With the release of Marvel’s July solicitations, things aren’t looking great for the future of writer Matthew Rosenberg’s X-Men run. Despite critical acclaim from well-respected scholars, it looks like July’s Uncanny X-Men #22 could be the end of the line, with an oversized issue and the wrapping of multiple plot points, coinciding with the start of a status-quo-changing weekly X-Men event from Jonathan Hickman.
Plus, you know, the words “it all ends here.”
UNCANNY X-MEN #21 & #22
MATTHEW ROSENBERG (W) • Salvador Larroca (A)
Covers by WHILCE PORTACIO
ISSUE #21 – CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT COVER BY DECLAN SHALVEY
ISSUE #22 – CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT COVER BY TBA
It all ends here. This is forever!
As Cyclops’ cleanup mission nears its close, all the problems the X-Men face come together. The truth behind the Hellfire Club’s intentions, the culmination of the O.N.E.’s assaults on mutantkind and even the inner struggles within the team… It all ends here. This is forever.
Issue #21 – 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Issue #22 – 40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99
Of course, nothing has been confirmed, and Rosenberg declined to comment. However, just because Rosenberg may have just six issues left of his X-Men run doesn’t mean he’s going to go easy on them. Rosenberg took to Twitter to respond to a now-deleted tweet about the gender of the character he’s killed so far to respond:
Yes. I've written 37 X-Men comics. I've brought 2 characters back from the dead (one man, one woman) and killed 6 (3 women, 3 men). But the next 2 who die are men. https://t.co/OPxA0S2Wsi
— 𝙼𝚊𝚝𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚠 𝚁𝚘𝚜𝚎𝚗𝚋𝚎𝚛𝚐 (@AshcanPress) April 20, 2019
So not only do we know that Rosenberg is planning to kill at least two more characters, but he’s also stepping up the rate at which he murders them, since six characters killed in thirty-seven issues works out to just over one dead character every six issues. However, Rosenberg has now he revealed he will kill two characters in the next six issues, twice the historical rate. Even more troubling, prior to killing two characters in last week’s Uncanny X-Men #16, Rosenberg had only killed four characters in thirty-six issues, or one dead character every nine issues. That means Rosenberg will have effectively tripled his rate in a matter of months. This is math, people. You can’t argue with math.
Of course, that assumes that Rosenberg will only kill two characters before his run probably ends. He could kill more, especially going out with an oversized issue. And if we’re wrong about the solicit and his run continues, well… what’s to stop Rosenberg from continuing to escalate his X-Men killing rate, perhaps killing off a character every two issues or even one per issue. With fellow bloodthirsty writer Ed Brisson also continuing to work in the X-Universe, there could be no characters left by the time the two of them are through.
It would certainly undercut Hickman’s plans if there are no X-Men alive to write about. Maybe that’s the endgame?
All speculation, of course. And feel free to add your own in the comments, including who you think Rosenberg will off next.
But hey, we’re not here to talk about Matthew Rosenberg’s bloodlust. This is X-ual Healing, the weekly Bleeding Cool column where we recap the events of the previous week’s X-Books, talk about what happened, and rank the best issue as the Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the week. So let’s look at what happened in the X-Universe last week…
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 #16
(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A/CA) Salvador Larroca
Cyclops and the X-Men have set out to save mutantkind…but the Mutant Liberation Front isn’t going to just wait for it to happen! Led by one of the X-Men’s own, the MLF is willing to do whatever it takes to stop mutant oppression…even kill any mutant who stands in their way…
In Shops: Apr 17, 2019
As this tragic story begins, Cyclops hands over some of the X-Men’s prisoners to Captain America, but he won’t turn over Hope, Banshee, or Dark Beast (or admit they have them). Captain America passes Scott a note, and as the X-Men head back inside Harry’s Hideaway, Havok lectures his brother on lying to Cap and operating without his advice. Cyclops says Havok is right and it’s time they talked. Cyclops gathers the X-Men and says he’s giving up team leadership. Instead, they’ll be a democracy and vote on everything. Their first vote is to allow the captured former X-Men from the MLF to officially join the team.
