My Own Private Reboot Hell: Uncanny X-Men

One of the negatives of living on the west coast of the United States is that often things happen before I even wake up.  Like for example, yesterday, when I woke up to a full inbox of emails and many @ replies on Twitter all wondering what my reaction to the X-Men news was.  It took several shakes of my head to wake up and get to the bottom of it and I found out that Marvel announced Uncanny X-Men #544 would be the final issue of one of Marvel's longest running titles (and one that's never been renumbered), as well as the one title I've been collecting the longest.

My initial first reaction was, "I don't know what's worse, that they're ending it or that the last issue cover and interiors will be drawn by Greg Land." 

But then I shook off my inner snark and gave this some thought.  With X-Men: Schism, the big event coming up for the X-Men, approaching and the fact that Uncanny X-Men is one of Marvel's best performing titles over the past 30 years that makes it's very easy to read between the lines that this isn't the end of Uncanny X-Men.  No, in fact a few hours from now, there's a Marvel Press Conference with Jason Aaron, editor Nick Lowe and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about the X-Men.  It's probably safe to speculate that on that call, or in a few weeks, they will announce after Schism ends, there will be a new Uncanny X-Men #1, written by Kieron Gillen, coming to us very soon.  After the recent sales success with ending Fantastic Four and starting it anew with FF #1 and the launch of Uncanny X-Force #1, it's clear that Marvel has finally set it's sights on Uncanny X-Men #1 to spur a first issue sales burst. 

Now if this news had broken a week and a half ago, I imagine my reaction would be quite different.  Long time iFanbase members may recall me saying on numerous podcasts that if Marvel ever re-numbered Uncanny X-Men, that was it, I'd be out. And that's very much the "Fan" reaction in me.  But after the recent news of DC Comics relaunching their entire line with 52 new #1 issues, and finding myself on the side of the room who thinks many of the reactions from some of the fans are somewhat silly (i.e. comments like "Now all my comics don't matter!" and opinions of that ilk), I find it terribly hard to to sit here and stomp my feet and stop collecting the one title and characters that got me into comics in the first place, especially when it's gotten so good recently!

So here I am.  Call me a hypocrite, call me what you will, but as Uncanny X-Men comes to an end with issue #544 and the inevitable first issue of the new series gets published, I'll still be buying it.

How dare I?? How could I go back on my previous bold statement? Simple, I grew up.  Guess what?  The number on the cover is just that, a number.  It doesn't affect the story inside one iota.  Relaunching a number one issue doesn't change or invalidate the previous 544 issues that I've enjoyed and loved.  I still have those comics and I can go back and read them whenever I choose.  What I do want is good stories and art, and right now, the X-Men franchise is on the right path.  I trust Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron and Rick Remender and all the other creators and editors on the X-Men line of books implicitly.  Sure, relaunching a number 1 issue is a sales stunt, but if that's what it takes to keep me getting X-Men books, then so be it. They've given me enough quality in the past year that I can put some faith in them and look past a number.

Although, if I'm being forced to grow up a bit here, I can make one fan-based request and that when they do launch the new #1 issue of Uncanny X-Men, they revert back to the classic 1980s logo.  Please? Also, change the art team.  I made some suggestions and while I know Cliff Chiang isn't available, Jamie McKelvie would be a great start in the right direction.

So there you have it.  You can call off the suicide watch.  You can quiet the alarms.  The news has come and gone and it's a non-issue now.  Although, I do have to admit that Marvel completely dodged a bullet with this one and Nick Lowe and Axel Alonso should probably send a thank you card to DC Comics for clearing the way for this announcement. Funny how these things happen, eh?


  1. The silence is broken!

  2. I hope the reboot goes exceptionally well.  I’d love to start enjoying the X-men, again.

  3. Also PLEASE change the art team. For all you insane people who like Greg Land, those issues will always exist, in the trash compactor of my mind.

  4. Well done Ron:)

  5. Ah, there he is!
    So, who on the staff found Ron crying in a dark corner with a bottle of painkillers and Jack Daniels and convinced him to write this article? We were worried.

