X-Men: 10 Scariest Comics, Ranked | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

With the Halloween season fast approaching, comic fans are understandably looking for frights. What are the scariest X-Men comic books of all time?
The X-Men deal with a lot of dark and serious themes in their stories, often rooted in fear of mutants. Some of their adventures in the comics are simply scary thanks to alien or demonic threats. Villains like The Brood have made the X-Men very interesting reading during the Halloween season for fans of scary stories.
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Some of the most frightening X-Men stories are less about existential threats than personal ones. Many X-Men face personal demons that are sometimes intangible and other times manifestations of cosmic power, like the Dark Phoenix. Through all of their terrifying stories, the X-Men persevere, making them ideal heroes to confront the horrors of the world.
The X-Men play a role (as most of the Marvel Universe does) in the Marvel Zombies corner of the multiverse. This often gory tale, which started in Ultimate Fantastic Four #21 and then progressed into other mini-series and one-shots, saw some of the most powerful Marvel mutants rendered as zombies.
Even Wolverine with his healing factor succumbed to the infection and became one of the many undead characters who fed on the Silver Surfer, turning him into a zombie as well. Magneto tries to lead a resistance against the zombies but ultimately fails.
Horror elements have been part of Marvel Comics lore for decades, and on a number of occasions, the X-Men fought the Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula.
The scariest storyline involving the vampire occurred in Uncanny X-Men #159 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #6, where Dracula turns Storm into a vampire. It’s a great horror story with classic gothic elements, basically transforming the mansion into a haunted house. It also serves as an exploration of Storm’s origin, and for that reason is one of the best Storm stories in Marvel Comics.
House Of M is a seminal 2006 storyline that is frightening for where it leaves the X-Men and mutants as a whole. After trying and failing to alter reality to bring her children back, Wanda Maximoff lashes out at the people she thinks contributed most to her pain.
With three simple words – ‘No more mutants’ – she erases 98% of mutants from the face of the Earth. There was no undoing her actions at the end of the comic or going back to the status quo. It has taken years for mutants to recover and, depending on the suspects in the murder of the Scarlet Witch, to also get revenge.
The ongoing Inferno storyline and really the entire Dawn Of X era are scary in subtle, disconcerting ways. There is a creeping sense that Professor X and Magneto aren’t behaving as they traditionally have, especially in relationship to Moira MacTaggert and certainly with Mystique, whom they have denied the resurrection of her wife, Destiny.
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But Moira herself seems to have ulterior motives. Her true plan for mutants is unclear, and it feels in some respects that all mutants both on Earth and now on Mars are simply chess pieces. Life has little value thanks to the resurrection protocols, and death is simply a means to an end.
Dead Girl is an unsettling character to begin with, since her mutant power is to stay alive, but only sort of, after dying. The scary part of her story really manifests in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl, a one-shot that pits her against The Pitiful One, a villain intent on destroying the universe.
Death and life begin to lose meaning in the story, as does the value of preserving either one. With her tragic backstory and unsettling appearance, Dead Girl makes an uncomfortable but compelling heroine in a complex and disturbing story.
The Demon Bear Saga is one of the best New Mutants comic book storylines, and one of the scariest. Dani Moonstar is terrorized by the Demon Bear, a psychic threat that takes on a truly horrific dimension thanks to the unique art of Bill Sienkiewicz.
His avant-garde style helped define the story and the strange dimension in which it takes place. It’s as much an internal struggle as an exterior one, with Dani confronting her past and running from a villain whose power is to force his prey to submit to their worst fears.
Days Of Futures Past takes place in one of the darkest future timelines in Marvel Comics. The prospect that this future in which the X-Men are hunted down and destroyed by the Sentinels could come true has loomed over the characters for decades.
It’s also very scary, with a dystopian depiction of a devastated New York City. Major characters die in brutal, graphic fashion. The most famous example is Wolverine, whose fiery death in issue #142 is depicted on the cover, one of the most iconic and disturbing images from the comics.
Excalibur is one of the earliest Marvel Comics to deal with the concept of the multiverse, and issue #6 by writer Chris Claremont and artist Alan Davis introduces the scary Excalibur from a world in which Nazi Germany won World War II. The implication is frightening, as are the mutated characters from that world.
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The Nazi Kitty Pryde is perhaps the most disturbing, transforming the lively and proud young woman into a hollowed husk in every sense of the term. All of Excalibur becomes fascistic in disturbing ways, which contrast sharply with the usual light tone of the book.
The 1989 Inferno crossover event features Earth overrun by demons, so it’s pretty scary. All of New York City is invaded by demons, with people and inanimate objects being transformed into them.
One of the most disturbing panels comes in an Excalibur issue, where an elevator becomes demonic and consumes an entire family. It’s also unsettling to see Madelyne Pryor descend into full villainy as the Goblin Queen, and Illyana Rasputin confront her worst self as the Darkchyld, a demonic creature with unbridled power and potential.
“The Brood Saga” is essentially the X-Men’s take on Alien, but it’s one of the scariest Marvel Comics stories. The first encounter with the Brood happens in Uncanny X-Men #161-167, and it’s immediately frightening, as the Brood plant an egg in every one of the X-Men.
Paul Smith’s deceptively simple line work becomes sinister and distorted as characters like Storm morph back and forth between human and Brood. As the X-Men face the prospect of losing their identity and their lives, they’re all confronted by huge questions and fears.
NEXT: 10 Best Female X-Men Villains
DARBY HARN is the author of the novels Ever The Hero, The Judgment Of Valene, and A Country Of Eternal Light. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.


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