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madhair60 07-13-2015 01:54 AM

X-Men thread of Snikt Bub Jean Ruby Quartz Visor Body and Soul Focused Totality
Guess what I love? It's the X-Men.

X-Men is possibly the most convoluted long-running narrative in comics. I don't know. How many years now without a continuity reset? How many of those years actually worth reading? God knows, but I love 'em. This is the thread to discuss which X-Mens are good, to slag off the ones that are bad, to discuss your experience of X-Men and who's your favourite and all that forum stuff we do.

I've always rather liked the series, though my exposure to the actual comics was, as a kid, very limited. I had a few paperbacks that contained some random stories, mostly team-ups, but I also got a dose of insanity with these two Wildways/Mojo stories I had and loved. I later learned these were reviled, but those crazy spiritual Mojo/Spiral New Mutants/X-Men comics RANG MY BELL.

I didn't get reading again until I picked up a random issue of the UK reprint title "Essential X-Men" (76-100 page digest comic, reprinting 4 or 5 US comics for £3.50) as something to read on holiday. It was a complete, contained little mini-arc about the X-Mens going to space and bringing back a little tame baby Brood, and I kinda dug it. Had no idea what the hell was going on; why is Kitty Pryde intangible? What is S.W.O.R.D, etc? But it was enough to keep me reading, and next up was Schism and the Kieron Gillen run, and those kept me as a fan.

I'm not entirely fond of Bendis' X-Men, it started very strong but he doesn't seem to know what he's doing. We've just reached "The Trial of Jean Grey" over here and it is very difficult to muster interest.

I'm also reading the early-ish Essential X-Men trades (yes, they have the same name as the digest) - big, b/w archives with around 30 issues apiece at a low price. Claremont's stuff is fascinating, especially Essential vol 2 - it's just classic after classic, introducing new characters and elements that will stick around for close to 50 years.

X-MEN. Talk about how good/bad it is. I'm terrible at opening posts. (Reader's voice: And all subsequent posts, har har!)

Edit: "The podcast Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men" is a rather enjoyable little overview of the whole series, nicely digestible. I'm not too fond of the hosts' frequent diversions into really shitty nerd humour and catchphrases ("That'd make a good band name" "Yes. Yes it would.") but they do a good job.

Karzac 07-13-2015 06:15 AM

I have a weird fondness for the X-Men, even though I've only read the really early Silver Age stuff and a few random issues here and there. But I watched the 90s cartoon and then Evolution when I was a kid and those combined with the movies made me really enjoy the characters. Now that I have Rachel and Miles, I get to enjoy the X-Men without ever having to read the comics.

Octopus Prime 07-13-2015 06:30 AM

The first few years of the Claremont run (say, from Giant Size #1 until the end of DoFP) are consistantly rock-solid and have some of the absolute best arcs of the series.

If I were to pick one single stand-alone issue to be my favorite, it would be Demon (#143, fitting in riiiight between Dark Phoenix and DoFP), in which Kitty Pryde is left alone in the Mansion because everyone's left for Christmas (because Xavier is a jerk) and is promptly attacked by one of the N'astirth demons that were imprisoned in the mansions backyard, in an issue-long homage to Alien.

So what we have is Kitty, a child, whose only powers are not only purely defensive in nature, but completely ineffective in this case, being forced to rely on her own quick thinking to stop an enemy that would wipe the floor with most any superhero you could name. She eventually wins when she realizes, in a bit of genre-savviness, that since this whole situation is like Alien, the solution is to do what worked in that movie.

It's a single issue, full of tense action and is a perfect sapsule wfor why so many people like Kitty Pryde as a character, and how much of a jerk Professor X is. And that the X-Men have demons haunting their backyard and nobody really ever worries too much about that.

Johnny Unusual 07-13-2015 06:40 AM

I don't regularly read any more but Grant Morrison's and Joss Whedon's runs work pretty well as stand alone, even though the continuity of Morrison's run after he left is a mess (the most jarring case is with the character of Xorn but Ernst was messed with too, unfortunately).

