The X-Men are a team of fictional comic book superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, they debuted in The X-Men #1, published in September 1963. The X-Men are fictitious mutants who, as a result of a sudden leap in evolution, are born with latent superhuman abilities which generally manifest themselves at puberty. Many ordinary humans harbor an intense fear and/or distrust of mutants (often referred to as Homo superior), who are regarded by a number of scientists as the next step in human evolution and are thus widely viewed as a threat to human society. The tensions are exacerbated by mutants who use their Powers for criminal ends. The X-Men alliance is formed by the benevolent Professor Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, a wealthy mutant who founds an academy to train young mutants to protect themselves and the world from Magneto, the Brotherhood of Mutants and other mutant threats.
The X-Men comic book series was one of comicdom's earliest and most influential trendsetters in adopting a multicultural central cast; during the 1970s, the roster was diversified, adding characters from Germany, Ireland, Canada, the Soviet Union, Kenya and Japan. Characters representing many other ethnicities and cultural backgrounds have subsequently been added. The stories themselves often touch upon themes relating to the status of minorities, including assimilation, tolerance, and beliefs regarding a "superior race."
The X-Men have expanded into film and television, including one of the most successful Saturday morning programs, X-Men: The Animated Series and the hit Kids WB! animated series X-Men Evolution. The year 2000 saw the successful debut of the X-Men movie directed by Bryan Singer. Its sequel X2: X-Men United was released in 2003, again directed by Singer, and a third X-Men movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, this time directed by Brett Ratner, and was released May 26, 2006.
The team's name is widely said to be derived from the fact that mutants have "extra" Powers due to their "X-Factor" gene (a word which was coined by Professor X). Co-creator Stan Lee recalled in his book Son of Origins of Marvel Comics and elsewhere that he devised the series title after Marvel publisher Martin Goodman turned down the initial name, "The Mutants." In addition to this "official" explanation, the X-Men are widely regarded (both within the Marvel%20UNIVERSE%20'>Marvel UNIVERSE as well as by the readers of the series) to have been named after Xavier himself. In Uncanny X-Men #309, Xavier claims that the name "X-Men" was never intended to be a self-tribute.
X-Men #1, written by Stan Lee and art by Jack KirbyMain article: History of the X-Men comics
The X-Men are founded by the paraplegic telepath Professor Charles Francis Xavier a.k.a. Professor X. Xavier gathered the X-Men under the cover of Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters at a large country estate at 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Salem Center, a small town in Westchester County, New York. The original X-Men consisted of five teenagers whom the professor taught to control their Powers: Cyclops/Scott Summers, Angel/Warren Worthington III, Beast/Hank McCoy, Iceman/Bobby Drake, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey.
Early X-Men issues introduced the team's arch nemesis Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants featuring Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Mastermind and the Toad. Ironically, the cast of this comic book series, which would in decades hence become a vehicle for stories about prejudice and racism, was originally racially and ethnically homogeneous, seemingly comprised entirely of the WASP-type character that was the de facto model for most comic book heroes at that time. Furthermore, their arch nemesis was Magneto, a character later portrayed as a Jewish concentration camp survivor, whose key followers, son and daughter, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were Gypsies (Roma), an ethnic minority in Europe. Only one new X-Man was added, Mimic/Calvin Rankin, but was soon expelled by Xavier due to his arrogance.
In 1969, writer Roy Thomas and artist Neal Adams rejuvenated the comic book and gave regular roles to two characters that had been recently introduced: Havok/Alex Summers (who had been introduced by Roy Thomas before Adams began work on the strip) and Lorna Dane, later called Polaris (created by Arnold Drake and Jim Steranko). However, these early X-Men issues failed to attract sales and Marvel stopped producing new stories with issue #66, although a number of the older comics were later reprinted as issues 67-93.
In Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975), writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum introduced a new team that would appear in new issues of The X-Men beginning with issue #94. Rather than teenagers, this group consisted of adults who hailed from a variety of nations and cultures. The "all-new, all-different X-Men" were led by Cyclops from the original team and consisted of the newly created Thunderbird/John Proudstar, Colossus/Piotr Rasputin, Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner and Storm/Ororo Munroe, along with three previously introduced characters, Sunfire/Shiro Yoshida, Banshee/Sean Cassidy and, most notably, Wolverine/Logan who would become the breakout character. A revamped Jean Grey soon rejoined the X-Men as the popular Phoenix and Havok, Polaris, Beast and Angel made significant guest appearances.
