Sunday, December 19, 2004

Your "Best of the X-Men"

Wizard actually came up with a really cool idea recently, where they had a "Best of" collection for the X-Men.

The concept was simple - pick the ten best issues of the X-Men.

So I thought it would be interesting to see what we all would come up with, given the same task.

How would the split between Claremont and Morrison go? Would any other writer sneak on to a list?

Here are my picks:

X-Men #132-133 - The first meeting between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club. Decent (if not ripped-off) concept for bad guys highlighted by one of the most classic moments in X-Men history, Wolverine's appearance at the end of #132.

X-Men #141/Uncanny X-Men #142 - Days of Future Past. A story so good it has been imitated dozens of times. And I believe this was even an original idea! And it was all done in two issues - seems hard to believe.

Uncanny X-Men #143 - Byrne's last issue, and it is a great one. Kitty Pryde all alone against a demon. Very fun issue with one of THE best characters to come out of the Byrne/Claremont pairing.

Uncanny X-Men #172-173 - Wolverine's wedding. AMAZING Paul Smith art, and a heartfelt teaming of two former enemies - now teammates - make this the best post-Byrne period in X-Men history, in my opinion.

New X-Men #114-116 - I really enjoyed Morrison's run, but I do not believe he ever managed to top his very first story arc. He and Quitely just knocked this one out of the park.

What are YOUR picks?


21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be obvious, but my X-Men experience is divided between loving morrison's run and hating the 90's.

So here I go:

#10 is X-Men #1, for sentimental reasons. It was the first comic I ever bought, I was 9 years old and it made me love comics. While my tastes have changed over the years, my love for the medium stays the same, and I wouldn't be into comics if it wasnt for this one.

The next 4 spots go to "Riot at Xavier's" NXM #135-138. Some punk kid challenged Xavier's dream and he ended up having a point. Xavier gets a wake-up call that he might not have all the answers, and ends up quitting as a result. And I love Quentin Quire. Probably the most memorable character of Morrison's run.

NXM #121, the silent issue works in its simplicity. It's a tour of Xavier's head, and things aren't as neat and orderly in there as he projects on the outside. I'd love this issue simply for Quitely's art if it wasn't so engrossing. Wolverine reads a book, Cyclops listens to an iPod, Emma drinks something hard and they all look real to me. Quitely has a way of making me believe that these characters actually live in this world that we see through his backgrounds and simple body language. God, this was great.

A special place in my heart goes to New X-Men #148, with Jean and Logan trapped on asteroid M, hurtling towards the sun. Now, as a reader, you know that they're gonna get out of it alright, you know that there ain't no way they're going out like that. But through the dialogue between Jean and Logan, you believe that they believe it. Part of what makes a comic great to me is if I can believe in the world that's presented to me, no matter how unbelievable the subject matter. I believed in NXM #148.

And the best X-Men comics I've ever read is of course, #114-116. E is for Extinction made me give a shit about comics again. After taking like 5 years off, after quitting the genre in disgust, reading about Morrison doing the X-Men pulled me back in. To me, this is what the X-men should be all about, this is the pinnacle that will probably never be reached again. The X-men are about high adventure, nigh-unbeatable enemies, character-driven subplots, fantastic powers, perfect dialogue, and the best art in the business. I love the black bug room, I love ugly John, I love lion-beast, I love Xavier carrying a gun, I LOVE Emma, I love the Doop keychain, I love Wolverine getting his arm vaporized off and still fighting, and I love the leather.

I will never read the X-men again until they are this good. Don't give me spandex, don't give me bad dialogue, don't give me incoherant storytelling, I want none of it. I want X-men that I believe in, and this top ten I gave are comics that make me believe.

-Jake (antistar)
soon to make a blog of my own

12/20/2004 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

Can't go wrong with Uncanny 141-143. Byrne and Claremont at the top of their game. I'll add 137, too, since Jean's death still effects me, no matter how much it's been invalidated.

Uncanny 165- Entirely for a one page conversation between Wolverine and Nightcrawler that stays with me today. Some Claremont's best dialogue. And I'm not just saying that as a straight line for Joe.

Uncanny 168- "Professor Xavier is a Jerk!" indeed. Wonderful work from Paul Smith, and some rare humor from Claremont.

Uncanny 268- A rollicking Claremont-Jim Lee collaboration, which tells the story of the first meeting of Captain America, Wolverine, and the Black Widow in World War II and a team up of Logan and Natasha in the present (well, in 1990, at least). I must have read this one a hundered times as a kid, and it's still fun today. Love that opening splash page of Cap diving in to battle against the hand.

