Current X-book Mood-Ring Guide
There are an awful lot of X-books on the shelves right now. They are most of my monthly haul. No joke it is at least 12 books at this point. So, in order to cope with that, I’ve organized all the books into one of four different categories, aka “booster-pack” themes. Click through if you want to jump aboard the best X-men run since Morrison before the boat pushes off for the Hellfire Gala this summer! These are the 4 categories:
-Jr. Mutants Academy
-2nd-Wave Krakoa Niche (aka “the good stuff”)
#1. Mainline Blue/Gold-style
Mood-color/vibe: Actually 90s-style Blue/Gold and like bright primary colors (but also muddy-ass colors from X-factor).
Books included: X-men, Excalibur, Marauders, X-force
Typical Pokemon: Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Betsy Braddock, Kate Pride, Beast, Black Tom, Storm, Bishop, Emma Frost, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, Kid Omega, Domino, a Pyro, Iceman, Avalanche. Rare drops: Apocalypse, X-23, Synch, Darwin, Kid Cable, Fantomex (in that Giant-Sized!)
These be the books for someone who wants those direct, mainline, core-members-style lineups. On the main book (adjective/word-play-less X-men) Hickman/Yu have worked wonders with their run, but it hasn’t been a stable team, instead focusing on Scott and his adventures dealing with some of the more prominent threats to Krakoa.
So it’s essentially been a revolving door of a book with Cyclops sometimes leading assaults against major problems and sometimes just being a dad to teenagers from the future, and it’s been generally great.
Meanwhile, the teams we find on the other 3 books could basically be a main X-men team if you just throw Jean/Scott/Logan onto them (except for X-force because Logan is usually on that one, actually, and Jean sort of is..)
X-force: Wolverine usually, Kid Omega, Beast, Jean (quitting?/back-up), Domino sorta, Sage, Black Tom Cassidy, Colossus once? Forge sorta. [Lot’s of backup or sometimes-members on this team but kinda centers on Beast, Omega, Wolverine and Jean or Domino]
Excalibur: Betsy Braddock, Rogue, Jubilee, Gambit, Avalanche, baby/dragon Shogo, Apocalypse (honorary, mia)
Marauders: Kate Pride, Storm, Emma Frost, a Pyro, Iceman, Bishop
On X-force, you get a little Morrison-homage energy going on what with Beast being sus, Quentin Quire having a character arc and dating a cuckoo and then all the body-horror. This one hasn’t been amazing and the art sometimes has issues for me but it’s been a solid expansion on Krakoa-Era lore.
On Marauders, you get a book centered on Kate Pride and the Hellfire Club. It’s been aight but I’m not the biggest Kate fan. Definitely has heart and the art has been beautiful.
Excalibur started a little weird for me... I lack the references or attachment to Otherworld or Davis/Moore-era Excalibur so I don’t think I’m even really the target demo, but I will say it recently, post-X of Swords-- which it set up single-handedly basically [along w/ one ish of X-men]-- has gotten more interesting in recent months. The Betsy + Kwannon stuff was great! And Howard did great with Apocalypse before he went off to another dimension. (points off for iffy color-palettes sometimes).
#2. Jr. Mutants Academy
Books: New Mutants, X-factor, Children of the Atom, Cable
Common Pokemon: Magik, Cable, Rachel Summers, Doug, Warlock, Armor, Boom Boom, Scout, Dani, Warpath, Karma, Glob, Beak, Daken, Eye-boy, North Star, Rachael, Prodigy those Children of the Atom kids, Magma, Rahne, and a lot of lil kid mutants runnin’ around in Akademos/the Wild Hunt area of Krakoa whose names I don’t know yet.
This is the junior-crew club. New Mutants would be in the Blue/Gold books practically due to being part of the first wave of post-HoX/DoX books, but its basically been 3 different books/teams over its run and along w/ Children/Cable/X-Factor, it feels like there a whole handful of books offering up junior-crew shenanigans specifically.
So New Mutants has been all over the place, starting with a lineup of OG Claremont era New Muties, then focusing on a team consisting of Glob, Armor and Boom Boom (perpetual...”young adult” I guess?), now settling on a new team under Vita Ayala with Magik and Warpath heading up a squad of young ‘uns (beautiful art on the recent stretch). Hopefully it’s settling into its self now, because I can see longevity for this new squad... maybe.
