Last week, the X-Men celebrated their 50th anniversary. That’s half a century since X-Men #1 hit the stands. That kind of milestone deserves a celebration of epic proportions and with Battle of the Atom, I feel that we’re getting everything we love about the X-Men. But before we go into Battle of the Atom, let me just tell you about how excited I am about the return of Nightcrawler.
In Wolverine and the X-Men #35, the explosive conclusion of the fantastic Hellfire Saga, we got a glimpse of a cloaked Kurt Wagner, the incredible Nightcrawler! Of course news about his return already broke back in July at SDCC when the new Amazing X-Men ongoing series was announced, but it’s still pretty exciting to be teased about the return of one of the most beloved X-Men in history.
I first became a fan of Nightcrawler back in the days of Excalibur, specifically during Warren Ellis’ run. His death during Second Coming was one of the few comic book deaths that actually mattered to me. I just really liked his morality, sense of fun, and heroism. He was the heart and soul of the X-Men, so while we all know most comic book deaths are temporary, I was still pissed that he died.
Knowing that he’s coming back is like being told that an old friend who has been away for a very long time will be stopping by, possibly bringing pizza and beer. I hope you stick around this time, Kurt. Things are starting to get crazy — well, crazier than usual for the X-Men — and I want you to be there to swashbuckle your way back into people’s hearts.
That is sooo X-Men.
Giant robots, time travelers, and banter. Those are some of my favorite things about the X-Men and we’ve already seen them from the first 3 issues of Battle of the Atom. I wasn’t really into the idea of the original X-Men traveling to the present Marvel Universe but it only took a few issues of All-New X-Men for them to grow on me. I would be pretty pissed if they get sent back to the past.
BotA also introduced the X-Men from an alternate future. So far, they have yet to provide a reason for me to care. Well, except for the reaction of some past and present X-Men to their future counterparts, which are pretty entertaining.
Past Iceman and Future Iceman
Battle of the Atom has all the makings of an event worthy of the 50th anniversary of the X-Men. If you’ve been reading X-Men comics since the 90’s — or even earlier — like me, you know X-Men events can get pretty wild and crazy and confusing and awesome and, well, uncanny. I just hope BotA lives up to expectations because man, most of Marvel’s events in recent years have been real stinkers — I’m talking to you, Fear Itself and Age of Ultron. I hope we get the golden X-anniversary celebration that we deserve.
One thing that’s kind of disappointing with this whole Battle of the Atom event is the absence of X-Factor. Peter David’s decade-long run on X-Factor ended one week before the X-Men’s 50th anniversary so I don’t expect to see the team during the event. But while a X-event feels incomplete without Madrox’s crew, it’s still great to see that David got to give a proper and satisfying end to his X-Factor run.
With some members moving on to other things and some finding peace and happiness away from the superhero scene, X-Factor #262, the final issue, provides a bittersweet ending for one of my favorite comic book series of all time. I’m sad to see it go but I’m also happy that it ended on its own terms.
Obviously, I’m very emotionally attached to the X-Men. Growing up watching the X-Men animated series and reading the insane 90’s X-Men comics developed that attachment. So while the world of the mutants continues to grow and change, I will continue to get angry when a beloved character dies. I will continue to get excited about insane events. I will continue to feel feelings when books end and creators leave.
Welcome back, Kurt. Good luck with Battle of the Atom, mutants. Thank you for X-Factor, Peter. Happy anniversary, X-Men, you crazy mofos.