Another year has passed in Hickman’s X-Men line, and we are now facing a lot of change. Reign of X has led us to Inferno, a miniseries that promises to change everything and burn the status quo to the ground. Hickman is on his way out, but the X-Office seems to have a great team that will keep this line running smoothly for years. Still, with so much uncertainty ahead, it’s time to once again rank all of the current X-Men titles. This list will exclude X-Men: The Trial of Magneto and Inferno since those are both two miniseries that have each had less than two issues.
During the previous report card, Fallen Angels got the lowest marks. I called it the only failure in the Dawn of X run and I still stand by that. This year’s lowest score goes to X-Corp, a series that I wouldn’t call a failure, but one that has never found its way. X-Corp has everything it needs to succeed: A great creative team, a strong roster, and a neat premise. Unfortunately, the last two issues have been the weakest in the series’ short run, failing to deliver anything this series has promised so far.
Way of X + The Onslaught Revelation
It physically hurts me to give Way of X such a low score. The series had a fantastic start that led me to thinking that Si Spurrier can’t fail. Unfortunately, the main reason why I loved the first two issues is also the main reason why I despised the last few. This entire book hinged on Spurrier’s writing of Kurt, and it felt uneven at best. While The Onslaught Revelation was a decent recovery, Way of X feels like a series that doesn’t even fully understand it’s protagonist. Plus, that particular sex scene in issue 3 was uncomfortable at best.
Like the next few books on this list, X-Force suffers from a lack of direction and excitement. It has just meandered about since the Hellfire Gala. It’s a series that doesn’t really benefit from more issues, and either needs a big shake-up or a conclusion. The recent departure of Jean Grey certainly hasn’t helped with the book’s interesting politics either. At least Quinton Quire had the best arc in the character’s publication this year.
Like X-Force, Wolverine is in need of a shakeup. The vampire arc has been interesting enough, but not compelling enough to justify Wolverine getting his own series. There isn’t anything wrong with the series, but only hardcore Wolverine fans need to read this series.
Marauders was one of my favorite series in Dawn of X. Unfortunately, it has lost momentum since X of Swords. Like the previous two series, it doesn’t have any solid direction and has been in need of big changes for a little bit now. Unlike the previous two series, Marauders seems to be getting some new life, with a new creative team and roster to support Kate Pryde. Let’s hope that the series goes in an exciting new direction while making the most of Kate Pryde, who hasn’t been the best protagonist recently.
Immediately after X of Swords, Excalibur and Betsy hit a small rut. The series was feeling bland, and it didn’t really have any direction. This was a shame since Excalibur has one of the better rosters in the line. Fortunately, the series is getting back on track. The departure of Rogue certainly hurts, but it also leaves Gambit with a great opportunity to thrive on his own. I’m cheering for Excalibur, because it has a lot of great parts that just need to get moving again.
S.W.O.R.D. is one of the nyounger X-Men books and it is also one of the most unique. It has a strong creative team and tons of incredibly interesting characters. Even better, each character, especially Manifold, is written well. Learning about the roster has been fascinating and it feels like S.W.O.R.D. is destined to be one of the best of the X-Men books. At the moment, the only thing holding the series back is how it keeps getting pulled into other events. S.W.O.R.D. is unable to focus on what makes it successful and it just needs some stability.
It’s only three issues in, but X-Men is a breath of fresh air for the flagship X-Men title. The team is fantastic, with a group that has synergy and chemistry on and off the battlefield. I might be biased since I love Synch and Polaris, but it feels like there is tons of potential in the current roster. It’s hard to say how great X-Men will be, but for now, it’s a fun romp with some of the best art in the medium right now thanks to Larraz and Gracia. Seriously, this book is gorgeous.
Children of the Atom
I’m still upset that Children of the Atom was a sneaky miniseries. I fell in love with these characters over the course of their five issues, expecting way more before this book’s sudden conclusion. It’s a fantastic book when it comes to representation, and does a solid job at showing some of Krakoa’s influence on the youth outside. Ayala writes fantastic young people, and I hope to see them revisit these the Children of the Atom one day.
Cable ended up being way better than I expected. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the character before this series primarily because his history is a difficult one to follow. Still, young Cable is a fascinating character, and this series has an exciting story that is deeply personal. Thanks to this limited series and the most recent episode of Cerebro podcast, I’m now a Cable fan. While old Cable is great, I hope that we get to see his younger self one day, even if he had a satisfying conclusion to his character arc.
New Mutants has always been thoroughly entertaining, but Vita Ayala has taken it and made it special. It’s the only book that maintains the school feel that Krakoa is severely lacking right now. Magik is thriving, the Shadow King is imposing, and Xi’an and Dani have had some beautiful moments together. It’s a book that never disappoints, and I’m always ready for more. New Mutants demands to be at the top of pull list every month.
It’s hard to get over the cancellation of X-Factor. The series was nearly flawless, with an exciting cast that had some of the best LGBTQ representation ever in the Big 2. Look, anything that can make me like Akihiro is clearly something good. It’s nice to see these characters continue on in Trial of Magneto, but I fear what will happen to this cast after the miniseries ends. It’s clear that they won’t return completely, especially considering that some of the members are moving to the new Maruaders series next year. Still, I’ll remember these ten or so issues fondly as one of my all-time favorite X-Men books.
It just isn’t right that the top two books on this list are cancelled or are soon to be gone. Hellions is on the way out, and even though it hasn’t been around too long, it has been a special ride. With iconic moments involving Madelyne Pryor, Arcade, and even the Wyngardes, it’s impossible to say that this series hasn’t left a mark. Hellions never slowed down. It’s always exciting. It’s always fun. It’s always crazy.
What are your favorite Reign of X titles? Let us know in the comments!