  6. @HailScott  He could also be in shock and doing some kind of coping-mechanism automatic writing…

  7. Like any art- it’s different when it’s personal.

    And no matter what anyone might say- when you stick with follow- support- both financially and in spirit a title like this- You Do own a piece of it- It matters’

    It is being made for you- in a way- and to act disspasionate is insincere.

    Good to see Ron walking the line between logic and a steward of a title he loves. 

  8. McKelvie is a fantastic shout, would be really happy to see him jump on as artist. Maybe they will give us an Uncanny X-Men AND a Brotherhood of Mutants book as the schism cuts everyone in half? That would be cool.

    I guess it’s a bit different here compared to DC.
    DC are bringing all the characters back to earlier points in their careers, here the X-Men will still be kinda at the same point (if not just a bit more unhappy and broken post-Schism) that they were pre-schism. Either way, if it gets Gillen to stay and if it brings in someone to replace Land then I’m more for it

  9. I don’t think anyone is expecting you to stop reading this. (I bet if they got Chuck Austen again to do it then you’d still read it) I think we’re just expecting you to be upset, like all of us, on how lame this renumbering is. Yes I understand it’s all about sales in the end but it’s still pointless to just end a book just to renumber it a few weeks later.

    Yes FF has been great, but other then some costume changes it’s the exact same book. (Don’t tell me it’s all different with Spider-Man now on the team because Hickman has done virtually nothing with Spidey since the book started) I don’t know, I know DC is all going back to #1s in September but at least it’ll last a lot longer then what Marvel does. I’m sure it’ll go back to the 500s numbering in a few short months. 

  10. You know, I think this may be where I jump off X-Men for a while. Not in a “Oh god the renumbering” way, but I’ve been wavering on dropping the line for a while and I can’t say I enjoy many of the top X-books anymore or identify them with anything like what I want to read. (X-Force, X-Men, Wolverine, etc.). So it just seems like a logical place to say “So long, thanks for all the mutants.” For a while at least.

    Reasoned reaction Ron and one I support. I do think it interesting that the highest numbered/longest running comic book is now Hellblazer though. 

  11. I agree that they have to knock this out of the park. I’m good with Gillen writing (enjoyed the .1 issue), but I also agree they need a new art team. I used to love the Dodson’s (think of that Mark Millar Spiderman maxi series), but I’m actually tired of them now. And Land is, well…frustrating (to be kind). [That being said, I kind of like the cover design for the “last” issue.

    I would love to look forward to X-Men again each month. It’s been toooooo long. 

  12. the latest we’ll know about the new #1 is second week of August when they have to announce the November solicits. and that’s the absolute latest.

    BUT, just for discussion’s sake, what if they didn’t relaunch it right away. there are 4-5 main X-books right now. shouldn’t that be sufficient? the cast could be reasonably split up. maybe Wolverine only appears in X-Force. Cyclops and Emma only in adjectiveless, Rogue and Magneto only in Legacy. this X-fan would not be upset by that at all.

    maybe New Uncanny X-Men is what we’ll see the next month. are they officially done with that trend?

  13. I don’t think Kieron Gillen is going to be writing the book, and if he does it’ll be a mistake.

    Not that I don’t love Gillen right now on other books (like Journey Into Mystery) but he isn’t that big of a name is he? I mean we all know him and I’m sure people diehard fans will buy his books. But if we seem to keep comparing the DC relaunch, then we would need a big name to get even more sales right? A #1 book will get some sales, but putting a big name (sigh, like Jason Aaron I suppose) will maybe get even more sales.

    So I have a feeling #544 will be Gillen’s last issue unless the press conference says otherwise. 

  14. @TheNextChampion  Marvel’s doing really well right now.  I’m not sure they’re too worried about it.  I would imagine he will be the writer.

  15. @vadamowens  Yeah but clearly the whole point of this is to get sales. If it was about rebooting the team then they should’ve done that years ago. So if they want more sales then they should get one of their ‘architects’ on it.

