The X-Men Kind of Suck

The X-Men Kind of Suck

The X-Men's adventures have been ramping up in intensity since the 1960s. So why are they so dull lately?

Read Full Article

X-Men has always kind of been a mess and quite often sucked. It's had some really good books, but damn if it hasn't spit out some of the biggest turkeys as well.

But it being a bit of a mess is in no way surprising right now. Or most other times.

Man, any problems the X-men have are like any of the same problems any other comic books have.

superhero comic books as a whole kinda "suck". Comic book writers are kinda foolish and as time goes on things just get more muddled. And you know who would probably agree with me? Other comic book writers. Interesting, neat storylines and one-off things occur but...that's all they are. Neat and finite. They aren't representative of the genre as a whole.

But yeah, this whole problem is especially true in terms of destruction level events (which lets be real, aren't actually worth that much in comic universes) is especially not that relevant for the X-Men since at the end of the day...they're still the X-Men. Their problems still exist are neither increased nor decreased.

The best X-Men stories have been about not necessarily the team, the fighting, weird conflicts, going to hell, magic bullshit but just the problems with being an straight up mutant. And handling storylines that deal with "Hey being a mutant is cool but also kind of a pain in the ass, not because of politics but because the line between superpower and disability is a thin one. Oh, and mutants can be assholes too."

"X-Factor Investigations" was interesting since it was sorta centered around James Madrox, Multiple Man, one of my favorite mutants. He's like the epitome of an average mutant. He has a simple but weird ability: He creates duplicates of himself. It has it's advantages and it's disadvantages. And it thoroughly explores that idea the fallout from such an ability. Aside from that, "Investigations" also handled more of the average street level mutants and how events such as "House of M" and "Decimation" were affecting people who weren't necessarily directly related to the central X-Men team.

But everyone has their favorite storylines for one reason or another and well, that's sorta the center of the issue, as a whole thing it's all a mess.

Add in the usual problem of everyone hating mutants (despite the world being full of beloved super powered individuals)

That's a problem I've been having with X-Men for a while.

Oh, wow, you have super powers? Is it super technology? No. Science accident? No. Magic? No. Alien or God? Nope, just a human born with powers. GASP!!!! A mutant!!! e_e

It's actually helped the MCU and X-Men to have the properties split between Disney and Fox. They should really consider, in their next inevitable re-boot, doing a parallel universe thing with Mutants on one earth and Most everything else on another. They can still have crossovers, but it would make things more interesting. Mutants crossing over into the Avengers world would get to see what it's like to not be feared/hated and Avengers going over to X-Men world would suddenly be feared/hated as mutants. I'd love to see Cap put in that situation especially.

X-Men's best times were between the Muir Island Saga and prior to the Phalanx Covenant. This is in no way disparaging to the previous events like Inferno (one of my favorite sagas and my damning proof that Cyclops is an asshole) or the Dark Phoenix Saga. But the post Muir Island war with the Shadow King where the X-Men were split into the A/B teams and pretty much every team like X-Factor got all new lineups, that was interesting to me. Plus we got the X-Cutioners Song (another favorite) and some other great things. I loved that while X-Men were part of the Marvel-verse, they rarely took part in crossover events beyond minor cameos, at least until after I stopped collecting around 2000-ish. Then it became a mashup. Too much crossover.
Marvel in general has so much canon that like Star Wars EU, its become a damn mess and needs to be swept aside and rebooted. I don't say this lightly but the post-Secret Wars thing wasn't enough. It doesn't lessen the earlier canon to sweep it aside and start over, just means they can concentrate on working from the ground up without having to worry about what happened before.

I thought the problem is they have too many teams with the X-MEN name slapped on them, many of which have the same members. Hell, for a while, there were two separate X-Force teams with basically the same M.O. It was very jarring to hear mutants are facing extinction (again) after they were supposed to be restored after Avengers vs. X-Men. I mean, what's the point? Until then, they were segregated (YES I SAID IT!) to their own little corner of the Marvel Universe with their own crossover events, with a couple of token tie-ins to the other big events going on (Civil War, Secret Invasion, Fear Itself, etc.) where they're barely involved in the bigger story anyway. I guess that's just Event Fatigue talking.

