Our first entry into the list of the vestrymen stories of all time comes from the legendary run of John Byrne and Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men. These issues feature Proteus (also known as Mutant X), who was Moira MacTaggert’s son.
While seldom heard of after these events, many of the mythos established here lived on, such as the introduction of Maddox and Muir Island. Although short-lived, Paul Smith’s run as pencilled on Uncanny X-Men along with scribe Claremont is one of the best partnerships in X-Men history, and could have equalled that of Byrne/Claremont had it lasted that much longer.
Surprisingly few repercussions from the event, though it did bring many of the offshoot titles together again after a few years of being isolated from one another. No, this list is not moving in chronological order, but for now, here’s Executioner’s Song, a very hyped crossover that was supposed to feature many of the creators who jumped ship to form Image Comics.
Great art, fun alternate universes and a game changing plot make this one of the most essential and vestrymen stories in recent years. Enter Grant Morrison, with one of his first arcs on the newly renamed “New X-Men ”.
Among one of the three most important creator runs that compose much of the vestrymen stories of all time. Add in a touch of Grant Morrison, and yet instantly get a fan favorite story arc.
Though it might be cheating to include what is essentially four different storylines that are only relatively loosely associated by the fact that Mutants are being hunted by Sentinels. The Wolverine and X-Men stories are the better ones, and show how a crossover, or “event”, can be done while not being too convoluted.
Also collected in : X-Men by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont Vol. This one is a bit off the beaten path, as it brought to you by Chris Bachelor and Mike Carey, quite outside the popular eras of When, Claremont and Grant, but considered for many of the vestrymen stories in recent memory.
As we inch into the top 15 vestrymen stories and arcs, we finally get our first Joss When entry. This is the second arc of his Astonishing X-Men series, and is actually considered the weakest of the bunch, while still maintaining a strong ranking nonetheless.
The continuation of the storyline set in motion after the decimation event after “House of M”, Messiah Complex is a traditional crossover weaving linearly through each X-title. Fatal Attractions, featuring the return of Magneto, makes it into the top 10 vestrymen stories of all time.
Frank Quietly once again perfectly translates Grant Morrison’s plot into images, making this duo one of the best creator teams on X-Men since Byrne and Claremont. Another Joss When arc makes it into the vestrymen stories list.
We keep things rolling with another, final, arc by Joss When. Stepping back in time to a classic X-Men story which features a great number of essential villain/hero match-ups, chief among them Wolverine versus Sabre tooth making this one of the vestrymen stories in terms of impact, fun and overall enjoyment.
Also collected in : X-Men : God Loves, Man Kills Hardcover (BUY) It could be the juxtaposition of a new setting that make the true star of the series, “The Dream of Coexistence”, all the more clearer.
It could also just be that the vestrymen stories thrive when the ensemble casts interrelations shine when the alternate universe versions shake things up. Generation Next, Astonishing X-Men, Weapon X and the bookend issues are the most exhilarating.
Joss When’s inaugural story arc on the new Astonishing X-Men series is also considered his best. The elements introduced in Gifted are pure X-Men, such as the introduction of the cure, and When plays up the characters personalities perfectly.
In retrospect, after having read his entire run, you really see the beauty into how he sets up the many plot lines that come together in the end, still while leaving them subtle as to not have the story feel to heavy. Another inaugural run, Grant Morrison’s first New X-Men run is one of the vestrymen stories out there, as pens the perfect X-Men story with great help from Frank Quietly, arguably his best collaborator.
The consequences of this arc are extremely important, as the destruction of Kenosha is a major event for years to come. The top two-story arcs appear on nearly everyone’s list and demonstrate why Byrne/Claremont X-Men is still the most essential reading for any newcomer.
It’s no surprise to many that the Dark Phoenix Saga is considered the best of the vestrymen stories ever. Not only does it establish many of the X-Men’s mythos, it also features one of the best Wolverine issues ever, the introduction of Emma Frost and Kitty Pride and the death of Jean Grey.
And you get so annoyed at their continued insistence that you seriously consider killing them with your feet, Sayid-style (you haven’t watched Lost? One hermit weekend holed up with your best friend Netflix Instant and you can plow through a few series of the new Doctor Who.
Those friends who keep demanding you watch The Wire are also keen on showing off their DVD box sets by letting you borrow them. Anyone wishing to get into Captain America from his metaphorical season one is subjecting themselves to hundreds of insane Golden Age stories that appeal only to that dude in your comic shop whose t-shirt is always moist.
It’s hard to tell what’s important and what’s toilet paper when you’re staring at decades worth of funny books. What follows is a chronological list of the 11 purchases you can make to jump into any current X-Men comic with a real working knowledge of this team.