  16. @TheNextChampion  I imagine that Aaron will be writing the other X-book, may-be the wolverine led team, that will be spinning out of this event.(unless X-Force is the Wolverine led team).  But I don’t think Gillen will be going any where.  If he was leaving with 544 why would he even be involved with the press conference.  I also think that Marvel tends to put writers on Uncanny X-Men to raise their profile since that book can be written by someone like Chuck Austen and still sell a bunch

  17. i think that the “i’m still going to buy it anyways” is one of the prime reasons why publishers go for the reboot gimmick. They know the long time fans might hate it, but will still buy it, so its low risk attempt to get new readers. There’s nothing wrong with hating the gimmick and buying the issue because really its just a number and if you’re enjoying it who cares….but thats just the sad state of comics these days. 

    The one thing for me about high number books…i assume that is “the main book” so it always used to help me when i was younger decide what to try out…but this was when i was shopping for comics at my childhood drug store spinner racks. 

  18. Bring back Jean

  19. you’re new “numbers don’t matter” ethos must really sting considering all the shit years of comics you read because you were collecting the comic run.

    Here’s my point; this whole point of view about “make your own continuity” and the “stories don’t matter; just have fun” thing that seems to have become more popular on the site in the last few years.

    Fuck that.

    You’re a comic collector. have some pride, enjoy collecting the comic. Don’t justify some half-arsed approach in your mind.

  20. @Apotheosize  she is dead center of that x on the cover.

  21. Look on the bright side!  Now you can own Uncanny X-Men #1-(what was it, 150?) without breaking the bank! Just throw them into the longboxes to fill in your gaps.

  22. I accept all blame for this numbering fiasco. The last few podcasts regarding Uncanny and X-Force finally broke my irrational avoidance of X-Men titles.  I bought the last few Wolverines, Uncanny X-Men and X-Foce and really enjoyed what I’ve read. It only stands to reason that after one issue of Uncanny, I find that the book is going away.

    At this point, “The stories don’t matter, why keep reading” is the punch line to a fading ironic joke.  It’s been said time and time again, it’s fiction. Utltimately none of it matters any more than how late in the season my Cubs are out of contention.  I read because the books bring me joy. Like Ron, the number doesn’t matter. If it’s enjoyable, I’ll be there Wednesday picking up my books. 

  23. @ed209AF  yeah.. but it appears Scott is there twice.. the old costumes seems like scott being nostalgic.

  24. If The Powers That Be at Marvel do decide to make an art change with the renumbering of Uncanny, may I suggest Rebekah Isaacs to trade off arcs with McKelvie? Her art is similar enough to create a unified aesthetic. She recently drew the Brian Wood DV8 mini. 

  25. @ed209AF  I don’t think that cover means she is back

  26. @Apotheosize, ed209AF, siriam

    They’ve brought back Rachel Summers in Legacy, and Nate Grey in New Mutants, used the AoA version of her as a reveal in X-Force, are using her consistently in flashbacks in Adjectiveless, and apparently Wolverine had a vision of her in his book (I guess, I don’t read it) all in the last two months.

    She’s coming back. 

  27. @Slockhart  I agree it’s going to happen. 

  28. @Slockhart They’ve been dropping unsubtle hints for ages.

  29. who is this rational person and what have you done with Ron Richards?!!

  30. I’ve heard they’re rebooting Uncanny to start at #1, and renaming it “Uncanny moustached X-men” and everyone will have moustaches.

  31. The faces on that Horn cover are pretty awful. I really do hope they shake things up art wise and, if not McKelvie, someone who actually generates excitment. 

  32. That was a very good read, great stuff Ron.

  33. I actually prefer this kind of rebooting as a result of something like Schisim or even the Spidey marriage disolve as opposed to what DC is doing with there massive reboot.  I feel that new beginings or jump on points for new readers benefits the old and new audience a like.  At 34, I’m very acceptable to overlooking continuity.  I look for a story told with characters I love and don’t care if they match up to a story that happened 12 or 3 years ago.  I mean consistancy is great by story matters most.

