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Why The X-Men Comics Are Going Back To The '90s

Warning: SPOILERS for Uncanny X-Men #13

Cyclops is assembling a new team of X-Men, and it turns out there's a reason the team's fashion choices are going back to the '90s. It's a dark time for the mutant race, with the latest issues of Uncanny X-Men hinting that the timeline is once again headed towards the dystopian "Days of Future Past" timeline.

The X-Men are believed dead, but fortunately two of their greatest leaders have just returned: Cyclops and Wolverine. Cyclops is gradually putting together a small team, aimed at ensuring the mutant race leave the world safer when they're gone. It's a heartbreaking end for the X-Men's greatest leader, but he's determined to ensure that the surviving mutants will leave a mark upon the world.

Related: Marvel Reminds Fans Why The Avengers NEED The X-Men

Unfortunately, as this week's Uncanny X-Men #13 reveals, there's a problem. Cyclops' team have no money, no base, and no plane. Fortunately, they do have costumes. Cyclops quietly broke into the tunnels underneath the old X-Mansion, and took everything he could find - including uniforms. It turns out that's the amusing story reason explaining why the X-Men are donning the old Jim Lee costumes, and why Wolverine has gone back to his brown-and-tan duds.

It's an in-universe explanation for a conceit that basically plays upon fans' sense of nostalgia; the X-Men were at their biggest during the '90s, and it's no coincidence that both Cyclops and Wolverine are now wearing costumes they wore during the franchise's halcyon days.

The last few years have seen the X-Men comics really attempt to dine out on nostalgia, and for the most part it hasn't really worked. For all that's the case, though, Matthew Rosenberg's current run is seeming increasingly exciting. He's used the supposed "deaths" of the X-Men to shrink the cast down to a manageable size, and the team Cyclops has assembled is notably short on A-listers; Wolverine aside, the other members are Havok, Magik, Wolfsbane, Karma, Mirage, and Madrox the Multiple Man. Cyclops is currently the central figure, largely because he's the one calling the shots, but it's frankly quite refreshing to have an X-Men team that isn't just heavy-hitters. Salvador Larroca's art evokes a dark, somber tone, truly emphasizing the fact that the mutant race seems to be on the brink of extinction.

It will be fascinating to see where things go from here. The truth is that Cyclops' team is ill-equipped for the mission they've taken on, not least because they have no cells in which to hold any prisoners they take. They're literally based in the rooms above a pub, whose landlord is a friend of Wolverine's, and by the end of the issue they literally have a supervillain chained up in the basement. This could be quite a wild ride.

Uncanny X-Men #13 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.

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