I love the X-Men but it's been a long time since I read most X-books. Part of me wants to go back to read the Ed Brubaker and Mike Carey runs and catch up from their but that is a pretty monumental task. Part of me also wishes they would do what they did with Spider-Man: rather than a bunch of different X-Men series, it could be an almost weekly series by a braintrust of cool writers and artists. And yes, I know different X-Men series have different teams, but maybe it's time for the schism to end and have a huge team (or at least community) a la the Legion of Superheroes.

estragon 07-13-2015 07:05 AM

I was pulled into X-Men because I loved the Saturday morning cartoon in the 1990s, and my mind was blown when I heard about how Magneto pulled out Wolverine's claws in Fatal Attractions. I was sucked in by the tail end of that crossover, and was fully bought in, eventually reading basically every X-Book and spinoff until Onslaught.

I remember seeing the promotional art for Onslaught in Wizard when I was 12 or 13 years old. The article (or just promotional copy? I forget--not that there was a big difference with Wizard) was making a big deal about his mysterious identity. I looked at the picture and thought, "That looks like Professor X in a Magneto costume. If this big mysterious secret is just Professor X turned evil by the time when he shut off Magneto's brain, I am going to be really disappointed, because I can tell that by looking at the promo art." So, I was really disappointed.

Onslaught marked the turning point when even as a tween the heavy handedness of crossover marketing was just too obvious. I slowly pared back until I stopped reading serialized comics with no planned endings altogether sometime after Zero Tolerance. After that, I learned to read comics primarily for their creative team, not to chase a new hit of continuity/canon.

I still like the X-Men though, and I will pick up a good TPB when I hear something works as a self-contained unit. Obviously Morrison's run is amazing. It's my favorite X-Men story of all time.

I recently reread the X-Statix omnibus and found it did not hold up as well as I hoped, other than the art, which is glorious retro-silver age. Pretty much the first few issues of X-Force that transition into X-Statix are worth reading, but after that it basically just treads thematic water for a long, long time. I would avoid it.

I enjoyed the first two thick collections of PAD's Multiple Man miniseries and the new X-Factor series that followed it, although it seems they won't release any more of that series in big TPBs, which is too bad. I guess I could get the thin ones, but...

I'm excited to pick up Daily Show head writer and Flop House podcast host Elliott Kalan's Spider Man and the X-Men when it comes out. It's basically guaranteed to be charming and funny, and I liked the screen shots of it that I show floating online.

I kind of wish there was a Chris Bachalo Generation X omnibus? I wonder if that would hold up at all storywise, but I bet the art would still be great. (The deterioration of that series once the new writing/art team took over was another big wakeup call to me to quit caring about continuity and only read comics for creators.)

Recently I've been debating whether to give Whedon's run a go. It's apparently a sequel of sorts to the Morrison run, but I like Morrison's writing about a million times more than Whedon, so it might just disappoint me...

Johnny Unusual 07-13-2015 08:47 AM

It sequels some elements (unintentionally in a way that messes with a tiny bit of continuity in the third story) but it really stands out on it's own. I definitely recommend it.

Generation X was a favorite of mine when I was a teen, but recently I read an old issue. Great artwork (the sweet spot when Bachalo was getting more out there but wasn't so chaotic that it hurt my eyes to look at it) but the story (which was supposed to tie in with Onslaught I think but the thrust was that the kids were being hidden away until the whole thing blew over) was a bit weak.

Completely agree about Milligan's X-Force/X-Statix. I loved the book, but around the Princess Di story that wasn't, it began to feel really directionless. The last issue I found interesting was the one where it turned out that El Guapo was in an abusive relationship with his flying skateboard (I love when comics give me the opportunity to type sentences like that) but then he gets offed in the next haphazard story arc. Still, Allred's art is always good (glad to see he's still working with Marvel).

