If there was ever a franchise that needed a reboot it is Marvel’s X-Men. The franchise has just been out of control for far too many years. The last few years for the X-Men in particular have been incredibly rough. Thanks to Jonathan Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X that a reboot is exactly what the X-Men are getting. Marvel and Hickman have made it clear these two mini-series will build the foundation for the X-Men’s future. Now at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Marvel revealed all their X-Men plans in the post-House/Powers of X world. Let’s take a closer look at all these plans now.
MATTHEW ROSENBERG’S UNCANNY X-MEN RUN ERASED
Before getting into all the exciting things that are coming for the X-Men there is one big thing that was notable about all the announced comics. That is the fact that Jonathan Hickman and Marvel are immediately undoing all the major damage that Matthew Rosenberg did to the X-Men franchise. To say Rosenberg left the X-Men damage was putting it easy. From interviews leading up to San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Hickman made several references that he did not appreciate the state that Rosenberg left the X-Men at the conclusion of his run with Uncanny X-Men #22. That unhappiness with the ending Uncanny X-Men is made clear by the fact that all the X-Men that all the characters Rosenberg killed or altered has been erased. Based on the new X-Men comics there is a feeling that Rosenberg’s run never happened, almost as if it was just a fever dream.
STRONG TEAM BALANCE IS KEY TO THE X-MEN FUTURE
One of the most noticeable things about all the X-Men comics is the fact that there is a clear focus on the team dynamic. Every roster of X-Men teams has a balance of different types of characters. That is important to help each comic book stand out from one another. The only characters that are appearing on more than one comic are Jean Grey, Wolverine and Cable. Limiting the majority of the X-Men to just one team will make each comic more of a must-have for fans since there are so many strong characters in the franchise. The costume choice for most of the X-Men is also well handled as the ones that should keep their classic costume do while those in need of a modern costume get just that.
CYCLOPS LEADING NEW X-MEN FUTURE
Jonathan Hickman will be keeping things simple for his new series in the franchise by calling it “X-Men.” This harkens back to the beloved X-Men relaunch by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. Having Hickman place his focus on the core X-Men series is the right way to go. Though he did a great job in managing the writing duties for Avengers and New Avengers, the X-Men are different. Keeping things to X-Men will help Hickman make the series an even bigger deal, just like he did with his Avengers and Fantastic Four runs.
Having Leinil Francis Yu as the artist for the series is a great choice. He has constantly brought big event level energy to every Marvel comic he has worked on. What Hickman and Yu will be able to do together should be very exciting.
Looking at the cover for X-Men #1 it is interesting that the line-up is almost completely made up of the Summers Family. The only non-Summers on this initial team is Wolverine. Which puts into question that if Cyclops is the one forming and leading the X-Men team for the core series why would he choose Wolverine to be part of a team that is just his immediate family?
NEW CAPTAIN BRITAIN LEADS EXCALIBUR
One of the biggest surprises from the announcements for the new X-Men comics is Betsy Braddock becoming the new Captain Britain. This continues the trend Marvel has with replacing iconic characters that have been tied to superhero names for a long time with another character. We’ve seen this many times before with Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, Wasp,Thor and Valkyrie.
To be fair to this change if Marvel is going to have Betsy stick around it is hard to have her be Psylocke. Though she is the original version of the character the Psylocke identity has been closely tied to Kwannon not Betsy. If Marvel is going to keep Betsy as Captain Britain permanently I hope that they make changes to her costume because the version on the cover does not match the more iconic look of her brother.
The roster for this new Excalibur team that Captain Britain is leading also given one big wild card in the form of Apocalypse. This is not the Kid Apocalypse we have seen a lot of in recent years. This Apocalypse the full-blown adult version. That immediately creates the question why Apocalypse would team-up with the X-Men? Maybe we will find that out in either House of X or Powers of X.
KITTY PRYDE NAME CHANGE LEADS TO MARAUDERS NEW GOALS
Of all the comics that were announced the one that I did not expect to see as an ongoing is the Marauders. Given that the Marauders have been villains in the past this was an immediate eye raiser that the team is possibly being rebranded as an anti-hero group. I say possibly because this version of the Marauders is being funded by Emma Frost’s Hellfire Trading Company. Emma has been more on the villainous side as of late and the Hellfire Club is yet another group of X-Men antagonists.
With all that said, it does look like this version of the Marauders are taking on the role that the Rick Remenders’ Uncanny X-Force had. Led by the renamed Kate Pryde, this X-Men team seems to be the strikeforce for the franchise that is going down the darker corners the other teams aren’t. What exactly is motivating Storm, Kate Pryde, Iceman and Bishop in particular to work with Emma Frost is a big hook for this series.
CLASSIC NEW MUTANTS ROSTER RETURNS
The biggest proof that the Rosenberg era on the X-Men is being erased is the fact the classic New Mutants roster, who were almost all killed off, are back for a new series. What will make the New Mutants unique within the X-Men line is the fact that they are the only ones focusing on the younger X-Men. It is still not clear if we will see a form of the Xavier Institute where young mutants can learn about their powers and gain an education. The New Mutants series at least implies that the younger mutants will still be focused on to some extent.
CABLE, PSYLOCKE AND X-23 ARE X-MEN’S FALLEN ANGELS
The young, punk Cable looks to be sticking around for the new era of the X-Men. While that is disappointing pairing him up with Kwannon, who looks to be keeping the Psylocke identity, and X-23 helps him a lot. This trio is a very interesting mix. Naming their series Fallen Angels points to this series taking a darker direction. With Cable, Psylocke and X-23 all trained to use deadly force this could mean that the Fallen Angels could eventually butt heads with the X-Men. Though that may be problematic for Cable since he is part of Cyclops core X-Men team.
X-FORCE TRANSFORMS INTO THE MUTANTS CIA
Closing out the upcoming X-Men line is a brand new X-Force series. This new version of the X-Force seems to combine the modern black-ops direction along with the classic version of the team. The multiple directions for the X-Force is made clear as Jean Grey is likely leading the more front facing version of the team while Wolverine’s group focuses on the black-ops portion of their overall mission. How Benjamin Percy, who is a great get for Marvel after strong runs on Green Arrow and Nightwing for DC Comics, balances this split focus for the X-Force will be interesting to see. Especially if the X-Force are made to be the X-Men team that work closely with the Earth’s government, which was something Tom Taylor’s X-Men: Red played with previously.
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