Welcome back to Mutantversity, a class offered at the Stately Xavier Mansion. This isn’t a place to find big reviews of X-books, but it’s a great way to keep up with one of the most complicated superhero series around. We’ll learn, we’ll laugh, maybe we’ll make some new friends, maybe we’ll create a rogue nationstate fueled by magical flower drugs. Most of all, we’re going to take a deep breath before trying to wrap out heads around the trippy new era of “X-Men” comics. As your designated X-Pert, I will do my best to help you work through everything Marvel’s Merry Mutants have to offer!
First we’re going to recap the last month of the ongoing superhero soap opera that is “X-Men.” Next, I’ll tell you which X-Men books I looked at this month, and whether I thought they were worth reading. Then, we’re going to spotlight a creator who brought a rare level of X-cellence to the line. Finally, we’re going to award our Monthly Mutantversity Medals of Merit. Stick with me true believers, and maybe we’ll survive this experience!
This Month in X-Men
I would have loved to have the end of one era of X-Men and the dawn of the next be neatly divided in this column. But as it stands, my deadlines and the deadlines in the X-Offices don’t line up. So let’s conclude Matt Rosenberg’s run on “Uncanny X-Men” and the “Age of X-Man” pocket universe. Then let’s welcome in Jonathan Hickman. I hope we survive the experience.
The World That Was
X-Men united! It’s the last stand! Other bad, but appropriate movie titles! The final issues of Matt Rosenberg’s “Uncanny” are just action packed. Emma’s Hellfire Club, the X-Men, Logan, and some assorted villains up against the racist forces of the US military industrial complex. And how will they fare? It could’ve gone worse. Once Hope reads Emma’s mind and realizes she’s got a master plan, they all manage to start working together. There are soldiers. There are sentinels. Ilyana reverts into the Darkchilde.
OK, so Ilyana had an even less conventional childhood than most of the X-Men. She was raised by demons in the realm of Limbo. It takes a tremendous effort for her not to just be freaky-demoning-out all the time, and by de-activating her mutant powers, General Callahan triggered some much scarier powers. Ilyana as the Darkchilde rips the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak right out of Juggernaut’s soul, and banishes him to a fiery netherworld. Toasty! Oh and Banshee gets zorched, but he was technically a dusty zombie anyway, so I’m not sure if that counts as him dying or not.
The X-Men do what Wolverine is the best at doing and fight. They stab, they shoot, they laser, like their lives depend on it (which they do). But then, all the antagonists stop moving. Emma it would seem, has leveled up, and is doing that thing where she freezes the minds of everyone in the vicinity. More than that, she’s used a version of Cerebro to erase the memories of mutants from all of mankind. It’s as if mutants have never existed.
It lasts about an issue. Because General Callahan has been able to block out Emma’s powers the entire time, so obviously the trick didn’t work on him. He shows up with sentinels and tries to end the X-Men once and for all. And my dude, Mister General sir, in ten years no one is gonna remember your name. You’re gonna be “that evil general with the sentinels who failed to stop the X-Men in that underrated run on Uncanny.” That’s it. But He really puts up a fight, taking out Havok and Multiple Man. Scott turns to Logan. Logan turns to Scott. “It was an honor to fight by your side, Logan,” the mutant tactician says. “The honor was mine, Scott,” the Cannucklehead replies. They charge in to certain death… only to be rescued by all of the mutants left alive in the world. It’s a great entrance! But I thought they were all trapped in an alternate dimension! Well…
Meanwhile, in the Age of X-Man, a whole lot of characters are doing a whole lot of yelling at each other. Fortunately, it’s some pretty good yelling. All is revealed. The Age of X-Man isn’t an alternate universe. It’s “a whole new plan of existence.” The difference, in my opinion, is less ontological, than it is one of semantics. To some, the residents of the Age of X-Man are fake NPCs whose lives don’t matter. To some, they have very real lives. I imagine this is what it feels like for anyone visiting an alternate timeline. The distinction bores me. The important takeaway is that the Age of X-Man was created by X-Man and exists within his… energy… soul… mind… power.Continued below
There are some killer moments. Take Dani for example. She’s conspicuously the only character that has existed in Nate’s alternate world and in the 616. Well, it turns out that’s because she and Nate used to date. She’s the part of herself that she gave to him, romantically and also psychically. What’s cool about that is that she exposes the underlying hypocrisy and fear at the root of his anti-love stance. Like any other person, Nate was just using his ideological stances as a justification for his regular old feelings. In this case, feelings of loneliness and isolation. If he feels alone, everyone else should too.
