Marvel Is Probably Not Actually Trying to Destroy Everything You Love

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POST SECRET-WARS STORY DISCUSSION, AHOY!

Rachel here!

A whole lot of you have been writing in to ask what we think of the recent revelation that the Terrigen Mists are gradually killing off the mutant population of the Marvel Universe. The popular theory of choice seems to be that Marvel has it in for the X-Men: that this is at best a pointless rehash of the M-Day storyline, and at worst a corporate grudge-fueled fictional genocide.

And look: Is Marvel putting more time, energy, and resources into the properties whose entertainment rights they control, and moving those lines front and center in shared-universe stuff? Yeah. But that has been happening roughly forever. In fact, it’s what made the X-Men so prominent in the first place: putting more resources into a line that was at the time tied significantly to the company’s financial success.

This is one of the main liabilities of investing emotionally in a company-owned superhero property: narrative resonance is often going to take a backseat to business. (To an extent, this is one of the main liabilities of investing emotionally in anything that someone else owns or creates: its development will ultimately be informed by priorities other than yours.)

Is Marvel actively sabotaging the X-line? Probably not. Occam’s Razor, y’all: I seriously doubt anyone there has the time–or the imperative–to plan a major arm of a publishing program based on sheer malice. That would be a baffling business move and a phenomenal waste of resources–and it really doesn’t jive with the creative attention that seems to have gone into the post-Secret Wars X-line we’ve seen so far. If Marvel wanted to destroy the X-line, they’d quietly back-burner it, whittle it down to one or two titles–or absorb the headlining characters entirely into other books–and walk away. That’s obviously not happening.

There have been five ongoing X-books announced post-Secret Wars, and we know of at least one other that’s going to be joining them (shhh, don’t tell)–and that’s entirely discounting the many X-affiliated characters who are part of other lineups. You may not like the direction the line is taking–which is fine; again, not every story or arc will appeal to every reader–but the line itself? Probably not going anywhere.

Okay? Okay. So, let’s talk about story.

A lot of the “Marvel is trying to destroy the X-Men” arguments are based on a few preview pages from Extraordinary X-Men, in which it’s revealed that the Terrigen Mists are killing and sterilizing mutants. Which, yes, sucks for mutants, and certainly bodes ill: remember the time Marvel introduced an incurable mutant-targeted virus that devastated the mutant population, destroying the X-line and permanently removing every mutant character from circulation?

Oh, wait.

Adversity is the bread and butter of good stories, especially good superhero stories. Two of the all-time best–and best loved–Daredevil runs are Born Again and The Devil in Cellblock D, and both of them are framed around horrible things happening nonstop to Matt Murdock. This did not happen because Frank Miller and Ed Brubaker hate Daredevil: it happened because adversity makes for good stories. As a writer, the more you love a character or group of characters, the higher the chances that you will throw them to the tigers just to watch them fight their way out. When you love a character, you give them challenges worthy of their narrative potential–and the X-Men, in particular, are a team and a line that historically have shined brightest with their backs to the wall.

The X-Men have been around for more than 50 years. They’re not going anywhere. The quality–and lineup–and the quality of individual titles will ebb and flow, as will their personal resonance for any given reader. (Remember the ‘90s? We do.) You’ll drift away, or you won’t; and you’ll come back, or you won’t; and either way, odds are good that the X-Men will still be around.

88 comments

  1. David says:

    With the “Marvel is trying to replace mutants with Inhumans” thing being grist for the rumor mill for multiple years at this point, I feel like this twist is so on the nose that it has to be Jeff Lemire (who’s a smart writer!) taking the piss.

  2. Comic Noobs says:

    “If Marvel wanted to destroy the X-line, they’d quietly back-burner it, whittle it down to one or two titles–or absorb the headlining characters entirely into other books–and walk away. That’s obviously not happening.”

    I am a bit concerned now for the Fantastic Four, because it seems like this is exactly what is happening to them :/

    • Comic Noobs says:

      But thank you for another great article! I was getting sick of seeing so many hysterical articles explaining how the X-men were clearly done-for.

    • DantePD says:

      Well, the FF stuff might have to do with bad blood between Marvel and Fox, but it likely has more to do with the fact that FF hasn’t sold particularly well in a long time now.

      • Guillaume Berube says:

        Exactly, espescially seeing as the FF are central in Secret Wars.

