The latest plot for Captain America set the Internet ablaze, but it’s only the latest crazy superhero story! My fellow Creator Max Farrow already collected – from the Spider-Mobile to the forbidden romance between Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy (!) – but now it’s time for me to cast my eyes to the X-Men… So here we are – ten plots you’d never believe Marvel went for!
10. THE PSYCHIC AFFAIR BETWEEN CYCLOPS AND EMMA FROST!
The Grant Morrison era is one of the most controversial in X-Men history. You either love it or you loathe it; there seem to be no inbetweens! One of Grant Morrison’s most controversial plots involved Emma Frost (a character he only decided to add to his New X-Men book after a fan asked him about her on Morrison’s website).
Morrison felt the dynamic between Cyclops and Jean Grey was stale. He had Cyclops decide the same thing, and head to Emma Frost for some ‘sex-counselling’ (seriously). One thing led to another, and soon the two were sharing “delicious thoughts” in which Emma cosplayed as Dark Phoenix. Naturally, Jean Grey herself walked into one of these kinky psychic sex-games, and didn’t exactly take it well. Still, Morrison had Jean killed shortly after, and his “Here Comes Tomorrow” arc is essentially a validation of Cyclops’s new relationship – a future resurrected Jean even sends the psychic prompt to coax Cyclops and Emma into making out at the side of her grave.
9. SO MYSTIQUE MARRIED CHARLES XAVIER?!?
Brian Bendis has written some classics, and his “Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier” started with some real high points. As you’d expect, the plot is all about the reading of Charles Xavier’s will, and there are two major revelations. The first – the existence of the most powerful mutant in the history of the world – is the one the arc focuses on. The second, and far more interesting, was the throwaway shocker that Xavier married Mystique.
No, not Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. We’re talking the obsessive, manipulative mutant terrorist who killed Moira MacTaggert, one of Xavier’s greatest loves and closest friends. Bendis seemed to know just how absurd it was, as the revelation included Emma roaring with laughter!
Unfortunately, by the end of the arc a time-traveller had changed the past to prevent that “most powerful mutant” ever being born. As a random side-effect, it also erased Xavier’s marriage to Mystique from reality too.
8. CYCLOPS ABANDONS HIS FAMILY FOR JEAN GREY!
Back when Chris Claremont was writing the X-Men, he’d had Cyclops settle down in Alaska with one Madelyne Pryor. They’d even had a son, Nathan. Claremont’s plan was for Cyclops and Madelyne to live happily ever after, with Scott occasionally popping up as backup for the X-Men.
Then other writers came up with the idea of resurrecting Jean Grey (she’d died at the end of the “Dark Phoenix Saga”), and reuniting the original X-Men as a new team called ‘X-Factor’. Claremont was furious; he actually nearly quit. In the end, he stuck it out, and Cyclops and Madelyne’s marriage turned sour. She kicked him out, and Cyclops headed over to X-Factor.
Well, things certainly took a different turn for poor Madelyne. When Cyclops returned to Alaska, Madelyne and Nathan had disappeared! One hasty retcon later, and Madelyne was actually a clone of Jean Grey created by Mister Sinister in order to ensure he got Cyclops-and-Phoenix babies one way or another. She went mad, dressed like a dominatrix, tried to destroy the world, and ultimately died.
7. WOLVERINE BECOMES AN ANIMAL!
The classic “Fatal Attractions” arc featured one iconic moment in which Magneto tore the adamantium out of Wolverine’s skeleton, almost killing him! Ironically, that plot had originally been a joke – when the X-Men writers were planning “X-Cutioner’s Song”, Peter David was amused at how they were trying to up the stakes, so threw the idea out for a laugh.
The consequences were no laughing matter. Writers revealed that the adamantium had been holding Wolverine’s mutation in check – his healing factor had been preoccupied dealing with a constant dose of adamantium poisoning. Without the adamantium, Wolverine began to mutate into an animal form, with animal instincts taking over to the point that in one issue he licked Cyclops on the face. Visually, he became shorter, stubbier, and lost his nose.
Not Wolverine’s finest hour.
6. NIGHTCRAWLER’S DAD… IS A DEMON!
When Dave Cockrum originally designed Nightcrawler as a concept for the Legion of Super Heroes, he envisioned him as a demon. DC Comics turned down the concept, and Cockrum brought Nightcrawler with him when he headed over to Marvel. It didn’t take long for him to become one of the “Second Genesis” X-Men!
Leave it to writer Chuck Austen to decide to take things back to basics. He revealed that Nightcrawler’s father, Azazel, was an ancient demon who’d been defeated in a war against angelic mutants (Angel was an ancestor of these). Azazel had wandered Earth, siring demon-children in order to build an army. He’d certainly be left wishing Nightcrawler hadn’t been sired – and most X-Men fans rather wish that plot didn’t exist, too…
5. JUGGERNAUT HOOKS UP WITH SHE-HULK!
Back in 2004, Juggernaut was a member of the X-Men. He also needed legal representation, so he wound up with the X-Men’s traditional lawyer. No, I don’t mean Daredevil, I mean She-Hulk. And no, when I say ‘with’, I don’t mean… well… OK, maybe I do. In a complete breach of ethical relations between a lawyer and her client, She-Hulk and Juggernaut broke the bedroom with a night of passion, and poor She-Hulk’s reputation has never been the same since.
