The X-Men are back, in comics at least. Have they ever gone? They almost did as Marvel sought to replace the iconic mutants with the Inhumans as the Earth’s dominant empowered species. That plan didn’t seem to have worked out so what happened? Marvel just launched an ad, practically re-launching the mutant universe accompanied by the iconic musical intro of the 90s cartoon. Wish they’d relaunch a remastered version of the cartoon as well.
Several months ago, the world saw the total cancellation of The Fantastic Four, Marvel’s first family of superheroes, and their first superhero team. This was after Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars 2015 event. The Thing and the Human Torch are still around but Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, and their children are out building re-building universes, undoing the damage done by Dr. Doom (the story was as fantastic as it could get). The Fantastic Four was so popular way back that, it was used as a launch point for many characters including the Inhumans. The reason for the cancellation is the ongoing feud between Fox and Marvel over the film rights to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
As for the X-Men, they haven’t seen too much sun lately as Marvel sought to replace them with Inhumans. In Marvel’s view, they can’t afford to promote the FF and the X-Men in print as that might help in the popularity of Fox’s films. Marvel even went to great lengths to change the heritage of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch from mutants to enhanced humans to ensure their use in films and in a way, further diminish the mutant race. They even killed the mainstream Wolverine. Yes, the Wolverine we all know and loved is dead, replaced with an alternate universe version from where the film Logan was loosely based on. With the recent Fantastic Four and X-Men: Apocalypse, they need not really worry about helping Fox with promotions.
The Inhumans thing hasn’t really worked out for them in terms of sales. For many fans, Inhumans have been better suited as background or supporting characters and are appalled that the more iconic X-Men have to take a backseat. Remember that in the 90s, the X-Men practically owned Marvel with X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, Wolverine and X-Force. The comics effort to popularize the Inhumans may have come too early as the Inhumans film, featuring the Royal Family, most featured in the comics got delayed. Agents of SHIELD hasn’t really enjoyed a wide audience despite getting better since season 2 and the fact that their most popular Inhuman, Daisy Johnson aka Quake, is a mutant in the comics as well as their character Yo-yo.
Marvel has had a change of heart though as they cannot just let go of mutants. The fan base built up over decades just can’t be ignored. Their recently concluded Inhumans vs. X-Men event ended with the mutants’ win as the Terrigen mist that’s been generating more Inhumans and killing off mutants around the world was neutralized. The effort to kill off the X-Men was not without its casualties. The de-facto team leader of the X-Men Cyclops was killed off, twice in the Death of X miniseries and even before that in Secret Wars. Emma Frost, formerly the villain White Queen of the Hellfire Club, became a good girl beginning with Generation X in the 90s and even became a wife to Cyclops who is now a bad guy once more. Jubilee who became popular in the 90s cartoon but didn’t do much (or even anything) in X-Men: Apocalypse is now a vampire. Mainstream Wolverine is now dead and the name Wolverine is now owned by X-23 (who was great in Logan by the way). Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are no longer mutants and Magneto; a Holocaust survivor joined a bunch of Nazis? (but that’s something else).
It would also seem though that Marvel would rather take advantage of the recent success of Deadpool and Logan. Deadpool was not as denigrated as his fellow mutants in Marvel comics, but the success of Logan could only bolster the popularity of Old Man Logan and X-23. Or perhaps some sort of deal was made between Marvel and Fox that we don’t know about. Anyway, Marvel is re-launching the X-Men with new X-books in an event titled ResurrXion this coming April. These new books will include:
- X-Men: Gold and X-Men: Blue as homage to the Gold and Blue teams of the 90s
- X-Wolverine featuring X-23
- A new volume of Old Man Logan
- Weapon X
- A new volume of Generation X
- X-Jean Grey
- And Astonishing X-Men
Hopefully, this relaunch will return mutants to their former status back in the 90s. It’s a long shot though as the internet age has really dealt print media a big blow. X-fans can take what they got, at least the mutants didn’t end up on Mars until Marvel got the film rights back.