How Editorial Can Bring X-Fans Back..

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Posted by sj_esposito (478 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been an X-Men fan most of my life. Two years ago, after Divided We Stand, I dropped all the X-books. I knew where the creative team in charge was taking the series and I knew I wouldn't like it. In my opinion, this era of X-Men that will forever go unread by me can be attributed, for the most part, to Marvel Editorial -- who regularly play the role of greedy villain in the comic book industry -- and of course, Matt Fraction. 
I think Fraction is a great writer; he did more for Iron Fist than any writer probably will do or has done and he breathed new life into Iron Man. And, in all fairness, I've not read most of his X-Men work. It's not the writing that I have issue with -- I'm sure its excellent -- it's the general direction of the series and characters. I have issues with the X-Men being led by Cyclops and Emma Frost, who seem to be pretty amoral (or at least they were before I stopped reading), the absence of Professor Xavier's influence, the presence of Magneto as a quasi-spiritual figure, and their base of operations being on the west coast. I have other issues with specific character's as well: Wolverine being all over the damn place, Deadpool being all over the damn place, etc... But I'll chalk these up to "things that will never change because they make a crap-load of money".
Bottom line: I want the X-Men back to their roots. Back to moral and social conflict, back to Magneto being the most terrifying and radical villain in the Marvel Universe, back to the X-Mansion for christ's sake, and back to being led by Xavier. Marvel has literally stripped the X-Men genre of comics of everything that made them successful.
This is why I enjoyed X-Men #7 so much (see my other blog post). It felt like Victor Gischler was taking the X-Men back in the right direction. I could do without valley brat Emma being there, but it wasn't a detriment. Seeing Gambit, Storm and Wolverine in NYC and dealing with Spidey was fantastic. And by the way, Gischler wrote Wolverine the way every writer should: as a member to the X-Men. Not the star of the book, not the Avenger, not the mindless tank. I love Wolverine as a character, but I hate the over exposure and trying to make the character into something he's not.
I hope Gischler and Bachalo continue to deliver the classic-esque X-Men stories, and I'll read the book until they stop doing so. But I also want change across the board. I'm hoping that "Year of the X-Men" will bring such a change, although I do fear that it will end up just being another stupid crossover. I want to read all the X-Books again, I want to be a fan. But I want X-men, not whatever you call what's been going on for the past 2+ years.

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#1 Posted by jrock85 (2882 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not very optimistic right now.

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#2 Posted by frogjitsu (497 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I hear what your saying.  Even though for the most part, the whole "survival of the species" thing wasn't that bad, after they defeted Bastion in the Second Coming crossover, it's felt like they defeated their Ultimate boss, so now they have no purpose.  I've not enjoyed Uncanny at since Second Coming.  The book doesn't seem to have any direction.  New Mutants and X-men have been the best.  X-Force, while entertaining, doesn't make since, since Apocalypse wasn't dead, just MIA, so why did he need to be resurrected?  Generation Hope was a another solid read, really felt more like an old school X-men book, with them rescuing mutants who are just discovering there powers.  But all in all, the X-men line needs restructuring and re-purposing.

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#3 Posted by natejoseph09 (137 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree most of the X-men seem to have been screwed in recent years, Forge turned evil then killed, Xavier made to sound evil then in limbo for years, and countless villains joing the x-mens ranks. Whilst fan faves like Storm and Gambit have been pushed in the background so that Cyclops and Emma headline multiple books.


Like the poster above said the x-men need to sort themselves out.

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#4 Posted by jrock85 (2882 posts) - - Show Bio

Now that the "To Serve and Protect" arc of X-Men vol. 3 is over, I think I'll be dropping this title from my pull list. I was not happy about Emma and Wolverine being apart of this arc because I feel like they get more than their fair share of face time already. Gischler said that he did not originally intend to have Emma on this team but "some things changed," i.e. editorial mandate. Overall, I think this story was very underwhelming.

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#5 Posted by sj_esposito (478 posts) - - Show Bio
@jrock85:  I hate to say it, because I was so excited about and loved the first few issues, but I agree with you. They dropped the ball in the finish, big time.
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#6 Posted by jrock85 (2882 posts) - - Show Bio
 I don't know how familiar you are with Nick Lowe, but I've read just about all his interviews and I've come to the conclusion that the X-Men can't return to their former glory with him as senior editor. He's seems fully committed to perpetuating the same concepts that have created legions of disgruntled X-Men fans like you and me. A couple of these interviews really disturbed me, like the one he did with CBR around December of last year in which he was very dismissive of Gambit's popularity (I'm a huge Gambit fan), and the last one he did with CBR a few weeks ago in which he was kind of rude in his responses to fan questions that he didn't like. Ten years ago, Uncanny X-Men ranked #1 in comic sales nearly every month and at least one other X-title ranked within the top five. Nowadays, the X-titles almost never make it within the top ten, so it doesn't take a genius to figure out that something is wrong. This is why I'm on a semi boycott of the X-titles. I only subscribe to  X-Factor, X-23, and Daken.
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#7 Posted by sj_esposito (478 posts) - - Show Bio
@jrock85: I'm about as familiar with Nick Lowe as you are. I don't know if he's to blame for the state of the X-titles over the last 5 or so years, but it's certainly a plausible theory.

I think a lot of the issues that have been plaguing the X-Men have to do with the writers. The stories being told are way too far away fom what made the X-Men so popular originally. There's a lack of cohesion between the cast and the continuity is a damn wreck. When M-Day happened, I was excited because I thought that it would provide the writers with ample opportunity to trim the cast down, yet somehow the rosters are bigger and more disorganized than ever before. Removing Xavier from his role as leader was a huge mistake, and when the dust clears and Scott and the Professor reconcile, it's going to be hard to make it believable. There are so many more plot lines that I regard as mistakes, but I won't go into them because it's not particularly productive.

I will say this: I don't know enough about the comics industry to blame the Editors or the writers more than one another --  I'm never sure if writers take orders from editors or editors conform to whatever the 'hot' writers offer up. I suppose all we can do is wait for things to change a bit.
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#8 Posted by jrock85 (2882 posts) - - Show Bio
I believe he became senior editor around 2 or 2 1/2 years ago, and before him it was Axel Alonso (who admittedly was not a huge X-Men fan). A couple of months ago, Lowe said that he and his creative team had made it a priority to establish Cyclops as the sole leader of the mutant race and that Xavier won't be returning to a leadership role any time soon. I also feel like this was a mistake because under Xavier's guidance, the X-Men all had the same unified goal which was to establish peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans. Now, under the leadership of Cyclops, its hard to tell what they stand for. This is why I love X-Factor because its a self-contained book that seldom gets sucked into the cluster**** of the rest of the X-Universe.

Its quite apparent to me that Lowe and his editorial staff are very fixated on a handful of characters, and here's a quote from his CBR interview in January that only reinforces my judgment:

 Which mutants should we keep an eye on for 2011?
Lowe: Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine go without saying. Let's see...Archangel! Magneto! X-Man (what...X-Man? For real, X-fans)! Wolfsbane! Kenji! Colossus! And my favorite, Dani Moonstar!!! And the fact that she's my favorite is a newer thing. Maybe it's CB Cebulski's constant lobbying for the Mirage Fan Club, but she has quickly become the character that makes me the happiest when I read her name.

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#9 Posted by sj_esposito (478 posts) - - Show Bio
@jrock85: Well, I guess you're right. Things don't look like they're going to get any better for a while -- which sucks. However, the sales for the X-titles are still up there, and my LCS says that if everyone that buys Uncanny stopped tomorrow, he'd probably have to close up shop for a few more days a week. I guess Marvel interprets this as Nick Lowe is doing a good job. Honestly, at this point, I'm past the point of nostalgia making me care about the X-Men or Marvel Comics anymore. The product is just not up to what I expect it to be anymore, and it's been this way for a long time, now... Too long for me.
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#10 Posted by jrock85 (2882 posts) - - Show Bio
I think the only reason Uncanny is still in the top 50 in sales every month is because so many people collect it and don't want a gap in their collection. About a week ago, I was talking to the owner of my LCS and he told me that a lot of his customers are dropping X-titles like crazy and they all have pretty much the same complaints that you and I have. To a certain degree, this kind of pains me because like you, I've been a hardcore X-Men fan for most of my life and I want to see them do well. I just can't support the current direction that they're going in.

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