X-Centric: The X-Book Thread

Superman has his own thread, and then Batman and Spider-man got their own threads. Am I still living in 1972 or is Uncanny X-Men one of the biggest selling comics every month?

This is the X-Book thread where we shall discuss anything related to any X-Book from the days of future, past, and present. We’ll cover what to read and what not to read. We’ll cover seminal (seminal = “born of the semen”) X-Men runs such as New X-Men (Morrison on industrial-strength superglue), BKV’s Ultimate, Whedon/Cassaday’s Astonishing, and Carey and Bru’s current stuff. We’ll cover all the great related X-Family books like Peter David’s X-Factor, BKV & Sean McKeever’s Mystique, Rucka’s Wolverine, Joe Casey’s Cable, and the one and only Origin (haha, where you at, Clinty?!). General info on random X-characters, spoilers for Messiah CompleX, making up your Fantasy X-Teams, making fun of CLAREMONT and IMPOSTERS and John Byrne, and whatever else strikes your fancy. It’ll all be here, bubs.

But first… Can we all just agree that Milligan and Allred’s X-Force/X-Statix is THE greatest X-Book of ALL time? (This includes all potential future timelines, parallel dimensions, and alternate realities.) Agreement on this key point will improve our forum’s overall effectiveness in being capable of engaging in rational and civilized discourse.

i’m assuming x-force/x-static is already completed and possibly a few/several years old from the way you worded your sentence? i guess this is what i get for failing to read comics for so many years and then getting back into them last year.

time to quest.

Why? He’s one of the few writers that I’m convinced even likes comics. He’s the best x-men writer ever. He understood that X-Men is a superhero comic and not some half-assed Vertigo series.

I’m dissapointed in you. When talking about X-Men writers his name has to be the first to come to mind. He actually like writing about them.


I don’t read any X-books except I’ve got that run of X-Force you’re talking about (2 trades), and X-Statix volumes 1 and 2 (inc. Wolverine/Doop). I can’t find volume 3 locally for love nor money, and I’m not willing to just skip it.

But yes, X-Statix is gold. Implausible twists, hilarious dialogue and inspired social commentary. Is there anything else like it these days? I could use a new comic.

Nightcrawler rules!

And yeah, read some OG Excalibur by the great Alan Davis.

As much as I loved X-Statix it’s way too underground, like an independent comic for me to say it’s the best X-book, course I can understand why Zeph would say that lol! It is a really great book, no argument there.

For me it’s Uncanny X-Men. It’s always the core book even when it suffers through bad writers and so on, the good still outweighs the bad. Early Claremont, Lobdell, Brubaker, lots of good stuff including so many artists! Byrne, Cockrum, Arthur Adams, Jim Lee, John Romita Jr. (Issue 300!!!), Sylvestri, Joe Mad, the list goes on and on. Plus I grew up reading Uncanny which for me is always a good thing when deciding what the best X book is.

X-Men / New X-Men / X-Men, whatever they call this book now has had some good runs too.

The first X-Men comic I read, was the one that Cyclops fought (Punk era) Storm in the danger room for leadership of the X-men.

Awesome comic.

The first X-men comic I bought was the one that Gambit kicked Wolverines ass and finished by holding his staff to his throat and saying “Bang, you dead!”

Awesome comic.

The X series of comics have been my favourite for years and will probably never change.

That was great! Taken down by Mohawk Storm without powers oooh Cyke’s mind was all messed up at the time, talk about hitting rock bottom.

Claremont was pretty good for the late '70s and he was all right for early '80s. I will acknowledge that he put Uncanny X-Men on the map and basically saved the X-Brand with an assist from Len Wein and Dave Cockrum.

But his time is clearly past.

Claremont’s comics haven’t aged well. What’s pathetic is that his work hasn’t evolved at all. Even his comics today still feel like he wrote them back in the glory days of 1981. I guess Marvel feels obliged to keep him permanently employed 'cause he saved the company back in the day.

I’m not saying I hate the man - my first comic book ever was the issue of X-Men Classic where Storm, Wolverine, and Carol Danvers teamed up to fight Rogue and Mystique in the Pentagon - but I can’t overlook how high his work rates on the unintentional comedy meter today.

