A few weeks back, we toyed with the idea of holding some polls to decide these year end awards, allowing you, the readers to have a say. Then we thought about it and realized, what the hell have you readers ever done to make this column great?! We spend hours each week reading and writing about every X-Men comic that comes out, and what do you do? Click on them and read them? Clearly there’s an imbalance of effort here and you all need to start contributing more.
Besides, only a few people responded and as it turned out, we didn’t need to make a bunch of poll articles to hit our article quote for the month. So with all of that in mind, we decided, screw it, we’re just gonna pick all the winners ourselves. But of course, your feedback and your own favorite X-Men moments would be greatly appreciated in the comments, or in our email, and if enough people send us stuff, we’ll publish them as next week’s intro, which would take some of the load off and finally show you readers are willing to pull your weight around here.
Without any further ado, here are our picks for the best of the X-Men in 2018:
Wolverine’s Weiner X-Picks of the Year
Best X-Men Writer’s Twitter Account
2018 was a tough year for people who like to create clickbait articles out of comic book creators sounding off on social media. With elite blowhards like Dan Slott, Nick Spencer, and Mark Waid all going silent in 2018, and even James Gunn finally going quiet after the alt-right got him fired from Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s been a pretty dry year when it comes to converting the Twitter musings of comic book professionals into low effort article fodder. Thankfully, one X-writer has provided a reliable source of Twitter content all year long, and that’s Uncanny X-Men writer Matthew Rosenberg. Whether it was telling readers not to pre-order comics, blabbing X-office secrets on Twitter, complaining about the quality of free cookies, taunting readers with his refusal to write a proper ending, throwing a tantrum over not having his package delivered by Fed-Ex, or finally getting that package delivered by Fed-Ex, Rosenberg never failed to have something to offer whenever we desperately turned to his Twitter feed on a slow news day, proving once and for all that he’s still, he’s still Matty from the Block.
Most Canceled X-Men Comic
Lots of X-Men comics ended in 2018. X-Men Gold and Blue both reached their conclusions but led into the relaunched Uncanny X-Men. All-New Wolverine also bit the dust, but at least Laura and Gabby got relaunched into a new X-23 series. Weapon X ended, as did Cable and Old Man Logan, but each of those is getting a continuation in some form or another. Exiles bit the dust as writer Saladin Ahmed took off to become the new writer of Ms. Marvel. We’re sure there’s others we’re forgetting about. But the most canceled X-Men comic, the one that’s definitely not coming back, is X-Men Red, which continued past the Uncanny relaunch only to abruptly end with issue #11, having really told just one single ongoing story. And since it was kind of the spiritual successor to All-New Wolverine, with both being written by Tom Taylor and featuring X-23 and Honey Badger, it kind of feels like it got canceled twice!
Best Cyclops Moment
X-Men Blue #36 – Jean and Scott Make Out
2018 threw a few bones to Cyclops fans. There was Cyclops not dying in the final issue of Extermination even though it was teased in the cliffhanger of the previous issue. There was Jean Grey admitting Cyclops was her one true (butte) love in Phoenix: Resurrection #5. There was the dramatic return of the adult Cyclops at the end of Extermination, even though we only see him in one panel and he doesn’t do or say anything. But the best Cyclops moment of the year undoubtedly came in the last issue of X-Men Blue, in which Cyclops and Jean made out. Hopefully 2019 should really be the year of Cyclops, but if X-Men Blue writer Cullen Bunn is tempted to feel bad about his comics accomplishments in 2018, he ought to take into account that he made our year for sure. And special mention to artist Marcus To, who rocked not only the interiors of X-Men Blue but especially the covers. The final issues of this series were so good, they even made up for that never-ending Venom crossover that forced us to purchase and read Venom comics in the first half of the year.
Most Impressive X-Feat
Kelly Thompson Getting us to Read West Coast Avengers
After the terrible injustice that was the 2012 Avengers vs. X-Men series, we’ve hated anything involving the Avengers on sheer principle of the matter. These are the people who invaded the sovereign nation of Utopia demanding that the X-Men hand over the teenage Hope Summers to be imprisoned on the moon for crimes she might commit in the future while under the influence of a bird-themed cosmic death god. When that didn’t work, that butthead Tony Stark then split the Phoenix Force into five individual mini-forces that caused five different X-Men to be possessed, and when the Phoenix Five made the best of a bad situation by turning the entire world into a Utopia, the Avengers were so jealous they went and ruined that anyway and villainized Cyclops for the whole thing. That was our reading of it, anyway, and needless to say, we’re still a bit bitter. But thanks to her fantastic work with Pere Perez on the Rogue and Gambit series and with Oscar Bazaldua on the follow-up Mr. and Mrs. X, all it took was the inclusion of Quentin Quire to tempt us to pick up Thompson and Stefano Caselli’s West Coast Avengers revival. Sure, it was a betrayal of everything we’ve stood for over the past five years, but it was worth it for those Quentin/Gwenpool makeout scenes. And if you think that’s impressive, just consider that on the strength of all that we even pre-ordered the first issue of Thompson and Carmen Carnero’s Captain Marvel reboot.