  34. @Cooper  Dazzler with a moustache would be pretty renegade.

  35. @MBurnsOH  That’s what Flashpoint is.

  36. @ResurrectionFlan  I decided to not pick up Flashpoint and my idea was that the DC characters come out of it younger and altered.  Spidey still seemed the same person after Mephisto just not married.  Superman appears to be a young man.  I rekoned this with Man of Steel after Crisis.  I mean I know Jason Todd was Robin before and after the last reboot but the universe changed, no Superboy etc. Schisim seems less to change the X-Universe and more like starting a new chapter in the same book.  DC seems like its starting a new book.

  37. I know a lot of people complain about renumbering, but I have no problem with it. It’s a good jumping on point and a good way to get a little interest in the comic. i still think they should so comics in “seasons” like TV shows, have a new issue #1 every year or two.

  38. @TNC as much as I love his stuff, i don’t know if i’d consider Jason a big name outside of comic internet circles which, sorry folks, doesnt seem to be very representative of comic readers as a whole. I say bring Jim Lee back, that will wow everyone 😉

  39. It will be back to the original numbering in 5 years for #600. Then in another 5 years they will reboot it #1. And so on. It is silly, but it boosts sales every time. It was nice that Uncanny had avoided the reboot stick for so many years, but you can’t blame them for selling more of the exact same product except for the digit on the front. It will still be 545 issues of Uncanny. Hell, it will really be less since 32 issues of that were reprints.

  40. @JohnVFerrigno  Jeph Loeb had an idea that is similar that I have always thought would work, no more ongoings, only mini and maxi series.  Always starting at number 1 and does not have to be full slaves to continuity.

  41. @mikegraham6 Jim Lee is co-publisher of DC Comics. I don’t see him giving that up to draw X-Men. Also Marvel will go back to the old numbering when they hit issue 600.

  42. why does everyone seem to hate Greg Land so much?

    As for the relaunch, I think its pretty lame but thats how it goes, I guess. What seems MORE lame is the ‘cyclops vs. wolverine’ thing. That was tired in the 80’s. It makes virtually no sense any more either. I know there’ll be story reasons to back it up but I always hated this idea that they hate each other, it was so lazy. 

  43. well ron if you can do it so can i.if renumbering uncanny x men is what it takes to get a new art team i am all for it

  44. Its good to see you’re taking it in stride.  Good man!

  45. If Marvel really wants to amaze me they would keep Gillen to write the new Uncanny # 1 & have an artist like either what Ron said, Jamie McKelvie, or my personal favorite Ryan Kelly, or just more artists like those which I think would be perfect (but seriously there needs to be a superhero title to have Ryan Kelly on art duties in the near future).

  46. I’m one of the many that love greg lands work so there

  47. that old blocky logo RULED my world
    reboot,shmeboot I’m in

  48. McKelvie would be a cool choice, but my I want Ryan Stegman on an X-Men team book.

  49. “I don’t know what’s worse, that they’re ending it or that the last issue cover and interiors will be drawn by Greg Land.”
    That was pretty much my EXACT first thought.

  50. remember not onyl Thor, but also some other marvel titles have from time reversed to it’s past numbering, or in cases even kept two at a time, so yeah. it’s ok as long as they don’t make it confusing to follow, like in mario when you got ver 99 lives.

  51. These reboots don’t really matter. When the first 55 issues of the Uncanny relaunch are done, Marvel will bring the series back with #600 so they can rake in on that market scheme. Doesn’t matter. It’s all about the writing and the art. If I don’t like the creators, it can be issue 1,000 for all I care. DC’s problem isn’t the reboot itself, but the shuffle of industry dinosaurs. Jurgens? Levtiz? I know these guys have told some fine stories in their day, but they aren’t going to take things to the next level. (that said…i’m very excited about the new Animal Man)

    I rolled my eyes at the idea of another X-Men event. They seem to have one every few months. These characters need space to breathe! I complained about that until I saw that Jason Aaron was writing it. I didn’t need to know anything else.