Nerds on Earth
The best place on Earth for nerds.

The Astonishing Relaunch of Uncanny X-Men, Explained

Let’s talk about the #1 comic book in the world. Selling 176,000 copies, the return of Uncanny X-Men was easily the best selling comic of November 2018.

Uncanny X-Men #1: What are the basics?

Click to embiggen.

Beginning just those few months ago, Marvel comics relaunched Uncanny X-Men with a new #1 issue. Titled X-Men: Disassembled, it was published weekly for the first 10 issues. In order to make the weekly schedule, writing duties were shared by Matthew Rosenberg, Ed Brisson, and Kelly Thompson, while the artist duties rotated between Mahmud Asrar and R.B. Silva.

The flagship Uncanny X-Men had been cancelled since…you know what? I don’t know. Marvel is determined to relaunch their titles so frequently that it becomes too confusing to collect comics. So, it’s quite tricky to keep up with continuity, but the X-Men had been appearing in separate X-Men Gold, Blue, Red, and Black titles.

All you need to know is that the X-Men Disassembled relaunch was the event that brought them all together into one book.

Uncanny X-Men #1: There Be SPOILERS AHEAD

Seriously, SPOILERS follow as I’m going to share a synopsis of the storyline.

Like all good X-Men stories, the X-Men must come together only to ultimately sacrifice themselves in order to save the world. Who are they saving the world from this time? Legion and X-Man, two Omega-level mutants who aren’t exactly fan-favorites due to their confusing backstories.

X-Man–the genetically cloned son of Jean Grey and Scott Summers from an alternate timeline–is dying. Absolutely powerful he has become, how they say, absolutely corrupt and misguidedly begins wielding his power to project into the minds of every being on earth.

Convinced his omnipotent machinations are noble, X-Man mind-controls four henchmen to do his bidding–Omega Red, Blob, Angel, and…Magneto–calling them his Horsemen of Peace.

Legion–the mentally-fractured son of Charles Xavier–attempts to thwart it all by placing one of his multiple personalities into thousands of Multiple Man’s dupes, thereby creating a “legion” to fight X-Man.

Skipping past the B-stories and particular plot points, this plan goes badly and X-Man takes control of Legion, thereby merging two near omnipotent mutants into a single entity that forces Jean Grey to call in every past or present X-Men ever to combine forces against it.

Yet, the X-Men lose and–although X-Man is neutralized–the X-Men Disassembled storyline lives up to his name. Like a Thanos snap, all the X-Men are wiped off the board and the earth goes back to the way it was, except with nary a mutie around to hate on.

Uncanny X-Men #1: Same Song, Second Verse

Listen, let’s not mince words, X-Men Disassembled is wholly derivative of past X-Men stories. Here are just a few of the echoes of past stories we saw:

  • The story of having the power of a god and using it to turn Earth into a utopia was told just a few years ago in the Avengers vs. X-Men event, when Cyclops hosted the Phoenix Force.
  • The “mutant messiah” trope is a common one and X-Men Disassembled played it on the nose, complete with X-Man sporting a look a lot like Jesus.
  • Age of Apocalypse was teased and we saw a Horseman of Apocalypse analogue in the Horseman of Peace.
  • Once again, every X-Man ever comes together to sacrifice themselves to save the world. And once again, the battle is won by the telepaths who work together inside a fractured mind.
  • All the X-Men instantly taken off the board is reminiscent of Thanos’ snap or, more aptly, Wanda’s No More Mutants.

But you know what? X-Men Disassembled works. It might not be the first time we’re hearing this story, but it’s a story well told. And I’d much rather have effective than original.

Even though the event has echoes and hat tips toward so many past X-Men stories, this one was really done well. Further, the execution of it was superb, not the least of which was the publishing and editorial oversight.

Rather than a event comic with a million tie-in titles across a ten months, X-Men Disassembled was done in one flagship title in ten weeks. It was refreshingly easy to keep track of, and the fast release schedule gave the whole event a wonderful sense of momentum. Five stars, would read again.

Uncanny X-Men #1: Setting up Issue #11

Click to embiggen.

It seems like Marvel is listening and is trying new models beyond frequent relaunches and huge tie-in events to temporarily boost sales. X-Men Disassembled ran in Uncanny X-Men #1 through Uncanny X-Men #10, one title. And the story continues in…wait for it…Uncanny X-Men #11.

The event had a small epilogue that teased the return of Cyclops. (His return was told wonderfully in Uncanny X-men Annual #1.) So, what will be the theme of the Uncanny X-Men comic going forward from #11? Well, Cyclops will team up with Wolverine to go through all those bullet points discussed above and right those wrongs once and for all.

In short, X-Men Disassembled lived up to its name. Further, it was an engaging, fast-paced story that was wonderfully executed. As a result, it’s back to being the #1 comic book in the world.