There’s also a great Bishop moment in a year that has been full of them. “Utopias can’t exist,” he says. “They require everyone to exist in stasis. It’s impossible for me to live that way.” And very neatly and convincingly, Lucas Bishop undermines the whole venture. He and Jean quickly get everyone interested in returning to 616, and Magneto holds the door open for them.
The final twist is that, though Magneto prime returns to the regular universe, he leaves a copy of himself behind. He believes in X-Man’s dream, and disagrees with Bishop. To Magneto, a man who lived through one of the darkest chapters of human history, Utopia is something worth striving for. And the Age of X-Man will live on as a pocket dimension to be revisited at some future date. Oh and everyone who has returned to the real world remembers everything that happened to them in this crazy series.
Speaking of the real world… the X-Men appear, led by Storm, to kick some serious sentinel ass. X-Men fighting sentinels is Salvador Larroca’s bread and butter, and the book slows down for a minute to let him do his thing. Armor pushes one over, Colossus smashes one into scrap, Archangel flies through one, Bishop guns one down with a high tech rifle… X-Men fights! Scott’s expression mirrors my own, just the numb realization that all his suffering and sacrifice was predicated on a lie, and that the X-Men are still way cool.
Then Jean walks out of the ambient explosions, ignoring Logan’s resigned frown and Emma’s disbelieving sneer… to kiss Scott. Right on the face. It’s an open mouthed kiss, and there’s definitely some tongue involved. Scott grabs her butt in a major way. It’s a kiss alright, weirdly framed by Logan and Emma looking sad.
Then it’s just a matter of mopping things up. The X-Men need to decide what to do about Emma’s plan. Dani (the real Dani this time) has a really solid point. She turns to Emma and says, “All this and you didn’t make them not hate us. You didn’t take away their hatred. You just made us hide who we are.” And she’s convincing enough that they end Emma’s illusion and expose themselves to the world. “Now I know Logan,” Scott says, “we have always been at war.” And with those words, one era of X-Men ends, and another begins…
House of X #1
Professor Charles Xavier has founded a mutant nation. The first issue of “House of X” establishes the logistics and rules of that nation, and they are fairly involved. Fortunately, Mutantversity has got you covered!
The mutant nation is on Krakoa, the Island that Walks Like a Man. Krakoa is a mutant itself, and was the first villain fought by the X-Men after Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Colossus joined the team. Now it is a proud member of the mutant nation. Krakoa produces lovely plants that form portals. Any friendly mutant that goes through one Krakoan plant portal can appear at another one. There are known portals on an island in the pacific, upstate New York, the Moon, Mars, the Savage Land, Washington DC, Jerusalem, and Washington Square Park in New York City. There are probably more.
The nation of Krakoa can also use those flowers to make superdrugs! There are three of these mutant drugs. The first (“Drug L”) extends a human life for five years. The second (“Drug I”) is a universal antibiotic that can cure most diseases. The last (“Drug M”) is an antidepressant/anti-anxiety pill that has no side effects. If a nation acknowledges Krakoa’s right to exist, they can trade for these medicines. I should note that this is not the first time mutants have tried to establish their own country (Cyclops had a rogue state island he called Utopia) (not much for subtlety, these mutants) but it wasn’t nearly as well planned as this.Continued below
We get to see a map of the central island in the pacific, but in true Hickman style, the map is completely opaque. There’s intriguingly two buildings called the “House of X” and the “House of M,” but besides from alluding to Professor X and Magneto, we have no idea why they need different houses, or what function they serve. There’s also something called Arbor Magna (maybe that’s where they grow new flowers?), the Arena (a big ‘ol Danger Room?), Akademos Habitat (the school for gifted youngsters?), Transit (the portal), The Oracle, The Grove, the Cradle, The Reservoir, The Wild Hunt, and Carousel. Crazy. Maybe that last one is Strong Guy’s house? ‘Cause he’s Guido Carosella? Nah. That’d be crazy.
