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Hit or Miss: The New Exceptional X-Men

We already examined the upcoming Jed Mackay X-Men title and predicted what kind of sales success we think that new title will enjoy. In this article, we will focus on the second of the three new main X-Men titles: Exceptional X-Men. Exceptional X-Men #1 is slated to come out on September 4, 2024. The creative team for Exceptional X-Men will consist of Eve Ewing and Carmen Canero.

In this series, Kate Pryde is tasked with mentoring a cast of new mutants. Along with Kitty, Emma Frost will also be a part of the team guiding these young mutants. Here is what Eve Ewing had to say about Exceptional X-Men.

“Long-time fans of Kitty Pryde can count on the kinds of adventures you expect from her as a classic favorite, while I hope new and old readers alike will get to love this all-new team of young mutants. Kitty, the one-time kid sister figure of the X-Men, has to reckon with her own memories—good and bad—of being a child of Xavier as she navigates a role as leader and mentor for a new generation of mutants who are trying to make their way in a time of crisis.”

Rokk’s Excitement Level: 1 Night Girl out of 10. The creative team of Eve Ewing and Carmen Canero is a mixed bag. Carmen Carnero is a Spanish artist who has worked on several Marvel Comics titles. Carnero is a wonderfully talented artist. There is no doubt that Exceptional X-Men will be a good-looking comic book. I am confident in Carnero’s talents to crank out an excellent-looking superhero comic every month.

However, everything falls apart and crumbles to dust with Eve Ewing as the writer. Again, Ewing is not a comic book writer by trade. Ewing is a sociologist who is a professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She is the author of several books on sociology specifically education and racism. Ewing’s academic research focuses on school closures.

Ewing is also an author of poetry, prose, and journalism. Most of her focus has been on colorism, school choice, federal arts funding, and race in publishing. There is just nothing about Ewing that makes her remotely qualified to write mainstream superhero comic books for the biggest comic book publisher in North America.

It defies common sense that Marvel Comics would put someone like Ewing on one of their three main X-Men titles. Ewing drove Black Panther into the ground and got that title canceled after just ten issues. Black Panther is a character that is a household name with mainstream audiences and is very popular. Yet, Ewing still failed to have any sales success. If Ewing cannot succeed with Black Panther what makes Marvel Comics think Ewing is qualified to make an X-Men title a sales success? Marvel Comics hiring Ewing to work on one of the three main X-Men comics after continual sales failures is the very definition of failing upwards. We should all be so privileged.

Exceptional X-Men
Credit: Marvel Comics



The roster also fails to inspire any interest in me for Exceptional X-Men. The roster includes Kitty Pryde, Emma Frost, Bronze, Axo, and Melee. Out of the three main X-Men titles, this is the weakest roster. I am a long-time fan of Kitty Pryde. She was a phenomenal character. Kate Pryde? Not so much. It is tough to recognize the character anymore over the past few years.

I also love Emma Frost…as a villain. Like with other classic X-Men villains in Magneto and Juggernaut, I am burned out on Emma having to be on a team of heroes. The other three new characters? The teaser information that we got for all three did absolutely nothing to get me interested in them.

Rokk’s Prediction: Ewing has dipped her toe in the pool of superhero comic books with titles including Ironheart, Marvel Team-Up, Champions, Monica Rambeau: Photon, and Black Panther. All of them have been horrendous sales failures.

Ironheart #1 had a tepid debut in December 2018 by coming in at the number 45 spot and selling 40,739 units. Then, the title crashed and burned as Ironheart #2 took the number 123 spot and sold just 17,507 units. Ironheart #2-12 averaged the number 173 spot in the sales rankings and sold an average of 11,419 units per issue. Ironheart was then canceled with the twelfth issue which took the number 199 spot in the sales rankings and sold 9,01 units.

Ewing wrote Marvel Team-Up in 2019. Marvel Team-Up #1 debuted at the number 35 spot and sold 39,892 units. Marvel Team-Up then dropped like a dead duck as Marvel Team-Up #2 fell to the number 128 spot and sold just 17,513 units. Marvel Team-Up #3 concluded the title coming in at the number 121 spot and selling only 16,677 units.

Ewing’s Champions #1 had an unimpressive debut in October 2020 by taking the number 52 spot. Champions #1 debuted at the number 23 spot. Champions then plummeted like a rock as Champions #2 took the number 100 spot in the rankings. Champions #3-5 were all out of the Top 100 and unranked. The sales charts at the time only listed titles in the Top 100 instead of the Top 200 as they do now.

Monica Rambeau: Photon came out in 2023. Monica Rameau: Photon #1 had a poor debut coming in at the number 53 spot. The sales plummeted from there as Monica Rambeau: Photon #2 took the number 108 spot in the rankings. Monica Rambeau: Photon #2-5 averaged the number 160 spot in the sales rankings. Monica Rambeau #5 concluded the mini-series at the number 199 spot.

Black Panther came out in June 2023. Black Panther #1 debuted at the number 11 spot. Black Panther #2 crashed and burned down to the number 99 spot. Black Panther 3-9 averaged the number 124 spot in the sales rankings. Marvel Comics canceled this ongoing title due to low sales. Black Panther #10 will be the last issue.

I was already not bullish on Ewing given the fact that she is a university professor in sociology and not a comic book writer. Also, Ewing has continually displayed a lack of love or understanding of the superhero genre. However, examining Ewing’s continual and consistent failure in the sales charts makes me even more doubtful of the possible sales success of this new X-Men title. Based on historical performance, it is fair to expect any Ewing-penned comic book to be a sales failure.

All five of Ewing’s Marvel Comics titles have been Dead Titles Walking by their second issues. All five of Ewing’s Marvel Comics titles remain in the Dead Titles Walking category until their conclusions. Therefore, given that 100% of everything Ewing has ever written for Marvel Comics has been a Dead Title Walking, the odds are that Exceptional X-Men will also end up being a Dead Title Walking.

I also think that the roster for the Exceptional X-Men is less appealing to potential readers than the rosters for X-Men and Uncanny X-Men. I think I am in the minority concerning my views on the current version of Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost. I think more fans are fine with the current versions of these characters and may be attracted to this title because of the inclusion of both ladies. However, I do not think many readers will have much interest in Bronze, Axo, or Melee.

Conclusion: I feel confident that Exceptional X-Men will be the lowest-selling of the three main X-Men titles. All of Ewing’s Marvel Comics has been sales failures and Exceptional X-Men has the weakest roster. Still, this is a main X-Men title with an irresistible #1 on the cover. So, I think that Exceptional X-Men #1 will score a Top 10 debut. I also think that Exceptional X-Men will slip out of the Top 50 by the third issue. After that, we will see Exceptional X-Men fall into the Dead Titles Walking category a few months later. I do not see Marvel Comics canceling X-Men or Uncanny X-Men. However, I could see Exceptional X-Men getting canceled at some point.