The PoP! Stars narrow it down to the cream of the crop in categories ranging from (but not limited to) Comics, Movies, Toys and Geek Culture in general. This is the PoP! Top 6-Pack.
It has been over six years since writer, shaman and Scottish phenomena Grant Morrison ended his three-year relationship with Marvel Comics and went back to his old and current home, DC Comics. His magnificent run on the X-Men was, well, magnificent. Not many people can get into Morrison’s creations and even I was partially skeptical at times (I still can’t stand his last story arc, “Here Comes Tomorrow”). His New X-Men was my first experience with Morrison, but despite some misgivings, all in all I loved his run. So much that I’ve been a follower of his ever since.
For no special reason, here are my six favorite Grant Morrison’s New X-Men stories/issues.
New X-Men #117 (Oct. 2001)
Art by Ethan Van Sciver
Synopsis: Following the Xavier’s Institute’s outing as a school for young mutants and home of the X-Men, the team faces anti-mutant protests outside the institute’s gates. Hank McCoy focuses his teaching abilities on a new student, Barnell a.k.a. Beak (yes, first appearance here), but the kid finds it hard to fit in. Hank also loses in the romantic department, as longtime on-and-off girlfriend/fiancée Trish Tilby breaks up with him due to his recent transformation into a more feral being. Jean Grey, unhappy with her marriage, attempts to start something with Wolverine, but he declines. Cassandra Nova takes over Prof. Xavier’s mind and uses Beak to beat the pulp out of Beast. Finally, a Shi’ar delegation arrives above the estate, and Nova/Xavier is ready to take over the Empire.
Best Part: Hank is being brought on his knees by Cassandra Nova, manipulated to let his bestial side to take over, and eventually beaten into unconsciousness by his new student, Barnell, mentally controlled by Nova and holding a bat. Logan pushes Jean away.
New X-Men #121 (Feb. 2002)
“Silence: Psychic Rescue in Progress”
Art by Frank Quitely
Synopsis: Cassandra Nova now in a coma and Charles’s psyche trapped in her mind, Jean Grey and Emma Frost combine mental forces and go inside to find the Professor. Facing an hostile opposition and weird surrounding, Emma get her hands full while Jean continues on her until discovering Charles’s darkest secret. This issue was part of Marvel’s month of “silent” issues.
Best Part: Charles’s secret — he killed his twin sister, Cassandra, in their mother’s womb after she tried to kill him. Her mentality remained hidden in his psyche for many years. Also, Quitely’s masterfully interpreted Morrison’s script, which resulted in one of the best “‘Nuff Said!” issues.
New X-Men #127 (Aug. 2002)
“Of Living and Dying”
Art by John Paul Leon and Bill Sienkiewicz
Synopsis: Xorn goes into Mutant Town to find the truth about a monstrous mutant on the loose. Instead he finds a scared teenager stuck in a big, ugly body while his terrified mother tries to comfort him. The kid gets on the loose and Xorn fails to make the authorities realize what’s really going on, resulting in the kid’s death.
Best Part: Xorn’s unrealistic dream of saving every human being and ultimate conclusion about life. Xorn saying, after the kid dies, that the creature was only a cocoon for a far more beautiful creature. A cop’s suggestion that everyone should just go drink beer together and forget their disagreements/hate/whatever.
New X-Men #129 (Sep. 2002)
Art by Igor Kordey
Synopsis: A mysterious French outlaw named Fantomex (debuted in the previous issue) approaches Charles and Jean in Paris, attempting to sell Xavier the secrets of Weapon Plus, while local X-Corps try to stop the deadly Weapon XII in the Metro tunnels. After a small confrontation with black-ops and a short visit to Fantomex’s place, he agrees to help the X-Corps only if the Professor and Jean accept that the creature must die.
Best Part: Fantomex. The introduction of E.V.A., his vehicle/partner. Humans not learning anything and sending a big mindless goon to stop the world’s two greatest telepaths and a skilled thief/killer.
New X-Men #132 (Nov. 2002)
“Ambient Magnetic Fields”
Art by Phil Jimenez
Synopsis: Charles and Jean join an X-Corps branch (Storm, Quicksilver, Sabra and Neal Shaara) in the ruins of Genosha. A mentally broken Unus the Untouchable unveils the island’s darkest secrets. A renegade mutant group led by Toad builds a statue for their fallen master, Magneto. A crazed Polaris is found amidst the ruins, affected by the ghosts of all who died in the infamous genocide, and by her father’s final words. Literally.
Best Part: Unus the not-so-untouchable anymore. The Magneto statue made from remains of Sentinels. Polaris “talking” to ghosts and activate Magneto’s last recording, echoing beyond Genosha and forever. Or until he comes back to life.
New X-Men #135-138 (Feb.-May 2003)
“Riot at Xavier’s”
Art by Frank Quitely
Synopsis: Genius and outsider student Quentin Quire leads a new group of kids against Xavier’s values and embrace the violent image humans have of mutants, while boosting their abilities with power enhancer “Kick.” Xorn takes his special class for a trip in the woods, leading to a confrontation with mutant organ snatchers, the U-Men. Quentin takes down the Professor and announces a riot, moving to attacking humans visitors during Open Day. Emma Frost’s Cuckoos take charge in an attempt to stop Quire, but suffer a great loss as a price.
Best Part: Xorn’s special class and the way they deal with a U-Man. The Cuckoos’ heroic moment, dumping of Emma after losing a sister and revenge. Glob Herman (especially after being set on fire). Wolverine easily defeated by telepath Quentin Quire. Some of the best Frank Quitely action sequences he ever drawn (the Cuckoos vs. Kid Omega, Cyclops breaking students’ bones, the chase after Glob Herman).