Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I absolutely hate Age of X-man

Oh how I wish the title of this one said it all. I think that the concept behind this one was decent, and it just went grossly off the rails. Before I descend into my frustration with Age of X-man so far let me back up and lay some ground work. Think of this as a brief history of shame.
I love the X-men. I have been reading X-men comics off and on since 1987. There have been highs and lows for the X-men, but that is true of all comics. Creative teams change and it is tough sometimes to maintain a direction for a book
Personally, I blame Brian Michael Bendis. All of the recent lunacy started with his All New X-men and Children of the Atom story lines. To defend Benis and give blame where blame is due the most problematic part of X history (until recently) comes from Phoenix powered Cyclops killing Charles Xavier.
I love the fact that Scott basically throws a complete tantrum and the result is his life long mentor lying dead on a beach. What's more is I am not convinced that Xavier wasn't powerful enough to prevent his death and simply allowed it to happen in order to get through to the super emo Cyclops. Bendis may have been somewhat written into a corner by the event books that book end his work.

The art for this point in time was fairly cool. I didn't completely hate the idea of Hank McCoy reaching back into the past and bringing the X-men of the 1960s to present day in a bid to remind the modern X-men of who they are. It is a bit... clumsy and heavy handed. It doesn't smack of a genius plan for Beast. I am willing to swallow all of that on the idea that he is broken up by Xavier's death.
Children of the Atom looked amazing. It was a fun read. Future X-men Xorn is Jean Grey? Sure. Wolverine and Mystique have a kid? Viable. What else did this 10 part event accomplish? Oh, it got a bit of my money. Seems reasonable.
I don't feel that the X-men really advanced any sort of story line until the wrap up of the Infinity Event when we got Death of X. Now, going into this event I am fearing that the Inhumans are about to replace mutants in the mainstream of the Marvel universe. Unlike the rest of this list I think Death of X is well worth reading.
No, Scott Summers did not really get his just deserts for turning into an angst ridden bitch. He did die though. More importantly he didn't die in a cool climactic way. His ending, like him, was only important to Emma Frost. It really tied a neat little bow on the most boring X-man.
To give credit where credit is due I hated his death a lot less than I hated the way Wolverine went out. Scott Summers died as Scott Summers lived, unremarkably. Wolverine, on the other hand, has been one of the biggest rock stars in the Marvel Universe. He has been an Avenger, a member of the Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight, and an X-man. They had this soldier, weapon, and hero douse himself in molten adamantium. It is bloody insulting. I was thrilled when they brought Wolverine back. I rolled my eyes when they resurrected Cyclops. I may comment again on this later in this post.
For quite some time the X-men books have seemed sort of aimless despite numerous reboots. Extermination finally gave it some movement. It undid Children of the Atom by sending the 60s X-men back to their own time. It neatly removed any paradox from their movement through time. These were all great moves. Then Cable committed an odd sort of suicide.
Cable didn't actually kill himself. The established (let's call him Old Cable) version of Cable was killed by a teenage version of himself. Old Cable is a beloved character. Pulling the great character shift it this way SUCKS. I have been reading X-Force ever since trying to find love for the Teen Cable. Thus far I am not impressed. The change feels temporary, unnecessary and forced.
More insulting though is Young Cable kills Old Cable because Old Cable allowed the X-men from the 60s to endanger the timeline. I could buy that reasoning. If Cable is now a timecop like Bishop (and I am not sure that the writer didn't make a mistake on that score) then Old Cable isn't guarding the timeline. *Shoom Shoom Shoom Shoom* makes a bit more sense in that context. That is until Kid Cable resurrects Cyclops and brings him back into the continuity. You cannot execute someone and then commit their same sins. Who green lit that in the same story arc? DUMB!
I point out the Cable killing Cable thing because Cable is Nathan Summers. He is the child of Scott Summers and Madelyn Prior. Nate Grey is X-man of Age of Apocalypse Fame. He can be seen as an alternate version of Cable but remember the parentage is different. Nate Grey is the child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. If all of the nonsense with Cable is bad. This new batch of garbage from X-man is so much worse.
When I first saw Teen Cable I thought he was Nate Grey.

It was something of an understandable mistake. Imagine my surprise when X-man actually shows up in Uncanny X-men looking like an actual mutant Jesus.
Honestly, I was initially kind of happy with him. Sure he was playing a villain. He is way overpowered. To stand up to X-man you would need someone on the level of Legion...who they immediately brought into the fray. Of these two omega level mutants an alternate reality is born: The Age of X-man!
This should be mutant paradise. There should be equality. This should be Xavier's dream brought to life. Is it? No. This is an attempt at political commentary with a very 1960s era feel. It is the peace and love era where love is banned. Other than Apocalypse's groovy new look the whole thing has the taste and feel of a bad bowel movement.
Apocalypse really does look awesome. If hippie Apocalypse survives this abortion I won't be too upset. None of the titles are good. All of the characters are pale shadows of their "real" counterparts. Predictably with any reality brought into being by X-man and Legion every resident of the Age of X-man knows that their reality is screwed up. Other than Bishop no one seems to be able to do anything meaningful about it. Bishop? Really? The one character that might be more pathetic than Cyclops, and we throw him in jail with Honeybadger and Beast.
We are 16 or so issues into this abomination and nothing has happened. There has been no great reveal. None of the characters have shown any depth or made any interesting moves. The insulting part is that I think Marvel knew that was the case. They didn't convert the entire X-lineup to follow the Age of X-man the way they did during the Age of Apocalypse. Nope. X-force, X-23, and Uncanny X-men are still going strong outside the alternate reality.
Hopefully Johnathon Hickman can clean this mess up with House of X and Powers of X. Along the way during a branch of those X-men books that weren't really doing anything Charles Xavier got resurrected and Betsy Braddock got her original body back. Maybe between that and a new direction Hickman can put right all the stuff that went wrong.
Just the promo art has me excited. Magik has her brother's armor. Very cool. Many, many dead heroes and villains are there. Kid Havok? Kid Storm? Wolverine and Weapon X? There is so much going on here.
Rachel Summers as the Phoenix? Emma Frost between Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Which version of Warpath is that? Blink! That is Blink. Kitty Pride doesn't seem too happy to be sitting with Charles Xavier. The Brood! Best of all that is Old Cable.

Marvel, you need to get this one right. The X-men have a fantastic legacy. There are some neat strands built over the last decade even in BMB's work. Let's see if you still have what it takes. I can say that I won't wait through another reboot. If Powers of X and House of X fall flat I am out of the X-men and maybe out of the Marvel Universe.

December 2nd Comic Books on a Budget