I love the X-Men.
Wait, no…..that’s too general a statement.
I love various bit of the X-Men franchise. The 1993 cartoon series was pretty damn good, I adored X-Men Evolution when it was on, and even the movies have their charms (well, three of them, anyway).
But the comics, well…they’ve always look terrified me.
I’ve actively avoided picking up X-Men comics ever since I got into the hobby. I’ve had some dalliances with them here and there (I’ve read a few issues of the Laura Kinney Wolverine title, the first issue of X-Men Noir, the first trade volume of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, that story where Strom first started wearing a Mohawk) but I’ve never jumped into the merry mutants’ four color adventures the way I have for Superman, Spider-Man (Peter and Miles versions), Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel (Kamala version), the Jack Knight Starman, Nova, Swamp Thing (the Alan Moore run), Astro City, Sandman (Sandman Mystery Theatre), Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, The Spirit, Booster Gold, The Legion of Superheroes, The Runaways, Thor, Mega Man, Darkwing Duck, The Justice Society of America, The Justice League of America, the Avengers, Iron Man, Judge Dredd, Rurouni Kenshin, Ultraman …….
Wow, eve I didn’t know I was a fan of that many comics properties.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the X-Men.
X-Men comics have always seemed like the most intimidating mountain to climb in the hobby to me. The first is the cast of literal hundreds. If you’ve noticed, I’m not a guy who goes conservative when it comes to getting into something, and I have never felt ready to dive into the various sub teams, branching family trees, alternate futures, younger versions of characters from the past coming to the present, clones, alien frenemies, demons, and all other manner of things that seem to come with it. Not to mention that almost every single mutant character, good or bad, already has an extensive back-story or has an extensive back-story waiting in the wings by that one fan of the character who hopes and prays to be given the reigns one day.
I mean, look at Cyclops. Not only does he have a dead wife in Jean, he also has a crazy ex-wife turned demon queen in Madelyne Pryor (who’s Jean’s kinda-sorta clone), is the boyfriend of Emma Frost, has a father who’s a swashbuckling space adventurer, and two brothers in Havoc and the villainous Vulcan. Oh and his younger self is just roaming around in the present, with no indication that the timeline is being altered or anything. And he has a grown son in Cable just wandering around current continuity. And Cable has an evil clone named Stryfe. Then there’s Rachel, who’s his daughter form the same alternate future as Cable and is also running around in the present day. Then there’s Hope and oh God make it stop!
Then there’s just the sheer number of books. Right now, post Secret Wars (2015), I’m guessing there are now only five books on the stand featuring the X-cast, but don’t be surprised if that number doubles with time. That’s not to mention the various crossover events attendant to the series, the various reboots and re-imaginings and what everything else that’s Marvel can spin down the pipeline. And did I mention the various alternate futures that these guys have by now?
I’ve just never been able to do it. No matter how many times I hear about excellent runs or must read stories, I just can’t. I’m sure I’d like them, but getting into the nitty gritty of the X-Men franchise may take up more energy and cash than I currently desire to extend.
Which is why I bought the first five issue of Jason Aaron’s Amazing X-Men run.
Why was this? Well, for one, it stars Nightcrawler, and I like the character enough to at least give it a shot. That, and I got the first three issues of the run in a “pick 20 comics for $5” deal at Milwaukee Comic Con this year and stop by Lost World of Wonders to get the last two. I don’t know how it will turn out (I’ve only read issue one so far) and I’ll report back if it’s any good or if it convinces me to take a bigger interest in the series. But Everest is mighty tall, my friends. Everest is mighty tall.