In November 2012, Marvel launched the All-New X-Men, bringing the original five X-Men from the past into the present. Now, Marvel's latest teaser suggests they're finally going back to their own time.
Nostalgia has always been a force to be reckoned with in the X-Men franchise, and the current "ResurrXion" wave recognizes that. Back in 2012, Marvel chose to take an innovative approach, appealing to that nostalgia in a very different way. They used time-travel to draw the original five X-Men into the present day, launching some fascinating plots in which the so-called "All-New X-Men" had to deal with the modern Marvel universe. Recent comics have suggested the team need to go home, though, and now it looks as though that day has finally arrived.
Marvel is teasing a new X-Men event, "EXtermination," to launch in August this year. It will feature the creative team of Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz; Brisson is no stranger to time-traveling adventures, as he's currently known for writing Cable. The event bears an ominous tagline: "Exterminate the Past. Eliminate the Future."
It's a stunning image, showing the current team - who star in Dennis Hopeless's X-Men: Blue book - and the classic Jack Kirby designs. As is strikingly visible, the All-New X-Men have changed a lot since their arrival in the present day. Jean Grey gained early access to her telepathy, and has actually survived a run-in with the Phoenix Force; Iceman has accepted his long-repressed homosexuality and gained significant mastery of his powers; Beast has dabbled in the mystic arts; Angel has been exposed to cosmic energies, gaining wings of fire; and Cyclops has been a member of both the Starjammers and the Champions.
The last few years have seen Marvel toy with a lot of different models of temporal mechanics. While Marvel traditionally use a Multiverse, Brian Bendis decided to take a different approach. He suggested a strong link between the past and the present; during the "Battle of the Atom" event, Cyclops's near-death actually caused his future self to briefly blink out of existence. Later, in 2014's All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men annuals, Bendis hinted that sending the team back in time had the potential to warp the entire timeline. A more recent development, though, is the ominous realization that the team have to return home before reality fractures around them.
But how can this team possibly return home? And is that really a satisfying end for the All-New X-Men? Their time in the present has seen these five mutants change and grow in fascinating ways. Both Cyclops and Jean Grey have starred in their own ongoings, facing challenges that shaped and transformed their characters. It would certainly be disappointing to see all this character development go to waste. Meanwhile, it's important to note that the story of the All-New X-Men has defied expectations at every turn. Fans expected the team to return home in 2014's "Battle of the Atom." Instead, they remained in the present, and have continued to thrive. It's quite possible Marvel is setting up a surprise twist.
According to Marvel, more will be revealed at this weekend's C2E2. There, the True Believer panel will spill the beans on "EXtermination." That's an unusual move for Marvel; this is a ticketed private event, requiring membership of Marvel subscription programs. It's possibly the first time Marvel has ever officially revealed the launch of a new series or event at such a panel. It surely won't take long for the information to leak online.