In 1981, Marvel published Chris Claremont and John Bryne’s classic tale, “Days of Future Past”. The storyline depicted an alternate future in which mutants and superhumans were rounded up and sent to internment camps before being slain. The storyline was ranked among the franchise’s best storylines, and the dystopia represents everything that the X-men were fighting to prevent.

Alternate time lines and parallel universes are a common trope in sci-fi and fantasy, none moreso than Marvel comics. Like DoFP, Marvel’s alternate universes have produced some of the company’s best stories. They’ve even published several series centered around them such as What If and Exiles. Here are 5 classic alternate realities from the House of Ideas.

Age of Apocalypse

If Days of Future Past represented what the X-men were fighting to prevent, AoA represents why the X-men are needed in the first place. After the death of Charles Xavier in the past, the timeline was altered so that Apocalypse took over North America. Magneto formed the X-men but couldn’t prevent the ascension of Apocalypse. People who were allies in the mainstream Marvel universe were enemies, and enemies were allies. Although the timeline had been restored to its proper form, the effects of the timeline can still be felt to this day, as there is even an ongoing series taking place within the timeline.

Earth X
Earth X began life as a series of sketches that Alex Ross did for Wizard magazine. Inspired by DC’s Kingdom Come, Earth X is a dystopian future in which an incident caused every human to gain super powers. Several of Marvel’s heroes would be affected in various ways. For instance, Bruce Banner and the Hulk separated, with Banner being transformed into a child and the Hulk becoming a mindless creature controlled by Banner. The story was continued in two more novels, Universe X and Paradise X, which dealt with the aftermath of the events of Earth X. The epic storyline spanned three maxi-series, along with several one shots and mini series. The series is worth seeing along just to see what happens to your favorite Marvel heroes.

Mutant X
In 1998, X-Factor ended unexpectedly, and Havok’s mind was sent to inhabit the body of an alternate universe’s Havok. In the world of Mutant X, X-Factor is known as the six, with Havok taking Cyclopes’s place. Madeline Pryor, who had made a pact with demons replaces Jean Grey and has a son with Havok. Beast mutated into a large reptilian creature of limited intelligence, Apocalypse transformed Angel into the demonic-like “Fallen”, and Iceman was cursed by Loki into remaining forever trapped into an ice form. Joining them is a vampiric version of Storm, who has been known as Bloodstorm since her transformation at the hands of Dracula. For over 30 issues, readers were introduced to alternate versions of fan favorite heroes and villains. Havok returned to the Marvel Universe proper years ago, although the Mutant X universe hasn’t been seen since.

Making its debut in an issue of What If, the MC2 universe depicted an alternate future where the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane survived and gained powers of her own. Several other superheroes also have their own super-powered children as well. Many heroes from the current continuity are present in the MC2 continuity, although many of them have changed as they got older. After the popularity of the What If issue, DeFalco became the brains behind a brief sub-line of comics that are set in the MC2 universe. The stores have an old school feel to them, geared towards a wider audience, and have a generally have a more light-hearted nature than the mainstream comics. While the line originally contained several books such as A-Next, J2 (the son of Juggernaut), Fantastic Five, and Wild Thing (the daughter of Wolverine and Elektra), the line was shortened down to Spider-Girl’s book. Writer Tom DeFalco’s Spider-Girl had such a fan following that the book was saved from cancellation several times. While the book was ended a few years ago, it won’t be long before we see Spider-Girl and the MC2 universe again.

Age of X

Age of X is a more recent entry on this list. Loosely inspired by the Age of Apocalypse, AoX told of an alternate universe where mutants have been hunted down and slaughtered, while the remaining few hide out in an island fortress. However, discontent amongst the residents soon leads to the discovery about the truth of this universe, and how it was created. What was cool about this universe was the degree to which many of the characters were altered, many of whom having different personalities and codenames. For instance, this universes Cyclops is a cold hearted killer known as Basilik, and Wolverine’s healing factor had been all but negated. Several QR codes were embedded into various comics around the time before the crossover started. By scanning these codes, readers could see hidden files showing the history of this universe. While it is a newer storyline, many readers have compared it to the classic Age of Apocalypse. Whether or not it will have the long term impact AoA did, Age of X is still an awesome take on the X-men mythos in its own right.