While this is going on, Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Juggernaut, Pyro, Toad, and Avalanche) are attacking an Air Force base in the country of Transia (featured heavily over in X-Force — is what it should have said in a caption box but didn’t). The X-Men, now featuring Hope and Banshee, head off to stop them. However, before they leave, Wolfsbane reveals she’s quitting the team to go lead a normal life. The X-Men head to Transia and battle the Brotherhood. When Magneto’s helmet gets knocked off, it’s revealed that he’s actually Joseph. He gains the upper hand and starts preaching about his views on mutantkind, but Karma extends an offer to Juggernaut to join the team and he accepts, capturing Joseph.
That’s not the end though, as Kwannon shows up (having come back when Psylocke regained her British body in Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor) and cuts off his head. As if that wasn’t a shocking-enough death, Mirage is suddenly afflicted with a psychic backlash from her long-standing connection with Wolfsbane. She reveals that Wolfsbane is dead.
Great stuff here as we’ve come to expect from the Rosenberg/Larroca team. Which is, of course, why I really home I’m wrong about the finality of the solicit to Uncanny X-Men #21 and #22 and that this book will continue with this creative team after July. If it helps make the case that Marvel should cancel their plans to cancel this run, I’ll point out that this was definitely the best X-book of the week and therefore the winner of this coveted award…
Congratulations to the creative team.
Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3
(W) Seanan McGurie (A) Juan Frigeri (CA) Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, Guru eFX
IN THE CLUTCHES OF TEMPTATION!
• As Hollywood’s leading man and mascot of the X-Men, Nightcrawler has it all! What more could this American idol still yearn for?
• Whatever it is, he’ll find it in a hedonistic underground masquerade club!
In Shops: Apr 17, 2019
Ignore the solicit above, which seems to more accurately describe the previous issue.
We pick up where last issue left off with Mystique waiting for Nightcrawler in his room with a shocking revelation. Unfortunately, Nightcrawler is not in the mood for shocking revelations, so he fights her for a few pages until she makes a break for it. Nightcrawler then checks out the file she brought to discover it contains a file about and a photo of a young girl who looks just like him, named Tenia Jean. Later, Nightcrawler is off his game on the set because of this revelation. After getting it together, he has a heart-to-heart with Meggan on the roof of the studio where he tells her about his daughter. Meggan agrees to help him find her, so they talk to Celeste, who sets up a mall appearance in Portland, where the girl is currently living. They also talk to Irma, who reveals the Cuckoos know about Nightcrawler and Meggan’s affair, but will keep quiet. Unfortunately, Lady Mastermind has also booked an appearance for her rival movie studio at the same mall at the same time, so, naturally, the issue ends with a fight about to break out.
While the Age of X-Man event as a whole feels unnecessary, it has resulted in some good stories, and Amazing Nightcrawler is definitely one of them. This book is all about the soap opera drama, a core aspect of X-Men comics. Will it have any lasting repercussions after the event ends? That depends on whether the characters remember of the Age of X-Man after they return, but if they do, Kurt and Meggan will both have some serious thinking to do, and there’s also the question of whether Tenia will return to the regular universe with them, and also whether she is meant to be an alternate version of Nocturne (whose name is Talia, so sort-of-similar).
Age of X-Man: NextGen #3
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Marcus To (CA) Chris Bachalo
THE AGE OF X-MAN CONTINUES!
• Can the students of the Summers Institute unite to save themselves – or will they turn on one another in the end?
• Time is running out as Glob must attempt to keep the team together long enough to unlock the secrets of the Age of X-Man!
• Will the kids be the ones to save reality…or break it?
