The X-Men struggled to find readers in the 1970s, and the comics were reprinted without new issues for several years. However, when the All-New X-Men debuted in 1975, he changed his fortunes at Marvel. It was the same year that Claremont joined the series and took it to new heights.
Claremont was the man in charge of the X-Men from 1975 to 1991 and if Marvel’s mutants had anything to do with any other comic, it had to go through him. During this time, Claremont created some of the most important storylines in X-Men history, from Death of Phoenix and Days of Future Past to the Mutant Massacre. When it comes to the X-Men, it was Claremont who planted the seeds that still grow to this day.
Psi War (Uncanny X-Men #117)
Released in 1978, Weird X-Men #117 showed Professor Xavier’s past and revealed why he did a lot of the things he did to protect his X-Men. It was also notable as the first appearance of Amahl Farouk, the King of Shadows. This showed how Shadow King first confronted Xavier.
In the book, Xavier thinks his X-Men are dead and in a state of depression. It’s what leads Xavier to reflect on his past with Shadow King, the first evil mutant and telepathic companion he’s ever faced. In the end, Xavier decided he had nothing left on Earth and left the planet with Lilandra, leaving the X-Men alone.
Phoenix Must Die (Uncanny X-Men #137)
Arguably the most essential issue of the Chris Claremont X-Men comics was Weird X-Men #137, which concludes The Dark Phoenix Saga. What led to this moment was Jean losing control of her powers due to the Hellfire Club messing with her head and then the Dark Phoenix taking over and she slaughtered billions destroying a galaxy.
This question saw Jean Gray make the ultimate sacrifice. The X-Men fought the Imperial Guard with Jean’s life at stake and knowing they would die for her, Jean sacrificed her own life to save them and stop the Phoenix Force. Jean was the first major A-list hero to die in Marvel Comics.
Days of Future Past (Uncanny X-Men #141)
Chris Claremont didn’t take a break after killing off Jean Gray, and he moved on to creating something that’s still important to this day, four decades later. In Weird X-Men #141, the comic opened to an apocalyptic future where most of the X-Men are dead and the Sentinels have ruled the world.
It was days of future past, and Claremont solidified the idea of the multiverse with this storyline. With this issue, Claremont has created one of the most important dark futures in the Marvel Multiverse.
Gold Rush (Uncanny X-Men #161)
Much like Professor X’s story with Shadow King, Chris Claremont created another look at Xavier’s past with Weird X-Men #161, and this time it showed a lot of Magneto’s past at the same time. In Gold RushXavier and Magneto first met in a hospital in Israel.
The two become friends and debate the future of mutants in the world. The two also work together to fight and defeat Baron Von Strucker and Hydra. The story also has significance in the history of the X-Men as the two rescued a woman named Gabby Haller, with whom Xavier had a relationship. She ended up pregnant with David Haller, who would later become Legion.
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (Marvel Graphic Novel #5)
Chris Claremont also wrote the story for Marvel graphic novel #5. This book was about the X-Men and the story was God loves, man kills. This story was very important in the realm of mutant history and might be Chris Claremont’s most essential X-Men comic.
The book was about hatred, bigotry and fear of mutants in the world. It started with two mutant kids murdered by Purifiers, and with kids not even safe, the X-Men had a battle to win. It starred Reverend William Stryker and the book really touched on Nightcrawler’s doubts and insecurities as a mutant who could never fit in with regular humans.
Magneto’s Trial (Uncanny X-Men #200)
By the time Weird X-Men #200 rolled, Chris Claremont had made Magneto a hero. It happened after Secret Wars and by then the world knew that Magneto was working as part of the X-Men. However, in this book, the Master of Magnetism agreed to stand trial and answer for his past crimes to prove that he really wanted to change.
During the trial, terrorist attacks begin to occur around the world with the X-Men being framed for the incidents. In the end, Professor X disappeared and Magneto, cleared of his past crimes, agreed to keep his promise to Xavier and he took over leadership of the X-Men at this point.
Slaughter of Mutants (Uncanny X-Men #211)
Chris Claremont has created a new group of mutants in the world of the X-Men known as the Morlocks. It was Storm who interacted with them the most, even taking over leadership at one point after a battle with Callisto. However, everything went wrong in Weird X-Men #211.
It was then that Mister Sinister sent his Marauders into the tunnels and they slaughtered almost all of the Morlocks and not even the X-Men, New Mutants and X-Factor could save them. It was a Chris Claremont story that saw more mutants die at once than at any time before that.
Broodfall (Uncanny X-Men #234)
The X-Men have fought multiple villains over the years, from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to the evil members of the Purifiers. However, it was an alien race created by Chris Claremont that gave them the most trouble. It was a race called the Brood.
The X-Men had several battles with the Brood in Claremont’s run with the book, but the best of those stories came with Broodfall, and the issue that really brought it all home was Weird X-Men #234. The Brood had infected many mutants, including Wolverine. In the end, the X-Men were able to beat the aliens and prove to one of their biggest skeptics that they were heroes at the same time.
Hell (Uncanny X-Men #242)
When Cyclops learned that Jean Gray was alive, he left his pregnant wife Madelyne Pryor to return to her. After that, Madelyne had their baby, who would become Cable, and she became evil due to her rage. This led her to attempt to take over the world and punish the X-Men in the Hell script.
Weird X-Men #242 was a watershed moment, as Chris Claremont had the X-Men learn that X-Factor was their original teammates, and these two teams had to fight each other before they could focus on the new Goblin Queen.
Mutant Genesis (X-Men #1)
While not the best issue of his X-Men run, one of Chris Claremont’s most essential X-Men comics is his reboot. x-men #1. What makes this book so significant is that it was one of the best-selling comics in history when it was released. The X-Men had split up before this and went their separate ways, which brought them together.
Artist Jim Lee joined Claremont here and Claremont was ready to start it all over again. His run to this point was one giant long overarching story, with some payoff storylines years later. However, with x-men #1, he reset the table, knowing he was leaving soon and letting new creative teams take the reins. However, this book still showed his sensibility and is essential reading for any Claremont X-Men fan.
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