Greatest X-Men Stories

Recently, I've been getting back in touch with the superhero team that really informed my childhood: The X-Men. Like most young nerds in the 90's, I anxiously awaited every episode of their Saturday morning cartoon show, I collected the trading cards, I had action figures of obscure characters I had never even seen in the comics (at that point), and I dreamed of growing up to be a badass like Wolverine. I did not grow up to be Logan (thankfully) and the X-Men have definitely seen better days, but I still have a place in my heart for those lovable muties... Here are the stories where I think they are at their best.

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2 Comments
Posted by time

I like your list, but I do disagree with a lot things.

Your right about :

X-Cutioner's Song

Fatal Attractions

Age of Apocalypse

Days of the future past

Dark Phoenix Saga

They are the greatest story arcs.

X-Tinction Agenda

Fall of the Mutants

Mutant Massacre

Were very good stories, but not the best.

I completed disagree with New X-Men and Astonishing x-men. Both titles are very over-rated. Joss Whedon wrote 4 stories in 12 issues. Only 2 of the stories were actually good. What was the point of reunited Kitty and Colossus, then separating them.

I would never consider New X-Men series as one of the best X-Men series, or having the best story arcs. Grant Morrison was naive and arrogant writer. He destroy Cyclops and Jean Grey Marriage without having any understanding of it or any respect for it. Then he kill of Jean grey, without showing her any respect. He made Jean grey make Cyclops move on. Then Cyclops was kissing Emma Frost right next to Jean Grey grave, disgusting much.

Wolverine and the X-Men is a terrible series and has some rubbish story arcs.

Posted by Jekylhyde14

@time:

First off, thank you for your comment and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you before now. I’m glad we agree on a few things. Honestly, I titled this list “Greatest X-Men Stories” because these are, in my mind, the greatest. It’s a personal list, though, and I certainly didn’t expect everyone to agree with me 100%. These are just the stories that held the most relevance to me and struck a chord.

I’m not going to address each point where we differ, but I do want to talk a little more about Grant Morrison’s New X-Men and its portrayal of Cyclops and Phoenix. You’re not the first person I’ve heard express those particular views over what Grant did to Scott and Jean’s marriage and how the relationship ended. Believe me, I know that when you like a relationship in fiction and it doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping that it’s really frustrating (I get pretty defensive of my favorite super-couples too). I’m betting I probably won’t change your mind about this either, but I’ve never had the sense that Grant did any injustice to Scott and Jean’s relationship and I’m going to explain why.

First, let’s talk about the relationship in general: Scott and Jean were made for each other… literally. From the outset they were set up to be the couple you were hoping for and you knew this was destiny because they were both so pure. Cyclops has always been the classic superhero of the team (until recently). He was idealistic and morally sound. Jean’s personality echoed this with her added sense of motherly sacrifice. They were the perfect couple because they were the good guys and you knew it. The other major aspect of their relationship was that it was a cycle of loss. Cyclops watched Jean sacrifice herself numerous times for the greater good and each time had to come to terms with being without the person he loved. Whenever she came back, though, he would drop everything to be with her (including a wife, Madelyne Pryor). By the time Grant took the book, they had done just about everything that a couple can do together: They got married, raised a child (Cable in The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix), and even had a daughter of their own albeit from an alternate reality. What held them together, though, was the purity of their love and their spirits. Eventually, they had nothing to hide from one another.

Then Cyclops was possessed by Apocalypse. For the first time, he tasted pure evil and was used to commit travesties. Even after his body was exorcised, he was still left with a taste of that evil and a part of him sort of enjoyed it. Now there was something to hide and this time it was Scott who had to do the hiding from the psychic wife whom he’s always been the bedrock for. This is where we come in with Grant’s story. When Grant is showing you their marriage dissolve, he’s taking you through Scott’s journey of alienating himself from the wife he loves too much to disappoint and finding solace in the company of someone who understands what it’s like to be truly tempted by the dark side: Emma Frost. The funny thing is, Jean had a similar relationship with Wolverine who was darker and more complex than Cyclops and no one really complains. Scott just found a similar relationship with Emma. Keep in mind that Jean was also hiding from Scott the fact that her Phoenix powers are changing and evolving. What we saw was two people who loved each other changing and hiding it from one another. This happens in even the strongest of marriages and the strongest of loves. Also, let’s face it, as pure and good tempered as they were, Scott and Jean were never perfect (i.e. Madelyne Pryor, Wolverine, the time it took Jean to accept Rachel, etc., etc.). When I read New X-Men, I never got the sense that Morrison was arrogantly ruining a solid marriage. He was exploring what happens when two superheroes in love start to grow apart.

Finally, I’ll touch on the scene that leads up to the Scott and Emma kiss you are so disgusted by. Before this kiss happens, we’re in a Post-Apocalyptic future that Jean as the Phoenix has been sent to surgically remove from the universe. She succeeds and cuts the dark future Sublime built out of the timeline, but this leaves the universe wounded and in need of a replacement future. Now, keep in mind that in the dark future with Sublime, the kiss between Cyclops and Emma never happens. We are told by the M’Kraan Crystal that “Scott succumbs to loneliness and doubt and all is lost unless…” So in the Sublime future, Scott carries the weight of Jean’s loss and choses to go off alone leaving the X-Men and his potential relationship with Emma behind. Returning to Phoenix’s dilemma, she’s at first confused about how to save the universe and help it gain a new future. That’s when the Phoenix Quentin Quire quotes to her: “’If you want to grow a new future to replace the one you just cut away… you have to water it with your heart’s blood.” That’s exactly what Jean does. She says to herself, “Ha. Live Scott,” and creates a (hopefully) brighter future for her friends. This future starts with Scott letting Jean and their recursive loop of tragedy go and kissing Emma. This was Jean’s life blood. To create a new timeline she made one final sacrifice by giving the push that allowed her true love to move on and live his life. The kiss only happens because Jean wills it, so I can’t see how it tarnishes her memory. Honestly, this is the most beautiful and triumphant scene I’ve ever read in an X-Men comic. Jean lets go, Scott lets go, and the universe is allowed to move on. It just goes to prove that sometimes the ultimate act of love is letting go.

Anyway, sorry for hitting you with this reply that was MUCH longer than I intended but you really got me thinking which I appreciate. Again, I’m sure I haven’t changed your mind about anything, but I wanted to share the way I read it for the record. I’m fully open to there being flaws in my list and I’ve been trying to catch up with X-Men stories I missed after losing faith in the books shortly following House of M. If you have any recommendations for me or the list, I would love to hear them. I’m always open to new things.