I was born in the nineties so, naturally, my very first awareness of this comic book series was the fact that I belong to the generation who grew up with X-Men: The Animated Series which I could now re-watch again as an adult and laugh at the genuinely cheesy and over-the-top moments while still being completely enamored by it. I was a big fan of the original film trilogy in the early 2000's, and considered the messy debacle of The Last Stand only redeemable because Magneto and Professor X's smallest of moments and interactions there were particularly the shippiest (--that was until their young and strapping hotter versions in X-Men: First Class were brought to life on screen).
I've spent a great deal last year searching for copies of multiple X-titles across the years and have settled with both the classics and the most highly-valued later material that stand out the most which, of course, had to start with Chris Claremont's run that include the most memorable story arcs, the goodies in between for the early to late 2000's which finally leads me to the MARVEL NOW! current run. So now I am ready to take on this nerdy challenge of spending the entirety of 2015 reading my favorite superhero team of all time in comics in a very consistent and utterly devoted manner, while also painstakingly taking the time to review each issue for a title and post my insights here in this blog. This is actually the third time I'll be blogging about a comic book series. My other projects are Batman Comics Geek and Hellblazed Constantine Geek which you should definitely check out just to get a better sense of the kind of geek you are getting yourself into if you ever wish to follow my reviews here, or even join me as I explore the X-Men comics continuity.
I'm well-aware that what I'm doing is going to be a test of wills and mental acuity, considering X-Men is a collection of tales and works that spanned for 50 years with the most complex, complicated and confounding universe filled with varied and diverse ensemble of characters and storylines. Nothing will ever prepare me to tackle on this insane journey, so this is me just jumping off the cliff and praying that my online research and reading selections (which you can find in the Comics Shelf) will suffice at this point. I'm confident I can meet my self-imposed deadlines and maintain my momentum in the coming months (Batman and John Constantine have trained me well last year). I certainly want to enrich my life by knowing more about the X-Men because they are my personal childhood heroes in fiction, and I can't get enough of them.
To ease me in the transitions in between, I've been listening to two helpful and comprehensive podcasts: Danger Room and Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-Men which I suggest you should also acquaint yourself with. The former deals with summaries regarding the sixties Silver Age X-Men works, while the latter condenses the most significant aspects of the X-Men continuity for easier consumption and accessibility.
There are only five things I should warn you about when I write my reviews:
(1) SPOILERS ARE UNAVOIDABLE since I'll be discussing the events that happened in every issue I finished reading. Snarky commentary is also a part of the package I offer because there are times we really need to make light of things especially when the writing itself is a comic relief that we all need to indulge in every now and then.
(2) I DON'T REVIEW CHRONOLIGICALLY. I'm starting on all of Claremont's stories first then on select titles scattered throughout 2001 to the present (the current titles running will only be touched upon by October). I have no plans to start from the beginning since the podcast aforementioned (Danger Room) is actually doing the same thing so I was basically able to acquaint myself with Stan Lee's sixties material for posterity's sake because of that podcast. If you're interested in something linear and historical, I recommend you listen to those guys tackle each issue in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's run.
(3) This is rather crucial: I SHAMELESSLY SHIP CHERIK AND WILL INSERT REFERENCES ABOUT IT IN MY REVIEWS. "Cherik" is the portmanteau regarding the relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto). Do not underestimate the power of my devotion to this uniquely devastating pairing. I may occasionally comment on the level of pent-up gayness and sexual tension about their interactions and moments in a specific issue (especially when the subtext is so fucking obvious). I ship both the young and hip reincarnations of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and the older, more sophisticated ones of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen; as well as the cartoon versions in XMTAS. It's all done in tasteful humor, of course, but I cannot promise that I won't go overboard so if you're one of those people who can't handle some homoerotic romance in comics fandom (you're missing out, by the way) then do get the fuck out of this blog.
(4) I HAVE CERTAIN BIASES that may come up every now and then regarding characters and storylines. For full disclosure, my top favorite characters are Rogue, Storm, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast and Psylocke. I have a soft spot for Cyclops (on a few occasions) and I have absolutely learned to detest Gambit (for now. This could change). As for the rest of the cast, I'm mostly cool about them. As for Professor X and Magneto, aside from my unabashed persistence that they are secret-on or are hooking up in the sidelines, I acknowledge them as favorite characters as well but more so as a pairing rather than as individuals. When separated, they both have this uncanny ability of creeping me the fuck out in comics (especially Charles. When is he ever not creepy?). Rest assured I won't be offensive in my opinions.
(5) EVERY ROAD LEADS TO CHERIK. I will find a way to include a Charles/Erik commentary in almost every review possible. Because all roads in X-Men lead to these former friends/enemies/reluctant allies/openly-secret lovers eventually, amirite?
Oh, yes. YES, THEY DO.