In Shops: Apr 17, 2019
Two plots play out in revolving scenes throughout this issue. In the first, Rockslide has been trying to learn what happened to the Life Seed after Hope Summers used it to turn everyone into a mutant. His questions last issue were obviously raising the suspicions of the adults, but this issue, history professor Madison Jefferies gives Rockslide a book which claims the Life Seed was destroyed. But Rockslide doesn’t believe him, and he finds the sudden appearance of the book when he searched all over the library last issue a little fishy. When he talks to Glob Herman about it, Glob reveals the truth about the real world and the Age of X-Man. Rockslide is skeptical, but Glob claims he can prove it. Maybe he’s going to douse him in wax.
In the second, Armor is following Anole, trying to find out what he’s mixed up in. But while she’s doing that, Pixie is following Armor, seeing that something has changed with her friend. When a classroom lecture warns the students of the dangers of Unveil addiction, Pixie believes Armor must be on drugs. Pixie confronts Armor, who tells her she’s out of her mind. Armor then confronts Anole, but Pixie follows and, finding a vial of Unveil in Anole’s room, is more convinced than ever and places Anole under citizen’s arrest. Armor knocks Pixie out and helps Anole escape. Anole gives her the names of some Apocalypse followers from his group to contact before leaving the school (presumably to get ready to blow up the library, which is what his group is planning).
The issue ends with students at the school finding a note Anole wrote earlier on the school bulletin board telling them they are being lied to.
NextGen is telling a classic “teenagers fighting against an adult conspiracy” story, and it continues the basic gist of the story of the X-students from before Age of X-Man started, where they were beginning to mistrust the leadership of the adult X-Men. As such, it feels like this will definitely have repercussions for the X-teens when they make their way back to the mainstream Marvel Universe. If such repercussions included an ongoing series by this creative team, that would be a great thing.
Major X #2
(W) Rob Liefeld (A) Brent Peebles (CA) Rob Liefeld
WHO IS MAJOR X?
• A mysterious new player enters the Marvel Universe and the X-Men are in his crosshairs!
• What is his mission and how can the man known as Cable hope to stop him?
• Writer/artist Rob Liefeld introduces a new wrinkle in the saga of Marvel’s Mightiest Mutants!
• The Mystery of MAJOR X continues in issue #2 as he forges a union with Cable – and races against time to save mutantkind from certain devastation!
In Shops: Apr 17, 2019
The second issue of Rob Liefeld’s greatest masterpiece begins with Major X, M’Koy (the actual name of the gray Beast guy), and The X-Ential, the mutant savior who created the X-Istence, the future mutant paradise from which Major X hails, hosting an X-Istence anniversary celebration which consists of The X-Ential giving a long speech full of X-Pository dialogue. We learn that The X-Ential created the X-Istence because blue Sentinels were battling Purple Sentinels, which destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge, at the behest of another new helmet-wearing character called The Cayalyst, because Liefeld apparently ran out of X-Puns by this point in the script.
So all the mutants fled to The X-Istence, an entire realm created by The X-Ential’s powers (which are not explained), as did the Atlanteans for some reason. Things go great for a while until Atlantean leaders Nomar and Lora show up at the celebration and ask for a council to talk about Earth/Sea politics. The X-Ential can’t help the Atlanteans with their problems though because he’s dying or losing his power or something. Thankfully, he has a successor in mind who can keep the X-Istence going.
Back in the present (well, present for this series, which takes place in the 1990s heyday of Liefeldism), Major X says all of this happened three days before The X-Ential disappeared and the X-Istence was destroyed. This explanation is good enough for Cable and Wolverine (plus Major X is Cable’s son), so they head to Cable’s armory for some giant guns, Cable tells Wolverine to lead X-Force if he dies, and then Cable and Major X travel to Cable’s undersea Graymalkin base. Unfortunately, two Atlanteans from the X-Istence have already ransacked Graymalkin: Sharkskin and Eel. Sharkskin enters the story with a fantastic battle cry:
Surf’s up indeed. Major X and Cable get the better of Sharkskin and Eel, but Sharkskin reveals that the base is rigged with explosives. Thankfully for both sides, Atlantean Royal Guard member Undertow shows up to extract his comrades while Cable manages to teleport out of Graymalkin with Major X just as it X-Plodes. This will be X-Continued next issue.
