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50 Greatest X-Family Stories: 20-16

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.


“Soulwar” and “Endgame” were both contenders for my list. “Soulwar” is my favorite story of the Sienkiewicz run, even moreso than “Demon Bear”.

Like Milligan/Allred’s X-Force, I think I’ve only read New Mutants Annual #2 all of once, though you gotta love Alan Davis art.

Ditto “Origin”. I remember liking it at the time (and being genuinely shocked by the now-obvious role reversal), but I also remember the ending kinda petering out after a strong opening. I’d be curious to read it again and see how it holds up.

Great list… but I feel like “Origin” wolverine should be higher (don’t hit me!!;P ) Looking forward to the next group!

some stupid japanese name

August 28, 2013 at 8:20 am

The blurbs for Endgame and Soulwar seem to be switched around.

some stupid japanese name

August 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

or rather the cover images n__n

Thanks. That was an odd mistake to make. Fixed now!

nice was wondering when endgame would be on this list since it showed how heart breaking cyclops choice was to send his kid into the future to save his life. . origin interesting to see this thing on the list. espically since it now kind of hints that sabertooth and wolverine may be kin if dog is indeed sabertooh.

I didn’t find out about this poll til it was over, but my loose top 10 that I quickly came up with just for fun said “Alan Davis New Mutants annuals”. I remember this issue, and annual #3 with Impossible Man, very fondly… Davis imbued the whole New Mutants gang with so much expressiveness and personality! I only allotted so much space for Sienkiewicz’s run so the Legion story would have missed my vote.

Still haven’t read enough of Milligan/Allred X-Force or X-Factor volume 1 to get to these issues, but I’m excited to know there’s so much good stuff to look forward to!

18 and 17 need a picture swap.
Origin was okay, helped by Kubert’s art. Jenkin’s is up there with JMS as one of the most hit-or-miss writers around, and this was one of his that didn’t blow me away.
Been a while since I read that X-Factor storyline. I liked it when I was a boy, but back then I liked pretty much anything to do with Cable.
Haven’t read the rest of these, but I definitely want to pick up all of the Sienkiewicz New Mutants stuff (the guy’s great). Also need to read the whole of Milligan and Allred’s X-Force/X-Statix. I like the bits that I’ve read (it’s hard to go wrong with a creative team like that).

I had to sacrifice Origin to prevent my list from being too Wolverine-heavy. And partly because I knew it would make the list anyway.

I’m only 1/10 so far. I’m pretty sure 2-3 of the rest will show up down the line. I’m sad Exiles isn’t making more of a splash though. It’s one of my all time favorite series.

Definitely had Endgame and “Why Do We Do the Things We Do?” on my list. Origins might have made it but I think got edged out by two other Wolverine Solos.

The New Mutants story is one I only read as an adult: I love it now but the art really didn’t work for ten year old me. I’ve since seen the error of my ways before you all gang up on me!

Never read X-statix.

The Annual crossover is superb: two of the best artists, a couplke of strong stories and the influence of XM annual 10 being the first X-Men annual I bought.

Endgame is superb: I love me some Portacio art and he really energised the title after a poor run post Walt Simonson. Nice little hint about Nathan’s fate on the last panel too iirc.

Marvel: Colour Portacio X-Factor trade please. NOW!

I own Why Do We Do the Things We Do, pretty good story

I liked Origin, been meaning to go back to it now that Dog Logan has been in Wolverine and the X-Men lately.

I have only read things regarding Endgame. Sets up Cable, so that is pretty essential

Soul War, for whatever reason I only own issue 28 but not 26/27, does Magik only show up in that final part?

FInal Chapter, more X-Statix on the list.

My least favorite batch thus far. Have no real memeory of the New Mutant ones. The only thing I have any real memory is with Origin.

5 Wolverine Stories
6 New Mutants

Not bad.

Final Chapter was, I think, my number two? It was certainly up there.

Completely rad story. And it very much /wasn’t/ all about those three–it was also the introduction of Dead Girl and a major turning point in the character of Spike.

Phat/Vivisector also got a lot, but that was more meta than actual character development.

It wasn’t ALL about them, but come on, they were definitely the key components of the story. But sure, I’ll toss in a mention of the others, as well!

Endgame is probably my favorite story featuring the original X-Factor team. It was such a nice change for a series I mostly found a chore to read. And then, after a slight detour to Muir Isle, the team disbanded! Ah well, we got a better deal when David came around with the government team. I hate to say it, but I completely forgot about this story when making my list. Not sure if it would have placed, but it would have been a contender for sure.

