FLASHBACK: The X-Men of My Discontent


The following was originally published on iFanboy on May 2, 2004:

In 2001, when Marvel Comics announced that Grant Morrison would be taking over the writing reins on the newly named New X-Men, I have to admit, I was both excited and scared. Being the resident X-Men geek at iFanboy, any changes — good or bad — would have the most effect on me, as I’ve been committed to these characters for longer than I can remember. Aside from a touch of commentary and a review here and there, I’ve remained a tad silent over the roughly three years of Morrison’s tenure, wanting to hold back my judgment until the run was over. Well, Morrison is now exclusive at DC Comics and his last issue of New X-Men came out a few weeks ago. My self-imposed silence must come to an end. Therefore, I went into my collection and pulled every issue Morrison wrote, including the key 2001 Annual, and re-read them cover to cover, because even I don’t remember every exacting detail of 3+ years of comics and I wanted to give the run a fair shake.

Part of my excitement for Morrison taking over as the writer of New X-Men stemmed from his run on JLA, which was not only my first exposure to Morrison’s work but it also got me interested in JLA as well as the entire DC Universe. I felt that Morrison had an obvious respect for those characters and, while taking a modern approach to his stories and situations, he remained true to the characters and the team’s history. So knowing his approach there, I thought his time on New X-Men could yield similar results. But what scared me about Morrison was that “Rock Star” edge he has to himself. The other books he has written have shown some level of rebellion in them, such as The Invisibles, Kill Your Boyfriend and other offbeat Vertigo titles. Combine that with the tongue-in-cheek response the X-Men often get due to their reputation of convoluted plots and excess, and I was worried that there would be a part of Morrison that would approach the book with the aim of wanting to take these tired characters and shaking them up, most likely pissing off the core group of X-Men fans. Upon reading the announcement of his hiring, I felt like it could in either direction. What it ended up being was a slight combination of the two. Morrison is obviously a smart writer and realized what a goldmine of possibilities he had in these characters. Add in a heightened level of popularity due to the X-Men films, and Morrison seemed to have lowered the respect-for-the-past level and increased the modern-edge aspect. He seemed to choose to really shake things up, much more than he did in JLA, taking the risk of possibly pissing off legions of readers. While he made his mark on JLA by taking timeless characters and modernizing them, I feel he has equally made his mark on New X-Men by taking established characters and tearing them apart, attempting to leave his mark on the book for years to come.

It’s important to note that in this article, I won’t be touching on the artwork aspect of Grant Morrison’s run. To say anything less than it being a complete and utter failure/disappointment would be sugarcoating the topic. Marvel sold us the team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. For whatever reasons, Quitely couldn’t keep up. So we had a rotation which included Igor Kordey, Ethan Van Sciver, Phil Jimenez, Chris Bachalo and Marc Silvestri, among others. Now I’m not detracting from any of those artists, in fact I’m a huge fan of Jimenez and loved every issue he drew, my expectations for a “run” include consistency in art. The Uncanny X-Men of old was at its best during Chris Claremont and John Byrne, or Claremont and Silvestri, and finally Claremont and Jim Lee. Hell, even Morrison’s JLA was set in the foundation of Howard Porter’s art. Without consistency of an artist, it’s very hard for a comic book run to be memorable.

That said, let’s begin looking at Morrison’s words.

In his first issue dated July 2001, #114, the shakeup began and I have to admit my gut reaction was to not like it. In this first issue, we’re introduced to the following changes:

  • Perennial villain Emma Frost as a member of the X-Men.
  • New uniforms which were suggestive of the movies.
  • A renewed focus by Professor Xavier on the school for mutants.
  • The introduction of a new mutant-tracking device, Cerebra, that further magnifies the Professor (or any telepath’s) power.
  • Introduction of “second mutations,” the idea that mutants can mutate again later in life, such as the Beast evolving into more of a feral-like animal and Emma Frost being able to turn her body into an organic diamond.


