Monday, December 19, 2011

Things to Come: X-Men

CBR has a feature called Axel-in-Charge in which they interview Marvel's editor in chief about current and future plans in the Marvel U. I never really enjoy the interview itself; he doesn't really reveal anything newsworthy and just talks about the business and how they come up with ideas for big events, such as the recently announced Avengers vs. X-Men.

However, the feature does always include some advance art pages from upcoming comics, and while they may be unlettered previews, they do give us some hints about things to come.

X-Men Legacy:

These pages tell us a few things about the new X-Men Legacy that will be helmed by Christos Gage instead of the fantastic Mike Carey.

1. There will be a new artist. Despite the amazing work of pencillers such as Scott Eaton and Clay Mann, clearly a new guy is stepping in. And I don't like what I see. It feels like the artist who did those unfortunate X-Men Regenesis spread page teasers. The characters are weirdly bulbous and juvenile and it's not very aesthetically pleasing.

2. It seems Rogue's team will primarily be focused on the Jean Grey School's defense, and may even permanently include Cannonball on the roster, who ostensibly is still traumatized from his time in Limbo, which informed his decision to join Wolverine's school. Rachel and Frenzy and Gambit remain on her squad.

3. The N'Garai are back. They have been villains in several classic X-Men stories, specifically focused on Storm and Kitty, though there was a fun one with Cyclops and his father Corsair. It seems the cairn, their gateway to their unholy dimension, is still located on the outskirts of the Xavier Institutes grounds and despite its past destruction, they find a way back.

Uncanny X-Men:

These pages are from Uncanny #4, when presumably the whole Sinister/Celestial arc is done, and tells us what enemy will be next on their list of conflicts.

1. Cyclops' marquis "X-tinction Team" will remain pretty much the same, giving Storm some much-needed screen time, except for the notable inclusion of Psylocke. One can assume that a telepath is needed on the team, and therefore that Emma has not yet recovered from her partial dismemberment in the first arc. Also, Betsy's now an Omega Level mutant, following the Dark Angel Saga, so as a powerhouse she could be on the team permanently.

2. The Phalanx are back. And not only that, it seems like these are remnants of the Phalanx from Annihilation: Conquest when, under the control and leadership of Ultron, the Phalanx took over the entire Kree empire. They and Ultron were beaten by assembled cosmic heroes, but as evidenced by that large structure in the third page, the phalanx are building another Babel Spire, which is the construct they used to enclose Kree space in a physical barrier and effect their conquest. I'm hoping for either some cosmic-crossover fun, or else some inclusion of the Magus and Warlock/Cypher characters.

3. Not so much an inference as wild speculation, but I would love to see some tension between Namor and Storm. In the Age of X alternate reality they were a very intimate couple, and while they had those memories removed, who knows how good a job Emma did. Besides, they're both royalty, and now that Storm's been drafted by Steve Rogers, they both have Avengers ties. Besides, I'm very bored both with T'challa and with Namor's constant wooing of Emma Frost.


The preview pages are from #229, a good few issues after we know Havok and Polaris will be joining the team and/or stepping in as leaders in Madrox' presumed death.

1. Madrox is not dead. We kind of knew this in the final panel of last issue, but confusion abounds as we see him standing over the dead Madrox and Layla Miller on their wedding night, the prophecy of which we have been seeing for years.

2. Rahne is not the one who murders newlywed Layla and Madrox, instead it's...a white female wolf? A female wendigo? Another mystical monster? A relation of Hrimhari's? To be fair, it could be some altered version of Rahne.

3. Logan will be sticking around for more than one issue. But who is that red-headed man by his side? Looks an awful lot like the dead-for-couple-years-now Sean Cassidy aka Banshee aka Teresa's father.

4. Quicksilver is also in the mix. Considering when he was in X-Factor he was one of their biggest villains, and one of the biggest villains of the Marvel U post-House of M, and now he's a respected faculty member of Avengers Academy, I'm very interested to see how Peter David writes him into the book, let alone gets him working alongside the team.

All in all, every news item I see these days regarding the X-Men and the future of their varied titles gets me more excited. X-Men Legacy is an exception, however, as, being already upset that Mike Carey is leaving (despite great faith in Christos Gage) I now learn that the book will not be nearly as pretty as it was for the past 7 years.

Guess we'll wait and see what the future holds. God but I love mutant superheroes.

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