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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Xorn is Really Magneto?

All throughout December, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at the identity of Xorn.

In New X-Men #146, we discover that Xorn, the new member of the X-Men, is secretly Magneto!

In New X-Men #150, Magneto’s plans do not work out so great for him…

In Excalibur #1, Professor X moves to Genosha where he brings Magneto’s body to be buried. But is it really Magneto’s body?

In Excalibur #2, they further elaborate…

87 Comments

I know this is going to quickly devolve into a Magneto: Hero or Villian debate (with some Claremont hate thrown in for good measure) … So let me be the first to say I love Claremont’s Magneto, I liked the Xorn reveal but hated the execution (Magneto as mass murder and hypocritical ‘little old man’), liked that the ‘real’ Magneto reappeared but hated how Xorn/Magneto was handled/explained/never explained in any kind of satisfactory way.

Bernard the Poet

December 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I’m torn about this.

In the old days, when Marvel was run by a Stan Lee or a Jim Shooter, Morrison would never have been allowed to treat such a popular character as Magneto in this way. So the need to undo the Xorn storyline with such alacrity would not have occurred.

Of course, we wouldn’t have had the Xorn storyline at all then.

I thought the execution was great- Magneto as ineffectual thug- until the “deaths” of Jean and Magneto. Magneto absolutely disgraced and discredited could have led to an interesting story. Dead Magneto who gratuitously murdered a member of the X-Men, however, was not workable, unless Marvel was brave enough to leave him dead.

Also, 5,000 dead? Ugh. I hate the upped body counts of modern superhero comics. It makes the heroes look like losers, even if they beat the villain in the end.

The entire run by Morrison has been abandoned or forsaken.

i though the xorn as magnetoe bit was interesting but wound up falling flat when Magneto was revealed alive and in genosha the whole time Xorn was wrecking havoc and also the shock when xavier tells him xorn kill jean.

Even if you didn’t like Planet X, this is one of the laziest retcons ever. “Oh, the man who was secretly engineering our downfall for months in disguise, and almost succeeded in world conquest? Just an impostor we’ve never seen or heard of before! “

People will continue to read Morrison’s New X-Men. No one will do the same for Austen’s X-Men or Claremont’s Excalibur that undid it. That’s the only continuity that matters.

One of the most ridiculous (sp?) decisions of Marvel ever.

@Ralf Haring

I find that an interesting theory, and in isolation it kind of works, but the problem is that even if people do continue to read New X-Men and no one remembers the stories that ret-conned it, the ret-con is the continuity the ongoing books use.

You could make the same argument to say that more people are going to read Secret Wars than the “Rogue loses her powers and gets stranded in the Savage Land” issues of Uncanny X-Men, but Magneto’s romance with the Wasp from Secret Wars is almost never mentioned anymore while his romance with Rogue from the Savage Land is an ongoing plotline in X-Men Legacy – the fact that one of them is still being written about trumps the popularity of their source material.

If Xorn ever appears again in the comics (and if Marvel is around long enough, he probably will) it will be as the guy who impersonated Magneto, not as the guy who was the real Magneto in disguise.

The thing is, I very much *DO* think of Magneto as being capable of murdering thousands of innocent people. Between the fact that his powers have been established as causing him to exhibit extreme mental instability, his possession of an extreme messiah complex, and his monomaniacal obsession with preventing a second Holocaust, this time against Mutants instad of Jews, the man is the walking personification of Nietzsche’s warning “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.” Magneto has been depicted numerous times as possessing the ability and willingness to use sadism, torturre, and murder. Even written by Chris Claremont, the character was a dangerous, unstable fanatic.

Well, if we’re going to get Darwinian about which continuity matters the most, I’d say Claremont’s first and best run with the X-Men trumps both Morrison and Claremont’s later work.

The Magneto in FIRST CLASS is a lot closer to Claremont than Morrison.

I think Morrison is a top notch writer, and I like Planet X just fine. I think Morrison makes some good points about hypocrisy, but…

The deconstruction of anti-villains like Magneto is seldom as interesting in the long term as the deconstruction of heroes. When you deconstructs a hero, you usually get a more complex character. When you deconstructs an ambiguous anti-villain like Magneto, you get a straightforward villain with delusions of morality. It reduces the X-Men vs. Magneto dynamic to black and white.

It’s only good if you never uses Magneto again. And it’s no surprise that most of the people who prefer Morrison’s version are the ones who are sick and tired of any X-Men books not written by Morrison.

Morrison’s X-Men is great… when kept, for the most part, out of the context of the rest of the X-Men lore. In and of itself, it’s some great work but it breaks a few things that instead of leading to more story opportunities leads to fewer. Even after forty some years of stories, there was still much more story potential to the Scott/Jean thing than anything Scott/Emma related past maybe twelve issues of Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men. Also, not only did it pretty much make it impossible to use Magneto again without trashing the end of Planet X, but it also ruined Xorn, a character who could have been the first solid addition to the X-ranks since the early 90s with Bishop and Gambit.

Morrison is a great writer, but near the end there he just got petty; I almost wonder if destroying the X-Men was a requirement from DC in order to get back in their good graces so he could control of the Bat-books. Think about it – since he left, the X-Men went from Marvel’s number 1 team franchise by a landslide to something that is struggling to keep pace with the Avengers. And all this happened when Marvel’s best film franchise was still the X-Men, prior to all the Marvel Hero/Avenger buzz, when they should have been seeing some boosted sales. You could argue about Whedon’s Astonishing, but even that book at its best was no better than a mediocre issue of New X-Men (if one existed). And since then we’ve had Brubaker and Fraction’s dismal runs, so it’s all been downhill since 2004.

Thank God for Jason Aaron, Mike Carey, Keiron Gillen, Rick Remender, Peter David and DnA – they’ve all put out fantastic X-Men work in the past six monthes or so as a part of Schism/Regenesis. No matter who “wins” in AvX, hopefully the X-Men franchise will come out victorious, since they really are Marvel’s best comic franchise, from landmark storylines to the deepest talent pool over the decades, and maybe some sales success wil convince the powers-that-be that a Bryan Singer-produced First Class sequel is worth being made.

At the time he wrote his manifesto, didn’t Morrison say that he’d re-read the Claremont-Byrne run, and not the later stuff? Maybe he wasn’t familiar with the work Claremont had done with the character in the 80s.

I always preferred the Magneto we saw around X-men 200-220, or thereabouts, so the Xorn thing ruined, for me at least, what was an otherwise good run by Morrison. I felt like he never got the character, or was just working off an earlier iteration of the character. Guess it doesn’t matter, since in a long enough time frame, all storylines get retconned. At least the Morrison run gave us Scott and Emma.

And I never get the idea that Morrison’s run was abandoned by Marvel. Whedon really seemed to build off it, and that fed into the DNA of the current X-men.

Also, I agree with Rene about the Magneto we saw in First Class. Much more Claremont.

Morrison wrote an out for Magneto’s acts in the story, with Sublime.

It was never spelled out how much influence Sublime had over Magneto’s actions in New York. We’d been told that Sublime increased tension and caused wars, we’d seen Sublime influence people, and we’d seen Sublime in the future in control of Beast, but we were never told how much of Magneto was Magneto.

You could read the events however you wanted. If you want Magneto to be cute and cuddly and misunderstood, then you could say that Sublime was all but ascendent, warping Magneto from boy scout to monster. If you want Magneto to be a villain, then you could say that Sublime just gave him that nudge, and maybe a bit of madness. If you don’t want Magneto to be the monster that becomes what he fights, then you can say Sublime caused all the Holocaust actions. You can have Magneto’s “madness” be almost all Magneto, have it be all Sublime, or anything in between. Morrison left it, presumably intentionally, unspecified.

As for those who say the character was permanently destroyed regardless, no he wasn’t. Marvel didn’t have to pull a “Dark Phoenix was never Jean” with Jean Grey, and they didn’t have to pull it with Magneto. They could have (eventually) brought back Magneto in whatever state they wanted, and worked with it. Yes, he destroyed a city and killed a lot of people, but comic book characters do stuff like that and it doesn’t stop them from reforming and/or not being treated like insane mass murderers.

But Marvel was in panic mode. I remember people at Marvel were already publicly bad-mouthing Morrison even before his run finished. There were people at Marvel who didn’t like what he was doing even before we got Magneto in New York.

@Rubin – a bit much to claim the entire Morrison run has been abandoned. The blatant changes like secondary mutation, Xorn as Magneto, and mutants projected as replacing humanity in a few generations has been dropped. However, Scott/Emma; Fantomex, the World, and Weapon Plus; the Stepford Cuckoos; and Quentin Quire are still active concepts. In a more subtle form, the idea that the X-Men, as an organization, are bigger than just a school or a superteam continues to play out today with Utopia.