        • TheAmazingEmu says:

          Yeah, I think they’re perfectly fine with the Fantastic Four characters, they just don’t trust a solo book to sell well. Although this might be the model they use if they get the movie rights back. Don’t start off with a FF movie (after Fox has done so poorly). Instead, bring in Dr. Reed Richards as a consultant and slowly introduce the family.

    • The FF chars are prominently featured in other books post-SW though. I’m sure they’ll get a book relaunch before the first 2 years are through.

  3. ray says:

    Yeah, ok. You got me convinced. I’ll go on with this theory. Being a beliver is more fun anyway.

  4. pawpaw5771 says:

    Is the sixth title an ongoing of “Rachel and Miles X-Plain The X-Men And Also We Made A ‘Zine About It”?

  5. Sam Williams says:

    THANK YOU! I’m so tired of the “Marvel is killing the X-Men!” hysteria. I was really disappointed in the Comic Book Resources article fanning the flames. People should know better.

  6. Justin says:

    Yeah, I get that a lot of comics fans worry when they feel like editorial fiat is meddling in their comics, I really very much get that. But, honestly, the X-Line has been a bloated mess for years and years, far too many books and far too few of them stellar month in and month out. If Marvel’s corporate focus means the X-Line gets shrunk to 6 or so titles every month, and provided those 6 are at least somewhat -good-, I think that’s honestly an improvement overall.

    • Sam Williams says:

      Are we really even losing anything? Right now we’ve got three core titles (just like we had with All-New, Uncanny, and Wolverine and the) and a couple of solo Wolverine books, which is pretty standard. And that’s just among the launch titles. Marvel has made it clear that there’s more coming. I suppose there were technically five team titles being released before, but Adjectiveless and Astonishing were very hit and miss depending on the creative team and those five books were only published all together for maybe a year or two. The lineup is always in flux. If the sixth book Rachel alluded to is a team book, it’ll replace one of those books. If not, it’ll replace one of the trio of solo books we had pre-Secret Wars (Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler) that we all knew weren’t going to last forever anyway. Plus, we’ve got Kitty leading the Guardians of the Galaxy in Star-Lord’s place and both Rogue and Sunspot on Avengers teams. Marvel’s mutants are as prominently featured as they’ve ever been.

      • Pixie_Solanas says:

        You’re losing a ton in terms of the quality of talent helming these books. Jeff Lemire? I don’t care what criteria you’re using, that’s a chasmic-level drop off from Bendis (probably the top dog at Marvel).

        • Sam Williams says:

          Bendis moves around though. All writers do. He had one of the longer runs since Claremont on the x-titles though and it’s not like anything has changed corporately since Bendis was writing X-Men books a few months ago. Fox has owned the X-Men movie rights for decades now and Disney has owned Marvel for six years,which fully encompasses Bendis’s tenure on the books.

        • Justin says:

          Honestly, I hated Bendis’ work on X-men (also GotG, but that’s neither here nor there).

  7. Tea says:

    What I would love to see is the “Marvel is destroying the X-Men” people go into the Iron Man tags on tumblr and see the number of Iron Man fans convinced that Marvel is destroying Iron Man.

    And it’s been happening for decades. Decaaaaaades.

    Basically, this is the stock reaction of something like 75% of all comic fans ever: the plot goes in a way that worries/bothers/resonates negatively to them personally, and they decide that that means the creators/publisher/god hates the character or is trying to destroy them for good.

  8. Mark says:

    Thank you for this. I’m so tired of hearing about how Marvel is sabotaging their own properties.

  9. Karlen says:

    If comic writers didn’t shake the tree often we wouldn’t be interested. Put out a rumor that the X-Men are going to get killed and look at all the people now interested.

  10. Amanda says:

    I think you’re missing the point big time with this article and dismissing the valid arguments of X-fandom as paranoia and hysteria. It’s not just about the mist sterilizing mutants (which in itself is a big in-your-face meta message). It’s about the X-line being reduced to 4 books, the lack of videogames, the lack of cartoons, the lack of merchandise, the lack of promotion (compare how many variant covers x-books have with inhumans books), it’s about the big players being neutralized (Beast to Inhumans, Rogue to Avengers, Kitty to GOTG, Cyclops and Emma MIA, Wolverine, Xavier and Jean Grey DEAD). I could go on and on about how Marvel is mistreating the X-franchise. So no, it’s not just hysteria and paranoia.