From the get-go, I had a bad feeling about it. After re-reading the run now, I realize that I was just being a bit of a stereotypical fanboy who feared change. Looking back on it now, the changes he made initially weren’t that bad, with the exception of the “second mutations” which has just been a poor plot device meant to shake up possibly tired characters. The whole idea just seems to me like a lazy solution for inciting change in a character. In the first series of story arcs, issues #114 through #126, we’re treated to the return of a new breed of Sentinel, a new villain in a pith helmet: Cassandra Nova, the destruction of Genosha and the murder of 16 million mutants (including Magneto), and the “outing” of Professor Xavier and the X-Men in a very public manner when Professor Xavier announces to the world that he is a mutant, as are all the students at his school. Within just a few issues Morrison had shaken the core of the X-Men by making them no longer hiding in the shadows. By weaving various plot twists and character behaviors, Morrison was able to, over the course of 13 issues, accomplish quite a bit in a very well thought out manner. He laid the groundwork for very subtle character interactions and plot twists, that once executed, made perfect sense and continued the suspense of the stories. He introduced new characters within the school as well as laid the groundwork for future story arcs. Now while every story had the Morrison ”big ideas” flare, at the end of the day he really did not do anything “new”. Sentinels? Professor Xavier being possessed by an evil entity? Pitting the X-Men against the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard? At the end of the conflict Professor Xavier can walk again? These are all story ideas that have been done several times over in the X-Men’s 40 + years. What he did do though was to inject those concepts with a more 21st Century feel. The new mutants at the school have taken a more physical manifestation of their mutations, which is a logical evolution of the concept. In the 1960’s every mutant was fairly normal looking but with some level of “difference” be it wings, over-sized hands/feet or the ability to shoot energy from his eyes. But now, in 2001, we have students at the school who look like mutants. Whether it’s the character of Beak who looks like a human/chicken crossbreed or a character whose body consists of see-through wax.


Probably the most important aspect of the first year of Morrison’s run was the 2001 Annual. Aside from being in the ridiculous “widescreen” horizontal format, this one issue laid the groundwork for the next two years of Morrison’s stories:

  • The introduction of the character Xorn. A mutant hidden in China whose mutant ability is that his brain is a small star that is contained within an iron mask. Somehow, this allows him to heal humans. Xorn joins the X-Men as their healer and the teacher of the “Special” class at Xavier’s School.
  • The “night” in Hong Kong between Cyclops and Emma Frost. Whatever happened that night, it sowed the seeds for the love triangle between Cyclops, Jean Grey and Emma Frost.
  • The further development of the villain John Sublime and the U-Men, a group of people who through surgery and grafts attempt to make regular humans into mutants or “The Third Species”.


The first year of Morrison’s run, in retrospect, was really good. I can honestly say that with a high degree of confidence. Despite all the changes, and my over-protectiveness of these characters I’ve read over the years, Morrison really did move them into more modern stories with very well written dialogue, which made the book a much more interesting read. I take issue with the fact that in the end, as mentioned above, he didn’t really do anything original, in that the majority of the main plot developments have been done before in some shape or form. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Morrison revealed that by telling familiar stories, he was laying the groundwork for what was probably planned as his original, earth shaking stories. Unfortunately, what was planned versus what was presented were two very different things.

Somewhere in the second year of Morrison’s run, there was what I like to call, a “point of departure. ” It was the point where either Morrison checked out of being interested in the X-Men or perhaps simply began failing in the execution of his stories/plans. Through three main story arcs in the second year, Morrison began to show cracks in his foundation of the stories being told.

The introduction of the Weapon Plus program and the character of Fantomex, issues #128 through #131, was the first suggestion of the beginning of the end. All of a sudden, we’re presented with a new character that claims to have all the answers about the Weapon Plus program, which was a super-soldier-like program to create soldiers who would eradicate mutants. Surprise, surprise, we find out that Wolverine was not Weapon “X” but rather Weapon “10” with the “X” being a roman numeral. We find this out through a very confusing and convoluted story that created more questions than answers over the course of three issues. But that may have been a part of the plan, as Morrison would later re-visit Fantomex and the Weapon Plus program later in his run, which was woefully disappointing to me. How many writers have attempted to make sense of Wolverine and the Weapon X/Plus/whatever program? Can’t they just leave well enough alone?

