It's finally here! Today sees the release of X-Men: Prime, a one-shot that launches the X-Men into a whole new era. It's a phenomenal issue, casting a nostalgic glance back to some of the characters and concepts that made the X-Men great; but it also sets in motion some pretty thrilling new ideas. This is the X-Men's "ResurrXion," and it promises a whole new direction for the X-Men!
Here are five reasons to be excited about the future of Marvel's Merry Mutants — the ever-uncanny X-Men!
1. A More Optimistic, Hopeful Era
The last few decades have seen the mutant race brought to the edge of extinction time and again, and it's frankly a relief to see that come to an end. X-Men: Prime launches Kitty Pryde's campaign to claim a whole new future for the mutant race, and her vision is a wonderfully optimistic one that's reminiscent of Cyclops's in Joss Whedon's classic Astonishing X-Men. As writer Marc Guggenheim explained to IGN:
“We are post the war with the Inhumans. The X-Men are sort of at a crossroads. They're at a point where they are trying to decide, is there a future for the X-Men? And Kitty is very much of the mindset that there is a future for the X-Men and it's a bright future. That there's more work that the X-Men still have to do. Not just for mutants, but really for humanity."
It looks as though the future is finally brightening for the mutant race, and I for one couldn't be more delighted. It's time to see the X-Men step out of the shadows and become once again the powerful brand they used to be.
2. The Nostalgia Factor
They say a picture speaks a thousand words — but a theme tune can speak far more. Just watch that trailer, and I dare you not to be overcome by the sense of nostalgia! That's actually a major characteristic of X-Men fan-groups; join any Facebook fan-group, or follow any Facebook page, and you'll quickly learn just how nostalgic X-Men fans are.
Marvel finally seems to have recognized this. They've pitched the "ResurrXion" in order to appeal to fans' nostalgia — titles like X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold are deliberately reminiscent of the '90s comics, while Generation X is titled after a much-loved '90s book. Even the original teaser artwork was all about nostalgia, and every costume design harks back to a classic look. It's a canny move by Marvel: remind the X-Men fans just what it was they loved about the X-Men — and hopefully bring that back!
3. Great Solo Books
"ResurrXion" marks an important moment for both Iceman and Jean Grey; neither has been the star of their own book before. For Iceman, the mutant has traditionally been associated with one thing — unfulfilled potential. With the recent revelation that he's even been suppressing his sexuality, writer Sina Grace looks set to confront Bobby Drake's issues head-on:
“Bobby realizes that he’s been around the X-Men longer than just about anyone. And the legacy he’s built for himself is [that] he tells jokes and he makes stuff out of ice. And he hasn’t left much of legacy as a hero, or built much of an identity for himself. And that’s the mission statement of the book, that Bobby realizes these things about himself, and is striving to become a better hero and leave a better legacy behind.”
Meanwhile, Jean Grey will focus on the time-displaced younger version of the iconic hero (yeah, X-Men books can be complicated). Dennis Hopeless is a master when it comes to portraying young adult superheroes (Avengers Arena was, while controversial, an incredible read). He's confronting Jean with questions of legacy that will shake her to the core — including the Phoenix Force...
4. The NeXt Generation!
One thing differentiates the X-Men from every other superhero team: they run a school. Much to my delight, the fan-favorite "Generation X" brand is being rekindled as a powerful new comic, written by Christina Strain. She's hand-picked a selection of young X-Men who are commonly overlooked — including the closeted Bling, and my personal favorite, Jubilee — and assembled them in a new school in Central Park.
All to often, the next generation of X-Men are introduced and then forgotten. Worse, some characters (such as Nature Girl) have never really had any importance beyond the arc they were introduced in. In my view, this is one of the fatal flaws of the X-Men franchise, and it's great to see Marvel correct this. Generation X is one book that I'll be following for sure!
5. Tremendous Creative Teams
Marvel's choosing some of the best writers in the business for the 'ResurrXion'. Take Greg Pak, an old hand at X-Men books, and writer of classics like Magneto Testament or Astonishing X-Men. Or Cullen Bunn, writer of X-Men: Blue. Bunn is a much-loved writer whose grasp of continuity and characterization is pretty remarkable; his Magneto series was possibly one of the best books Marvel's published in the last decade, and his previous Uncanny X-Men run is generally viewed as the best of the current range of X-titles.
Dennis Hopeless is another of Marvel's best writers, and he cut his teeth on the X-Men — he started out as writer of X-Men: Season One, and now he's going to be the mind behind Jean Grey. He told Newsarama:
“I didn’t realize how much I missed her. Jean was the protagonist of my first paid work in X-Men: Season One and she’s the character I fell in love with on that project. When people tell me they love that book, I know it’s because of Jean (and Jamie McKelvie). So for Jean Grey, I re-read a bunch of my favorite Jean Grey stories and all of the more recent stuff to make sure I still had her voice… But once I started scripting, she came back pretty quick. I like Jean’s brain. It’s fun to be back in there.”
Probably the biggest of the writers, of course, is Marc Guggenheim — familiar to many as writer of TV series #LegendsOfTomorrow. He's heading up X-Men: Gold, and frankly needs no introduction.
Sina Grace and Christina Strain are two writers whose names won't be as familiar to X-Men fans, but both show real promise; Christina Strain is an experienced colorist and inker who's clearly making the transition to comic-book-writing. You can see a sample of her work in Civil War II: Choosing Sides #6, where she tells an excellent, character-focused story featuring the White Fox. Sina Grace is a Los-Angeles-based writer who has a similar character focus; X-Men fans may recognize him as writer of "Idie Goes On A Date," a fun story in the recent All-New X-Men Annual. He sounds to be perfectly suited for Iceman.
The artists are just as impressive, and include the likes of Victor Ibáñez, Amilcar Pinna and Jorge Molina. Marvel has assembled some top talent, and I couldn't be more excited!
- The X-Men And The Inhumans Are Finally Going Head-To-Head!
- 'Uncanny X-Men Annual' Pokes Fun At 'Batman v Superman' And Addresses The X-Men's Biggest Problem
- The X-Men and the Inhumans Prepare for the Final Battle!
As you can see, so far as I'm concerned, "ResurrXion" is perhaps the most exciting event in X-Men comics for some years. So far, I don't think Marvel has put a foot wrong with this bold new era for their merry mutants. The future is suddenly a lot brighter for the X-Men!