Of everything Morrison wrote, I wasn’t too keen on his development of Magneto, notwithstanding the Kick/Sublime induced madness. I do get what he was trying to do with the monologuing, ineffective, old, terrorist super-villain. As much as I liked having the Magneto I was familiar with back, I was even less keen on the lack of inventiveness in retconning it out.

@Billy Bissette – That was my take, too: Marvel was in panic mode and wanted to make quick changes to get the properties back to what editorial thought would be a comfortable status quo.

Not intending to start a full-on rant about Quesada’s era but how his writers got to the main story points he wanted for get Marvel to (e.g. mutants as endangered species, no marriage for Spider-Man) were not elegant or solidly developed. I got the sense that the directive from above was, “Undo this NOW, and we’ll sort out the details later… in the future, maybe we’ll even make an Event or storyarc about the better explanation, but this needs to be fixed.”

Since Morrison had such an obvious way to explain “out-of-character” moments for Magneto in Sublime, I wonder why Marvel editors didn’t want to use it, and instead came up with the pointlessly convoluted “Xorn thought he was Magneto” explanation? Was it because, like Billy Bissette says, they didn’t like Morrison’s writing? Or did they think the Sublime explanation would have gone over the readers’ heads?

@Tuomas: I think some of the subtlety of Morrison’s writing may’ve actually been lost on the X-Editors – or maybe they really were just in full-on denial/anger mode at the time. It’s not that they rejected Morrison’s in-story solution for Magneto’s actions, but that they may have completely missed that it was there because it wasn’t explicitly stated. This is the same way the editors addressed a question in the letter columns a month or two after Morrison’s run ended, saying that Apollyon from the “Here Comes Tomorrow” storyline wasn’t Fantomex 150 years in the future, yet it was pretty explicit that that’s exactly who he was (it was even in the dialogue).

@Matty Macomber: Don’t forget Beast’s feline form. One strange thing Morrison included at the last minute so Quitely could draw him that way, and yet it’s stuck around longer than any of his actual solid ideas about the book/franchise/characters. I still love it though.

Overall, Morrison’s run got shortshrift because Marvel was (somewhat understandably in context) being really reactionary, but most of the writers that followed seemed to like his work and carry thematic threads over. Whedon’s run felt like a thematic sequel, whereas Fraction and Gillen’s work seems directly inspired by it. While the Scott/Emma thing seems to be the thing everyone remembers Morrison originating, he also revived Cyclops as a character, rescuing him from the eternal boyscout/dad figure status the 90s (and the popularity of a certain Canuck) had forced him into. Cyclops wouldn’t be leading a nation right now if it weren’t for Grant Morrison.

The Xorn/Magneto thing was just poorly executed, where it could’ve been streamlined. Even if they wanted to bring Magneto back a month or two later in Excalibur, there were a dozen ways to do it that would’ve wiped the slate clean. That’s what superhero comics do; they reboot status quos.

randypan the goatboy

December 19, 2011 at 5:47 am

I love the Grant Morrison as Vince Russo conspiracy…A creature of ego like a Grant morrison wouldnt tank the X-men for Batman. Morrison is too in love with his reputation to not do his absolute best on a book. now i will admit that sometimes Grant doesn’t always jibe with the rest of the reading world on whats good or not….[im looking at you Final Crisis, not the entire book mind you some of it is quite good. but the parts that suck suck with a ferocity that would cause readers to pass out from oxygen depravation]. The X- men have been on top for a very long time….they couldnt keep that up forever…What the Avengers have done is make a real loud noise to the right of the X-men causing everyone to look to the right as if to say ” Im gonna stay here for a minute..this is different”. there are only so many times that jean grey can die and it be interesting. only so many times that mutant angst can be relevant. a chocolate cake is really good, but having one everyday for an extended time isnt a good idea for anyone.

The X-editors also apparently didn’t pick up on the fact that ERNST IS CASSANDRA NOVA. Apparently, they really do need things spelled out for them in large, friendly letters.

Can’t help but wonder what the X-World would be like had these stories remained a rock solid turning point for the franchise. Remains, to me, the editorial change with one of the most miserable legacys.

In New X-Men, the entire concept struck me as refreshed by a pleasant compromise between the leather sheen of the movies, the beloved decades prior, and the sense of something new. It took the X-Men to strange and logical places, informed by the stories that would be retread and rehashed by Whedon and others in the years to follow. It was the step forward the entire concept seemed to have been designed to reach, even if it spent a lot of time laboring its points of ‘Us & Them’, ‘hate and fear’ and all that.

Killing off Magneto is always going to be an unlikely measure for a corporate brand like Marvel, but if they’d had the magnets to do it, stick with it as a benchmark for the changing of eras, and continue to build on the entire overdue modern evolution of the X-Men’s world… I can’t help but think they’d be better off for it. Or at least more interesting, even if they took the available outs (many salient points, Billy Bissette).

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

December 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

I really liked Morrison’s run (despite a couple absurd moments and the fact that the majority of it had kinda crap art; Igor Kordey just doesn’t do anything for me), but I never liked how he treated Magneto in Planet X after that fantastic reveal (though it always raised questions to me about other spots in his run, but that’s another story).

Yeah, he was under the control of Sublime (to an unknown degree, though Here Comes Tomorrow made it seem like he didn’t have a helluva lot of control over himself), but the great thing about Magneto is that just simply had a different point of view from the X-Men (though having Xorn be a genuinely new character instead of an elaborate disguise would have been great, too): He wasn’t Dr. Doom, Dr. Octopus or Kang. Yeah, his means were always a little iffy, but the wholesale murder of thousands of civilians just turned him into a mustache-twirling hypocrite.

So I was happy when they brought him back in Excalibur, but how they did it was nonsensical. And when Bendis tried to work with it in New Avengers, it just didn’t work. I’m not even going to talk about the absurdities Chuck Austen brought to it.

In the end, I think Gillen’s .1 issue of Uncanny summed it up nicely: it wasn’t Magneto, but he wants people to think that he could have done it under the right circumstances.

As for people saying Marvel threw out Morrison’s work, I’d say they threw out a lot of it, but there’s still a large amount left. Scott and Emma, Jean being dead (until maybe AvX?), Beast’s secondary mutation, Quintin Quire and the revitalization of Cyclops are all points that have been kept.

Heck, you could even argue that Morrison’s idea, presented through Xavier in Planet X, that it was time for a new voice (instead of the Xavier-Magneto dichotomy) in mutant rights to arise has done just that in the current Cyclops-Wolverine dichotomy.

So while the line isn’t slavishly devoted to Morrison, I’d say a healthy amount of his work still shines through.

The “Magneto is Xorn” scene in that issue of New X Men was awesome. It was every bit as awesome as the reveal of Baron Zemo in the first issue of Thunderbolts. That Grant Morrison created a new character that fans cared about, made him a part of the X Men, gave him real depth and then had it turn out to be Magneto was just really ballsy. Unfortunately the issues that followed just became Morrison’s “statement on the current state of comics”. The bit with Xavier talking about how “silly it all is” was just painful dialogue. I look back on Morrison’s New X Men fondly, but find it funny that Marvel has undone almost everything Morrison did except for cat Beast, Emma Frost’s diamond form and a couple characters he added to the mythos. I mean, when you think about it, Marvel did an entire epic crossover event to undo part of his run. “No more mutants” indeed.

I think most readers missed the point of Morrison’s Magento.

In a moment of weakness (probably because he felt old), Magneto turned to drugs and that made him nuts.

It wasn’t that Magneto was a psycho, it was that Magneto on drugs was a psycho.

It’s just strange that the editors allowed the story if they were willing to ret-con it only months later.

Of course, I guess, I left out Fantomex and the weapon plus program, Cyclops and Emma, and the characterization of Cyclops as a bad ass (as mentioned above). So I guess Marvel didn’t undo EVERYTHIG after all.

I think most readers missed the point of Morrison’s Magento.

In a moment of weakness (probably because he felt old), Magneto turned to drugs and that made him nuts.

It wasn’t that Magneto was a psycho, it was that Magneto on drugs was a psycho.

I think a lot of readers got the point but just didn’t like it.

@Nas Who: Great analysis of the Morrison infuence. Plus, he was the one who “outed” Xavier and the School, so that’s one more bit of Morrisonia that’s survived.

