The End of the X-Men
The X-Men have always been special to me. And based on the newest press release from Marvel, it looks like they are on their way out of the Marvel Universe forever.
Come October, at least according to Marvel’s recent solicitations, there will be no ongoing X-Men titles in production. That’s a big statement to make when it was the X-Men books that revitalized the company when it fell on hard times. And the nerd community is in an uproar.
For many, especially of the non-white variety, we were born and bred on the X-Men. In the face of the white standards of most comic book lines, the X-Men were the embodiment of diversity. Everybody looked different. There was angst. They were hated by the world. They were made to hide simply because of who they were.
And still, they were amazing. Their powers were wondrous and unique. They fought for the betterment of everybody, including those that would wish them eradicated. They were the best Marvel had to offer. Now they’re being pushed out the back door. Wolverine is dead. Cyclops is dead. And the only X-Men related book coming in October is a 4 issue miniseries titled Death of X, meant to chronicle an 8 month series of events that lead to the entire mutant community moving into a literal hell dimension just to survive.
And to fill their void, Marvel has ordered up the Inhumans, a race of genetically modified people with powers similar to the X-Men. But the only way they are granted powers by being exposed to terrigen mists which have now taken the form of two large clouds roaming the earth. These same clouds also sterilize and kill mutants. In effect, the comics have manufactured the perfect means to replace one comic book franchise with another.
This all raises one very important question: Why? This is a lot of effort being put into one of their most profitable properties. So, it might not come as a shock that money is to blame. Marvel optioned the TV and film rights for the X-Men and the Fantastic Four to FOX long ago. And as FOX has milked that cash cow for everything it’s worth with bad movies and now TV shows, Marvel has been left without a major piece of its all-media consuming cinematic universe.
In response, they’ve sabotaged them in the ways they can control. It feels like it has been ages since a Fantastic Four comic has been printed. And for the X-Men, they put a moratorium on creating any new characters long ago, since they would instantly belong to FOX. This is a great way to hobble FOX’s efforts and hopefully coerce them into giving the character rights back, but the only ones really suffering in all of this are the fans. Sure, a few mutants like Rogue, Beast, and Cable look to be sticking around on other teams, but the unified and specific challenges that the X-Men had to face were a trademark of Marvel comics. It was progressive, putting characters of different genders, races, and sexual identities in a place of prominence and power and often fighting battles with much deeper undertones than other comic lines could manage.
For many or us, the X-Men were a manifestation of our daily struggles with being marginalized, defamed, and hated for what made us unique. And the prospect of throwing that all away in the name of dollars is a stench I can’t stomach.
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