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rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 2/8
Section - 2000 and beyond

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Top Document: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 2/8
Previous Document: The 1990s: Claremont's exit, mega-crossovers
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Information on "The Twelve" had been around for eons. An entire question 
in this FAQ centered around who the possible candidates were, based upon 
a handful of Master Mold appearances. The only thing certain was that it 
had to do with a future conflict with Apocolypse.  People weren't even
sure whether the Twelve were all heroes, or included the major good guys
*and* bad guys of the fight with Apocalypse. Apocalypse, of course, was 
trying to take over the world. He wanted to obtain the powers of the 
twelve most powerful mutants. He was going to take over Nate Grey's body 
as his new host, but Cyclops sacrificed himself and the two merged. 
Soon after that, the X-Men lost their powers due to a plot by the High 
Evolutionary and Sinister, and went their merry ways trying to live new
lives powerless. During this time, Professor Xavier went into space to 
teach mutant Skrulls how to use their powers. 

All of this was a setup for the return of the master X-Men writer, Chris 
Claremont. Claremont had been an editor for Marvel for years, and rumors 
were always circulating as to whether he would return and "rescue" the 
titles from their poorly-written existence. So a new event was concocted 
to bring him back and increase sales--X-Men Revolution! The two main books 
would be given over to Claremont, while three of the other titles (X-Man, 
Generation X, and X-Force) would be given to "plotmaster" Warren Ellis. 
The books would all include a "six-month gap" during which all kinds of 
"neat" changes would happen, allowing the new writers to take the teams in 
plot-leaping directions. All of this was to take place shortly after the 
release of the "X-Men" movie in July 2000.

The X-Men movie was a hit. It topped the box office and left some older
fans wanting to return to the titles. The excellent cast, including 
Patrick Stewart as Xavier and Ian McKellan as Magneto, was paired with
nifty special effects to create a very enjoyable, albeit alternative,
version of the X-Men. Fans, and Marvel staff, hoped that the movie would
lead new readers into the newly-revamped books.

Chris Claremont took over the two main titles, with artistic help from 
Leinil Francis Yu and Mark Morales on X-Men and Adam Kubert, Salvador 
Larrocca, and Tim Townsend on Uncanny. His new plots, however, left a
lot to be desired. Some nifty points occurred, including the switch of
powers between Phoenix and Psylocke and the appearance of former foe
Tessa on the team, but most were not explained. New member Thunderbird
III (Neal Sharra) was introduced, and Cable joined the main ranks. The
big problem was that there were no logical, recognizable villains faced.
You see, Claremont and company felt that old villains like Magneto had
been beaten before, so a new group, the Neo, were introduced.

The Neo stories had many problems. The characters were supposed to be 
very powerful, like mutant versions of mutants. A new step in evolution,
if you will. But their powers were tired, their motivations unexplained,
and their characters undefined. "I am ____!" became the standard of high
characterization for the Neo, the Goth, the Twisted Sisters, and the 
like, all of whom were supposedly different groups. Shadowcat, who was 
also given a major personality change, went missing. Nobody really 
bothered to look for her. The same was true of other characters. And, 
while the two titles were again supposed to be two books with two teams 
and storylines, the state of perma-crossover left them effectively merged.

Meanwhile, Counter-X debuted in Generation X, X-Force, and X-Man. Warren
Ellis started out with some interesting ideas, but the stories generally
left fans divided. X-Man was revamped by Steven Grant and Ariel 
Olivetti, and was generally the only success story. The change to Nate 
Grey as a sort of shaman was a huge departure from the previous 
conceptualization of the character. Loads of parallel-Earth stories 
ensued, but the book had an increased fan base. Unfortunately, it was 
cancelled with issue #75, at the end of its first year of Counter-X.

Brian Wood and Steve Pugh took over Generation X from Jay Faerber and 
the Dodsons, and led off with a House of Correction storyline that had 
huge gaping plot holes all through it. Luckily, later stories that 
explained the death of Synch during the six month gap, and focused on 
character development, were much better. However, at the end of the 
first year of Counter-X stories, the title was cancelled with issue #75.

Ian Edginton and Whilce Portacio took over X-Force, the least successful
of the Counter-X revamps. The book, which had been interesting under the
run of John Francis Moore, had faltered. But the revamp, which stripped 
the team to four characters and started out with a ludicrous story of
aliens taking over people in San Francisco, left characters with ugly
costumes, ugly faces, few lines, new powers, and murky colors. The book
was also late, late, late. Of all of the revamps, X-Force was the flop.

To tie in with the release of the movie, two new items debuted. X-Men:
Evolution was a cartoon featuring an alternate version of the X-Men. A
new Ultimate title, Ultimate X-Men, was also introduced, led by Mark 
Millar and Adam Kubert. Like the movie, it featured black-leather-clad
X-Men in a team setting, though it was more like an alternate version
of X-Men #1. Neither seemed earth-shattering, though Ultimate was set
to be continuity-free (at least, compared with the main titles).

The shakeup that had begun with the new teams and titles and creators 
was continued with the ascencion of Joe Quesada as the new Editor-in-
Chief after Bob Harras was fired. Many cancellations were announced, 
including Generation X, X-Man, and Mutant X. Fabian Nicieza's well-done 
Gambit was merged with Joe Harris' interesting Bishop (brought back to 
our timeline for a joint miniseries), and both titles were cancelled. 
John Byrne's nifty but slow X-Men: The Hidden Years, which was filling 
in the gaps between (Uncanny) X-Men #66 and Giant-Size X-Men #1, was 
announced as cancelled, but a write-in campaign and pressure from Byrne 
meant that he had an extra issue or two to tie up loose threads. 

