X-Men: A Love/Hate Story and the Road to ResurreXion
Since I was very young I have loved Superheroes they have subsequently become my life. I remember being very young and just enamored with Richard Donner's Superman movie. Then like any child of the 80s, Saturday morning cartoons were everything. I was introduced to Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and as many were drawn to Spider-Man like my good friend David was, I was taken by the wise cracking Iceman. There was just something different about him than any other of the superheroes I had know up until that point.
It was the mid 80s and I was so enthralled with anything Superheroes. My best friend Stuarts older brother Kyle in 1984 got the Marvel Superheroes Advanced Role Playing game. Kyle and his friends played it constantly and I used to watch them play moving their little figures on the map. When I was a few years older he let me and Stuart join in. There would be road trips up to the mountains to go skiing and we would be playing without the map in the back of the van. Stuart always chose Iron Man to play, but I rotated through a lot of the mutants. Rogue was always the one I came back too. I loved her powers and the fact that I could take anyone else powers too. One time I remember playing Just Stuart, Kyle and I we had just beaten Loki one of Kyle's favorite villains to use. To celebrate the win I said "Rogue leans over and kisses Iron Man on the lips," Kyle had me role the dice, and I rolled such a high number Rogue put Iron Man in a coma. Stuart was so mad and tried to talk Kyle into letting him role to put up his force field, but all his pleas were denied. Stuart never fully trusted me in that game after that, but it was so worth it.
1991 came around and I was at my friend David's house and his bedroom was just plastered with everything Spider-Man. We went over to his others friends house and they put on a VHS that then forever changed my life. Pryde of the X-Men, the 1989 pilot that never made it to series just absolutely blew my mind. I had known of the X-Men but I had never seen them in action except Iceman in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I wanted more, no I needed more of the X-Men. Everything about them just spoke to me on a level I wouldn't understand till a few years later.
David took me to the comic book store and started my plunge into the world of comics. I left the store with the first 3 issues of the newly released X-Men by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. I also got the Marvel Milestone Edition of Uncanny X-Men #1, the issue where it all began. What really got me excted was getting to read more of Rogue. She was my favorite in the role playing game and now she was a major player in the books I was collecting. For years after that there was no other superheroes in my mind other than the X-Men. I watched the 1992 X-Men series religiously. I also sporadically collected comics. I still didn't quite understand that they came out monthly, but when I would have some allowance I would go to the comic book store and pick up some new books.
In 1994 my world was forever changed again when Generation X was released. I wasn't reading comics when the New Mutants in 1983 were the teenage mutant book. But now I was a teenager and could fully relate to these characters that were around my age in the new teenage mutant book. Jubilee from the animated show was in it and Chamber, Jonothan Starsmore intrigued me more than any of the others. I loved everything about him. Like Rogue there was something different about him than the other mutants. His shortcomings like Rogue were far more apparent than the others. But with Rogue and Chamber lacking the ability to be intimate with others they still were very charismatic and showed how one could overcome any obstacle.
As I entered high school I fell out of comics for many years. I still enjoyed superheroes but I had moved onto other things. After I graduated I enjoyed watching the X-Men Evolution animated series that debuted in 2000, and the amazing X-Men movie of the same year. It wouldn't be until years later when I was working at HMV where I met a guy who was huge into collecting comics. I decided at that point I would plunge back into what had engulfed so much of my childhood.
In 2004 I started my plunge with X-Men: The End, as well as collecting the trades of Ultimate X-Men. Then Astonishing X-Men was released by Joss Whedon and again my life was forever changed and I was completely hooked on comics again for the second time in my life. This time though I knew that they were released every month and could continuously pick up new issues as they were released. I started to get into some DC comics, and other Marvel titles as well but found that spending $50+ a week on comics was getting to be too expensive for a minimum wage retail employee so I decided to go X-Men only.
For many years after that I focused on all the X-books and worked on collecting the older books. Grant Morrison's 2001 New X-Men run to this day is still my absolute favorite X-Men run. The X-Men have had their ups and downs and have evolved over the years. Never more than when Morrison revitalized the franchise. Just as Claremont had done with the Phoenix Saga in 1976, Morisson raised the bar for all future X-books. The movie had made a major impact on the world and Morisson was able to take elements of that and craft a book that raised the bar on every level.
Even in Claremont's 2001 series X-Treme X-Men things were getting intense. We had major characters in both series being killed off, where it seemed character shields were a thing of the past and no one was safe. This was very apparent in 2004's Avengers Disassembled, that then thrust us into the House of M.
Marvel is very well know for its shakeups of its universe. Don't get too comfortable because at any moment everything could change and after House of M, wow did it ever. I honestly feel this is where my love for X-Men started to dwindle. So many mutants I loved were de-powered after this world shattering event. From this moment after the Scarlet Witch said "no more mutants" they seemed to be in survival mode and it now being 13 years later they still are in a never ending cycle of survival mode.
