What does Marvel have in store for the X-Men’s next chapter?
The Age of X-Man is coming. We know this because Marvel has been throwing out promo art for the very Age of Apocalypse (AoA) inspired story for months now. The main six pieces of art shared by the publisher are comic covers accompanied by titles, creative teams, and an overall brief description:
“Coming February 2019, the AGE OF X-MAN dawns, and the X-Men cannot stop it. After the apocalyptic dissolution of the X-Men comes…AGE OF X-MAN!”
Is this a sign the X-Men will be returning to pre-Quesada levels of sales rack presence? What books can we expect to see following the end of the Age of X-Man?
The original 90s story, the Age of Apocalypse (AoA), which this event appears to be modeled after, completely swallowed the X-Men franchise whole. Every ongoing book available was put on hold and replaced with an alternate version of it that reflected the twisted timeline that was being depicted in the book itself. For those that are unfamiliar with the AoA storyline, it started when Professor Xavier’s infinitely powerful and mentally disturbed son David “Legion” Haller awoke from his coma.
Seemingly sound of mind and in control of all his powers he had one mission- make his father’s dream of mutant/human peace a reality. He saw the only way of doing this was to eliminate Magneto in the past, so he wouldn’t hamper his father’s work in the present. In the process of executing his plan, David accidentally killed his father instead of the Master of Magnetism. This changed the timeline we knew into the brutal, nightmarish Age of Apocalypse reality- a world without an X-Men team formed and led by Professor Charles Xavier.
Here are the AoA titles and the books they temporarily replaced;
Amazing X-Men replaced X-Men
Astonishing X-Men replaced Uncanny X-Men
Factor-X replaced X-Factor
Gambit and the X-Ternals replaced X-Force
Generation Next replaced Generation-X
Weapon-X replaced Wolverine
X-Man replaced Cable
X-Calibur replaced Excalibur
The current state of affairs with the X-Men line of books today differs than it did in the 90s. Unlike then, there aren’t eight ongoing X-Men titles. Heck, there aren’t even six! Like the original event that dominated the X-Men franchise for nearly half a year, the Age of X-Man will also carry its own books utilizing unique titles. But these mini-series’ will not be able to take the places of currently published ongoing titles. There’s simply just not enough of them this time around.
They’ll have to be brand new creations all their own. I’m not even certain if the newly relaunched Uncanny X-Men will be included in this crossover. Reason being, none of the characters that have been announced for that roster (including Wolverine and Cyclops) have been included in any of the promotional materials yet. Same goes for characters of the other three currently running titles, save X-23, whose image graces the cover of Marvelous X-Men.
At the moment, the only ongoing X-Men titles announced that should continue into the new year are;
Mr. and Mrs. X– duo book starring newlyweds, Gambit and Rogue
Uncanny X-Men– team book heralding the return of both Wolverine and Cyclops
X-Force– follows the classic roster as they hunt down Kid Cable
X-23– solo title starring X-23 and Honey Badger
Having only one traditional team book in the franchise in Uncanny X-Men would leave a very large number of prominent characters out in the cold. Something tells me that’s not in the cards. With so many new X-Men creators garnering attention and earning work in mini-series and one-shots (many of which are involved in the coming crossover) I doubt their runs will end at the conclusion of this event. I’m delighted just speculating what’s to come when the X-Men are left to pick up the pieces. Here’s a list of characters that will need homes when it’s all said and done;
- Jean Grey
- Honey Badger
- Nature Girl
- Glob Herman
- Kitty Pryde
All the characters listed above are both being utilized in the current incarnation of Uncanny X-Men (apart from Colossus) and are slated to be featured in one or more of the Age of X-Man titles. This doesn’t include Magneto and Angel who are functioning as X-Man’s Horsemen of Salvation. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that so far throughout Dissasembled the X-Men are being used in very specific configurations. I believe these groups will carry over into the status quo following the event. It’s reasonable to surmise that at least two or three more books will be added to the catalog of current books. Without having to say, if this proves to be true, by the end of the coming Spring the X-Men line of books will be stronger than it’s been since the start of the century.
Is it simply a coincidence that this huge and sudden jump in interest from Marvel will be hitting its stride around the time Disney should have full control over the 21st Century Fox properties, including the X-Men? I suppose there really is some value in being patient with corporate overloads after all. If this goes the way I hope (and I really am hoping, despite the dent it will make in my disposable income), perhaps my faith in powers that be in the upper echelons of Marvel can finally be restored.