The Original Original X-MEN are All Back ... Sort Of

All-New X-Men #1
Credit: Marvel Comics

With this week's Extermination #5, the adult versions of the original five X-Men are now all back in action and back from the dead, along with their one-time mentor Professor X for the first time since 2004.

Though Cyclops' still-unexplained return completes the set, the original team still hasn't reunited anywhere in Marvel Comics - and any such reunion hasn't been promised or even hinted at by any advance solicitations just yet (though we're assuming they'll get some kind of moment as part of "X-Men: Disassembled"). 

So where are the six original X-Men (counting Professor Xavier) and what do their collective returns spell for the X-Men? With a new main roster reveal for Uncanny X-Men coming in March 2019 only raising more questions about their fate as a team, we're looking at the status quos - and potential outcomes - for the five original X-Men and Professor Xavier.

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Jean Grey

Jean Grey is the adult original X-Man who was dead the longest – from her death at Magneto’s hand in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run ending in 2004 to just earlier this year when the power of the Phoenix Force brought her back from the White Hot Room (where former Phoenix hosts go when they’re “dead”).

Since her return, Jean has expelled the Phoenix Force from her life once and for all (as much as that’s possible in superhero comic books), moved the X-Men to a base outside Atlantis, and founded a whole new branch of the team of which she was the leader in the now concluded X-Men: Red – a role she’s also currently filling in Uncanny X-Men.

However, it seems her days with that particular squad may be coming to an end. Though Cyclops and Wolverine, two men who have loved her, are both on the finalized Uncanny roster coming out of the current “X-Men: Disassembled” story, Jean’s not even on the team.

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Poor Angel. It seems like every time we see Warren Worthington III lately, he’s having his identity manipulated or his mind wiped, or undergoing some kind of metamorphosis – and his most recent incarnation is no different.

Following some psychic healing courtesy of X, the younger, resurrected Professor X (more on that later) in which Warren was given control over his transformation into Archangel, Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death, he’s now under X-Man’s control – as one of his Horsemen of Salvation.

But even that may be in flux again, as he was recently snapped back to his Archangel form while fighting the X-Men. Angel hasn’t shown up in future X-Men solicitations … yet.

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It’s not much of a stretch to say Bobby Drake is perhaps the original X-Man most changed by his teen self’s time in the future.

His younger self’s exposure to modern culture's attitudes toward homosexuality and confronting his own still-closeted adult identity (along with some psychic intrusion by Jean Grey) led to teen Bobby coming out as gay – effectively outing the older Bobby as gay simultaneously.

Since this revelation, Bobby’s headlined two versions of his own solo series which involved leading his own squad of young X-Men and reuniting the original Champions.

Like Angel, Iceman’s future with the team isn’t clear. He’s a part of “X-Men: Disassembled,” but he’s not part of the Uncanny X-Men team that will arise from that story – the only one we’ve seen forming in the future so far.

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Always a man of science and ingenuity, the adult Hank McCoy is the one who actually achieved time travel and went back in time to retrieve the young X-Men and bring them forward – a decision with ramifications that are still currently playing out.

When it comes to the adult Beast, he’s retired as a hero, been dragged back in, helped hold the X-Men together by a thread while trying to cure the M-Pox, and that’s just scratching the surface.

Since his “retirement” from field work, Hank has become the X-Men’s all-purpose “man in the chair,” spearheading all the wacky science stuff the team gets up to.

Lately in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, he’s uncovered a new version of his “mutant vaccine” from a few years ago, which has apparently been stolen and co-opted by a new villainous force.

There’s one aspect of the young X-Men’s return home that may have the most impact on Beast. While in the future as a teen, Hank McCoy began tutelage in the use of magic – knowledge the adult Beast will now have thanks to his younger counterpart’s long-lost memories being unlocked in his mind.

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Of all the adult original X-Men, Cyclops is the easiest to catch up with. His resurrection has only just been finalized in this week’s Extermination #5, and he’s been dead since the end of 2015’s Secret Wars.

After killing his mentor Professor X while possessed by the Phoenix Force during Avengers vs. X-Men, Scott Summers led an outlaw squad of X-Men until his death from the M-Pox, a mutant plague caused by the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mist.

Cyclops’ death was kept secret for some time by his lover Emma Frost, until a war with the Inhumans led her to reveal his death - and that she’d been psychically fooling everyone into thinking he was still alive.

Although he was briefly resurrected for literally one page by the just-resurrected-herself Jean Grey in January's Phoenix Resurrection #5, Cyclops remained dead until this week. The details of his return (which may have something to do with time travel) will likely be spelled out in the upcoming Uncanny X-Men Annual #1, and he’ll lead a new version of that same team starting next spring.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Professor X

Like we said, Professor Charles Xavier died in 2012’s Avengers vs. X-Men, killed by the Phoenix-Force possessed Cyclops. But his death only went so far as the physical plane – his psychic essence was taken to the Astral Plane by his old arch-enemy Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King, as revealed in Charles Soule's Astonishing X-Men.

After psychically assembling a team of unlikely X-Men to come and fight Farouk (and in doing so save the Earth and rescue him), Xavier made a bargain with the mysterious, genetically engineered mutant super soldier Fantomex to return to life. Fantomex’s essence would remain in the Astral Plane where he has the life he’s always dreamed of, while Xavier returned to the physical world - inhabiting Fantomex’s younger, genetically superior body.

Since his return, X (as he’s now calling himself) has largely laid low, appearing only briefly in a story where he met the teen versions of his former students. Where he’ll appear next – and how the younger X-Men's knowledge of his return willl affect their adult selves now that the adults have absorbed their teen selves' memories - remains to be seen. The only other person who knows he's alive, Psylocke, has so far kept the secret.

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