Monday, June 25, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Be glad we're not indoors."

Your Top Creative Runs part 41

Written by rdrsfn82 on Friday, February 04 2011 and posted in Features
Two X-Men books and a book that is about a group of outcasts led by a guy in a wheel chair that was created at about the same time.
44. 203 points - Astonishing X-Men (Whedon)- 5 first place votes
#1 - #24 and Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1
Five people have no taste and said this was the best book of all time!

Look, this book has a special meaning for me. It was actually the first book I bought when I decided to get back into comics when my older daughter was born, and I bought every issue of the run. It actually started off really fun, but by the end it wasn't very good and the final issue is just downright poor, as was most of the final arc. Still it had some great highlights and helped get me back into comics, so it does hold a special place in my memory. However, anyone that says this is the best book of all time is just plain wrong. I mean, it's not even close to the best X-Men run of all time. Whatever.

In 2004, Joss Whedon started writing the book as a monthly series. It ended in 2008 despite only being 25 issues. There were massive delays during the second half while Whedon got distracted by other projects and artist John Cassaday did other projects. This is a recurring theme with Whedon's comic work, as he is primarily a TV guy and needs to make more shitty shows that feature Eliza Dushku like Dollhouse.

OK, I'm getting snarky and off topic. My bad. I'll stop.

So in 2004, Whedon said his goal was to make the X-Men into superheroes and stop focusing on them being off in their own little corner. He did this by having the team interact with groups like the Avengers and Fantastic Four during the first arc, while Cyclops did interviews and the team went back to bright colorful costumes. Then the Scooby Gang went off into their own corner and ignored all ongoing events and never connected with other heroes again until the final issue.

Sorry, I went off topic again.

Note to self, I should make a musical with Neil Patrick Harris and Steve Carrell focused on why women are better than men.

OK, back to the book. The next arc focused on characters from Morrison's run (which we will totally see later on the list) and teases that Emma Frost is turning evil again, only she wasn't.

Oh and Kitty was reunited with the team and played a big role, because Whedon likes writing teen girls. He also gave Armor a big role. And he brought back Colossus for which I am eternally grateful as he's a great character and it was nice to see him return.

Then the Danger Room gained sentience and you could see the cracks forming in the series. Soon the series would fall off a cliff.

And then Whedon stopped writing so he could deal with a Writer's Strike and make Dr. Horrible.

Then everything turned to a focus on an alien race that had a connection to one of the characters. This led to the team going into space, Cyclops playing a big role, and eventually saw a female member of the team sacrifice herself to save everyone else. No, it wasn't Jean and it wasn't the Dark Phoenix Saga and it wasn't the Shi'ar. It was Kitty and Breakworld. This section of the run was.................

I'll finish this entry in eight months. My musical just got picked up.

43. 222 points - Doom Patrol (Morrison) - 5 first place votes
#19 - #63
Five people thought this was the best book ever written.

The Doom Patrol was a group of freaks and weirdoes with odd powers who were led by a guy in a wheelchair. This group was created in 1963, the same year as the X-Men, but the Patrol actually showed up a few months earlier. There's been some suggestion that Marvel stole the idea, but I've never seen it definitively proven either way. Regardless, they went in wildly different directions. Both struggled in sales, both saw a couple of characters move on to other books to become more popular, but Claremont and Cockrum and Len Wein came and saved the X-Men and turned them into huge sellers, while no such event happened with the Doom Patrol. Even this run, generally considered a classic and the best the characters have had, was never a huge seller, though that was part of the charm.

In 1987, DC relaunched the Doom Patrol with their own book. Paul Kupperberg, who had previously written the characters in various other books, was in charge of the relaunch and wrote the first 18 issues, but it didn't catch on and Grant Morrison was brought on with issue 19.

The Doom Patrol had always been a group of weird characters, but Morrison added even more oddness, such as a little girl named Dorothy that had the face of an ape and imaginary friends that defended her and attacked her enemies. He also added Danny the Street, a living street that was also a transvestite. Yeah, it was pretty odd. And the villains were even weirder, like a being that haunted the telephone system of the world, a group of Dada practitioners that fight the ideas of reality and reason, and the Scissormen, a group of beings with scissors for hands that cut people out of reality by cutting the fabric of reality around them.

The course of the series saw the team save the world from these various threats, but also saw the leader of the team, Niles Caulder, basically go insane. Late in the series it's revealed that he was actually responsible for the accidents that caused the original team members into the freaks that would eventually become heroes. He then decides to destroy the world and cause half the people on the planet to turn into super powered beings in an attempt to better the human race. This leads to him being killed and defeated by his own team. It's later shown that despite having his head cut off, he didn't die, but that's after the new writer takes over.

All in all the book was a great place for Morrison's wild ideas to run free and be explored as far as he wanted, without being restrained by the need to not kill characters off or to conform to larger storylines and events. We'll see Morrison a few more times on the list, including his run on the other team of freaks created the same year as the Doom Patrol.

42. 223 points - Uncanny X-Men (Claremont/Silverstri) - 6 first place votes
#218 - #261
Six people thought this was the best book ever written. It is a pretty great run and a fun time for the X-Men.

Chris Claremont's X-Men run lasted forever, or at least it seemed that way. As a result he shows up on this list more than a few times with different artists for his run on this book. Silvestri's run happened from about 1987 to 1990.

A large chuck of this run, from issue #229 - #250, was known as the Outback X-Men run, due to the team having a headquarters in the Australian Outback. The team consisted of Dazzler, Psylocke, Storm, Longshot, Havok, Rogue, Wolverine, and Colossus. While at first it seems like a kind of an odd grouping, they worked well together and their combination of powers and skills made them a pretty solid team. The reason for this move and this team was the storyline, The Fall of the Mutants, in which the team battled a being known as the Adversary, a demon. To stop him, these eight mutants sacrificed their lives (along with Madeline Pryor). They are then resurrected by the goddess Roma. They keep their resurrection secret and that's why they moved to the Outback.

Anyways, over the course of their time in hiding the team battled the Reavers, met Gateway (a mutant that could teleport them around the world), the returning Brood, and eventually got caught up with a nation called Genosha that was enslaving mutants. The Genoshians captured Madelyne Pryor and her friend and enslaved them. The X-Men defeated the Genoshians, and rescued Pryor, though they probably regretted that as she would soon turn into the Goblin Queen and start the Inferno event where she tried to bring Hell to Earth. That event would be basically the last major story of Silvestri's run.

Other big events during this run were the introduction of Jubilee, the revelation that Pryor was a clone of Jean Grey, the revelation that Mr. Sinister created her to have a kid with Scott Summers, Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers crucifying Logan, Psylocke getting a new Asian body (which has never made sense to me), and a bunch of other events.

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