We meet our new antagonists, and they sure make an impression. They are called Orchis, and they are a rogue offshoot of just about every organization in Marvel. Most of their members are from AIM. Those guys are evil (at least the management is). About a quarter of them are from SHIELD. You know them. Then we have folks from STRIKE (British SHIELD), SWORD (SHIELD but they fight aliens), Alpha Flight (SWORD but made up of superheroes), HAMMER (evil SHIELD, unseen in 10 years), ARMOR (SWORD but for Alternate Realities), and HYDRA (they are Nazis). Their science commander, Dr. Gregor, is very intriguing, and he’s former AIM. (There’s also a Dr. Mendel. Dr. Gregor and Dr. Mendel? I see what going on here!) He also seems to have enslaved Karima Shapandar, aka Omega Sentinel, a mutant who is often programmed into being a villain. Notably, Orchis seems to be snatching super-tech from around the Marvel universe, particularly Sol’s Hammer, a gianormous lasergun that Tony Stark built in Hickman’s “Avengers” run. They are using the tech to build the biggest, baddest sentinel ever.
It’s a similar plan to the one being carried out by Mystique, Toad, and Sabretooth. They are also robbing warehouses to steal super-tech. Mystique and Toad escape through a Krakoa portal, but Sabretooth is caught by superheroes- the Fantastic Four! Hickman of course, famously wrote the definitive F4 run of the century thus far, so you can feel his comfort and delight at returning to the characters. And Scott shares Hickman’s respect for the First Family, because he lets them take Sabretooth to jail, even though mutants get legal amnesty in Krakoa. It’s a policy that will certainly lead to trouble, along with the policy that no humans may step foot on the central island. In real life, rules can be good. In fiction, rules exist to create conflict, and a pissed off Magneto seems almost certain.
At this point, we get a chart that’s sure to delight longtime X fans and befuddle everyone else. (I got you covered!). For years the comics have mentioned Omega Mutants, with no agreement as to what they are. No long: an Omega Mutant has no upper limit to what they can accomplish with their powers. Wolverine- not an Omega level. He can heal real good, but he could say, make a clone of himself like a starfish. Cyclops- not an Omega level. His optic blasts can get really big, but only to a point. Storm though- she’s Omega level. Her control of the weather is only limited by her imagination and her force of will. We learn that though the flowers are a big deal, Professor X and Magneto view Omega Mutants as their real treasured resource, and they will do anything to control them, including offering amnesty to some evil mutants.
Sidebar: Omega Mutant Roudup
Jamie Braddock, aka Monarch. The brother of Captain Britain and Psylocke can manipulate reality, and is often a bad guy. He’s out there doing his own thing right now.
Bobby Drake, aka Iceman. He’s learning that his cold powers can really do anything. He’s grown wings, made armies of himself, turned into a hulk-like beast. He’s a citizen of Krakoa.
Josh Foley, aka Elixir. He used to be a human supremicist, but now he’s loyal to Krakoa. He can control the body of any living thing he touches, healing it, harming it, or changing it.
Jean Grey, aka Marvel Girl. You know her. She reads minds. She’s loyal to Krakoa.
David Haller, aka Legion. He’s got a million personalities, and each of them have their own power. He’s at large but unaccounted for.
Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto. Controls one of the four fundamental forces of nature. Is usually a bad guy. Is currently the Krakoan ambassador.
