Why ‘X-Men’ Doesn’t Belong in The Marvel Universe

Posted Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 07:50 pm GMT -5 by

When it comes to comic books, I have always been first, and foremost a X-Men girl.

True story.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like everything about it, right?

Of all the Marvel stories, X-Men is my favorite because it’s more than superhero BS. It’s a world filled with people where any person could have any power. This means that good intentions, evil designs, and apathy are evenly spread. The dynamics possible from just that one thought are unfathomable. Some of the characters have powers that drive them mad, some have powers they use for good, and some wish they never had powers at all. Mix them together, and you have endless material for truly great stories. It only makes sense that X-Men has survived as many years as it has with as many different series as it has.

More importantly, the ideas that X-Men presents are the among the very best in science-fiction. And no, I don’t say that because the “X-gene” makes any sense. It demonstrably doesn’t. X-Men is definitely not an example of great hard science fiction, but that doesn’t really matter. As always, I maintain that the best science fiction isn’t necessarily about correct science, but using concepts that science introduces to us in order to contest what we accept as reality. In the case of X-Men, it’s racism, homosexuality, classism and… well… basically anyone who feels marginalized. Which includes emo teens, unfortunately.

So, it’s established. I love the idea of the X-Men. Indeed, most of my favorite Marvel characters are from the X-Men, but I still kind of hate it.

Yeah. You read that right. I hate The X-Men sometimes.

“Why, Boom?” you ask. “Is it because you hard time keeping track of a million different alternate timelines, and hypothetical Jean/Scott babies?”

“Nope,” I reply. “It’s because it is a part of the Marvel Universe.”

There I said it. It cannot be unsaid. And since it’s the internet, I will probably always have this albatross around my neck. I will now only go to comic conventions masked.

“It is a girl? Is it a nerd? No! It’s a Disgruntled Marvel Fan!”

But let me explain myself.

X-Men is rooted in a world where people are afraid of those with mutant powers. It doesn’t matter how they acquired them, just that they have them. After all, there are characters like Psylocke, who comes by her powers because she’s the daughter of a man from the Otherworld, and Longshot, who is from Mojoworld and not really a mutant. Thus, it is then only right to assume that all people with superpowers are mutants and must deal with the discrimination that the X-Men deal with.

Except they don’t.  I don’t see the Fantastic Four dodging Mutie Protestors and Spider-Man running away from mobs with pitchforks. Well, not consistently, in any case.

The problems of the X-Men world are too big, too monumental to be in the rest of the Marvel Universe.

The persecution of mutants in the world of X-Men is meant to run rampant. There, teens are afraid to show people they’ve manifested their powers for fear of discrimination and mutants are rounded up and put in concentration camps like Neverland. There, they are used as slaves, like in the case of Genosha, where they are then murdered by the millions in something tantamount to genocide (which, I might add, the Avengers apparently turned a blind eye to).

This stuff is global and important.

So my point is this: while there is some reference to mutant persecution in other Marvel series, it never takes precedence.

It should, though.

You can’t live in the world of the X-Men and only make a passing reference to it. No. You live in it and everything else is the side note. You don’t mention it from time to time because it is all the time. Everything else, from Doctor Doom to the Green Goblin, is the “from time to time”; it’s the side story.

Having the X-Men in the Marvel Universe takes away from the feeling of a shared universe that Marvel is/was trying to go for, and having them involved only when the writers feel it is convenient takes away from how complicated, ugly, and beautiful the X-Men storyline really is.

So, I wish (and rather uselessly) that X-Men could be it’s own separate universe. That’s all. I know it’s too much to ask for a reboot of a separate universe, where characters age past 35, and their children don’t become as old as they are for any explicable reason. I’ll just settle for letting the X-Men world stay in the X-Men world, and then, maybe I’ll start putting it back on my pull list.

  • http://twitter.com/johnwordballoon john siuntres

    interesting point of view

  • http://twitter.com/beckles212 Becky Feldman

    I will probably lose a lot of friends by saying this, but I think I kind of agree! Although you did have me at “which includes emo teens, unfortunately”… sigh…