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50 Greatest X-Family Stories: 6-4

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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 three each day from here on out.

Enjoy!

6. “Home is Where the Heart Is” New Mutants Special Edition #1/X-Men Annual #9

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After first manipulating X-Men and Alpha Flight in an earlier mini-series, Loki came up with a new plan to mess with the X-Men (and his brother Thor, of course). His plan was to manipulate Storm into becoming a new Goddess of Thunder. So he kidnapped Storm and the New Mutants. However, since he didn’t want anything to do with the New Mutants, he gave them to the Enchantress. Magik tried to teleport her and friends to safety but her powers clashed with the Enchantress’ and instead the New Mutants were strewn about Asgard. The various New Mutants encountered differing challenges, with the most notable being Dani Moonstar becoming a Valkyrie. Meanwhile, eventually the X-Men learned where their friends were so they came to Asgard just in time to see Storm crowned the new Goddess of Thunder. Can the X-Men convince their friend to return to sanity? Can the X-Men even convince all of their New Mutant friends to return to Earth? Will all of them even LIVE through it all? Chris Claremont and Art Adams (doing some of the most famous work of his career) were the creative team on this story which dramatically reshaped the New Mutants for basically the rest of their comic book “lives” (some, like Moonstar becoming a Valkyrie, in bigger ways than others, but note that Wolfsbane’s romance from this storyline was a major plot point in both the pages of X-Force AND X-Factor within the last few years).

5. “Weapon X” Marvel Comics Presents #72-84

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To put into perspective just how much of an impact Barry Windsor-Smith’s “almost” origin for Wolverine had upon the comics world, note the following…the term “Weapon X” was not a major term before Windsor-Smith dubbed his tale by that name in 1991.

Within months of Windsor-Smith’s story (which was serialized in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents, where many Shanna the She-Devil fans were wondering why so many people were suddenly interested in the Shanna the She-Devil serial running in the book) both the term and the image were practically burned into the minds of comic fans, and have been so ever since (heck, there was even a recent ongoing series by Jason Aaron TITLED Wolverine: Weapon X).

The fact that the visuals from this story have become so well known should not all that much of a surprise, as Barry Windsor-Smith is one of the most striking comic book artists ever, but the real revelation of the series besides his great artwork (which was somewhat of a given) was the strong story by Windsor-Smith, as he depicts the casual cruelty of the scientists who experiment on Logan in the attempt to turn him into “Weapon X.”

The story is a slow burn, as you get a chilling glimpse into the souls of the people working on Logan, and at the same time, you see how the noble person being tortured by science manages to survive the experience, and you occasionally get a look at the beginnings of what would eventually become the most famous member of the X-Men.

4. “The Dark Angel Saga” Uncanny X-Force #8, 10-18

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Uncanny X-Force began with the team trying to stop Apocalypse from rising again. Instead, they just ended up seeing him rise again in the form of their own teammate, Archangel. With Warren Worthington slowly turning evil, X-Force must travel to an alternate dimension, revisiting the Age of Apocalypse, to bring back something that could possibly stop the increasingly evil Archangel as he slowly gathers together a fearsome group of soldiers to serve him in the celebration of the survival of the fittest (through lots and lots of killing). The problem, of course, is that the Age of Apocalypse needs the same remedy that the heroes of our Earth need, as the Age of Apocalypse is being taken over by its OWN Apocalypse-controlled X-Force member, Wolverine! This storyline is ALL about the hard choices. Which reality is more important? And eventually, the most brutal of decisions – if they cannot save their friend from Apocalypse’s control, do they have to KILL him? Archangel’s girlfriend, Psylocke, might be the one who has to make that final decision in this heartbreakingly epic tale that was written by Rick Remender and drawn by a bunch of different artists, most notably Jerome Opena, Mark Brooks and Billy Tan.

NOTE: The top four were REALLY close and way ahead of the rest of the pack. For instance, #4 is far closer to #1 than it is to #5.