Kevin MacTaggert, aka Proteus. He’s a reality manipulator, who hops from host body to host body as he burns them out. He’s also weak against metal. He’s usually very, very quite evil. Is currently on Krakoa apparently!
Absalon Mercator, aka Mister M. He can manipulate matter. Despite being so powerful, he’s just a regular dude (not a superhero or villain), and was thought dead before this issue. Now he’s thought to be alive and at large.
Ororo Munroe, aka Storm. You know her, you love her, she controls weather, she lives on Krakoa.
Bennet du Paris, aka Exodus. He’s got major telekinesis powers, and is a hardcore Magneto worshiping cultist. He is not on Krakoa, but off doing his own thing.
Quentin Quire, aka Kid Omega. He’s got telepathy, is maybe destined to be the next Phoenix, and is a real scumbag proto-fascist teenager (and one of my favorite X-characters). Currently on Krakoa.
Franklin Richards, aka Powerhouse. This is the most powerful reality manipulator in all of Marvel comics. He’s the son of Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman. I guess he’s loyal to them? He’s a tween.
Gabriel Summers, aka Vulcan. The baby brother of Cyclops, and about as evil as they come. He’s got huge energy manipulation powers. He started multiple intergalactic wars. He sucks. And apparently, he’s a citizen of Krakoa!?
Hope Summers, aka um, Hope. The adopted granddaughter of Cyclops. She was the mutant messiah, but apparently has fulfilled her cosmic destiny. She can borrow the powers of any mutant in the vicinity. She’s on Krakoa.
And that’s the start of “House of X.” A lot of data, a lot of promise, a lot of exposition. And one promise. Magneto turns the subtext into text. “You have new gods now,” he says.
Powers of X #1
So apparently, there are four major eras of X. Hey wait come back, I’m going to try to clear this all up. You didn’t enroll in Mutantversity because you didn’t want the occasional history lecture right? Good. OK. The first era is year one, The Dream. This is the moment Xavier dreamed big, and envisioned a world of humans and mutants living side by side. This is when he founded the X-Men. Next is year ten, The World. That’s where we are at in the comics now, when Xavier founded the nation-state of Krakoa. Year one hundred is The War. This looks to be a continuation of the atrocities of Earth-811, the reality first seen in ‘Days of Future Past.’ Sentinels are the major power on Earth, and he who controls the sentinels controls the world. It seems that Nimrod the super-sentinel comes out on top of this conflict, and that Earth is controlled by machines. Finally is year one thousand, Ascension. Um, it’s a lot. Are you ready?
We begin our story proper with a young Charles Xavier walking through a pastoral town, probably in Ireland or Scotland. He is at a carnival. There’s a leprechaun present (and if you don’t think leprechauns are a major part of X-lore, let me turn you towards “Uncanny X-Men” #101-103). We can see a strong man and a family made up of a redheaded mother and daughter and a bespectacled man. Probably just some fun, but it sure looks to allude to Scott, Jean, and their daughter Rachel.
And Charles walks across the fair and sits on a park bench, smiling and enjoying the day. That’s when he meets Moira. They chat, and while nothing explicit is said, it very much looks like this is the day, perhaps the moment, that Charles thought up the idea of the X-Men. It’s weird, but the comics themselves started years into the life of his school for gifted youngsters. This is all new territory. Their conversation is mysterious, foreshadowing characters who will only appear later in the issue like Rasputin, the priest, and Nimrod. The weirdest thing though, is that this version of Moira honestly seems to know what will happen in the future. Is she a time traveler? Given knowledge by her future self? An oracle? It’s a cliffhanger, that’s for damn sure.
Because we jump right into the end of “House of X.” Mystique arrives and on Krakoa and makes a beeline for the House of M- Magneto’s house. Charles is there though, it seems like the place where he and Magneto do all their sketchy business. Seems pretty rude if you ask me. “Why yes Erik, you can be a part of my utopia, and you even get your own house. Oh yeah, we’re gonna use it to plan black ops; I hope you still like murder!”
