top of page

200: Favorites as of 2001 (ish)


Following up from my Favorites as of 1995 post, it's time to do another comprehensive "Favorites" post. I waited until 2001 this time (instead of 2000) since Grant Morrison's New X-Men run seemed like a more appropriate break point. I'll be revisiting my favorite characters, issues, and moments.

I'm going to approach the following sections more holistically as opposed to focusing on the past five (or 6) years. The main reason for the new approach is that the last 6 years have been pretty damn terrible, and there really isn't much that stands out compared to previous eras.

For the "Favorite Characters" section, I would previously exclude Magik if she had been dead for the past 5 years. This time around, I'm going to choose my all around favorite characters, whether they've been significant recently or not. I guess that's a spoiler!

For the favorite moments and issues, I'm going to really focus on what has stayed with me the most over the years. I tried to not pick favorite issues if I'm separately focusing on moments from those issues, but some are just too fantastic to not get referenced in both sections.

Favorite Characters

# 10 - Dani Moonstar (AKA Psyche, Mirage, Moonstar)

Dani's powers have evolved numerous times over the years, but at it's core she has unique telepathic powers that allow her to access people's deepest emotions and project them. As co-leader of the New Mutants, she would primarily use her powers to project 3D images of her enemies fears. Over time, she learned how to project all sorts of mental images. More recently, she's been using a psychic bow and arrow to incapacitate her enemies. All of this on top of her induction into the Norse Valkyries which bestowed additional powers (and a magical horse), as well as more recently manifesting Godlike powers.

Like Chris Claremont, I have a soft spot for strong female characters. I instantly fell in love with the character was very impressed with her strength as co-leader of the X-Men. It was VERY tough deciding who would get this 10th spot, but I gave it to Dani because I was absolutely fist pumping when Dani started showing up again in X-Force and became a regular character. Her characterizations hasn't been fantastic lately, but I still love Dani and she belongs in my top ten.

Here's what I said about her in my 1990 coverage (when she was in 6th place):

"I guess I like female characters. I just love this little rebel and am currently PISSED that she was written out of New Mutants. What were you thinking Leifeld!? She always had a good head on her shoulders and never hesitated to give sass to Professor X or Magneto. Just a fun read. "

# 9 - Cannonball

Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) has the ability to project a blast field which provides him with flight and nigh invulnerable protection.

Here's the interesting thing about my love for Cannonball. He was a pretty boring character throughout New Mutants. He was terribly used while "promoted" to the X-Men. He hasn't wowed me since returning to X-Force. But the early years of X-Force (thank you Rob Leifeld) when Sam became the leader of X-Force (when Cable wasn't around) was so strong, he's left a lasting impression on me that hasn't faded. I'll never forget when he told Professor Xavier off during X-Cutioner Song after being chastised for X-Force's methods.

Here's what I said in my 1995 coverage when he blasted to # 2 in my rankings:

"Woah! Sam Guthrie has been around since 1984, but it took Fabian Nicieza and X-Force to make me love the kid, bringing him all the way to the # 2 spot. When he was with the New Mutants, he was a dorky kid, always talking about being "invulnerable while blasting" and was clearly the lower half of the co-leadership with Dani. "
In the past few years, while Cable was away, Sam has stepped into his own. He's a likable and respectable leader who I can't stop myself from admiring. I can't wait to see what the next five years has in store for Sam Guthrie."

Ouch. Pretty sad that I was excited for the next 5 years when his promotion to the X-Men set his development back 10 years.

# 8 - Domino

Domino's only mutant power is luck probability, but when coupled with experience and badass fighting skills, you're left with a power house.

Domino started off as the experienced right hand to Cable in the early X-Force days. When Cable got his own comic, she was the other recurring guest star, similar to Jubilee in the Wolverine comic. Over time, Cable left the X-Force comic and she's continued to serve as a wise veteran who prefers to lead by example rather than at the head of a team.

The character certainly hasn't been as strong or entertaining lately, but that's pretty much the case for the whole X-Men universe. She's another strong female character who I can't get enough of. I'll always have a warm spot for her because of how much I loved X-Force as a kid and continued to love the comic during the re-read (until more recently).