    • Sam Williams says:

      I’m sorry but half of what you said doesn’t make sense. Having X-characters star in other books isn’t neutralizing them at all. It shows that Marvel still cares about those characters and wants to tell stories about them. If they had some nefarious plot to “neutralize” Beast or Kitty or Rogue, then they wouldn’t be publishing comics with those characters at all. It’s not like putting them in other team books will get Marvel the rights back. As far as the deaths go, superhero deaths are pretty standard. Jean has been dead since 2004, Professor X since 2012, and Cyclops (who’s been dead before, it should be noted) died prominently as part of their huge, line-wide crossover event so my guess would be that he still has a major part to play. You may have also noticed that there’s teenaged versions of Cyclops and Jean running around in their own book, so even in death they’re far from “neutralized.” The same could most definitely be said for Wolverine. I don’t think a month has gone by without at least one book with his name in the title being released. There’s two already scheduled among the first 45 post-Secret Wars books. Then there’s Deadpool. While I get why Rachel and Miles don’t discuss him in this podcast, he’s an X-adjacent character who’s owned by Fox and appearing in an upcoming movie. He’s also starring in both a solo comic and a limited series with Cable. Even during Secret Wars while he’s “dead,” he’s had two books coming out every month and there’s certainly no shortage of Deadpool merchandise available. As a fan, I get the concern. I really do. But you should trust Rachel when she says that it’s being way overblown.

      • Amanda says:

        First, putting said characters in other books allows Marvel to tell stories about them that FOX won’t be able to use. So yes, this is how they neutralize them while weakening the X-franchise by removing the most popular characters of the table.

        Second, no one cares about the teen X-Men, they’re not leaders or the face of mutantkind, they’re irrelevant and are now reduced to a niche student book.

        Third, Rachel is being naive when she dismisses valid points of the fandom and ignores the whole context i.e. what’s happening to the X-Men outside the comics (merchandise, video games, cartoons, etc.)

        • Sam Williams says:

          1) I don’t buy that theory at all. Fox has decades of X-Men stories to use and even if they automatically get the rights to any story about X-Men Marvel publishes (not sure it will even works that’s that way but it might), there’s no reason they’d want to use those stories when there’s other more time-tested stories they haven’t adapted yet. And excluding Kitty or Beast or Wolverine from a comics story does nothing to prevent Fox from adding them to the movie version. It’s not like that’s been an impediment in the past.

          2) You may not care about the time-displaced X-Men, but a lot of people do. All-New X-Men was a big seller. And you’re contradicting yourself here. You complain about not having enough comics and then you try to invalidate the ones that exist because you’re not personally interested in them. That’s not helpful to the discussion.

          3) It’s really rude to come to the website of a person who works in the comics industry and call them naive. Especially when Rachel specifically said that she wasn’t talking about merchandising in this post, but was simply responding to the latest Inhuman freak out and how it relates to the comics.

          • Cate says:

            I second the comment about people caring about the time-displaced X-Men. I think it’s an interesting idea, and I like what I’ve read of All-New X-Men (to be fair, I’ve read very little of it). I’d read the rest of it in a heartbeat, except I know a lot of X-Men fans who really hate ANXM and have specifically told people not to read it (or, if they’ve already read it, explained to them why they shouldn’t like it) and honestly I’ve heard enough negative reactions to it that I’d feel really guilty reading it, like I was personally betraying someone.

        • “[N]o one cares about the teen X-Men, they’re not leaders or the face of mutantkind, they’re irrelevant and are now reduced to a niche student book.”

          No. Looking at the April sales figures

          http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2015/2015-04.html

          All-New X-Men 40 was the top-selling X-book.

          ANXM is a niche book to the extent that the X-books generally are niche books.

    • pawpaw5771 says:

      1) There are 5 X-books (Extraordinary, All-New, Uncanny, Old Man Logan, and All-New Wolverine) that we know of.

      2) The comics creators and editorial groups aren’t in charge of merchandising, videogames, cartoons, and so on. The lack of this material isn’t being missed or ignored in this piece, it is flat out acknowledged in the entire second paragraph: “Is Marvel putting more time, energy, and resources into the properties whose entertainment rights they control, and moving those lines front and center in shared-universe stuff?”