@SF
See, I don’t know if I’d say Fraction or Gillen’s run has been all that inspired by it; hell, it didn’t seem like Fraction was inspired by ANYTHING, since he didn’t do ANYTHING. He’d do six issue arcs that accomplished nothing with a complete lack of style. It felt like his entire run was just killing time until he could start his next arc, which would kill more time. Him and Brubaker admitted they were huge 80s Claremont fans, and you could tell because anytime they brought up 90s continuity and characters they went out of their way, oractically stumbling over themselves, to show how ridiculous those concepts were, or at least as ridiculous as they saw them. And while gillen has been good, I’d say he takes a lot more of his inspiration from Whedon, but isn’t boring most of the time.

If anyone has been inspired by Morrison it’s Jason Aaron; one look at his Wolverine and the X-Men proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. He’s admitted in multiple interviews that he’s a huge fan of New X-Men and he wants to bring a lot of those forgotten concepts/characters back. And so far he’s doing a great job, his book is probablly the best of the Regenesis titles by a decent amount. Of any of the writers Marvel is touting as an “architect,” I’d say Aaron is the best of the two who actually deserve that title.

@randypan the goatboy
It’s funny you bring up the whole “Jean Grey dies a lot” thing, because up until New X-Men, she’d only died once. I wonder where that whole myth comes from, because it’s been around for a long time snd it doesn’t make a lot of sense, as I pointed out. I mean, think about this – Cable has sacrificed himself like 6 times so far during cross-overs, a couple more outside of cross-overs, and a two thirds of the time he actually “dies.” Meanwhile he’s gotten a minor reputation as a messiah-wannabe, but no one ever brings up how he dies a lot (and for him it’s actually true). All in all, Jean Grey has essentially died twice and come back once (Endsong happened in like a span of twelve hours, and going by DBZ rules, to come back from the dead it has to last over 24 otherwise it’s just the visit from Otherworld that messianic figures are allowed upon death lol)

The Magneto becoming a fascist twist was just he worst thing to come out of an already terrible concept in Grant Morrison’s New X-men.

let’s review the terribleness:

- Professor X killed his twin sister in the womb and she clung to psychic life to exact her revenge 50-60+ years later???
- Diamond Emma? (and all of the “secondary mutations” for that matter)
- Kitty Beast? (it had been very clear from the introduction of the character that his mutation was simian in nature)
- Beast’s “I think I’m probably gay” comment??? (and the quick dodging of said comment)
- The Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle brought back to life with Emma Frost thrown in??? (also: psychic affair?)
- all sorts of crazy sex and super adult themes suddenly thrust into the mix with no warning?
- X-Corp????????? (which he just rehashed into Batman Inc. btw…)

Morrison’s entire run was the sloppiest writing he’s ever done (including R.I.P., and we all know how convoluted that got) and he crapped on the book at the end to make a point because Marvel wouldn’t let him write whatever book he wanted to (how dare they!). the fact that people still kiss his keister over this book is astonishing (no pun intended).

bottom line: mark powers, joe quesada and bill jemas were hacks that never deserved to have the title of editor anywhere in their job description and they clung to grant morrison’s name and let him crap all over 40 years worth of story on the most popular comic franchise of all time in order to sell books. the 00′s began a trend that continues to this day: find the best selling talent and let them write whatever the hell they want until their stories stop selling, then retcon whatever the fans didn’t like that made sales dip in order to get them back up.

that being said, some really awesome things came out of his run too. chief among them: the school actually being a SCHOOL again. he just needed a GOOD editor somewhere to rein him in… but everyone was too busy kissing his butt.

I love how Morrison showed Magnetos true self, and a lot of fans couldn’t handle the truth. Magneto might have legitimate reasons to hate humanity, and might make himself seem noble, but in the end, he gives in to his hate and loses all pretense, and rationality. Magneto hated the x-men and humanity so much, that he faked his death, become a member of the x-men, gain their trust, and took them out from the inside. All of that was filled by ridiculous hatred and anger.

There are times when magneto realized the error of his ways, and there are times when he tried to follow the x-mens example, but that was only temporary and mags true nature would eventually poke out. Magneto became what he hate and was possibly always what he hated. A genocidal maniac.

Thats the tragedy of the character. Morrison ignored the fan following that built up magneto over the year, and showed magnetos true emotional core.

Its’ sad that is how magneto turned out. But the world of mutants was probably better without him.

@Blake Astro

The Scott/Jean/Logan triangle was brought back to be addressed and buried. When Scott went to Emma, Jean tried to go to Logan, and Logan turned her down. As for Scott/Jean/Emma, switching Scott from Jean to Emma breathed new life into Scott, who as a character was going nowhere with Jean. It also helped keep Emma as one of the X-Men. If it hadn’t been for the Scott/Emma relationship, you know some writer would have reverted her to villain status within a couple of years after Morrison left.

The only problem with Scott/Emma is that later writers have now gotten stuck on defining Scott and Emma’s relationship as “Will this make them split up?”, with the constant teases of the terrible Namor/Emma pairing, Scott hiding major things from Emma, Emma hiding major things from Scott, etc.

As for Beast, I prefer to call him Disney Beast, because that is what he looked like. That he turned from simian to cat-like isn’t really an issue for me, though. Secondary mutations can do weird stuff, and Beast had an already weird mutation history.

The “I’m gay” was bad, though.

Diamond Emma was fine. It gave her a more physical power, and moved her away from being an inferior Jean Grey (which itself was necessary to help the planned Scott/Emma relationship survive the fans). Telepathic powers are honestly fairly boring in a comic book hero, anyway. It also had an interesting trade-off, in that in diamond form she lost her telepathic powers but was also shielded from them.

The funny thing is, Diamond-form Emma might never have happened if Morrison had been allowed to use Colossus like he supposedly wanted. But Colossus was dead at the time, and that was the era of “Dead means dead”. (Of course, “dead means dead” went out the window right after Morrison left. So when Whedon got a book and wanted Colossus, he was simply able to write that the X-Men found Colossus stored in a basement or whatever.)

Love it or hate it… Morrison is the only guy EVER to take the X-Men forward. Claremont basically made them an Avengers team with a more accessible back story. Morrison actually took the time examine the effects of a new, dominant species of humanity springing up, and then examining how it would feel to be on both sides of the conflict. He made them proactive social workers, as opposed to Super Heroes. Because fans wanted Magneto back, Marvel had to “fix” what was, in my opinion, the most groundbreaking and innovative storyline in decades. Magneto becoming a drug-addled has been, so out of touch with his once brilliant goals that he becomes a parody of himself, and an epilogue foreshadowing the return of Phoenix? Come on, it was awesome. Claremont’s run WAS great… When he was with Cockrum & Byrne. Afterwards? Not so much. The ’90s were a blur to me of X-Titles, foil covers, late shipping books, and a lot of Manga Influence. Morrison made the X-Men grow up… And most people at Marvel weren’t happy about their cash-cow being shaken up like that.

For the record:
Stan Lee & Jack Kirby created a team of “outsiders” that were composed of:
A White guy with glasses and an inferiority complex… Because of his glasses.
A White, blonde, rich guy… With Angel wings.
A White funny kid from the suburbs that could make stuff out of snow.
A White smart guy/football player.
A Red head surrounded by 5 guys, who’re all in love with her, and constantly save her… And she’s White.
All of them were American… Outsiders, different… Kinda sounds like the character descriptions for the Beach Boys or something.

Len Wein, under editorial guidance, and the skilled pencilling of Cockrum created a team that everyone could agree on:
A black chick that was really powerful, and smart enough to not take crap from anyone.
A Russian guy that had the soul of a poet.
A german guy that looks like a demon, but was a devout Christian…
And, most importantly,
A surly, nearly psychotic little roustabout just BEGGING to have people figure him out.
Oh yeah, and a Native American guy that lasted 3 comics… Cuz one loudmouth jerk was enough… And besides, Wolverine had knives and a cooler costume.

Cue the entrance of the original team members that made the cut, including Stan’s favorite hair color on a woman for a whole new generation of characters to fight over, and the first in a series of little sister/brother characters that provides the reader with a point of view. Presto! Comic book gold! The only problem was:

It was the same thing for 20 years. 20.

It’s interesting reading opinions about the series all these years later. It still seems support/disdain weighs heavily on a reader’s threshold and perception of change. The most unique contributions in the Morrison run were probably the littlest things, like the Cassandra Nova origin, which strikes me as another embellishment of the weird and wonderful world the X-Men imply. Characers like Xorn and Fantomex, while playing with added ideas, also added much needed scope to the led footed American perspective that dominates what are supposed to be global threats, developments and issues. Otherwise, it was comics business as usual, with an electric gusto and a torrent of ideas and details that didn’t have the benefit of a business as usual follow-up (at least not in the flattering, enthusiastic sense).