Best Series Featuring a Returning Wolverine
Return of Wolverine
Marvel offered several helpings of series supposedly bringing the original Wolverine back to the Marvel Universe following his 2014 death. And while we’re kind of partial to Hunt for Wolverine: The Adamantium Agenda, the fact is that it and the rest of the Hunt for Wolverine minis and one-shots must be disqualified because, if we’re being technical about it, none of them actually featured the return of the stabby little runt. Return of Wolverine, on the other hand, does seem to feature the actual Wolverine actually returning from the dead, and though he’s still taking his sweet ass time about it (and Steve McNiven needed a fill-in artist in Declan Shalvey to draw more than half the series), Wolverine will ostensibly really be back by the end of it, so it wins this category by default. However, in the event Marvel is planning a bait-and-switch, we reserve the right to take this award back in 2019 and give it to Honey Badger, who deserves it as the best Wolverine on the stands today.
Most Claremontiest Claremont Comic
X-Men Black: Magneto
As we all know because we won’t stop mentioning it, Marvel pays Chris Claremont a retainer to remain a Marvel-exclusive writer, but then they hardly ever actually have him write anything. 2014’s Nightcrawler series was the last ongoing written by Claremont, but though Marvel stubbornly refused to provide us a Claremont ongoing in 2018, they did have him write a few one-off stories, including in the X-Men Gold Wedding Special, X-Men: The Exterminated #1, and the Merry X-Men Holiday Special. But it was X-Men Black: Magneto, in which Claremont was allowed to write an entire issue, drawn by Dalibor Talajić, that gave us the meatiest helping of Claremont of the year, introduced a new character, and proved once more that it’s better to have a writer you’re paying actually write stuff instead of not. Hopefully, in 2019, we’ll finally get that ongoing we’ve been clamoring for.
Congratulations to the creative teams involved in all of these comics (and to Matthew Rosenberg’s Twitter) for winning the most coveted annual grilled meat-themed awards in X-Men Comics. And now, let’s find out what happened in the last two X-books of the year…
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
Uncanny X-Men #7
(W) Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, Matthew Rosenberg (A) Pere Perez (CA) Elizabeth Torque
X-MEN DISASSEMBLED CONTINUES!
Just when things didn’t look like they could get worse… The ride of the Four Horsemen of Salvation? The coming of X-Man? And…a return to the AGE OF APOCALYPSE? The weekly epic that threatens to leave the X-Men in tatters rolls on toward its explosive conclusion!
In Shops: Dec 26, 2018
When we last saw our mutant heroes in Uncanny X-Men #6, Legion teleported the young X-Men — Pixie, Armor, Rockslide, and Glob Herman — along with X-Man, to the Age of Apocalypse. This issue picks up several months later, with Armor and Glob Herman trekking through the apocalyptic timeline looking for a way back. X-Man is a lot less powerful here in the Age of Apocalypse, but the X-Men have gained badass new 90s powers. Armor has spikey things on her armor, for example, and Glob can explode people’s heads in his fist, which makes him feel more useful. Also, X-pository dialogue reveals that Pixie and Rockslide split from Glob and Armor over creative differences.
Armor, Glob, and a pathetic X-Man kick the ass of some Infinites and head for Mister Sinister’s lab, where X-Man believes there’s something that can help the X-Men return to their regular, non-apocalyptic timeline. A young mutant watches the battle and rats them out to Rockslide (who has a gash in his chest with fire bleeding out) and Pixie (who has horns now), so they head to confront them. Inside the lab, there are a bunch of dead mutants in tanks. Firestar’s corpse is used for lighting and heat, putting a new spin on renewable energy. The corpses of Colossus, Destiny, Chamber, and what appears to be Maggot are there too.
After X-Man gives some backstory on the place where he was created, he finds his faith in his plan of conquering Earth when he remembers that this timeline is the hell he was trying to prevent. Glob finds a M’kraan crystal shard, which is what X-Man thought could bring them home, but it crumbles into dust, all used up. Then Rockslide and Pixie show up with a gang of unidentified mutants and a battle ensues. During that battle, Pixie manages to convince Armor that they need to kill X-Man before he makes it back to the regular universe, where he’ll be too powerful to stop. The issue ends on a cliffhanger with Armor about to do the deed.
