The X-Men have been a regular superhero team in the Marvel Hall of Fame. After successful comic book series and crossover events, even characters like Wolverine, Jean Gray, and Cyclops have found success in standalone comics. At the same time, some other X-Men titles have had more miserable lives, being canceled long before they should have been.
In some cases Marvel has not given any official reason while low sales may be a reason in others. Regardless of their short tenure, these comics are still iconic for their unconventional storylines and new approaches to characters.
X-Men: Evolution (2001-2002)
The animated series X-Men Evolution generated positive reactions among the public, thanks to its coming of age approach to mutant life. Growing up in Charles Xavier’s school, teenage mutants like Nightcrawler and Cyclops learn valuable life lessons and go through the ups and downs of teenage life. The same themes and visual style were used in a short-lived comic book series of the same name. Stories ranged from a showdown with Magneto to young X-Men throwing a party when Xavier is away.
Due to low sales, the comic was canceled just after nine issues. It’s a shame because the tenth issue would have raised the stakes by presenting Mister Sinister. Given the brutal nature of the X-Men comic villain, Evolution would have had a more mature tone for a change.
X-Men Red (2018)
Even though she is one of the most powerful members of the X-Men, Jean Gray has occasionally been used as a love interest or even a handicap. X-Men Red Not only resurrected her, but it also transformed her into an effective self-reliant leader. The comic gave him the opportunity to lead allies like Wolverine, Namor and many more, to strengthen the relationship between humans and mutants. When she is falsely accused of murder, the stakes rise and the team works in secret.
There was a lot of untapped potential with X-Men Red but the story could only last eleven issues. As Marvel’s official description for the last issue says, “They (X-Men) were hunted. They were hated. And now… they can’t fight anymore.” If only they could fight a little more …
Cable and Deadpool (2004-2008)
Whether in the comics or Deadpool 2, “Merc with a Mouth” Deadpool and the mighty member of X-Force Cable made perfect enemies in their time travel adventures. Having appeared in the standalone series The Other, Cable and Deadpool offered a perfect opportunity for the two mutants to team up for some exclusive stories. The comic book series has been hailed for its mix of violence and humor, building up fandom around the titular team of buddies.
Although Cable and Deadpool had a 50 issue streak, it might have gone on longer if Marvel hadn’t decided to launch a new solo series for both characters in 2008. The duo were popular enough that Fox teamed them up. Deadpool 2, where Wade and Nate again exchanged pleasantries and occasional punches.
Children of the Atom (2021)
Children of the atom dealt with a group of self-defense teens who idolize the X-Men to such an extent that they themselves pretend to be mutants after gaining access to alien technology. While the X-Men comics have largely dealt with humans hating mutants, this was a unique perspective on humans wanting to be like them.
However, such a pedestalization of heroes has its own consequences which Children of the atom Could have explored more if it hadn’t been canceled after just six issues. We can still hope that these new characters will appear in other X-Men comics in the future.
X-Men Blue (2017-2018)
The X-Men universe is no stranger to time travel. X-Men Blue played around with the concept while also bringing the younger versions of the original X-Men (Jean Gray, Cyclops, Beast and others) into the current timeline. As they attempt to make sense of their current world and save the mutant race, chaos ensues.
The conclusion of the story was dealt with in the Extermination scenario although it would have been interesting to continue to see the original X-Men continue their adventures in a displaced world. Even the costumes and manners were reminiscent of old X-Men comic book numbers from the 1990s.
X-Men Extraordinary (2015-2017)
Extraordinary X-Men was born out of the “All New, All Different” rebranding of the Marvel comics. While it only lasted 20 issues, the comic book storyline explored a threat that can be of concern to any species: extinction. After the Terrigen Mist renders the mutants sterile and catches a degenerative disease, this could be the end of all mutants. The X-Men have fought humans, aliens and so on, but this time they are rendered powerless by their own bodies.
The comic ended with the Inhumans vs. X-Men event, in which X-Men Blue, X-Men Gold, and X-Men Red was born from Marvel’s “RessurXion” rebranding. With the dynamic art of Humberto Ramos and the idiosyncratic storytelling of writer Jeff Lemire, Extraordinary X-Men didn’t have the chance to establish itself as a unique X-Men title that incorporated mystical and intergalactic elements into its standard superhero narrative.
The Brotherhood (2001-2002)
Even though the series was titled Brotherhood, he never focused on the original range (Mystique, Magneto, Toad, etc.). Instead, the nine-issue comic focused on a group of mutant terrorists fighting a power struggle within themselves. Hoffman and Marshall are the newly introduced main characters. As Hoffman leaves the Brotherhood and becomes the Age of Government, he plans to overthrow Marshall as the leader of the Brotherhood.
Such internal conflicts are rare in superhero teams. Focusing on new characters other than the usual set was also a new take on The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants mythos. The comic was unfortunately canned in less than a year.
Sentinel mutant-hunting robots have been recurring enemies in the X-Men comics. Sentinel reinvents the myth of the Sentinels is reinterpreted as a scientific prodigy building robots from spare parts in his spare time. When it accidentally finds a Sentinel microprocessor, it unknowingly creates a Sentinel in the process.
Instead of focusing on an “X-Men vs Sentinels” showdown, Sentinel is a more character-driven storyline. His manga-style illustrations are another highlight, courtesy of Asian-influenced Canadian comic studio UDON. Despite an unconventional approach and a new story, Sentinel was canceled after 12 issues.
X-Men Gold (2017-2018)
With an ensemble conducted by Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus and Old Man Logan, X-Men Gold pits the team against the usual enemies of the Brotherhood with a newly emerged team of mutants. In terms of plot, the comic also draws inspiration from Chris Claremont’s iconic run on the X-Men comic book troubles of the 1980s.
A little like Blue, Gold was canceled around the same time, ending with a heartwarming moment where Kitty and Nightcrawler save a young mutant who is shot by a human. In addition to stylistic callbacks to vintage X-Men comics, Gold also displayed such sentimentality that could have been explored further if the series had lasted longer.
X-Treme X-Men Vol. 2 (2012-2013)
Unrelated to the first X-Treme X-Men series, this second volume presented an exciting new range of an alternative dimension. So Wolverine became a former British Empire general called Howlett, Cyclops was an African American Civil War corporal, and so on. These Alternate Era X-Men have been brought together to hunt down ten evil versions of Charles Xavier across the multiverse.
The comic just ended with 13 numbers to reattach Age of Revelation for the X-Termination an event. While fans would have considered it a satisfying conclusion, the story had a lot more potential as it ended with Howlett (Wolverine) and others left in Earth-616, the main Marvel Universe. It would have been exciting to find the alternate versions starting a new life in this world.
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