      3) We’ve seen 3 promo pages, a handful of covers, and read some vague promotional copy from solicits. I think the online reaction in proportion to what has been seen is out of balance.

      • Cypherlock says:

        Marvel owns the X-Men in all aspects except film rights. If they made an X-Men cartoon or a Cyclops figure fox would not get a cut unless they used the movie likenesses which is a non-issue.

      • Amanda says:

        1) So 3 real X-Men book, and two irrelevant Wolverine books that are not really about the actual Wolverine. Compare that to the 10+ books of recent years.

        2) I’m not talking about the comics side of the discussion, that was quite obvious. And this statement is overly naive. Marvel is not just putting more effort into the properties they own. Marvel is flatting out FORBIDDEN companies to use X-Men characters in their merchandise. As a matter of fact, two or three companies have already come forward to tell fans that Marvel wouldn’t let them use X-Men characters in tshirts, posters and videogames.

        3) Again, I’m not talking about the comics. But the comic is the cherry on top of the cake of how Marvel is mistreating and downplaying the X-franchise since AvX in favor of the Avengers/GoTG/Inhumans. This uninformed and naive article dismisses the whole context.

        • TheAmazingEmu says:

          Good Lord! Ten books? I’m sorry, but that’s not a small number to begin with, particularly with comic sales not being what they used to be. The thing is this: Marvel’s constantly creating new books as well. But the industry can’t support an infinite number of books. That means that, when a book gets made, it eventually has to replace an already existing book. A franchise that has ten books can afford to lose one more than a franchise with one or two. That doesn’t imply they hate that property, just that there’s more wiggle room anyway.

    • Cate says:

      I don’t entirely understand the part about popular characters being moved to other teams. I’m very new to comics, but as far as I know, that’s just a thing Marvel does. Wolverine’s been an Avenger, Beast was an Avenger and a Defender, I’m pretty sure Rogue was an Avenger before the post-Secret-Wars stuff but I’m not entirely sure. Gambit, Cipher, Warlock, and a robot who (as far as I know) is literally the Danger Room personified were in what was technically an Avengers book. I don’t know if Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Rachel being part of Excalibur counts, because I think that’s technically an X-book.

      A lot of this is just what Marvel does. They kill characters, they shuffle things around, they assign stories you like to writers you hate, they make complicated retcons that will be further retconned later. Yes, it sucks that the X-Men aren’t a main focus right now, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never get attention again. Marvel’s focusing on the Avengers and the Inhumans because, right now, that’s what makes financial sense. Keeping the X-Men around also makes financial sense.

    • Guillaume Berube says:

      Storm and Cyclops are in almost every Marvel games except Disney Infinity (Understandable as this one is Disney Branded) Marvel 2015, Lego Marvel and the thousand marvel mobile games. They may not be branded as X-Men games but they are there.

      • Icon_UK says:

        I’m still pouting over the fact that the Lego Marvel game didn’t have the classic X-Men/New Mutants black and gold outfits as an option in the character maker, you could have made the Original Five, a number of the New Mutants etc…

    • Marvel hasn’t been pumping out video games at all regularly since the Wii. And the few they have put out…include X-men characters.

  11. Alex says:

    This is simple pro wrestling logic. Use the established star (x-men) and have them feud with the rising star the company wants to succeed really really badly (inhumans) in order to build up the rising star. The point is to build awareness of the inhumans by using the x-men.

  12. Aimee says:

    I like to think of it as level-setting. Lot of chaff that can be culled there in the X-Men Universe, almost always. Let the Inhumans enjoy their day in the sun for a change, they’ve always been a back-burner kind of team. The X-Men have had dominance since the late 70s, they can afford a break while more careful, less Marvel-Universe encompassing stories happen to them. rebuild the characters and dynamics.

    And then in a few years after carefully thinking about it, they’ll introduce a novel (or not) way to re-power characters as different writers want to use them, and they’ll engulf the Marvel Universe once more.

  13. D says:

    Wait, you mean that Marvel isn’t trying to get me to stop buying their comics? That seems like a bad business plan to me.

    I’m not terribly happy about the Terrigen story-line. It feels like we just got past M-day’s fallout and this is just bringing us back to that. It doesn’t mean that the story will be bad, or that Marvel is secretly trying to get rid of the X-men. It’s just a slightly disappointing direction, in my opinion. I get adversity, but I’d like adversity that looks a bit different than the adversity that the mutants just overcame.

