X-Men Top 5 Stories
For decades the X-Men have been a persecuted minority in their universe. But in our universe they are the stars of one of the most beloved comic franchises ever published. They have even moved beyond the pages of Marvel Comics and the Merry Mutants have become stars of film and television as well. In honor of the X-Men’s popularity here are the top 5 X-Men stories
Dark Phoenix Saga: A couple of years before this event, found X-Men member, Jean Grey gained a new costume and had her powers ramped up as she began to go by the alias Phoenix. In the back of their minds readers knew this was leading to something. Sure enough n 1980 things exploded in one of the greatest X-Men stories ever published, courtesy of Chris Claremont and John Byrne. After a battle with the Hellfire Club, Phoenix takes to the stars now calling herself the “Dark Phoenix”. While demonstrating the full extent of her power she causes vast destruction making her an enemy of the intergalactic Shi’ar Empire and their leader Lilandra. Citing the Dark Phoenix as an unimaginable threat, they vow to put her to death; but as you can imagine the X-Men are not going to let one of their own go without a fight. Taking part in the ritual of Arin’n Haelar, Marvel’s Band of Mutants battle Shi’ar Imperial Guard for the fate of Jean Grey. This leads to one of the most heartbreaking endings in comic history.
Days of Future Past: Another classic X-tale from the duo of Claremont and Byrne. In the darkness of 2013, mutants are officially the victims of genocide at the hands of the mutants, who are rounding them up and sending them to internment camps. The surviving mutants find a glimmer of hope in a plan to transfer Kitty Pryde’s adult mind to the past in order to stop the chain of events which led to this situation. It is deduced that what lead to this timeline is the assignation of famed mutant-hater Senator Robert Kelly at the hands of Mystique. Kitty Pryde has to rally the X-Men to join her and stop Mystique and a newly reformed Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from destroying their future.
Age of Apocalypse: One of the biggest events from the franchise’s boom period in the 90’s. Hoping to travel back and time to stop Magneto from becoming a threat, Legion accidentally kills Professor Xavier causing Apocalypse to conquer the earth. Leading the resistance against Apocalypse and his culling of humans, is Magneto who has taken his old friend’s place as the leader in bringing peace between humans and mutants. During the run of this story, all of the X-Men books in publication took place in this alternate timeline creating an immersive experience for the readers. “Age of Apocalypse” had the benefit of being written and illustrated by a host of talented creators like: Mark Waid, Warren Ellis, Ian Churchill, Andy Kubert, Larry Hama, Steve Epting, and so many more there is not space to list them all. The saga proved so memorable that Marvel collected the entire story in a 10th anniversary trade in 2005; and has made periodic revisits to this timeline. This happened most recently in the 2015 crossover Secret Wars.
God Loves, Man Kills: A wise man once said, “there’s nothing scarier than a monster who thinks he’s right with God,” (that man was Captain Mal Reynolds), which is why Reverend William Stryker was such a terrifying threat. Dealing head-on with the idea that mutants are the persecuted minority of the Marvel Universe, God Loves, Man Kills introduces a charismatic bigot who takes up arms against them. Brent Eric Anderson provides very non-traditional X-Men art which adds so much to this story with its darker look. This Chris Claremont graphic novel shows what happens when hatred for phoney religious reasons is allowed to run amok.
E is for Extinction: In the 2000’s Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely completely reinterpreted the X-Men for a new generation. Drawing influence from the hit movie, they reestablished that Xavier ran a school for mutants and the team got new black leather duds. They started their historic run off with a bang, introducing Cassandra Nova, a mysterious villain who took control of the Sentinels and wiped out the mutant nation of Genosha. Morrison and Quitely introduced new elements to the decades old franchise to make things feel fresh and new again like the introduction of long-time foe Emma Frost to the team as well as the idea of secondary mutations.