A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I loved everything X-Men. Keep in mind I grew up when the X-Men were at the height of their popularity. It was the early 90s and back then there wasn’t a skateboard made, or a POG produced that didn’t have the X-Men logo on it. It seemed like everything and anything had an X-Men version of it. I think I even had a pair of X-Men skids.
Much of the mutant popularity spawned from the successful Saturday morning cartoon, which looked amazing compared to the other animated offerings during that time. Also, Marvel Comics was putting superstar talent on its X books, and nothing on the shelves looked as good as those books. It was a great time to be an X-Men fan.
Fast forward to the 2000s and you can start to see the decline of the X-Men, especially in the comics. This decline is most likely due to Marvel battling it out with Fox Studios over the movie rights to X-Men (and Wolverine). I’m not saying that Marvel purposely made bad comics (or even that bad comics were made) in order to affect the success of Fox’s movies. What I am saying is that Marvel altered the X-Men (and Wolverine) in such a way that it distanced the comic book versions of the characters from those on the big screen. X-Men were popular for a reason, but after Marvel made significant changes to the team, it didn’t feel like the X-Men anymore.
I think the decline of X books sales resulted from the characters on the big screen being rooted in 90s nostalgia while those being sold on the spinner racks were not. For example, the following changes have occurred in the comics that have significantly altered the X-Men: Professor X has died, Wolverine is presumed dead inside a casing of adamantium, Cyclops is kaput, Jean Gray died and became part of the the Phoenix Force, Beast is some kind of mage, etc., etc. Things got so different that the X-Men became almost unrecognizable, and sales plummeted.
Just a month or two ago, Marvel decided to reinvigorate the X-Men through RessurXion, a sort of soft reboot of our mutant pals. Like I said earlier, its been a long time since I’ve read an X-Men book, but it felt like Marvel was really trying to give it a go with RessurXion so I rolled the dice, and started reading X-Men Gold, X-Men Blue, and Weapon X.
In order to understand what has happened to the X-Men as of late you will need to read X-Men Prime #1. It’s a one shot that basically explains how we get X-Men Gold, X-Men Blue, and Weapon X. The book did its job by getting the reader up to speed on the X-Men; however, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking.
Next up is X-Men Gold. This series has been pretty good so far because it feels like your typical X-Men book. The team is made up of Kitty Pryde, Prestige (Rachel Gray, daughter of Scott and Jean), Colossus, Old Man Logan (the future version of Logan), Storm, and Nightcrawler. Even though this isn’t the exact team I grew up reading, its still a good read. I’d consider this Marvel’s back-to-basics X-Men series.
I’m actually surprised to say this because I thought this would be my least favorite book, but X-Men Blue is an absolute joy to read. The story is about the original X-Men from the past being pulled into the current timeline of the Marvel Universe. It’s a super fun read and you’ll never believe who the X-Men are working for! Seriously, you need to put this book on your pull list.
Last but not least is Weapon X. This book focuses on Logan and Sabertooth teaming up to fight again a covert government agency that is collecting Wolverine-like mutants to create the ultimate mutant killer. It’s good and reminds me of past X-Men stories that deal with secret government agencies after mutants.
All-in-all I think RessurXion is good and that it’s getting the X-Men back to basics, something that has been sorely missed for a long time. Xcelsior!