When you think of the legendary titles in comic book history, X-men has to be up there. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the fathers of The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America respectively, it was bound for success. It would take days for me to express the whole mythos of this complex timeline but I would like to attempt to give you a little background for MARVEL NOW’s titles All-New X-men and Uncanny X-men; which as sister titles are great jumping in points for new readers.
In this world there are people who are born with or develop ‘powers’ such as telekinetics, angelic wings, or effing laser beam eyes and they are called mutants. They are more or less the next step in humanity’s evolution and they are full on badasses. Well the rest of humanity, fearing the different, doesn’t take very kindly to the mutants and their powers. This is where Professor Charles Xavier comes in with his School for Gifted Youngsters. At this school he helps the mutants develop and hone their talents, as well as come to glimpse with their unique lives. His hope is to create a world where average humans and mutants can coexist with the help of a team known as The X-men. But, as with any great story, there must be opposition. Enter Magneto! A holocaust survivor and powerful mutant, Magneto believes that mutant kind should rise up and take their rightful place at the top of the food-chain. This leads to decades of back and forth between the two and growing unrest between the community at large and the mutants.
I think you can see where this speaks to many readers. That feeling of being different or misunderstood resonates in almost everyone at some point. Granted few of us have gone head to head with super villains, but whether it is blatant racism or people making snap judgments we have all faced ‘bad guys’ of our own. The fictional plight of Xavier has many parallels to that of real life figures such as M.L.K. Jr. and Harvey Milk. A fight for equality, and a fight for freedom. Brian Michael Bendis is taking this story to a whole new level with these new titles where even long time readers will be on the edge of their seat.
Here is your official warning for SPOLERS! I’m going to basically give away the plot to All-New X-men (#1) YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
It starts with Hank McCoy AKA ‘Beast’ going through a change in his mutation. This is linked back to him altering his X-gene to better control the changes to his body, though it appears that he is finally succumbing to a physical form he cannot survive. But beast will not go out quietly, the world of the X-men is spiraling out of control to the point all their work will have been for nothing. This is where the mind blowing shit comes into play. Scott Summers AKA ‘Cyclops’ is going around with Magneto and Emma Frost, collecting new mutants for a revolution. A revolution to give mutant-kind every freedom afforded to sapiens, by any means necessary. And did I mention that Professor Xavier is dead, and at the hands of his former pupil *Cyclops?! (*this is while under the possession of The Phoenix Force) This has led to the school being renamed Jean Gray School for Higher Learning and being headed by some of the remaining members of the now defunct X-men including, Storm, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine, and Beast. But I digress. A clearly changed Cyclops and his allies have collected several young mutants and taken them in, promising the same things Xavier gave them, with a slightly more militant slant. Most of these procurements happen in high-profile events causing massive media coverage.
Back at the school everyone is reacting understandably. Their longtime friend and team member has seemingly turn-coated. This added to the existing resentment over the killing of Professor X has caused a whole flurry of emotions. Most want to try to talk some sense into Scott while others, namely Wolverine, see no other option then force. This is where Beast takes unthinkable chances only a dying man would take. Using a time machine created by Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom, he goes back to the early days of the X-men hoping that he can convince a young Scott Summers to come back with him and convince present day Cyclops of the error in his ways. Will the X-men of the past save the X-men of the future? Or will Cyclops be the herald of a new mutant genocide?
I hope this little taste will bring you back this Sunday when I’ll be posting a full BONUS synopsis and review of issues 2-7 of All-New X-men. Can’t wait until then? Go to your local comic shop and see if they have the back issues in stock! Also, next Tuesday, we will dive a little deeper into the social issues comic book writters and publishers face head on.