Eh, pretty much all of the X-Men's problems with prejudice have to do with being either in New York or Massachusetts. Prof-X should have put the academy in Texas and then just outright shot any of the assholes who trespassed on his property. No mutant powers used, just a straight up hail of lead. Cops would come by, look at the dead idiots, shrug and cart off the bodies. End of angst. Not to mention a much larger area in which to house mutants so that when there was a large enough threat that needed a lockdown they didn't all go stir crazy. This combined with a field trip to DragonCon every year and boom, problem solved.

Something Amyss:
X-Men has always kind of been a mess and quite often sucked. It's had some really good books, but damn if it hasn't spit out some of the biggest turkeys as well.

But it being a bit of a mess is in no way surprising right now. Or most other times.

I think this is because X-Men was the main cash cow for the publisher for so long. So the editors keep a really tight rein on the writers, the publishers can't figure out whether a title is good or just sells because Wolverine is on the cover, and the X-teams have to feature prominently in every crossover. Under those conditions it's tough to have any character development, let alone switch out the entire team every decade like Claremont did, and your continuity becomes increasingly dumb as bad writers' decisions are retconned immediately after they leave. It's tough to tell someone that there's a good X-Men title being printed, because as much as they try to insulate it, the characters are now so hopelessly tangled together that you feel like you need to pick up another 5 books to make sense of it all.

Truthfully, X-men as a series is like any other series. Some of it is exceptional, some of it is unbridled shite and most is average. Boilerplate. Run-of-the-mill.
In fact going back and reading some of my X-men comic stash makes me realize just how underwhelming so much of it was. I mean it's nice to take a wide look at how Colossus ended up with Excalibur or how and why Wolverine became a Horseman but having to actually read through those stories? With all the attendant 'read this unrelated book to understand that' continuity stuff? Boy, that's a tedious affair!
In addition, how many story writers really have six or seven year plans for their characters? And how many of those get to bring those arcs to fruition on paper? Very few, I'd wager. Characters get jumped from writer to writer and each one has a different idea. So characters end up different as times goes on, which does matter in a long term review of a property.

I will never understand how anyone can be invested in All New X-Men, this run or the last.

My personal chagrin admittedly relates to X-23 being written unrecognizably out of character (Read All New Wolverine to see her written in character.); but beyond that we have the potential-less septic wounds on liner narrative, the time displaced O5's.

These characters literally have nowhere to go; either none of this matters, or the last 50 years of story never happened. (I which case none of this technically happened either.)

Ukomba:

Add in the usual problem of everyone hating mutants (despite the world being full of beloved super powered individuals)

That's a problem I've been having with X-Men for a while.

Oh, wow, you have super powers? Is it super technology? No. Science accident? No. Magic? No. Alien or God? Nope, just a human born with powers. GASP!!!! A mutant!!! e_e

It's actually helped the MCU and X-Men to have the properties split between Disney and Fox. They should really consider, in their next inevitable re-boot, doing a parallel universe thing with Mutants on one earth and Most everything else on another. They can still have crossovers, but it would make things more interesting. Mutants crossing over into the Avengers world would get to see what it's like to not be feared/hated and Avengers going over to X-Men world would suddenly be feared/hated as mutants. I'd love to see Cap put in that situation especially.

Then again the things you scenarios you mention tend to have respected people, Super Technology probably a genius, Science accident mostly likley a scientist, magic again probably someone who is experienced in magic or has ties in magic, Alien/God probably a whole race of them and the god probably already has a personality but not only do mutants have powers they are also time bombs whose powers range from shooting lasers to controlling the fabric of reality itself. The kid who tends to torture small cats could have powers similer to Magneto.

From what I remember reading recently, there is a general comment going around comic circles that marvel comics is placing significantly less focus on creating quality xmen/mutant stories as they don't own the cinematic rights to them.
The plan, as I understand it, is to bump up the popularity of other super powered beings, which in all ways but name are mutants. This will give marvel the opportunity to use those characters in place of actual mutants in the cinematic universe and make more dolla dolla bills.

