Beyond REGENESIS: The History of X-MEN Relaunches
The History of X-MEN Relaunches
For the past few months, Marvel has been on a publicity blitz promoting "X-Men: Regenesis," an upcoming re-branding of nearly their entire X-Men line as a result of currently unfolding miniseries X-Men: Schism. There have been interviews, teaser campaigns, leaked images, redesigns of each book's logo, and they're even restarting venerable 48-year-old flagship book Uncanny X-Men with a new #1 in November.
Though the hook is a new one — X-characters sharply dividing between two philosophical lines, with Cyclops leading one pack and Wolverine the other — the overall goal is a familiar one. Marvel has revamped and refreshed the X-Men books several times in the past, and, like "Regenesis," they've frequently been "re-" something.
Here's a look at the history of major X-Men revamps, beginning with the oldest — and still most important — of them all.
It's a story that's been told many times, but Len Wein and Dave Cockrum's Giant-Size X-Men #1 was a game-changer in every sense of that smooshed together word. After languishing in reprint purgatory for five years, Marvel revived the X-Men with this one-shot comic that introduced new characters Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird, and added Wolverine to the X-Men mix for the first time. The rest is history: writer Chris Claremont soon embarked on a lengthy and vastly influential run on the book, Wolverine became the most famous X-Man of all time, dozens of spinoff series followed, and the characters and concept have enjoyed widespread popularity in multiple forms of media ever since.
This fall, there will be five different comics in mainline Marvel continuity with "X-Men" in the title — Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine and the X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, X-Men: Legacy, and, simply, X-Men. But just 20 years ago, a second X-Men series was a pretty revolutionary idea, thus the massive success of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee's X-Men #1, recognized by Guinness as the best-selling single-issue comic book of all time. The comic also brought change to the status quo of the X-Men themselves, as they strategically split into two squads: adjectiveless X-Men's blue and Uncanny X-Men's gold, a designation returning with "Regenesis" (at least from a marketing sense).
With the first X-Men film about to hit theaters, Chris Claremont returned to both X-Men and Uncanny X-Men in 2000, with the word "Revolution" printed right on the cover of the books and high-profile artists Adam Kubert and Leinil Francis Yu in tow. Jumping forward six months in storylines, Cable was placed on the X-Men proper and new villains the Neo were introduced, but overall things didn't really click, and Claremont was off both books in less than a year. "Revolution" also included the smaller revamp "Counter-X," with acclaimed writer Warren Ellis overseeing satellite titles X-Man, X-Force and Generation X, and respectively joined by co-writers Steven Grant, Ian Edginton and Brian Wood — the DMZ creator's highest-profile comics work at that point.
Things got shaken up even further just a year after "Revolution" with the arrival of Grant Morrison to the X-Men comics. May 2001's X-Men #114 — retitled for the entirety of his run (and a little bit after) as "New X-Men" — brought an entirely different perspective to the X-Men books, with touches still seen in current comics. Morrison and frequent artistic collaborator Frank Quitely placed the X-Men in more practical outfits not dissimilar to their movie looks, and the writer known far-out concepts didn't disappoint, creating characters like Fantomex, a Weapon Plus alum with an external nervous system that doubles as a flying saucer. Along with New X-Men, Claremont moved over to new series X-Treme X-Men, and Peter Milligan and Mike Allred teamed for a paradigm-shifting run on X-Force, which later evolved into X-Statix.
Following Morrison's departure from X-Men — and Marvel in general — Marvel chose to "ReLoad" the X-titles, recruiting Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon to write his first Marvel comic book, Astonishing X-Men, with Planetary illustrator John Cassaday on art. Though running with several elements introduced by Morrison — like the relationship between Cyclops and Emma Frost — Astonishing was also a bit of a back-to-basics book, bringing Colossus back to life and returning the X-Men to more traditional superhero costumes. Whedon remained on Astonishing for 24 issues plus a Giant-Size denouement. As a result of "ReLoad," X-Treme X-Men ended, and Claremont returned once again to Uncanny X-Men, for about two years this time.More from Newsarama on X-Men: Regenesis:
- X-MEN REGENESIS: What We Know About the Post-SCHISM Future
- Jason Aaron Guides Wolverine Through SCHISM and a REGENESIS
- Gillen: New UNCANNY Cast Most Powerful X-Team of All Time