Marvel’s Age of X

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Last month, Marvel started planting the seeds for an X-Men event beginning in early 2011 called Age of X. Around the time of the New York Comic Con, a teaser image featuring blacked out figures was released from the publisher to get the speculation started. During the X-Men panel at NYCC, hints that Age of X might be connected to another Age in X-history, the Age of Apocalypse, generated even more buzz.

It’s a little early to know for sure what this X-Men event will entail, but I’m pretty excited about what’s been revealed so far. The Age of Apocalypse is a much loved crossover from 1995 and invoking a connection to it is only going to get me more interested. This could be a red herring, but I’d be ok with that too since the mind behind the Alpha issue (also a call back to the Age of Apocalypse, as that crossover began with an Alpha issue as well) solicited for January 2011 is written by X-Men: Legacy‘s Mike Carey. Carey is tops in my book, so this is great news. In a recent interview for CBR’s X-Position, Carey was careful not to reveal what may or may not be implied by the Age of X title.

While there may be no connection at all, the fact that Apocalypse has reappeared in the pages of Uncanny X-Force has my mind racing a bit. Given the fact that X-Force has set out to kill Apocalypse and the fact that the Age of Apocalypse began with Professor Xavier dying before his time, there could be something really amazing on the horizon here.

The first teaser image, which was also included with the solicitation for Age of X: Alpha, has been heavily scrutinized in an effort to identify the characters featured. One fan even went so far as to identify all the images that match the silhouettes and paste them back in. Based on this work, it’s fairly clear that the group is composed of Magneto, Storm, Beast, Emma Frost, Gambit, Rogue, Cyclops, Wolverine and Professor X.

While these images certainly fit here, there could be some twists and surprises going forward. In fact, a new teaser image released yesterday slowly began revealing characters beginning with Gambit and Hellion. If recent history is any indication, it’s safe to expect a series of reveals for this image as the next few days go by. Check back for updates!

Marvel’s February solicitations will be out in the next few weeks and we should get a better sense of what the Age of X will entail. Based on the interview with Carey, it seems it will revolve around the many junior X-teams that have come and gone over the years: the New Mutants, Generation X, New X-Men, and Young X-Men. Given what Carey has been able to do over the last few years with X-Men: Legacy, this should be phenomenal.

UPDATE (Tuesday): Earlier this afternoon, a second pair of characters from this image were revealed by Marvel. The release identified these additions as two new characters referred to as Berserker and Nightmare. It’s difficult not see a connection between the male character (who I’m assuming is Berserker) and Warpath and Thunderbird given the symbol painted on his chest. Could this be a new look and codename for James Proudstar? The female character revealed today is a total mystery to me. There are similarities to Pixie, but it’s difficult to say for certain.

UPDATE (Wednesday): Another day has passed and another pair of characters have been revealed for the Age of X. Frenzy and Basilisk have now been added to this increasingly intriguing group. Frenzy has been around for a long time and associated with a number of villainous teams including various incarnations of the Acolytes (led by both Exodus and Magneto) and the Alliance of Evil, Apocalypse’s original followers introduced way back in X-Factor #4. Basilisk is another character in this group that’s difficult to figure out. There have been multiple Basilisks in the Marvel Universe, including one created by Grant Morrison during his run on New X-Men. The character pictured here does not bear any resemblance to others with that codename.

UPDATE (Thursday): This morning two more characters were unveiled in Marvel’s Age of X teaser image by artist Clay Mann. This time it was two well known names to X-Men fans in the New Mutants’ Cannonball and Magneto himself. The costumes here are new designs and Magneto’s is particularly different from his normal attire (he’s now a White Lantern?). Writer Mike Carey has been brilliantly using Magneto lately in the pages of X-Men: Legacy, and Cannonball was a member of Carey’s team when he took over the then adjectiveless X-Men. This is very good news. I’m going out on a limb her and guessing the last two characters are Rogue and Hope.

