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The X-Men's 'New' Retro Costumes Dive Deep Into Marvel's Legacy

Uncanny X-Men Costume header

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Uncanny X-Men #13, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.

As far as most of the Marvel Universe is concerned, the X-Men are dead. The vast majority of the team's mutant heroes are trapped in the supposedly utopian Age of X-Man, along with some of their biggest villains. Back in the Marvel Universe, the recently-revived Cyclops and Wolverine have started putting together a new ragtag team to take care of the X-Men's unfinished business.

Even though they don't have any real resources, Cyclops and Logan have managed to scrape together a team of X-veterans including Havok, Moonstar, Magik, Wolfsbane and Karma. While almost all of those mutants are wounded and on the run from anti-mutant government forces, they all signed up to help Cyclops on what he's called the X-Men's "final" mission.

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To prepare his new X-Men for that mission, Cyclops gives the team some old costumes he salvaged from the tunnels beneath the ruins of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Uncanny X-Men #13.

While these costumes might seem like a random assortment of outfits from various points in X-Men history, they actually reveal a lot about where these characters stand by pointing back to specific points in X-Men history.

CYCLOPS

After a lengthy stint as a mutant revolutionary who wasn't always right, Cyclops, since his resurrection, has been acting more like a superhero than he had in the previous decade. In this issue, Cyclops visually reinforces his status as a superhero by returning to the iconic costume he wore in the 1990s. Designed by Jim Lee, this blue-and-gold costume debuted in 1991's X-Men #1 and was cemented as Cyclops' signature look in X-Men: The Animated Series.

While the costume uses the classic X-Men color scheme to identify Cyclops as a proponent of Xavier's dream, subtle changes reveal that he's not the precise leader that he used to be. Instead of the original yellow visor that matches that outfit, the X-Men leader keeps the silver visor he's worn since 2001. While the costume's head-sleeve used to show off his perfectly trimmed hair, his current shaggier cut doesn't quite fit here. This costume visualizes Cyclops's desire to be a superhero again, but simultaneously suggests that he hasn't quite figured out how yet.

WOLVERINE

Like Cyclops, Wolverine also returns to the iconic brown-and-tan costume he had in X-Men #1. Logan started wearing the John Byrne-designed costume in 1980's X-Men #139 and kept it for most of the next decade. While he had plenty of X-Men adventures in this uniform, he also wore this suit during his outings as an increasingly-popular solo hero.

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While it has enough yellow hues to visually link Logan to the other X-Men, its darker, more earthy tones also indicate that he's once again operating in a shadier, more morally gray area than the rest of the team. To that effect, he briefly argues for the idea of killing the X-Men's enemies in this story before falling in line and agreeing to take his cues from Cyclops' lead.

NEXT PAGE: Uncanny X-Men: What Havok, Magik, and the New Mutants' Costumes Tell Us

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