At least, until it was retconned as being an alternate-reality She-Hulk, anyway.
4. XAVIER ERASED AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF X-MEN!
For some reason, over in the early 2000s the X-Men writers seemed to be making a conscious effort to portray Charles Xavier as ever-darker. Never was this more evident than in Ed Brubaker’s X-Men: Deadly Genesis miniseries, where Brubaker revealed that an entire generation of X-Men had effectively been wished away by Xavier.
It turned out that, before the famous “Second Genesis” rescue of the original X-Men from Krakoa, Xavier had gathered a team of young mutants and made an earlier attempt. Their members included a third Summers brother, Vulcan, but their mission had been less than successful; they wound up dead. Shockingly, Xavier erased all memory of this team and fabricated many aspects of the “Second Genesis” plot to cover it up! Yes, that meant Cyclops even forgot his own brother!
Deadly Genesis featured the rise of a new X-Men villain, Vulcan, the third Summers brother (death never lasts in comics). It was a disturbing plot, made all the weirder by the fact editorial fiat had just reduced the number of mutants in the aftermath of the “House of M”. So the very first thing the X-office did? Introduce a new mutant. Go figure.
3. PROFESSOR XAVIER IS IN LOVE WITH JEAN GREY!
Even Stan Lee has moments in the crazy zone. In one ‘say-it-ain’t-so’ scene, he showed Xavier’s thoughts towards Jean – and they were seriously creepy! Remember that this is Professor Xavier, Jean is his student, and she is way under-age. But the reason Xavier doesn’t make a move? Because he’s in a wheelchair. Nice ethics there, Charles!
Stan only introduced this to spice things up a bit, and never mentioned it again. In the ’90s, it was reluctantly revisited as one of Xavier’s darkest secrets, which birthed the psychic monster Onslaught.
2. MYSTIQUE ENROLS AT XAVIER’S SCHOOL – IN ORDER TO SEDUCE GAMBIT!
Let’s return to Peter Milligan’s run, and to one of the weirdest plots in X-Men history. In a plot that led to a lot of tension between Gambit and Rogue, the Ragin’ Cajun wound up being seduced by a hot student. Impressively, he resisted the temptation – intent on staying faithful to Rogue – but the student just wouldn’t stop. It was all turning more than a bit creepy, before we learned that the student was actually Mystique in disguise!
Apparently Mystique, suddenly irritated at the on-again-off-again relationship between Gambit and Rogue that had only been going on for years, had decided to sabotage said romance. What better way than to break her daughter’s heart, right?
In an even weirder twist, the arc ended with Mystique asking to join the X-Men – and the X-Men agreeing.
1. THE RED ONSLAUGHT!
Top prize has to go to Jason Aaron for the whole ‘Red Onslaught’ thing. Seriously, I reckon this whole plot could well be the craziest one Marvel Comics has ever published!
It all kicks off in the first arc of Aaron’s Uncanny Avengers, when Aaron resurrects the Red Skull (or a clone of him, anyway), but suddenly has him obsessed with mutants. The Red Skull steals the body of Charles Xavier, and the first issue ends with him cutting out Xavier’s brain. In some unknowable way, cutting out Xavier’s brain (and presumably implanting it?) somehow gives the Red Skull all the psychic power of Professor X!
The AXIS event (probably the worst-handled in Marvel’s history) kicks off when Magneto lashes out at the Red Skull, killing him. Somehow this frees the psychic hatred of the Red Skull, and his psychic energy forms the towering shape of the Red Onslaught (based on the ‘Onslaught’ creature unleashed by Xavier back in the ’90s).
The Red Onslaught is finally defeated when the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom unleash an inversion, turning bad good and good bad. For the Red Onslaught, this somehow means the psychic creature reverts to a human form that had its head bashed in (conveniently forgotten), but with a white skull-face and Xavier’s persona in charge of the body now. Yeah, all this makes sense… The rest of the plot showed how the inverted superheroes and supervillains handled things.
So there you have it, X-Men fans – the craziest moments in X-Men history, plot twists and arcs that defy belief and leave a very strange taste in the mouth! We’ve spun from romance to mental manipulation to the weirdest of family ties, but one thing’s for sure – we’ll see more crazy stories in the future!
‘Till then – Excelsior!
What do YOU think was the craziest X-Men plot? Let me know in the comments!
I’m a British guy who has a particular love of superhero movies – and I’m having a great time writing for Movie Pilot! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @TomABacon!