Everyone is excited about the upcoming Uncanny X-Men relaunch, starring every living X-Men and nearly every Marvel creator. But the problem with the comics business is that everything starts off great with a #1 issue, but when it comes to sales, it's all downhill from there. That's why Marvel relaunches all their titles roughly once every 18 months at minimum, creating a frustrating situation for readers.
But there's one gimmick that still has the potential to compete with the #1 issue relaunch when it comes to convincing fickle comic book readers to buy more comics: the legacy milestone. It's not a matter of when Marvel will return to legacy numbering for at least one issue to publish the next milestone of Uncanny X-Men, which is Uncanny X-Men #700, in case you were wondering; it's a matter of when. And we have no idea when Marvel is planning it, but we'd just like to point out that, if they were so inclined, it could be as early as January.
Let's take a look at the facts.
When Uncanny X-Men hits stores in November with an oversized #1 issue for $8, it's the start of a ten-part story called X-Men Disassembled. No one knows where Marvel will go from there, but they'll presumably want to introduce another high-profile creative team to take over the book, assuming the current ensemble will be leaving. Either way, Marvel needs something to keep the interest going 10 issues in, which is halfway to the cancellation point for most Marvel series.
The previous milestone issue of Uncanny X-Men was Uncanny X-Men #600, published at the end of Uncanny X-Men Volume 3 as its 36th issue. So that's the starting point. Can we get to #700 issues from there?
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 4 consisted of 19 issues, and when that ended, X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold launched as the new core X-titles. When those titles end this month, both will have published 36 issues. 600 + 19 + 36 + 36 = 691 issues. That would make the upcoming Uncanny X-Men Vol. 5 #9 the 700th issue, assuming Marvel would be willing to count X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold in the legacy numbering. The company released graphics explaining the legacy numbering for various titles last year during the Marvel Legacy event, an event which X-cluded the X-Men, by the way.
As you can see, Marvel is willing to play fast and loose with the numbering if it gets them where they want to be. But do they want to be at Uncanny X-Men #700 in the penultimate issue of their weekly relaunch kickoff? Well, that's probably too soon. So let's consider another scenario.
Marvel could choose to count only one of the current X-books, probably X-Men Gold, since the Gold team was featured in the original split when X-Men launched in 1991, toward Uncanny X-Men's legacy numbering. That would put us at 600 + 19 + 36 = 655 issues of Uncanny X-Men. If Uncanny X-Men were to continue weekly throughout 2019, it would hit #700 in November, when traditional logic dictates sales would be in need of a serious boost after the initial relaunch, and whatever follow-up Marvel has planned for January, has worn off. If published bi-weekly after January, it could hit #700 by October of 2020. If published monthly… haha, just kidding, there's no way Marvel will publish Uncanny X-Men monthly.
Of course, there's also the possibility that Marvel won't count either X-Men Blue or X-Men Gold, but that sets back the #700 milestone so far that Marvel will almost certainly have to reboot to at least one additional Uncanny X-Men #1 before then.
Let us know when you think we'll get Uncanny X-Men #700 in the comments. Meanwhile, we've still got a whole bunch of X-Men comics to recap from last Wednesday, so let's get this column started…
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
Here's how it works: we read all of the X-Men comics that come out each week and we tell you what happened in them. Got it? Okay, let's get started…
Astonishing X-Men #15
(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A/CA) Greg Land
• After the events of last issue, Havok and his team are on the run from the law.
• Plus, the Reavers' secret mission is revealed!
In Shops: Sep 05, 2018
Astonishing X-Men #15 features a cover by Greg Land and Frank D'Armata that looks like an old West style wanted poster, paying tribute to the song Wanted: Dead or Alive by writer Matthew Rosenberg's favorite band, Bon Jovi. It also tells us that these are the outlaw X-Men of old, and the X-Men get up to some outlaw things in this issue, such as sniping at each other over a plate of french fries at a diner. Dazzler calls Beast fat, and Beast insults Dazzler's mid-life crisis/nostalgia-themed concert tour. They're interrupted by paparazzi, who ask Dazzler why she's hanging out with Havok and his group of terrorists. Turns out, Kitty Pryde has denounced Havok's X-Men on television (but there are good people on both sides!).
