X-MEN OF TWO TIMELINES

Cosmic KC by Stuart Immonen

Cosmic KC by Stuart Immonen


a KC Column by KC Carlson

All-New X-Men Vol. 3 HC

All-New X-Men Vol. 3 HC


Out today (in comic shops at least — bookstores and Amazon should have this by December 15) is All-New X-Men Volume 3. It’s the third in a series of hardcovers collecting one of the more popular storylines from Marvel from the past few years. Premise is everything here, and this one’s a doozy. The original, teenage, X-Men (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the Beast) are brought forward in time to present-day Marvel continuity where they are forced to interact with their adult selves. Well, four of them, anyway… the fifth, Marvel Girl (better known today as Jean Grey or Phoenix), is quite famously dead in present-day Marvel continuity — several times over, actually.

Brian Michael Bendis was the writer of All-New X-Men, and the primary artists on the series were the team of Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger (with occasional story arcs drawn by other artists).

Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-Men


For the past three years or so, All-New X-Men has been the flagship title of Marvel’s popular franchise, as well as one of Marvel’s best-selling titles. Its Marvel contemporaries during that period were Uncanny X-Men (Volume 3 – also written by Bendis, and primarily drawn by Chris Bachalo) and Jonathan Hickman’s interlocking Avengers titles.

Avengers vs. X-Men

Avengers vs. X-Men


Bendis has stated in interviews that the idea of the original versions of the X-Men confronting their adult counterparts “had been floating around the X-Office for a while”, and the idea crystalized for him during a retreat for Avengers vs. X-Men. He compares the series to films like Pleasantville and Peggy Sue Got Married “where a character faces the truth about themselves and what their life can mean versus what it does mean.”

The teen mutants are in for plenty of shocks when they arrive in the present-day Marvel Universe. Adult Jean is, of course, dead. Adult Cyclops has killed Professor Xavier (during A vs. X) and has allied himself with a number of formerly evil (or at least “broken”) mutants including Magneto, Emma Frost, Magik, and the Stepford Cuckoos in the pages of Uncanny X-Men (2013, V.3). This team also recruits a number of new, and young, mutants to the cause, and they’re all in conflict with both the time-displaced teens as well as Wolverine and Storm’s X-Men (most of whom are also faculty at Wolverine’s school).

Also, the young Hank McCoy (Beast) is horrified to discover his future psychologically painful mutations, while Bobby (Iceman) comes to terms with a revelation that would have been impossible for his past self to acknowledge (although that’s not in this volume — it’s in the more recent issues, just out).

All-New X-Men Volume 3 collects All-New X-Men #22-30 plus Guardians of the Galaxy #11-13. Those issues are when an alien race discovers that Jean Grey (aka Dark Phoenix, the host of the cosmically destructive Phoenix Force) is back. It is decided that an intergalactic kangaroo court is what’s needed to hold her accountable for Dark Phoenix’s genocide (despite the fact that “this” Jean has not yet been Phoenix). The Guardians of the Galaxy (coincidentally, also written by Bendis) are swept up in the conflict of twisted intergalactic justice!

All-New X-Men #1

All-New X-Men #1


Besides this “Trial of Jean Grey” storyline, the All-New X-Men must also battle the future (as if this isn’t complicated enough…) Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, while present-day Beast continues to be self-tortured about what he’s done. Can he fix the damage he’s created? No… or at least, not yet, as the time-tossed teens are still a part of the current All-New All-Different Marvel Universe seen in the pages of the current All-New X-Men (#1 debuts this week) and Extraordinary X-Men (featuring teen Jean Grey) with issue #3 also on the racks this week. It’s a good week for mutants…

For more general discussion on comic book collections and format, spurred by my writing of this column, please check out this article over at Comics Worth Reading. (Hey! It’s a blog crossover! Kinda…)

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KC CARLSON: Sometime in 1992, editor Karen Berger announced at a DC editorial meeting that artist Chris Bachalo was tiring of Shade the Changing Man and was looking for a new assignment, preferably at DC (which was why she was making the announcement: She also wanted him to stay with DC). Sadly, there were no takers then, but as I was already a fan of Chris’s work, I thought long and hard about offering him a job on one of the Legion of Super-Heroes titles. At that point in time, there was only one title. (Legionnaires had begun in-house, but didn’t actually debut until 1993.) But I had just hired a “new” artist for the main Legion of Super-Heroes title, and I also really liked his work. So I had to pass on Chris at the time. Who was that “new” artist on Legion I retained? His name was Stuart Immonen.

I don’t believe that I’ve ever met Chris, but I thought he’d enjoy hearing a “what if” story about him. (For that matter, this will be probably be news to Stuart as well…) When Chris co-created Generation X for Marvel (which I felt was so close in tone and style to the LSH, but rooted in the Marvel style), I was happy that teenage team books were popular again, at least for a bit.

I also had SO MUCH fun reading (and trying not to drool on) these last three years of both All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men v.3. Thank you gentlemen!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. So there.

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  1. The Format’s the Thing | Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] my latest column over at the Westfield Blog, I discussed the new hardcover collection of All-New X-Men Volume 3. […]