Most of those stories don’t age well and, in all honesty, all the mainstream media adaptations of the merry mutants draw exclusively from the material from 1975 and onwards. Yeah, the Neal Adams run is great, but it’s only an album track to this list’s hit singles.
Starting with the team’s 1975 rebirth and concluding in the middle of the legendary “Dark Phoenix Saga,” this sucker contains over thirty issues of Uncanny X-Men and constitutes what could be considered the X-Men’s Bible. If you’re a fan of the movies, you’ll see familiar faces (Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, Cyclops) in their prime.
If you’re a comic fanboy who’s new to the X-Men, you’ll get a crash course on how writer Chris Claremont and artists Dave Cock rum and John Byrne revolutionized the dynamics of the team superhero book. ? As great as the Uncanny omnibus is, it does cut off halfway through what is widely considered the greatest X-Men story ever told.
Added bonus, reading this will allow you to understand why nerds wanted to kill X-Men : The Last Stand with fire. ? Because of all the baseball playing and intergalactic adventuring the X-Men do, it’s easy to forget that they’re a metaphor for persecuted minorities.
Reverend William Stryker (changed to Colonel William Stryker in X2: X-Men United) proves that an average human being with a passionate prejudice and a platform can cause much more damage than the Nasty Boys (and I don’t mean Janet Jackson’s backing band, I mean the X-Men villains). Starring a cast struggling with puberty on top of prejudice and killer robots, New Mutants hit its stride when Bill Sienkiewicz’s darkly abstract art got involved.
? Welcome to the ’90s, the equivalent of the comic industry’s acne-ridden high school yearbook photo thanks to the preponderance of boobs and guns and pouches and angst. Peter David and Larry St roman’s highly regarded run on X-Factor embodies everything good about the ’90s: political awareness, well-executed satire, and wit sharper than Shatter star’s double-bladed sword.
This comic proves that any character, even perpetual second stringers like Havoc and Polaris and no-names like Multiple Man and Strong Guy, can be compelling when handled by a writer who gives a crap. For the most part they are impenetrable continuity bonanzas ranging from inspired (“Age of Apocalypse”) to insipid (“Onslaught”).
He re-opened Xavier’s School to a student body, added Emma Frost (the former White Queen) to the team, and crammed enough progressive ideas into the X-Universe to fill a college lecture course. He may have not treated the characters with the respect fans feel they deserve, and I will never forgive him for his Multiple Man orgy-of-one joke, but he routed the franchise in the direction it still travels in.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and geek god Joss When came to comics armed with his love and admiration of classic X-Men stories. When and the impeccable art of John Cassady create a story that is a tonal update of the omnibus that kicked off this list.
Filled with tense drama and stylistic ultra-violence (the black ops, claw-filled version of X-Force debuts here), it’s like the ’90s never stopped. ? The most recent of all the big crossovers, “Second Coming” picks up right where “Messiah Complex” thematically leaves off.
Much like “Executioner’s Song” before it, this acts as a sampler of the various characters and status quo featured in the current crop of X-Books. The crossover also features a number of shocking deaths and, that old ’90s standby, variant covers.
Not only that, but Wolverine appears carrying the dead body of Shadow cat and tells young Franklin that his father not only killed The Fantastic Four but his allies in the X-Men as well. As Reed carries the lifeless body of his wife up a flight of stairs, Franklin tries to follow begging his father to turn back and go with him.
Tearing off his Fantastic Four costume Reed reveals that he is wearing the garb of Dr. Doom underneath and places a red-hot mask over his face. When Sue learns that Franklin is up past his bedtime due to one of his special dreams, she comforts the boy and then resumes unpacking crates.
Meanwhile, on Muir Island, Alex Summers goes to see if Rogue needs a hand working maintenance on the Blackbird. While Shadow cat is not getting any better, her disrupted molecules are drifting further and further apart to the point where it will be only a matter of days before it causes irreparable brain damage.
While Moira MacTaggert is telling Storm and Wolverine the prognosis Magneto contacts them from the States to tell them that he has learned that Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four has come up with a device that might be able reverse Kitty's condition and that he will attempt to contact The Fantastic Four, even though Storm is concerned that the group may still consider Magneto a villain. While out at sea near Muir Island, Dazzler and Long shot are spending the day tooling around the waters by boat.
Because it is dark out, she uses her powers to illuminate the area and is surprised to find that Long shot found someone who was lost out at sea. Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Sue has put Franklin to bed and has begun browsing Reed's old journal, and she has become terribly upset by what she has read.
However, she has a surprise for him: She read a passage in his book where it appears that Reed stated that he purposely neglected to shield the rocket ship before the accident that turned them into The Fantastic Four. In Greenwich Village, at Raglan's Coffee House, She-Hulk is spending her evening studying over law books when she sniffs the reek of cigar smoke.