From what I remember reading recently, there is a general comment going around comic circles that marvel comics is placing significantly less focus on creating quality xmen/mutant stories as they don't own the cinematic rights to them.
The plan, as I understand it, is to bump up the popularity of other super powered beings, which in all ways but name are mutants. This will give marvel the opportunity to use those characters in place of actual mutants in the cinematic universe and make more dolla dolla bills.

Last I checked, Marvel pulled a DC move and tried to reboot the whole comic universe and turned it into massive garbage. At this point only the cinematic universe matters to me, which is why I hope it keeps going. Plus I do believe the whole "Marvel sabotaging the X-Men cause of Fox" to be true. They downplay X-Men now, and even killed off Wolverine.

Saelune:
Last I checked, Marvel pulled a DC move and tried to reboot the whole comic universe and turned it into massive garbage. At this point only the cinematic universe matters to me, which is why I hope it keeps going. Plus I do believe the whole "Marvel sabotaging the X-Men cause of Fox" to be true. They downplay X-Men now, and even killed off Wolverine.

They're not sabotaging them (Anymore then they've sabotaged anything by letting Bendis touch it.).

They're just not as valuable to them; they lack the potential for cross promotion, so are valuable principally just as books on their own merits, which have suffered from poor creative direction recently (see above), and they weren't making the sales they'd like, so they relocated their resources to other projects, and consolidated the X-men down to a "mere" 4.5 on-goings, (No, I'm not counting Solo's, and the 0.5 = Unity Team = Uncanny Avengers)

It's all about making Inhumans the new Mutants, so there can be movie and TV tie-ins. Back when I first got into comics there was Earth X, an alternate reality where a terrigen bomb had been detonated in atmosphere, but only to prepare humanity for an impending attack by the Celestials. This had the intended effect of mutating every human on the planet and yet not affecting the already mutated populace. But since that was pre-MCU and an alternate timeline, what happened there doesn't really count. Instead, terrigen mists are poison, slowly having effects similar to mustard gas in mutants as well as crippling mutant abilities. Many years from now, perhaps the two Beasts will get together and design a giant terraformer to filter E-616's atmosphere. But only when it's financially feasable for Disney.

PapaGreg096:

Ukomba:

Add in the usual problem of everyone hating mutants (despite the world being full of beloved super powered individuals)

That's a problem I've been having with X-Men for a while.

Oh, wow, you have super powers? Is it super technology? No. Science accident? No. Magic? No. Alien or God? Nope, just a human born with powers. GASP!!!! A mutant!!! e_e

It's actually helped the MCU and X-Men to have the properties split between Disney and Fox. They should really consider, in their next inevitable re-boot, doing a parallel universe thing with Mutants on one earth and Most everything else on another. They can still have crossovers, but it would make things more interesting. Mutants crossing over into the Avengers world would get to see what it's like to not be feared/hated and Avengers going over to X-Men world would suddenly be feared/hated as mutants. I'd love to see Cap put in that situation especially.

Then again the things you scenarios you mention tend to have respected people, Super Technology probably a genius, Science accident mostly likley a scientist, magic again probably someone who is experienced in magic or has ties in magic, Alien/God probably a whole race of them and the god probably already has a personality but not only do mutants have powers they are also time bombs whose powers range from shooting lasers to controlling the fabric of reality itself. The kid who tends to torture small cats could have powers similer to Magneto.

How's that different than all the non-mutant marvel villains? Ya, a psycho kid might end up with mutant powers, but a psycho kid might end up with super tech, demonic magic, or scienced into super powers. Some how, most Avengers get judged based on how they use their powers, where Mutants are automatically prejudiced against. Even when a Hero's powers are similar or near identical to Mutant powers, they're fine if they aren't actually a mutant. I'm not saying I don't get peoples fear of Mutants, I just don't get how to rationalize a fear of mutants while not fearing Scientists. Never know when any given Scientist in that universe could do something that results in themselves or someone else gaining super powers that might also cause psychosis.