The only problem I’d observe with the Blake Astro faecal analogy is that it implies New X-Men was processed to be colourless and stripped of nutrients. Suggesting that maybe it would be better to describe Morrison’s work as a masticated meal churning in an environment of stomach acid and bile.

Secondary mutations — which might require a bit of monkeying with the science, like the first version of Marvel mutation — strike me as the perfect metaphor for the entire run itself. If Claremont (and all-important co.) delivered the first mutation all the way into its hormonal peak of the nineties, then Morrison’s leather tweaks was the long awaited secondary mutation for the franchise. A secondary mutation much like Beast’s, informed by everything that came before it, lest we regard a Wolvie swooped blue man as “Simian.” It was a mutation that took the soap opera affairs of the eighties, the Baywatch pin-ups of the nineties, and rejiggered its sex appropriately.The Wolverine/Cyclops/Jean Grey/Emma Frost love trapazoid already well lamented upon in comments is probably missing a glancing reference to Psylocke — Cyclops’ pre-White Queen psychic fantasy.

Characters arrived in extrapolated and/or new circumstances.
Mutants as a sub-species finally started to cash in on the idea that was the backbone of the franchise throughout its most popular period. Social “fear and hatred” was finally confronted in ways many assimilating cultures can recognise and used to extend the plot(s). Weapon X got a little broader and a little more clandestine; Magneto reached an idiotic, loud and furious end implied by all his conflicting histories, burning bright as something a lot less Dr. Doom (depending on which is the would-be nice guy at the time); and on it goes.

Glad slivers of the New X-Men run are finding their way back into the mix, but it’s a shame that inevitable acceptance couldn’t have been reached with a more progressive development in the franchise. If the 00′s trend is to be decryed (again, thanks Mr. Astro), then it’s probably more apt to regard the convoluted, ham fisted wiping away of New X-Men as the first example, rather than the creation of it. Excalibur, Chuck Austen, Whedon redux, and perhaps worst of all, Decimation. A decision that’s delivered, as Anonymous well put, a whole lot of retro nothing. Bored, uneventful stories that continue the cycle that put the X-Men in the kind of rut that made New X-Men such a necessary and exciting part of the early 2000s.

For a series about spontaneous, radical mutation, it’s disappointingly resistant to evolution.

Mike Haseloff:

First, thank you so much for likening my opinion to faeces.

Secondly, I can clearly see from your pretentious, over-written response and the fact that you have shown limited knowledge of non-Morrison X-Men plot that you are already full of the Morrison Kool-Aid, so making any attempt to rebut myself to you would be folly, and a waste of my time, quite frankly (or is that, Frank Quitely?)

Billy Bissette, John, et al:

Let me elaborate that I have been reading the X-Men since I could discern the words in the balloons. My main reason for being against most of the plot threads in Morrison’s run is his and the editorial staff’s complete and utter disregard for the source material. While Mark Powers had already made a name for himself as the X-editor that obviously never picked up an X-title, I expected more from Quesada and Morrison at the time. After only three issues of the Morrison X-Men and the Joe Casey Uncanny, I knew that these characters that had been developed by years of creators, were suddenly and inexplicably transformed into loathsome, wicked, depressing analogs of the characters I grew up with (don’t get me started on Chuck Austen).

This isn’t Vertigo. Cyclops is no John Constantine and in all honesty, even though it may seem absurd to say it given all the opinions to the contrary above, Magneto is no genocidal maniac. I can only refer to the often cited Stan Lee comment when he likened Xavier to MLK and Magneto to Malcolm X. This isn’t an inherently EVIL man who was just waiting to show his “true colors”. This is a man who has been through hell more than once and has been changed by it. Unlike others that have befallen his or similar trials, he has the power to fight back, and because he feels threatened, he does just that for the betterment of his people. Honestly, to keep dredging up the horrible 90′s X-titles and story arcs is just lazy and does not constitute a valid defense for what Morrison tried to do. Not every X-title was published in that decade, and although there were some very terrible stories, some were quite brilliant.

Take for example, the “Magneto War” arc written and drawn by Alan Davis. This was the storyline that brought about Magneto’s rule over Genosha (and thankfully did away with the God-awful Joseph subplot once and for… what’s that? Joseph’s back? Dammit all to…).

This was actually what I feel to be the last great Magneto story until House of M. It encompassed everything that Magneto stands for, and yes, he threatened the entire world to gain what he wanted… but he made it clear to those in the know the entire time that he knew the homo sapiens in power over the world wouldn’t let their disdain for him cost every being on the planet their lives, and he would ultimately be given his safe haven for mutantkind. I think this is why it’s apt to liken the Cyclops’ current ego to that of Magneto because they are both men pushed to the brink that are willing to do any terrible thing they possibly can to save their kind, without actually having to do that terrible thing, because they are always one step ahead of the opposition.

Ultimately, my biggest gripe isn’t that Morrison tried to change the source material, it’s that he didn’t change it for the better. To make so many sweeping changes and utterly tarnish the characters identities as we have known it without actually ADDING to their worth was just a waste of time for all involved.

No matter how cool the idea of that many mutants was… no matter how exciting and terrifying it was to see the Phoenix re-emerge and threaten to cleanse the Earth… no matter how interesting the school became with that many mutants and X-Men as actual teachers for a change… no matter how exciting and well done the Riot at Xavier’s storyline was executed… no matter how utterly brilliant and amazing the “Weapon Plus” program is and the simple but totally game changing addition of “Weapon X” not just being a cool name with yet another X on it, but an actual designation, and that there are others, such as Fantomex, out there… no matter how damn well Morrison wrote Wolverine (and he REALLY did)…

…it all ended up as forced and over the top in a poorly executed way. This is coming from a Morrison fan by the way… but do you think he would have gotten away with a fraction of this on JLA? Of course not… and why…? DC employed actual EDITORS that could execute their jobs.

Don’t get me wrong, it has hardly been a renaissance since New X-Men. There have been some truly trite and rehashed stories since then, and I’m sure there will be even more to come… but that’s a totally different topic of discussion, and I do believe this tangent has stretched far enough.

P.S. – I don’t care what anybody says… Cassandra Nova is a TERRIBLE character, her origin is ridiculous and as far from “weird and wonderful” as possible.

I still hate secondary mutations. All of them. Stupidest development ever. Before then, powers tended to kind of work together. Secondary mutations make characters seem like randomly rolled tabletop RPG characters.

Does anyone remember claremont’s run? I do, and I was barely old enough to read when it finished in ’92. Anyway, as I said all those comments ago, I liked parts of morrisons run but the suggestion that all Claremont did was ‘turn the X Men into the Avengers’ is just plain wrong. He turned Magneto into a sympathetic anti-hero, moving him away from the Dr Doom wanna-be, he gave Scott a wife and child, retired him, and then gave him (editorially mandated) marriage problems, he developed Storm as a goddess, a leader and a powerless punk rocker, Wolverine was ‘deconstructed’ in the post-250s, a failing healing factor and ‘losing a step’ etc, and the X Men were revolutionary freedom fighters (rather than reactionary, closeted ‘integrationists’) who would risk destroying entire state regimes (Genosha) in their fight for Mutant rights — a la Magneto … This is all to say that Claremont developed interesting ideas, was constantly evolving the team and the characters without dragging them through the mud like Morrison, and it was all more entertaining and accessible than New X Men. And I liked New X Men, but I agree with the other commentators who said that felt Morrison didn’t really understand the characters, especially Magneto … I also wanted to highlight that some of his ideas weren’t all that new …

And Jean Grey (not Dark Phoenix or Madelyn Pryor) does die a lot! Brian did a post about it a couple months ago that I’m too lazy to find … But it listed five instances …

(typing this on an iPhone forgive me if it’s not the most eloquent comics related posting ever)

Average X-Men Fan

December 20, 2011 at 5:22 am

I’m not as eloquent as many of you, and what I say might sound controversial, but anyway:

After reading Comic Book Legends on this blog I kinda lost my trust in writers. Why? Because I am happy that some ideas never made it into the comic books, or that some ideas were later retconned. Examples? Phoenix avoiding death, Apocalypse as third summers, Mr. Sinister as a kid, etc. X-Men Forever vol 1 & 2 were horrible in my opinion and proved the point (at least for me). Planet X was very over the top and it’s the only story done by Morrison during his run that is fun to read, but is nonsense anyway. First time I read New X-Men #146 I thought that it was a very stupid idea. I preferred Xorn much more as an X-Men. Many things that Blake pointed out are very valid, though. But what I want to say is that the writers sometime are going a bit too far with their ideas, and make it too far-stretched.

