For better or for worse, Uncanny X-Men has seen a lot of deaths in recent months. Some readers think it keeps the comic fresh and exciting, while others feel it’s cheap and done for shock. In 1988, Fall of the Mutants ran though Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, and The New Mutants. Unlike the crossovers of today, the event consisted of three unrelated stories. Instead, there is a thematic link of change and upheaval. Over three decades later, Fall of the Mutants remains a enjoyable part of X-Men history. Here are three reason to check out the X-Men Milestones collection.
Death means something
There is an old joke that says no one ever really dies in comic books. There is certainly some truth to the jest, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t resonate when fans see a a beloved character bite the dust. Over the decades, comic book deaths have been met with more and more cynicism. In 1988, they still made a deep impact. Cypher’s death rocks the New Mutants to their core. It’s a fairly typical heroic death — he takes a bullet to save his teammate — but the aftermath is very powerful: the team is devastated that their friend has been killed. Every action is centered around him, culminating in a touching eulogy from Cannonball. It’s an incredibly touching moment that would even affect someone who had never heard of Cypher before reading the story.
Powerful and emotional
This ties in to the last point, but it’s not just restricted to death. Cypher’s death is touching, but it does not just affect the team. Magneto blames all of humanity on the young mutant’s death in a great scene. When X-Factor first sees Apocalypse’s fourth Horseman, it’s a shocking moment. Their longtime friend and teammate Angel has become disgusted with the world. Even sadder, he has become disgusted with himself. Taking on the name of Death, Warren Worthington gives a heartfelt speech that is twisted in its logic. At times, it even makes sense.
Not every emotional moment has to be a sad one. After X-Factor has dealt with Apocalypse, the X-Factor story concludes with a victory parade. Mutants and humans celebrate together and readers are left with hope for a better future.
A change is coming
Angel becomes Archangel, the New Mutants leave Magneto who seems to have turned villain again, and then there are the X-Men. Fall of the Mutants led to one of the biggest and most memorable changes in the history of the series. After the team sacrifices themselves on national television, Roma brings them back to life. The world now thinks they are dead, they are invisible to surveillance, and they head to the Australian outback. This is the start of some of the most memorable moments of the series. They are given the Siege Perilous leading to Psylocke becoming a fan favorite, Rouge ending up in the Savage Land, and Wolverine being crucified in an iconic cover.