Ben brings up the recent trail on Magneto, and opinions that he'd rather quit than defend the mutant terrorist. Springing into action, the two heroes brace the collapsing girders however it is not until the timely arrival of Magneto does the disaster get averted when the Master of Magnetism uses his powers to frighten the building.
When the Human Torch arrives, Magneto tells the young FF member to use his flame powers to weld the girders back in place. With the crisis averted, Magneto accompanies the other members back to the Four Freedoms Plaza where he requests audience from Reed Richards.
Confined to an invisible force field, Magneto pleads his case, telling him about Shadow cat's plight. Later, Reed, Ben, Johnny and She-Hulk (who has tagged along out of curiosity even though she left the FF to rejoin the Avengers)take The Fantastic Four's super-sonic jet to Muir Island with Magneto to see what they can do about Kitty Pride.
Soon, when The Fantastic Four arrive at Muir Island, Magneto is reunited with his X-Men comrades while She-Hulk and Thing unload Reed's device off the ship. Inside, Reed considers what Ben said, and Sue's anger and wonders if he did purposely mutate his comrades in the name of science.
As Reed exits the ship, Franklin's dream form appears and begins watching the proceeding events. This angers Magneto who challenges Richard's claim saying that he papers released on his molecular bonding process were a success.
With a fight about to break out, the Human Torch tries to flame on into action and is sucker punched by Wolverine who knocks the wind out of him. Shaken by doubt in light of finding an old journal that suggests that he purposely caused the accident that created The Fantastic Four, Reed Richards has declined to use his molecular border device to attempt to save the life of the X-Man Shadow cat as it has not been tested on a living being before.
When Storm and Magneto attempt to stop Wolverine, the Thing believes that this is an attack and claps his hands together. Johnny meanwhile is felled by Locke's telepathic powers, but before she goes after the other members of The Fantastic Four, she realizes that Wolverine is the one that started things.
Watching this in his dream form is Reed's son Franklin who reaches out asking Wolverine not to hurt his father. Hearing her son fall out of bed, Sue Richards comes to his aid, and she tells him everything he saw in his dream.
Throwing it against the window, Sue wonders if her son was right and lashes out with her powers screaming out to her husband's name and how much she hates him. However, this is more than just a mere man, but a robot, that starts revealing its true nature unaware that it has been spotted by Sharon Freelander.
Rogue steps in and says they can get Locke to pull the information they need out of Reed's mind, however, Storm decides not to. As The Fantastic Four are gathering to leave, the robot comes outside, melting off all its fake flesh it shifts into a hologram projector and projects an image of Dr. Doom.
Storm wonders at what price such service, Doom tells them that his aid will come free, for reasons that he shall keep as his own. Hearing this, Richards begs Storm and the X-Men that allowing Doom to aid them is akin to making a deal with the devil.
When Reed continues to push the issue Moira pipes in warning Richards if he doesn't leave she will have him arrested for trespassing and assault. After The Fantastic Four have left, Storm remarks at how strange Richards was acting until she enters a state of shock from her wounds and passes out.
Grabbing Reed he furiously confronts him about the information contained in his old journal, which Sue has given to Ben and Johnny to read. While Reed feels as though the jury has already made up their mind, he reads his own apparent writing, that suggests that mutation is the only means of the human race protecting themselves.
As the X-Men try to make up their mind on if they want deal with Dr. Doom in saving Kitty's life, The Fantastic Four demand to know if what is said in the journal is true. Reed defends himself maintaining that his rushed and unplanned rocket flight was to make the voyage before the government scrapped the project and not to mutate himself and the others into The Fantastic Four.
As the X-Men ask the question of what matters most, tarnishing themselves making a deal with Doom, or saving Kitty's life -- Reed reads the final passage in his diary. When he finishes reading the passage, Ben remarks how it makes sense and how he always wondered why they were the only ones to travel into space and be mutated and so many other astronauts did not.
As his machines heal the damage done, Doom gloats over his intelligence, as Wolverine, Magneto and Locke watch. It happens to be Rogue, who against Doom's orders sneaked out of the castle to experience Latvian culture and shop for some clothing.
This counterattack causes the guards still at the castle to turn on the three X-Men there until Storm (now fully healed) and Doom to order both to stand down. Although she does not want to die, she does not wish it to be at the cost of the X-Men being in debt to Dr. Doom, possibly one of the worst villains in the world.
As she leaves the safety of her cylinder, she is witnessed by her pet dragon Lockheed and Franklin Richards (who is watching in his dream form). However, before Kitty can discorporate she finally hears Franklin's cries not to let go, and she decides to return to her container.