Uncanny 303- It's a "talking heads" issue, where Jean Grey tries to console Jubilee after the death of Colossus' sister, Illyana. This is the kind of story Scott Lobdell excelled at, and this was his best work during an admittely less than stellar tenure on the X-Books. It really gets the emotional response it aims for.

New X-Men 113-115- 115 was the first comic I picked up in about five years. It was also one of the last I picked up at a grocery store, which is where I got the lion's share of my comics as a kid. It absolutely knocked me on my ass, changing the way I looked at comics in general and the X-Men specifically. It also hooked me on comics again, to the point where I spend most of my cash on them. So, it means a little to me personally. The other issues in the arc were good, too.

I liked some of Joe Kelly and Steven Seagle's run, as well as the stuff Alan Davis did with a handful of scripters and Andy Kubert, but nothing really stands out in single issues there. I loved Morrison's run, but the fact that Claremont's X-Men was my first favorite superhero comic holds a little more weight. That, and it's harder to break his stuff in to single issues the way it was paced. If we were going for favorite runs, it would probably get top billing, despite my nostalgia, because it had a satisfying ending. Right now, I'm enjoying Astonishing a lot. It's one of the few comics I buy monthly, as Whedon and Cassady are really hitting the right notes for a former Claremont fan that wants what they loved about his stories without all of his annoying tics. There are even a couple of Roy Thomas/Neal Adams issues I'd list if I could remember the numbers. All of this proves that I'm a huge X-Men nerd. I take solace in the fact that I never bought an issue of Chuck Austen's Uncanny just to have a full run, and little else.

12/20/2004 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

Can't go wrong with Uncanny 141-143. Byrne and Claremont at the top of their game. I'll add 137, too, since Jean's death still effects me, no matter how much it's been invalidated.

Uncanny 165- Entirely for a one page conversation between Wolverine and Nightcrawler that stays with me today. Some Claremont's best dialogue. And I'm not just saying that as a straight line for Joe.

Uncanny 168- "Professor Xavier is a Jerk!" indeed. Wonderful work from Paul Smith, and some rare humor from Claremont.

Uncanny 268- A rollicking Claremont-Jim Lee collaboration, which tells the story of the first meeting of Captain America, Wolverine, and the Black Widow in World War II and a team up of Logan and Natasha in the present (well, in 1990, at least). I must have read this one a hundered times as a kid, and it's still fun today. Love that opening splash page of Cap diving in to battle against the hand.

Uncanny 303- It's a "talking heads" issue, where Jean Grey tries to console Jubilee after the death of Colossus' sister, Illyana. This is the kind of story Scott Lobdell excelled at, and this was his best work during an admittely less than stellar tenure on the X-Books. It really gets the emotional response it aims for.

New X-Men 113-115- 115 was the first comic I picked up in about five years. It was also one of the last I picked up at a grocery store, which is where I got the lion's share of my comics as a kid. It absolutely knocked me on my ass, changing the way I looked at comics in general and the X-Men specifically. It also hooked me on comics again, to the point where I spend most of my cash on them. So, it means a little to me personally. The other issues in the arc were good, too.

I liked some of Joe Kelly and Steven Seagle's run, as well as the stuff Alan Davis did with a handful of scripters and Andy Kubert, but nothing really stands out in single issues there. I loved Morrison's run, but the fact that Claremont's X-Men was my first favorite superhero comic holds a little more weight. That, and it's harder to break his stuff in to single issues the way it was paced. If we were going for favorite runs, it would probably get top billing, despite my nostalgia, because it had a satisfying ending. Right now, I'm enjoying Astonishing a lot. It's one of the few comics I buy monthly, as Whedon and Cassady are really hitting the right notes for a former Claremont fan that wants what they loved about his stories without all of his annoying tics. There are even a couple of Roy Thomas/Neal Adams issues I'd list if I could remember the numbers. All of this proves that I'm a huge X-Men nerd. I take solace in the fact that I never bought an issue of Chuck Austen's Uncanny just to have a full run, and little else.

12/20/2004 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Brad Curran said (twice)..."Love that opening splash page of Cap diving in to battle against the hand."

One of the best things Lee has ever drawn, in my estimation.

12/20/2004 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

This is *hard*. Like, choosing which of your children lives and which one dies hard. Dammit.