Sheana 07-13-2015 09:14 AM

Oh boy, X-Men is one of the big comics of my youth, haha. The Claremont stuff, plus Claremont & Alan Davis' work on early Excalibur, are very big loves of and influences on me. There's a lot that The Cross-Time Caper has to answer for.

And then everything got over-convoluted and awful and The Draco made me quit. Glad to hear there's been various interesting stuff the past couple years, though!

estragon 07-13-2015 10:02 AM

oh my god images from the leaked x-men: apocalypse trailer show mohawk storm


Falselogic 07-13-2015 10:03 AM

The best X-man is/was Longshot.

Zaidyer 07-13-2015 10:20 AM

Is it true that the 90s cartoon was mostly a who's-who of stories written during the 70s and 80s? Because I tried picking up an X-Men comic book back when the cartoon was new and it must have been right in the middle of the Dark Age of comic books, since it was boring as shit and the art was way the hell overblown like 90s comics were at the time. I think Wolverine was in the middle of a Sentinel factory or something and he was doing nothing but walking around spouting exposition and recounting events involving characters I'd never heard of.
These days Marvel is a lot more tightly focused, so I guess kids don't run into that anymore, but hot damn I would have way rather been reading comics that lined up with the show.

Rascally Badger 07-13-2015 10:41 AM

The 90s cartoon is the 90s X-Men team, but they pretty quickly start telling stories from the 80s, marginally adjusted for the different team set up.

I used to be all about the X-Men, but after reading Morrison's and Whedon's stuff I simply haven't felt the need to read any more X-Men.

Octopus Prime 07-13-2015 11:28 AM

The 90s cartoon adaptation of the Dark Phoenix saga was astonishingly faithful, except that the body-count dropped to zero. Which really made the fact that everyone wanted to kill Jean seem... disproportionate.

Jeanie 07-13-2015 01:43 PM

I don't know how much you guys know about the X-Men (I'm an X-pert)...

I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry.

Büge 07-13-2015 06:59 PM

Chris Sims once wrote about how Marvel's Silver Age was essentially a synthesis of things that had come before: superhero comics, monster comics, and romance comics. Out of all the Marvel books, X-Men was probably the purest distillation of those elements.

Balrog 07-13-2015 07:30 PM

My oldest brother got me hooked on X-Men as a kid and I started buying them for myself around 260 or so and I stopped around X-Force 20 something. The New Mutants is my favorite X-Men related thing and all of Claremont's stuff is really solid.

Also, I started penning an X-Men screenplay when I was in college but I never showed it to anyone because it was bad and really embarrassing :o

Kishi 07-13-2015 08:24 PM

Gambit's still my favorite.

Ample Vigour 07-13-2015 09:02 PM

The Chris Claremont Excalibur run was good. It never took itself very seriously and gave Chris an excuse to play with every genre he liked.

Paul le Fou 07-13-2015 09:20 PM

I was really into the cartoon, the first 2 movies are still some of my favorite comic book movies, and I... I really liked Age of Apocalypse.

Kishi 07-13-2015 09:23 PM

Since my main exposure was to the '92 show, I thought of Gambit as a classic member of the team and couldn't figure out why they kept passing him over for the movies. (I think they eventually did put him in one, but I stopped watching after the third one.)

Also, despite being a Gambit fan, I somehow retained no memory of the fact that he talks like a Creole caveman. It kind of came as a shock when I caught the Christmas episode a couple of years ago and saw him getting chased out of the kitchen by Jean Grey while grunting "Gambit jus' tryna help!"

Falselogic 07-13-2015 09:24 PM


Gambit is the worst. No one likes Gambit. Don't be the guy who likes Gambit. That guy is the worst...



Balrog 07-13-2015 09:29 PM


Originally Posted by Falselogic (Post 1974907)

Gambit is the worst. No one likes Gambit. Don't be the guy who likes Gambit. That guy is the worst...



Kishi 07-13-2015 09:30 PM

Being the worst is precisely why he's my favorite.