The revived series was illustrated by Dave Cockrum and later John Byrne and written by Chris Claremont, who would become the series' longest-standing contributor. The run met great critical acclaim and produced the "Proteus Saga", "Dark Phoenix Saga", and later the early 1980s "Days of Future Past", arguably some of the greatest story arcs in Marvel Comics, as well as X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, the basis for the 2003 movie X2. Other characters introduced at this time include Mystique, Multiple Man, the Hellfire Club, and Moira MacTaggert along with her genetic research facility Muir Island.
Cover of Uncanny X-Men #227. Art by Marc Silvestri.In the 1980s, the growing popularity of Uncanny X-Men and the rise of comic book specialty stores led to the introduction of several spin-off series nicknamed "X-Books", most notably The New Mutants, X-Factor and Excalibur, and a solo Wolverine title. This plethora of X-Men-related titles led to the rise of crossovers, sometimes called "X-Overs", storylines which would overlap into several X-Books, sometimes for months at a time and usually once per year; including the Mutant Massacre, The Fall of the Mutants and Inferno.
Notable additions to the X-Men were Shadowcat, Rogue, Dazzler, Psylocke, Longshot, and Forge. A controversial move was to have Professor X relocate to space in 1986 to be with his beloved Lilandra, Majestrix of the Shi'ar Empire, making Magneto the head of the X-Men. This period also included the arrival of the mysterious Madelyne Pryor, the villains Mystique, Mister Sinister, Sabretooth, and Apocalypse
The multiple, interlocking covers of X-Men #1 (1991) boosted sales. Art by Jim Lee.In 1991, Marvel revised the entire lineup of X-books with X-Men (vol. 2), the original series of this title having been already renamed to Uncanny X-Men. Its first issues were drawn by mega-popular artist Jim Lee and written by longstanding X-Men writer Chris Claremont. Another new X-book released at the time was X-Force featuring the characters from the The New Mutants led by Cable written by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza.
Internal friction split the X-Men books' creative teams. Chris Claremont left after only three issues of X-Men due to clashes with artist Jim Lee and the Marvel editors, thus ending his sixteen-year run as X-Men writer. Months later, Liefeld and Lee left Marvel with several other popular artists including former X-Men artists Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio to form Image Comics. After Claremont left Scott Lobdell took over X-Men, and later would work with artist Joe Madureira.
Notable additions to the X-Men have been Jubilee, Gambit, Bishop, Cannonball, Cecilia Reyes, Maggott, Marrow, X-Man and Cable. This decade saw the return of Xavier and the original X-Men to the team. With so many X-Men Xavier split the X-Men into two strike teams. Cyclops led the "Blue Team" and Storm led the "Gold Team".
The 1990s saw an even greater number of X-books with numerous ongoing series and miniseries running concurrently. Generation X featured Jubilee and other teenage mutants who were led and schooled by Banshee, and former villain Emma Frost. X-Man starred powerful young mutant Nate Grey. Marvel launched solo series for characters including Cable, Gambit, Bishop and Deadpool, the last a sarcastic mercenary antagonist of X-Force. In 1998 Excalibur and X-Factor ended and the latter was replaced with the parallel world series Mutant X starring Havok.
Notable story arcs of this time are the "The X-Tinction Agenda" in 1990, "The Muir Island Saga" in 1991, "X-Cutioner's Song" in 1992, "Fatal Attractions" in 1993, "Phalanx Covenant" in 1994, "Legion Quest"/"Age of Apocalypse" in 1995, "Onslaught" in 1996 and "Operation: Zero Tolerance" in 1997.
New X-Men #114, 2001. Art by Frank Quitely.In the 2000s, Claremont returned to Marvel and was put back on the primary X-Men titles. He was soon removed from his two flagship titles in early 2001 and created his own spin-off series, X-Treme X-Men. This was part of an event called "Revolution". In the meantime, characters such as Moira MacTaggert, Apocalypse, Psylocke and Colossus were also killed off.
