Another year has come and gone, yet so much has occurred within the X-Universe, it's hard to believe only twelve months have passed! During this time, there have been deaths, births, alternate universes, huge battles, a divisive schism among mutantkind, and the (brief) reappearance of a friend long thought gone. I get dizzy thinking about it now, so obviously my brain went on overload when trying to tabulate your votes for the Top X-Moments of 2011!
Thankfully, I managed to dig through all of your emails and forum postings, separated the wheat from the chaff, and arrived at a semi-scientific list that I hope many will agree with (and is bound to infuriate at least one individual from the boards). Your comments were funny, insightful, and full of the passion that makes being an X-fan such a great experience.
I know lots of end-of-the-year lists consist of a "Top Ten" but, just as last year, I'm sticking with a "Damn Great Dozen." Heck, there was enough greatness to make a "Terrific Twenty" list, but I only have so much space in this column. As these top moments are all about you and your opinions, I'm mostly just going to sit back and let your words guide our fun. So let's get to it!
12) THE BIRTH OF RAHNE'S CHILD
A good way to start things off is at the beginning, and you don't get much more of a new start than a birth. However, when it comes to X-Factor, even a simple thing like the arrival of an infant is extremely complex -- especially when the mother is a mutant and the father is a Wolf Prince from Asgard!
I loved that cute furball coming out of Rahne's mouth!
Rahne coughed up one hell of a hairball. I know now what I'm going to tell my kids when they ask where they came from…
11) ICEMAN AND KITTY'S KISS
It was the kiss no one was expecting, and yet so many were grateful for it. Who knew "X-Men: The Last Stand" would be so prophetic?
Bobby being an immature underachiever was getting old. Bobby saw what he wanted and took it. "Wolverine & the X-Men" #2 bodes well for the future in many ways…
In "Wolverine & the X-Men" # 2, Logan's speech to Bobby was endearing and impeccable -- "Step up and be counted." And here, how Bobby steps up -- it's golden! His powers reach new heights and he gets tongue-in-cheek...with Kitty!
10) GAMBIT VS. DAKEN
Here is another surprising moment from the past year -- a battle between two of mutantkind's most handsome bachelors in "Daken: Dark Wolverine" #8. It just goes to prove that women read comics too -- although everyone loves a good ass-kicking!
This year has been kind of short on great one-on-one fights, but this has everything you could want: two hot males, sexual tension, and punching in the rain.
I'm voting for this because the art by Marco Checchetto is stellar, especially the depiction of Gambit's power signature.
I'd like to vote for the fight between Gambit and Daken in "Daken: Dark Wolverine" #8. Everything from the conversation where Daken tried to charm Gambit (but got Remy's Bo Staff in his throat instead) to the awesome display of power showed in the book's amazing art was terrific. It really was a great moment between two fantastic characters, and it was refreshing to see Gambit actually kick some ass again.
9) SCARLET WITCH CALLS FOR "MORE MUTANTS"
Several years ago, an event occurred which changed mutantkind forever. In "House of M," the Scarlet Witch uttered a simple phrase that sent the X-Men's world into a tailspin: "No more mutants." This took the children of the atom down a path which first led to Utopia and has now taken them to "Schism." So what could be more appropriate to undo the source of these troubles with another simple phrase in the pages of "Avengers: The Children's Crusade?" Is now the time for "more mutants?"
While I understand this is technically an "Avengers" book, the Scarlet Witch belongs to the X-verse. The big moment this year is when Wanda remembers everything. The ramifications are innumerable, and have only been hinted at. This moment felt huge before we learned that she will be playing a large role in Avengers Vs. X-Men...
-- Al Gonzalez
Cheung's art and Heinberg's witty script play off each other well. Wanda reignites the first mutant depowered by her since M-Day...and naturally wanton violence ensues.
8) THE JEAN GREY SCHOOL FOR HIGHER LEARNING
Fans have been wondering for some time when the X-Men's Westchester school would reopen. In 2011, it finally happened, but in a way that no one could have anticipated!
The whole concept of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and the entirety of "Wolverine & the X-Men" #1 was a top moment. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed an X-book that much, from the actual story to the additional material in the back. The staff diagram and curriculum deserves a special shout-out. Between the "Bamfs," the statue of Jean, the introduction of Broo as a main character, and the use of Rachel and Doop as receptionist -- it's pure gold.
The naming of the school suggests both Jean Grey worship and a Logan/Jean pairing. I'm looking forward to their first interaction upon her return.
It's the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. 'Nuff said.
7) CYCLOPS' LEADERSHIP
Many of you called out particular moments of Cyclops' leadership over the past year. Rather than dispersing these votes over several moments, I hope you'll excuse me as I lumped them together and cherry-picked the moments you loved most!
Cyclops begging Storm to pretend she doesn't want to go with Logan is on my list! I was afraid they would shoehorn Storm into Scott's team. I just couldn't see her choosing him over Logan. Thankfully, her staying with Scott wasn't so contrived. And honestly, I just like seeing Scott humbled.
