20 most upbeat superhero stories

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WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN (2011) #4 (Image via Marvel)

20. Wolverine and the X-Men

You know, for as goofy as the X-Men can be, most of their comics take the concept pretty seriously. But, it’s hard not to take some enjoyment out of the inherent silliness of some of the concepts in the X-Men mythos.

After all, one of the team’s most popular characters is a grumpy, nearly ageless Canadian man who takes his cues from an angry woodland creature. You may not be willing to explain just why you’re laughing to Wolverine himself (those adamantium claws do pack a real punch, after all), but you shouldn’t have to take the whole affair quite so seriously.

That’s partially why Wolverine and the X-Men works so well. The series began in 2011 after some truly grim events. Cyclops, formerly the upstanding, good-guy leader of the X-Men, had begun his transformation into a militant mutant separatist, a la Magneto.

Wolverine can’t really deal with this new series of events, so he leaves Cyclops’ Utopia and founds the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning. He rounds up a bunch of students, recruits several X-Men to be faculty members, and even convinces Captain America to release Quentin Quire (a powerful, volatile and smart-alecky telepath also known as Kid Omega) into his custody.

Despite the drama of its beginnings, the first few issues of Wolverine and the X-Men are tremendous fun. For all of his grumbling and violent past, Wolverine actually makes for a pretty good headmaster. Even when the Hellfire Club tries to take down the school with clones of Frankenstein’s monster (while the State Board of Education is evaluating the new school, no less), Wolverine and the other mutants saves the day.

My personal favorite is the sequence of events where Wolverine take Quentin Quire on a school fundraising trip to an alien space casino.