Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nerdy Things I'm Stoked About: 'Age of X'

So for most of my childhood/adolescence, I was enamored with all things X-Men. Hell, I can still rattle off trivia about the universe and the characters like you wouldn't believe, and have to often suppress myself from going all Comic Book Guy when one of the movies or cartoons gets some aspect of their canon incorrect.

Like most kids, though, my passions were fleeting or sporadic. I was really into archaeology once. And rocks. And baseball. And dinosaurs. And marine biology. And . . .

. . . But the X-Men comic books were something that I would keep coming back to. Maybe it was the characters, or their long history, or the stories, or just the fact that cool people beating people up and looking cool while doing it appeals to 12 year olds.

At one point, the line of books sporting an X decided to boost sales and gain more interest/readers by doing a whitewash. of everything. They started this ad campaign that would totally not work in the digital age that "Hey, by the way you guys, in like a month we're just not going to publish these anymore. It's done. We're done. Everything you love is done."

So that happened. And what did they do? They let it sit for about half a month and then republished every book with a new title, new creative team, new look, and in an entirely different universe!A universe where villains were heroes, heroes were villains, the human race was damn near extinct, and Wolverine had one hand. They called it 'Age of Apocalypse.'

Sweet facial tattoos and shoulder pads, you guys! Yeah . . .

It's ballsy as hell from a publishing standpoint. From a writing standpoint, it toes the line between creative and cop-out. Of course in about 5 months everything was back to normal, and the alternate universe they'd created had the big ol' Reset Button hit on it. At the time, though, I as a 13 year old was freaking floored. I mean, Cyclops had one eye. One eye! And he was a total badass working for the villains of the story. Magneto and Rogue had gotten married and had a kid. And Kitty Pryde chain smoked! Actually Gambit, Dazzler, and Banshee all chain smoked, too. Life was hard in that universe and pretty much everyone was homeless, but luckily cigarettes were still available somehow.

Anyway, my inner child is stoked because this month the current line of X-Men books is sort of pseudo-revisiting this concept with a story line tagged 'Age of X.'

I'm not sure how they're going to get to it or steer the story universe of the titles in that direction or what the inciting event for moving everything to a new universe is. In 'Age of Apocalypse,' a time traveling baddie named Legion went back in time to off Magneto seeing him as a "major threat" to the X-Men's goals (he thought he was doing them a favor, I suppose) and accidentally murdered Professor X, which altered reality and made everything go to shit, genocide, and tattoos on your face.

Most things about the story other than concept art and random back-story tid-bits that the writers are calling "communiques" over at ComicBookResources are being kept very hush-hush. Like a fool, I've fallen for the hype. It's Cloverfield, the re-opening of Seattle's club The Pony, and new Facebook Privacy Settings all over again.

We'll see if the story lives up to the hype, and if my inner child/outer nerd is satiated!

"Danger inside;
Nowhere to hide.
Why don't you build,
A temple tonight?"

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