Then came the restructurings and firings. Though Claremont's more recent
stories, dealing with the search for Destiny's diaries, seemed to give 
more old-style characterization, he was released from the main books and 
was given a third X-Men title to write. It was announced that the main 
titles would be given over to Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely (X-Men) and 
Joe Casey/Ian Churchill (Uncanny). Frank Tieri and Sean Chen took over 
Wolverine with a back-to-basics approach (which translated into more 
action). Popular Cable writer Robert Weinberg, working with Michael Ryan 
and Andrew Pepoy, had given structure and intrigue back to that title, 
but he was booted in favor of another writer. And in a bizarre twist, it 
was announced that X-Force would be entirely revamped by Peter Milligan 
and Mike Allred, and would feature a large team of all-new characters.

X-Men was renamed New X-Men as of issue #114, and Morrison and Quitely 
introduced the scaled-down team of Cyclops, Phoenix, the White Queen, 
Wolverine, and a newly-mutated Beast. They, along with Professor X, 
reopened Xavier's school to a new group of students. Unfortunately, 
Xavier had a twin sister, killed in the womb, that wanted to take over 
his mind and ruin everything he'd worked for. A Chinese mutant, Xorn, 
was introduced, as was a young winged mutant named Angel. The tone of 
Morrison's New X-Men was distinct and unusual, and the book achieved 
critical success, though some fans objected to new characterizations.

Uncanny X-Men was put in the hands of Casey and Churchill, who gathered 
the team of (Arch)angel, Iceman, and Nightcrawler, added Chamber, and 
included Wolverine for a few issues just for fun. The first few issues 
focused on celebrity and family, as the team convinced Chamber that he 
should join the team. After a visit to a mutant brothel, a mutant who 
called herself Stacey X was added to the team. The Church of Humanity 
was introduced as a threat. Sean Cassidy later showed up as the leader 
of the European X-Corps, featuring former members of Generation X, 
X-Factor, and Freedom Force (villains).

Meanwhile, Chris Claremont was shunted over to X-Treme X-Men, paired 
with Salvador Larocca on art.  He built a team using Storm, Bishop, 
Rogue, Thunderbird, Sage, Beast, and Psylocke. Psylocke was killed 
off by a villain named Vargas, and Beast's injuries and subsequent 
"treatment" by Sage transferred him to the New X-Men team in a more 
bestial state. Gambit rejoined the team, and two new characters were 
introduced: Heather Cameron (Lifeguard), who could turn into whatever 
form she needed, and her brother Davis (Slipstream), whose surfing-
teleportation powers were activated by Sage. Though the team was 
supposedly formed to locate Destiny's diaries, a quest introduced in 
X-Men #109, more of their efforts went towards battling organized crime 
in Australia and Madripoor, and fighting off an alien invasion. 

X-Force's makeover in the hands of Milligan and Allred was more of a 
critical success. Almost all of the team featured in the first issue 
was killed, and new team members quickly bit the dust after that, 
until a more complex set of relationships developed between Orphan 
and U-Go Girl and the newer team members. Conspiacies and corporate 
links formed a backdrop to a unique set of characters, all trying to 
figure out who they were while tentatively forming relationships 
within a team that seemed unstable at best.

Cable was turned over to Tischman and Kordey, who took the character 
in a more political real-world direction. Wolverine continued under 
the hand of Frank Tieri, who seemed to believe that large, long 
fight sequences were the epitome of characterization. Multiple Icons 
miniseries were published, many of which seemed rather lame. One bright
spot was Judd Winnick's new Exiles title--a Quantum-Leap-inspired book 
with a lot of light humor to it. 

A mere year after the upheaval, the Marvel offices were at it again. 
Quitely's slow pace meant that Ethan Van Sciver would become a regular 
penciler on alternate arcs from Quitely on New X-Men. Low sales and odd 
plots brought Chuck Austen in to replace Joe Casey on Uncanny, though 
Casey's X-Corps idea became the X-Corporation in New X-Men and Uncanny.

Critical success X-Force was winning new fans, but older fans complained 
about the bait-and-switch nature of the title, so it was relaunched with 
the name X-Statix. To battle low sales, other titles were also renamed 
and rebooted with #1 issues. Darko Macan became the new writer on Cable, 
renamed Soldier X. Deadpool, a semi-X-related title, was renamed Agent X 
and was written by Deadpool writer Gail Simone, with art by UDON Studios.
One new book, Weapon X, brought together a team of former X-Men allies 
and foes (working for the government as a black ops team), and was 
written by Frank Tieri with art by Georges Jeanty. 

It is not clear if the relaunches and reboots will be successful, but it
is likely that Marvel will keep trying. At the very least, the new style 
of the books means that there are finally three separate and distinct 
core titles, and a number of supporting titles, that each have their own 
team, purpose, style, and audience. Fans no longer felt compelled to buy 
every issue of every title in order to keep track of what was going on.

*** Continued in Part 3 ***

   Compilation Copyright 2000-2003 by Katharine E. Hahn
   Kate the Short,  (

Kate the Short *

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Top Document: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 2/8
Previous Document: The 1990s: Claremont's exit, mega-crossovers

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