I loved Storm questioning Scott raising his hand at not being characterized as "mainly super villain" in "Uncanny X-Men" #1. It was funny and also a great fan-service.
…I can't imagine anything topping this moment for sheer awesome and meta-commentary.
Cyclops (not so subtly) insisting mutantkind will NOT be dicked with anymore! For a while, it felt as though "Uncanny X-Men" kept telling us what a good leader Cyclops was, but with only a few exceptions, we didn't really see it. Gillen's show-rather-than-tell approach illustrates Scott's level of planning and creative improvisation.
A la Nolan's "Dark Knight" film -- Scott did what the mayor of San Francisco failed to do. While she considered exterminating Utopia to save the humans, when she asks Scott if he'd consider the inverse, his response shows just how far he's grown -- love him or hate him -- in protecting his species…as well as [his feelings for] humans.
6) THE ENTIRE AGE OF X STORYLINE
Writer Mike Carey concluded a lengthy run writing the X-Men this year, but before leaving, he gave fans a gift in the form of the "Age of X" story. It seemed that readers had a hard time just selecting one moment from this tale, so here they are to explain why the whole story needs to be included on this list:
Mike Carey's reality-warping adventure found the X-Men placed in an environment of constant urgency and reliance upon one another. Contrasted with the X-Men's normal everyday activities on Utopia, this tight-knit crossover greatly balanced the importance of reimagined A-List favorites like Cyclops (Basilisk) and Z-Listers like the Acolyte Unuscione (Stand-Off).
Exciting and beautifully rendered by artists Clay Mann and Steve Kurth, the crossover also produced the now-recurring X-Man Frenzy. The longtime villain's life was turned upside-down after experiencing life as a heroine and wife of Cyclops. Unlike previous crossovers with gratuitous cameos that resulted in deaths and dead-ends, 90's favorite Chamber also found himself repowered thanks to the reality warp, and will be featured in Chris Gage's run of "X-Men: Legacy" in 2012.
-- Faded (Deluxe)
This is a story about bare survival and changed psyches. It showed the raw war that wakes you up every morning outside your fortress and never goes away…with beautiful art by Mann and Kurth. The most amazing moment had to be playing cards and drinking beer in Rat Run.
Mike Carey wove a great mystery in the creation of this world and what happened to our heroes. The best moment therefore is the reveal: the identity of X, how she/it created the world and why she did it. "Moira" was a creepy yet sympathetic villain who is terribly powerful when you think about it. The revelations were a great twist in the story and complication for Legion. The story set up things for his character that will hopefully be explored further in the future.
-- Al Gonzalez
I loved the Moonstar Cadre and the moment Husk tells Cannonball she won't return to flesh and blood until he grieves for their family.
5) THE STARJAMMERS RETURN; MAGNETO AND POLARIS REUNITE
There have been certain moments that X-fans constantly request from writers in X-POSITION, and these two definitely rank high on that list! With that in mind, there was bound to be high expectations with regard to these events. Fortunately, writer Mike Carey knows how to deliver!
Polaris, Havok and Rachel Summers were out in space for so long that it was great to see them return from limbo. Plus, Magneto finally referred to Polaris as his daughter and was shown to care for her. This had been left hanging for so long; I'm glad it's now been dealt with. It was also nice to see Magneto finally give her a nod on panel that was very in character. Given their history, Magneto's lack of acknowledgement about his youngest female child was a noticeable problem and it was great that a story finally addressed it.
I loved seeing Magneto teach Polaris how to use her powers more concisely.
4) ROGUE AND MAGNETO, SITTING IN A TREE…
I see all your emails every week, and if there's one think I can conclude from them it's this: X-fans are hopeless romantics. Not a single week goes by that I don't receive a missive asking when Mutant X is going to get romantically involved with Mutant Y. Of these pairings, there are a handful that folks are dying to see. The #4 moment of this year is definitely one of these.
Rogue and Magneto on the final two pages of "X-Men: Legacy" #249 definitely stood out for me in this year's X-books. And calling it the best X-Moment of 2011 amounts to honoring the satisfying culmination of a long-running subplot…
This one gets my vote too, I think it was a pretty gutsy move on Carey's part to take twenty-plus years of attraction between the characters and finally do something with it. He built up to it in his run, but it was still shocking the way it happened.
Withdrawing from the expected norms of nostalgic and saccharine romance, Mike Carey used "Age of X" as a springboard for an unexpected and risky romance between ‘Legacy's' heroine Rogue and iconic villain Magneto. Magneto, who had since voluntarily submitted to the X-Men's practices, played devil's advocate and the two found themselves in each other's arms after closely working together in the aforementioned reality warp. While the pair has caused a ruckus on the internet, the twosome are yet another example of the reason why we all loved Mike Carey's writing in the first place: unorthodox, risky, and recklessly captivating.
3) JEAN GREY VISITS WOLVERINE
If there's anything X-fans enjoy as much as a good romance, it's a graceful return from the dead -- although we can't say for certain that this is what occurred in "Wolverine" #8. What we can deduce is that there's a chance Jean Grey/Phoenix is still out there, and that lots of folks are going to read "Avengers Vs. X-Men" in 2012 to see what becomes of the Phoenix Force.
