Welcome back to another installment of Mutantversity! Mutantversity is your home for all things X-Men. In Mutantversity, I, your loyal X-Men tutor, will look at all the things happening in the mutant universe. A few months ago, Marvel relaunched everything with brand new teams and brand new titles. My goal is to streamline most of this for you and take a deeper look at the history and the future of the franchise with a focus on the new comics.
In this edition of Mutantversity, I will be looking at all of October’s releases and breaking down all the major events. This month we had a big crossover and inch ever so close to the full return of Jean Grey. Let’s do this.
“X-Men: Gold” #13, #14 by Marc Guggenheim, Mike Mayhew, Rain Beredo and Marc Laming
“X-Men: Blue” #13 & #14 by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla and Guru – eFX
For the sake of keeping this all making sense, I’m going to take the whole “Mojo Worldwide” crossover as one thing. In October, that’s basically all that went down in these big team books. Mojo is a character that’s closely tied to Longshot and appeared a lot in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Mojo rules the Mojoverse, that exists in an alternate dimension, and as of late he’s been very preoccupied with the dwindling ratings of his TV shows. At the beginning of “X-Men” #13 he sends ships to Earth and captures the X-Men as they play a baseball game against each other. Mojo has split the group into three different teams. Team one comprises of Kitty Pryde, teen Cyclops, Rachel Grey (Prestige) and Bloodstorm (alternate timeline vampire Storm). Team two comprises of Old Man Logan, teen Angel, Storm and teen Iceman. Team three comprises of teen Jean Grey, teen Beast, Jimmy Hudson and Colossus. Over the four issues, we find see the X-Men reliving their history. Each team is thrown into different points of the X-Men’s history including the “Inferno” storyline and “Days of Future Past.” As they shuffle through this, the threats are escalated and it comes out to everyone that Magneto is working with the “Blue” squad. The teams start to struggle against these simulated villains and it looks like some lives are claimed. However, no one has actually died because Longshot (HYPE) is here to show the X-Men just what’s going on. This is all a TV show for the Mojoverse and no one has actually died…yet. The last issue of this crossover for October (“X-Men: Blue” #14) finds the X-Men, along with Longshot, figuring out what’s going on behind the scenes so a big showdown with Mojo himself is inevitable.
“Mojo Worldwide” is kind of an inconsequential crossover that kind of fuels nostalgia (something this franchise needs to move away from a bit more) but also gives a chance for all these characters to interact for the first time in a while. I don’t think this will sell anyone on these two books but it is the kind of crossover I wish we got more of. It is safe but as far as Marvel goes, that’s a nice thing considering how many “game changing” events they push out every 6 months.
“Jean Grey” #8 by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez and Chris Sotomayor
“Jean Grey” #8 continues to get us closer to the return of OG Jean Grey. In this issue, teen Jean goes right into the mind of Emma Frost to find the little flicker of the Phoenix left inside of Emma. As we’ve seen, each of the Phoenix Five (remember “Avengers vs. X-Men”? It’s okay, I try to forget too) still has some of that force left in them. They keep it hidden in their minds but Emma is the toughest one to find and. When she enters her mind, she’s taken right to the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely era of the X-Men. In Emma’s mind, Jean tries to fit in and we see lots of little snippets of that era of X-Men (maybe the best one??) but she doesn’t fit and Emma’s mind knows that. OG Jean can’t hold on to Emma’s mind forever and these projections are starting to attack. When Jean finally reaches the end of the puzzle, the recreation of when Jean Grey finds out that Emma and Cyclops were having a secret psychic affair. Times where crazy then and these two have real history with each other. The issue ends with teen Jean finding that spark inside of Cyclops (because of course) seemingly being possessed by it.Continued below
If you’ve read the column before then you know that I honestly love everything about “Jean Grey.” It has become one of my favorite things in comics and I went into it thinking it would be a mess. One of the constants in this series has been teen Jean trying to not allow destiny to control her. She doesn’t want to be what fate seems to have in store for her and as she makes that journey, there’s been this kind of well meaning jab at the history of the character. “Jean Grey” #8 is full of the kind of reaction I’d probably have right now if I were reading some of these older stories for the first time. This issue somehow manages to feel actually important but also be really fun at the same time.
