If you haven’t followed comics for very long, you might not be aware at just how friggin’ huge the X-men were during Chris Claremont’s run in the 80s. Some great stories were told during that time (and in others), many of them becoming among the most beloved in comics. Here are 7 of those great X-Men stories:
The 7 Greatest X-Men Stories Ever Told
7. Giant-Size X-Men #1 Published in 1975, this was the story that introduced a whole new team to the book. I picked this one not so much because the story was amazingly memorable. (It was rescue mission on a mutant island.) It was chosen because the story was so consequential in the amount of new characters introduced.
The new team members were Wolverine, Sunfire, and Banshee, who had been introduced in earlier X-comics and The Incredible Hulk; and Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird, who were created in an effort to give the X-Men a more inclusive, international appeal.
Needless to say, many of these new characters would go on to become some of the most recognizable comic characters in history.
6. Mutant Massacre This was the X-Men story I remembered best from when I was a kid. It was a story that spanned several titles and consisted basically of a killing spree.
When the Marauders went into the sewer tunnels to kill off the Morlocks, the X-Men set themselves as mutant protectors, yet they were in vastly over their heads. It was dark, it was desperate and it was an incredible story about the X-Men when they had their backs against the wall and their heads on the line.
We wrote more about the Mutant Massacre here.
5. Dark Phoenix This is perhaps the most iconic X-Men story. What happens when a mutant gets a power so great that it consumes her?
The story was cosmic and it was galaxy spanning. But to talk about how big it was needs to be followed by how personal it was.
The Dark Phoenix Saga was very much a love story of Jean Grey and Cyclops, and for the X-Men it was a story of if they would put the life of their teammate ahead of the lives of everyone in the universe.
But the less said about the movie adaptation the better.
4. House of M This was a story in the category much like Giant Sized X-Men above. It wasn’t so much that is was good, as it was selected because it was so consequential.
Comics are notorious for misleading marketing. How times times can we be fed the line, “This is the comic that will change everything!”, only to have it either be a tease or rolled back one month later. But when the Scarlet Witch went crazy and used her powers to eliminate mutants from Earth, it really did change everything and became the editorial direction for over a decade of X-Men comics.
That’s why “No more mutants.” is one of the most iconic comic book panels of all time.
3. Fall of the Mutants By the time this storyline came about, the X-Men line was several titles strong and easily at the top of the sales charts. And even though it was tied together, each individual X-title kept a large portion of its identity and own storyline.
Fall of the Mutants was basically an event created around the idea of what would happen when each individual team had their back against the wall and dealt with loss. New Mutants dealt with the death of a team member. And the entire Uncanny X-Men team were thought dead in this event, although it turns out they popped up in Australia.
Regardless, it was a well-done story that worked across the entire line and in each individual title.
2. Days of Future Past What would the X-Men be with time travel and alternative storylines? Days of Future Past tells the story of a dystopian future where mutants are rounded up in internment camps run by Sentinels. But future Kitty Pryde works with present day X-Men to save the day, as the X-Men are wont to do.
As a good time travel story does, Days of Future Past was the start of lots of future X-Men stories that rippled out from there, many adding beloved characters like Rachel Summers, Cable, and Bishop.
Later, this storyline was turned into the basic story for the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie.
1. Inferno If there was ever a X-Men crossover created to be bigger and bolder than Inferno, I don’t know what it would be. Inferno was wild, audacious, and in the end, very satisfying. It was a crossover that came at the end of the 80s and put a bow on about a dozen plot threads that had been weaving through the comics for years.
With so many glorious X-Men tales in their storied history, this was a difficult list to trim to 7. If you didn’t see your favorite on here, just assume it came in at number 8.