And I think anyone who grew up in the '80s or '90s and was into X-Men grew up with Claremont’s work. But that doesn’t mean I can enjoy going back to reread the things I liked when I was a kid. I’ve grown up. And Claremont… I wish he grew up with the rest of us. I have no problem with Marvel shunting him to fringe X-Books like Exiles and, uh, New Excalisuck or whatever it’s called.

If you’re interested in which X-men are sleeping together then yeah you’re probably right. To people who actually want to read about superheroes acting like superheroes in a comic book instead of a soap opera then you’re wrong.

Anyways which X-Men team was the most powerful? I say the X-men that were in the outback. Storm,Wolverine,Colossus,Havok, Dazzler,Longshot and Psylocke (non-ninja telepath) were tough to beat. Even death couldn’t stop them.

For power, gonna go with when they had the Blue and Gold team in the 90s. That squad wasn’t to be messed with.

Blue Team -


Gold Team -

Jean Grey
Forge (For a little while then he bounced 'cuz Storm fronted on accepting his marriage proposal… went to X-Factor…)

All of the OG X-Men and characters like Archangel and Gambit were at their strongest. Plus they worked together more often then the two X-Teams do nowadays.

Though my personal favorite squad is -

Kitty Pryde

Give or take a member or so…

Huh, all of them are X-Men right now except for Storm who is a part time African Queen. :smile:

Not to sound nitpicky but Jean Grey (R.I.P.) was only on the Gold Team.

Yeah you’re right oops! :sweat:

Claremont was the one who started the whole soap opera aspect, though. The writers after him are just paying their respects to what he started. He came up with the Kitty Pryde wanting to sleep with Colossus tale, and he even had Colossus get it on with two Savage Land chicks, at least one of whom bore his child. Claremont had Scott Summers marry Madelyne Pryor (Jean’s clone, aka IMPOSTER) - it doesn’t really get much more soap operatic than that. Heck, even before Claremont came on board, there was that love triangle between Iceman, Polaris, and Havok.

There’s nothing wrong with the soap opera aspect of the X-Men comics. It’s one of the things that set the series apart from other Marvels and DC books. Claremont always had these ongoing subplots that would run for a bunch of issues. Sometimes he would introduce a plot thread and seemingly forget about it, only for it to show up again months or years later.

So what are people’s favorite X-Men crossovers?

I loved Inferno. Mainly because I’m from New York and the thought of demons running around and statues coming to life like the lions in front of the 42nd/Fifth Ave. Library is freaking great. That’s gotta be my favorite.

A close second is Age of Apocalypse. I got every singe issue that had anything to do with Age of Apocalypse at the time, that is really rare for me to do with gigantic crossovers nowadays.

matrix, I love you (no homo) because you are a fearless, opinionated, and - most importantly - an evil, hateful man, but in this case you are cuckoo like the Stepford sisters, gnomewhatimsayin? (HEEEEEYOOOOOO!!!)

Chris Claremont is one of the patron saints of comic books, let none debate this. His run with John Byrne on Uncanny back in the 80’s is in my opinion the greatest run of comic books in all of history and I am continually grateful my cousin let me read all of his books when I was but a wee lad, and I grew up with Claremont and Jim Lee X-Men in the early 90’s in my own era. Let none debate the merit of his contributions to comic books, for they are great in number and of immeasurable significance.

That said, anything he’s written like after 1993 has been complete ass. This is just not an era where being trapped in giant pinballs by Arcade is a readable story now, although Chuck Austen did his best to show him up with some truly terrible stories during his stint as an X-writer.

I’m completely convinced that Marvel is just letting him write X-Men books now only because they’re obligated to let him keep going until he doesn’t want to (like Brett Favre and the Packers…only if Favre became a double amputee and they still trotted him out for the 2011 season) because of past achievements that can never be truly repayed. The only problem is that he does indeed apparently love writing X-comics, and he’ll never want to stop.

And I’m okay with that, and I’d do the same thing if I were Marvel. The man is a first ballot Hall of Famer, let him keep playing until he doesn’t want to. Like the quality of the X-books has ever factored into their sales anyway - they could print decade old Chinese newspapers, slap an ‘X’ on them, and they’d still sell in the top 25 every month.

But the reason X-Men was so good in the past was precisely because they weren’t traditional superhero comics. It was because they were like this sappy, unconventional family unit with all these soap opera subplots that made them so good. All the intercharacter relationships was what made X-Men so good during his run, and throughout the history of X-Men comics. Think of all the cheesy soap opera romances that have popped up with each character, all the various love triangles/quadrilaterals/polygons that have been featured…Psylocke ALONE has slept with like half the mutant population pre-House of M.