“Astonishing X-Men” #4 by Charles Soule, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz and Rain Beredo
“Astonishing X-Men” #4 continues to be the second resurrection happening in the X-Men universe. I wholeheartedly believe that this book is going to be how Charles Xavier comes back and unlike Jean Grey, I’m entirely not here for it. In case you didn’t know or wasn’t paying attention, Charles Xavier is actually bad. Anyway, the team of Mystique, Fantomex (my favorite garbage), Gambit and Rogue are still stuck in the Astral Plane. Missing from this group is now Old Man Logan because The Shadow King has taken over his body and is in the real world causing havoc. While he’s doing that, the other four are greeted by the psychic entity (or whatever it is) of Charles Xavier who doesn’t really tell them much. Honestly, not much happens in this issue aside from a lot of flirting by these sort of couples.
“Astonishing X-Men” is weird because it almost exists in a totally different place than the rest of the books. On its own, this is a solid story but I’m convinced now that it will read better as one full collected edition than in single issues. It’s also still very weird to me that it changes artists every month. Also, it’s clearly trying to bring back Charles Xavier, who really, no one needs.
“Iceman” #6 by Sina Grace, Robert Gill and Rachelle Rosenberg
“Iceman” is a very quiet and delightful book that serves a purpose missing from the bigger picture of the X-Men. While Iceman is still a cis white male, he is a gay man who’s just come out after being closeted and personally conflicted for a long time. It’s a story that hasn’t been told in this specific world in a way that feels modern to 2017. In “Iceman” #6, the Champions are back together but not for a happy reason. I didn’t read “Secret Empire” but apparently Black Widow died during that and that’s a real bummer to me. Once they’re all together, the group finds out that their old headquarters has been turned into a gym. This is also a huge bummer but they decide to go to a bar and once there, they reminisce about Black Widow. They truly miss her and each other but they kind of find this peace by being with each other. Everything is going really well in Bobby’s personal life as well as he gets asked out on a date by a guy he meets while waiting on line for exclusive, high end sneakers. The underlying action stuff (because this is a Marvel comic after all) centers around a young woman who makes props for movies. She’s made some Sentinels for a movie and after Angel and Iceman mess one of hers up (because Sentinels are the worst) she decides to get the money she needs for her current film by going viral. Bobby’s date is interrupted by her overpowered props and that’s where the issue ends.
“Iceman” is kind of on the fringe of the X-Men books because it does read so differently. It feels so much more modern and is more slice of life than any of the other series going on right now. I don’t want to call it groundbreaking just yet but it is really special and charming.Continued below
“All-New Wolverine” #25 & #26 by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal and Nolan Woodard
“All New Wolverine” #25 and #26 are the first two parts of the “Orphans of X” story arc. After her adventure in space, Laura and Gabby are just kind of doing nothing. They’re enjoying the downtime. Daken, on the other hand, has been taken captive by a group that wants him dead. They call themselves the Orphans of X and they left Laura a calling card in the form of literally Daken’s arm. When she catches the scent, she realizes she must go to a place she never wanted to visit again – the lab she was born in. When she gets there, she finds someone she never ever expected to see again – her mother! When she takes her mother to her extended family’s home, we are shown Daken, being held somewhere. When he escapes, we see that Laura’s extended family is actually part of the Orphans of X and that’s who’s been holding Daken captive.
“All New Wolverine” has done this thing on and off where it addresses some part of Laura’s past and adds something there that didn’t exist before. This is a really good example of that because it doesn’t actually dwell in an origin we’ve seen before. Her origin is the drop in the bucket and we’re seeing all the ripples from it. Each ripple tests her in a new way and Taylor keeps hitting home the idea that she will not deal with any of this the way her mentor Logan did. It’s what makes the series so special and pairing her up with Daken for this furthers that idea. I’m really, really into this new story arc and hope that it holds up as it goes on.