# 7 - Magik

Illyana Rasputin has the ability to create magical "stepping disks" that allow her to use the realm of Limbo to travel between space and time. She's also a wicked powerful sorceress.

She wasn't here for a long time, but she was here for a good time! I have a feeling that if/when Magik comes back, if she's well written, she may end up in my # 1 spot one day. I love strong female characters and there are few as tough, or as tragic, as Illyana. You're going to be hearing about her plenty more in the rest of the blog.

# 6 - Rogue

Rogue has the ability to steal the memories and powers of those she touches through skin to skin contact. In addition, she permanently stole (from Carol Danvers) the ability to fly, general super strength, and near invulnerability.

Rogue has been around for a while, but whereas other characters were super strong under Claremont and waned once he left (looking at you Storm, Jean, and Kitty), Rogue actually became a better character under Lobdell and those who followed. She very naturally and very slowly became an obvious pick for leadership. She's in a relationship with Gambit, but he doesn't define who she is.

# 5 - Wolverine

You already know this, but Wolverine has heightened senses alongside the ability to rapidly heal.

My initial reaction would be to not pick Wolverine since he's the most popular X-man, but Claremont's version of what I like to call "Philosophy Logan" is just tops for me. He is a badass, but he loves to mentor the new kids. He hates Scott, but he would also die for him. He'll let Colossus get beat up by Juggernaut to help him prove a point.

# 4 - Storm

Storm has the ability to control the elements. It's really a shame that Jim Lee, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Alan Davis, and all the rest who followed were not interested in featuring Storm. She hit her peak during Claremont, but as you'll soon see, her early arcs were so good it has cemented her as a top 4 X-Man for life.

# 3 - Cable

Cable has both telepathy and telekinesis. I don't know if he'll ever be as "cool" as when Leifeld used him to juice up the New Mutants, and followed it by kicking off the X-Force, but he's a character that has stayed interesting and relevant since the first day he was introduced.

# 2 - Kitty

Kitty Pryde has the ability to phase through solid objects. Even though she hasn't been super relevant lately, I fell so in love with this character under Claremont's pencil that I can't help but to keep her in the top tier!

# 1 - Magneto

Erik Lensherr has the ability to manipulate metal, as well as my emotions. He is the most nuanced character in Marvel and I love him for it. And unlike my last few mentions who haven't been relevant in a while, we got more great Magneto stories under Lobdell (Fatal Attractions) and Alan Davis (the gift of Genosha).

Special Mentions

  • Nightcrawler

    • Favorite character pre re-read and I liked him in Excalibur, but just not enough to crack the top ten.

  • Polaris

    • I love her but just not enough screen time.

  • Jean Grey

    • If she had done ANYTHING since Claremont she would be in my top ten.

  • Apocalypse

    • Was he a better character in the animated series?

Favorite Moments

I'm adding both a "favorite moments" section as well as a "favorite issue" section because sometimes you have small moments that are great without the entire issue being great. Here are the moments that most hit me in the feels!

#10 - The Return of the Excalibur Characters (XM # 80)

Wow, a moment from the last 6 years. I guess there's been a few bright spots.

You'll notice a theme of me feeling warm inside when characters get together after a long period of time apart. Just like I was getting so excited for Arya to finally reunite with her mom at her brother's wedding (Game of Thrones reference).

Excalibur had been getting stale for quite some time and they spent a long period of time segregated from the other X-Men. This was just great as Kitty immediately started bonding with Wolverine, looking up to Storm, and even serving as a mentor for a new generation (Marrow). Nightcrawler immediately picks up with his favorite drinking buddy, Wolverine. Even Colossus got slightly less lame, throwing fastball specials and such. This made me have hope that we could re-live the Claremont glory days.

# 9 - Wolverine lecturing Colossus about Kitty (UXM # 183)

In 1990 I said:

"THIS is Philosopher Logan at his peak. Colossus breaks up with Kitty after "falling in love" with an alien during Secret Wars. Wolverine is like "Colossus. We're going out to the bar. You're coming, bitch."
The Juggernaut ends up showing up at the bar, and Wolverine sits back and lets him (Colossus) take a beating without offering any help. This final quote is the cherry on top: "She's 14, Peter. But to save you, she agreed to marry Caliban and join the Morlocks. If he hadn't released her from that vow, she'd be there today. You never even said 'Thank You.'"

