Graphic Arts As Literature


Marvel’s mutants
‘Reload’ for futures

If you're an X-Men fan, this month was either an X-citing month, or an X-cruciating one. It was "X-Men: Reload," a revamp of the entire mutant line at Marvel Comics. Part or all of the creative teams were changed on titles such as:

» "Uncanny X-Men," sticking with veteran writer Chris Claremont, who revitalized both the title and the franchise back in the 1970s, and now including fan favorite illustrator Alan Davis. Claremont's previous title "X-Treme X-Men" has stopped publication.

» "X-Men" (formerly "New X-Men" written by Grant Morrison), with the team of Chuck Austen/Salvador Larroca (who was doing "Uncanny X-Men") for the revamped title's first three months, and afterward, the always excellent British fantasist Warren Ellis is rumored to take over.

» "Weapon X," featuring the ever-popular Wolverine and done by the team of Frank Tieri/Tom Mandrake.

» "Exiles," a title that follows the time-hopping adventures of a group of auxiliary mutants that was at its best when Judd Winick was writing the title. Now it's just plugging away with Tony Bedard and Mizuki Sakakibara.

» "New Mutants" has been morphed into "New X-Men, Vol. 2," following essentially the same cast as students at Prof. Charles Xavier's school, with the writing team of Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, whose work was better known associated with the indie Oni Press, and penciller Randy Green.

» "X-Statix" is the lone exception. It's the only title that, thankfully, didn't change its team of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, keeping the original creators on one of the more entertaining and media-savvy comic book titles around that just so happens to involve mutants.

The new "Reload" titles include:

» "Excalibur" (Claremont/Aaron Lopresti): Older fans often fondly recall the original book of this title, which followed a mutant team in England. Fuggedaboudit. This book is about Xavier trying to revive the now-dead Genosha, the all-mutant island nation that was annihilated by Sentinels a while back.

» "District X" (David Hine/David Yardin): Cop shows are all the rage on TV, so it only follows that Marvel will put its ex-cop X-Man, Bishop, to use. He'll patrol "Mutant Town," an inner-city enclave of down-and-out mutants with mostly useless superpowers.

But the piece de resistance is last week's release of:

» "Astonishing X-Men": What's really astonishing about this superhero book is its writer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon. Combined with a top-notch illustrator in John Cassaday, it's pure X-tacy. Plus, the release of the title certainly brought out the serious collectors out of the woodwork, as the debut issue came out with three variant covers.

Find all of this confusing? Happily, Marvel is also publishing "The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: X-Men 2004," which should be helpful.

Also, the characters will be easy to tell apart, as Marvel has promised the return of individual Spandex costumes (instead of the leather gear the X-people have been sporting since the first movie debuted). As to the whys and wherefores, X-editor Mike Marts told "Worlds of Westfield" magazine:

"We're starting over with new, accessible story arcs, that people can understand, and don't have to worry about 30 or 35 years of ... history to catch up on. We're trying to provide everyone with a nice jumping-on point."


Vegas Experience / Nancy McCord


Artists are invited to submit comic strips that reflect life in Hawaii for publication in "Strip Show." Send work to Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or email

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