X and Magneto seem to be working well together though. They take a USB from mystique and plug it into a weirdo branch/ooze/computer/thing. And they’ve got another mission for Mystique, one that’ll probably happen in “House of X.” Last issue, it seemed like Mystique was a rogue element taking advantage of the Krakoan policy of amnesty. Now we know that she is explicitly a spy and agent for X and M.
Then we cut to a hundred years in the future, and things are nuts. For the sake of claity, I will parse a whole lot of exposition, in a more coherent order than its presented here. The anti-mutant policies of the future escalated way past the Days of Future Past. There was an even larger war between humans, their machine allies, and mutants. Nimrod is wiser than ever before, and also the de facto king of Earth. The war has inspired all sorts of underhanded tactics, the consequences of which are dealt with here. A lot of these characters and concepts are new, but they are extrapolated from existing X-stories.Continued below
Take the new character of Cylobel for example. She’s the bald woman with the dark brain-window thing on her head. She’s a “black brain telepath” born in “the Khennil.” See? Exposition is coming fast and loose and its gonna get even worse. The Khennil is just a fancy future way of writing ‘the kennel’ and its where the bad guys are breeding hounds. We’ve seen hounds before, they are mutants, brainwashed to hunt their own kind. As we learn here, the hound program was ultimately unsuccessful and the hounds as we are familiar with them were phased out. Later, they tried building Black Brains- mutants whose mind could not be read to act as infiltration specialists, to bring down the mutants from the inside. This also failed, a bunch of the Black Brains defected to the side of our mutant heroes.
We also learn quite a bit about the history of the human/mutant war. At some point between the present and a hundred years from now, Professor X will team up with Mister Sinister who- get this- betrays the X-Men and is publicly executed. Since it was public, I’m sure it was completely on the level and there were no shenanigans. While he was at large though, Sinister completely changed mutation as we understand it. If you are a fan of Mister Sinister (and I am, big time) this is the most perfect crystallization of his evil plan imaginable.
Sinister has always been all about controlling mutation, and he’s mastered that control through his Chimera Program. At first that just involved custom building mutant soldiers. Later, he could mix and match mutant powers. Finally, his process was made so effective, he could build soldiers with five different mutant powers. You know that steel-skinned lady with the Soulsword who is on the cover of “Powers of X?” That’s Rasputin, and she has the combined powers of Quentin Quire, Colossus, Unus the Untouchable, Kitty Pryde, and X-23. She, along with a good number of Sinister’s made-to-order soldiers, defected to help the mutants fight.
This is coupled with a ton of future history involving failed generations of Chimera soldiers, a hive mind suicide, and the collapse of the Martian breeding pits. This is Hickman sci-fi taking to the nth degree and will probably be the real test for readers who are new to his high concept style. The real excitement comes from the story’s chronology. Now it can build backwards and forwards at the same time, convincing us to trust Sinister along with Professor X, even though we definitively know how disastrous his betrayal will be.
At the head of the so-called Man-Machine Supremacy is Nimrod. This is a more evolved version of the deadly, pink super-sentinel, one we’ve never seen before. He’s… polite? Even while he is doing horrible things. He wants to harvest mutants now, and put them in his collection. Captured mutants are placed into tubes that sure look a whole lot like the Weapon X conditioning tube that Wolverine escaped from. Cylobel ends up in one of those tubes. It’s pretty horrifying. The future in the Marvel universe is an uncertain and ever-shifting thing, but this comic asserts that not only is ‘Days of Future Past’ the most likely outcome, things can get even worse.
We finally see the steel-skinned Rasputin and her red devilish companion arrive in their destination- the ruins of Krakoa (which we are now calling Asteroid K). Those No-Place spaces? The mutants are hiding out in them. Specifically the future X-Men who appear to be: Wolverine, Green Magneto, Xorn, and… probably not Groot. Were I a betting man, I would put good money on that being Black Tom Cassidy. If I am right, I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. That’d be too cool. Hickman also informs us that there are surviving mutant colonies in the alien Shi’ar Empire. That means that just when things look hopeless, a surprise ally can always show up to turn the tide. Even money says that Cannonball’s son gets involved. He was last spotted 90 years ago on the Shi’ar Homeworld.