After a series of a few seemingly random issues, #132 through #134 where the only substantive action that occurred was the introduction of another new character, Dust, whose role in the X-Men seems to have been to be used by Xorn later in the run rather than being introduced into the X-Men as a legitimate team member. While the use of her powers was later utilized by Xorn, I would not be surprised if she joins Maggott in the hall of forgotten X-characters, which is always a point of disappointment for me as an X-Fan. I don’t like to be introduced to new characters, only to have them forgotten by the next writer. That said, after her introduction and some seemingly wandering issues, we are led into the next big story arc which I see has Morrison’s biggest failure and the actual “point of departure” where Morrison loses control of the story.

Issue #134 of New X-Men introduces the character of Kid Omega aka Quentin Quire, a geeky kid who is described as one of Xavier’s most promising students. Although for the life of me I can’t ascertain what his mutant power is, but I’m guessing it is something surrounding Omega-level telepathy. Regardless, Quire is a great example of a freak within the freaks, not being liked by other students, ridiculed by the “cool” students, including the creepy and story divisive Stepford Cuckoos, a group of five identical girls with linked telepathy powers who run around like Mini-Emma Frosts and act as Morrison’s story catalysts from this story arc until the end of his run. After finding out that he is adopted, Quire goes off the deep end and further alienates himself from the teachings of Xavier. Fueled by a new street drug called “Kick, ” Quire and his friends within the school have their powers magnified and create the “Omega Gang. ” Their formation leads to the three-issue arc called “Riot At Xavier’s” where, very foolishly, Quire and gang attempt to take over the school.

Of all the stories Morrison came up with for this run, I believe this one, told through issues #134 through #138 to be the biggest disappointment. Long story, short – Morrison simply rushed through this one. He was sitting on a goldmine of ideas. The combination of a drug that mutant kids were taking that affects their abilities, Quire’s alienation within the school, and the rebellion against Xavier’s ideas could have been a story of amazing potential. I don’t want to sit here and second-guess his decisions, but the idea of the drug problem running through the school and a groundswell of rebellion from within could have been developed and cultivated over at least a year or so into a huge conclusion of which the results probably would have been remembered for a long time. Instead, we got a rush job that quickly got swept away by the Scott/Jean/Emma love triangle as that subplot comes to a head at the same time as the student rebellion. So we ended up with a situation where the consequences of the student rebellion are swept aside quickly for the obvious and possibly easier conflict between Scott and Jean, when she finds out about Emma. There are only two things of importance that came from this rushed story arc. The first being the abandoning of Emma by the Stepford Cuckoos who continue to be a mere plot catalyst to the different storylines Morrison weaved. This time, they lose one of their five in the riot, become disenfranchised from Emma’s teachings and are the ones who tip off Jean to Emma’s relationship with Scott. The second, in the conclusion as Quentin dies, he reveals hints of the future yet to come, foreshadowing Morrison’s final story arc and his swan song.


The Riot storyline is followed by yet another three issue, ill conceived rushed story arc entitled “Murder at the Mansion, ” (issues #139 – #141) where after the explosive results of Jean discovering Scott and Emma’s relationship, Emma is shot. This turn of events leads to the confusing visit of Bishop and Sage from the pages of X-Treme X-Men where they conduct an investigation of the shooting. Quite honestly, it was when these books were released where I started scratching my head trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Emma’s murder is, of course, suspected to be tied to either Jean or Scott because of the love triangle. But, I think, that Bishop discovers a connection between the drug Kick and the murder. Somewhere it is thrown in there that Beak and Angel (the new Angel, a girl with insect-like wings) had sex and gave birth to little Beak/Angel babies. Angel is suspected of murdering Emma, but it’s deduced that Esme, of the Stepford Cuckoos was involved, apparently in dealing Kick to students. She flees from the mansion, claiming to be a part of the “new” world that is coming. The arc concludes with everyone at Xavier’s wondering where Scott is and the readers are left trying to figure out what really just happened.