39 Comments

Cannot stand the Dark Angel tale.

For a start it’s commuting back and forth to the Age of Apocalypse which should have been left well alone.

It wipes Angle completely clean with no memory of what’s happened….. maybe not a cop out by itself but it’s also what they’ve done to Apocalypse a few issues earlier by shooting and then cloning him.

Sorry in my book it’s nowehere near the two entries behind it which are all time faves.

Your mileage may vary.

Dark Angel has one of the saddest endings in comicdom, and the revatiins as to how badly wrong the AoA has gone since the last check in is equally crushing. It was number one on my list. I also voted for weapon x. I’m really curious what the top of the list is as I’d have pegged those two as locks for the top spots.

Err… Revelations. I need my coffee.

I found the Dark Angel Saga to be the most compelling title published. Kind of surprised to see it so highly placed, hut then again, in retrospect, it really was one of the top X-related books I had the pleasure to read as it was being released serially. Absolutely edge-of-your-seat story-telling.

Truth be told I always liked Archangel more than Angel. And Archangel becoming X-Men’s villain wouldn’t be a bad thing. There are more stories to tell with ARchangel than Angel, but whateva. But unfortunately, editors at marvel think otherwise. Dark Angel saga was a good read, but I’m surprised it is so high. I wonder if this story will be relevant 10 years from now.

And yes, I am even more convinced that Wolverine should had his own list, so this list would be more interesting.

Agree with Weapon X. That is where they should have stopped as far as Wolverine’s history despite my love of Larry Hama’s Team X stuff in the 1990s.

Gone from 3/10 to 6/10 in the last two postings.

“Dark Angel Saga” is the best X-story so far this century. The final issue is a masterpiece.

chakal – there have only been 7-and-a-half Wolverine stories so far (not counting XForce)
So removing Wolverine solo stories would have only changed 8 out of 50

Home is where the Heart is was one of my runners up (top 20 but not top 10)
– the big surprises with this list are how well Claremont’s run on New Mutants did and how badly the ongoing series of solo characters other than Wolverine did (Beast, Gambit, Cable, Mystique, Nightcrawler, XMan, Emma Frost, Dazzler, X23, Daken)

still at 2/10

I’m at 6.5 with the addition of Dark Angel, Weapon X and X-Factor Fall of the Mutants. Only one more of my choices is likely to appear, but it could be number 1. I can think of two that are definitely coming up but not all 3, which is cool. I’m sure they’re obvious but don’t tell me! :)

Oh, nevermind, think I realized what the third is, unless I missed it appearing earlier. A done in one that I didn’t think of because I still haven’t read it.. gotta fix that!

I had both Dark Angel Saga and Apocalypse Solution on my list, tho I’m kinda surprised they’re both ranking THIS high. Probably because they’re still so recent.

Weapon X is good but I’ve never felt a need to read it again, it didn’t impress me that much back in the day.

Home is Where The Heart Is, I’ve got it in a pile somewhere but still haven’t read.

I’m now 7/10, one of my remaining picks will probably make it in the top 3. I just can’t seem to think what other two stories will actually make it.

Thanks for including the note about how close the votes were, sad to see The Dark Angel Saga only make it to #4. In my opinion it’s one of the best X-Men stories ever told and definitely better than what I suspect the Top 3 to be.

Never read the New Mutants / X-Men crossover set in Asgard. But between the write-up here and the recent article on it in Back Issue Magazine #67, I’m thinking about tracking it down.

I did consider voting for “Weapon X” but in the end I felt it was a little too drawn out, and the ending was too confusing, i.e. what was a memory implant, and what actually happened? I read it as it was coming out in Marvel Comics Presents, though, on a bi-weekly basis. Maybe if I re-read it on one sitting, rather than over a 26 week period, it would flow better.

And for what it’s worth, that Shanna the She-Devil serial in MCP featured some gorgeous, sexy artwork by Paul Gulacy.

