For years, Marvel pretty much disregarded the X-Men. Once a sales juggernaut that ruled the industry throughout the ’90s and early ’00s, Marvel would shift its focus to other properties starting in the mid ’00s before relegating the X-Men titles to the very back of the line for a good portion of the ’10s. However, once Disney got the film rights back for the mighty mutants, things changed.
Jonathan Hickman was brought on board and righted the ship, bringing the X-Men back to prominence and giving Marvel its first actual buzzworthy hit in ages.
10 Tie: Hellions and Cable
Hellions, by Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia, and Cable, by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto, only had one issue a piece so far, so it’s kind of hard to judge them compared to others. Hellions is about a team of mutant troublemakers brought together to take on the most dangerous threats and Cable showcases the adventures of the militaristic mutant.
Both titles have potential, though, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Excalibur, by Tini Howard and artists Marcus To and Wilton Santos, showcases the magical side of the mutant world. Elizabeth Braddock, the new Captain Britain, leads a team consisting of Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, and Apocalypse as they face down mystical threats from the old Excalibur lighthouse in England.
Besides Jubilee’s son Shogo being turned into a dragon, there’s nothing very interesting about this book and it doesn’t live up to the legacy of the weird and wild adventures of the old Excalibur.
8 New Mutants
New Mutants, by writers Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson and artists Rod Reis, Marco Failla, and Flaviano, gives readers the adventures of the New Mutants, combining classic members like Magik, Karma, and Doug Ramsey with new members like Armor, Chamber, and Mondo.
The roster of this team is pretty big and full of cool characters, but the book hasn’t really found its focus yet.
X-Force, by Benjamin Percy and artists Joshua Cassara, Stephen Segovia, and Oscar Bazaluda, is about the darker side of running a government. X-Force is the Krakoan black ops squad, doing the dirty work of the mutant government and stars Wolverine, Domino, Marvel Girl, Kid Omega, Sage, Colossus, Black Tom, and Beast.
This book does a great job of looking at the tribulations and traumas of the “mutant CIA”. A highlight of the book is that it looks at the PTSD of those who are forced to do the bloodiest work and the lingering scars left by the mutant resurrection protocols.
Wolverine, by Benjamin Percy and artists Adam Kubert and Victor Bogdonavic, stars the titular character in his first solo series since his return to the land of the living as he deals with a cartel stealing Krakoan drugs and their mysterious operative the Pale Girl, who can control minds, as well as pitting him against vampires and Omega Red.
Percy captures Wolverine’s gruff attitude and warrior poet internal monologues beautifully and Adam Kubert returns to the mutant that made him famous with some of his best art in years.
Maruaders, by Gerry Duggan and artists Matteo Lolli, Michele Bandini, Lucas Werneck, Mario Del Pennino, and Stefano Caselli, takes a look at the Hellfire Trading Company as they sell the bounty of Krakoan pharmaceuticals as well as the less legitimate adventures of the Marauders, Krakoa’s pirate group.
4 Fallen Angels
Fallen Angels, by Bryan Hill and Szymon Kudranski, stars Kwannon, back in her old body and using the name Psylocke, as she battles mysterious new villain Apoch as well as the demons of her past with help from X-23, Cable, Bling!, and Husk.
A six issue series, this book took an in depth look at the character of Kwannon reconciling her old and new lives together while facing a threat unlike any she’s ever faced. This book is an underrated gem.
3 Powers Of X
Powers Of X, by Jonthan Hickman and R.B. Silva, was one of the two books that started the entire Dawn Of X shebang. Acting as a supplement to House Of X, it fleshed out the events of that book as well as telling a story of the past, present, and futures of mutantkind.
Taking place over four different eras of X-Men, this book did a great job of giving background to HoX and focusing more on the sci-fi elements of Hickman’s latest opus, setting up some intriguing things for the future with the Phalanx.
X-Men, by Jonathan Hickman and artists Leinil Yu, R.B. Silva, Matteo Buffagni, and Mahmud Asrar, is the flagship title of Dawn Of X. Starring Cyclops and a rotating roster of the greatest mutant superheroes, this book has done something that very few comics do in these days of writing for the trade- tell compelling one and done single issue stories, except for one two parter.
Hickman and company give readers all killer, no filler single issue epics month in and month out (except for that two parter). This one has it all- Summers family drama, Golden Girls-esque insane horticulturists, Magneto sassing world leaders at a G8 summit, Mystique plotting her revenge against those who denying her the resurrection of her wife, and the origin of the Brood and outer space shenanigans with the Shi’Ar Empire to top it all off.
1 House Of X
House Of X, by Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz, set out the new status quo of the X-Men. Establishing their new country on the island of Krakoa, the secrets of Moira MacTaggert, the anti-mutant Orchis Initiative, the Five, and so much more, this book brought mutants into the 21st century after years of editorial enforced stagnation.
House Of X had it all and it’s still the high water mark for not only the Dawn Of X books but also for Marvel books in general. Chock full of surprises and big moments, House Of X was easily the best book of 2019 and probably the best Marvel book of the decade. Not since Grant Morrison’s New X-Men have the X-Men felt like this or been this good. Mutants are the future. Embrace it.
Dawn of X has brought the X-Men back to prominence, and we've ranked every one of them so far.