I’d always heard not-so-positive things about the Origin title. I always meant to read it and see for myself, though. Maybe I’ll get around to it sooner rather than later now.

Haven’t read the rest, but I intend to start with that X-Force story whenever I sit down to read X-Statix.

I really disliked Origin, and now it bugs me every time someone calls Logan “James,” which seems to happen all the time now. The reveal that he was actually posh Little Percy Poopenpants before he became scrappy Li’l Logan was cute as an Elseworlds-style gag, but I’ve seen more bad than good come out of it in subsequent stories.

The one exception being that one time that he was forced to mentally regress to Little Percy Poopenpants again, making paper dolls. That was pretty damn funny. But mostly because his origin feels a bit like a joke to begin with.

And this isn’t me having some huge attachment to a romantic ideal of Wolverine as a character. I’m pretty tired of him in general. But Origin didn’t exactly help.

I voted for Endgame and the Gen X story on the last list segement, so I’m 5/10 now. Endgame was probably Whilce Portacio at his best when he was still with Marvel and it’s a huge stepping stone towards Cable’s origin.

Also, I remember a lot of people citing the page where Black Bolt seems to be screaming at Apocalypse in one issue a lot in the Vs. forums at Marvel’s site; people would use it as an example of Apoc basically being invincible.

Wow. 15 to go and I am STILL 0-for.

Didn’t vote for any of these. But, as I recall, “Endgame” from X-Factor #65-68 was pretty good. I wasn’t a huge fan of Whilce Portacio’s artwork, but in terms of the writing the story did make for a great epic final confrontation between the original X-Factor and Apocalypse.

It’s been so long since I read Peter Milligan & Mike Allred’s run on X-Force / X-Statix that I honestly don’t recall any specifi details, other than they were interesting issues, Doop was weird & funny, and a lot of characters got killed. It completely slipped my mind to vote for any of those issues. But seeing them placing in the Top 50 countdown, next time I have an opportunity I’ll dig out those comics to read again.

i need to go back and read all my old New Mutants. i had no idea New Mutants annual #2 was the first part of a story that continued into X-Men Annual #10, which is one of my favorite comics of all time.

i recently picked up the Excalibur one shot, Mojo Mayhem, which i never new existed until just now, and was shocked to learn it was a continuation of the awesome Mojoverse story in X-Men Annual #12 (the majority of the which pertained to the High Evolutionary crossover and set in the Savage Land).

definitely need to track down more Claremont and Davis’ work on Excalibur. i’ve read pretty much none of it.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

August 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

Well, I’m still 1/10. Look like I’m gonna hit less on this list than on the X-Men list.

The only one of these I’ve read is Origin, which I really enjoyed. Not enough to vote for it, mind you, but I thought it was a really good piece of character work from Jenkins.

I’ve been wanting to get those X-Factor issues, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

The New Mutants Annual is also interesting for showcasing the gang of kids from Hell’s Kitchen who were some of the supporting cast in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run. (She’d introduced them in the Longshot mini.) More interestingly, one of them even turns into a prototype of Jubilee, with the same powers and codename!

I had voted for X-Men Annual #10 in the X-Men poll, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever read NM Annual #2. I might need to track it down.

I remember liking the story but hating the art on that X-Factor story. I’ve never liked Portacio’s art. Don’t remember much about it now except for sending Nathan into the future to eventually become cable.

I thought Origin was pretty hacky. The fact that the guy that can heal from anything used to be all weak and sickly seemed like a real obvious switcheroo of expectations. I thought the series as a whole was fine, but nothing special.

Final Chapter I really liked, but it didn’t make my list. I went with 2 other stories from that run, neither of which have shown up yet. I’m fairly confident they will, though.

Milligan’s final X-Force arc puts me at 5/10.

Funny, it never even occurred to me to vote for Origin, I forgot all about it (probably wouldn’t have made the cut in front of my other picks, anyway).

With 15 to go, I have maybe 4 or 5 guesses as to what may show up, but this list has been so diverse I couldn’t guess at much more than that. Which of course makes this one of the more interesting of these lists we’ve had! Great stuff!

Didn’t Cypher and Warlock merge together for the first time in Asgard in New Mutants Special Edition #1 (drawn by Art Adams), not in New Mutants Annual #2?

If I’m remembering all that wrong, then maybe I’ve been voting for the wrong comics, but I don’t think so…

Endgame and Legion are the essential X-Men.
I am very happy to see them being on the list so high!
THANK YOU! It means a lot for me.

But also I think that it was a mistake to allow Wolverine to be included in X-Family stories. Wolverien is, pardon my french, shitting up the list. Now I fell like he should have a list on his own, so the list would be better without him.

