10 Most Thought-Provoking X-Men Comics

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The X-Men have an amazing history at Marvel. Their earliest years saw them never really reach the heights of other Silver Age Marvel books, but a reboot in the mid-’70s would begin Chris Claremont’s amazing run, which would make the X-Men the publisher’s most popular team. Since then, X-Men stories have thrilled generations of readers, creating tales that have changed comics forever.

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The greatest thing about X-Men comics is that they’ve always been more than superhero books. They’ve taken readers to amazing places, ones that have sent their minds reeling. These thought-provoking stories are the best of the best.

10 Children Of The Atom Dug Into Kids Obsessed With Mutant Culture

By writer Vita Ayala with art by Bernard Chang and Paco Medina

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Marvel produces great six-issue stories, with the Krakoa Era book Children Of The Atom, by writer Vita Ayala and artists Bernard Chang and Paco Medina, taking readers to a very interesting place. The team at the center is a group of humans who found alien tech that allowed them to have powers like their favorite mutants. They fight bad guys and hope that they’ll actually become mutants.

That last part is the most interesting aspect of the story. The book digs into the lives of teens obsessed with mutants and their new culture. It’s a different way of looking at mutants, first introduced during Grant Morrison’s run, and especially interesting in the Krakoa Era. It’s an idea that takes readers to some new places that they never expected.

9 E Is For Extinction Threw Many Concepts At The Reader

By writer Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>E Is For Extinction from Marvel Comics featuring Beast, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Emma Frost.

New X-Men: E Is For Extinction, by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, was revolutionary. It gave the X-Men a new status quo, focusing on their role as mutant teachers and protectors, introduced a new villain, Cassandra Nova, and had a lot to say about human evolution. From Nova’s dissertation on the extinction of Neanderthals to the human extinction gene to secondary mutations, it was very different from what came before.

E Is For Extinction has its share of action and adventure, but it’s also extremely smart. Its focus on evolution, mutation, and extinction really dug into the concept of mutants like never before. Morrison started as they meant to go on, and this story stands up decades later.

8 Assault On Weapon Plus Introduced The World

By writer Grant Morrison with art by Chris Bachalo

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Assault On Weapon Plus from Marvel Comics featuring Wolverine and Fantomex.

New X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus, by writer Grant Morrison and artist Chris Bachalo, is a fun action story, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be more. It focuses on Wolverine, Cyclops, and X-Men ally Fantomex breaking into the World, the home of Weapon Plus. The World is an amazing sci-fi concept.

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It’s a Petri dish of evolution, where Weapon Plus’s scientists manipulate the flow of time to create powerful super soldiers. It’s an alien technopolis that serves a particular role and connects to the origins of Captain America, Nuke, and Wolverine. It’s the type of casually brilliant idea that Morrison likes to create, one that will grab readers’ imagination.

7 Days Of Future Past Made Alternate Future Dystopias All The Rage

By writer Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Wolverine protects Kate Pryde in Marvel's X-Men: Days of Futures Past.

The best X-Men stories influenced comics in many ways. Uncanny X-Men #141-142, by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne, brought about a storytelling trope that would become commonplace. The story begins in a dystopian future, where Sentinels rule the Earth and the X-Men are the last resistance. Their only hope was to go back in time and change the past.

“Days Of Future Past” is a monumental story like few others. Putting fans into its dystopia right away was a perfect way to engage readers. It caused them to look at the present and what was happening in books in new ways. It also took time travel stories in completely new directions.

6 Planet X Changed The Way Readers Looked At Magneto

By writer Grant Morrison with art by Phil Jimenez

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Magneto attacks humanity in Planet X comic.

Grant Morrison’s time at Marvel was wildly imaginative, with New X-Men being their epicenter. Their most controversial story was New X-Men: Planet X, with artist Phil Jimenez. The story revealed that the new X-Man Xorn was actually Magneto, who devastated the team before attacking and taking over Manhattan.

