One of the biggest issues with the comic book medium is the sheer number of books available at any time. It can be a daunting task for even experienced collectors to keep up. The superhero genre is especially difficult to follow with Marvel and DC rebooting characters (and sometimes entire universes) every couple of years. One of the latest examples is the X-Men series. The highly praised House of X/Powers of X series promised a new start at the hands of Jonathan Hickman. Arguably one of the most anticipated reboots of recent times, it's hard to find anyone who doesn’t have at least one of the Dawn of X titles on their pull list.
The most frequent comment in the run up to this fresh start was that the X-Men – while a highly loved team – was a very difficult title to get into. Hindered by a corporate battle between Disney and Fox surrounding the movie rights, the X-Men titles were pushed aside and the quality of the titles dropped dramatically. There was no overall plan for the books to follow and stories ended up being muddled together with no real thought for continuity. The Head of X has done an amazing job bringing all these characters back to a singular continuity, but it’s fair to assume things are about to get confusing once again.
At the time of writing, there are seventeen X-Books released or announced with plans for more titles down the line. Only the most dedicated fans will be willing to buy every issue of each run, leaving more casual readers in the dark about key events happening across the different runs.
For instance - and MAJOR spoilers ahead - X-Force #1 ended with the seemingly permanent death of Xavier; a huge event that will surely affect the entire series going forward. Someone who could maybe afford one book a week had the choice of X-Force or New Mutants that week. So if they chose New Mutants (which had nothing quite as substantial happen), they miss out on a very important storyline. With multiple releases every week, these kinds of choices will only push away the casual fans once again as they can’t keep up with every storyline.
These concerns are spreading, causing Hickman to respond via Twitter recently, which you can read below.
While this suggests that intention isn’t to sell as many books as possible, it’s a safe bet those thoughts aren’t reflected by the higher ups at Marvel HQ. Hickman continues in a later tweet, “And, yes, we absolutely will do X-crossovers and X-tie-ins, but those are the exception and not the rule”, attempting to squash fears that more casual readers will miss out.
Whether or not Hickman lives up to his promise remains to be seen, but for now, let’s just enjoy the stories.
Do you think Marvel are overdoing it with their X-titles? Let us know in the comments below.