We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s start the speculation over what’s making us Future Tense
The X-Men will always have a special place in my heart… As the family of books that got me into comics 20 years ago, they’re the only ones I’ve stuck with through good times and bad. While I’ve dropped and returned to other books a handful of times, I’ve always been there through thick and thin with the Children of the Atom. But as the events of Schism unfold, the X-Men are faced with their own mini-Civil War and Marvel’s merry mutants may never be the same after Regenesis.
What IS Regenesis? Hey, if you haven’t figured it out already, comic book companies love themes. For DC, it’s the tried-and-true Crisis, be it infinite, final, of identity, or across infinite Earths. Marvel? They love their wars – the secret kind, the civil kind, the ones with armor, the ones between gods… But, within the Marvel universe, the X-Men have long held their own special place, and in that, have their own gimmick. When Giant Sized X-Men #1 launched, it was deemed “Second Genesis” as a new team of X-Men was introduced. Decades later, Ed Brubaker introduced a lost chapter in the X-Men’s history that he called Deadly Genesis. So now, in the wake of Schism tearing the X-teams in twain, we’re presented with the regenesis of the X-Men into two major factions, and fans who jumped on board the X-train when I did couldn’t be happier to hear the new designations: Blue and Gold – everything old is new again!
Don’t worry, there will still be innumerable X-family books for you to purchase, it’s just that the team books will fall under one banner or the other. As shown above, those X-Men aligning themselves with Cyclops will be the Blue team, and spread across the pages of X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, and Generation Hope. Wolverine’s followers in the Gold team will comprise the ranks of Wolverine and the X-Men, X-Men Legacy, Uncanny X-Force, and X-Factor. And that still leaves Wolverine and Deadpool’s solo books, Astonishing X-Men, and whatever other random iterations Marvel decided to throw at us to gobble up your hard earned money.
So what does this all mean? For one, there are some shakeups among the rosters of these teams – most notably the return of the space-stranded X-Men Havok, Polaris, and Marvel Girl. But considering they’d recently become the leaders of the Starjammers, does this mean Marvel will be short a team of space-faring pirates? And of them, only Rachel is joining the team that’s bringing them back from space – Havok and Polaris return to their old stomping grounds in X-Factor! What will that mean for the team’s direction and dynamic? I, for one, am excited to find out!
On the Blue side of things (that’s right, Havok’s not siding with Cyclops) we see nothing too shocking except the return of Domino and Warpath’s reinstatement as an X-Man. The biggest news here is Sebastian Shaw’s involvement in Generation Hope – where could this lead? The real question, though, is how does the schism shake out? The falling out between Wolverine and Cyclops seems to stem from Scott’s willingness to treat the youngest generation of mutants as soldiers in his war, while Wolverine wants to give them a chance to actually BE kids. Why, then, do the two X-Men youth groups seem to be aligned with Scott when the dust settles? Sure, Idie is with Logan, but then… so is Quentin Quire.
The other thing that I simply can’t overlook is numbering and nomenclature. The X-books sure have effed this up over the years… 1963’s X-Men eventually became Uncanny X-Men, which paved the way for a second X-Men title in the ’90s, the launch of which was what heralded my arrival on the comics’ scene. That title became New X-Men, then X-Men again, then X-Men Legacy and – following its now 20-year old numbering, is going to hit issue 259 as part of Regenesis. This means there was room to bring in a NEW X-Men book (not a New X-Men book) last year, which is now approaching issue 20. And, with Regenesis, comes the launch of Wolverine and the X-Men. All well and good, but – alongside Uncanny X-Men and Astonishing X-Men – this brings the total count of straight up X-Men books to five. That’s right, there are more books about the core group of X-Men then there are books about tangential teams (Uncanny X-Force, X-Factor, New Mutants, and Generation Hope totaling only four)!!! No more mutants my ASS!
Will the new rosters and new direction breathe new life into the X-books? Or will too many titles weigh down what has – in the past few years – already become a sinking ship? How will characters on each side of the schism feel about those on the other side? And how and why is Psylocke the only one straddling the line!? Will she be pulling the same kind of double duty Warren was, switching between Betsy and Death (a potential upcoming development in Uncanny X-Force)? And with Nightcrawler “back” can Cable be far behind? For the answer to THAT question, check back next week as I get Future Tense about Avengers: X-Sanction
And to get caught up on how the X-Men got to where they are, be sure to read Previously in… X-Men; your Reader’s Digest-like guide to the evolution of X in the 616