And where is Scott? He’s getting drunk at the Hellfire Club (which apparently is now a strip club for mutants?) with Wolverine who’s about to leave with Fantomex to break into Weapon Plus and we spiral off into another confusing story arc for four issues, numbers #142 – #145. Now I don’t know how crucial it was for Fantomex to break up Weapon Plus and how much more of the “truth” about himself Logan can take, but after the arc, we’re supposedly left with all the pieces in place for the penultimate story arc, “Planet X” where Morrison’s master plan comes together. In Issue #146 we see Xorn take his mask off to reveal that he is none other than Magneto.

Now this was the “shocking” plot twist that will define Morrison’s run on New X-Men. By laying in wait as Xorn, Magneto has been augmenting his powers with Kick, allying himself with Esme of the Stepford Cuckoos and the kids in the “special” class. He orchestrates the scattering of the X-Men and makes his move by taking Xavier’s legs away (because when Xorn “healed” him, it was just Magneto manipulating nano-sentinels in his spine) and first destroys the school, and then moves down to Manhattan and destroys it, in direct response for the destruction of Genosha. He renames New York as New Genosha and starts weeding out the humans from the mutants in Manhattan. He then reveals that he plans to resurrect his plot to switch the magnetic poles, thus flip-flopping the Earth creating “Planet X, ” through issues #145 – #150.

Magneto’s actions, which only scattered the X-Men, allowed them to regroup, unleash the Phoenix within Jean and fight back against Magneto. Ultimately, Wolverine killed Magneto (cutting his head off with his claws) just after Magneto sent an electromagnetic pulse through Jean, giving her a lethal stroke, killing her. This manic story arc ends with Jean dying and a flash forward to 150 years in the future where a group of humans discover the “Phoenix Egg” on the moon.

For the final four issues of Morrison’s run, numbers #151 – #154, we’re treated to his attempt at “Days of Future Past”. It’s 150 years in the future, and the world in unrecognizable. Hank McCoy has become infected by “Sublime,” which I assume is the same “thing” motivating “Mr. Sublime” who created the U-Men back in the first year of Morrison’s run. Now, in the future, he is plotting to take over the world with his army of genetically engineered clones with X-Men powers. Along with the Beast, Wolverine, Cassandra Nova, the remaining Stepford Cuckoos (now Three-In-One) and Fantomex’s companion E. V.A. are all still alive and keep Xavier’s dream and the X-Men alive. They gear up for their final fight against the Beast who has re-captured the Phoenix Egg and hatches it to bring back Jean, with no memory of the past. Of course, the X-Men win. Beast is defeated, Sublime extracted from him, Wolverine finally dies, and Jean ends up in some weird place made up of hundred of other Phoenixes. She learns that the world became what it was because Cyclops succumbed to loneliness after her death, so she tweaks the past universe and nudges Cyclops into Emma’s arms, thus changing the possible future.

The most noticeable detail of this final story arc is the number of “What the hell? ”s it elicited. Cassandra Nova is alive and on the X-Men and further she was really Ernst, one of Xorn’s special kids? How is Wolverine, the Stepford Cuckoos and Beast still alive in 150 years? Just question after question that Morrison needed to explain.

Again, Morrison, in his final three story arcs, takes story ideas that have been done ad nauseam in the past pages of the various X-Men books, gives it his “modern” spin and presents it as if it was an original idea. Wolverine wanting to find out the truth about Weapon X? Someone hiding in a different identity? Magneto flipping the magnetic poles? Jean becoming Phoenix again and eventually dying… again? A bleak future scenario? These are all themes we’ve seen time and time again. It feels as if the only thing Morrison gave us was the same stories we’ve read for 20+ years, but hid them in convoluted plot twists and inexplicable events. The fact that, as the series progressed, there was a four to five paragraph recap at the beginning of the issue seems to show that even the editors, much less Morrison, had trouble keeping up.

And so, after 41 issues Morrison definitely left his mark on the X-Men. Will it be remembered as one of the seminal periods of these characters’ history? I don’t really know. As of right now, my gut feeling is that it won’t be. Or at least when compared to his run on JLA, it will always fall short. In comics these days it’s so cliché to say someone didn’t live up to his or her potential, but I really believe this is the case with Morrison and New X-Men. In looking back, Morrison really started out on the right foot. He shook things up, made changes and then started weaving plots. But for whatever reason, he fell back on the established “X-Men type” stories and after the “point of departure” rushed through them. I could forgive the lack of originality if the stories were paced a bit slower and seemed more thought out. Moreover, had he taken his few original ideas and cultivated them, I think we would be talking about this run as of the greats.