I feel like I’ve broken out into a sweat! The details will become clearer in the weeks to come, but the important take away is this: X-Men has become an epic again. That’s the ingredient that has been missing; that’s what we all like about Claremont’s two decades on the series. There have been great X-Men comics in the last few years, but the conflict between Jean and Cassandra Nova or the war between the X-Men and the Inhumans didn’t have this millennium-long scope. It didn’t have weird magic and special destinies, time-travel soap opera, and inevitable disaster. OK, many series have had many of those things, but not all of them. If this epic scope persists, and the gaps in our knowledge can be filled by exciting story, this era of “X-Men” may turn out to be everything it was promised to be.Continued below
This month’s books:
“Uncanny X-Men” #21 – It’s the final showdown! This epic little run is going to end with a bang!
“Uncanny X-Men” #22 – A solid finale to a run I will forever remember fondly.
“Age of X-Man: Prisoner X” #5 – A real contender for the best “Age of X-Man” miniseries.
“Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts” #5 – Kitty stabs Apocalypse with a menorah. This issue was dumb.
“Age of X-Man: Omega” #1 – this was… fine. I preferred the journey to the destination.
“X-Force” #10 – more sentimental than you’d expect for a brash series about assassins
“House of X” #1 – everything I was hoping for. Totally on brand. I loved it.
“Powers of X” #1 – If “House of X” was so very Hickman, this one felt like 600% more Hickman. Real good if you like Hickman, which I do.
Special Spotlight: Tom Muller
Read my column, or any other “X-Men” column, and you’ll be hearing Hickman this and Hickman that. So let us acknowledge the good work of someone working a little bit more behind the scenes: Tom Muller. Comics are created by a variety of people, all with different specific jobs. The writer puts together the script and dialogue. The artist creates the initial illustration. The inker adds depth and texture to the art. The colorist adds color obviously, but also is responsible for lighting and other visual effects. The letterer puts in the dialogue, and often has control over font choices and word balloon positioning. Tom Muller isn’t credited as doing any of that. He’s being called the designer for both “House of X” and “Powers of X.” But what does that even mean?
Well for one thing, Muller is responsible for making all the logos. That new split-X logo? That’s Muller’s design. And in a book where every component is laden with meaning, something as simple as a new logo is worth paying attention to. More than that though, Muller is responsible for designing the interstitial charts and briefings.
A lot of people have been making jokes about Hickman’s affinity for charts, but it’s more than that. Hickman comics are filled with graphical representations. A lot of time this is done through narrative sequential art… in other words, normal comics. But just as often, he likes to incorporate graphs, maps, family trees, redacted documents, letters, newspaper clippings… anything that can tell the story through something beyond simple text. This isn’t one of those all words kind of books! This is a comic book! And that is something special.
While Hickman doubtlessly is writing the paragraphs of information, the presentation is all Muller, and it is hugely important to how we are reading these comics. The sterile white backgrounds, the columns of dashes that resemble an old printer. These pages are one of the key components that makes these books feel special, and does far more to set the tone than most readers are probably conscious of. So let’s tip our hats to the subtle work of Tom Muller, and try to consider his artistic intention along with the rest of his creative team!
The Mutantversity Monthly Medals of Merit:
The Cable’s Pouch of X-Treme Grittiness Award
Given to a mutant for demonstrating badassitude and commitment to the 90s aesthetic
In the final issue of “X-Force,” the team banded together to battle Stryfe. Deathlok, who is a cyborg and not a mutant, manifested blazing hot Wolverine-style claws. #HotClaws are great, but Cyber Claws are so very 90s. Congratulations Deathlok, you silly robot man.
