Comic Book Storytelling: More X-Stuff

Welcome back to Comic Book Storytelling. The Age of X-Man event is still happening and I am going to talk about it because its the main thing I am reading at the moment. Someday I will talk about DC titles again as soon as they do something that interests me or actually manage to get another issue of Doomsday Clock out.

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The Age of X-Man event has several tie in series coming out over the next few weeks. The most recent ones were the Amazing Nightcrawler and Next Gen.

Next Gen is following the X-students who fought X-Man with Legion. It seems that some of them remember the world before Nate Grey changed it all and they are trying to get some of the others to remember as well. But I feel kind of ambivalent about this series because I don’t really know any of these characters. The last time I read a series about young X-teens was the New X-Men series from years ago. I really liked that one but all of the most prominent characters from it are now either dead or in continuity limbo.

The Amazing Nightcrawler is a title I can get into because he has always been one of my favorite X-Men. In the Age of X reality Kurt Wagner is a movie star, even in a utopia people like their popular entertainment. We see him filming a movie and many other X-men are now part of the cast and crew. Later he goes to a fancy premiere party and we get to see more of the cracks in Nate Grey’s fantasy world. The Stepford Cuckoos work for the movie studio in this reality, a reality where love and other emotional bonds are forbidden. People are barely containing their aggression at seeing the Cuckoo sisters spend time with each other but Nightcrawler is able to defuse the situation with his theatrics. Things take a turn towards the end when we see him spending time with his co-star Meggan.

Meggan and Nightcrawler were teammates back in the 1990’s in the Excalibur series. Nightcrawler had a crush on Meggan but she was in a relationship with Captain Britain. After Excalibur ended several members of the team spent many years in continuity limbo. At this point Meggan could had been dead or in another dimension, you never know with the X-Men. This is the first I have seen of her in a long time. In the Amazing Nightcrawler it seems even reshaping reality has not stopped Kurt from being attracted to Meggan. And it turns out she likes him too now and they make out and sleep together. But that sort of thing is forbidden in X-Man’s utopia. I will keep reading to see what happens.

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Now lets check in with what is happening to the remaining X-Men back in the regular Marvel Universe. Mostly its the same thing that has been happening to mutants for a long time. With the X-Men all gone mutants are once again on the brink of extinction and humans are ready and willing to weaponize and/or murder the ones that remain. This might have more impact if this was not the same X-Men story every writer has been telling for decades now. X-Men has always been a title with a strong allegory about the struggle of oppressed minorities but it rarely ever explores how subtle and insidious those systems of oppression are in the real world. Instead it often favors more overt threats to the lives of mutants that sometimes almost cross the line into parody.

Anyway there is one story in all of this I found particularly compelling. In Uncanny X-Men #11 we see three stories, or rather one story from three different points of view. The first story features Cyclops visiting different people trying to find help looking for the missing X-Men. But as his search keeps running into dead ends he starts looking for something else. He goes to an anti-mutant rally and gets into an argument with Captain America before calling out the X-Men’s remaining enemies in front of TV cameras. And sure enough all those enemies take the bait and show up to kill Cyclops. But then Wolverine shows up throwing off Cyclops attempt to go out in battle.

Wolverine was dead for a while then came back to life somehow just like many X-Men before him. However he has been a keeping a low profile staying at the edges of Marvel events for well over a year now. The disappearance of the X-Men and Cyclops return from the dead seem to have finally inspired Wolverine to reveal himself. Wolverine follows Cyclops around but also visits Layla Miller. One of these days I am going to have to talk about Layla Miller but that is going to be a long one. Eventually Wolverine’s story meets up with Cyclops story and together they beat the hell out of all their mutant hating enemies.

The third stories is told from the point of view of Blindfold, a young mutant with no eyes who can foresee the future. In Cyclops story he rescued her from some bigots only to later find her dead by suicide. In blood she left the message “This is forever”. In Wolverine’s story he catches up with Blindfold after Cyclops rescued her but unaware that she is about to kill herself. In her own story we see that Blindfold’s power is more than just seeing the future. Her very perception of time is different from most linear beings. She can predict the future because from her point of view it is happening at the same time as everything else. To other people some of the things she says seem odd and out of place, we see that from her point of view it all makes sense. Blindfold commit suicide because from her point of view that is what the timeline required. She was reaching the end of her influence on events and needed to give Cyclops one last push to make sure he would do what needed to be done. But because of the way she perceives time death is not an ending. For Blindfold she is always there at every moment she ever experienced maintaining the timeline. For Blindfold this is forever. I found this story incredibly powerful for reasons it would take me too long to explain.

Uncanny X-Men #12 was more of that mutants are going extinct and being experimented on stuff that is the go to material for every writer on an X-title these days.

Just so everyone knows I am not just reading Marvel titles. I am also reading the latest Umbrella Academy series Hotel Oblivion. And I am reading the Alien 3 series based on the unproduced William Gibson script. However I am waiting until both are finished before I talk about them here. And as I said before if DC ever gets Doomsday Clock finished I will talk about that. See you next time.

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