Saturday, March 16, 2024

The X-Men Are Entering a New Era...and It's a Lot Like the Old Era

The X-Men have spent the last 5 or so years on Krakoa with their own nation-state. Various plots from the past came together to take the X-Men to one logical conclusion they'd form their own country and tell the rest of Earth to put up with it because they're sick of being hated by a humankind they wanted to protect. Magneto tried it on a small scale with Genosha, but Krakoa was a massive undertaking and resulted in some cool comics thanks to a major change in the usual X-Men status quo. It was never going to be permanent.

This coming Summer the X-Men will be back to living amongst regular humans in various cities where they'll hide out in military bases or such. It feels like a major step backward into the 1990s--something others have observed. The brand has had so much growth the past two decades and now we're reverting to the old ways? Perhaps I'm just bitter as I didn't really, "Get into," the X-Men until the early 2000's when Grant Morrison delivered what I feel is the best run on the series ever (no shade at Claremont). Their run on, "New X-Men," was amazing and changed so much that Marvel then sprung, "House of M," on everyone and made mutants incredibly endangered. Eventually, mutants started gaining bigger numbers and were then put on the editorial backburner whilst Marvel tried in vain against all logic to make the Inhumans popular and a replacement for the X-Men. That was until Jonathan Hickman ushered us into the Krakoan age in 2019 with, "House of X," and, "Powers of X." That resulted in some stellar comics, but it is coming to an end...and we're going back to how the X-Men were in the 1990s when I had minimal interest in the brand as a wee lad and preferred to read about Spider-Man (he's been through some changes for sure too, but that is a whole different article).

I'm not surprised with the vaguely retro revert (say that three times fast) the X-Men are getting. After all, that, "X-Men '97," show is coming to Disney+ and enough time has passed from the 1990s that folks are now nostalgic for it. Still, I didn't really like the X-Men then and besides Wolverine (he was always cool) could have cared less about all the other characters. The creative teams on the three big books are great and the other series could be good, but I just can't muster any excitement to go back to the old ways. 

I got into the X-Men during a period of huge change and always enjoyed the X-titles the most when things besides the usual, "Mutants protecting humans who hate and fear them," motif was used. I adored the aforementioned, "New X-Men run." I had a ton of fun when for a good year or so a team of X-Men was in space, I had a great time with, "House of M," and enjoyed the fallout of that event. The Krakoan age was insanely creative even if way too many comics were released relating to it (there was a ton of stuff to read if you wanted to keep up to date). When the X-Men are simply hiding out in a mansion or in old military bases in between going on missions to save humans who curse them out for being, "Dirty Muties!" I just don't care. It was done from about 1963 to 2000 and done especially spectacularly for years by Chris Claremont in one of the longest uninterrupted runs in comics ever (1975-1991). Old fans who miss the 90s are probably excited and younger comic fans might be intrigued who didn't live through the past stories. As for me? I said the creative teams look great (Jed MacKay and Gail Simone are both amazing writers and Ryan Stegman is a stellar artist, to name some folks), but I may just skim the new main books and secondary titles unless one manages to really grab my attention. Time will tell.

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