(Quick pop quiz - which is greater? The number of X-Men that have banged Psylocke, or the number of teammates Colossus has painted in the nude? Regardless, I think the combined over/under number is like 127 or something.)

The X-Men are a band of social outcasts that must protect a world that both hates and fears them - that’s their gig! And so they band together and conquer the trials and tribulations of a fearful and prejudiced world…TOGETHER. There’s so many socially themed stories and themes throughout the years about prejudice, teenage angst, and the odd religious angle here and there (ie. God Loves, Man Kills). The X-Men are the X-Men PRECISELY because they are not the typical superheroes beating up the typical supervillains - it’s the soap opera type angles and the relationships between the characters that make X-Men stories so good.

And whose responsible for that soap opera stuff? CHRIS CLAREMONT. Everyone after him is just following his lead, and paying homage to it. As well they should, because he had the greatest X-Men run of all time, and THAT is the reason it was so good to begin with.

For example, why is Astonishing so good? Just ignoring the objective qualities of how good and sharp Whedon’s and Cassaday’s writing and art are, for one, the throwbacks and the homages to the past, classic X-Men stories - Claremont’s stories - are endlessly entertaining because there’s such a great sense of history with these stories that all comic book fans grew up with. But that history’s all about characters relating to one another - Kitty and Colossus finally getting together, Wolvie’s role as the old grizzled veteran, Cyclops’ undisputed leadership even when he’s useless and powerless… The best moments so far in one of the greatest X-Men runs in recent memory have all involved throwbacks the old classic X-Men stories and how the characters related to one another. When Wolvie walks in on Kitty and Colossus the morning after and goes like “…finally” - great moment that’s built entirely on years of history between both characters. Or when Wolvie tells Colossus “then I just got two words for you, bub” - GOOSEBuMPS, it was so awesome. Fucking Whedon doesn’t even write the two words - it’s all we need, because we know the characters so well and we already have all the context at front of our minds.

Compare that to JLA, which IS (or should be) a superheroes doing superheroes thing type of comic, and it’s night and day. The world doesn’t hate and fear the JLA. The core idea behind the league is the fact that it’s a collection of the world’s absolute greatest superheroes, to combat the absolute greatest threats to world safety. It’s a team, the most elite team of superpowered ass kickers in the world. The X-Men are a dirty, mutie family that no one else loves.

The JLA back in the 80’s with Keith Giffen were fantastic and had a lot of that X-Men style intercharacter fun - for example when Batman punched out Guy, and Blue Beetle keeps shouting “ONE PUNCH!” and Black Canary keeps going “I can’t believe I missed it…” - that’s a great comic book moment because of all the history between the characters. But my favourite JLA stories, and in my opinion the best ones, were with Grant Morrison and Mark Waid, when they revamped the book to just feature “The Big Seven” and just made them kick ass all the time, and there were virtually no character development subplots at all between the big guys - I mean there was some with the minor supporting characters like Plastic Man, Steel, and Huntress, but they let the sappy stuff between the big characters handled in their own monthlies, where it belongs.

And then afterwards, during the tail end of Joe Kelly’s run, with Kurt Busiek, and Chuck Austen…they started that whole sappy character development stuff again and got away from the whole superheroes doing superhero things, and the book became crappy again. And not surprisingly they had to reboot it again, starting with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman choosing candidates to once again build the best possible TEAM.

And another contrast to the X-Men - all the throwbacks to vintage JLA stories were all plot-based, of supervillains they previously defeated. Not intercharacter development angles. Like when the Shaggy Man came back as The General. When Starro and Soloman Grundy were featured as the new baddies in the first JLA run with Brad Meltzer. All the cool JLA throwbacks and homages in stories are to villains and characters that haven’t appeared in a while. All the cool X-Men throwbacks and homages in stories are about relationships between the characters.

JLA is a book that works best when superheroes are doing superhero things. X-Men is the opposite.

Obviously the stories vary from writer to writer and those are obviously not always the case…but even intrinsically, you can see in the nature of what the JLA are (team of ass kickers) and what the X-Men are (team of ass kickees that have banded together to become ass kickers) and what type of stories they’d tend to respectively facilitate easier.

