The Real Top X-Moments of 2010
(For the record, there are big-time spoilers here)
George A. Tramountanas at CBR counts down the Top 12 X-moments of 2010 as voted on by his columns readers. The problem is that the list is a very bad one. Second Coming is rightfully outside the Top 12 primarily because the aftermath of the actual “coming” has been a bit of a letdown. A number of the other entries belong on the list, although I could quibble with the order, but most of the rest of the list faces serious problems. Notably, there are several entries that are just plain sexist and reflect more upon adolescent male fantasies than they do upon great writing or art. Most egregiously, the putrid X-Women (which I reviewed here) is an honorable mention, when it should only be mentioned amongst the worst things Marvel published in 2010. On the actual list are a problematic catfight (#11), a fashion statement/multiple women fawning over one man (#8), and a tanline — and I’m not kidding (#7). Also appearing on the list is Doop. Doop is maybe the worst X-character ever (except the Nanny) and certainly doesn’t belong on the list. Another entry that doesn’t belong anywhere near the list is Cyclops and his son chatting in X-Men Forever, a series that betrays the very spirit of the X-universe over the years. Finally, while I wouldn’t put them on the list at all, I can at least see why the Angel-Psylocke reunion and the Storm & Gambit one-shot are on the list, but in no sane world do they belong at #2 and #1, respectively. This list is seriously flawed.
In order to determine the real top 12 X-moments of the year, we have to first define the universe of possible titles that these moments could’ve come from. So, I’ll be excluding Deadpool comics simply because he’s not a mutant and his own comics rarely have anything to do with the X-universe. I’ll exclude the “Forever” series, such as X-Men Forever, primarily because they sucked so much I stopped reading them a long time ago. And, sadly, I’ll exclude SWORD because it doesn’t really fit with the X-universe, despite have some x-characters in it. Also, I’ll be excluding humorous titles (X-Babies), juvenile titles (First Class, X-Campus), alternate timelines (Noir, Ultimates) or series that only had a final issue in January (X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas). With those exclusions, we’re left with a lot, including on-going series (Astonishing, Cable, Daken, Dark Wolverine, New Mutants, Uncanny, X-23, X-Factor, X-Force and Astonishing X-Force, X-Men, Legacy, Wolverine, Wolverine Origins and Wolverine: Weapon X), and too many limited series and one-shots to mention. There are well over 100 issues to choose from and many, many great moments appear in those issues. Too bad CBR’s readers got it wrong.
In the spirit of the CBR list, though, I’ll do a Top 12 of my own, talking about the real best moments of the year. Also, to spread the love, I won’t do more than one moment from the same series, which makes it more difficult, but I’ll give those others honorable mentions (there is one exception to this rule as you’ll see)…
Here are a few that didn’t make the Top 12…
New Mutants Nostalgia (New Mutants): There are a bunch of moments in New Mutants that are callbacks to older New Mutants events and the series is great if you were a fan of the original series. None of them stand on their own, though, as being strong enough to be of high impact to people who didn’t read the original series. Examples: Dani Moonstar turning into a Valkyrie, the return of the Inferno babies, battling the undead Hellions, etc.
The Reunion of Cable and Deadpool (Cable #25): Two characters who were linked for so long get a reunion that is key to the Second Coming storyline and is filled with the traditional Deadpool humor, including Deadpool being eaten — and vomited back up because he’s so unpalatable — by some kind of dragon-monster thingie.
Husk Kicking Vampire A** (X-Men vs. Vampires #1): Husk is a character that hasn’t been focused on much in a long time, but her short in the Vampires anthology gives her the perfect shot at the classic revenge moment against a rank-and-file vampire. One of the more empowering moments in X-Men comics this year.
And now the Top 12:
12. Norman Osborne Defeats Nate Grey (Dark X-Men #5): Osborne is able to defeat one of the most powerful mutants ever simply through the will of his craziness and with a little betrayal from his Dark X-Men against what is right. The sequence contains the best line of the year (see below) and really helps establish the total menace of Osborne and ineptitude of the Dark X-Men (and hence strength of the real X-Men).
11. Rahne’s Return to X-Factor (X-Factor #208): One of the few moments from the CBR list that belongs on the list. The love quadrangle here, which involves werewolves, gods, bisexual powerless mutants and gay soulless creations from other dimensions, is too much fun to read.