Ukomba:

PapaGreg096:

Ukomba:

That's a problem I've been having with X-Men for a while.

Oh, wow, you have super powers? Is it super technology? No. Science accident? No. Magic? No. Alien or God? Nope, just a human born with powers. GASP!!!! A mutant!!! e_e

It's actually helped the MCU and X-Men to have the properties split between Disney and Fox. They should really consider, in their next inevitable re-boot, doing a parallel universe thing with Mutants on one earth and Most everything else on another. They can still have crossovers, but it would make things more interesting. Mutants crossing over into the Avengers world would get to see what it's like to not be feared/hated and Avengers going over to X-Men world would suddenly be feared/hated as mutants. I'd love to see Cap put in that situation especially.

Then again the things you scenarios you mention tend to have respected people, Super Technology probably a genius, Science accident mostly likley a scientist, magic again probably someone who is experienced in magic or has ties in magic, Alien/God probably a whole race of them and the god probably already has a personality but not only do mutants have powers they are also time bombs whose powers range from shooting lasers to controlling the fabric of reality itself. The kid who tends to torture small cats could have powers similer to Magneto.

How's that different than all the non-mutant marvel villains? Ya, a psycho kid might end up with mutant powers, but a psycho kid might end up with super tech, demonic magic, or scienced into super powers. Some how, most Avengers get judged based on how they use their powers, where Mutants are automatically prejudiced against. Even when a Hero's powers are similar or near identical to Mutant powers, they're fine if they aren't actually a mutant. I'm not saying I don't get peoples fear of Mutants, I just don't get how to rationalize a fear of mutants while not fearing Scientists. Never know when any given Scientist in that universe could do something that results in themselves or someone else gaining super powers that might also cause psychosis.

Not every Scientist has superpowers but every mutant does also most of the time said psycho kid already has tied with super tech or demonic magic and most of the time they do something big with it, mutants meanwhile you can insult someone who might be a mutant and they could turn you into dust.

PapaGreg096:

Ukomba:

PapaGreg096:

Then again the things you scenarios you mention tend to have respected people, Super Technology probably a genius, Science accident mostly likley a scientist, magic again probably someone who is experienced in magic or has ties in magic, Alien/God probably a whole race of them and the god probably already has a personality but not only do mutants have powers they are also time bombs whose powers range from shooting lasers to controlling the fabric of reality itself. The kid who tends to torture small cats could have powers similer to Magneto.

How's that different than all the non-mutant marvel villains? Ya, a psycho kid might end up with mutant powers, but a psycho kid might end up with super tech, demonic magic, or scienced into super powers. Some how, most Avengers get judged based on how they use their powers, where Mutants are automatically prejudiced against. Even when a Hero's powers are similar or near identical to Mutant powers, they're fine if they aren't actually a mutant. I'm not saying I don't get peoples fear of Mutants, I just don't get how to rationalize a fear of mutants while not fearing Scientists. Never know when any given Scientist in that universe could do something that results in themselves or someone else gaining super powers that might also cause psychosis.

Not every Scientist has superpowers but every mutant does also most of the time said psycho kid already has tied with super tech or demonic magic and most of the time they do something big with it, mutants meanwhile you can insult someone who might be a mutant and they could turn you into dust.

They could also insult someone who might be a non-mutant villain and have the same thing happen. In fact, it seems like Mutants are more likely than non-mutants to have some sort of obvious physical identifier to show they have powers. The point being, mutants aside, there are plenty of cases of average joe's in the Marvel Universe getting powers. Some times good people, sometimes bad, some times good people are driven bad by it. Mutants might be slightly more common than other ways, but a lot of times the powers they get are a minor threat and some times just harmless disfigurements.

Now, the rhetoric could justify the reaction. The way the Mutants them selves talk about being superior and the next stage of evolution would put people off.

Something Amyss:
X-Men has always kind of been a mess and quite often sucked. It's had some really good books, but damn if it hasn't spit out some of the biggest turkeys as well.

But it being a bit of a mess is in no way surprising right now. Or most other times.