I’ve never read Weapon X, despite reading all the various X titles at the time it came out. At this point I think it’s been referenced and recapped in so many other stories that I pretty much know the whole story, anyways.

NM SE #1 made my list. I had it at #6, but it would have been higher had the whole Asgardian Saga not also been on my X-Men list. I especially love it for Art Adams artwork, but the story is really good too. Good stuff.

I’ve read up through the Dark Angel Saga. As with the Apocalypse Solution I liked it all, but wasn’t blown away by any of it.

I’ve got to admit I only can think of one title that is a lock for the top 4 spots. But I’ve also been out of the X books since just before Onslaught, and am not really sure anymore what’s considered the best stuff by others. This whole list has been pretty cool for the unpredictability of it, and I like that I have no idea still what will be in the top 4.

Top 3 spots. Not top 4, as we’ve obviously already been shown the 4th spot.

Man, “Weapon X” reads very differently now that Wolverine’s been retconned in Origins as a sociopathic bastard who only got his soul back thanks to the memory wipes.

I’m almost 99.9% of the #1 pick. And that Brian will fake us out as in previous lists by telling us that Obnoxio the Clown Vs. the X-Men was the #1 choice before he reveals the real #1 pick: the final arc of Howard Mackie’s Mutant X series!

Omar, I’d like a memory wipe so that I could forget that Origins was ever published!

Aw, Ben you gotta get that NM Special/X-Men annual 9

X-Men Asgardian Wars is the trade you want.

Absolutely love The Dark Angel Saga. As soon as I saw the voting for the 50 Greatest X-Men stories list I immediately thought of “The Dark Angel Saga,” and then was crushed when Uncanny X-Force was ineligible. So when this list popped up, there was absolutely no question what was going at the top of my list. It is by far, hands down, among my top 5 (more likely top 3, if I seriously thought about it) X-stories I have ever read. UXF helped get me back into comics, but TDAS ensured I wouldn’t be going anywhere. It’s the highest point of a book that’s already deservedly achieved classic title status. I read the story in trade right as UXF as a whole was wrapping up, and I don’t think I could have stood waiting month to month for the next issue of this arc. It’s edge of your seat storytelling at its most enjoyable and is like the Civilization “one more turn” mentality in comic book form (“just one more issue!”). UXF is one of the most consistently enjoyable titles I’ve ever read from start to finish, but god damn is this particular story awesome. But as fun as Remender’s writing is to read, special attention needs to be paid to the people that delivered the visuals. UXF has some absolutely amazing art. Billy Tan and Mark Brooks delivered some tasty visuals to open TDAS, and Opena nailed the finished. Opena was probably the overall standout on the title, but everyone that handled art duties (except for Robert Rodriguez and Greg Tocchini) delivered some wonderful eye candy each month from Ribic’s covers, Dean White’s colors, to Noto’s work with Final Execution, and so on.

Weapon X was fifth on my list. It will always be “the” Wolverine origin story in my mind, with Hama’s Weapon X/Team X stuff the fleshing out of this story. By far my favorite BWS X-story. There’s a constant state of confusion and skepticism while reading, but that’s sort of the point. You get a sense of what happened, but the whole thing just feels like a weird dream. It’s another case of the art being as (if not more) important than the words as BWS’s visuals sell the haze-like dream-state of the story more than the writing does. Not that the writing is bad; it isn’t at all. It’s one of my favorites to reread because I always pick up something new and get new insight each time I finish it, but that sense of mystery still remains. In that sense, you walk away with a good understanding of what it must feel like for Logan when he tries to navigate his past and the frustration that results from his inability to do so reliably.

Haven’t read Home is Where the Heart Is, but it sounds (and looks) great.

Weapon X is great. BWS drew the sheez out of it, and it really stuck as a credible part of Wolverine’s origin in a way that few stories have.

Haven’t read any Uncanny X-Force, but based on how well it did in this poll and the most recent top runs poll, I guess I ought to check it out.

I think I know what the top 3 are (all of which I voted for), but alas my top spot won’t even make the list.

