This last couple of weeks have been amazing for fans of the X-Men. X-Merch is being announced again, film and TV projects have shown very impressive trailers, and a slew of new X-Books have been announced. Bigger than just new books book, the X-Men are going back to basics. Fans have been clamoring for change over the last couple of years and its looks like Marvel is listening. The reports of the X-Men’s death were greatly X-aggerated.
The current tensions with the Inhumans have put many fans on edge, and while I personally think the situation was overblown, the perception of a problem can be just as powerful as the real thing. Even the most optimistic fan can see that the current status quo of the X-Men just isn’t resonating with a significant portion of the base. The X-Men had been struggling in-universe since 2005 between the Decimation, the Schism, and the Terrigen crisis, and people have just gotten tired of a decade of doom and gloom. The biggest victory of that time span, Second Coming, was tainted by the fact that mutants were still an endangered species. Sure there was a sliver of hope, but it wasn’t a step change. Even the reversal of the Scarlet Witch’s spell was underwhelming thanks to the in-universe demonization of Cyclops. By the time M-Pox was announced, fans were just tired of another crisis.
Dark stories, hard fought struggles, and overwhelming challenges aren’t the enemy here, in fact, they are essential to telling an emotionally impactful story. The problem comes from not striking the right balance between winning and losing. The Empire Strikes Back is a dark story about heroes losing and losing bad, but it makes the final victory against the Empire in Return of the Jedi mean something. The good guys always winning eliminates all sense of stakes in a story, but always losing wears a fan down. Fans like seeing their team win, but a hard fought victory is much sweeter than a blowout. The X-Line needed to give their readers a win and a huge part of the reaction to ResurrXion comes from that.
Stan Lee’s mantra as a writer and editor was to provide “the illusion of change”. For as much happens in a story, eventually, everything has to be reset to tell the next story. An actual change isn’t important, all that is needed is for the reader to go through an emotionally resonate journey with the characters. ResurrXion has been described as taking the X-Men back to basics. A school for the gifted, Blue and Gold teams, mutants playing softball, these ideas call back to the halcyon days of the X-Men, the distilled, essential elements of the book. It isn’t important that these are stories that have been told before, comics are repetitive by their very nature, these stories promise to bring back what readers love about the books and that is what fans have been clamoring for.
The new books also promise a more tonally diverse line. The All-New All-Different relaunch was missing a book that felt like a flagship. Extraordinary X-Men promised to tell the main story but Jeff Lemire struggled to get everything moving, Uncanny X-Men relied heavily on obscure continuity and had art that turned off a lot of readers, and All-New X-Men meandered in telling a story without much of a strong drive. The ResurrXion line is positioned differently, X-Men: Gold & X-Men: Blue are true flagships with Weapon X and Generation X telling much darker and lighter stories respectively. Add in some solo’s with a lot of potential and the line feels well rounded.
Over the last decade, the X-Men took a lot of risks. The Decimation kickstarted the line and drove some of the most engaging stories in years, but the cultural attitudes towards comics changed drastically in that time. The X-Office needed to do something to adapt to the new market and ease the concerns of invested fans who felt neglected. There are still a lot of questions about the ResurrXion era. Rosters, writers, and artists still need to be announced and we still are unclear what the landscape is going to look like after the Inhumans and X-Men clash. What is clear is that editorial has a vision for the X-Books, and it is everything fans have been wanting.
Oh and a guy on reddit made this great thing celebrating my victory over X-Men truthers and I’m a sore winner so take this!