Uncanny 143- It wouldn't surprise me if this were on *everyone's* list. A shameless ripoff of Alien, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the coolest single-issue stories ever. As a bonus, it's caused generations of fanboys to fall in love with Kitty Pryde.

God Loves, Man Kills- The entirety of the X-Men's world, and what it means for ours, distilled into 64 pages. Possibly Claremont's best script ever, complemented by the gorgeous visuals by Brent Anderson.

Uncanny 141-142- Again, a gimme. The crown jewel of Claremont and Byrne's defining run on the title. Nowadays, dark dystopian futures are a dime a dozen, but in 1982, it was daring and unexpected. And even now, it holds up as an excellent story in its own right.

New X-Men 121- M&Q's trippy journey into Xavier's head, all part of Marvel's "'Nuff Said" month. While most of those issues were misfires, this one take advantage of the concept, using the breaking of this one rule as a springboard to screw around with plenty of others. One of the few "experimental" comics I've enjoyed.

Uncanny X-Men 165- Facing death and worse at the hands of the Brood Queen, the members of the team come to grips with their mortality in their own ways. The first book to show me that the hero doesn't have to fight a villain for there to be a good story. Also Paul Smith's first issue.

X-Men: Omega- The end of the Age of Apocalypse. An excellent wrap-up to the landmark megaseries, the story features, heroism, betrayal, sacrifice, tragedy, and one of the best X-fights, *ever*, Magneto vs. Apocalypse.

Uncanny X-Men 153- An odd selection, but a personal favorite. The fantasy interpretations of the X-Men are fun, and I imagine the story served as a balm to readers still mourning the death of Jean Grey (spoiler: she got better). The redesigns of Wolverine and Nightcrawler alone make seeking this one out worth the effort.

New X-Men 148- Part of "Planet X," a much-mailgned arc, this issue stands out for its scenes with Jean Grey (see? I told you!) and Wolverine. A wonderful conclusion to one of the greatest star-crossed romances in comics.

Uncanny X-Men 303: The death of Illyana Rasputin. Scott Lobdell succeeds to such a degree that he actually gets readers to like Jubilee.

12/20/2004 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

A good half of my X-Men comics are in Pennsylvania, and I'm in Arizona, so my memory may be a bit fuzzy aboyt issue numbers. So. Ten best X-Men issues?

In no particular order (other than chronological),

Uncanny 125. The final Proteus issue, I think. Colossus at his best.

Uncanny 138. Cyclops quits. I hate Cyclops, so this was a nice one. Actually, I liked this as a single issue wrapping up the Dark Phoenix Saga because it allowed the X-Men to reflect on what has happened. A nice quiet issue.

Uncanny 172-172. Have Rogue and Wolverine ever been cooler? I doubt it.

The Mutant Massacre issues, something like Uncanny 212-213. Two big throwdowns between Wolverine and Sabretooth. Psylocke sort of kicks the crap out of Sabretooth. Gorgeous Alan Davis art, and other nice stuff from Rick Leonardi, I believe.

I have always loved the Annual with Horde in it (I have no idea what number it was). An issue showing how easily the X-Men can be seduced into giving up their mutations, and Wolverine saving the day and overcoming Phoenix-like temptation. I always wanted someone to run with the ending of the story. Alan Davis on art doesn't hurt.

Uncanny 250. The cover: Wolverine on the cross. Jubilee and Logan try to get out of Australia, and we learn the fate of the X-Men. I really liked Claremont ripping apart the X-Men and sending them to the outback, and this was the best issue of those.

Uncanny 268. Captain America, Black Widow, and Wolverine. Jim Lee art.

Uncanny 275. The big blowout with the Skrulls, which is nice, but also Magneto, Rogue and SHIELD versus Zaladane. Magneto goes fully back to the dark side, despite Rogue trying to keep him on the side of angels. I loved Claremont trying to make Magneto a good guy. Excellent story.

No Morrison, although I think his run is the best on X-Men in a long time. I don't however, think that they are really great X-Men stories. They seem to be great stories that happen to have some of the X-Men in them. It seems like he was trying to tell his own kinds of stories (which is fine) and he happened to be writing X-Men, so he said, "This will star the X-Men." He seems a lot more interested in the secondary characters, especially the Imperial Guard. Still, I love his run, but for best X-Men issues, the ones above (all by Claremont -- what the heck happened to him?) are it.

Greg Burgas
http://delendaestcarthago.blogspot.com

12/20/2004 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Before anyone calls me on it, whoops. Wolverine on the cross is Uncanny 251. I told you my memory is fuzzy!

