X-Men Forever: 1 Year Anniversary

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X-men Forever will have its first birthday next week and will be celebrating by issuing the first issue of the second volume.  This is the comic book where Chris Claremont (the first regular writer of the “new” X-Men back in 1975 and the man primarily responsible for the X-Men’s success) transports readers back to 1991 when he finished his run on X-Men.  Jean Gray is still alive, Kitty Pride is still a young woman, and Magneto recently passed away with the destruction of Asteroid M. (Don’t worry, it is obviously 2010 in the comic book though.)

The comic book has been published twice monthly for the past year; that is 24 issues as well as having an annual and  a giant-size issue.  Tom Grummett has been the main artist on the series, but there have been others–not surprising considering how fast the book has been coming out.

The question is this:  Did Chris Claremont and Marvel need to do this?

My first response was, Yes!  I was excited about this project.  It was Chris Claremont’s X-Men that had spurred my interest in comics.  I stopped reading most Marvel comics in 1996.  Part of my problem then is part of why I don’t want to read X-Men comics today:  Too many titles.  That, of course, means too many chefs.  For me, being able to read one X-Men title with a single direction seemed like a great idea.

I bought the first trade paperback, and started getting the issues.  In March, around issue 18 or 19, I managed to sit down and read most of them in a couple of days.  It was crushing.

I realize that Mr. Claremont wanted to tell his own story and follow his own creative vision, but some things convinced me that he had forgotten his own characterization of these heroes–or had he changed them just to do something different?  Wolverine killed in the first issue?  (Why, just to spite all of the fans?)  Storm is a killer and a villain.  (Huh?) Gambit wears a suit?  (Because all of those of Cajun descent are snappy dressers?)  Jean chooses Wolverine and Beast over Cyclops? Maybe he remembers his characters better than I do, but I still have all those old issues, and I kind of doubt my memory is so bad.

There are some things that Mr. Claremont has gotten right:  Dead is dead.  Bringing in Sabretooth and his conflicted emotions after Wolverine’s death.  The presence of a long-term bad-guy organization (the Consortium).  I am even intrigued by the teaser for the second volume (due out June 9, 2010) that has the Avengers (circa 1991) preparing to go after the X-Men.  The main problem for me is, with the exception of Sabretooth, these are all plot devices that I like, and not characterization.

And characterization is what I remember most about Claremont’s run on X-Men.

Bottom Line:  If you want to buy my entire run of X-Men Forever at a greatly reduced rate, let me know.

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