“Despicable Deadpool” #287 & #288 by Gerry Duggan, Scott Koblish and Nick Filardi
The year is 2017 and I am reading a Deadpool comic. I know, I can’t believe it either. “Deadpool” has actually been good over the last couple of years and it’s kind of amazing. With the start of whatever Marvel Legacy is, a bunch of books got renumbered back to their original numbers. “Deadpool” is no longer “Deadpool” and is now “Despicable Deadpool.” He’s also back to being on the bad side of things instead of a hero. He doesn’t care about being part of the Avengers or anything like that anymore. He made a deal with Stryfe in exchange for the lives of people he actually cares about and now he has to kill four people in return. Who’s up first? Cable, of course. In a call back to how Deadpool first appeared, he spends these two issues trying to kill Cable. He even gets control of Cable’s metallic arm after he rips it off and Cable gets arrest by time cops. After a bunch of huge fights, Cable finally gets a leg up and will presumably get to the bottom of this in the next issue.
“Despicable Deadpool” #287 & #288 are fine for what they are. Some of the jokes don’t land but it’s a good place to start reading if you’ve been on the fence. It’s definitely a homage to their origins but I think giving Deadpool emotional depth is kind of groundbreaking in a weird way and I want to see how he gets out of this.
“Cable” #150 by Ed Brisson, Jon Malin and Jesus Aburtov
“Cable” #150 marks a strange renumbering for the sake of “legacy” or whatever and it’s the start of a new creative team taking over. Ed Brisson and Jon Malin take over to do pretty much their own thing and that’s for the best. With “Cable” #150, the focus shifts to the Externals and a team of some former New Mutants members. Candra, one of the Externals, is dead and Cable wants to know who did it and why. With the help of Longshot, he finds out that Candra was attacked by someone who knew what they were doing and that leads Cable to confront Selene. To do this he joins up with Doop (YOU GUYS!!!), Shatterstar and Longshot. It goes just about as badly as you’d expect when dealing with someone as powerful as Selene. The issue ends with Selene revealing that she’s far from the last External left because after all, they are immortal.Continued below
“Cable” #150 is weird for me because I already like this issue way more than the first arc as a whole. Cable is a little more talkative without being out of character and it’s back to featuring a team of some sort. Also Doop is here and that’s the most awesomely random thing you could do with this title. It’s another book that exists on the fringe but the downside to this one is that unlike “Iceman,” I think you need to know a good amount of backstory to get invested in this. But, as mentioned, I think this issue on its own is much stronger than the whole first arc of this series and that’s a very good thing.
“Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan” #1 by Declan Shalvey, Mike Henderson and Lee Loughridge
If there’s one title this month that just is not aimed at me, it’s this one. “Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan” follows in the footsteps of the many “Deadpool vs.” miniseries that have run in the last few years. This one focuses on the now “despicable” Deadpool as he and Old Man Logan have a bit of a misunderstanding involving $25 and some rowdy kids. Old Man Logan is on the run and Deadpool is no help in this as they come across a young girl who’s wanted by the same people. Unfortunately, aside from some jokes, that’s pretty much it.
I’ll be upfront and say that despite the amazing talent behind this, this just isn’t for me. These miniseries have all been really same-y. It doesn’t mean much for the X-Men universe but with the right talent, it could be fun. I’m just not there yet despite this really great team.
“Generation X” #7 by Christina Strain, Eric Coda and Felipe Sobreiro
“Generation X” #7 continues the story arc from last month with the boys still at the Fenris Twins gala event. Quentin Quire puts together this huge plan that relies on Benjamin Deeds to get back the nanite technology that could be used to make more Sentinels. This goes about as well as you think it would when these kids are very headstrong and inexperienced. After Andrea realizes that her brother was swapped with a fake imitation in the form of Benji, chaos ensues but the ultimately come out the winners. The biggest takeaway here is that Benji and Nathaniel almost get closer than ever before but you know how teenage love is.
This issue kind of flies by but has a lot going on it but always feels very young. This book keeps filling the young adult niche that none of the other X-Men titles can. This issue in particular is really fun in all the pages that take place at this big gala event. We get a lot of face time with these three boys and what’s so special about them is how they represent something very different from the older guard of the X-Men. They aren’t falling into absurd masculine tropes and I love that. I wish this series got a little more attention than it does.
And that’s that! Yes, I know I left out “Weapon X” this month but I’ll make that up to you in the new year. Let’s chat in the comments. What were your favorite moments in the X-Men universe this month? What are your favorite books? What’s standing out to you as the best storyline running in the X-Men universe right now?