You don't get much of Jean Grey these days, so when she randomly pops up in the X-books, it always brightens my day.
The love of Logan's life and Logan's best friend appear from beyond death to save the Canucklehead from a foe he can't stab -- it's just great!
…anything is better with Jean Grey involved.
Jean Grey appears in "Wolverine" #8 and tells Wolverine to live. It was a beautiful moment and totally a Jean thing to do.
2) X-FORCE'S UNCANNY YEAR
This was another "moment" where I, as judge of this list, had to stretch things. Many emails and forum postings mentioned "Uncanny X-Force" moments from the beginning of the year, and then -- in the same breath -- turn around and add events from the book's end-of-year storyline. My hands felt tied, so I'm naming the entire year's worth of stories as moment #2. And if you don't like it -- get your own column!
If January's issue was #4 and December's is #19, that means we had sixteen issues of "Uncanny X-Force" in twelve months (not including the .1!) . For this book, that turns out to be a good thing!
-- Al Gonzalez
"Uncanny X-Force" is by far the most compelling X-series since Carey's adjectiveless run on X-Men. Smart, funny, tragic, and dramatic -- just essential reading for any X-fan. If I had to pick one story line, it is the ‘Dark Angel Saga'…or Fantomex shooting young Apocalypse.
In just one year, Rick Remender managed to redefine Psylocke and bring her back to her core. To watch every stage of the decay of her relationship with Warren leading to the final confrontation between them was very profound and quite sad. I don't think she was ever written this good. Also props to Opeña who got rid of her thong and gave her pants!
Archangel/Psylocke's heartbreaking love story gets my vote. It's not a specific moment, but…it was a thrilling to witness pretty boy Warren becoming one of the most compelling villains to ever grace the X-pages. It's just great stuff.
-- Ben Tennyson
Archangel asking Betsy in issue #16 "Does it cause you pain to know I manipulated you? That your love is the reason I was allowed to hide and thrive?" was like a punch to the soul. Everything about Archangel/Psylocke this year was just that good in my eyes and number one in my book…
--Like a Butterfly
This is a book that has been consistently good since its inception, but between the conclusion to "The Apocalypse Solution" and the epic craziness that has been Archangel's ascension, 2011 has been a rollercoaster all the way through. The stunning artwork from Jerome Opeña has been the perfect companion to Remender's story.
1) THE YEAR OF IDIE
While the previous moment(s) did garner many votes, after going through your postings and emails with a fine-toothed comb, it was clear that no other character defined 2011 like Idie Okonkwo. Although she isn't a "moment," her actions (one in particular) determined the X-Men's direction for some time to come. In this past year, Idie brought about death, the Schism and a reinvention (as she tries for a second chance at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning). As forum poster Fod_xp stated, "Idie was 2011."
Idie is more self-aware than every mutant in history of the MU.
I love that we found another minority character that can be a star. She's gonna grow up to be extra blunt and extra awesome. Not to mention that she's a GREAT troll.
Idie Okonkwo was the breakout character of 2011. The most interesting new mutant character to be created in a while, Idie impressed me with the unique way she's come to terms with what she is. She is a tragic figure, but so much fun to read at the same time. Her defining moments in "Schism" and "Generation Hope" #10 turned her into a favorite of mine.
"Generation Hope" #10 was extremely poignant as we actually see the inside of Idie's thoughts, and she's even more messed up than we had imagined.
Two moments in "Generation Hope" #10 spoke to me: Idie talking about killing the Hellfire Club soldiers and asking if she needs to kill anyone else; also, her watching Rachel's video and talking about being a hound. Great moment and great storytelling by Gillen. I'll miss him writing Idie.
"Generation Hope" might be the last in a long line of X-Men junior squads, but none before them have exemplified the kind of interpersonal tension this dysfunctional group has. [Everything] comes to a head when 14-year-old member Oya ends up killing dozens of Hellfire soldiers, and the team's members must agree to allow the youngest of the Five Lights to join Wolverine's school. Purposeful, hilarious, and unpredictable, 2011 was the year that Generation Hope became the most engaging X-juniors the line has ever seen.
That wraps up our "Top X-Moments" list for 2011 with a shiny bow. Thank you, once again, for all your submissions which helped to form this awe-inspiring list. Remember, X-POSITION exists as a special place where you, the readers, get to ask questions of your favorite X-creators. Our columns are only as good as your participation, so we appreciate your involvement in 2011 and look forward to even more fun in 2012! And I have a feeling there's going to be lots to talk about in the coming year…
Speaking of which, "X-Factor" writer Peter David will be here in seven days to answer your inquiries about his book. So start off 2012 in an inquisitive way and send me some thought-provoking missives as quickly as you can. Please put an "X-Position" in the subject line, and keep it lower case (no CAPS LOCK screaming while I recover from a late night December 31). Happy New Year!