The New X-Men Writers – Will They Finally Work?

It’s been all over … well, basically Newsarama, but from there it’s disseminated into other message boards and outlets. Ed Brubaker, after X-Men: Deadly Genesis wraps up, will be jumping over to Uncanny X-Men. This is exciting news, considering his acclaimed run on Captain America and the fact that he isn’t Chuck Austen. Mike Carey, who is one of Marvel Comic’s recruits from DC-imprint Vertigo, will be writing X-Men. He joins the leagues of other Vertigo-turned-X-Men writers, including Grant Morrison and Steven T. Seagle (bet ya forgot that run.)

Is this finally going to be the solution to the bad writer problem, though? Traditionally, even the most idealistic writers find their stories don’t quite come to full fruition thanks to editorial interference, or in the case of Morrison, they find their experimental run all but erased by the powers-that-be who just want Wolverine to make yellow spandex “badass” 31-years-later. Joss Whedon’s first run on Astonishing X-Men may have had a lot of cinematic action in it, but in the end, all he did was bring Collosus back and make the Danger Room evil, which was done by Seagle and Kelly quite a few years ago (except replace “Danger Room” with “Cerebro.”) The announcement of Peter Milligan as writer on X-Men should have been a cause-celebre, but instead, he didn’t or couldn’t bring in any of his quirks as a writer, and instead went for straight forward superheroics. Incidentally, his run until fairly recently has been less-than-stellar. Seagle and Kelly’s runs weren’t bad, per se, but almost nothing truly memorable happened in them.

With Brubaker’s work on Deadly Genesis being what it is, we will hopefully see a new face to Uncanny, a book that has sagged on for far too long. His first story is episodic like the good arcs of old, and branches off of Genesis. The main villian will be Vulcan (spoiler: he’s the third Summers brother, but that’s for another post), in league with the Shi’ar and the Starjammers (!!!). The X-Men line-up will be Havok, Nightcrawler, Warpath, Xavier, Marvel Girl, Polaris and another unrevealed character.

Carey is going to be working with Cannonball, Rogue, Cable, Mystique, Sabretooth and Iceman. Though this, on some levels, wreaks of early-90s edginess, we have been assured that there is a how and why to this line-up coming together. No villians or arcs have been announced, which could be either a good or bad thing.

What Marvel needs to do with these capable writers is give them room to breathe, and accept the lasting impact that their stories have on continuity. Even if Brubaker, Carey or Whedon makes something controversial, there should be no effort made to Morrison it out. In order for the X-Men to resonate with the audience, we need more than six issues of character development. We need time invested in making Marvel’s second family a viable entity again, like Claremont did in hsi first run (but not second or third). We need heroes we care about and villians we despise, and plots that actually propel the characters beyond the page and into our minds.

Marvel, you have three good writers set for this franchise, and not a Chuck Austen in site. Don’t mess this up. Conversely, writers: don’t let it go to your head, and just tell the stories that make you awe.