Wolverine and the X-Men was a reboot of the X-Men cartoon from 2009. Much like X-Men: Evolution before it, this show focused on Wolverine as the linchpin of the X-Men, while also using parts of the team from Astonishing X-Men. The going consensus for the show is that it was pretty good, but it did only last one season. It had some rather interesting plot lines, many of which were re-imaginings of classic X-Men stories, but its short length meant that much of what was set up in the first season never got paid off.
If the show had come back for a second season, there are plenty of great Marvel stories for it to take inspiration from. The X-Men have been around for sixty years; during that time, many of the finest creators got a chance to flex their muscles with the X-Men. There is a surfeit of great X-Men stories out there, all of which have made for great viewing for fans.
10 Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
Astonishing X-Men: Gifted is a great story for new readers, which is what would make it so perfect for Wolverine and the X-Men. Written by Joss Whedon with art by John Cassaday, the story follows the X-Men as they learn about a mutant cure, and the chaos that brings to a school of mutants. On top of that, there’s the mysterious Ord, a powerful alien with ulterior motives who is protecting the cure from the team.
Gifted brought Colossus back to life, but the Wolverine and the X-Men version doesn’t have to do that. The mutant cure/Ord story is enough and could have been used to set up the Breakworld plotline. Gifted is a favorite of many fans who wants a good, no frills, uncomplicated X-Men story and is perfect for adaptation.
9 The Age Of Apocalypse
The end of the first season of Wolverine and the X-Men ended on something of a cliffhanger, as the newly reformed X-Men were warned of an even greater danger coming – the Age of Apocalypse. This is obviously a reference to the ’90s X-Men masterpiece, The Age of Apocalypse. This massive story ran through two bookend issues and multiple miniseries, transporting readers to an alternate universe ruled by the ancient conqueror known as Apocalypse.
It’s unknown how the show would have done the story, as the first season ended with the X-Men reunited with Professor X and Jean Grey after years of being separated. So, this could have been just using the name of familiar story to tell an Apocalypse story or something similar to The Age of Apocalypse, but either way it would have been interesting to see how they would have adapted the story.
8 House Of X
House of X, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Pepe Larraz, changed the X-Men forever. Shifting the mutants from the mansion to the mutant island of Krakoa and seeing them form their own nation, there is one big reason this story was unadaptable in 2009 – it didn’t exist yet. However, if it did, it would be excellent to get an adaptation of it to a TV show.
A problem with adapting comics to the big screen is that comics are a serialized medium. Cartoons and TV shows gives stories more to breathe than a movie would, which is something that House of X would need because of what the story means to the X-Men mythos. The Krakoa Era took the X-Men places they’ve never been before, and it would do the same to Wolverine and the X-Men.
7 Operation: Zero Tolerance
Operation: Zero Tolerance doesn’t get much attention, but an adaptation would have changed that. This 1997 story pit the X-Men against the titular Operation: Zero Tolerance, a governmental agency meant to destroy mutantkind led by the mysterious Bastion. The X-Men are blitzed by the Prime Sentinels – nanotech infested sleeper agents that become powerful cyborgs – and are forced to dig down deep in order to survive.
Operation: Zero Tolerance crossed through multiple books in 1997, with plot lines that saw Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Cannonball captured while Iceman gathered mutants like Marrow, Maggot, Sabra, and Cecelia Reyes for help. Wolverine and the X-Men’s adaptation would be a bit different in structure, but the story would make for a wonderful TV.
6 The Phalanx Covenant: Generation Next
The Phalanx Covenant: Generation Next is mostly forgotten, but it would make for a great adaptation. Written by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza with art by Joe Madureira and Andy Kubert, the story sees the X-Men attacked by the alien Phalanx, with only Emma Frost, Banshee, Sabretooth, and Jubilee out there to protect the next generation of mutants. It’s an action packed story, one with a heartbreaking ending that no one saw coming.
As with most adaptations, changes would have to be made to the story, but The Phalanx Covenant: Generation Next could easily work with minor changes. The X-Men and sci-fi go hand in hand and this story is an amazing example of that. With a few changes, this would have made for a killer cartoon.
5 Day Of Future Past
Written by Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne, this story starts out in a dark alternate future ruled by Sentinels. Mutants are an endangered species and even humans are held in camps, but the X-Men are still free. The X-Men figure out the only way to stop this terrible future from happening is to send Kate Pryde back in time, so that she can help the X-Men of the past prevent the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly.
Days of Future Past has gone down among the greatest X-Men stories of all time, and popularized the dystopian future not just in X-Men stories, but in Marvel comics in general. It’s the one story everyone expects to get adapted and Wolverine and the X-Men should have gotten its chance to do its version.
4 The Brood Saga
The Brood are a deadly alien race, traveling the stars and devouring everything in their way. The X-Men have battled them many times over the years, but the first time was the best. “The Brood Saga” ran through Uncanny X-Men #162-167, by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum, and pit the team against the Brood as they attacked the Shi’Ar Empire.
This is another excellent sci-fi story. “The Brood Saga” needs a bit of set-up to work – for example, the relationship with the Shi’Ar Empire – but even that could be leapfrogged with the right set-up, such as having the Brood attack the Earth instead of the Shi’Ar. It’s an excellent part of X-Men history, and its Wolverine centricity works very well for Wolverine and the X-Men.
3 New X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus
Wolverine and the X-Men could have dealt with more stories that focused on Wolverine, especially ones that dug into his mysterious past. New X-Men: Assault on Weapon Plus, by writer Grant Morrison and artist Chris Bachalo, teamed Wolverine and Cyclops up with X-Men ally Fantomex to attack the World, the home of Weapon Plus. Weapon Plus specializes in supersoldiers, with Wolverine being just one of many it’s made over the years, its technology and methods getting better and better.
Fantomex doesn’t get a lot of love in adaptations, but the story could theoretically work without him. Wolverine and Cyclops buddy stories are quite rare, so giving Wolverine and the X-Men one would set it apart from 90% of all X-Men media outside the comics. On top of that, it’s just a great story that would look amazing animated.
2 The Dark Phoenix Saga
Written by Chris Claremont with art by John Byrne, everyone knows the basic story – Jean Grey is overwhelmed by the power of the Phoenix Force and becomes Dark Phoenix, forcing the X-Men to stop her. The Dark Phoenix Saga is 0-2 when it comes to live adaptations, but fares much better in cartoon form. The Dark Phoenix Saga lives up to its “saga” appellation, which is why it needs to be adapted in media that can take longer to tell its story.
Wolverine and the X-Men did introduce the Phoenix Force into the show by the end of the first season, so it was definitely going in this direction. The Dark Phoenix Saga is often looked at THE X-Men story, so giving it a proper cartoon adaptation, one that lets it breathe, is just what the doctor ordered.
1 Wolverine And The X-Men #1-3
Wolverine in the comics has grown a lot, going from a mouthy loner to a valued team player to a mutant leader. Wolverine finally got the chance to lead his own X-Men team in Wolverine and the X-Men #1-3, by writer Jason Aaron and artist Chris Bachalo. The story focused on the first day of Wolverine’s new mutant school, the Jean Grey School, as the new Hellfire Club attacked right as the board of education came to accredit them.
This story came out after Wolverine and the X-Men the cartoon, but if the show was restarted now, it would be great to adapt. The new Hellfire Club, led by young geniuses who hate mutants, has never been adapted, so it has that going for it. Some things would have to be changed, but that how adaptations work.
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