Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by Great X-Pectations

It’s time. Let us confront a new era of the X-Men, as we discuss ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics in another edition of Comics Disassembled.

1. To Me, Tom’s X-Men!

Back in January, I wrote a column in which I predicted six different things for comics in 2024. The one I was most confident about came to pass yesterday. Here it is:

That was true, but it wasn’t the whole truth about the reaction to the news announced at a SXSW panel that Tom Brevoort’s era of the X-Men is built on a foundation of Gail Simone and David Marquez’s The Uncanny X-Men, Jed MacKay and Ryan Stegman’s X-Men, and Eve L. Ewing and Carmen Carnero’s Exceptional X-Men. The reality is some people were mad about it. Others were thrilled or mixed or confused or jazzed or ready or not. Just by searching “X-Men” on Twitter, I saw a little of everything. Some people said they were going to read their first ever X-Men comics because of this, which…seems a bit surprising, but also who am I to question why people do things? I saw some folks who were frustrated about the Krakoa structure going away entirely, to be replaced by stories set in my home of Alaska, New Orleans, and Chicago. I saw others pumped about the return of old logos, but some were turned off by it completely (my take: the white + yellow on black for all of them made the logos look terribly drab, even if I like the logos themselves). I saw everything you could possibly imagine, because it was the type of announcement that elicits such a thing.

Marvel will take that, I’m sure. Generating a reaction is what Marvel wants. They want people to feel something. This accomplished that, even if it was all over the place. My ultimate takeaway, though, doesn’t really fit that build. That’s because my takeaway is three simple words, ones that act as the general thesis of the 2020s for the world: This is fine.

I knew it would be back to basics — there’s just no way they wouldn’t do something simpler after the complexity of Krakoa, as there’s a rubber band effect to these kinds of things — and that it would try to build something new out of something old, and they’re certainly doing that. I mean, one series is apparently designed to make us all cry every month! There’s the Generation X/New Mutants style book in Exceptional X-Men, with Kate Pryde as a barista looking after a trio of…well…new mutants (along with Emma Frost), a wild team based in Alaska featuring Cyclops, Magneto, Magik, Kid Omega, Juggernaut, and others in X-Men, and an outlaw squad book starring Rogue, Gambit, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee in New Orleans instead of the Outback in Uncanny. All this has happened before and all this will happen again. They’re old flavors in new skins, at least conceptually. More than that, the restraint they must have had to not put them back in the mansion (instead turning that into a prison almost certainly for Professor X) is impressive. Overall, though, it’s just fine. It’s fine! Those creative teams are interesting and the ideas are different enough and Stegman’s teaser art is teaser art. I’ll check some of the books out for sure.

It’s hard to not want more than fine, though, especially after the previous era launched with Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, RB Silva, and friends taking a flamethrower to everything as they lit the world on fire in House of X and Powers of X. We’ll see what’s to come. These titles aren’t arriving for somewhere between four and six months, to say nothing of six other books in Phoenix, X-Factor, Storm, NYX, X-Force, and Wolverine that will be coming at some point, amongst others. We don’t know what’s an ongoing and what’s a mini, how these all fit together, or even what leads into this story. So much is to be determined, and excitement could still come. But again, it’s hard to not want to feel more than fine about the announcement of a new era for Marvel’s Merry Mutants. And yet, that’s where I find myself, even as I’m terribly intrigued to discover where exactly my new neighbors the X-Men are going to reside in Alaska and whether they want to come on the podcast or not.

That said, I do want to note two things about this. One is that presuming Marvel resists the urge to charge $9.99 for the first issues of these new titles, I suspect they’ll do fairly well in terms of orders from comic shops because it is a new era for the X-Men and these are good teams. It’s interesting enough to create some level of heat, especially because it’s such a different take from the unified approach of the previous era. The other thing is that I saw some people talking fairly definitively about what this is or isn’t. My take is while it’s not overly exciting, we also still don’t really know what this is. We won’t know that until the books arrive. How much the Krakoa Era is referenced and why it doesn’t seem to be a factor is still to be determined in the story that’s currently finishing. While I understand people wanting that time to not be forgotten, we don’t know it has been yet. Time will tell, and guessing based on limited information isn’t helping anyone — least of all ourselves!

2. Dog Man, in Libraries Both Big and Small

In much more irrefutably positive news, Scholastic Graphix and cartoonist Dav Pilkey are doing something that’s very, very cool. As part of the Power Up with Reading initiative, Dog Man-themed Little Free Libraries are being put up in all 50 states, meaning that my home of Alaska’s getting love in two different points this week. More than that, Pilkey himself will be donating 50,000 books to ensure the Little Free Libraries in underserved communities are appropriately served, which is incredible in its generosity. While it does make you wonder about just how robust Scholastic’s comp program really is — I want to think all 50,000 books are the free copies Pilkey gets for making new Dog Man volumes — it’s a wonderful thing to do, especially because Dog Man continues to be a monster hit, even if it’s incrementally less popular than it was at its apex.

Little Free Libraries, for those that don’t know, are just what they sound like: little, oversized mailbox type things typically found on the side of a road somewhere that are loaded with books for people to borrow. I have several in my neighborhood, and I’ve always wanted to have one near my house for people to grab comics from. While I suspect that the one Scholastic and Pilkey do for my state will not be near my house, it’s still cool, and hugely beneficial for them as it’s a great promotional opportunity. The Little Free Library will be adorned in Pilkey’s art for Dog Man, Captain Underpants, and Cat Kid Comic Club, and will be filled with Dog Man and assorted other Scholastic releases. That’s a lot of visibility, and a great way to get these already enormously popular books in even more hands.

The rest of this article is for
subscribers only.
Want to read it? A monthly SKTCHD subscription is just $4.99, or the price of one Marvel #1.
Or for the lower rate, you can sign up on our quarterly plan for just $3.99 a month, or the price of one regularly priced comic.
Want the lowest price? Sign up for the Annual Plan, which is just $2.99 a month.

Already a member? Sign in to your account.