Carrying what is supposedly a journal where he writes about purposely plotting to mutate his comrades, a revelation that has shaken the team to the core and has caused Reed much doubt about his abilities as a scientist. Walking past the room that he shares with is wife Sue, Reed sees her sleeping and tries to reach out and comfort her but finds that he cannot and leaves.
Reed goes back to pacing the halls, cursing himself and continuing to doubt the possibility that he might have subconsciously caused the accident that created The Fantastic Four on purpose. When Franklin wakes up he crawls into his caring fathers hand and tells him he loves him, causing Reed to cry.
Unknown to Reed, Sue has been watching him invisibly, and she is brought to tears because she has not heard her husband nor her son laugh like this in ages. While back in Latvia, Storm is in a combat session with Long shot to test his fighting prowess and to make sure that her recently healed arm is at full fighting order. He ends up at the Nancy Street Bar where he begins to pound back the drinks and think about how his life has changed since he became the Thing.
As he rounds the corner he sees an accident on the street involving a car and a fuel truck on the FDR Drive. While at a derelict peer off the Hudson River, Johnny pushes himself to make sure he can still use his flame powers flawlessly, still wracked with guilt over accidentally burning Storm.
When Alicia hears him come in, she tries to comfort him by telling him that people make mistakes and that his flame powers are a tool that can be used for good or to destroy, it's all in how they are used. While back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Reed tucks young Franklin into bed, and is surprised when Sue comes to him and tells him that she had been watching.
He realizes that his initial doubt was that despite his calculations being perfect regarding molecular cohesion, he knows that he was sure of the safety of the rocket flight that turned them into The Fantastic Four. Despite Dr. Doom's promises, Shadow cat has not been cured of her molecular dispersion, and on the eve of her 15th birthday Kitty has decided to give up on the idea that she will survive the ordeal.
After Lockheed determines that Franklin is no threat, the young Richards child tells Kitty that his parents are coming to help save her life. However, he explains about the visions of the future he gets in his sleep and warns Kitty about the dream that he had where the X-Men and Fantastic Four fight each other to the death.
Aboard The Fantastic Four's super-sonic jet, the team (joined by the She-Hulk who wishes to see their mission through and the sleeping Franklin) are heading toward Latvia so that Reed can try and help Kitty Pride's life. As they fly toward the country ruled by their arch nemesis, Sue Richards begins thinking about how well Doom knows her husband and wonders if he had something to do with the old diary that she found amongst their possessions.
When Ben enters the passenger area to leave Reed with his thoughts he begins repairing a chair in the room and talking to Sue. Meanwhile, Johnny is thinking about how in his last encounter with the X-Men he accidentally burned Storm and wonders how he can face them again so soon afterward and make atonement for the accident.
While in the cockpit of their craft, Reed once more looks at his old journal and begins to doubt his ability that if he fails in saving Kitty's life he isn't sure if he can take it. While in Latvia, Wolverine is putting Havoc, Dazzler, Rogue and Long shot through a training session as they await results from Dr. Doom.
While upstairs, the dream form of Franklin continues to try and entertain Kitty with the story his father told him, but has difficulties because his skin is not pliant. Magneto explains to Promo that he is thinking about how five hundred miles in one direction is Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp he and his family was interred in, and he was the sole survivor of, and due west of Latvia the Soviet city of Vinnytsia.
There, Magneto explains, his daughter Anya died in a fire and when he used his mutant powers to save his wife Magda, she fled from him in fear and the villagers were so afraid they attempted to push him into the flames that claimed the daughter he was attempting to save. In his anger, he uses his magnetic powers to pull one of Doom's robotic guards against the castle to him and reshapes it into a statue of his wife and late daughter.
When Reed explains he wants to help them save Kitty, Magneto tells him to leave and their help is not needed. As the battle rages, Magneto uses his powers to lift The Fantastic Four's craft to use as a weapon, horrifying Reed and Sue as Franklin -- to their knowledge is still aboard.
However, Franklin is safe, having been pulled out of the craft by Lockheed, and he scolds the heroes for fighting among each other when Kitty needs to be saved. Suddenly, Franklin yells at them to stop and asks Doom if he and his father are the smartest men on the planet, why don't they work together to solve the problem instead of fighting.
As Reed goes over the data he realizes that Magneto's powers damaged some computers important functions leaving Richards to come up with the complex equations on his own as the process goes. However, Reed gathers the strength to overcome his doubts from the love of his wife and son and completes the process to save Kitty's life.
During the celebrations the X-Men and Fantastic Four make peace, and Reed accepts that Magneto has turned over a new leaf and the two shake their hands. Sue meanwhile confronts Doom about the possibility that he planted the fake journal in their possessions some years ago to attack her family at a later time.
When Doom skirts around answering her questions, she cautions him about crossing her and that she could easily kill him if she played by his rules.