It hasn't been easy for the mutants of the Marvel Universe and after a battle with their Inhuman counterparts, the X-MEN are returning and reclaiming "Prime" time with some help from DC TV’s Marc Guggenheim.
In the recent evolution of the Marvel Universe the story arcs that have commandeered the center spotlight have included those of the heroes and characters that have emerged as major players of the Marvel Films Cinematic Universe or their comparatively running television paramours. Although the X-Men who arguably lead the charge (alongside Spider-Man) to the big screen have gotten sidelined by the rising popularity of the Avengers.
Earth’s (so-called) Mightiest Heroes have found themselves again and again at the center of a civil war that has torn alegeneance and pit brother against brother. The X-Men have largely found themselves on the outside of these internal squabbles, but it looks like the mighty mutants are getting themselves a much-needed re-alignment!
The latest relaunch set to reboot the all-new, all-different mutant line-up begins with X-Men Prime #1. The first issue follows up on the heals of the Marvel Universe wide challenges that included the recent Civil War II and the just ended X-Men vs. Inhumans storyline. Given the recent acceleration to the forefront that has been allotted to the Inhumans (especially with their recent inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic continuity via a season-long arc on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD) that these two evolutionary branches of man have again risen.
With the irrational fear of mutants having continued to escalate, and the infighting among the various factions of the species escalated those tensions, the X-Men have had little resort except to move their entire operation off the grid — literally! The school that had become home to so many generations of mutants has had little other resort but to seek shelter in Limbo, the inter-dimensional hell that is controlled by the “Darkchilde” X-Man Magik.
After a sojourn guarding the galaxy Kitty Pryde has returned to fertile ground and has been doing her best to reestablishing a “normal” existence, that is until her former teammate, and one-time leader of the X-Men Storm seeks the young woman out. Storm has a request for Kitty: she wants her to return and lead the X-Men, especially since the time has come for her to move on. Not entirely convinced that this is the move for her, Kitty agrees to accompany Storm.
Unprepared for the journey into Limbo, Kitty is heavily discouraged to find little of the intention her mentor Professor Charles Xavier always had and especially the dream of peaceful co-existence between regular humans and mutants. With the X-men in hiding in Limbo, they are basically no working towards that goal. The worst of it all, Kitty learns that the time-displaced “original” five X-Men have gone off on their own!
Determined to set things on a course that is more aligned with all they’ve learned, Kitty agrees to lead the X-Men, on several conditions, the first of which is that Storm must remain a part of the team, and the second that they rejoin the rest of the world. Kitty has Magik transport the mansion, the X-Men and their students back to Earth and places them squarely in the middle of Central Park. Just how New York City is going to respond to that bit of prime real estate being taken over…
It is for all intents a new dawn for the X-Men, but with so much against them, how will they reacclimatize to life on Earth, or even the Marvel Universe for that manner? Are the X-Men even relevant anymore? Even with Marc Guggenheim the executive producer of DC TV’s Arrow at the helm of this reboot, the X-Men just don’t feel fresh, and at least on the outset don’t have the cohesion — that sense of family — that has been at the fundamental core of the group’s storytelling especially at the height of its popularity.
With so much competition coming at them from all directions, Marvel’s decision to return to the X-Men as a viable aspect of their overall brand is a formidable task. The X-Men hasn’t lived up to the box-office figures of its Avengers counterparts on the big screen, although the recent solo film featuring the lead star of the mutant franchise, Wolverine in Logan did very well with critics and on first week sales.
But in today’s market, a good reception with theater audiences translates to decent sales on books, at least that’s the lesson that Marvel seems to have adhered to over the several last cycles of the publishing imprints company-wide initiatives. With Guggenheim a talent that is easily recognizable to a television audience, perhaps they are looking to cross-pollinate their worlds and see if the X-Men can be rescued from obscurity.
• X-Men Prime #1 written by Marc Guggenheim and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting is on sale now from Marvel Comics.