Wow, I’m a huuuuge Uncanny X-Force (vol. 1) fan, but to see The Dark Angel Saga outranking Weapon X and the Asgardian stuff feels kinda blasphemous.

I loved The Dark Angel Saga but there were a couple subpar issues in there. Meanwhile, Weapon X was a total complete masterpiece: avant garde storytelling, something between Modernist literature and “fever dream” film stylistics. It’s a story that transcends genre. You don’t even need to know anything about “mutants” or the X-Men going in, and it still says something about humanity and science. And while Remender’s Uncanny X-Force DID reach for philosophic stylistics regarding evolution and murder . . . imo it is still so very, very, very mired in continuity.

Maybe The Dark Angel Saga ranked so high in large part because of the Age of Apocalypse connection? I always though AoA was overrated, and imo the AoA connection in Uncanny X-Force was only barely worthwhile.

Not trying to be negative. Again, I REALLY like The Dark Angel Saga, just wouldn’t rate it this high. I actually liked the Esad Ribic illustrated arc of Uncanny X-Force more than “Apocalypse Solution” or “Dark Angel Saga”, but something tells me that’s NOT going to make the top 3 . . .

I’m lost as to what the top 3 will be, though . . . Aside from the Sienkiewicz-illustrated New Mutants issues.

It just occurred to me that none of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine stuff is going to make this list. I’ve been waiting for the EXCELLENT “Insane in the Brain” arc with Dr. Rot to make an appearance, but there’s no way and heck it would outrank “Weapon X”.

PS. THANK YOU for omitting issue 9 of Uncanny X-Force from the Dark Angel Saga. That was the only issue of the entire series that I thought was awful. Decompressed storytelling, cliche Nazis-in-South-America stuff, and a crying Magneto. So many things to roll my eyes at. But issue #8 was great!

My guesses for the top 3
3) x-factor fall of the mutants
2) x-factor 87
1) the first wolverine mini series

The Crazed Spruce

August 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I’m pretty sure about two of the three stories left, and I would’ve voted for both of ‘em, but I’m stuck trying to think of the last one. No doubt, I’ll be smacking my forehead in a few days wondering how I could’ve forgotten it, but hey….

I definitely think that Archangel should have been left as the “new” Apocalypse. He would have made a fantastic ongoing x-villain.

Hopefully the twins will succeed in bringing the dark angel of evolution back to prominence.

The Crazed Spruce

August 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

…And then somebody goes ahead and posts the one I’m forgetting while I’m composing my comment. Thanks, Steve! (BTW, X-Factor Fall of the Mutants was #9.)

Weapon X was on my list. It was my first exposure to the art of BWS and he’s been a favorite ever since. At the time, this was THE big event story. The ending was a bit ambiguous, but the artfully executed violence and surprising humor made for a compelling read.

That Shanna serial was great! Paul Gulacy’s art was amazing, very atmospheric. It should have been released as a prestige format one shot.

Just been perusing that Shanna story myself (Gerard Jones writing and I’m a Gulacy fan) .. and a Furman/Hitch Death’s Head story in one issue as a bonus

the dark angel saga found it a litttle too dark for my tastes though always figured sooner or later maybe warren would prove he is not totaly free from apocalyspes control. not to mention the story line also for a bit revived nightcrawler. weapon x figured it would be in the top

How is Weapon X not #2?

While the back-up strips in MCP were always inconsistent, the issues that contained Weapon X had a pretty good batting average. There were the aforementioned Shanna and Death’s Head stories, as well as a John Byrne-drawn Sunspot story, a Steve Ditko Captain America 2-parter, a fun Dracula/ Sgt. Fury team-up, a Red Wolf story I liked, and an amazing looking Brian Stelfreeze Hulk/ Selene tale. Some of the back covers sported early Sam Kieth art and a couple were by Mike Mignola.