Easily Age of Apocalypse. I can’t remember anything like that happening in comics before then. It was an entirely different world where anything and everything was possible. Hero became villain and vice versa. There was nothing like it at the time.

I love how everything was planned out. Nearly every X-character had some role in it. I don’t think any crossover had as much for lack of a better word togetherness with the creators of the comics and the comics themselves.

The best part is Marvel did it the right way. It helps to read every comic but it definitely wasn’t required. Every title had a separate storyline. Astonishing X-Men and Amazing X-Men were sort of interwoven but those could be read separately also.

I don’t have a problem with some soap opera elements in the X-Men comics as long as it’s remembered that X-Men is first-and-foremost a superhero comic book. I’m not sure when it changed (maybe when Morrison was writing X-Men vol.2/New X-Men)but it seems to me that message has been lost.

The reason why Astonishing X-Men is a good comic book is because it’s simple. It’s not overly complicated with drama and has great action plus it has respect for tradition. I don’t see that in the other X-titles and I have to admit that bothers me somewhat. The other X-titles can’t seem to find the right balance.

P.S. Chris Claremont isn’t as good as he was in the past but his Fantastic Four run was one of the best ever.

Age of Apocalypse is one of the best crossovers in comics in general, but it had little relevance to the main series.

Onslaught is my favourite main continuity crossover event. Mainly because they finally stopped accusing Gambit of being the X-Traitor and it featured all the other major superheroes too.

I liked Operation Zero Tolerance too.

This man speaks truth.

Besides Excalibur, I really only read the 90’s revamp of X-men, and the mother of all X-Men arc’s, The Age of Freakin’ Apocalypse.

Does Colossus still paint? Feels like it’s been a good long while since anyone mentioned his painterly aspects. Sort of like how Steve Rogers used to be a comic book artist for Marvel Comics back in the '80s. But now that I think of it, I guess Bendis did sort of touch on Captain America’s mad penciling skills back in New Avengers last year.

I am pretty sure, though, that Psylocke has banged virtually every male X-Character. I think the only ones she didn’t screw are Nightcrawler ('cause he’s too pious) and maybe Captain Britain.

You know, that’s a good point. Also, I really like how you can string together a sentence that has a three-dollar word like “intrinsically” almost next to a phrase like “ass kickees.”

But yeah, it’s like how Morrison said it - the JLA are basically the pantheon of gods, and the X-Men are every rebel teenager wanting to change the world and make it better while humanity plays the role of adults and the oppressive status quo.

I think Claremont’s most important contribution to the X-Men mythos (other than saving their asses, saleswise) was giving Wolverine one of the most memorable catchphrases of all time: “I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn’t very nice.” The first time Wolverine said that, I believed that Canadians could be badasses - something I never imagined possible. I used to think Canadians were just all ABOOT riding horses on the border patrol and speaking French (or English with French accents). It never crossed my mind that Canuckleheads could be hairy, mutant tough guy runts.

Claremont definitely showed me the value of global awareness. Like when he teamed up with Alan Davis (or, as I call him, A-Dizzle) to make the old Excalibur. Including a fairy on the team = stroke of genius.

I never really liked any of those X-Men crossovers. Truthfully, after I got a few issues of Age of Apocalypse, I stopped reading and buying superhero comics for several years. AoA and The Greatest Comics Epic of All-Time (aka, The Clone Saga) basically just burned me out. I tried rereading AoA last year when Marvel started releasing the complete TPBs, but couldn’t slough my way through.

I remember the two crossovers I was most fond of when I was a kid, though, and those are the X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner’s Song. I think X-Cutioner’s Song is horrible now, though. Hasn’t aged well at all, and I think the only reason I ever liked it in the first place was 'cause there was this one part when Wolvie, Cable, and Bisop (the baddest-assed troika of X-Men ever) teamed up to fight some wimpy pushovers. Also, Archangel talked some shit or something to Apocalypse (who ended up vomiting on panel), and I always like Archangel.

I haven’t read X-Tinction Agenda for years, and I doubt I ever will again. I’m sure if I read it again I’ll think it’s stupid. Cameron Hodge’s head attached to a killer cyborg - AWESOME! Yeah, right. I’ll just choose to remember that crossover as, like, an integral part of my childhood and nothing more.