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On The Hot Seat: Decade X

Written by Steven Harris on Sunday, September 19 2010 and posted in Features

Porcelain38 and E_Galston discuss the past 10 years of X-Men stories!

It's been an interesting decade for Marvel's family of mutants. Today staff writers Porcelain38 and E_Galston look back on what worked, what sucked, and how Marvel has handled the X-franchise for the past ten years.

In 2004, Joss Wheldon took control the X-men universe with his title Astonishing X-Men.  Within that run he presented a "cure", a resurrection of a fan favorite character and the destruction and rebuilding of Scott Summers as a leader. This was the starting point for the next decade of X-men stories.

E_Galston: Joss Whedon's run brought the X-men back to being "heroes."  After the black leather look of Grant Morrison's run it was a breath of fresh air to have the x-men in costumes again.  The return of Colossus was great. Marvel released the "swerve" with fake pages of Jean's resurrection so when it was actually Colossus it was surprising.  Whedon was able to focus on each character, while telling a broad story.

Porcelain38: The first X-Men title I ever bought was Astonishing X-Men, so it holds a special place in my collection. Even though issues were largely delayed the run was fantastic and well worth reading each month. My favorite moment of that entire run was the "death" of Scott Summers. Something about that death comes across emotional and more personal than any other death in the Marvel U this decade. Whedon took a mostly one dimensional character and literally broke him down to his lowest point, only to rebuild him as one of the most dynamic characters in the Marvel U, right now.

Then in 2005, Marvel's mutant population was decimated. With three simple words the Scarlet Witch, wished away over 95% of the mutant population leaving behind only 198 mutants.

E_G:I loved House of M, I loved how some of the mutants changed with the mutants in charge.  On the other hand the Decimation clearly changed the fate of the entire mutant population. I really wish that some of the "major" x-men had lost there powers.  I mean the only major characters that lost their powers were Professor X, Polaris, Jubilee and Danielle Moonstar.  Some of the reactions in the mansion were really screwed up.  I got the sending all the non-mutant students home, but it didn't make sense to kick out Dani, but allow Polaris to stay.  Another thing i hated, was the fact that of the major characters to be depowered, the majority of them have their powers back in one form or another.

It also made the surviving students really feel important, as they were for all intents and purposes the last generation.

P38: House of M was one of the better "event" books put out by either company in the past decade. For years we had seen Magneto as a terrorist or a fanatic, but seeing him in charge of all reality, and have reality be better for it was great. It also elevated the Scarlet Witch up to a point where she became a serious character, and not just a b-level mutant.

The decimation was greatly needed for the Marvel U. There were way too many mutants running around at the time, so condensing those numbers down helped readers actually care about the few mutants. At the end of House of M, it was implied that Iceman was decimated, but wasn't. It would have been interesting if Marvel has de-powered one of the original X-men, but instead we got a de-powered Professor X, which  was just ok.

When the mutants had their backs on the ropes, a flicker of hope appeared. Somewhere in Alaska a baby mutant was born and all hell broke loose as everyone battled for custody over the child. At the end of the day an unlikely hero emerged, a traitor was revealed, and a father was slain.

E_G: Messiah Complex was the first real X-men crossover in years.. and u could feel it.  Everyone had a reason for being there.  The New X-Force was created, and it brought all the X-Men together for the first time in a while.  It showed that the Scarlet Witch's depowering might not be permanent. This glimmer sent everyone into action.  My biggest dislike was the turning Bishop evil, it didn't seem to make sense in my mind.

P38: Messiah Complex is my second favorite crossover of all time (the first being the Sinestro War). The status of the X-books were becoming "whoa is me and my mutant brothers", so this crossover injected new life in the books. For once this felt like a necessary crossover and not just something thrown together. I liked the reveal of Bishop being a traitor, actually. Before he was just a left over 90's cliche character that no one really knew what to do with. Now he's become this morally gray anti-hero which is far more interesting than anything he was before.

Instead of sitting in the rubble of their ruined dreams, the X-Men pick up their baggage and move to San Francisco.

E_G: I loved the move to San Francisco, it gave the X-Men a sense of "hope." With everything that happened in the recent months to them they needed a fresh start, and San Francisco was that fresh start.  The city accepted them as "people" and not freaks.  Of all the cities to move to, SF felt like the right fit.

P38: I agree 100%. The X-Men moving to San Francisco was great. Honestly, I never got why they lived in Westchester.

