Oh, baby X-Men, we hardly knew ye. Since the time-displaced original five debuted in 2012 as part of Brian Michael Bendis’s mutant master plan, many of us have been more or less waiting for the eventual reversal — whatever method of time-traveling chicanery would be necessary to send them back to their proper when and clear the decks once again. The plot development that brought the young X-Men into the present-day Marvel universe seemed, from the outset, to be very temporary. Have kid Cyclops show crazy old Cyclops that he was acting a right dick, and move on. Send the younguns home. Instead, these “All-New X-Men” settled in for a spell and opened new doors (closet doors among them) all over the mansion.
Angel got fire wings, and Beast took up dark magic. Iceman came out as gay, and Jean Grey came into a heretofore unappreciated personality. Cyclops rejected his destined psychosis, kicking it with the Champions and the Starjammers when he wasn’t neurotically whining all over Westchester. Along the way, this new “Blue” team picked up a few more strays and even started training under one-time arch-nemesis Magneto.
So, are these kids really sticking around?
Nope. Doesn’t look like it.
X-Men: Extinction #1, by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz, is this year’s mini mutant event and, as Brisson mentions in his afterword, this event is “largely about cleaning house.” But he goes on to assure us dear readers that, even once they resolve the young X-Men storyline, the last few years of continuity will still matter.
Continue reading X-Men: Extermination
Last week’s opening shot into Marvel’s Legacy initiative was a surprise-laden tour de force featuring a main story peppered with enough coming attractions trailers to put a Hall H Saturday to shame. And while we’re eagerly awaiting developments in Thor’s story (well, not eager to see Jane Foster edge ever closer to death, but the Mangog business is exciting) and wondering what the hell is going on with this Black Panther planet, Legacy Week 1 begins with a gem from another segment of the Marvel Universe. Avengers #672, by Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz, kicks off “Worlds Collide,” the highly anticipated crossover between two of the best team books going. With the fates of multiple earths on the line, the Champions attempt to make nice with their former mentors, The Avengers.
The issue opens with simultaneous debates in both camps regarding the same impossible claim: a “counter-earth,” run by the High Evolutionary, exists on the opposite side of the sun, completely invisible to detection by anyone here on normal earth. Of course, those of us familiar with decades of Marvel legacy, know this to be true, and we’ve enjoyed numerous storylines involving the home of that unhinged scientist and his hordes of crazy animalmen. And in wonderfully adept adherence to the premise of this publishing initiative, Mark Waid uses the new generation of Marvel heroes as a sounding board for a modern understanding of physics and comic book plots anchored in a proper respect for scientific fact.
But then you’d be missing the point, Amadeus and Nadia! You operate in a universe of impossibility, and the last thing any one of us Marvel fans wants is to retcon away the marvelously campy and cosmically inaccurate tales from those halcyon days of 70’s four color fantasy! Give us counter-earth! And save Kentucky, while you’re at it, because a meteor just belched into the atmosphere and is rocketing towards the planet.
Continue reading Avengers #672
Edit, 4/10: This isn’t how Marvel Comics should be making the news. After all the outstanding progress and forward thinking that has become a hallmark of the company’s titles in the last few years – a number of all-female creative teams, that totally Asian Totally Awesome Hulk, Kamala Khan,
America fer crying out loud – this controversy is a major setback. And to have it take place in a relaunch of the X-Men of all things, a comic that has, for generations, stood for abolishing bigotry and promoting acceptance, is particularly disappointing. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of Marvel’s –
or any comic book publisher’s – relationship with this particular artist.
As promised, Marc Guggenheim is going back to basics in X-Men: Gold #1, the first new ongoing X-book in Marvel’s ResurrXion initiative. Following the events of Inhumans vs. X-Men, and, really, all the second-rate treatment given to mutants not named Deadpool over the last few years, this new team with a classic feel is just what the comics world needs right now. Kitty Pryde is back, leading a group comprised of Colossus, Storm, Rachel Grey (Prestige), Old Man Logan, and Nightcrawler. And it’s not just the team’s composition that hearkens back to the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne glory days. This is the first X-launch in years that feels like those great stories so many of us grew up with. No disrespect to Lee & Kirby, but the X-Men – as a series and as an institution – didn’t reach their full potential until that first reset in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
The comic opens, appropriately, with a supervillain bout, wherein this team gets a chance to showcase its battle-tested dynamic. Also, a little reminder that Kitty Pryde, codename or not, is a legitimate badass. And then the battle segues quickly into an all-too familiar statement. What makes the X-Men heroes – perhaps even more heroic than any assemblage of Avengers or Justice Leaguers – is that these mutants have forever worked to protect and save a society that hates and fears them. It’s the enduring X-Men theme; in Guggenheim’s hands the selflessness and courage still seems fresh.
Continue reading X-Men: Gold