    • Sarah says:

      This is the thing, though – Legacy Virus, M Day, none of that had permanent effects, why do people think this won’t have a retcon/workaround in a few years too?

      • D says:

        I’m sure it will. It is just annoying to have this plot point return so soon. It just feels like backtracking, like “Weren’t we just here”. I’m slightly annoyed at it. It isn’t the biggest deal, it may even be something that I end up loving once it starts coming out. Like the Superior Spider-man series, which was a stupid idea that has no right to be any good, but it really is.

  14. DantePD says:

    I honestly think a lot of the freakout is from folks who came into Marvel during the late 80’s/early 90’s (Of which I’m one of them) when Marvel was all Mutants, all the time. Up until around Bendis taking over Avengers, pretty much anything that wasn’t X-related didn’t get any promotion or attention. Now, stuff other than X-Men is getting the spotlight and people are freaking out.

    • TheAmazingEmu says:

      Exactly, Rachel and Miles is at a point in their recaps where the X-Men are extremely popular and have three books. The 90s seems to me to be more of an aberration.

  15. Luke says:

    Agreed! 100%

  16. Sarah says:

    I guess part of the problem is maybe that some fans came into marvel with eg Wolverine in eleventy titles every month, and the rash of multiple X-Men titles, with X-Men characters all over tons of other teams, so I guess dropping to 4 seems like a big deal – but hell, in the podcast right now there are only 3 X teams, only 1 actual X Men title, and personally that would be a LOT easier for people to handle monthly – I’m basically on library trade paperbacks only right now because I couldn’t afford to follow all the X characters all over the place.

    As an example, Secret Wars sounds fascinating, but I can’t put that financial/time investment into comics right now, so I’ll wait for the collections & avoid spoilers.

  17. Ben says:

    Speaking of Secret Wars; I am an avid listener of the podcast and am trying to catch up on the X story lines of the last couple of years. I have read most of the All-New line and I want to read the recent uncanny books. I assume that I am missing a lot only having read the All-new stories? Also, it would be awesome if you guys could do a show that summarized the the status of the X characters in the post Secret Wars universe.

  18. John Bruce says:

    What irks me is the ambiguous wording of that “sterilized” line. The virus kills mutants and then also sterilizes them for good measure? Were the corpses going to reproduce otherwise? (I mean, I know coming back from the dead is everyone’s secondary mutation, but I doubt that’s what we’re talking about here.) Besides, aren’t most mutants born to normal human parents? Mutants aren’t like the Inhumans where you have to have ancestry tracing back to some specific people.

    My assumption is that what the text MEANS to say is that the mist kills mutants and prevents humans from having mutant children, but the wording is frustratingly unclear.

  19. John Derrick says:

    Here’s my issue with this twist:

    From a story standpoint, the Inhumans aren’t nearly as interesting or powerful a metaphor for the struggles of various minority groups to make their way despite the prejudices of society. They don’t have the history on that front the X-Men bring with them, and the metaphor is a lot more complicated with the Games of Thrones politics and the alien experiment backstory. Terrigen Mists and cocoons and royal families aren’t as simple or as clean as ‘some people are born with an X-Gene.’

    Of course, Marvel hasn’t been much interested in mutants as a true minority population for years, which is why the ‘Decimation’ happened. They’re hyper-focused on the “hated and feared” side of things, on a small scrappy band fighting for survival. The post-House of M status quo didn’t leave much room for the X-Men as role models to a larger population, an aspect of the stories I’ve always loved. (See ‘God Loves, Man Kills’ or ‘Gifted.’)

    Of course, without the right to mutants, the cinematic universe needs their own quick and easy way to explain people with superpowers without a unique origin every time – the reason Stan invented mutants to begin with. The Inhumans are an obvious solution, but not an equal replacement.

    • Icon_UK says:

      Nicely put!

      • Evilgus says:

        Got it in one. The Inhumans just aren’t as compelling a cast of characters, and don’t have as rich a history as the X-Characters. Not because they are necessarily any worse, but because they just haven’t had the years of development and 1000s of issues produced. So I resent that the Inhumans seem to be being shoved down our throats by being forced into the same narrative space as the X-men have inhabited. From a storytelling and creative point of view, it just doesn’t make sense; so it must be business driving this change.

        But that’s the nature of the beast, I suppose!