10. The First Mutants Develop Since M-Day (X-Men Second Coming #2): Kind of one of the key events in Marvel comics of the year. After the sacrifices of several characters in the Second Coming storyline, Cerebra reveals five mutants who have developed powers, the first since Hope was born. Opens the door for all kinds of things.
9. The Conclusion of the Wolverine-Mr. X Fight (Wolverine-Mr. X One-shot): Mr. X is the guy who can’t be beaten in battle. Except Wolverine beat him once. He yearns for nothing more than to avenge that loss and he pursues Wolverine in the most diabolical ways to get a rematch. In the end, though, Logan wins again by refusing to fight him ever again, no matter how violent the things Mr. X does to him. The best use of brutality in any X-comic this year.
8. Beast Leaves the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #519): Nightcrawler was the first to be outraged by Cyclops resorting to using X-Force as a killing team after finding out about it. But Nightcrawler dies before he can truly react to it, Beast, on the other hand, leaves the X-Men — a group he co-founded — because they abandoned the original dream.
7. The Death of Cable (X-Force #28): Cable isn’t nearly as compelling or an important character as Nightcrawler, who died two issues earlier, but his death was hugely important for advancing the storyline of Hope. As long as Cable was around, Hope could never develop any further as a character, with him out of the way, she has a chance to become someone interesting.
6. Kavita Rao Outsmarts the Villains AND Egotistical Genius Dr. Nemesis (X-Men: Blind Science): Dr. Nemesis is the kind of character that infuriates people because of his huge ego AND the fact that he’s pretty much always right. But in the Blind Science one-shot he’s outsmarted by the villains and tricked into giving them a virus that will eliminate mutantkind. But Rao realized what was happening from the beginning and secretly sabotaged the whole thing, defeating the villains and outsmarting Dr. Nemesis. How often do female comic book characters get to save the day through their intellect? And how many of them are from India?
5. The Appearance of the Final Horsemen, Especially Pestilence (Uncanny X-Force #2): Another one I agree with the CBR list on, this is the best set of Horsemen yet and the Horsemen were always some of the best villains in the X-books. Pestilence, in particular, stands out.
4. Daken and Moonstone Flirting (Dark Wolverine #81): Is Daken gay or straight? Does it matter? Is he going to hook up with Moonstone or kill her? Is there a more original semi-romantic conversation in any mainstream comic of 2010? I doubt it.
3. Crone’s Holocaust Memories (X-Factor Nation X One-shot): This intro to the comic is beautiful to look at as it invokes the actual sketchbook powers of Crone and does a great job of connecting comics to the real world. How would a mutant of limited powers deal with the horrors of the Holocaust? This intro explains how.
2. Cyclops Defeats the Vampire Army (X-Men #5): Cyclops shows he’s the true leader of the X-Men and defeats the entire Vampire army by anticipating what the bad guys are going to do and by playing chess when they are playing checkers. The twist he turns on them is too good to reveal here, but let’s just say that 2010 established that Cyclops is actually the baddest of the badasses.
1. The Death of Nightcrawler (X-Force #26): The death of one of the greatest comics characters ever written should be the most important event in any year in any comics universe.
Honorable mentions: Beast referring to Abigail brand as ‘my little fruit bat” in Astonishing X-men #32, Daken’s gay kiss with Hawkeye/Bullseye in the middle of battle in Dark Wolverine #84, Shatterstar hitting on Iceman in front of Rictor in X-Factor Nation X #1, Madrox’s skepticism about Cyclops and Utopia in X-Factor Nation X #1, the return of Kitty Pryde in Uncanny X-Men #522, the callback of the famous Days of Future Past poster scene showing all the X-Men slain in Uncanny X-Men #525, the death of Silver Samurai in Wolverine #1, Wolverine getting rid of Romulus and declawing Daken in Wolverine Origins #48, X-23 leaving the X-Men in X-23 #3 (it’s the only way she can become a real character and not just an imitation of another character), Wolverine destroying Razorfists razor fists in X-Force: Sex and Violence #2, the rise of the Genoshan zombies in X-Force #24, the emergence of Hope’s powers in X-Force #28, the exploding vampire virus thing in X-Men #1, Wolverine’s final favor for Nightcrawler in Wolverine: Weapon X #16.