Need to know the backstory on all this stuff? You’ve got a lot of reading ahead of you, but you can start with the original Age of Apocalypse event on Marvel Unlimited. The timeline would be revisited multiple times in the future, including in 2005 for the tenth anniversary, in the Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force in 2011 and in an ongoing series that year which culminated in the X-Termination X-over event (not to be confused with the X-over event that ended last week, Extermination). It’s also revisited in Secret Wars. Got all that? Ok, see you in 2020 when you’re all caught up.
Also, for making Glob Herman into a badass, this is obviously the Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Week, the final one of 2018.
Congratulations to the creative team.
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Dylan Burnett, Juanan Ramirez (CA) Pepe Larraz
FROM THE ASHES OF EXTERMINATION!
Cable is dead…and now, the original X-Force team of Domino, Cannonball, Shatterstar, Boom Boom and Warpath. must hunt down the murderer of their former leader! The mutant militia are hot for blood…but when their target is the time-traveling younger version of their fallen mentor, is there a line they absolutely cannot cross? And what does Deathlok have to do with all of it? From Ed Brisson (EXTERMINATION, OLD MAN LOGAN) and Dylan Burnett (COSMIC GHOST RIDER), comes an all-new, high-octane mutant adventure! A reckoning will come!
In Shops: Dec 26, 2018
The latest X-Force relaunch kicks off in Transia, where government forces are rounding up mutants in the name of President Nicolae Brancoveanu. When a young mutant named Tristan tries to flee as a goon squad invades his home, a soldier shoots him dead. In a warehouse in Queens, Domino, Warpath, Cannonball, and Shatterstar murder most of an anti-mutant terrorist cell and demand to know where Kid Cable is from a survivor. Cable has supposedly been trading them information on the X-Men and Avengers in exchange for guns, but Domino knows he must be working some kind of angle since if there’s one thing Cable has plenty of, it’s guns. Also, he’s a mutant himself. X-Force learns that cable is meeting with Commandant Constantin, the head of the Transian military, so they head off, sparing the life of the last terrorist.
In Transia, in the president’s office, the president and Constantin have an argument about mutants. The president has promised his “trade partner” that Transia would be a safe haven for mutants, but he hears that the military is rounding them up and killing them. Constantin hates mutants, but Brancoveanu points out that it’s the weapons they’ve been getting from this partner that has allowed them to step up their military game. He threatens to fire Constantin if he doesn’t quit killing mutants.
Meanwhile, at a Transian science lab, Kid Cable kills some guards and rescues Deathlok, who he’s been working with to infiltrate Transia and learn where they’ve been getting their guns. Unfortunately, Deathlok’s image inducer malfunctioned, blowing their cover, and causing Deathlok to be captured. Cable fights his way out of the base with Deathlok on his back while Deathlok struggles to control the psychotic personality of his host body, who keeps yelling threats to kill everyone. Eventually, they’re cornered by soldiers, but X-Force arrives and intervenes, rescuing them. However, Constantin uses the chaos to murder the president and blame it on mutants.
The next day, at a motel in Bulgaria, Cable fixes Deathlok while X-Force demands, and gets, answers. It turns out the guns Transia has been getting from the mysterious trading partner are from Cable’s future, and Cable wants to know who the supplier is. Deathlok, while undercover, learned that Constantin is killing mutants behind the president’s back, so all they have to do is tell him to stop it. Unfortunately, they learn from a TV broadcast by Constantin, the president is dead, Cable and Deathlok are being blamed, and Transia’s military has taken over the country and plans to exterminate all mutants.
That’s the cliffhanger for our main story, but next we get a flashback to the beginning of this adventure from Boom Boom’s perspective. She overslept and missed the X-Force meetup, so she has to try to catch up. She locates the warehouse in Queens where X-Force fought the terrorists and interrogates the one they left alive. He tells Boom Boom that they get their weapons from a man from the future who can travel through time, but before she can learn more, he tries to kill her. She responds with some time bombs, but unfortunately, they’re in a warehouse full of explosives which promptly blows up. Boom Boom leaves a message on Domino’s voicemail letting her know she got some useful information before blowing up the warehouse.
That’s all for this week and for this year, folks! See you back here in 2019 as we continue to recap every X-book Marvel publishes for another year, god help us all. Happy new year!
Read more X-ual Healing here: