Even if you weren’t around Chuck Austen’s tenure on X-Men titles (I sure wasn’t!), it’s hard to be an X-Men fan today and not at least occasionally hear horror stories from fans who lived through it.
In the build to Jonathan Hickman’s takeover as Head of X, Marvel lauded four cornerstones in X-Men history that delivered the kind of imminent change House of X / Powers of X promised: 1975’s Giant-Sized X-Men #1, 1991’s X-Men #1, 1995’s Age of Apocalypse, and 2001’s New X-Men. Not only is 2001 the most recent comparison, but Grant Morrison’s takeover of the X-Men franchise was undoubtedly the most similar in terms of creator star power and uncompromised vision for changing Marvel’s merry mutants.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to see those things 15 years removed from Morrison’s final New X-Men story (his last work with Marvel), and convenient for the House of Ideas to pretend they didn’t desperately try to ignore Morrison’s contributions to X-Men from about 2004 to 2011. The reality is that immediately after the conclusion of New X-Men, Marvel announced the “X-Men Reload” era, a linewide branding featuring creative team overhauls, new series announcements (the most memorable by far is Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday), and a “return” to the X-Men of yesteryear.
Spoilers for discussed comics may follow!
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