@randypan the goatboy
It’s funny you bring up the whole “Jean Grey dies a lot” thing, because up until New X-Men, she’d only died once. I wonder where that whole myth comes from, because it’s been around for a long time snd it doesn’t make a lot of sense, as I pointed out. I mean, think about this – Cable has sacrificed himself like 6 times so far during cross-overs, a couple more outside of cross-overs, and a two thirds of the time he actually “dies.” Meanwhile he’s gotten a minor reputation as a messiah-wannabe, but no one ever brings up how he dies a lot (and for him it’s actually true). All in all, Jean Grey has essentially died twice and come back once (Endsong happened in like a span of twelve hours, and going by DBZ rules, to come back from the dead it has to last over 24 otherwise it’s just the visit from Otherworld that messianic figures are allowed upon death lol)

I wonder about this too. I find it especially weird that even Claremont would repeat this myth in the conversation excerpted above as you think he of all people would know it’s not true It’s especially funny that he has Magneto making fun of Jean for resurrecting endlessly when he’s actually had many more fake deaths than she has. Not just that, but Jean Grey’s deaths tend to stick for longer.

And Jean Grey (not Dark Phoenix or Madelyn Pryor) does die a lot! Brian did a post about it a couple months ago that I’m too lazy to find … But it listed five instances …

It’s not really that many:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/07/24/drawing-crazy-patterns-jean-grey-dying/

“First, thank you so much for likening my opinion to faeces.”

Uh, he didn’t. he said that your opinion is that Morrison’s run is feces. pretty significant misreading of what was written — and it’s still nothing compared to your misread of Morrison.

“The “I’m gay” was bad, though.”

The bit where Beast says he’s gay comes off like a writer trying to force an abritrary change. But the bit where Scott says “Why are you pretending to be gay?” makes Beast’s whole arc in Morrison’s run really clear, and also makes the “I’m gay” thing more overtly Morrison criticizing other comic book writers.

sean:

duly noted. i did indeed use the words “crapped on” in my first post, so i rescind my first comment (although i don’t completely liken his entire run to being crap, as i have stated above, i just feel the editorial presence was nonexistent).

also, i missed the part about “A secondary mutation much like Beast’s, informed by everything that came before it, lest we regard a Wolvie swooped blue man as ‘Simian’.” this statement alone makes me disregard any opinion in that post on the subject because the blue furred, “Wolvie swooped” Beast has nothing to do with his mutation. this was an after effect caused by a lab accident. Beast’s mutation was always his ape-like excessive body hair, large hands, large feet and more than human agility. He was often depicted as hanging from his feet and slumping like an ape when he walked. To totally forgo that and equate him to the leonine, effeminate, “Beauty and the Beast” inspired current version was a complete and utter disregard for 40 years of character development and basically remade him from the bottom up.

the point i am trying to convey is that i don’t blame Morrison (or any other writer for that matter)… i blame the editors. the stories and character developments on their own are quite entertaining, but the material was not an a original creation exclusive to Morrison’s whims, and as such, should not have been flipped on it’s axis in such and abrupt and extreme way. I have always maintained that Morrison’s direction would have made Ultimate X-Men a million times more entertaining, and Marvel truly missed an opportunity by giving him a mainstream title to play with.

another prime example of a good writer just not being able to write these characters (but given carte blanche by editorial) is ed brubaker and the “Deadly Genesis” mini. this was a completely unnecessary and totally reaching plot that prolonged a stagnant and equally unnecessary hanging thread of the “lost Summers brother” while at the same time meaninglessly killing off a slew of newly introduced characters as well as a long standing supporting character (basically off screen).

the worst part was Joss Whedon had just finished a GOOD story in which Professor X was given his comeuppance for ignoring the Danger Room’s sentience for years and was already accused of having marginal morals for his actions. why did we need another totally out of character scandalous low point and useless cover up to tarnish one of the most celebrated single issues of all time? this was all just lazy story telling and poor editorial input that further darkened these characters and made them even more shallow and lifeless.

Ditto, Blake Astro. Ditto

I feel like the contextual throughline of this conversation is missed contextual throughlines (assuming it isn’t a race to disregard opinions based on a single phrase, or diction). Not sure how evenly measured it is to gloss over a ‘lab accident’ that turned a large-footed acrobat into a furry blue man, whilst describing the furry blue man’s development of cat-like features as a piledriver to forty years of history. The latter pair being some sort of throughline in a (weird and wonderful) world where mutations go well beyond conventional scientific wisdom, which was the intended metaphor for New X-Men as a ‘secondary mutation’ of the franchise.

At the risk of repeating myself, that seems to be the measure of the story for a lot of readers.
There are available throughlines in most elements of the run (not forgetting the immediate past of the then-fresh late nineties, as well as decades previous), but if those throughlines don’t gel with a personal continuity, previous moment in time, or occur to a reader as part of a jump started development curve, then it becomes more offensive than it perhaps actually is. For a franchise that has been so incestuously bound by its past achievements, New X-Men might have felt like a bit of a jolt, but it was the jolt of a reminder to move beyond a certain point that should ordinarily be taken for granted.

For me, Whedon’s work was a particularly devastating declaration of redundancy. A popularly received wash of things that even the most casual of readers had seen many times before, which fell short of ‘love letter to’ status, instead signing off on the rut that arrives in Brubaker’s work and other lacklustre, referencial, recent examples. To borrow another commentor’s reference, I would argue Morrison’s New X-Men did very much the same thing his JLA did. The jolt of ‘Big 7′ dressing might have been less abrupt, but both runs tapped directly into the central concept with a healthy dose of imagination, and a pop perspective for what was lacking.

To stay in the originally referred region, I would argue Morrison was much less defacating on history, than he was kicking it in the arse. The looming notion that mutants would breed into threatening number had been promised for decades, but never fulfilled. If nothing else, that’s a pretty solid argument for the foundation upon which everything else was stacked. What was stacked on top, might be subject to fair criticism, but again, I think it’s important to note that what one reader would describe as an unsavory scattological act, another would see as the continuation of strands of ideas — with open-ended availabilities themselves (under different editorial circumstances). A once conventional approach to serial comics. Much less Ultimate (depending on what THAT means), much more a lively spark to the on-going conversation.

In other words, I think Morrison actually DID self-edit (to some extent), maintaining the throughlines of a good mandate, in an artful way. Referencial, without being redundant. Fresh, without being unrelated. I think it’s important to recognise that, without an undying dedication to another moment in the past.

Lots of good thoughts littered throughout everyones comments, though. Don’t misquote me as being completely dismissive or in complete disagreement (thanks for the contextual pick-up, sean). Cheers.

@Hasselhoff
You actually put into words what I was getting at but couldn’t quite state myself, and that is the preponderance towards nostalgia in comics, and especially the X-Men, today. A fine example is the third Summers plot, which in the 90s seemed like a natural extension of Sinister’s obsession with the Summers clan and was leading toward a pretty obvious reveal as Adam X.

It was a good concept, but as Brubaker would tell you in private, “the 90s were dumb. I mean, it’s so obvious the older stuff is so much better. Yet the older stuff has problems too. Tell you what, here’s what I would have done…” And you get a “more realistic” take of what “really would’ve happened” during Giant X-Men #1. Because while Giant Size X-Men #1 is inherently a thousand times better than any 90s story that the 90s might as well be stricken entirely from continuity, a modern writer like Brubaker could make it better. That idea that they’re the logical next step in comics, that they’re better than the previous generation because they’ve seen all the older ones’ mistakes. That isn’t necessarily true.

In their rush to give nods to their favorite stories from the past, they’re forgetting to do something new. They spend all their time updating older stories that they deem worthy of making it into continuity, or redoing concepts “they way they should have been done,” while adding practically nothing in the way of new, good ideas to the characters and continuity. It’s okay to occasionally revisit fan-favorite stories, just remember to tell some original ones of your own along the way. I think it comes from over inflated egos, how they’re now being called “architects” in the case of Marvel. As I stated, very few of the actual architects at Marvel deserve that title, and is it surprising that one of them is a writer who is bringing back Morrison’s concepts to the X-Men?