    • Greg Price says:

      And bonus for Marvel that they get to play with all the same tropes as mutants while still “sticking it to Fox”.

  20. NewtypeS3 says:

    I can see thee frugal retcon in a few years…

    Beast: “Hmm. Turns out I misplaced a decimal point in my calculations on the Terrigen Mists.”
    Cyclops: “…which means, what, Hank?”
    Beast: “The Terrigen Mists are no more lethal to us than flatulence from the Blob.”
    Cyclops: “…goddamnit, Hank.”

  21. Kyle says:

    Let me add to the chorus of people thanking you for this article. The reactionary, “Sky Is Falling” paranoia who’ve been trumpeting that Marvel is out to ruin the X-Men kind of baffles me for exactly the reasons you lay out here.

  22. […] Rachel Edidan thinks your X-Men conspiracies are going way overboard-Pat […]

  23. lastplaneout says:

    The cynic in me wonders whether Marvel has realized that paranoia is actually an excellent marketing strategy.

  24. Cypherlock says:

    Your article ignores one of the main arguments people have about the marginalization of the X-Men.

    DisMarvel has stopped merchandise for the X-Men. No new action figure and t-shirts. They even went as far as removing those characters from new merchandise. Sure you can still find a few X-Men related things but they are all old stock.

    Stephen Wacker of Marvel animation has said multiple time that there will never be another X-Men cartoon.

    Multiple companies has stated that Marvel either refused to lease the rights to the X-Men or flat out refused to allow them to use them in any products like posters, clothing or video games.

    Why would they do all this? If they can limit exposure to the X-Men the can’t get new fans. Disney wants synergy in everything from movies, to merchandise, to tv and animation. Even though Marvel owns all aspects of the X-Men besides film rights Disney still considers them competition.

  25. LAndrew says:

    If the X-Men survived stuff the Neo, Chuck Austen, and the senses-shattering terror of The Locust, I’m sure that they will survive a few lean years.

  26. As someone who has been reading Marvel comics in one form or another since about 1979, all I can say is “And this too shall pass.”

    Good post.

  27. David says:

    Thanks for this, Rachel. I always love your writing. In spite of your clear passion/fandom, you can still be so clear, well-reasoned, and well-articulated, which is REALLY HARD TO DO when it’s about something you care about. You are the best!

    (Also, I’m going to take this as an unofficial announcement that X-Men ’92 is continuing/relaunching. Color me excited.) I won’t be surprised if writing that gets me stuck in moderation and/or gets this comment deleted… but that will only serve to confirm things in my own mind. 😉

    • Rachel says:

      All I know is that there’s at least one more series coming–your guess is as good as mine as to what.

    • D says:

      Well, the last panel of X-men ’92 says ‘X-men 92 will return’ so…My guess is that they got a lot of much deserved attention and Marvel offered them a gig to continue the series.

  28. HaveOne says:

    “If Marvel wanted to destroy the X-line, they’d quietly back-burner it, whittle it down to one or two titles–or absorb the headlining characters entirely into other books–and walk away. That’s obviously not happening.”

    I don’t think that’s so obvious. Dropping down to 1-2 from, what 8-10+ would be loud and obvious. In many ways it looks like they are quietly whittling down the line to 5-6. Maybe that’s a good thing because there was fat to trim, but I don’t think you can argue it is based on things that normally drive these sorts of decisions (like sales). And many x-characters are being absorbed into other books, as others have pointed out, or are just disappearing.

    Also, if you x-men fandom is just the comics themselves, you may be discounting what collectors of other merchandise are feeling. The flood of x-men action figures and statues is down to a trickle. I don’t see the majority of x-fans being willing to shift money over to different merchandising lines (or comic titles), so it feels like Marvel is just leaving (my) money on the table. And the war with Fox over movie rights does seem like one of the better ways to explain that kind of apparent irrationality of not selling me things I want to buy.

  29. Greg Price says:

    “Is Marvel actively sabotaging the X-line? Probably not. Occam’s Razor, y’all: I seriously doubt anyone there has the time–or the imperative–to plan a major arm of a publishing program based on sheer malice. That would be a baffling business move and a phenomenal waste of resources”

    Problem with that theory: they flat out TOLD Rob Liiefeld when he wanted to do a certain X-project that they were “not in the business of developing IP for Fox Studios”. They DID remove all the X-characters (and the F4) from Marvel promotional materials like the annual banner poster. Not “deemphasize”…REMOVED.