As the X-men were adjusting to life in San Francisco, there was a group that operated in the shadow keeping all of mutant kind safe. The squad known as X-Force removed any type of external threat once and for all. At one point X-Force even had to go into the distant future to protect Hope from Apocalypse.

E_G: X-Force was what was needed at the time.  What started out to many as a joke, turned into a very good book.  Messiah War itself was a clunker, but the majority of the series was the best X-men stories in years.  And keeping it secret really led to many ramifications, friendships were destroyed and people were changed forever.

P38: I know a lot of people liked X-Force, but I never got the appeal but that's just me. Also my biggest complaint is this: The villains brought back from the dead in X-Force's opening arc became the major villains in Second Coming, it you hadn't been reading X-Force you would've had no clue where these resurrected villains came from. I get the idea that they were supposed to be the clandestine unit, but I would've liked to see more ramifications from that book bleed over into the other X-books.

After a pleasant start in their new home, Norman Osborn came down from his throne to kick the mutants out. Instead of laying down and taking it, the X-men defiantly create their own island nation called Utopia. Their actions unified all of mutantkind and brought together long time rivals for a single cause.

E_G: I liked Namor joining the team, and Magneto joining as well.  I was also very much a fan of Cloak and Dagger joining.  The X-men have ALWAYS been about second chances and i believe Magneto deserves a second chance, especially with the dwindling mutant race.   I liked that Osborn created his own X-Men.  One thing i wish happened out of the whole dark x-men crossover was Moonstar keeping her Valkyrie powers, though it didn't happen.  I liked the idea of Scott getting sick of being attacked and just making their own nation.

P38: An X-men team with both Magento and Namor on it is a bit overkill. I enjoy both characters greatly and love the fact the are now staples in the book, but honestly having them both on a team is almost too much firepower. I friggen' loved Magneto's "Praise Caesar" remark to Cyclopes  after the creation of Utopia. Having Magento bow down to Scott Summers was the final act that officially made him the leader of his people.

It was only recently when Hope returned to the present and the X-Men's true enemy revealed themselves. As Hope struggled to accept her position as mutantkind's  messiah, Baiston attacked the X-Men on every front, and killed one of the X-Men's most beloved members. When all was said and done Hope stood triumphant with the X-men as they move on into the future.

E_G:I liked Second Coming, even with the deaths of Nightcrawler and Cable.  Having the X-Men fighting for their future was good. And to have the X-Men come out of it heroes was important.  When X-Force was revealed to the rest of the X-Men, the X-Men's reactions were very good.  I really felt for Wolverine when he realized that his actions were what led to the death of his best friend.  Having Storm and Wolverine's relationship dissolve made a huge impact on me as a reader.  Beast leaving the X-Men over X-force was also a big thing.  Having Hope back gives the X-Men a future.  Cyclops disbanding X-Force was important too, even if Wolverine isn't listening to him.  The X-Men have "hope", pun intended.

P38: I was so pumped for Second Coming but was a little lit down. The point of Messiah Complex is that it brought all of mutant kind together, Second Coming didn't have that same unifying factor. However i enjoyed seeing the fallout from X-Factor, and the conversation between Storm and Wolverine was one of the most well written scenes in a long time. I did enjoy that at the end of the day the X-men stood triumphant for the entire world to see that  they were not going down without at fight.

Throughout the trails the X-Men have been on, many characters have changed. What were some particular characterizations that you have liked, or disliked?

E_G:I really haven't disliked any characterizations, even if at the time it seemed off, most of the time it was story motivated.  The only thing i disliked was Emma kicking Dani out of the mansion, but not other X-men when they were depowered.

P38: I just haven't enjoyed Emma period. The whole is she or isn't she evil thing has been played out to death. I love how Scott Summers went from being a spineless jerk to being the leader of an entire nation.  I enjoyed how the Cable/ Bishop dynamic has changed for the better. I love the fact that Deadpool is away from the X-men now; the less Deadpool the better.

What were your favorite story arcs in the past decade? Least favorite?

E_G: I really liked Messiah Complex and Second Coming.  I also really liked Yost/Kyle's New X-Men run, and their X-Force run.

P38: I really enjoyed the arcs that focused on the science team for some reason. That was a fun group of characters and I hope they stick around in the near future.

Any hopes for the future of the X-franchise?

E_G: What i hope for the future, is that some of the lesser known X-men get some limelight.  The entire mutant universe doesn't revolve around Cyclops, Emma and Wolverine.

P38: Less Deadpool

 Thanks to E_galston and his contributions. 
As always we invite you to share your thoughts below!

P38: Less Deadpool.

Written or Contributed by: Porcelain38

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