Remember how psyched you were when X-Men #1 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee came out back in 1991 (sh*t I’m old…that was EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO!!!!), and the art and story were so fantastic? I loved that series until Jim Lee left and, oddly, until recently, I didn’t even know that Chris Claremont left the series under unsatisfactory circumstances. Maybe I was just young and dumb, but dang…I didn’t even realize he left the title after issue #3, when Asteroid M blew up. The first issue of this series sold over 8 Million Copies (the #1 comic of a typical month nowadays sells about 200,000).
Well, all these years later, Chris Claremont is finally getting the chance to pick up where he left off with X-Men: Forever, which takes on an alternate timeline following the events of X-Men #3. It’s an odd concept, to be sure. It appeals to a very limited audience who read and loved those original tales, but it’s also missing the key ingredient that made those stories worth picking up – Jim Lee’s art.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Grummett. I’ve been a huge fan of his since his DC days, especially his work on Robin and Superboy. However, it’s not exactly similar to Jim Lee’s stuff, is it? Still, what’s important is that the storyline is picking up where it left off 18 years ago, and is, essentially, ignoring everything that’s happened in the Marvel universe in that time. No House of M, Secret Invasion, Dark and New and Mighty Avengers…this goes back to the timeline established in 1991, where people knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man, and X-Force was led by Cable, and mutants still populated the globe in heavy supply.
While I get that they’re advertising this as “the way Claremont would have continued the storyline,” I respectfully kind of disagree with that notion. Eighteen years ago, there’s no way he would be writing the same storyline he is now. Also, he’ll be given a heck of a lot more freedom to kill off major characters (he’s already said he’s going to) than he would have if this series were considered “official” continuity.
I know it sounds like I’m negative on the series, but I’m not. I loved those early X-Men issues, and I look forward to going back to a simpler time in the lives of Marvel’s merry band of mutants. Still, my worry is that this will feel more like fan fiction, or a “what if,” than anything else. Claremont has proven himself a great writer in the past, and I hope to get some great X-tales out of him yet.
X-Men Forever #1 comes out June 10th, from Marvel Comics! For an interview with Chris Claremont on what we can expect from X-Men Forever, check out Comic Book Resources!