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50 Greatest X-Family Stories: 12-10

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!

12. Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-6

This mini-series was both a sequel to Chris Claremont, Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein’s acclaimed Wolverine mini-series as well as being an important progression in the character development of Kitty Pryde, as Claremont finally came up with a cool code name for the character. Al Milgrom drew the series, which saw Kitty Pryde travel with her father to Japan where she is captured and brainwashed by the evil ninja Ogun into becoming a bad ass evil ninja. She is ordered to kill Wolverine and, well, as you might imagine Kitty is able to fight her programming. In the end, though, she retained her ninja abilites as well as a little more darkness into her soul than she did to start the series (the series also began right after Kitty had had her heart broken by her super-age-appropriate-no-there’s-nothing-wrong-with-it boyfriend, Colossus, so Kitty was already in a state of mixed-up confusion).

11. “Time and a Half/Overtime” X-Factor #39-50

Had I let it stand on its own, X-Factor #39 likely would have made the list by itself (much lower on the list, though). However, since it sets off the storyline from #40-50 AND is included in the trade paperback for Time and a Half, I figured I might as well just lump them all in together and gain an extra spot on the list for another deserving story (as it turned out, said story was the X-Statix versus the Avengers). X-Factor #39 is the birth of Siryn and Jamie Madrox’s son. As it turned out, though…well, let’s just say that while the birth goes okay, things go REALLY REALLY bad right afterwards. So bad that Madrox has to split from the rest of X-Factor and he goes on a soul-searching journey which ultimately takes him into the future where he meets Layla Miller, who has grown into a woman while in the future (after her adventure through time with Jamie during Messiah Complex a year earlier). Jamie and Layla grow closer to each other in the future alongside their new ally, Ruby Summers, as they fight against the evil and mysterious Cortex. Cortex, meanwhile, shows up in the present and fights against modern day X-Factor, who are dealing with their own issues (especially Siryn). This storyline introduced former X-Force member Shatterstar to the team. David’s take on Shatterstar and his relationship with Rictor was quite refreshing. Like most Peter David storylines, a bunch of plots are balanced well as he gives each cast member strong character development. Valentine De Landro and Marco Santucci were the main artists for this storyline (a lot of different inkers).

10. “New Beginning” X-Force #116-120

There had been other dramatic changes in team membership in X-titles before (the most notable being how X-Factor went from being about the original five X-men to being about a government sanctioned mutant strikeforce) but none was ever quite so dramatic as when Peter Milligan and Mike Allred took over X-Force and did about a complete 180 from where the book was before. X-Factor at least had characters familiar to X-fans (including the brother of the former leader of X-Factor). In the case of X-Force, not only did the first issue of the revamp introduce a brand-new group of mutants known as X-Force, the lead character, who we spent a whole issue getting to know and who Milligan and Allred had made us actually give a crap about – is killed off (along with most of the team)!! The basic concept of X-Force is that it is a group of young mutants who become extremely famous and live life hard, because they know that the missions they are going on are often practically suicide missions. The turnover rate in the group is very high. You become very famous but you have a very strong chance of dying. In the second issue, we meet the new team leader, Mr. Sensitive (The Orphan). He has a tumultuous relationship with the two team members who survived the original battle, the Anarchist and U-Go-Girl. In a world where reality television was booming (with Survivor and Big Brother having just recently exploded on to the scene), this was a fascinating examination of the perils of fame and the corrupt nature of it all, as we see these people strive to somehow do some real heroics in the middle of such a fake set-up (U-Go-Girl’s transformation into a “real” hero is the most notable). Mike Allred is amazing at designs and he had to come up with a LOT of new characters in this series. Oh, and I almost forgot, this series introduced DOOP! DOOP! To know Doop is to love Doop.

29 Comments

This is the first group of entries that I cannot say a bad word about. If I had actually voted all of these would have featured on my list.

Is there a site one can go to find a chronology of trade paperbacks that start from the Morrison X-Men era up to the present day?

I adore Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, bringing me to 4/10. And I’m sure that is where I stop. Such a great mini series and it angers me so much when I see some writers (not as much these days as back in the late 90s) would write Kitty like her first appearance even though she had a pretty well beloved mini series that went out of its way to age her and mature her. When writers want to go back to see what she is about, they should not go pass this mini.

Time and a Half/Overtime, I have been wanting to read it as I like the concept of Ruby Summers, which parent does she take more after, I wonder?

I remember being blown back from X-Force 116-120, it didn’t feel like my type of comic but I liked being exposed to that type of thing and I really dug it. Once it became X-Statix, I felt like I had “gotten it” so I didn’t keep up with it but what a fun four issues.

3/10 ith Overtime.

4/10 with Kitty Pryde and Wolverine. All great books listed here.