To me, you just summarized pretty much every comic book ever since ever. I mean, yeah, sometimes, you get a good writer, who for a few years, tells some really awesome stories, that propel that particular comic into something better than the average drab crap, but then that writer quits to do something else, and you get some other mediocre writer, who doesn't do shit with the material fo ryears, and it's back to what it always defaults to. Watered down storytelling with a revolving door cast, and no permanent change at all.

In my opinion, the only truly good comics, are the limited run ones, where the story, by design has a beginning and an end. Then the writer is actually free to do what they want, and not have to worry about fans freaking out because "omgurd you killed off *insert person*!!!" or "omgurd you made *insert person* a different *insert social variation of choice*!!!". They tell their tale, and they're done.

Happyninja42:

To me, you just summarized pretty much every comic book ever since ever.

Thing is, by any metric, I think X-Men stand out here.

Something Amyss:

Happyninja42:

To me, you just summarized pretty much every comic book ever since ever.

Thing is, by any metric, I think X-Men stand out here.

I feel, possibly because X-Men was my starter collection and favorite all-around stories, that the series wrote the book on how to, or not to, retcon anything. I mean, yes other comics do it too, but X-Men just takes a lot of batshit crazy backdoors to keep characters alive. Sometimes they feel like it was supposed to happen that way, like there was a plan, other times they pull that shit out of their ass.
Eventually I've come to doubt my own past because of how much X-Men I read, the history changes and I start to wonder if I remember my childhood all wrong.
Any reader of sufficient length can understand one thing about Wovlerine prior to his memory fix, remembering the history canon is subject to being totally misremembered or completely untrue.
The retcon is strong with the X-Men. Trying to keep up with canon, to quote Wolverine: "Its like tryin' to squeeze 5 liters of brain juice into a 1 liter jar, bub."
Something like that.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Something Amyss:

Happyninja42:

To me, you just summarized pretty much every comic book ever since ever.

Thing is, by any metric, I think X-Men stand out here.

Eventually I've come to doubt my own past because of how much X-Men I read, the history changes and I start to wonder if I remember my childhood all wrong.

From what I've read/heard about how memory actually works, you probably are remembering your childhood all wrong, not just about comics. xD

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Any reader of sufficient length can understand one thing about Wovlerine prior to his memory fix, remembering the history canon is subject to being totally misremembered or completely untrue.

Well, I mean, you say that, but you could all just be suffering from false memories.

Joking aside, did you ever read What The!? I enjoyed quite a bit of it for its run. It spoofed a lot of the common tropes in comics, especially Marvel (and that was part of the fun, that they would poke fun at themselves). They parodied Wolverine and to a broader extent the X-Men in a comic that ran from the late 80s to the early 90s. And it was pretty clear they were aware of how absurd their expansion pack/revisionist history was. By the early 90s. I mean, I read a lot of comics in my youth and followed a lot of retcons without blinking but...yeah, the X-Men were just a cut above.

Not that they couldn't have good comics, but that they really stood out for this stuff even to fans of other comics. Evewn Silver-Age fans. >.<

GebGuy:
From what I remember reading recently, there is a general comment going around comic circles that Marvel Comics is placing significantly less focus on creating quality xmen/mutant stories as they don't own the cinematic rights to them. The plan, as I understand it, is to bump up the popularity of other superpowered beings, which in all ways but name are mutants. This will give Marvel the opportunity to use those characters in place of actual mutants in the cinematic universe and make more dolla dolla bills.

The story I heard a few years ago (from my comic shop guy, though I didn't ask where he got his info from, so grain of salt this all you like) is slightly more complex: When Marvel sold the film rights to its characters, the company was in bankruptcy, and the studios who bought the film rights used Marvel's desperation to leverage additional considerations in their contracts, like getting a percentage of any merchandise with the licensed characters on them under the argument that the films would be at least partially responsible for the characters being popular enough to sell merchandise. The way I heard it, Marvel wants the rights to their characters back, and now that they have Disney's war coffers to borrow from, they're trying to starve out the movie studios by burying the characters and selling no merchandise to make the deals not profitable enough to bother sustaining.