    These and other facts are easily documented.

    • Will says:

      The Liefeld story is the line that keeps coming up that won’t die. But in the same period he says that conversation took place Brian Bendis was writing Uncanny X-Men with a cast mostly made up of brand-new mutants, and a number of stories in that and Uncanny X-Men (not to mention the various X-Force books from the last few years) all centered around the old-school “oh no, a new mutant is manifesting powers and causing chaos” story structure. There have been plenty of new mutants in the last few years. Maybe not at 90s rates, but it’s not a trickle either.

  30. […] There’s some really weird, interesting stuff happening in X-Men fandom right now. It’s almost the inverse of the “Bad Fan” problem that tends to plague […]

  31. Quintessential Defenestration says:

    I think there are two points not addressed here/wrongly addressed concerning the Terrigen Mist Stuff. First of all, the Conspiracy Theory has never been “Marvel hates X-men now so they’re being very very mean to mutants.” It’s been “Marvel is setting things up to isolate the X-line from the rest of the marvel universe.” The story from the Rumor Site that broke the Terrigen Mists storyline wayyy back included the note that this was positioning the X-men to be moved off Earth. Malice doesn’t have to be involved; Marvel simply wants to avoid giving Fox any more material, so X-characters will show up in non-Xbooks, and actual X-storylines will occur in a setting not useful to Fox.

    Second of all, “this is at best a pointless rehash of the M-Day storyline.” Well….is it not? The most recent X-status quo was set up specifically with the birth of new mutants again. Three years later, and we’re back to no new mutants being born again. This isn’t just old territory, it’s *recent* old territory. We had a *brief glimpse* of something that would be a natural progression of the recent status quo (Scott uses his X-Revolution to found a nation), but instead we just revert to the prior status quo.

    When your story pointlessly retreads stuff and also serves a very specific corporate interest, it’s not illogical to conclude that it’s being done for corporate reasons.

    It might still result in a *good* story, but still.

    • Sam Williams says:

      1) There are multiple conspiracy theories with many asserting that Marvel would like nothing better than to stop publishing X-Men comics all together.

      2) It’s pretty big leap to go from “The Terrigen mists are sterilizing mutants” to “the X-Men are never going to be in a comic with another Marvelcharacter again. 3) What setting exactly would make new X-Men stories useless to Fox? Are they going to move to the bottom of the sea with Namor and fight sharm people? Are they going to live and work in an active volcano? How would sending all the mutants off to Planet X or whatever prevent Fox from adapting those stories? If anything, it would just make it easier since they wouldn’t have to write around and replace the other Marvel characters they don’t have rights to. Stuff like Avengers vs X-Men is fsffar less likely to be useful to Fox than anything Marvel might come up with by isolating their mutants.

      4) Fox already has 50 years worth of X-Men stories to adapt. I really doubt that Disney and Marvel are stressing about giving them a few more.

      • Sam Williams says:

        Sorry for the formatting issues. My phone is acting weird.

      • Cypjer says:

        1) Not really. The argument people have been making for a while is the Marvel/Disney is trying to marginalize the X-Men. They did that, they stopped merchandise and animation based on the X-Men. Marvel defenders once said that would never happen and once it did they changed their side of the argument and now say they book will never go anywhere.

      • Quintessential Defenestration says:

        1) Point taken, I apologize for portraying the conspiracies as a unified thing. I should have left it as “original conspiracy theory.”

        3) Fox is not going to be able to adapt Planet X stories, because that would require them to shift their Mutant-Metaphor-heavy superhero franchise into a WACKY SPACE ADVENTURE franchise.

        4) They don’t have to be stressing about it, they could simply have decided “it makes no sense to continue giving our competition free stuff, so we will not continue giving them free stuff.”

        • Sam Williams says:

          Right. Because wacky space adventures would never sell. Maybe Marvel will add a smart ass woodland creature and a really repetitive talking plant in there to make things really unprofitable. 😉

    • justin says:

      So, this new line will definitely be different from the post M-Day status quo, for one very important reason. The main X-Line storyline since ALL the way back to Manifest Destiny has basically been The Rise and Fall of Scott Summers (ESPECIALLY under Fraction and Bendis). Most major story moves have either reactions to things Cyclops did (most of Uncanny X-Men, Kyle/Yost X-Force, All-New, even Wolverine & the X-Men) or self-contained side stories (Si Spurrior’s stuff on Legacy and X-Force, Uncanny X-Force, etc.).