Whoa I am 6/10 and I know at least 3 more will be showing up. Why did I choose a What If story again lol?

New Beginnings was indeed quite a shocking change from the usual mutant tropes.
I almost had this on my list as well, it was a toss-up between this and Final Chapters because I didn’t want to just have X-Statix stuff on it.
You should probably mention that not only does the leader Zeitgeist die in that first issue, but so does most of the team.

Never read Kitty Pryde And Wolverine, it sounds interesting.
“Al Milgrom drew the series”
Ok I’m out, Milgrom was okay as an inker but a terrible penciler .

Gotta agree, here at least. KP& Wolverine deserved a better artist. I mean the first Wolverine Series has Frank Miller for crying out loud! Imagine how much better this would be with him, or Paul Smith, drawing it.

And why oh why did it take Marvel soooooooooooooooo long to trade it? Even now it’s still not had a paperback trade release

I’ll be honest, I’m shocked Kitty Pryde & Wolverine made the countdown, and twice as shocked it made the Top 10. Al Milgrom’s art isn’t good. Kitty Pryde gets to be a ninja. It goes on for 8 issues. I thought this story had a bad rep. Huh.

I just finished Time & a Half/ Overtime. It’s fantastic.. Peter David has an excellent handle on the characters, and issue 39 was devestating. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it.

The 1st Milligan/Allred X-Force issues made my list. At the time it was published, it felt extremely fresh. Allred’s art was great and the character designs were, as Brian noted, exceptional. Milligan’s satire was biting and he wrote memorable characters. It was unlike any title on the stands.

Being reminded of the baby issue of X-Factor makes me want to go back and read the whole of X-Factor again (the rest of the storyline referenced here is good too).

Those first few issues of X-Force were great, as one would expect from Milligan and Allred. Really need to read their whole run one day (though it’s pretty far down my to-read list right now).

Haven’t read the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini and have no great desire to.

3/10 with the number 11.

I absolute loved that story the first time through, and even more on a re-read. The fate of Siryn’s baby and the arrival of the nun are in my top 3 moments of David’s run. I also voted for the third, but if TaaH/Overtime is showing up here I’m doubtful “Hard Labor” will also be making an appearance.

Yeah, I actually do remember skimming through X-Factor #39 in the comic book shop. And when I reached the end of the issue, my jaw must have hit the floor, and I was probably thinking something along the lines of “Peter David is an evil bastard!” :)

The more online reading I do, the more convinced I am that I must be the only person on earth who enjoys Al Milgrom’s pencils. Not just tolerates them, but actively enjoys them. I’ve seen nothing but hate for him online, but I’d much rather look at his art than, say, Jim Lee or Mike McKone’s. He does great layouts and page design and makes very solid storytelling choices, even if his art isn’t very flashy. The way he drew fight choreography in his Spider-man work was very reminescent of Ditko to me. People just throw around the word Ditkoesque in reference to any good Spider-Man artist, regardless of whether or not there are actual similarities, but Milgrom actually was very Ditkoesque in many ways. His panel to panel fight choreography was pretty well thought out and he could also pull off some surreal imagery, like this right here:

http://spiderman.erictoribio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Spectacular-1-099-_Spider-on-the-Spot_.jpg

3/10

1. New Mutants Graphic Novel
2. X-Factor #39-50
9. New Mutants #38-41 “Quest for Magik”

Brian–Do you have any other Top 50′s planned?? Bat-Family? Captain America? Villain Stories?

That crazy, wonderful X-Force revamp puts me at, lemme count, 6/10.

I imagine two more of mine will show up, while the others are New Mutants stories which, if they haven’t shown up by now, will probably not make the top 10…

3.5/10 for me now (although I missed the actual vote)

Kitty Pryde & Wolverine and Time and a Half/Overtime were both in my top 3.

There’s definitely Al Milgrom art that I strongly dislike, but in my opinion he does a fantastic job on this series. Plus it’s classic Claremont boiled down to a pretty much self contained narrative, with lots of action and character development, and as I recall it reads pretty smoothly and quickly compared to the sometimes tedious stuff he was doing in Uncanny at the same time.

I’m really glad to see these X-Factor issues were counted as one arc, and that they placed so high. I remember as they were coming out I got the sense that people thought the series had declined in quality, but reading PAD’s run all together, these issues are clearly the highlight of the whole thing, plus the climax of the first 50 issues. It’s really amazing… great use of Dr. Doom too!

I didn’t have X-Force on my list but these issues blew my mind when they came out. (I was a 15 year old fan of 90′s X-Force… I think I’d missed the last ‘regular’ X-Force issue and may not have had internet access so it was a bit of a “why is this happening!” moment, but I was totally into it by the end of the first issue.)