Grant Morrison has developed himself as a Rock Star creator and has the resume to prove it. Did the three years of stories on New X-Men help to further establish that? I would have thought no, until I came across this.

First thing I thought of was the old “Clapton is God” graffiti in England back in the 1960s. So maybe Morrison has continued to be elevated as the rock-star comic writer. But for this comic book reader, and X-Men fan, this was just a total, and yet another disappointment to the characters I love.

Comments

  1. Great review, and blast from the past.

    I like a lot of ideas and ground work Morrison laid down, but I think he rushed things too fast, and never developed a lot of his ideas properly.  The Jean-Emma-Scott thiing has laid the ground work for the characters since then, and a lot of other stuff was excellent, as was the creation of the character Dust.  The destruction of Genosha has also echoed through the X-Men books since.

    It suffered from his kind of being a prima-donna/rock star as you note.  Kiling Magneto in such a lame way, he tries to take over the world while on drugs and helped by students and not the Brotherhood, was always going to require Marvel to some how undo the death.  There were also too many minor deviations from the main thrust of the stories, such as pretty much anything with Fantomax.  

    Hit and miss the book varied between great ideas and half-baked notions.  A whole host of new characters were created, and only a few of them were woth keeping around.  Angel for example was probably the most annoying character ever.  

     Great to see the blast from the past.  Made me go to my New X-Men Omnibus and take another look.

  2. i love this piece, but you crazy son. 😉 you love and passion for the x-men really shows in this article and i understand all your reason, i just don’t agree with them. I’m also a huge x-fan, i’ve been reading them since i was 10 years old and when i was about 15 i stopped, the 90s lost me. Morrison brave orignal take on the X-men (combined with a similar but completely different approach by Bendis on Ultimate Spidey) brought me back into the fold and i’ve been reading ever since. I have Mr. Morrison to thank for that. This series will always hold a special place on my bookshelf: My Favorite writer on my favorite series. Like i said: you crazy!

  3. ron. this is a great piece. i loved this New X-Men series. I will be completely honest with you i have NO idea how i even stumbled upon this series because I started it AGES ago. I only collected up to the 4th book but then i found the other ones near another Comic Store that i go to. I finally have all of them. They were great books. I liked how they added a nice array of characters and had many different story arcs. Im glad that you brought this blast-from the- past back out here. It shows your love for the X-Men. After I got Messiah Complex, this re-newed my love for the X-Books and now i get X-Force, X-Factor, Uncanny X-Men, Youn X-Men, and X-Men Legacy. None of these can compare to the older ones, but they do the trick for now at least.

    Great Review!!

  4. I have to say I thought Riot at Xavier’s was my favorite story of Morrison’s run.  I thought it was a really sharp and witty critque on vapid college "radicals" that either take themselves waaaay too seriously or do what they do than for less than what it says on the tin.  Quentin ends up doing everything to impress a girl (which ends up dying in order to stop him).  The moment the others are all gung-ho and ready to fight tooth-and-nail… until Cyclops breaks Redneck’s nose to where they all regress into whiny teens about being "assaulted."  The big sapien/mutant "atrocity" that sparked everything turns out to be a big misconception.  I thought it was a really biting piece on rebellion itself and the kind of culture we’ve set up where kids are encouraged to be snotty brats with a sense of entitlement of respect without earning it.

  5. Great review! I do slightly disagree but cant argue much with it. I have only red the first story, E is for Extinction, and felt that it was strong but over hyped. Im not a big fan of Quitleys art which made me not pursue further into the Morrison run but now i just might have to!