I still have to read the 2nd issue of Children of the Atom, but am intrigued by it. X-factor meanwhile seems to be focusing on queer representation with people like Prodigy, Daken, North Star and Rachel on the same group together. Polaris started out the lead of that title only to be plucked out by Duggan (or the fanbase) for the main X-team coming up. This honestly makes sense, because even though she isn’t drawn this way, shouldn’t Polaris be considerably older than someone like Rachel? Eh.
Also, in issue #4 of X-factor we had a beautiful homage to the Academy X mutants, with several cameos, so it seems like Marvel is intentionally using these junior-crew books to acknowledge all the various junior-crews, whether it be OG Claremont kids, Generation X people, the kids intro’d under Morrison and Whedon, or even the dang ‘ol Academy X ones, they seem to all be getting at least some representation in some book.
Also Cable owns. Didn’t know I’d like the Kid-Cable guy until this book and his appearances in the main title, but now it’s confirmed. Him dating Esme, Kid Omega dating Phoebe? These crazy telepaths! Anyway, I hope Duggan’s main-team book is more like Cable than Marauders, in terms of pacing and characterization, but they both have beautiful art!
New mutants: Karma, Magik, Mirage, Scout, Warlock, Warpath and Wolfsbane
X-factor: Daken, Eye-boy, Polaris (quit?), North Star, Rachael, Prodigy
#3. 2nd-gen Krakoa Niche aka “the good stuff”
mood-color/vibe: purples, metaphysical/cosmic pallets, tertiary colors
books included: Hellions, S.W.O.R.D., Way of X
common Pokemon: I mean they’re basically all rare drops
This is the good stuff! Who would have thought. And when I think about it, Way of X and S.W.O.R.D., as part of the second wave of Krakoa-era books that started with Cable, both address some of the core issues and ideas that the whole HoX/DoX mini kicked off better than-- or at least more directly-- the other books. So I guess the non X-men, first-wave Krakoa books feel “mainline” in terms of their team lineups, but in terms of content, these newer ones almost feel more relevant by design. S.W.O.R.D. focuses on the cosmic context of the mutants post-Krakoa and Way is Kurt’s first spot-light moment in the era and is expressly concerned with Kurt’s addressing of the deeper moral quandaries that a people who have conquered death will be faced with. I mean, it's expressly about religion and like, spirituality-- a very tall order, but first issue pulled it off super deftly.
Also Hellions is better than it has any business being! Read this if you want savagely dark humor and some very obscure mutants + Havok/Psylocke/Sinister. But if I had to reccomend one, it’d be a tie b/w S.W.O.R.D and Way. First issue of Way was exceptional and got right into things and Kurt’s very well-written and will surely prove a meditative lead for a book like this, whereas S.W.O.R.D is epic in scale while still have sick character moments/dialogue. Manifold had a great issue or two and is now my favorite new mutant, even in the context of a somehow-actually-good King in Black tie-in. Damn! And everything going on b/w Magneto and Fabian Cortez (who was made to argue for why mutants should be allowed to murder “flatscans”/humans to the whole Krakoan council this week whilst naked. It’s fantastic. Hell, even the Snark-War sounds...interesting? What’s happening to me.
S.W.O.R.D.: Fabian Cortez, Magneto, Abigail Brand, Peeper, Manifold, Wiz-Kid, Mentallo, Fenzy
Children of the Atom: Cherub, Marvel Guy, Cyclops-Lass (?), Gimmick, Daycrawler
Hellions: Havok, Psylocke, Empath, Orphan-Maker, Nanny, Wild Child, Sinister, Greycrow
Mood-color/vibe: colorless, “normal” element
Books included: Fallen Angels (complete 6-ish mini), All the damn Wolverine books, the uh Sword of X “guidebook” and the new Peach Momoko Demon Days books and whatever X-men Legends is.
These are titles which are either complete or don’t fit in with other things or in Demon Days or the X-men Legends’ books’ case, I think don’t even occur in-universe. And per usual of course there are multiple Wolverine books... the main one seems fine.
Anyway all-in-all, these books are doing weirdly well. Mutants as a concept shouldn't be able to be spread this thin story-telling wise, but the books don’t really feel redundant and most are filling a specific niche or purpose. I may be dropping some of the first-wave Blue/Gold style books (Marauders and X-force I'll probably just check in on from time-to-time), but S.W.O.R.D., Way, the main book under Hickman or Duggan and Hellions all have me verrrrrry satisfied. Even standard stories in the Krakoa era feel special, and that speaks to the power of Hickman’s vision. Hellfire Gala, here we come.
12 notes · View notes