      Now we get to see how a Storm-led team deals with an “M-Day”-like situation, with no Cyclops waiting in the wings to take control. I’m willing to bet the story will feel very different.

  32. Justin says:

    I liked Andrew Wheeler’s take on this over at Comics Alliance:

    http://comicsalliance.com/super-inhumans-vs-mutants/

  33. TheSam says:

    I want to reserve judgement until this has been in action. There are a few things that could do to make me change my mind.

    The main one is whether or not new characters that are mutants appear. The whole “no mutants are being born!” thing doesn’t matter so much if a few got activated off-screen before the Terrigen Mists thing happened. If there aren’t any new members or new opponents that are mutants, then I think that’s a problem. Sure, there are so many mutants that exist right now, but it would limit creativity. What would X-Factor be if no new characters were introduced? What would the New Mutants be if they only could use the original five from the graphic novel?

    • Reading the Peter David X-Factor runs, my impression is that they took characters that had been first established then neglected–Jamie Madrox, say–and then, creatively, made them awesome.

  34. Quintessential Defenestration says:

    Ok, I know we were all expecting this given the available information, but the fifth x-book being an alt-universe comedy book does not exactly inspire confidence in the line. Like, I’m excited to read it, and given the Secret Wars mini it’s probably going to be one of the best ongoings in the entire ANAD relaunch, but that’s beside the point. We have

    1. The core team

    2. The time-travelling team

    3. Legacy Wolverine

    4. Elderly Wolverine

    5. X-force without wolverine/ Magneto with a bigger supporting cast

    6. the alternate universe comedy team

    Pre secret wars we had:

    1. the core team

    2. the time displaced team

    3. the Jean Grey school titles

    4. Magneto

    5. Wolverine[s]

    6. the Other core team

    7. Nightcrawler

    8. Storm

    9. the all-lady team

    10. the google team

    We had a willingness to experiment with different forms and settings, with different operating philosophies for the x-men, with solo books, etc etc. And now half of the line is either wolverine or alt-universe. Even setting aside conspiracy theory crap, this does not inspire confidence.

    • Sam Williams says:

      1) Are there even going to be alternate universes after Secret Wars? My understanding was that they’re going to continue with everything shoved together. I’m not sure how that would work for X-Men ’92, but I can’t really imagine them immediately creating a parallel universe so soon after purposely destroying them all.

      • Quintessential Defenestration says:

        No, there’s going to be a multiverse again. It’s been confirmed that Spider-Gwen is going to continue in her own universe, and we’re also getting multiversal adventures from Web Warriors. The only universe that looks Definitely Gone Forever is the Ultimate U.

  35. Beast says:

    Let’s not forget that Issac Perlmutter is behind a lot of the stuff relating to the Fantastic Four and X-Men. He has a very very long history of being the rotten core of Marvel.

    We’re finally seeing people change how things work so they don’t have to report to him, like the recent changes to who the head of the MCU reports to. It’s a shame he still has so much control over everything else in the company though.

  36. Jon says:

    Oh, come on. How can anyone argue that they aren’t doing everything they can to downplay the X-men. They’ve made the Inhumans the mutants of Marvel now. The ONLY reason they’re still printing X-men comics at all is because an X-man title will outsell an Avengers title every single time. The only Avengers title that came even close to an X-Man title was Uncanny Avengers. If Disney, or Marvel cared at all about selling books, they wouldn’t be shelving most the X-titles but a handful, and launching ten Avengers books. It makes no sense at all from a publishing stand point. Yet they did it. And they only did it, because they can make a ton more money off of the movies. People who read, no longer matter.

    Its a shame for comic readers who buy a book, make a book a best seller, and somehow the comic still gets cancelled.

    Its hard to argue with the facts on that one. That would never be a good business decision. Its basic logic.

    If Marvel wasn’t trying to downplay, and squash the X-men, then they would have kept printing the 15 X titles that sold better than the Avengers books, and just added the 10 Avengers titles that they did, hoping that maybe someone would actually, finally buy one, because of the movies. The X-men paid the bills, they were STILL paying the bills.

    I actually might even believe a little that they only reason they keep publishing comics at all is to have storylines to steal for potential movies.

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