Instead of making Magneto the sympathetic villain he had been for years, Morrison made the character into a pathetic terrorist. Many fans rebelled against this, but for others, it made them think about who and what Magneto really was. Marvel may have retconned the story to death, but it’s a unique and realistic look at Magneto.

5 Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous Showed A New Side Of Xavier & Mutation

By writer Joss Whedon with art by John Cassaday

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Astonishing X-Men Dangerous from Marvel Comics featuring Wolverine, Emma Frost, Colossus, Cyclops, Kate Pryde, and Beast.

Must-read X-Men runs contain amazing stories, ones that changed the team. Writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run doesn’t completely stand up nowadays, but the second story, Dangerous, is the most interesting. The story establishes the Danger Room as a sentient being, an AI that mutated and became sentient.

This was a very interesting concept in X-Men history, but the creative team wasn’t done yet. The story showed that Xavier knew about this evolution and kept the Danger Room enslaved. It was a completely different look at Professor X and made readers rethink everything they knew about him.

4 The Dark Phoenix Saga Took Readers To Emotional New Places

By writer Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Dark Phoenix versus the X-Men from Marvel Comics.

Many X-Men stories have surprised readers, but few can match The Dark Phoenix Saga. Written by Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne, the story outlined the team battling the Dark Phoenix, their beloved friend Jean Grey corrupted by the absolute power of the Phoenix. It’s an epic story, but what makes it shine is the emotion.

The Dark Phoenix Saga is a harrowing tale of friends trying their best to save someone they love, someone transformed into a monster by forces beyond their control. It’s emotional and poetic, taking readers to places they’ve never been before. The bonds between the team members were never as important as they are in this classic.

3 Inferno Broke The Utopia Of Krakoa

By writer Jonathan Hickman with art by Valerio Schiti, Stefano Caselli, and R.B. Silva

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Moira McTaggart, Destiny, Mystique, Magneto and Emma Frost in Marvel Comics.

Inferno, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artists Valerio Schiti, Stefano Caselli, and R.B. Silva, was Hickman’s premature swan song for his X-Men books. The story revolves around the revelation of the secret of Moira MacTaggert to the Quiet Council and the schisms it causes. It’s also another sci-fi masterpiece from Hickman.

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There’s a lot to this story. It breaks the “utopia” of Krakoa, making readers question the rot under everything they’ve read. It reveals that the machines humans build to kill mutants are their own side in the conflict. There’s so much to the story that by the end, readers will be thinking about the Krakoa Era in entirely new ways.

2 X-Men: Supernovas Introduced Readers To Posthumanity

By writer Mike Carey with art by Chris Bachalo and Clayton Henry

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>X-Men-Supernovas image.

X-Men history is full of threats, but few are as interesting as the Children of the Vault. They were introduced in X-Men: Supernovas by writer Mike Carey and artists Chris Bachalo and Clayton Henry. The story follows a new rapid reaction X-Men team led by Rogue as they try to counter this terrible new threat to the diminished mutant race.

The Children of the Vault represented posthumanity. They are the ultimate melding of humans and technology, growing beyond both into an entirely new life form. It’s an amazing concept, one that changes the stakes of the war between humans and mutants.

1 House Of X/Powers Of X Changed The X-Men Forever

By writer Jonathan Hickman with art by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>House of X/Powers of X, depicting Professor X, Magneto and Jean Gray walking through a Krakoa Gate.

X-Men status quo changes have often been drastic, but few can match House Of X/Powers Of X. Written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva, the story kicked off the Krakoa Era, giving mutants their own country and power in the world like never before. It also threw concepts like reincarnation, resurrection, posthumanity, and so much more at readers.

HoX/PoX was wildly successful because of where it took readers’ imaginations. It presented so many new concepts and new ways of looking at X-Men stories. Everything that comes after it has a nearly impossible bar to reach.

NEXT: 5 Weirdest Things That Have Happened To The X-Men In The Comics


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