To this day, I still love "Philosopher Logan" and this is probably the best example of why I call him that. You can read my original take on this in Favorites as of 1990.

# 8 - Wolverine kissing Jean, signaling the first meeting of X-Factor and the X-Men (UXM # 242)

In 1990 I said:

"The scene was Inferno. Jean had been brought back to life and the original 5 X-Men had gotten back together to form X-Factor, but the two team's hadn't met yet. There had been a few teasers, like Wolverine smelling Jean and freaking out (during the Mutant Massacre), but they hadn't seen each other face to face yet.
And what a way to meet! Wolverine grabs Jean and starts making out with her in front of Scott. I mean, that in itself was hilarious and awesome, but the fact that it kicked off this long awaited reunion between these two teams and friends, was certainly a moment to get excited about. "

Inferno will be brought up a lot in this blog. The best payoffs are preceded by a long period of annoyance or excellent set up. In this case, we got both. Jean had been back alive for a long time, but the two teams weren't connecting back up. In addition, the X-Men had started to get hints that Jean was alive, such as Wolverine smelling her. So not only did this all come to a head right here, but it happens in dramatic fashion with Wolverine laying a wet one on Jean. I'll never forget the excitement I felt at this moment.

#7: Wolverine telling Kitty she's team leader (UXM # 195)

In 1990 I said:

"Storm had left the team for a while and Nightcrawler wasn't cutting it as a leader. This didn't last long, but in issue #195, Kitty was put in charge of the X-Men:
When this happened, I literally pumped my fist and "whooped" out loud. You all know I love Kitty, so to see the other team members being like "Yea you're only 14, but you're the best to lead us, so get on with it," was an amazing moment for me." While this is a Kitty moment, it's also very much a Wolverine moment as well. His mentorship is on full display here as he knows everyone looks up to him, but he puts his faith in Kitty. Throughout the issue he provides emotional support for her, clearly propping her up while also helping to guide the way.

# 6 - Xavier needs help walking from Jubilee after X-Cutioner’s Song (UXM # 297)

In 1995 I said:

"Xavier is briefly able to walk after the events of X-Cutioner's Song. In one of the best quiet issues I've ever read, Lobdell has Xavier spending the whole day having fun with Jubilee. As the day ends, he begins to lose the ability to walk. Jubilee is nervous about whether she should help or address what is happening. In a beautiful scene, she realizes she doesn't need to say anything (which is a big deal for Jubilee), and instead just needs to be there for him."

5 - Meeting Domino (XF15)

I had really liked Domino the first 14 issues, but I was nervous I wouldn't like the real Domino when we found out that we were spending time with Copycat (Vanessa) this whole time. But the real Domino makes one hell of an entrance and I immediately let go of any concerns I had about liking her any less. I loved this the first time when I was a kid and just as much during my re-read as an adult.

4 - Madelyn Confronting Scott (X-Factor # 37)

This is great for a number of reasons. If you've been reading my blogs from the beginning, you know that I really struggled with how Scott treated his family. It's pretty easy to say that Jim Shooter ruined Cyclops because him bringing back Jean forced Cyclops to choose his love, but his shittiness dates further back than that. Scott had been a distant husband, choosing to lead the X-Men (and losing to Storm) over being with his pregnant wife. He wasn't around when the baby was born. He constantly made backhanded comments about Madelyn not being as good as Jean. So watching Madelyn go full on evil and unload on Scott was actually a breath of fresh air.

In addition to this being the end of the Madelyn saga, Claremont had spent a year setting up Madelyn's transformation into the Goblin Queen during the Outback era, so this payoff was huge.

Let's not mince words, Scott abandoned his family whether she eventually turned evil or not.