I had X-Factor on my list. Actually, my list was mostly X-Factor; #39 was my top choice, though. That was just such a shocking moment. Genuinely shocking. That term gets thrown around a lot when it comes to comics, but holy shit, that issue was really and truly shocking. The following 10 issues were really good, too. The return of Layla, the return of Shatterstar (and his bisexuality), Ruby Summers, the senile-acting Doom. A lot of really cool stuff.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

August 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Still 1/10. Heck, I think I may top out at about 3/10. Terrible percentage. TERRIBLE!

It appears my not reading New Mutants, X-Factor and the Milligan/Allred X-Force/Statix killed me. Oh well.

I’ve always wanted to go back and read the Kitty Pryde/Wolverine mini, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Guess that’s getting thrown onto my next convention “must-get” list.

Without giving specifics, did ANYONE besides me vote for Mike Carey’s X-Men Legacy?

I hadn’t realized that Carey’s X-Men Legacy run was something that would count until after I had submitted my vote. There are a few of my votes I probably would have swapped for Carey stories, but I thought it would be too late since I almost missed this poll as it is.

Mike Carey’s entire X-Men Legacy run > Dazzler the Movie, which I voted for, though probably out of nostalgia more then it actually being a good story.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

August 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Meghan, I’m glad that you would have voted for it. I can certainly understanding missing it, though. It’s inclusion was listed in the fine print, if memory serves.

It’s still possible a Carey story will make it, but I’ve got a feeling he’s gonna get shut out. Oh well.

The X-Factor stuff was third on my list. #39 was just…I was trying really hard to pick out one section of #39-50 to vote for and failing miserably, so I was very relieved by the ruling that they’d count as one entry. It’s all utterly fantastic (like all of David’s revamped X-Factor) and deserves the recognition. X-Factor, before the renumbering, always felt more like a book about people who just happen to have superpowers that are trying to live their lives and find some semblance of a normal life as opposed to a superhero book, and I chalk that up to David’s strong character work. None of those characters were even close to being favorites while growing up, but he turned every single one of them into some of my most beloved.

Kitty Pryde and Wolverine seemed to always get a bad rap, which I never really understood. I first read it a couple years ago and thought it was a lot of fun. It made Kitty more interesting. I was rather indifferent to her before reading this.

T. – I’m a fan of Milgrom’s pencils as well. Although I seem to be the opposite of Will M in that I usually like him, but didn’t on Kitty and Wolverine. Wasn’t a huge fan of that series overall. The fact that I didn’t really like the story might have impacted my impression of the art. But I loved Milgrom on WCA, and even Secret Wars 2.

New beginning was my #2 pick. I’m actually surprised it’s not higher than this. I didn’t get into X-Force/X-Statix until right after the name change, but I was still pretty blown away by how different this series was when I finally picked it up. The characters are so ambivalent about the deaths of their teammates that it was almost disturbing to me the total lack of empathy these characters seemed to have. But it was done so well that instead of turning me off to the characters it made me want to read more about them. Really cool series.

X-Factor #39 is goddamn excellent.

I thought the whole time travel story went on a bit too long, though. Solid, but doesn’t stand out as what will probably be the highest-listed representative from that run.

Dylan alert! I got mixed-uuup confusion….Man it’s a-killin’ me!

That’s a cool Milgrom cover, T. Definitely Ditko-esque in the face of the Spot and the Spidey figure. I suppose I should take a look at more Milgrom stuff.

X-Force was so awesome, man. Definitely one of the finest series ever. If you haven’t read it, you should. And if you’ve only read it in trade, you should seek out the issues for the letters pages, because they are hilarious too. Some people are SO PISSED that their Cable/Cannonball/etc team got dumped for the “shitty Milligan/Allred” stuff, it’s amazingly funny. My favorite is a person saying how they had to grow up fast and hard, like Cable, and he was a role model or something. So goofy!

This has been a really good countdown. Fun times!

Hey, T. I do like Al Milgrom… sometimes. The thing about Milgrom is that he was on staff at Marvel for a long time. And, as I understand it, because he was so fast, on numerous occasions he was asked by various editors to pencil and/or ink something that was way behind schedule, and to do it literally over the weekend. So he would have two or three days to knock out a 22 page story. Which is why a lot of the time Milgrom’s work didn’t look all that great. But on those occasions when he was actually given the necessary time to work on something, rather than doing a rush job, I think he did some nice stuff. He drew so many covers in the 1970s and early 80s that are just classic.

nice to see the kitty and wolverine book on this list for it shows that wolverine is like a father figure for kitty and that she is some one who even screwed with will use it to grow from. x-factor nice for it showed peter was willing to let the characters take time to clear their heads plus found that even a character like shatterstar can be used right.

I’m glad X-Factor a Time and Half and Overtime made it. I only voted for one of them but I’m glad to see them together.

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