The year: 1991. The X-Men ruled the Marvel Universe. So much so that they made the company nearly 7 million bucks with a single issue, X-Men Vol. 2 #1, which sold a record 8.1 million copies. Heck, at one point, the X-Men had approximately eleventy billion running series. They were THE Marvel franchise.
But like the Fantastic Four before them, our mutant pals’ prominence in the Marvel Comics Universe has been rapidly dwindling, and that’s because both teams have their film rights tucked safely (and probably permanently) away at 20th Century Fox. And seeing as Marvel is pretty much a movie studio that also happens to make comic books at this point, the X-Men must suddenly feel like nothing more than an advertising tool for a rival company’s movie franchise.
So what’s the solution? Well, a mysterious figure has leaked Marvel’s October solicitations (their preview of comics to come) and by the looks of it…the X-Men are no more. That’s right, other than Death of X—which sounds, y’know, pretty final—there isn’t a single X-title on the list. It looks like Marvel’s finally doing what we’ve long feared they would do: using the Inhumans to eradicate the X-Men once and for all. Why? Because unlike the X-Men, Marvel can bring the Inhumans to the big-screen, and they plan on doing so when they kick off Phase 4 with an Inhumans flick in 2019.
For a while now, Marvel has been slowly chipping away at the comics universe’s mutant presence. They’ve cut off most X-Men merchandising, banned X-writers from creating new characters because their screen rights would immediately go to Fox, and have been slowly killing off major players like Wolverine while moving others like Storm and Beast to different Marvel teams. Oh, right, and they also rendered the mutant race sterile whilst creating a gaggle of new Inhumans by dropping a Terrigen Mist bomb on Manhattan.
So while we won’t know for sure until later tonight—when Marvel officially announces their full post-Civil War 2 line-up—it definitely seems like the inevitable has happened. Once Death of X ends, there will be no more ongoing X-Men series. We’ll still get to see Storm in Black Panther, Beast in Uncanny Inhumans, and Young Cyclops palling around with the Champions, but the X-Men as we know them are probably no more.
That said, take comfort in the fact that in comics, nothing is permanent. Captain America won’t always be a brainwashed Hydra spy, Wolverine will eventually come back from the dead, and somehow, someway, the X-Men will come back again. If we’re lucky, it’ll be because they’re finally allowed to cross-over with the on-screen Avengers too.
But what do you guys think? Are you cool with Marvel gunning down the X-Dudes? Are you bummed that a little corporate rivalry is deleting one of the comic world’s greatest running franchises? Let’s discuss!