3 - Illyana's death during Inferno (New Mutants # 73)

Look at that, another Inferno reference. An argument can be made that Illyana's story is the best (and really only) complete arc in the X-Men universe. I was fascinated by this concept of Illyana being abducted into Hell (Limbo) at a young age. Slowly coming to grips with both her powers and her dark side. Her friendship with Kitty and relationship with her brother, who never stopped loving here. Her story was gripping, compelling, and heart wrenching when she sacrificed herself for her friends during Inferno. What a great event!

2 - Storm pulls Kitty into the sky to have a little chat. (UXM # 183).

To read my full notes on this moment, I'll refer you to Favorites as of 1990.

Claremont had spent years putting Storm through a slow transformation from a gentle Goddess into a being more in touch with her base instincts. Kitty, who viewed Storm as a mother figure, was very unnerved by it and had no problem making passive aggressive comments about it for days. Eventually Storm decides they need to have a private chat so she whisks Kitty up in the sky and for many panels, Storm explains why she needed to change and explains to Kitty why she wishes Storm could accept her as she is. It ends with both of them in tears during a heartfelt embrace that I'll never forget.

#1 - Storm stabbing Callisto in the heart (UXM # 170)

My # 2 favorite moment talked about the impacts after Storm's transformation, but this scene is the moment that Storm's transformation was set in stone. I doubt there will ever be a more compelling arc in any comic that I read moving forward. Prior to this, I had only really seen Storm as Halle Berry in the movies and a bit boring in the animated series. This amazing arc (plus many other great acrs Claremont put her through) cemented her as one of my favorite characters of all time. It's somewhat sad to think in this light that most writers following Claremont (looking at you, Lobdell) had much use for Storm.

In 1990 I said:

"It's going to be REAL hard for this to be knocked out of my #1 spot. Not only was this moment awesome and shocking, it was also the culmination of a long gestating plot, showing Storm's transformation.
For most of the early Claremont era, Storm was depicted as a gentle goddess who refused to take a life. In fact, there were numerous issues (Garrok from the Savage Land being a prime example) where she went out of her way to not let villains die, leaving her distraught if she failed. As she became team leader, she had a responsibility to keep the team safe and she was struggling with this contradiction.
In the Morlock tunnels, Kitty was going to die if Storm didn't act. And act she did. She challenges Callisto, saving Nightcrawler or Colossus from needing to challenge themselves. She steps in the ring and catches the knife like a badass. Then after a little jarring, she stabs the knife deep into Callisto's heart without hesitation, then walks away, again like a bad ass. I remember audibly gasping when this happened. Did she really just kill someone!? Did she really just do it without hesitating? What a badass? What about her moral code? OMG. This also paid off her being like a mother figure to Kitty. Her daughter was in trouble, so she dropped all pretenses and did what she had to to save her. Amazing scene!"

Special Mentions

  • UXM 367: Magneto is given Genosha to lead

    • I just absolutely didn't see this coming.

  • W # 75: Wolverine saving Jean in the jet

    • I jumped up and yelled "Yippee!"

  • XM 85: cops pull guns on XM and Storm stops Xavier so she can use reason and peace to resolve the issue.

    • Remember kids, Professor Xavier has always been a jerk.

  • XM 28: Jean Grey bitch slapping Sabretooth

    • Ha, what a badass.

  • UXM # 150: Magneto collapsing over hurting Kitty.

    • The first time Magneto started gaining nuance.

  • XF Annual # 5, Days of Future Present: Rachel talking to her parents for the first time.

    • This was really touching. If I actually liked Rachel, this would've cracked the top ten.

  • XM 1 - 3: Magneto’s "final" arc

    • Say goodbye to Claremont as we say goodbye (for quite some time) to Magneto

  • UXM # 193: Warpath’s Heel turn

    • First time I really started liking Warpath. Won't be the last.

  • UXM # 390: Colossus's sacrifice

    • I literally read this today and almost put it in the top 10.

Favorite Issues

# 10 - X-Force # 15 (Meet the Real Domino)

What a badass entrance for the real Domino!

Great fight between Cable and Deadpool.

Tolliver is mysterious. Vanessa, Domino's doppleganger, is empathetic. I just loved this issue. This is the 3rd time this issue has come up so far, so I'll leave my narrative as is.