  6. I have great admiration for you, Ron, because I have a standing deal with a friend that if I ever start acting like I might — sort of, maybe — want to reread Morrison’s X-men, she’ll come to my house and hit me with a hammer, to save me the pain of reading the thing.  It’s not that I think all of it’s bad; it has what’s very nearly my favorite Jean Grey characterization, and since she’s probably my favorite all-time character, that’s saying a lot.  On the flip side, a lot of my problem with the series came from the Scott and Emma characterization — I came to this series immediately from having read Astonishing x-men & the Dark Phoenix saga; I expected New X-men to fill in the space in between those series for these characters and I just did not think it did a good job of that.  As you mention here, the soap opera with those characters came to dominate and push aside potentially more interesting story lines and (for my money, at least) it just wasn’t very good soap opera.  It’s not that I object to Morrison’s ideas or his reinvention of the X-men; it’s just that the execution didn’t follow through in a lot of cases (as this article gives very good examples).  I honestly don’t know where to apportion the responsibility for this, between Morrison, the artists, and editors who didn’t always seem to be on the same page.  Whatever the reason, though, I classify this run as an ambitious and sometimes intriguing failure.  But I could be wrong.  Though I’ll never know, because of the way I’d rather hit myself with a hammer than try to read it again.

    And for what it’s worth, I always thought the big villain in the last arc should have been Apocalypse instead of Magneto.  Then his behavior would have made a lot more sense, plus there would have been actual follow up to "Cyclops is traumatized by his experience with Apocalypse" that went beyond ‘playing psychic footsie while my wife runs the team.’

  7. thanks for a great article Ron, I can’t say I agree with it but like mikegraham6 said, it shows the love/hate relationship with the X-men which I can completely sympothize with.  I loved this run even with the choppy art up until the epilouge with the Phoenix Egg which makes no sense to me no matter how many times I reread the run.  My main gripe is that as soon as it was over things just seemed to have no direction until M-Day and then there was no direction at all seemingly until Messiah came along.  I enjoyed a lot of the ideas of a new culture and society and way of thinking introduced through a blooming mutant culture but the reset button got hammered down the second this run was over and honestly, the X-books have not grabbed my attention since really.  What does it mean to be a mutant in the current Marvel universe?  I haven’t seen the books explore that in a good while, long before M-day even. 

  8. @Kimbo — I think that Astonishing X-men really did try to keep the Morrison vision going forward — it changed superficial things like the costume, but the speech Cyclops gives in issue 1, and the whole political focus of the first arc, with its emphasis on the cure, feels like the same kind of ideas that Morrison was dealing with.  The problem for me is that none of the other writers seemed to take up that challenge. The only exception — and people may mock me for saying this, but I believe it’s true — it the ‘Burnt Offering arc in ‘Cable & Deadpool’; that story and Astonishing: Gifted, taken together, give a tantalizing look at what this franchise could have been. Then M-day came in and turned the X-men story back into a ‘ragged survivors on the outskirts of society’ tale; that has it’s good points but it’s definitely a retrenchment in terms of scope and ambition.  And it’s particularly frustrating that Decimation almost reads like an afterthought in what’s primarily an Avengers story.

  9. Thanks Ron for this article.  Just the other day I was telling someone how I hate Morrison for what he did to the Xmen.  I think we were talking about Batman RIP coming up and I said I won’t read Morrison.  Then after I left I was wondering if it was as bad as I remembered and was considering  rereading it.  Now thanks to you I don’t.  I now remember that the art had a lot to do with me not liking it and the beginning wasn’t bad but like you said he must have just lost interest and got worse as he went along.  Now I’m left wondering when will the Xmen books be great again.

  10. Add my voice to the others: Morrison’s New X-Men is what got me back into comics. I had been checking out a few different trade paperbacks in Borders, reading them for free the Starbucks there, but it was New X-Men that actually made me want to start checking out the characters again on a regular basis. In my opinion he’s far and away the second-best X-writer in history.

    On a sidenote–and I’m not directing these comments to anyone here: One of the common criticism of "gutsy" storyllines like New X-Men or Batman RIP is that "Well they’re not going to last anyway." And yet these voices seem to be the same ones to worry so much about the writer "changing" things too much before the comics come out. Just enjoy them, people. It seems ridiculous to want to take a freeze frame of a fictional character or group of characters and insist "I want it THAT way FOREVER." These are comics and as we’ve seen time and again, any later writer can always change things back the way they were before someone like Morrison got the CRAZY idea to maybe, I dunno, actually tell stories with dire consequences. Just a thought. (I mean, go look at issues from the ’50s and ’60s: the status quo was changing all the time and yet reverting to normal before too long. Batman has "died" many times before, and so has Professor X and Jean Grey. What’s important is how interesting those stories were or were not… and in my opinion Morrison’s are quite interesting.)