Back at the headquarters of the Office of National Emergency, led by the evil villain General Callahan, we learn that ONE is using Reaver technology to hunt down the X-Men while Donald Pierce and the other captive Reavers play cards. Later, Beast complains that taking public transportation is beneath him as the X-Men ride the bus, while Havok reveals that Bastion implanted something in his body that he believes ONE and the Reavers are looking for, and he forgot to tell the rest of the team. He decides to leave the X-Men in disgrace so that they don't suffer anymore because of him. The remaining free Reavers, led by Bonebreaker, hole up at an abandoned Radio Shack.
Havok goes to drink at supervillain hangout The Bar With No Name, but Warpath follows him, and in X-pository conversation, we learn Havok was actually lying about lying to the X-Men because he wants to protect them from his past mistakes. Warpath convinces him to rejoin the X-Men, who are currently hanging out at Colossus's filthy apartment. Unfortunately, before Havok and Warpath can return, the X-Men are attacked by more Reaver-tech-powered federal agents, and in the battle, Colossus, Beast, and Dazzler are arrested and Banshee escapes into the night. Warpath and Havok join up with the remaining free Reavers instead.
That Astonishing X-Men is the best of the four ongoing X-Men team books is very promising for the Uncanny X-Men reboot.
X-Men Gold #35
(W) Marc Guggenheim (A) Michele Bandini (CA) Phil Noto
• The X-Men versus the undead!
• Goddess versus god!
• And Storm's final battle?
In Shops: Sep 05, 2018
In the penultimate issue of X-Men Gold, Storm faces off with Uovu, the evil god who leads an army of the dead in Storm's old home village of Uzuri. That army includes Storm's resurrected parents as well as her adopted mother, Ainet. Storm is powerful, but not as powerful as Uovu. Luckily, Stormcaster, her Asgardian hammer that appeared to have abandoned her last issue, was actually going to find the rest of the X-Men Gold team, like this is an episode of Lassie or something. What's that, Stormcaster? Ororo is trapped in the well?! Stormcaster opens a portal for the X-Men and returns to Storm. Wait, why didn't it just open a portal in the first place rather than flying halfway around the world?
Storm and Uovu have a battle of power while the X-Men rescue any villagers that are still alive and take out Zuberi, Uovu's henchman. Storm defeats Uovu, but only by using up the last of Stormcaster's powers, causing it to disintegrate. The resurrected people also begin disintegrating, though the named ones manage to stick around a little bit longer to say goodbye to Storm (how convenient). Afterward, Storm vows not to forget about her old home for hundreds of issues at a time anymore.
Next issue is the last issue of X-Men Gold! *sniff*
(W) Fred Van Lente (A) Yildiray Cinar (CA) Rahzzah
• When a secret clan of Satanists wants hell on Earth
• Weapon X-Force is the only team standing in their way! You won't believe who's moving heaven and hell to end mutantkind this time!
In Shops: Sep 05, 2018
Weapon X-Force, having successfully freed Money from Mentallo's control, battles Deadpool at the headquarters of Mentallo's cult. The issue is basically one long fight scene, with Deadpool facing off against each of the team members and making witty remarks, and also burning off half of Monet's hair, which she is not pleased about. Deathstrike manages to infect Deadpool with the nanites that should free him from mind control, but it turns out he's not being controlled. He's just well-paid. Monet punches him off a cliff, giving Domino some time to make awkward remarks about how Sabretooth led the team to rescue her last issue because he luuuuvvvvvs her. When Deadpool climbs back up, Sabretooth offers him more money to switch sides.
Together, Weapon X-Force, Monet, and Deadpool beat up Mentallo's cult members, but Mentallo reveals that the true leader of the cult is a cyborg version of Reverant William Stryker. Stryker pulls a Spider-Man and sells his soul to the devil, gaining power to defeat all of Weapon X-Force as the issue ends on a cliffhanger.
It seems like very little happened because a recap doesn't really capture an issue-long fight scene very well, but this comic was a lot of fun.
(W) Skottie Young (A) Scott Hepburn (CA) Nic Klein
DEADPOOL IS IN FOR A WORLD OF WEIRD!
• A merc job leads Deadpool to one of the strangest corners of the Marvel U…WEIRDWORLD!
• Not only that, he's fallen into a TIME STORM! Oh no, not a Time Storm!!! Anything but a Time Storm!!! Wait…what's a Time Storm?