Re Dark Angel Saga: Given that it’s a recent well-received story, I thought it had a legitimate chance for number 1. I liked it, flawed as it was. Jerome Opena’s art is gorgeous, but his storytelling still needs work. Remender writes a good Fantomex, and did the improbable by making me care about Psylocke and Archangel. I can see this story having legs and being well-regarded for awhile.

Hey, Mike Loughlin, you forgot to mention that the two-part Captain America story by Steve Ditko was inked by Terry Austin. It was a really nice collaboration between those two. There was also a Human Torch story by Ditko where he was inked by Erik Larsen. And another one I liked was a three-part team-up between Sgt. Fury and Dracula. Yeah, I know, weird idea, but it worked. I actually used to have a couple of the pages of original artwork by Tom Lyle from that, but I sold them years ago.

Anyway, despite its very uneven quality, I have a lot of fond memories of reading Marvel Comics Presents during my teenage years. The series introduced me to both a number of lesser-known but cool characters and the work of a diverse selection of creators.

I have to say, I thought the AoA stuff in UXF was just awful. How the hell does Remender out-dark the Age of Apocalypse? This was a ruined hellscape, and he STILL managed to ruin it. I’ve simply decided that they didn’t visit the real Age of Apocalypse, that they visited an alternate version of it. Because I happened to like the original story, and what Remender did to it was just stupid. And he ruined it for an arc that was really, really bad. UXF, from #1 to #18, is awesome, aside from those few issues in the AoA, which were just awful.

And then I haven’t enjoyed a single thing Remender’s written since UXF #18.

I own the New Mutants Special 1 and X-Men Annual 9, glad it made the list. The What If follow up is pretty darn good too.

Like Jazzbo, I am not sure if I actually read the Weapon X story or not, I must have but I feel like my memories of it are from the numerous recaps and retellings of it.

I really should read Dark Angel Saga, it wasn’t until recently that someone on the X-Books forum made a tread about what the next Dark ______ Saga that it dawn on me that Dark Phoenix Saga and Dark Angel Saga are the same title but with a character’s name. I can be pretty dense sometimes.

I have no clue what one of the top 3 is, but two of them are NM:DBS and W (don’t want to ruin the surprise). Can’t believe we’ll get to know the top three before the three day weekend is over! Thought it was going to extend into the middle of next week – for whatever reason.

Ben Herman,

Oh yeah, I forgot about Austin inking Ditko, the Larsen collaboration, and the other Torch story. I stayed with MCP through the David/ Kieth story, but the quality of the back-up strips took a nose dive. Between the interminable Firestar story and Young Gods, I had to bail. The only story that stood out to me was the Mojo story drawn by Joe Madueira in his Art Adams-clone days.

I would have loved to own a page or two from the Fury/Dracula story! Tom Lyle’s art wasn’t flashy, but he did a good job on there. His Dracula was suitably menacing.

Weapon X is the only real origin Wolverine ever needed. Aside from the occasional story about an older Logan doing his thing in World War 2, maybe a blinking glimpse that he had a family once. We really don’t need to know that he absolutely had parents, that’s a given. We don’t to know he’s absolutely Canadian, we always just assumed. Weapon X is awesome. It just shows you one the things that made him what he was in body and soul.

I’m surprised Weapon X wasn’t higher….and shocked that there was that big a space between 5 and 4. Remender’s stuff is good enough, but all the stuff people complain about Claremont you seem to get with Remender. Overly wordy, stretched out stories with muddled storytelling that keep it from being great and only good.

And I’m surprised to see stories that take place at least halfway in X-Men annuals count.

Well I can’t stress enough that New Mutant Special 1 (why was it not an annual?) is the best comic book I ever read. The way they intergrated the New Mutants into the various aspects of Asgard life was incredible. Cypher really shined in this story. The easter eggs were realy cool, although probably dated now. It’s a flawless comic book.

And i don’t think you really need to read the X-Men annual that follows. The Special can be read as a stand alone IMO.

Surprised that BKV and rissos wolverine in japan miniseries did not make it.

Weapon x is my #1, i read it every year

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