  11. Morrison rocked on about 80% of NEW X-MEN.  If the Omnibus was still in print I would totally buy it.

  12. Whenever I got back into comics heavy it was about 2004 and the biggest thing that entered me back into the world of comics was that I discovered a very decent size offering of graphic novels and TPB’s at my local library in the town I lived in at the time.  Among their offerings was about 75% of Morrison’s run on New X-Men.  Not having picked up an X-Men comic in about 10 years at that point I jumped in and started reading.  To be honest…I loved it.  I was hooked because I remembered loving X-Men comics from years ago and also the cartoon in the 90’s but had really no exposure for a long time.  After finishing that series I proceeded to gorge myself on the other titles they had and then move on to other stuff. 

    So I guess I have an affinity for Morrison’s run on that book because it was a big part in getting me back into comics.  Now, having said that…I have purchased the run for my collection and have re-read it since that time.  I do see flaws now that I did not see then because I was not accustomed to really seeing those when I first read it.  But I guess for me it will always rank a little higher because it enabled me to return this world I had neglected for a decade.

  13. i loved just about every moment of morrisons new x-men. it seems to me that, to say it wasnt all that great because he just respun old x-themes with his own wacky, convoluted thread, is a little counter-intuitive. isnt that all anyone expected him to do? he gave us some great character moments, some great quotables, and some really interesting couplings: beak and angel, scott and emma, sure, but let’s not forget wolvie and domino in the annual.

     the only shortcoming of the run in my opinion, was the art. to be sailing through the winds of frank quitely and then be suddenly jarred upon the rocks of igor kordey was not fun at all. van sciver was another dissapointment. i like his current work a bit more, but back then, quitely was a revelation to me. thank god he did we3 (which i nearly shed a tear at) and all star supes.

     anyway, if i had to review the run, id give it an easy 5 out of 5 for story, and a 4 out of 5 for overall art. i preordered that omnibus the second it showed up in previews and raced to my LCS that day to pick it up. its the most ive ever spent on something comic book related, not counting that 12 inch cobra commander statue, which i later sold.

  14. i agree with conor, morrison’s run rocked most of the time. the only other x-book i’ve bought regularly is astonishing, and i don’t think whedon’s run is as much fun.

  15. Yeah, even at 80%, Morrison’s run in FANTASTIC when compared to the runs both immediately before and after (and Uncanny Manga X-Men and other rel. titles DURING the run, w/ the exception of Joe Casey’s work).

  16. …and ESPECIALLY when compared to Chuck Austen’s work on Uncanny.

    I seem to remember and issue of Twisted Toyfare Theater where all of Chuck Austen’s stories are stricken from continuity in a trial scene, and Nightcrawler leaps out of his seat and exclaims, "Voohoo, I don’t suck anymore!" My feeling exactly.

  17. I remember reading in some collection or another Morrison’s written "pitch" for what he wanted to do with this book and finding it very intriguing and well. It turned out I loved the foundation and hated the house.

    Creators often talk about mainstream work as "playing with someone else’s toys." Morrison and Mark Millar seem particularly fond of attaching a lot of the toys to bottle rockets and M-80s and leaving them broken on the floor when they’re done. I’d be the first to admit that these toys had a lot of dust on them, but that doesn’t mean the solution is having everyone in Westchester take a bunch of peyote. (Would you lend your car to Grant Morrison?)

    Fantomex? Really? 

    Oh, and Xorn-as-Magneto is complete nonsense; even he didn’t know he was going to do that. Remember that issue where Magneto wrote a private diary as Xorn? Like you do? When you’re pretending your brain is a star? "I’ll want to get into their good graces, maybe get accepted as a member of the faculty. But I’ll have to play it low-key, and they’ll have to want me to keep my mask on… oh! I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of this sooner. I’ll just tell them my brain is a star the size of a volleyball. That should be tough to check on, and at least as plausible as the Multiple Man’s powers. There’s my play."

