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What makes his run so impressive, quite frankly, is that it was so great for the vast majority of the time. Although some of these stories exist outside of the Uncanny X-Men title, they were all written between and feature the X-Men as the main heroes, so they still count as X-Men stories. What makes it so great is that it serves as a moment of levity and fun during one of the darkest times in pages of Uncanny X-Men. Iconic Moment : Wolverine saves the planet with a pair of twos. It gave him something that he never had prior to this issue: a motive. No longer was Magneto an insane despot; he became a man who would fight until his dying breath to save his people from enduring another Holocaust.
Despite only serving as scripter, Claremont proved a boon to this story for his soapy and dramatic style of writing. In it, he explores Scott Summers, not as a superhero or a member of a persecuted minority, but as a father.
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The fact that it featured Apocalypse when he was still cool, and not a servant of the Celestials, works in its favor as well. The issue starts in media res, after Wolverine has already lost his initial fight to Deathstrike and her gang. Logan was turned into a monster, while Lady Deathstrike volunteered to become one. Iconic Moment : Logan runs into Katie Powers after getting the shit kicked out of him by the Reavers.
Regardless, this issue explains what exactly made Charles Xavier form the X-Men in the first place. It chronicles his adventures as a man and his first confrontation with an evil mutant, the hedonistic Shadow King. What Claremont did in this issue is give a reason for the X-Men exist: to fight mutants like the Shadow King and prevent them from abusing their powers. It was a transformative step in the franchise as it legitimized their creation.
Iconic Moment : Xavier gets pickpocketed by a young Ororo Munroe. These are versions of the X-Men that got lost in Limbo, and the results are quite frightening. Iconic Moment : Shadowcat sees the corpse of future Colossus crucified to the wall with a gaping hole in his chest. What makes this story all the more riveting is the sub-plot involving the Conover Ministry, which has begun to openly embrace mutants. Being the opposite of William Stryker, Conover is a good and tolerant man whose life is irrevocably shattered by the Brood.
The contrast between sci-fi battle royale and grounded religious contemplation is marvelously rendered and plotted by Claremont, who was at his creative height. Iconic Moment : The ambiguity as to whether or not William Conover, with Divine Intervention, helped to heal Wolverine after he becomes infected by the Brood.
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This arc introduces Genosha, a political allegory to apartheid-era South Africa. Iconic Moment : Madelyne Prior goes ape-shit on a Genoshan torture squad and sows the seeds of her eventual self-destruction. After realizing that he is beyond redemption, Magneto is coaxed out of his world-weary ways by the Acolytes, a group of mutant terrorists who worship and revere the Master of Magnetism as if he were the messiah. At the same time, X-Factor and the remnants of the X-Men reform and reorganize the rosters into the iconic Blue and Gold teams.
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The threat of Stryker becomes so great once he kidnaps Charles Xavier, the X-Men are forced into working with Magneto to save the day. Stryker is only one man, but he has the power to fill an entire audience with fear, bigotry and hatred. He proves that not every battle can be won through a fight.
His battle is for the hearts and minds, causing the X-Men to literally fight for a world that fears and hates them without their costumes or powers. Iconic Moment : Magneto walks through a playground littered with the bodies of lynched mutant children.
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In the midst of all this chaos, Claremont somehow manages to weave such a personal and poignant character arc for Storm. He took this untouchable and impersonal goddess and put her through the ringer in every possible way. One of the reasons why the X-Men became as popular as they were was because the characters felt like real people, with real hopes and fears. Iconic Moment : Storm emotionally eviscerating Forge after she finds out that he was partly responsible for de-powering her. Beginning in Uncanny X-Men , Claremont molded Magneto from a one-dimensional fanatic into a sympathetic Holocaust survivor, fighting a pre-emptive war against the very same hatred and violence that cast a shadow across his childhood.
Iconic Moment : Magneto kills Zaladane, ultimately proving that he is irredeemable and beyond redemption. Somehow, across these nine issues, Claremont masterfully crafts and plots his way around this grand storyline with a methodical and meticulous design. Iconic Moment : The X-Men get the shit kicked out of them by the entire galaxy… literally. In a dystopian future where Sentinels rule North America and mutants are places in concentration camps, the sole hope for survival comes in changing the past and sending the mind of an adult Kitty Pryde to stop the inciting action that leads to the rise of the Sentinels: the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly.
There are only seven X-Men left to save their world, and it feels like the fate of the world is hanging on every single page. This is the very future that the X-Men fight to avoid, and in only two issues, Claremont brings this nightmarish reality to life in a frightening but electrifying way.
After Prior goes apeshit and loses her mind, she makes a deal with quite a number of demons, double crosses them all, beats the shit out of her creator, Mr. For all the chaos that went on during this storyline, it was managed and executed perfectly by one of the greatest plotters in comic book history.
Iconic Moment : The X-Men slaughter the Marauders after having their asses kicked by them before… twice. For however big the X-Men were, and hopefully once again will be, Claremont was the architect of it all. He took the least important book published by Marvel and turned it into a powerhouse that at one point outsold every other book by a three to one margin.
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Not only did he bring X-Men to the top, but he also kept them there, as this list has been compiled from stories throughout his 17 year run. Stories from , , , and are all represented, not just to show even parity, but because for the vast majority of his time as writer, Claremont churned out masterpiece after masterpiece.
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