From the House of Ideas: The World of the X-Men Continues to be Unlimited

Growing up as a ’90s teen, my love affair with comics ebbed and flowed, and I while I can’t say when my interest really ebbed, I know that it seriously flowed back in 1995 with the Age of Apocalypse storyline. If you’re unaware, that’s the where all the then-current X-books were cancelled and replaced with new books set in a world where Professor Xavier had been killed, his son David never born, North America had been conquered by Apocalypse, and the X-Men had been created by Magneto to try and save humanity.

At a time when the internet was still in its infancy and going online was a rarity, everything about the Age of Apocalypse was a surprise, and it felt like the stakes within these books were genuinely high. I was young enough to believe in the illusion of change comics can masterfully deliver, and with no emails about solitications months in advance of storylines, fans genuinely didn’t know what would happen next.

It’s all different today, especially if you run a pop culture website and have a pretty solid idea of how and where certain stories are going. Sure, I might not know the exact beats, but you can often make certain assumptions. As an older reader, I’m also now fully aware of the illusion of change, which means I never get myself in a tizzy when a book or character I like goes in a certain direction. When Doc Ock took over Peter Parker’s body and became the Superior Spider-Man, I loved the decision. When Captain America became a Hydra agent, I was cool with that too. Lots of people weren’t, though, and I could never understand why, because, if you know comics, you knew Peter would someday get his body back and that the Steve Rogers we know and love would return and set things right. It’s how the genre works.

For the X-Men, being hated and persecuted for being different is what’s made them endure for decades, and it’s always been inevitable that they wind up back at the mansion with Professor Xavier, while Magneto will resent them for not following his dogmatic belief in mutant supremacy. Agan. that’s just how it works. But, for the last few years, mainly under the guidance of Jonathan Hickman, fans have been given an all-new, all-different X-Men, where mutants have come together on the island nation of Krakoa, their own country. They’ve conquered death and developed their own rules for living. The world Hickman and a bevy of writers and artists have created has led to some of the most inventive X-stories I’ve ever read.

Which brings me to the first issue of X-Men Unlimited: Latitude#1, a new story written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by the grear Declan Shalvey that first appeared on the Marvel Unlimited App.

WOLVERINE JUMPS INTO THE VOID! When A.I.M. manages a covert infiltration of the S.W.O.R.D. station and kidnaps three mutants, it’s up to Wolverine to take one giant leap for man and get them back. From the vacuum of space to the dripping guts of an evil supercomputer, Logan will stop at nothing to save his friends. Collecting the first four chapters of the hit MARVEL INFINITY COMIC by Head of X Jonathan Hickman and superstar artist Declan Shalvey for the first time in print!

I read this title in its collected digital edition, and have really enjoyed the adventure so far. Part of it comes from Hickman’s writing – as he’s demonstrated, he’s never afraid to put his characters through their paces, and watching Wolverine get the hell kicked out of him multiple times is a lot of fun to read. Throw in Declan Shalvey’s great artistry, especially as we watch Wolverine regenerate panel after panel, and X-Men Unlimited: Latitude #1 makes for another excellent piece of the current X-Men canon.

Like the best of the X-Men stories, I don’t know what’s going to happen next in this book (and I’m not going to Google and find out) and that’s the sort of story you want in a genre where the bigger pictures can sometimes be predictable. While I know the inevitable will some day return, the Krakoa status quo has invited a new world of X-Men tales that I think can last for years.

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