     

  18. Great jod Ron! I don’t know that much a bout the X-men but i have few of the morrison run on the x-men.I rember reading the horizontal "widesreen"iusse very well for i was reading it in shcool when 911 happen. One of the thing i was wondering about his run was what was wepen plus? This will tell you how much i know about the x-men i was’t even sure that this was in the 618 U.I thught it was there vison of wepenX.But i think remder something about weapon X.So there i was lost tell now. Any way the two things i like about Morrisons run was the freaks thing and the weapons X really being weapon 10. 

  19. I just bought the Omnibus in early spring and plowed through it over a few nights — I was so impressed with how GMo reinvented all things X, for a short while at least. "Riot at Xavier’s" and "E for Extinction" were two of the best mutant stories of the past 20 years.

    I have to concede that the artist shifts were disturbing, to say the least. Igor Kordey, while a talented panel/page layout artist, was not in top form as a linework draftsman in this one.

  20. @Jimski — I agree 100 percent.  I admire Morrison’s ambition, but ambition is only part of the equations.  One of the editors I saw on a panel at NYCC said something I loved — ‘ideas are important, but you can burn through 10 great ideas on page 1, and then what?   I think Ron’s analysis above is great, because he points out that after a certain point, the series fell back into familiar patterns.  Better than Chuck Austen’s Uncanny, yes, but that’s not much of a standard.  

    Incidentally, a bit of that manifesto was posted on the forums at some point in the Rev3 forums in the last couple weeks, you can probably dig it up.  I thought it was a great pitch, but if that was really what GM thought he was doing (and I’m skeptical) he didn’t keep it up very long.  

  21. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    There’s a lot of words up above me, so if this has been mentioned, don’t mind me.

     

    They’re apparently reprinting the whole run in big "Ultimate" (because that’s not confusing) edition paperbacks.  Looks like two of the original trade volumes in each book.  I already have the first two trades, so I’m going to jump on the second one (which Amazon lists as coming out in August).

    Here’s the first one.  

     http://www.amazon.com/X-Men-Grant-Morrison-Ultimate-Collection/dp/0785132511/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210120190&sr=8-1 

  22. Ron, here’s what I don’t get about you and the X-Men: which X-writers DO you like?  After Claremont (the first time), who has tickled your fancy?  You hated Lobdell  who was on the books for most of the 90s and no one has really been on it for long until the current writers.  Joe Casey?  his stuff was about as weird as Morrison’s.  I recognize that this article was written years ago, but reading it I kept wondering whether you disliked morrison’s run because it wasn’t as good as you expected or if you just didn’t like it.  If it is the latter, what/who do you like?

  23. Wow. That’s a lot to take. I didn’t read the E for Extinction arc, but I did read the rest. Fantomex is a wierd character, but I didn’t like that arc at all. One part that I didn’t like at all was the fact that Xorn is Magneto. Xorn was about to grow on me as my favourite character and then he ruined it. Magneto’s death was bad. Killing Phoenix didn’t bother me. I was bored with the Future arc at the end. Overall, Morrison’s run is controversal. However, there are still some good stuff came out of it.

    1. The X uniform. – It was really different from before. especially wolferine’s. Not the best, but it led to the uniforms on Astonishing X-men, which is my favourite. 

    2. Introduction of Dust – She was not fogotten after Morrison’s run, but instead, she is on Young X-men eversince.

    3. Second Mutation – Even though House of M killed it. Some of the character’s second mutation was useful.

    4. Students from New X-men – Most of them lost their powers becuase of House of M and became members of New Warriors.

    5. The Love Triangle – Hey. I actually like Cyclops and Emma Frost together more than with Jean Grey.

    6. Emma Frost’s Uniform – Do I have to say anymore? Did anyone actually attempt to wear that at conventions?

    These are some of the things that came out good and it’s in continuity. I think House of M was worse becuase it killed off all those characters that were created during Morrion’s run.