Aug 26, 2017

The X-Men Are the Game of Thrones of Comics

Game of Thrones is shaping up to be one of the best television series of all time.  After six seasons of multiple main characters basically living out their own storylines separate from each other, those characters and storylines are all starting to converge in a wonderful way.  It’s great getting to this point, but it was a subtly frustrating thing over the past seasons how isolated the characters all were from each other.  It is a distinct feeling I had experienced before, all the way back at the dawn of the 1990s.

The X-Men Are the Game of Thrones of Comics
Ben Smith

The Siege Perilous was an object given to the X-Men as a thank you for defeating a powerful enemy.  Its purpose was to give each of the X-Men a brand new life if the burden of being a hero ever became too overwhelming.  Narratively, this gave Chris Claremont a fresh start to experiment and tell new stories.  Rogue passed through the Siege Perilous first, while fighting Master Mold and Nimrod.  Psylocke would later telepathically persuade the rest of the active X-Men through the portal to avoid the Reavers, who were waiting to ambush them at their Australian base.  As a result, the X-Men spent the next year in publication time separated and on their own.

The X-Men passing through the Siege Perilous was shown in the course of Wolverine’s fever dream, after the Reavers had nailed him to a giant X.  A mutant runaway named Jubilee, who had been hiding out in the X-Men’s secret Australian base, helped Wolverine escape from the Reavers.

Polaris, having recently overcome being possessed by Zaladane, ended up in Muir Isle with Moira MacTaggert and Banshee.  Her magnetic powers have disappeared following the ordeal, replaced by enhanced strength, speed, and size.  Together with Forge and a few other ancillary mutants, they would form their own super team.

Psylocke discovered a new life as an Asian ninja assassin, after the Hand switched her body with a character named Kwannon.  She had been brainwashed to work for the Mandarin (as part of the Marvel-wide Acts of Vengeance event) before her mind was restored by Wolverine.

Colossus found a way to become even more boring, as an artist working in Soho.  He had some adventures against the Shadow King.

Dazzler returned to a life of celebrity as a movie star, only with no memory of her past life as a vigilante hero.  She would face a terrifying ordeal at the hands of an obsessed stalker fan.

Storm was reborn as a teenage girl in Cairo, Illinois.  (This was a big deal in Southern Illinois where I grew up, not far from Cairo.)  Her adventures as a thief would have her cross paths with a mysterious new mutant named Gambit, and they become partners in crime.

Wolverine, Psylocke, and Jubilee formed a small team that may have been my favorite triumvirate in comic book history.

It doesn’t hurt that most of the Wolverine and Jubilee issues were drawn by the, at the time, fast-rising superstar artist Jim Lee.  The X-Men books had a pretty fantastic rotating art team at the time, which included Marc Silvestri and Lee.  Most of the Forge issues were drawn by less-talented artists.  I will not comment further.

Rogue inexplicably found herself in the Savage Land, having sex with Magneto, and fighting the previously mentioned Zaladane.

At the beginning of the X-Tinction Agenda crossover event in 1990, Storm and Gambit had linked up with Banshee, Forge, and X-Factor.  They were having trouble co-existing in Xavier’s mansion with the new team of Cable and the New Mutants.

Havok was the last of the X-Men to finally reappear, as a commander for the Genoshan Magistrates.  It was their attack on the mutants that kicked off this multi-part storyline that crossed over between all the monthly X-books.

Over the course of the X-Tinction Agenda story, the disparate different groups of X-Men would come back together to beat Cameron Hodge.  Storm was restored to her adult body. Following the event, the X-Men were finally back, but were all now wearing those hideous yellow and blue uniforms.

For a 12 year-old boy, over twenty issues of being separated seemed like a lifetime.  It was killing me to get that new issue every two weeks and see that they were still all separated.  Looking at the publication dates now, I see that it really only lasted for about 15 months.  

This was a pretty bold strategy for Claremont to take with the series, considering it was probably already the dominant franchise in comics by that point.  There were entire 3-issue stories dedicated only to Forge and Banshee, or an entire issue of just Colossus where he doesn’t even armor up once.  This is unfathomable considering Marvel won’t publish a single X-Men book without Wolverine in it today, and he’s currently supposed to be dead.

All that frustration and waiting made it all that much sweeter when the team finally did reunite. Much like Game of Thrones as all of our favorite characters are finally crossing paths.  I’m going to overlook that not too long after they all finally rejoined, I had decided I was too old for comics and gave them up for several years.  Turned out it was a great jumping off point.

Still, after over a year of Dazzler and Forge and Colossus solo comics, it was great to know that the X-Men had been restored, and they were out there fighting to save people that hated and feared them again.  It’s the way it should have been, and always should be.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments on The Comics Cube need approval (mostly because of spam) and no anonymous comments are allowed. Please leave your name if you wish to leave a comment. Thanks!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.