It’s always great when a comic book comes together. It’s even better when a whole family of comics is firing on all cylinders. One of the things that is really making me a happy fanboy at the moment is the strength of the X-Men and their related titles. In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not reading X-Men: Legacy, Cable, or Young X-Men. But a guy’s gotta have principles, right?
But I am reading a boat load of X-Men at the moment. Far more than I was reading a year ago. X-Factor and Uncanny X-Men have been excellent. And I can’t argue with Warren Ellis if he wants to write Morrison’s New X-Men and call it Astonishing. What’s in a name, right?
The relocation to San Francisco is off to a good start. It’s shaping up in a way that will allow the X-Men to fight the big epic battles of old against their classic foes while also allowing writers to push the stories back into the realm of social and political commentary. I’m as excited to see an updated Hellfire Club storyline as I am to see the X-Men in street clothes examining crimes scenes and hob-nobbing with the mayor of San Francisco. It just feels like a positive set of dynamics for a group of beloved characters.
So my love for the X-Men and of their current direction is no secret. But I can’t help but laugh. Because this all seems to be coming about by accident. The truth is, the big guns at Marvel, the guys who write the big crossovers and dictate much of the creative direction just don’t seem that interested in the X-Men. This has allowed them to avoid the fates of Iron Man and Captain America. Marvel has a stable of talented writers who simply don’t like to be fettered by ongoing continuity. Ed Brubaker had Daredevil on another continent during Civil War. Peter David wrote a few Civil War tie-in issues of X-Factor… but those issues had absolutely nothing to do with Civil War, aside from cover design.
The Bendis-verse, as Earth 616 has become, has little use for the X-Men, other than an occasional Wolverine appearance. And it’s allowed them to get back their roots in some key ways while also paving some interesting new narrative ground. It’s a happy accident that has helped me to reunite with the characters that got me interested in comics in the first place.
So, second printers, I ask you this: What are some other good examples of characters, concepts, or teams that have benefited from being left alone?