There’s no doubt about it: the X-Men are back in a big way. Of course, whether or not the X-Men went anywhere depends on who you ask. The X-Line has been a consistent part of the Marvel universe since the title flared back to life with 1975’s “Giant-Size X-Men” #1. The X-Books have remained steady sellers for Marvel all the way through to January 2017; they sell on the same level as the Avengers and outsell the Guardians of the Galaxy and Inhuman books.
Still, that hasn’t stopped plenty of X-fans from being concerned about the future of the line — even though the books still attract top level, fan favorite talent. The post-“Secret Wars” X-Men comic line dropped down to a lean five titles, the leanest the line has been since the late ’80s. The X-Men have had their backs up against the wall for much of the last few years, as they jumped from one massive conflict to another. Those conflicts have been internal, like with “Schism” or “Battle of the Atom,” or seen them fight other superheroes (like the Avengers or, currently, the Inhumans). On top of that, the Inhumans’ Terrigen mist has become poisonous to mutants, making them an endangered species once again. Things have been stressful for the X-Men.
All that seems to be turning around in May, as revealed by Marvel’s latest batch of solicits. With almost a dozen issues released that month and just as many guest-starring spots across other Marvel titles, the X-Men seem poised to return to their ’90s prominence. They’re everywhere in May.
This is partly due to ResurrXion, a Marvel initiative designed to revamp and relaunch a number of X-Men and Inhumans titles. The X-Men half of ResurrXion is major, as it sees the launch of “X-Men Gold,” “X-Men Blue,” “Generation X,” “Weapon X,” “Iceman,” “Jean Grey” and “Cable.” Additionally, “All-New Wolverine” and “Old Man Logan” are continuing into ResurrXion with new storyarcs. That brings the X-Line up to nine ongoing series, which is about the same number that Marvel put out during the line’s early ’90s heyday. While a few of those books (“Weapon X,” “X-Men Gold” and “X-Men Blue”) launch in April, even more (“Jean Grey,” “Generation X” and “Cable”) launch in May.
The solicits for those X-Books also confirm what’s been teased since ResurrXion as first announced: the X-Books are going in a fun — and new — direction. Whether they’re the mutants in “Blue” or “Gold,” the characters all have colorful makeovers that harken back to the franchise’s superhero roots. The team in “X-Men Gold,” written by Marc Guggenheim with art by Ardian Syaf, is particularly classic-looking, as most of them have returned to wearing versions of their original costumes. Even Gabby, Wolverine’s teen clone/sidekick, has a new super-suit, as seen on the cover of “All-New Wolverine” #20. This bright makeover stands in stark contrast to the intense tone the books have had for the past few years.
The solicits also confirm that a number of classic X-characters are coming back for more adventures. Jubilee is back in a big way in “Generation X,” and Gambit takes the cover of “X-Men Gold” #4. Cable’s leading his own ongoing series, the first time he’s done that since 2010. Cable’s X-Force co-leader Domino is front-and-center in “Weapon X” #3. Classic villains like the Sentinels and Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are appearing in “X-Men Blue” and “Gold,” respectively, bringing even more familiar faces into the fold.
While the X-Men line itself has also greatly expanded, the X-Men’s status as major players in the Marvel Universe is really heralded by their appearances in a ton of other Marvel comics in May. The mutants have infiltrated the Avengers and Champions, with major X-Men appearing regularly in “U.S.Avengers,” “Uncanny Avengers” and “Champions.” “U.S.Avengers” #6 will put Sunspot and Cannonball in the spotlight, while Rogue will get some major attention in “Uncanny Avengers” #23. Cyclops will continue to star in “Champions” while also appearing in “X-Men Blue.”
“Totally Awesome Hulk” #19 will feature a stealth crossover with the newly-launched “Weapon X” series, both of which are written by Greg Pak. The Shi’ar will have major roles to play in “Mighty Thor” #19 and “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mother Entropy” #4; “Thor” will also continue to feature “Generation X” star Quentin Quire.
X-Men villains Technet and Arcade will show up in super unexpected places. Technet, who previously vexed Excalibur in the ’80s, will feature heavily in the new “Rocket” series launching in May. Elektra will find herself trapped in Arcade’s Murderworld in the fourth issue of her new series.
The X-Men of alternate realities will also factor into a few of May’s titles. “Spider-Gwen” #20 touts the debut of Earth-65’s Wolverine. “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows” #7 will feature more ’90s-style X-Men, as well as Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Lastly, Storm’s presence will be felt in a number of ongoings. “Black Panther and the Crew” #2 will dive into part of Ororo’s backstory, and “America” #3 will see Ms. Chavez team up with the Storm and X-Men from a point in the past.
This isn’t what a floundering franchise looks like. These aren’t stats that lend themselves to paranoia. Whatever fears some fans have had about the X-Men line disappearing should take a lot of comfort in all that’s listed above. The X-Men line will publish 11 comics in May (and that’s excluding the tangential “Deadpool” line, which would add another 4 issues to the total). On top of all that, the X-Men are all over the rest of the Marvel Universe. They’re members of the casts of “U.S.Avengers,” “Champions,” “Uncanny Avengers” and “Black Panther and the Crew” on a monthly basis. Their villains are going up against non-mutant enemies. Alternate reality books are having fun with their takes on X-characters. Other comics, like “Totally Awesome Hulk,” are enjoying small crossovers with main X-Books. And don’t forget: the X-Books, touting the return of many prominent and beloved characters, look fun again.
After years of schisms, wars and extinction events, ResurrXion looks to be following through on its promise to make the X-Men books fun again. Not only that, but there seems to be a sweeping change throughout the Marvel Universe as more and more X-Men pop up in other books. The X-Men didn’t go anywhere, but it still feels like they are back in a big way.
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