What I love most about Morrison is that he balances the old with the new, and does it with a flair for things like dialogue, characterization, etc. – he really is an awesome writer and brought new life to the X-Men at a time when they were flagging ddespite a successful movie. And it’s sad that the Avengers have replaced them immediatly afterwords. It’s also because of him that a lot of writers are getting overhyped purely because they can tell a good story; Morrison is more than just a comic writer because he does more than just write them, he constantly reinivents the medium. Brubaker and Fraction haven’t done that, they’ve just told some good stories (although, ironically, not any good X-Men ones) Can anyone remember a day when Marvel immediatly brought up connotations of Merry Mutants and not the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? I can’t, yet I do know they existed, which is a depressing thought indeed.

It’s worth mentioning this was revisited a few times by Bendis too. The Xorn/Magneto connection is mentioned in “The Collective” arc that formed the epilogue to House of M, and prior to that in House of M itself when Dr. Strange makes some speculative guesses about Wanda’s role in the whole mess.

I didn’t read Morrison’s X-run and likely never will. I carry Morrison’s JLA run my iPod and still read it, but a lot of Morrison’s work after that just isn’t worth reading (stupid Final Crisis).

I’d say Morrison’s X-Men run is worth a read. It brought life back to franchise that had become dull, repetitive, and lifeless. While it annoyed some long time readers, it also brought other readers back to the franchise.

If you do read it, then give it a little time to develop. I hated it at first. It has some really stupid stuff, like Cyclops’ emergency ruby quartz contact lenses. (Stupid in its own right, but he even manages to take them out at one point without destroying the surrounding neighborhood.) I hated Quitely’s art. Wolverine at times was almost as tall as Scott, and Xavier looked like a lumpy potato that had been hit repeatedly by a lead pipe. I hated Cassandra Nova. I wanted to hate the series. I already hated Scott, but I hated what Morrison was doing to him as well.

But then stuff starts coming together. You see things have been planned in detail, which was something that was desperately missing in comics at the time (and is missing even more now). The world had life to it that the X-Men had long missed, if it ever really had. Mutants for once were portrayed as a real minority. (Consider that Decimation happened because Quesada felt that millions of mutants meant there were now too many to write stories about them being a minority, and that reducing the worldwide count to 200 would allow writers to write such stories again. That idea is pretty much laughable.) And the characters worked. I’ve already said that he breathed life into Scott. He made Scott more likable in my eyes, and I recall others at the time saying that they liked the new portrayal as well. Secondary mutations were silly, but they ultimately worked.

Heck, Morrison actually got some decent writing out of Claremont, when Claremont decided to turn X-Treme X-Men into a counter-Morrison title and actually got some much needed focus to his writing for a while. Claremont was writing some pretty bad stuff at the time, ranging from mediocre to forgettable, and with a large helping of classic Claremont tropes (Mind control storyline every three or four issues, depowered mutant can now beat three or four mutants in a fight, favored characters get random new powers as the storyline requires every six issues, yearly visit to the Savage Land, someone gets a catchphrase description of their powers that gets used every issue if not twice an issue, etc…)

Morrison’s X-Men run is certainly no Final Crisis. And while his Batman run takes some of the ideas (Batman Inc versus X-Corp), I’d say his X-Men run flows much better. His Batman run felt like a bunch of miniseries with stops and jumps in between, while his X-Men run is one massive storyline.

I know this will sound flamey, but all discussion of whether Magneto is a hero or not ends with the fact that he sank a boat and killed hundreds of sailors, when he could easily make a thousand lesser things to it.

Kabe:

It was a soviet nuclear submarine with warheads pointed at him because they felt threatened by his power when he issued an order to all nations to disarm themselves or face repercussions. It was considered an act of war, not terrorism.

He actually turned himself in and stood trial for his crimes in Uncanny X-Men #200.

randypan the goatboy

December 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm

@ anonymous…I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else. I was confusing madelyn pryor with jean grey…lazy on my part…same difference.

An act of war not terrorism? Irrelevent! If he could have crunched the outer surface of the submarine so that all their firing doors jammed, or something equally subtle, or just redirected the warheads magnetically, then everything else was total overkill, literally.

The drugs plot could even have been done subtly, with him taking drugs to produce some effect he couldn’t otherwise, do some hidden thing to protect mutants, whatever. And then got stuck in a cycle of addiction that robbed him of all sense of proportion and morality.

I think people just didn’t like the emotional whiplash, the messing with history, because many people want a certain emotional state when they pick up an x-men comic, not a story based on a world. Some of those people really want comfort, and that kind of event is definately not that.

How is Quentin Quire back even…I thought Magneto/Xorn killed him when he started rambling about a traitor among us?

I haven’t read all of Morrison’s New X-Men. I’ve read a bit of the the first arc and didn’t find it to my liking. Like with most of Morrison’s work there will always be ideas/themes I find myself liking and some I don’t. I find that the less emotionally invested in a character/characters I am, the more I can enjoy his work. The discussion here has motivated me to actually give his run another chance in earnest. I’ve read various synopsis and gotten a good bit of word of mouth about his run, and I know all the major plot points and what not. But I want to sit down and digest it all as one story. To be honest, most of the things I’ve enjoyed in Uncanny during it’s, IMO HIGHLY lackluster, years post Morrison have been based in his ideas. Gillen’s UXM is a book that I now can once again anticipate and I like that he (more or less) is moving the book forward. I may not like every decision but I can definitely applaud that. The same can be said of Morrison’s run. You can never say that when he approaches a title he doesn’t do something new. Reading a Morrison run will definitely tell you how forward thinking/how much change you really want in your superhero books. Most fans will clamor for change but when they get it, and it doesn’t occur just how they want it, they throw a royal bitchfit. I had stopped reading X-Men for years before Morrison’s run but would pop in periodically to see what’s going on. A good deal of the titles felt very been there done that. I might not’ve liked what I was seeing in New X-Men (especially Quitely’s art) but I must say that I was never bored. There was always something I hadn’t quite seen before in the title taking place. And I’ve got to applaud and respect that.

I really quite liked Morrison’s New X-Men and most of the things it introduced to X-canon. I especially liked the new character of Xorn… as Xorn. The reveal as Magneto made me sad for the loss of an intriguing new character and completely baffled as to why Magneto would masquerade as Xorn. I mean.. just why?

The retcon that it was Xorn after all made even less sense and made me even more sad for the loss of the character as written in the earlier issues of NXM.

I’m late to the party on this, but as a Claremont die-hard and a reluctant convert to Morrison’s run, I wanted to kick in my two cents. To begin with, I think Claremont’s evolution of Magneto stands as one of his greatest contributions to the canon— and given the breadth of his work that’s saying quite a lot. That said, I really enjoyed Morrison’s run as well, once I got into it and let go of my fanboy anxiety. How to reconcile the two?

Well, here’s my take: it all happened, in the order we saw it. The Silver Age moustache-twirler was destroyed by Alpha the Ultimate Mutant in the DEFENDERS story. The Claremont Magneto restored to adulthood in Uncanny #104 met his fate in X-Men (1991) #3, and was resurrected-redeemed-cloned-fallen-etc. for the rest of the 90′s by Scott Lobdell, Joe Kelly, et al. until finally getting gutted by Wolverine at the climax of the “Eve of Destruction” deck-clearing exercise.

Here’s the important bit (for the purposes of this post): Convalescing in Genosha, Magneto is blindsided by Cassandra Nova’s Sentinels and nearly killed. During his recovery, he turns to Kick— out of desperation or arrogance, or some characteristic combination of the two. The rest of his plotting and scheming in Morrison’s run plays out as it did on the page, culminating with his execution by Wolverine.

Three months later (Real Time), Magneto is alive and well and living on Genosha, denying everything that happened in Planet X. Claremont’s Excalibur book at the time is laying a lot of groundwork for the upcoming HOUSE OF M. In the pages of that event book, Dr. Strange alludes to Wanda’s distortions of reality having begun much earlier than previously known. He even directly points to Magneto’s weird resurrection as one possible result.

My theory: Wanda saw her dad on tv destroying the city, acting like a mass-murdering lunatic, and hopped up on goof balls, getting his head chopped off by Wolverine. She responds with about the same level of maturity and forethought that she showed with the death of her children and loss of her husband, and literally hand-waves it away.

In the Marvel Universe, this literally creates a ret-con “in universe”, where before Wanda acted things were one way (Mags on drugs goes bonkers), and then afterward there was a more-than-slightly convoluted way of explaining why the extremely improbable was now the new fact.

That’s how I read it anyway, and it seems to allow for the authenticity of Claremont’s Magneto, Morrison’s story, and an ongoing character that can continue to be used by Marvel. YMMV.