X-Men had its title changed at this time to New X-Men and new writer Grant Morrison took over. This era is often referred to as the Morrison-era, due to the drastic changes he made to the series, beginning with "E Is For Extinction", where new villain, Cassandra Nova, destroys Genosha, killing sixteen million mutants. Morrison also brought reformed villain Emma Frost into the primary X-Men team, and opening the doors of school by Xavier "outing" himself to the public about being a mutant. The bright spandex costumes that had become ICONic over the previous decades were also gone, replaced by black leather street clothes reminiscent of the uniforms of the X-Men movies. Morrison also added the controversial new character, Xorn, who would go on to murder Jean Grey and wreak havoc on New York City (Whether Xorn was mind-controlled or not is disputed; see his entry for an insight into the controversy). In the meantime, the Ultimate X-Men were launched, set in Marvel's revised imprint. Chuck Austen also began his controversial run on Uncanny X-Men.
Notable additions to the X-Men have been Emma Frost, Sage, Darwin, Northstar, Omega Sentinel and Armor. This decade also included former villains becoming X-Men such as Juggernaut, Mystique, Sabretooth, Lady Mastermind and Warpath. Several short-lived spin-offs and mini-series started including Mystique, Emma Frost, Gambit, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Xavier and Magneto and District X. Another book, Exiles, started at the same time but continues to this day. Cable and Deadpool's books were also rolled into one book, called Cable and Deadpool. A third primary X-Title was also introduced called X-Men'>Astonishing X-Men, written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, following Morrison's departure. Another X-Book titled New X-Men: Academy X took its place focusing on the lives of the new young mutants at the Institute.
This period included the resurrections of Psylocke and Colossus, the death of Jean Grey, and Cyclops and Emma Frost as a couple, becoming the new leaders of the Institute. The Institute formerly ran as a large-scale school, until the depowering of most of the mutant population. It now serves as a safe haven to those mutants who are still powered and as the home of the X-Men. In the meantime, Apocalypse and the Phoenix Force returned.
Notable story arcs of this decade are "Eve of Destruction", "E Is For Extinction", "Planet X", "Gifted", "X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong, "House of M", "Decimation", "Deadly Genesis", "Civil War", and "Endangered Species".
World of the X-Men
See also: Mutant (Marvel comics)
The X-Men exist in the Marvel%20UNIVERSE%20'>Marvel UNIVERSE with other characters owned by the comic book company. As such, it is unsurprising how they often meet characters, and the global nature of the mutant concept means the scale of stories can be highly varied.
The X-Men fight everything ranging from mutant criminals to galactic threats. The X-Men base themselves in the Xavier Institute, Westchester County, NY, and are often depicted as a family. The X-Mansion is often depicted with three floors and two underground levels. To the outside world, it acts as a Higher Learning Institute, until the 2000s when Xavier is exposed as a mutant, and it becomes a full mutant boarding school. Xavier is seen tracking down mutants with a device called Cerebro, and the X-Men train within the Danger Room. First depicted as a room full of weapons and booby traps, it is now depicted as generating holographic simulations.
A widely recognized, ICONic element of the X-Men universe is the Blackbird jet they use for transportation. The team is often split into multiple groups to manage the large amount of members. During the 1990s, the comics would focus on a "Blue" team (led by Cyclops) or a "Gold" Team (led by Storm). During the 2000s, Xavier founds a Corporation aimed at reaching mutants worldwide, though it ceased to exist following the Decimation.
The X-Men introduced several fictional locations which are regarded as important within the shared universe in which Marvel Comics characters exist:
Genosha, an African island near Madagascar and a long-time apartheid regime against mutants. Given control by the U.N. to Magneto until the E is for Extinction story.
Madripoor, an island in Southeast Asia, near Singapore. Its location is shown to be in the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca, southwest of Singapore.
Muir Island, a remote island off the coast of Scotland. Primarily known in the X-Men universe as the home of Moira MacTaggert's laboratory.
Savage Land, a hidden prehistoric location in Antarctica.
Asteroid M, An asteroid made by Magneto, a mutant utopia and training facility off of the earth's surface.
Days of Future Past, where Sentinels have mutants in concentration camps. Prevented by time travelling.
Age of Apocalypse, in which Magneto founded the X-Men in a dystopic world ruled by Apocalypse. Created and reverted via time travel.
House of M, where reality is altered by Scarlet Witch, with her father Magneto as the world's ruler. 2005's crossover event, it concludes with a revert to the normal Marvel Universe, albeit with most mutants depowered.
Ultimate X-Men, set in the reimagined Ultimate Marvel universe.
X-Men: The End, a possible ending to the X-Men's early 2005 status quo.
Marvel 2099, set in a dystopic world with new characters looking to the original X-Men as history, becoming X-Men 2099 and X-Nation 2099.
Marvel 1602, where mutants are known as the "Witchbreed".
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