Published on November 12th, 2012 | by Gavin Jones5
The All New X-Men Paradox
With mere days to wait until All-New X-Men #1 launches as part of the Marvel Now! initiative I thought it would be interesting to speculate, and this is all true fan speculation, on what may come from Brian Michael Bendis’ foray into the X-Men.
First off, let’s set the scene, the original X-Men, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Cyclops (Scott Summers), Iceman (Bobby Drake), Angel (Warren Worthington III) and Beast (Henry McCoy) travel forwards in time to have a word with their future selves. Why would they do such a thing I hear you cry, well it seems the X-Men have come a long way from their origins as Professor Xavier’s personal mutant militia, sorry I meant trusted students, and along the way philosophies have ben corrupted, some people died and some X-Men have gone right off the deep end…Scott I’m looking at you. In what can only be described as the Back to the Future MacGuffin, Beast travels back to a simpler time when the X-Men weren’t quite hairy in order to bring them ‘Back to the Future’,Bobby even makes the joke “Is it our kids?!”, showing that Bendis knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s gonna do it anyway:
I really don’t mind this obvious plot device, at least Bendis is having some fun with the concept and the characters, sometimes it’s good to get these little details out of the way so we can get on with some damn good storytelling.
The idea that you could travel to the future and have a word with yourself is an interesting if not original one, usually it works the other way around though. I’d love to go back and tell seven year old me that you’re supposed to let go in Kiss Catch otherwise you’re likely to fall, smash up your face, lose two teeth and be left with a scar that will last until the end of days but I can’t…that’s what comics are for. Maybe the reason it’s the other way around is because there aren’t many of us that could deal with the disappointment we would be to our younger selves, by now I thought I’d be married with two kids and be living on the moon, none of those things has happened, seven year old me would be pissed, mostly about the lack of moon house though. And this is where we land with the X-Men, Scott is not going to be happy with his future self, in fact I’m willing to place a rather large bet that he kicks his own ass and rightly so.
Scott Summers has gone from being the leader of the X-Men, a man handpicked by Professor X himself to usher in a new era of peaceful coexistence between mutant and human alike, to a murdering, adulterous, terrorist, despot who has not only turned his back on the teachings of Charles Xavier but also managed to see his former teacher into an early grave. That’s a long way to fall, sure beats the lack of moon house. What will Scott say to himself? Will he make any impression and if so what affect will that have on past Scott when he returns to the past?
That last question is the one that’s been bugging me, I can’t help but think this is going to go one of two ways, either when returned to the past, the original X-Men will either have their memories wiped by Hank so that they do not recall ever visiting their future selves, total cop out, or thy will remember everything and all of X-continuity will be changed forever, giving us a truly All-New X-Men. I’m not really going to address the first option, it’s cynical and would mean this whole thing has been for naught, I’m sure it’ll be a fun ride, especially with the sumptuous Stuart Immonen art to enjoy but ultimately it’ll end flat. The second option however has real legs, and it’s the sort of thing I can imagine Bendis insisting he be allowed to do.
Bendis is a fan, you can tell this by the way he writes characters, he knows them intimately and although characters written by Bendis do all seem to have his wit, they still stay true to themselves because he loves them. As a fan I’m sure it won’t have passed his notice that over the years the X-Men have gone pretty far off-track, this story used to be about learning, prejudice, growing up, family, love and hatred, all the things that matter but the cast has become bloated, characters have drifted from their core being, the number of X-Books has dramatically increased and most importantly somewhere along the line the point got lost. Nobody knows what to do with the X-Men anymore, there are too many of them and they are almost impenetrable to the casual or new reader. Enter Bendis, the man who relaunched the Avengers with 2005′s New Avengers, for the first time making them the true flagship Marvel Superhero team, something that had strangely eluded them up until this point. The man who managed to put Spider-Man on a superhero team and make it stick, who took Luke Cage from small time blaxploitation fodder to a leader of heroes, who invented a superhero, Jewel (Jessica Jones) and retconned her into the Marvel Universe so well, you couldn’t even see the seams, seriously I almost doubted myself when I first read Alias. If Bendis cannot fix the X-Men then nobody can.
So what of this All New X-Men paradox then? What will become of the X-Men? Who will stay and who will be dropped? How dramatically will the characters alter based upon the knowledge of their future selves? And isn’t this all a little extreme just to bring Jean Grey back from the dead? I’m not smart enough to work out how or what Bendis has in store for his revamped X-Men but I believe this could be the start of something big and love it or hate it…most likely hate it, the X-fans are in for a wild ride and maybe, just maybe the X-Men will finally get back on track.