Morrison’s run was the most over hyped piece of shit I have ever read in comic books, net to only his JLA run.
NOTHING he wrote was original or new in it. His plot twists made little sense…
and worse of all was the Xorn debacle that came from it.

The less said about Morrison’s run…the better.

Magneto is still Xorn to me. And he was still beheaded by Wolverine.

I wish people would stop using the Xavier/Magneto MLK/Malcom comparison. It’s lazy, lacks any insight into the teachings of the two men, and paints a horrible picture of Malcom X. If the comparison were a true one, Xavier would teach passive resistance and Magneto would have a team similar to the X-Men, which uses its powers to protect mutants from humans and vice-versa. Instead, Xavier was like Malcom and Magneto is like… well, someone who isn’t Malcom. Someone who doesn’t exist.

I’ve followed X-Men since the very end of the 80s and I’ve probably read every issue of Uncanny, X-Men, and New Mutants, plus a lot of issies of X-Factor and X-Force, up through the Age of Apocalypse. Within the past few years I’ve used Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited to catch up a bit. As a huge fan of Claremont’s run in the ’80s, I dug Morrison’s run. I felt like, for the first time in a long time, someone was writing based on ideas rather than just trying to tell stories. The stories had a point, they were well written, and they made you want to read more. And if you let them sink in a bit, they make a certain amount of sense.

Like, for instance, say what you want about Cassandra Nova, her abilities sort-of provide a genetic basis for Legion

How is Xorn as Magneto an abandoned storyline when we it was revealed? Looks like the author of this abandoned storyline post doesn’t like Morrison’s run.

As for the Xorn storyline, my first question is who created the “event horizon” over Xorn ‘Magneto’s face when he was rescued by the X-Men? How did it fool Xavier? Who tipped off Xavier that X/M was there? Cerebro? Beyond that I absolutely enjoyed Mortison’s run.

After reading a lot of comments here I think i need to say this:

Morrison’s run’s purpose what to make something new. To make something new, you need to stop doing the old. You can like the new or not. I liked the new because before I read New X-men I thought the X-Men was the bost boring thing in the world. When I looked at them I saw the bare essentials, because that was what was being written over and over again:

“X-Men fight for and protect a world that both fear and hate them. Magneto believes the world belongs to Mutants for they are the future.”

The concept worked for years. And then not. And then it did again. And then not.

Magneto as a villian. As a hero. As a villian, As an anti-hero. Villian. Hero. blah. blah. blah.

Then Morrison came in:
Cyclops coming to terms with death and apocalypse taking over him made sense. If mutants are the future it made sense humans would have to go eventually. Wolverine and Cyclops acting like actual real people who have been around eahc other for years was nice. Genosha destroyed and 16 million dead. Because evolution needs to be stopped. Everyone loves the status quo. Outed Xavier as a Mutant. Which begs the question why did no one do that before? If mutants exist in the real wolrd, They’d have their own culture, Their ghettos, their own little worlds. so that makes sense too. Teenage Mutant Angst in the form of Quentin Quire; he says he wanted to be cool. Having a class of special kids who are not like the rest, within a group that is supposed to be like the rest made the X-men more human socially. Weapon 10, not X just because it is an X-thing; Weapon 10.

Many of the little things he added are the ones that made the X-men Interesting for me. Then again, I can’t read anything from before the 2000s. They are so… foreign to me. Maybe because I’m from THIS generation.

Of course he had some crazy ideas which were cool in a twisted way like the U-men and Sublime. But they are the new things that tried to brake away from the repetitive old.

And now we are stuck with an line of X-books where nothing really happens. The X-men were supposed to be a social commentary at the time they were created. Morrison made them a social commentary of the world today.

And excuses like “stepping over years of history” are things a person against progress says. Trying something new is no crime. It can turn out to be good or bad. But at least he tried.

@Diaverik I think it would be equally flawed to suggest blanket changes in what is a sequential medium. Change for the sake of change, with complete ignorance to the past, is not a good thing. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Morrison’s X-Men wasn’t.

Xorn as Magneto isn’t the abandoned storyline. The Excalibur storyline is the abandoned one. I thought Claremont was building to a huge reveal that the Magneto in Excalibur wasn’t real but a projection of Xavier’s subconscious. Xavier had already created a Moira projection. I always thought Claremont was laying clues to that and was going to reveal that Xavier was the one losing his marbles during the series. I figured this idea was abandoned when Bendis needed Magneto and Xavier for Avengers Disassembled and House of M.

I wish people would stop using the Xavier/Magneto MLK/Malcom comparison. It’s lazy, lacks any insight into the teachings of the two men, and paints a horrible picture of Malcom X.

That’s long been a pet peeve of mine as well.

Also, I don’t much like it as an allegory for blacks period, since for the most part most mutants can hide that they’re mutants as long as they don’t use their powers, whereas most blacks can’t hide that they’re black. I think mutants are much closer to the gay analogy, since most mutants, like gays, realize what they are around puberty and have to consciously choose to out themselves.

One cool thing Morrison introduced was the fact that some mutants wont have cool superpowers and will end up not loking human at all. Like Beak. That was the whole point. Making it look more realistic as a social issue. Not as an analogy for soemthing else, but as a real issue itself.

OMG I forgot about the Morlocks, sorry. I take that back.

Ben Herman sums up my view of Magneto, and why Morrison’s work with the character worked for me. Magneto is the guy who’s undergone tremendous suffering and in his efforts to ensure that doesn’t happen again becomes the very thing he detests. That to me is the core of the Magneto character.

I was always a fan of the theory presented in House of M that the true Magneto was a terrible person and that he died as Xorn. Then, in her fragile state, the Scarlet Witch recreated an idealized version of her father, the one who eventually goes on to join the X-Men and become a hero (and the one we still have today). Hopefully some writer will implement this retcon and the true Magneto can return.

This wouldn’t have been necessary if Marvel had editors with the cubes to say no to a big name writer, but they don’t.

In Stan Lee’s day magneto was more than willing to use weapons of mass destruction the whole debate of magneto not being a mass murderer is retarded

@Tim To say not to a big name writer, and/or have the intention to stick with a big call when it’s made. “IMHO”

There should be no debate: Magneto died in X-Men #3, 1991.

First and foremost, Marvel decides the whole thing. It let Morrison do his thing in New X-men, but ultimately, a question popped, “what is X-Men without Magneto?” Thus, Morrison deliberately killed Magneto/Xorn but the people in Marvel didn’t like his call yet waited his tenure as New X-Men writer to be ended. Isn’t that almost similar to the Dark Phoenix Saga? “Jean Grey”/Dark Phoenix get “killed” (or committed “suicide” if you wish so), but eventually, the “real” one was found out to be “alive.” However, the impact to their “deaths” is very different then and now in superhero comics. Personally, I want Morrison back in Marvel and “fix” his take in New X-Men to make sense of his vision. However, that may be an impossible dream. I hope I am wrong here.

“First and foremost, Marvel decides the whole thing.”

No, they don’t. All the readers (including the people working on the stories past, present, and future) ultimately decide what “matters”. The company can say a certain story should be ignored as long and as loud as possible, but if the collective readership over time decides that story really is worth remembering and referencing … that’s what really defines a story’s place in continuity. The opinion of an given editorial regime is fleeting and of little consequence.

It’s worth noting that Morrison didn’t come up with “Secondary Mutations”, that was Warren Ellis during the Counter X relaunch. By the time Morrison came around, several mutants already had their secondary mutations either at Ellis’ hands or Claremont’s (Warpath, Psylocke, etc) and it was already being used as a continuity patch for stuff like Cannonball’s immortality. (A letters page from a couple of years ago, even stated that Warpath still retains his secondary mutation – flight – he’s just horrible at it.)

As far as the retconning of Xorn, according to Chuck Austin (yeah, I know) he was under editorial orders to create a new Xorn in order to keep the popular character around for action figures, etc. Meanwhile Claremont does his retcon and there’s a lot of editorial confusion. Bendis does another attempted continuity fix in House of M, implying that Wanda brought Magneto back after Wolverine killed him but according to an interview Quesada felt that wasn’t clear enough which is how we get the “Collective” arc of New Avengers establishing Xorn as an independent mutant. (Meanwhile Chuck Austin’s Xorn was depowered in House of M.)

Me? I liked the house of M explination. That Magneto did everything he did in Planet X and was Xorn, but Wanda made sure that a Magneto was still alive. Which kind of leads into very recent stuff where Wonder Man, who was also ressurected by the Scarlet Witch isn’t entirely sure he’s not a construct.

