The X-Men are currently in a transitional phase. Their Fox movie universe, which has lasted nearly two decades, is coming to an end with Dark Phoenix, and within the next few years we are no doubt going to get the MCU’s take of the legendary team. But the source of these films has been and will always be the original Marvel comics.
In celebration of the comics’ next big phase—this summer’s Powers of X and House of X by writer Jonathan Hickman—Marvel is releasing a short documentary series called The History of the X-Men: The Seminal Moments.
The first part deals with the introduction of the “All-New, All-Different X-Men” in 1975, followed by the issue that cemented the team as comics biggest ever hit, 1991’s X-Men #1. The third part is all about the ’90s event series Age of Apocalypse. You can now watch all three parts of this series via the official Marvel YouTube account.
X-Men #1 sold a staggering 8 million copies in 1991, and was the pinnacle of writer Chris Claremont’s time with the mutant team he helped define. It also made a superstar out of artist Jim Lee, and changed how comic book art was perceived. Without the template of X-Men #1, it is highly doubtful that the animated X-Men series would have ever been greenlit. And that series’ huge success led to X-Men becoming a household name. No cartoon, no eventual live-action movies. And the success of those films helped pave the way for the MCU. In short, all roads lead back to the ’90s X-Men.
The third part of this documentary deals with the game-changing event Age of Apocalypse, which see the entire X-Men line of books cancelled and replaced with X-books focusing on an alternate timeline. In this timeline, Charles Xavier died before ever forming the original X-Men. Because of this, the ancient mutant Apocalypse ruled the Earth with an iron fist. In Xavier’s place, his friend Magneto led the charge and led a totally different version of the X-Men. The 1995 event helped keep Marvel afloat in troubled financial times, and was the talk of comics fandom.
The fourth chapter shifts the focus to writer Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run from 2001 to 2004, which took the concept of mutants in a decidedly different new direction. Influenced by the recently released big screen iteration of the team in part, Morrison wasn’t afraid to break decades-old X-Men traditions and introduce wild new concepts.
Now Jonathan Hickman’s upcoming run on X-Men is being touted be another one of those moments in X history. Although we know no details about what is coming up in House of X and Powers of X, the final chapter of the new documentary says that we’re not going down the alternate timeline/parallel Earth route again. We’ll have to wait and see how Hickman creates the next great phase of the X-Men when Powers of X and House of X hit this July.
Images: Marvel Comics