Monday, July 20, 2015

The Dream is Over

Once upon a time, gentle readers, I used to love the X-Men.  They were one of my favorite comics, right after Wolfman and Perez's New Teen Titans.  I was reading X-Men before Jean Grey died the first time.
The X-Men used to resonate with their comic readers because they were mutants. Freaks. Outcasts. Chances are, if you were reading comics a couple of decades ago, that's kind of how you were perceived by other people.
And if you were an outsider, if you did exist on the fringe of the teenage world, X-Men could be a source of strength.  The characters were hated and feared simply because of what they were.  In the real world, this could apply to a lot of people who felt marginalized by the ridiculous media-fed image of what 'normal' and 'cool' meant.
I don't love the X-Men any more.
I read the comics into the 1990s. I watched as Marvel Comics, in their infinite wisdom (Hah!), decided to reunite the original X-Men.  This meant somehow bringing Jean Grey back from the dead. If it had been a one off event, it might have been palatable. But these days, Jean Grey has died and come back about 13 times.  Her death no longer has any relevance to fans and, to be honest, neither does her life.
The resurrection of Jean Grey and the formation of X-Factor was the beginning of the end of my love of X-Men.  I was never a huge fan of Cyclops, but when he literally abandoned his wife and newborn son to return to Jean Grey's creepy, possibly psychically motivated embrace, what little good will I had toward the character was soured.
My opinion of the X-Men has only gotten worse over the last few years.
Part of the problem was oversaturation. The X-Men went from having two books to having too many books.  Mutants were everywhere. They lost their cache. And, compared to the Avengers and Fantastic Four, the X-Men were pretty much idiots.
The entire raison d'etre for their existence was to improve relations between mutants and normal humans.  They've been about as effective at this as the royal parents in Frozen were at teaching Elsa not to fear her power.
Even more recently, the X-Men have schismed, divided into opposing factions. One, led by Cyclops, determined to do whatever he has to to protect the mutant race, and the other led by Wolverine, who is trying to carry on Charles Xavier's dread of engendering peace between mutants and humans.
I don't know anyone who is reading X-Men comics today who feels any genuine affection for the characters any longer. Despite this, the books continue to sell. Fox continues to churn out awful movies.
The X-Men used to be about outsiders banding together to improve their lot. Nowadays, the X-Men are about these two groups of mutants who have radically different approaches to the same end. They have become the comic equivalent of the Republicans and Democrats.
I don't buy X-Men books any more. The characters just piss me off.  Even the appearance of old favorites like Nightcrawler, can't convince me to plunk down my hard earned money for their books.
It doesn't help that Cyclops has pretty much become the new Magneto.  Or that he's traded being Jean Grey's doormat for being Emma Frost's.
So, when this happened in the latest issue of Secret Wars -

- I actually exalted in the apparent death of Cyclops at the hands of Doctor Doom.
I confessed to a coworker once that I think the Marvel Universe would be so much better with significantly fewer mutants and, wait for it, no X-Men at all.
Because the X-Men are unlikable. They're pretty much a bunch of dicks in tacky spandex. As one of their own members commented, "X-Men make everything worse."
That's too true.
They're Iron Man without the charisma.  They are the 80-year-old version of Captain America. They are a bottle of wine that has turned to vinegar.
It's time to toss the X-Men aside, to banish them from the Marvel Universe and, hopefully, replace them with a bunch of new mutants who would not bear the stigma of the 'X.'
Charles Xavier's dream isn't just dead, it was never fucking born.
It's time to move on.

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