# 9 - Avengers Annual # 10 (Carol Danvers is assaulted)

I know this isn't actually an X-Men comic, but it was written by Claremont and focuses more on the X-Men than the Avengers. There's all sorts of impactful stuff in this issue such as some great Spider-Woman scenes and the first appearance of Rogue, but I will never forget this issue because of the crazy shit with Carol Danvers.

I explained it best in my original coverage of this issue:

"I want to take a few moments to comment on Claremont's handling of Carol Danvers. Claremont was the regular writer on the Ms. Marvel series featuring Carol Danvers as the titular hero. After that title was cancelled, Carol spent time as a member of the Avengers. Avengers #200 contained one of the most controversial stories in Marvel comics history, which this Comic Book Legends reveals article addresses the rumor that the issue wasn't allowed to be re-printed. In the issue, Carol was essentially tricked/brainstormed by a being named Marcus into coming back to his dimension with him and being his sex slave.
She eventually came back to Earth pregnant with his child, which turned out to be an incarnation of him. Messed up, I know, but stay with me here. As one of the strongest examples of Claremont championing proper female characterization, Avengers Annual # 10 (written by Claremont) showed Carol taking the Avengers to task. She doesn't mince words as she accuses the Avengers of turning their back on her as she was essentially brainwashed, kidnapped, and repeatedly raped. At one point, Wanda (The Scarlett Witch), tries to congratulate her on being a mother and she completely shuts her down. Carol calls them out for enabling this situation and not supporting her and to show her emotional stress, she announced she can't be around the Avengers anymore.
This marks the beginning of Carol hanging around with the X-Men before ultimately joining the Starjammers under a new name, Binary. "

# 8 - UXM # 170 (Storm vs. Callisto)

Yeah, I know. This already showed up as my favorite moment of all time. In my previous blogs, I had this as my favorite issue, but I wanted to give some love to other ideas this time around. Not only was the moment of Storm striking Callisto fantastic, but the entire issue was great setting up this scene (Angel's capture, Kitty getting sick, X-men getting defeated, etc) and everything that came after (like Storm becoming the new Morlock leader).

# 7 - UXM # 273 (3 team's together)

In 1995 I said:

"I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a comic. You have Jim Lee drawing just absolutely beautiful art. And then it's the first time that X-Factor, X-Men, and New Mutants (soon to be X-force) are all chilling together talking about their future. I just love seeing all of these characters together interacting. It was even more awesome after an extended period of time with the X-Men broken up, X-Factor off planet, and the New Mutants floundering around leaderless. "

This probably isn't on most people's top ten list, but as someone who is binging through the Marvel universe, excited to see these characters come together, it was a truly magical experience. I'll never forget watching Scott, Jean, and Storm pull away from the rest of the team's talking about strategy and just thinking "Yea, these 3 would totally have nothing but respect from every other character here."

# 6 - X-Force # 27 - 28 (Feral and Tempo)

In 1995 I said:

"I love seeing the slow progression of characters switching sides, so hats off to Fabian Nicieza for orchestrating two characters seamlessly building up to a switch and it happening at the exact same moment. Feral had been portrayed for 30 issues as a loose cannon while Tempo was slowly shown being less and less open to the terrorist approach of the MLF. It all came to a head when Feral officially turned and was about to kill a human (Peter Guyrich) and was saved by none other than the "villain" Tempo. Feral went on to stay with the MLF, but I wish Tempo would have stayed with X-Force."

This is another issue that you'll be hard pressed to see anyone else raving about, but I was totally digging it. Feral had been slowly turning evil for quite some time. Tempo had slowly been going good, and this was an amazing way of paying that off. I guess I'm a sucker for slow burn stories that have great payoffs.

#5 - X-Factor # 87 (The Psychiatrist)

In 1995 I said:

"Don't let the cover fool you. There wasn't a single piece of action in this whole issue. And you know what? It was marvelous. This entire issue is set around a psychiatrist interviewing the individual team members. Not only did this issue make me care more about each character moving forward, but some of their backstory was really fantastic. Like Quicksilver, for instance, opens up about being a prick because he can't stand how slow the world moves. That's ingenious! And Multiple Man talking about his fear of being alone. We learn that Strong Guy is actually in pain every day because of his power and covers it all up with humor. Polaris starts to show her battles with depression. It's just a great read!"