It’s funny because everyone remembers “Endgame” for pushing Nathan off into the future… but I think almost everyone forgets that it’s also the storyline that quietly, finally, fully returned Jean Grey’s telepathic powers that had been burnt out/switched off for more or less all of the entire run on X-Factor.

(I say more-or-less because every now and then we’d get small hints that they weren’t entirely gone, like when Jean and Madelyn mind-linked at the end of Inferno, or when she’d hear Nathan crying in her head, or a brief glimpse of them in the Judgment War, that sort of thing. But Jean’s powers came back and stayed when one of the Dark Riders tried to mentally regress her to childhood and brought her back to that moment when they first activated when a friend of hers was hit by a car. Oops.)

All this stuff is great, especially those Alan Davis annuals. And those Claremont issues of X-Factor were really, really good as well. I think those were actually the only issues of X-Factor that Claremont himself ever wrote, and they really did seem like a finale to the series has it had been (Original Five-centric).

I’ve never read Origin so can’t comment, but . . . I’m surprised to see it ranked so high. I would have thought things like Old Man Logan and Magneto Origin would outrank it.

Soulwar was my #1 pick. Claremont did a commendable job establishing Legion and handling the emotional content of the story. It’s Bill Sienkiewicz’s show, however, and he turned in a startling array of arresting visuals. Having a chunk of the story take place outside of reality played to Sienkiewicz’s strengths.

Final Chapter was also on my list. Fegredo turned in his usual good work. It’s a testament to Milligan’s skill that he wrote one of the best stories of the series without Allred. I’ve always liked it when a series known for its humor has a more serious story and I realize how much I actually care for the characters.

I liked Origin when it came out. The art Adam Kubert & Richard Isanove was quite attractive. I haven’t read it in a while so I don’t know how well it holds up.

The NM & X-Men Annuals were a lot of fun. Other than Bill Sienkiewicz, Adams & Davis were my 2 favorite super-hero artists of the era.*

Portacio was a favorite of mine back in the day. Endgame felt momentous at the time. Claremont may have been relegated to scripting duty, but his 1st person narrative captions got me in Cyclops’ head and made me respond to his dilemma.

* along with Walt Simonson. And Paul Smith. And George Perez… Man, that was a great time for super-hero art!

YES! Final Chapter was another of my picks!

I’m now at 4/10, with 4 more I’m fairly certain will make it, but my last two I’d be utterly baffled if they made it at this high part of the list.

Finally, one of my votes landed on the list, at #20. I also probably would have voted for Soulwar had I not inexplicably forgotten that run prior to voting. Just wish that story’s ending wasn’t so poorly done.

Nothing from my list.

I think the thing I remember best from that X-Men Annual is Psylocke having a crush on Cypher. I’m not sure how old she was supposed to be at that point, but I’m quite certain she was old enough for it to be wildly inappropriate.

I’m suprised Endgame made it, as one that I voted for (#8) that I really thought wouldn’t make the cut.

Origins always seemed a bit too manufactured for me, not really organic, but I supposed they did the best they could with the time frame and the impossible expectations.

WWDTTWD is an excellent one I had not thought of.

X-MEN ANUUAL 10 : This was extremely enjoyable, other than the fact that the “graduation” costumes for the New Mutants were ugly as hell. Some of the worst costume designs I have ever seen. But Art Adams and Alan Davis are Art Gods !

X-FACTOR ENDGAME : I am an intensely devoted fan of Cable, so this is one of my favorite X-Stories, as it sets him upon the road to becoming Cable. As has been stated here in the comments, the X-Factor comics prior to this were a chore to read. Pretty mediocre stuff. But THIS…this is the best O5 X-Factor story. A huge part of that is because Chris Claremont scripted it.

And now, two corrections I have to make :

Chad said : “origin interesting to see this thing on the list. espically since it now kind of hints that sabertooth and wolverine may be kin if dog is indeed sabertooh.”

Dog Logan is not Sabretooth. Dog Logan time-travelled into the present since Origin ended, and has met Sabretooth once he appeared in Wolverine and the X-Men.

Jazzbo said : ” I thought Origin was pretty hacky. The fact that the guy that can heal from anything used to be all weak and sickly seemed like a real obvious switcheroo of expectations.”

James was weak and sickly, until his mutant powers (including healing factor) kicked in when he killed his father Thomas Logan. Most mutants first manifest their abilities when triggered by an instant of heightened emotional stress. Before that happened, he was sickly because they hadn’t manifested yet.

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