UPDATE (Friday): The final two characters were identified in Marvel’s Age of X teaser image this morning. One was expected, but the other is a bit of a surprise as Rogue and Phoenix complete the roster despite being listed as “Revenant” and “Reaper.” Carey has been focusing on Rogue in X-Men: Legacy for the past year, and he confirmed her involvement in the Age of X during an interview. Phoenix, however, is a character that’s been hinted at lately, but hasn’t been presented this directly in quite some time. The Phoenix force has been connected to Hope Summers in the pages of Cable and X-Men: Second Coming, and was seen leaving Rachel Grey and flying out into the cosmos in the pages of X-Men: Kingbreaker. Is the Phoenix pictured here Hope? Jean Grey? It’s hard to say, but these questions are exactly what this teaser was meant to generate. Again, I can’t wait to see what this is all about!

UPDATE (Monday): Newsarama.com hosted live coverage of an interview with Mike Carey and editor Daniel Ketchum discussing the details of the Age of X today at 3PM. The interview is part of Marvel’s “Next Big Thing” series of conference calls showcasing their publishing line.

During the call, Carey revealed that Age of X will be set in a separate timeline where mutants have existed in relative isolation and now come together in one place similar to their island home of Utopia in the Marvel Universe. In this world, being a mutant is tantamount to a death sentence, and they’ll be under siege from day one.

The basis from the story came from the various generations of X-students that have come and gone and the idea of bringing them together again. This makes sense as the publishing structure for the crossover brings together X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants, revealing who will be taking over that series from Zeb Wells after issue #21. A number of major X-Men will not be part of the story (and it is stated there is a reason for their exclusion) and as the characters come together for the first time, “all bets are off” regarding their relationships.

Carey states that Magneto and Rogue will play pivotal roles in the series, with Rogue providing the point-of-view for the reader. This could mean she’s aware of the change to this world’s history, or she may just be the eyes through which  the story is told. Cited as a bit of a mystery/thriller, we will definitely see that this relates to the world we know in some way.

Other specifics discussed included: an “Age of X: Avengers” book to explore some of the non-mutant characters of this world, the existence of a character/ concept called “X” that we’ll discover throughout the series, the fact that Basilisk is indeed this world’s Cyclops, and that Revenant (the Phoenix character) has destroyed a town near Albany and is most certainly not Hope Summers. An allusion was also made to a crucial person that has not played a role in this world and that may have led to its current state.

Everything kicks off in January with Age of X: Alpha #1 followed by X-Men: Legacy #245 and New Mutants #22 in February. In the meantime, be sure to check out Marvel’s viral history of the Age of X and more at MLD’s Age of X hub. I’ll say it again, I cannot wait for this.

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  • MegaJoshX said,

    Beserker is an old Morlock – who died and was then resurrected by Selene for the reason “Necrosha” stuff I think – and was first featured in now-ancient issues of X-Factor.

  • ptb said,

    You’re right about Berserker’s history. The strange thing is that Berserker looks nothing like the character pictured in the teaser image. He never even came to mind upon seeing it, so thanks for the reminder.

    With the possibility of this being an alternate universe of some kind, I’m still not sure what to make of it.

  • Aaron Schantz said,

    Considering the alternate names and costumes, it seems likely this is an Alt Universe. I don’t recall the name used, but in the article I read recently, they called Rogue something entirely different, even though it’s obviously her.

    I’d be more up for something like this in an Alt U, as opposed to yet another revamp of the status quo in 616.

  • ptb said,

    Aaron, I agree with you after seeing this final reveal. Characters like Nightmare and Berserker made it difficult to really tell if these were characters we know with new designs and code names. Rogue and Phoenix as “Reaper” and “Revenant” make it a lot clearer.

    Still, it won’t be long before we know a lot more. I have to say though, something about seeing the complete image makes me think these might not be the good guys. They almost seem like they’re ready to invade the Marvel Universe.

  • todd said,

    Hopefully that’s Jean, there is already enough Hope Summers in every x book already and she has her own book. This would be overload like Deadpool.

  • ptb said,

    Todd, Marvel’s “Next Big Thing” conference call on Monday 11/15 confirmed that it’s not Hope Summers.

    A lot of other information came out of the call regarding how this will be published and some details of the characters and timeline involved. See the details above.

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