#4: Inferno

This is the best event in X-Men history (that I've read so far). I don't even think that's a hot take. Magik dies. X-Men and X-Factor are reunited. Wolverine kisses Jean. The end of the Outback era. Madelyn finally goes crazy. Madelyn finally confronts Scott about Jean (and about being a shitty husband, which he was). Baby Cable is almost thrown off a building. Just an amazingly well written event, with a great deal of build up and excellent payoffs.

# 3: UXM # 162: The Brood Saga

In 1990 I said:

"While I thought the whole Brood Saga was pretty good, this issue in particular is fantastic. It shows Wolverine being infected by a Brood egg and being severely weakened as his mutant healing factor fights it off. All the while he's fighting off Brood and marching his way back to help his friends and still leaving time to give us flashbacks to how it all happened. "

# 2: UXM # 160 & Magik # 1 - 4 (Illyana taken to Limbo)

I've been talking about Illyana non-stop in this blog. The combination of UXM # 160 and the 4 part Magik Limited Series were gripping. Perhaps this hit me hard since I have daughters Magik's age.

# 1 - UXM # 274 - 277 (Rogue and Magneto in the Savage Land)

This was one of Claremont's last stories while he and Jim Lee were still playing nice. Claremont was writing the hell out of Magneto. Just an amazing story about how Magneto isn't truly going evil, but he's incredibly misunderstood and gets more and more frustrated as everyone shits on him repeatedly. Also an amazing Rogue story as she gets rid of Carol Danvers and strikes up a romance with Magneto. Just simply a really well written and well drawn comic.

Special Mentions

  • UXM # 227 (Storm finally getting her powers back)

    • Less of my liking this issue and more of me being annoyed until this finally happened.

  • UXM # 366 - 367, XM # 85 - 87 (Magneto Wars, Blog 182)

    • A story that didn't suck in the last 5 years! Really, Alan Davis wrote a great one here.

  • Professor Xavier is a Jerk!

    • Iconic. Plus, Kitty.

  • UXM 141 - 142 (DoFP)

    • Iconic. I really did like it, but other stories were better overall.

  • XM 1 - 3 (Jim Lee/ Claremont re-launch)

    • Iconic. Great art. But this isn't "most impactful on comics history," it's my favorite and it just quite didn't make it.

  • Exc 42- 50 (Necrom, Alan Davis, Kylun, Cerise, team reformed)

    • As time goes on, I care less about this, but it did crack my top ten last time so it gets a special mention.

  • The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix

    • As time goes on, I care less about this, but it did crack my top ten last time so it gets a special mention.

  • NM # 87 (Cable’s First appearance)

    • It wasn't necessarily a great comic, just an important point in one of my favorite character's life.

  • UXM 272 (X-tinction Agenda)

    • A pretty damn good event that gets more props knowing it happened immediately after the Image exodus.

  • UXM 127 (Proteus)

    • This was basically my # 11. Just a great, disrespected story.

  • XF #24 (Archangel’s unveiling, Apocalypse)

    • Iconic

  • UXM 129 (Kitty’s first appearance)

    • I love Kitty.

  • UXM 180 (Storm and Kitty talk in the sky)

    • Only reason it's not here is because it's in my favorite moments.

  • UXM195 (Power Pack, Kitty as leader)

    • Only reason it's not here is because it's in my favorite moments.

  • UXM 242 (Inferno, Wolvie and Jean Kiss)

    • Only reason it's not here is because it's in my favorite moments.

  • Exc 98 (Cool fight with Black Air)

    • This was a really cool fight scene. If this blog only focused on the coolest things from the last era, this would've made it!

  • UXM 359 (Rogue almost goes powerless)

    • Another great issue that would've made it if I only included issues from the last era.

  • UXM 390 & XM # 110 (Colossus dies and Kitty mourns)

    • Great, great shit from a lame duck era.

  • UXM388, XM108 (Dream’s End - Death of Moira and Robert Kelly)

    • I read this two days ago and I started drafting this segment 1 week ago. I may move this into the top ten before I click publish.


bottom of page