(Second place is Jubilee. Haters can fall back.)

estragon 07-13-2015 09:53 PM


Originally Posted by Kishi (Post 1974905)
I somehow retained no memory of the fact that he talks like a Creole caveman

I hope you're seen the beautiful note Gambit left Belladonna after breaking up with her from the recent X-Men '92 comic:


Originally Posted by Kishi (Post 1974909)
Being the worst is precisely why he's my favorite.

(Second place is Jubilee. Haters can fall back.)

Jubilee was my favorite character for a long time, also because of the TV show. I even dug through the back issue bins to buy her first appearance, and it was really confusing to read an issue from the Australia based X-Men out of context.

Rascally Badger 07-13-2015 10:30 PM

It was still fairly confusing in context.

Violet 07-13-2015 10:34 PM

Few monthly hero books are as good as X-Men when it's good, or as much a waste of time when they're not. I read my share of 90s crossovers where every page is a roll call of badly drawn badasses who say one line and are never heard from again. But recently it's been reliably good. I liked the reversal of having Wolverine become the reluctant mentor and Cyclops the disturbed outsider. The animated series Wolverine & the X-Men, featuring Spike Spiegel as Wolverine, kind of set that precedent.

Recently I read the Magik miniseries which is pretty much the starting point for that character. While it definitely shows its age, I'm still impressed by how far it ventures away from the usual superhero setting and tropes. Reading those old Claremont books now, it's painfully obvious that he's one step away from writing slashfic the entire time, but there's still something about his approach to characters. Female characters, especially - despite the weird kinky vibe he sometimes puts them through(see the hellfire club stuff in Dark Phoenix, for starters). In those days you were lucky if a random book even bothered having "the girl" in their cast, and then there was a book like New Mutants where at times the girls outnumbered the boys.

Originally Posted by Paul le Fou (Post 1974902)
I was really into the cartoon, the first 2 movies are still some of my favorite comic book movies, and I... I really liked Age of Apocalypse.

Age of Apocalypse was way 90s but it turned out to be one of the best crossovers anyway. They clearly put a ton of thought into where each character fit into the alternate reality.

Karzac 07-13-2015 11:04 PM

I always liked Gambit because he was pretty fun in the video games, but I understand he's pretty terrible elsewhere.

Sven 07-14-2015 08:02 AM

The Essential X-Men collections are basically must-own stuff, because Byrne's art improves significantly in B&W form. And Claremont hadn't quite gone all weird in his status-quo destroying ways during most of the time those volumes take up (if someone could explain to me why they hid out in Austrlia for a couple of years, it'd be much appreciated).

But, yeah, X-Men readers in the 90s were the ones I looked at funny when I was walking in to pick up my Flashes and Nightwings and JLAs. I just didn't understand who could possibly keep up with the convoluted mess those things became, as every time they tried to answer a big question they wound up creating about six more across three different possible alternate futures.

TheSL 07-14-2015 08:11 AM


Originally Posted by Sven (Post 1975093)
(if someone could explain to me why they hid out in Austrlia for a couple of years, it'd be much appreciated).

Long story short, they died and were resurrected and at that point for whatever plot device reason they couldn't be detected by electronics (cameras, scanners, etc). They thought the Outback was as good a place as any to hide out since all their friends and family thought they were dead anyway and because they'd just come into a free base after beating the (dumb as shit) Reavers.

Sven 07-14-2015 08:14 AM

... if you were invisible to cameras, why go to the place on earth where that ability would not be useful in any way?

Never mind. As I said, figuring out late-80s Claremont was TOUGH.

TheSL 07-14-2015 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by Sven (Post 1975099)
... if you were invisible to cameras, why go to the place on earth where that ability would not be useful in any way?

I just assume it was because they could never not live in New York or San Francisco otherwise and didn't want to randomly run into friends and family at the grocery store or something.

Also, who could resist stealing the home of a team that included a moron like Bonebreaker?

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