• Monsters! Sorceresses! Man-Things! Romance! Time Storms! THIS ISSUE HAS IT ALL!
In Shops: Sep 05, 2018
After three kind of lackluster issues, Deadpool #4 finally delivers, and all it took was a trip to Weirdworld. The issue opens with Deadpool, Hydra Bob, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead flying over the Bermuda Triangle in the X-Men's Blackbird. Deadpool has a job to track down and kill a mob accountant named Steve Buchanan, who has fled to Weirdworld. Deadpool jumps out of the plane without a parachute, bringing his cell phone, which he uses to record video messages for his teammates. Once he is ready for extraciton, he'll say a special code-word. But Deadpool's trip takes longer than expected. He lands in a volcano and is plucked out by the mama Birdhound of McMaul, which takes him back to his nest and feeds him regurgitated food for a few years until he recovers. The other baby birdhounds turn on him, so he kills and eats them, only to be found by The Shellves, who happen to be carrying his gear that he lost when jumping out of the plane.
The story jumps around through the years as Deadpool sends video updates, never using the codeword. He meets, fights, befriends, and then betrays Arkon of Polemachus. He has a new costume made. He is kidnapped by the evil wizard Grithstane and held captive for years as Grithstane drinks his blood to achieve immortality. Eventually, Deadpool is rescued by Jennifer Kale, the Swamp Queen, and her forces, joining them in their war against the Witch Queen Morgan LaFey, who is trying to take advantage of something called the Time Storm to gain complete control of Weirdworld. Deadpool also falls in love with and marries the Swamp Queen.
As the final battle between the two forces is about to commence, Deadpool gives a rousing speech asking for volunteers to fight. One of the volunteers is Steve Buchanan. Deadpool promptly kills him and calls for an extraction using the codeword: chimichanga. As Deadpool escapes, the Swamp Queen vows that she'll have her revenge.
Maybe there's hope for this Deadpool series yet?
Old Man Logan Annual #1
(W) Ed Brisson, Ryan Cady (A) Simone Di Meo, Hayden Sherman (CA) Shane Davis
RETURN TO THE WASTELANDS!
• Before he was trapped in the Marvel Universe, Logan was trapped in a post-apocalypse of his own making… The Wastelands. But he wasn't the only killer roaming a dead world…for the Punisher, it never stopped being a WAR ZONE.
• Plus: a tale of from the War Journal of Frank Castle!
In Shops: Sep 05, 2018
Finally for this week, we've got Old Man Logan Annual #1. This issue contains two stories. In the first, set 50 years in the future in the Wastelands, after Logan killed the Banner Gang in revenge for killing Logan's wife and kids, Logan comes across a town which, in the power vaccuum left behind by the banner gang, is being terrorized by a new gang called The Punishers who have killed all the men, kidnapped the children, and put them in cages (politics in comics?! — quick, someone stab this comic with a knife). Logan vows to rescue them, so he knocks on the front door of their base, only to get shot in the head. He wakes up later, having been dragged back to the camp of the original punisher, who is now super old (he says he's been fighting for over 70 years, which would make him… 90-something?).
Frank Castle wants his memories back, which the Punisher gang stole from him, and he doesn't appreciate kids these days Punishing in all the wrong ways, god dammit! He and Logan team up and invade the Punishers' base, quickly killing all the bad guys except for their leader, Panhead. Logan lets the kids out of cages and tells them to run back to town while Panhead beats the crap out of Old Man Punisher. Logan doesn't fare much better, but one of the freed children, Marcus, shoots panhead in the back of the head, ending the battle. It's not without a casualty though, as Frank Castle is dying. Before he goes, he's reunited with his memories, a diary (or war journal?) and a photo of his dead family. He dies right here in his first appearance.
In the second story, we get a flashback to a younger Old Man Punisher, only shortly after the world descended into madness, going about his Punisher business killing bad guys and freeing captives. He's confronted by some soldiers in SHIELD-like uniforms who want to team up, but when Frank declines their offer, they attack. Frank kills them all. Watching on their body cameras is their leader, who is revealed to be Nuke: Commander of SHIELD.
As much as it pains our wallet to admit this, we'd read an Old Man Punisher series.
That's it for this week. Head back next weekend to find out what happened in all of the X-Men comics that come out this Wednesday. Oh, and we almost forgot. Deadpool #4 is this week's Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week. Congratulations to the creative team.
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