What is really left to say about Major X? This book has come a long way from the character’s first appearance in Spider-Man/Deadpool #47. Brent Peebles is doing his best Liefeld impression in this comic, but he falls short in some ways, such as depicting characters with facial expressions other than “gritted-teeth angst.” Sure, this isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t have a nostalgic connection to early 90s X-Men, this might not be for you, but I’ve been nothing if not 100% entertained every second I spend reading this.
Wolverine Infinity Watch #3
(W) Gerry Duggan (A) Andy MacDonald (CA) Giuseppe Camuncoli
Three razor-sharp claws – the deadly trademark of one of the most notorious, unstoppable killing machines known the galaxy over – the claws of a Raptor from the legendary Fraternity of Raptors!
In Shops: Apr 17, 2019
Wolverine and Loki need to find the Raptors, who have kidnapped Hector Bautista, the new owner of the Time Stone, so they visit Doctor Strange’s ghost dog, Bats, and convince him to help them track Hector down. With a few cases of beer for the road, the trio take Loki’s space boat to find the Raptors’s ship near Saturn. The Raptors are attempting to extract the Time Stone from Hector, but they don’t really know how to do that. Wolverine busts through the wall of the ship and some violence ensues. As more Raptors arrive on the scene, Wolverine tells Loki to follow Bats to Hector while he holds them off. He cuts a hole in the side of the ship, sucking them all out into space, but it turns out they can survive the vacuum, so he has to kill them all manually. They use the same trick on Wolverine, ejecting him into space.
Loki finds Hector under interrogation by Robbie Rider (the brother of original Nova Richard Rider, known as Talon-R, for X-Men fans who don’t care much for all this cosmic stuff). Robbie gets the better of Loki and the Raptors bring a subdued Wolverine into the room as well, while Bats, hidden on the ceiling, tells Hector to get ready to escape. Loki teleports to Earth and heads to Mama Rider’s house to request her help in dealing with her son as Robbie orders the Raptors to melt off Wolverine’s flesh and extract his adamantium because even space despots care about recycling.
My thoughts on the need for this series to exist (there is absolutely none) are well-known by this point. As pretty much every character in the story has already moved on to other things in other books, it’s unclear what the point of this is, other than if you want to see Wolverine slicing up bad guys in space. But there are worse ways to spend your time, I suppose, and the book contains a few chuckles as well due to the personalities of Wolverine and Loki, which are well-portrayed here.
As always, if you’re an obsessive-enough X-Men fan to be reading this column, you should also be reading X-Men Monday over at Adventures in Poor Taste. Sure, Chris Hassan, due to an obvious personal vendetta against me even though I’ve literally done nothing wrong ever, refuses to ask Marvel X-Editor Jordan White my question about when Chris Claremont will write an ongoing series. But despite this maliciousness, the column is full of great X-minutia and teases for upcoming X-Men comics. This week, Matthew Rosenberg joins the Q&A as well, though there’s no mention of whether or not Uncanny X-Men will continue after July. They’ve also got an EX-X-XCLUSIVE reveal of Whilce Portacio’s Uncanny X-Men #22 cover, which looks… er… pretty bad for Cyclops and Wolverine.
Nanny and Orphan-Maker return in this week’s War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men, and you can see a preview here.
Speaking of Claremont, we have two bits of Claremont news this week. First, the news that Claremont will probably be reuniting with Bill Sienkiewicz for a New Mutants story of some sort (presumably a one-off). Second, see photos of Claremont’s trip to Russia here.
See you back here next Monday for War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men, Age of X-Man: X-Tremists, Hulkverines, Marvel Comics Presents, and Mr. and Mrs. X!
Read more X-ual Healing here: