when you want a fresh start with the X-Men, so this storyline (plotted by Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio, scripted by Chris Claremont, penciled by Portacio and inked by Art Thibert) pits the X-Men against Apoclaypse in a major battle on the moon (involving the Inhumans, as well) that results in Nathan being infected with a virus from the future. The only way Cyclops can save his son is to send him into the future with a mysterious woman from the future who tells him that she can save his son. It’s all quite dramatic.
17. “Soulwar” New Mutants #26-28
Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz finally deliver on a sub-plot hinted at in the first issue of New Mutants, as we meet Charles Xavier’s son, the autistic mutant with multiple personalities named Legion. The New Mutants and Xavier must fight to rescue Legion from his own multiple personalities as they go into the astral plane to save his very soul. The whole time, of course, Xavier also has to deal with the fact that he even HAS a kid, something he was unaware of until this point.
16. “Final Chapter” X-Force #125-129
Peter Milligan brought the first volume of X-Force to a close with a fascinating study on the very idea of superhero death. X-Force began by throwing death at its readers with almost reckless abandon. With this final story arc, though, Milligan and artist Mike Allred decided to pull back and really examine the effects of death on superheroes, as the story deals with the three primary members of X-Force, the Orphan, U-Go-Girl and the Anarchist, all knowing that ONE of them WILL die before the end of the story. For a title that killed off characters so much early on, by this point Milligan and Allred had developed Orphan, U-Go-Girl and Anarchist so well that ANY of the three dying would be such a dramatic loss. The storyline also introduced a future fan favorite, Dead Girl (also tying in to the whole exploration of comic book death). The other members of the team also got some interesting plot development, as well. Once the team member marked for death DOES die, Duncan Fegredo joins the book for the final issue, as the other cast members deal with the loss of their teammate. It was all really well done and set the stage beautifully for the new version of the book, X-Statix.
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