Even though overall I feel that House of M did more damage to the X-Men franchise than help it, there were some series that seemed to get stronger after the event. 2004's New X-Men Academy X went from being a silly more kids book to very dark as the students dealt with an onslaught from Reverend William Stryker. Many major characters seemed to be killed off, with an entire school bus of children being blow up and my favorite from the series Icarus being left on the steps of the school bloddy from his wings being ripped out of his body.
It seemed every time you think the dust was starting to settle something else would happen and kick up all the dust yet again. That dust being 2007's Messiah CompleX. While the main X-titles seemed to be lacking in engaging content 1991's X-Men evolved into X-Men: Legacy. This series was incredible finally really giving a look into Professor Xavier and the real things he had been up too behind the curtain. We learned about his deciving of Wolverine, as well as the lies he told to Rogue. He actually could have helped her control her powers, but decided to lie and make a promise that they would work together to that goal for fear that if he had been truthful, she would leave and he would lose such a strong member of the team.
So many secrets were coming out that even 2006's event Civil War never had as much of an effect on the X-Men until 2009's Utopia X. The X-Men were going up against Norman Osborne and his Dark Avengers. This event and many of the X-Men titles during this period were not very exciting. Everything leads back to House of M and we just could not seem to get a status quo for very long until Marvel would come and shake things up yet again. Even the surprisingly good and very underrated event X Necrosha came and went without much noticing it. The X-Men were in a decline and exhaustion from major events was weighing on everyone.
Enter 2010's Second Coming. This event was right on the heels of X Necrosha and stole all of the attention. It was the final part of a trilogy story starting with Messiah Complex, continuing in Messiah War, which barely anyone read, and then finishing in Second Coming. Again the dust was being kicked up again and we were to lose yet another major character. This was one of the last events that really held any weight in the X-Men Franchise. Marvel was doing too much too often. Next we were thrust into many mini events that had no real impact on the franchise and among all these mini events the next major one to have any impact on the X-Men's side of the Marvel Universe was Schism and began my real decline in the X-Men books.
Everything about 2011's Schism bothered me. Wolverine was never a favorite character of mine, but seeing him become a complete hypocrite really bothered me. The books continued and right after 2012's Avengers vs X-Men took over the Marvel Universe. I did enjoy this event but again major event exhaustion was so apparent that it prevent anyone from really being able to get into AvX. But after AvX the X-books seemed to be somewhat revitalized. Even controversial books like Brian Michael Bendis's 2012 series All-New X-Men was fun and fresh, and Bendis brought a level of humor to the franchise that we hadn't seen in a very long time.
We got more and more events happening which prevented books like 2013's Brian Wood X-Men series with an all female team finding it's voice as the book got thrust into a crossover event on issue #5. As much potential as this series had, going into an event this soon destroyed any hope for it to find it's own voice and the series was cancelled at issue #26.
What was happening to the X-Men books? The quality was not what it used to be and fan favorite characters were being moved to Avenger books. The controversial All-New X-Men series bringing the original five X-Men to the present continued to divide fans and to this day is still having an impact on the franchise. Things were not looking good, and then 2014 sent us into Avengers/ X-Men Axis. An event that is so bad it is almost unreadable. I couldn't even finish the event it was so horrible. I started to venture out and read other comics because the X-Men no longer had the magic that got me addicted to them when I was a child.
Marvel was starting so many new series and then cancelling them by the next major event. You couldn't really get into a series before it was then cancelled for a series of the same name but new creative team and sometimes new members. I kept reading select X-books up until 2015's Secret Wars. Yet again things were getting shaken up, but the rumor was that this was Marvel's universe reboot. As fun as the series was it was not as much of a reboot that it should have been. It was all just an excuse to bring Miles Morales Spider-Man and Old Man Logan to the main Marvel Universe.
2016 launched all new X-books. I picked up the first three issues of Uncanny X-Men, Extraordinary X-Men, and All-New X-Men. I was shocked and saddened for what I found. This was not the X-Men. Even with top creative talents like Jeff Limire on the books, things were looking bleak. None of them understood any of the characters and wrote them completely out of character. At this point my love for the X-Men seemed to had been killed and I dropped all the x-books.
it's been almost two years with no X-Men in my life and as much as I still have a love for comics I miss my X-Men. But every attempt I made to get back into the world of my merry mutants I was reminded why I left. 2016's Death of X as well as Inhumans vs X-Men were huge let downs, and I didn't know if I would ever get to enjoy the X-Men again. I think many fans out there felt the same way I did. Sales have been at all time lows for what used to be one of the flagship franchises for Marvel. It's been so many years with declining quality but is there a glimmer of hope? Marvel released that they are going back to what made the X-Men great. ResurreXion is on the horizon.
I decided that I was not yet ready to say farewell to the X-Men and I would give ResurreXion a chance. I have high hopes that Marvel truly listened to us and will deliver like DC did with Rebirth. March 29th ResurreXion launches with X-Men Prime #1. My road to ResurreXion starts now and for once in a long time I am excited for the future of the X-Men. Check out my review of X-Men Prime #1 Wednesday March 29th and join me on a journey home to the X-Mansion.