I can't swear any of that is accurate, but it's the way I heard the story.

JimB:

GebGuy:
From what I remember reading recently, there is a general comment going around comic circles that Marvel Comics is placing significantly less focus on creating quality xmen/mutant stories as they don't own the cinematic rights to them. The plan, as I understand it, is to bump up the popularity of other superpowered beings, which in all ways but name are mutants. This will give Marvel the opportunity to use those characters in place of actual mutants in the cinematic universe and make more dolla dolla bills.

The story I heard a few years ago (from my comic shop guy, though I didn't ask where he got his info from, so grain of salt this all you like) is slightly more complex: When Marvel sold the film rights to its characters, the company was in bankruptcy, and the studios who bought the film rights used Marvel's desperation to leverage additional considerations in their contracts, like getting a percentage of any merchandise with the licensed characters on them under the argument that the films would be at least partially responsible for the characters being popular enough to sell merchandise. The way I heard it, Marvel wants the rights to their characters back, and now that they have Disney's war coffers to borrow from, they're trying to starve out the movie studios by burying the characters and selling no merchandise to make the deals not profitable enough to bother sustaining.

I can't swear any of that is accurate, but it's the way I heard the story.

That is very interesting if it is true. And I am one hundred percent ok with it.

X-Men is actually one of my favorite comic books now. I know, that sounds weird. Hear me out on this.

I used to try to take the X-men seriously. For the life of me, I couldn't understand what the hell Marvel was allowing Bendis to do with its characters. Nothing Beast has done for the last five years has made ANY sense. Characters break up romances for good reasons, then jump back into equally stupid- if not resurrected- romances shortly afterwards. Things happen, and they have no explanation or reason behind them. People stage interventions and have feuds, but are unable to reasonably articulate why. EVERYTHING that was dialogue or plot- all of it- was bad.

Then I got it.
X-men is a satire on bad comic book writing.
Once you start reading the books this way, they all become absolutely, gut-bustingly hilarious. Take a look at the last issued book of Bendis's run. Scott announces he there's going to be revolution, and months later, he directly states he's finally just then figured out what the hell he was talking about. He does this while speaking to, apparently, every mutant on Earth, all organized in Washington D.C, somehow. Bobby reveals himself to be gay right after getting a "mental hug" from Jean. Beast, who was once a being of philosophy and reason but has been pursuing some vendetta against Scott for the most asinine of reasons that any pair of adults could work out in a long sit-down and discussion, just gets into a car and drives off, a look in his eyes and on his face like an alcoholic trying to escape the pink elephants. Young Jean (lol, time travel) gets into a relationship with... I think it's young Hank? And, while it's revealed that Young Scott watches their first kiss together, I swear to God, you can *hear* the orchestral sting of manufactured drama. If you took anything in the X-Men plot seriously, these sorts of holes would collectively drive you insane with bewildered rage. Taken as comedy, this stuff is absolute gold.

I look forward to the next X-Men books now. They are things of beauty in their own disastrous fashion, like that Charlie Chaplain film where he builds a house.

GebGuy:
From what I remember reading recently, there is a general comment going around comic circles that marvel comics is placing significantly less focus on creating quality xmen/mutant stories as they don't own the cinematic rights to them.
The plan, as I understand it, is to bump up the popularity of other super powered beings, which in all ways but name are mutants. This will give marvel the opportunity to use those characters in place of actual mutants in the cinematic universe and make more dolla dolla bills.

Yeah, I understand it similarly.

Nazrel:

They're not sabotaging them (Anymore then they've sabotaged anything by letting Bendis touch it.).

I don't think you can do yourself any service here by passing off just how astonishingly low-quality Bendis's run of writing for the X-men was. The entire thing, front-to-back, was a mess of unresolved and anticlimactic plots, characters written so inconsistently as to be insulting, and dramatics that made absolutely no sense whatsoever... to say nothing of involving mechanics which defy all suspension of disbelief. I read that last issue he made and it legitimately had me laughing until I was in tears, it was so amazingly ham-fisted and poorly done.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here