Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s digital comics subscription service, is currently offering all fans free access to some of Marvel’s most iconic stories from recent years, including now-classic Marvel Comics events and critically acclaimed runs featuring the Avengers, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and more.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to take a look back at these classic stories and maybe help you decide whether or not you would like to check them out. Our next series is one of Marvel’s true classics. So much so, in fact, that it was turned into a movie… TWICE! The X-Men come face to face with one of the most powerful entities in the Marvel Universe and have to make some very difficult decisions in…

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

You are likely familiar with the story in some capacity. Jean Grey, a member of the X-Men with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, has become the host of a cosmic entity known as the Phoenix. This force possesses unlimited power and, while Jean has been dealing with this power for some time, she and everyone else around her knows she won’t be able to hold it forever.

This series actually starts off with the X-Men facing off against a different threat though. The Hellfire Club is collecting mutants and the X-Men are standing in their way. A group of ill-meaning mutants led by Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw and a disguised Mastermind captures the X-Men and starts a fight that will eventually unleash a force they never imagined.

Once that happens, the X-Men are the ones that have to deal with it. But how will they stop the Dark Phoenix? As long as Jean Grey lives, the force lives within her. Are they willing to do what it takes? Is Cyclops willing do what it takes, even if it means killing the woman he loves?

This is one of Marvel’s most iconic storylines and it’s because of those questions of humanity and how far the heroes are willing to go to do what they know is right. With that being said, it does include some strange twists, including alien abduction and an honorable duel on the moon with Jean’s life on the line.

It also suffers from some of the tropes that many old comics did, like treating the reader as if every issue is the very first comic they’ve ever picked up. You may get a bit tired of having Cyclops’ powers explained to you for the seventh time in as many issues.

Still, the “Dark Phoenix” saga has a lot to love. It pits one of the most iconic superhero teams of all-time against an atypical villain, and one with enough power to wipe out the Marvel Universe as a whole. It questions each of their morals individually and really allows the reader to get to know just what each member of the team is thinking.

Plus, it does something that is rarely seen in comics. It holds the weight of a major crossover event, while still remaining limited to the characters on the title of the comic. In other words, this story is about a potentially universe-ending catastrophe, but you don’t see all your favorite heroes getting called in for backup like you normally would in those kinds of situations. In fact, you even get a glimpse of those heroes witnessing what’s happening, just to provide some sort of scale to just how important the event really is.

You can read “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” for free now. And be sure to check back as we look back the rest of these classic Marvel Comics stories over the next several weeks.