“Call Me Alex” Award
Given to a mutant filled with self-loathing about their identity
“House of X” introduces us to the nation of Krakoa, where mutants can live in peace. Notably not a resident of the island? Karima Shapandar, the Omega Sentinel. She’s been rescued from her programming a number of times, but now she seems to have been enslaved once again, this time by the sinister forces of Orchis. It sucks to be Karima. Every time she resolves one conflict, some asshole with a compsci degree is turning her into a mindless killing machine. That’s someone whose powers are really a curse.Continued below
“Professor Xavier is a Jerk” Award
Given to a mutant who acted like a real jerk
Surprise, surprise. While most mutants are happy to live in peace on Krakoa, Sabretooth is trying to exploit the system for all its worth. Now that he has a promise of amnesty, he can commit whatever twisted crimes he wants, as long as he can make it back to the gateway. Sure, he’s working black ops for Xavier and Magneto, but murdering all those guards was purely extracurricular. Victor Creed is such a jerk that Cyclops was happy to hand him over to the Fantastic Four, just to be rid of him. Murder is frowned upon, but taking advantage of a well intentioned political policy makes Sabretooth a real jerk.
Merriest Mutant Award
Given to a mutant who found a rare moment of happiness
It may turn out that all of the X-Men are imprisoned, and the ones we see on Krakoa are all pod people, but until that is confirmed I’m going to treat them as real. And I hope they are real, because they all seem happy. That especially goes for Wolverine. Logan is a complicated man who has lived a complicated life, but he’s pretty well understood at this point. A good life for Wolverine would be a life of peace, one lived close to nature and surrounded by children. Logan loves kids. He loves teaching them with the benefit of his centuries of wisdom. He loves learning from them and seeing the world through fresh eyes. He loves mentoring them, helping kids like Kitty, Jubilee, Armor, and Quentin Quire realize their heroic potential. For now, Krakoa seems like his personal idea of heaven.
Fastball Special Award
Given to a duo who exhibited great friendship, collaboration, and teamwork
Cyclops and Wolverine
These two guys are the most famous X-Men right? And their rivalry is the stuff of legend. For me though, I’m always more interested in seeing Scott and Logan work together. That doesn’t mean they are ever going to be friends. Scott is a hot-blooded pragmatist who loves structure. Wolverine is an ancient wildman who finds serenity and wisdom in quiet. They are the ultimate odd couple. But they are both mutants, and they care deeply for their people. Having them at each others throats is boring; they must know that they are destined to fight by each others side until their dying day. As friends, they leave a lot to be desired. As teammates and collaborators, they are one of the greatest superhero duos of all time.
Let’s Talk About X Baby Award
Given to the sweetest, sexiest, bestest romantic couple
Professor X and Moira MacTaggert
There are clearly greater forces at work, but the scene between Xavier and Moira just sizzled with sexual tension. Listen, we know these two could not be more DTF. Xavier now famously knows the benefits of sensuality- he had many lovers! And Moira, well, she’s gonna get it on with Apocalypse, which is the most thirsty thing I’ve ever seen. But at this point in their lives, they’ve just met and they are gonna get it on. And while I know that they are both not great people who will do many messed up things later in life, there’s something pure about their young love which is really appealing to me. I get them as a couple. They both appreciate the benefits of sensuality.
MVX: Most Valuable X-Man
Given to an X-Man who embodied the values of the team and showed all around X-cellence
Before moving on to a new and complex era of mutant conflict, I want to take one last moment to celebrate the contributions of the most underrated mutant leader, Dani Moonstar. She never demanded power, or made a scene, or challenged her colleagues authority. She achieved her leadership through sheer force of will, and she used her position to speak truth to power. When Emma Frost used her psychic powers to hide all mutants, it was Dani who called out that insanity. “Why not erase their hatred?” she asked, and she was right. Scott sees the world as a soldier, Emma sees everything in a predator/prey binary. Xavier has a terrible god complex. But Dani sees things through the eyes of an activist, someone who wants the world to be a better place, understands the hard work it will take to make it so, and then does whatever she has to. I don’t know what Dani’s place will be on Krakoa, so I don’t want us to forget that by all rights, she should be the leader of the X-Men.