Greg

12/20/2004 05:00:00 PM  
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12/20/2004 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

"God Loves, Man Kills- The entirety of the X-Men's world, and what it means for ours, distilled into 64 pages. Possibly Claremont's best script ever, complemented by the gorgeous visuals by Brent Anderson."

I can't believe Brian and I forgot this one. This is the best handling of the racism metaphor in an X-Men comic that I've seen. It's also has a great ending sequence.

12/20/2004 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I didn't count God Loves, Man Kills as an "issue."

12/20/2004 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*God Loves, Man Kills

*Days of Future Past

*The post-Secret War Issue where Colossus dumps Shadowcat and gets into a bar brawl with Juggernaut. I loved Wolverine's take on the matter (i.e., that Peter wasn't in love with a dead alien so much as scared of commitment to a living Kitty Pryde....and possibly losing her to Cipher).

*The first death of Jean Grey/Phoenix

*Giant-Size X-Men #1: it was a neat team

*The issue where Storm loses her powers. I liked the characterization between her and Rogue. I also thought it was a very noble thing she did, protecting Rogue from Forge's gun.

*The first appearance of Nimrod: great character. A lot of fun.

*First appearance of the Hellfire Club

*The issue of Ultimate X-Men where Ultimate Beast finds out he's been having an online romance with the Blob :D

*And I'll go with the fight between Nimrod, the Hellfire Club & X-Men. Love that Nimrod was defeated by an orbital strike (Sebastian Shaw fell on him).

12/20/2004 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

It's tough to count "God Loves, Man Kills" as an issue, I agree. If we do, can we count Avengers Annual #10, the first appearance of Rogue, which is a great X-Men issue as well? I don't know. And not to be totally iconoclastic, but I think "God Loves, Man Kills" has its flaws. Stryker is such a cliched version of the minister who really hates everyone who's not Christian, and you could see the plot twist coming a mile away. It's a good book, and a worthy piece to give to someone who's never read an X-Men comic, but it seems to draw the mutant struggle in too simplistic a manner. That's how I see it, anyway.

12/20/2004 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Interesting point, Greg.

What do the rest of you think?

Does God Loves, Man Kills hold up as one of the great ones?

12/20/2004 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ronald Bryan said...

Since Brian told me he disqualified God Loves, Man Kills. Which I believe is the greatest X-Men story ever told. Hmmm

Not necessarily in order, but close to it.

10.Uncanny X-Men #190

9.Uncanny X-Men #191 - The Kulan Gath story. Just had a special place for me. Sword and sorcery epic. And anything can happen.

8. Uncanny X-Men #128 - Colossus gains back his confidence. And does something against everything the X-men have believed in up until that point.

7. Uncanny X-Men #137 - They fight to the end, and Jean ends up dead anyway.

6. Uncanny X-Men #183 - Colossus vs. Juggernaut. And just a good old drinking time.

5. Uncanny X-Men #173 - Wolverine vs. Silver Samurai. And the one thing you never thought you would see the tough guy do.

4. Uncanny X-Men #142 - In the future, everyone dies, and in the past, they thrawt disaster.

3.Uncanny X-Men #162 - Wolverine alone fights agains the Brood... and wins.

2. Uncanny X-Men #132 - The X-Men get trounced by the Hellfire Club. But something stirs in the sewers below.

1. Uncanny X-Men #133 - Wolverine battles back from the depths of hell to exact his revenge against the Hellfire Club.

12/20/2004 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay my favorite x-men issues of ALL time have to be....

UXM #1-- Gotta love the first issue!

UXM #100-101: OKAY old x-men vs new x-men, what a timeless issue! and then for 101, loved that issue too, especially seing the PHOENIX :D

UXM #129-130 - HELLFIRE MAYHEM BEGINS and a lot of new characters
debut!

UXM #200- MAGNETO-- GOOD!?! Loved this issue!

UXM #210-213- MORLOCK massacre, in my opinion one of the craziest battles!

UXM #244- LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Hey girls just wanna have fun :P he he storm, rogue, psylocke, and dazzler go shopping...... and run into Jubilee YAY :P

UXM #316-317- A very UNDERESTIMATED crossover (Phlanax) But I REALLY LOVED IT! IT launched generation x, and first appearance of M (love her!)

AND other x-men (non uncanny) include X-men: God loves man kills, astonishing x-men #1, New x-men #114, .......

- Sirahh <3

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