Kevin: the first time secondary mutation came into the fold was when Polaris lost her powers from Zaladane and then she grew in size and started displaying super-strength. Eventualy it was retconed as a side effect of the Shadow King possession but the first idea of it came from CC there.

As far the Collective story idea they came up with in Avengers, this to me close the book of Xorn. I was satisfied with it.

Here’s the part that doesn’t make sense…. Before Morrison’s run, Magneto was last seen in the Eve of Destruction storyline where he was a “kill humanity, torture Xaiver” kind of bad guy. So how did Manus transition from that to being best buds with Xavier in Excalibur #1???? Was the Eve of Destruction Magneto an “imposter” too??????

@FRM: simple answer… BAD EDITORS. this is my biggest point in rambling on about this. editors at the time (and to this day in some cases) absolutely suck at their jobs. they have no working knowledge of the base material and they let all kinds of horrible plot twists slide by because they have a ridiculous “WOW! factor” or they were written by a big name creator. the entire “eve of destruction” arc was total crap and just meant to be filler before new x-men started. crappy, crappy filler. i believe mark powers was still x-editor at that time… gosh, he sucked as an editor.

this is why, as i’ve stated, i don’t blame morrison for the way his run ended. i DO think it’s total B.S. that he “always intended” for xorn to be magneto. the annual issue with xorn’s first appearance, #127, the entire xorn camping trip during riot at xavier’s makes NO sense whatsoever if this is the case. oh, and weapon plus was all a part of magneto’s plan and when logan blew up the weapon plus space station, he just happened to get slapped into asteroid m???? COME ON! that is some LAZY writing. (also, for magneto to have “chinese supporters” and go through this whole elaborate ruse just to ‘infiltrate’ the x-men is so totally out of character that it just makes me laugh).

it actually makes more sense that xorn (described to have no ego, ideas or imagination) would be influenced by the injustice he saw in the world and be swayed to emulate magneto… culminating in him assuming the role of magneto (since his powers seemed to allow him to do ANYTHING) and attempting to do “what magneto would do”. i appreciate the retcon, even though that too was handled badly (no explanation for the whole asteroid m thing). i’d love it if they tied the whole thing back to sublime (i HATE that he was made into “intelligent bacteria”. MORE lazy writing. the idea of a brilliant man, envious of mutants and their power, willing to do anything to take it from them in order to be special is far more interesting and villainous). i’d actually love to attribute cassandra nova to sublime somehow too.

meh… i ramble. i’m loving morrison’s batman inc stuff. i hope he stays put and sticks to his guns on staying away from marvel. i don’t think i could take another planet x (even though gillen and aaron seem dead set on writing one themselves. fingers crossed that they don’t).

i read the first few issues of Morrison’s new x-men but dropped it because the stories overwhelmed me. alsothe art was also horrible, one of the posts hit the right spot when it said that the characters’ faces looked like beat up potatoes, that was the description that i was trying to come up all these years to describe the artwork. Jean looked old with Quitely’s pencils, he’s overrated. the only reason i bought All Star Superman was because of Grant’s superb writing and the brilliant colors. Kudos to the colorist of that series.

Magneto, as written by Morrison, didn’t kill anyone – he’d been infected by John Sublime through the aerosol kick. Like the bungling of Ernst being Cassandra Nova Xavier, controlled by Martha Johansson’s super-brain, Marvel just didn’t bother reading or understanding what Morrison had written. It is also quite clear that, at the end, Jean Grey is not dead – she’d ascended to a higher plain of existence, and was alive enough to actually manipulate Cyclops into choosing to be with Emma Frost.

I don’t blame Morrison for returning to DC after they just ignored everything he wrote in favour of turning the most powerful analogy for all minority groups – mutants – into a violent, endangered species, and chose to make Wolverine the pacifist, and Cyclops the derranged lunatic.

“oh, and weapon plus was all a part of magneto’s plan and when logan blew up the weapon plus space station, he just happened to get slapped into asteroid m???? COME ON! that is some LAZY writing. (also, for magneto to have “chinese supporters” and go through this whole elaborate ruse just to ‘infiltrate’ the x-men is so totally out of character that it just makes me laugh).”

Again, that wasn’t Magneto – it was John Sublime, who was the mastermind behind Weapon Plus, and the U-Men (who had offices in China that were supported from within the government), and was an organism threatened by extinction because it couldn’t infect mutants as easily as it could humans. Magneto was high on Kick, a stimulant which boosted powers, but also brought mutants under Sublime’s control. He infected Magneto, and Quentin Quire, and wanted to ruin Xavier’s dream to start a war which would see man destroy mutants, and ensure that he survived.

Eventually, he was able to infect Beast with himself, and then use the mutant genebase in an attempt to obtain godhood, which was when the Phoenix stepped in to ensure that Sublime was stopped and the future it intended to bring about was averted.

It wasn’t lazy writing by Morrison, but it does take more than one or two read-throughs to fully understand what was going on.

In addition, it is only the annual where there is a point of serious contention, with Xorn sans his mask. Whilst the main power stars tend to exert is magnetic in nature, thus explaining Xorn’s powers (and the nano-sentinels his healing abilities), it seems a bit hard to explain the lack of some kind of mental shielding… unless he just had a hat on with psychic shielding and flashing lights to really sell the ruse… but then how were Emma and Scott making contact? But one plot hole, in that whole thing, seems something easily ignored.

@ Craig:

i have to take back what i said… it was not lazy writing. on it’s own, it’s actually quite a great read (and pretty complete) but it’s still not a great X-Men story. If these were original characters, i’d love it. (i’ll admit, i missed the cassandra nova/ernst connection since i never really gave the run much credit, but as it stands, it’s quite a well done thread, especially the ultimate act of her growing to become actually rehabilitated in here comes tomorrow.) i would say that far more than the annual (at least issue 127) are contrary to the “it was magneto all along” claim.

again though… bad editors. bad higher-ups at marvel for letting him go that far with it when they were never going to commit to such changes. it’s more comical that morrison would ever think they would stick with such changes given their track record.

also, morrison left long before marvel made those changes to the x-men… but in many ways, he was the architect of those changes. specifically those made to cyclops.

Yeah, it a classic “bait and switch”, which is why it pissed me off so much. Either kill a character or don’t kill a charcter but don’t pull this sort of lazy, inane crap with the readers. What I liked about Morrison’s run: THE X-MEN WERE FINALLY BEING WRITTEN FOR GROWN-UPS! And then he had to do something as unnecessary as Xorneto. How much more effective would it have been to develop Xorn as an actual character, maybe have him go through a severe crisis of conscience and realize his beliefs were irrelevent in the real world, thus prompting him to abandon non-violence and wreak Manhatten? would’v e been a lot more interesting, internally consistent and NOT INSULTING TO THE READERS’ INTELLIGNCE!

Oh, well.

To quote William Shatner: “it’s just a t.v. show, people, it’s just a t.v. show.”

Here’s the thing that I think most people forget and adds to the tragic nature of Morrison’s storyline… and it’s easy to forget because he always so SUBTLY touches upon grand ideas that you have read over and over again just to catch… but this Magneto was under the influence of a drug. He went out not as himself but as a man infected by Sublime. And since Morrison never fully explains what Sublime is (we get glimpses in his finale “Here Comes Tomorrow”) I think that’s lost on most readers.

It was essentially grand scheme that was corrupted by kick which was an aerosol form of the living bacteria Sublime. So instead of going down as the master villain he was, he went down in a psychotic drug-addled rage. It’s definitely bittersweet and I can understand why people don’t like it. But I’m not one of them.

Now HERE is how they should have fixed it. That Magneto was the real Mags, but just like Hal Jordon under the influence/possession of the Parallax entity, the same occurred with Magneto under the influence/possession of the Sublime entity. So he can’t be held fully accountable for his actions. As for his resurrection on Genosha following his death… it could have all been explained as his daughter bringing him back to life as she’s been apt to do. It’s clean and it would have fit nicely with House of M.

That’s my take.

I always read Beast as being a bit flippant when says he might be gay. Also as a way to make the ex feel better about the breakup. I saw it as a statement of newfound confidence for Beast -that he’s confident enough to have people think he’s gay when he’s not.

Then Morrison has Emma telling beast that she, being a telepath, knows he’s never had a homosexual thought. So I don’t think it was Morrison’s intention to have beast be gay. Though sexual ambiguity isn’t something he’s historically afraid of.

I saw a few people bringing that up re: retconn

Now feline-Beast has been undone, so that’s one less remaining element of Morrison’s X-Men. (Though, frankly, I’m astonished that change lasted as long as it did).

Claremont’s first run on the Uncanny X-Men was epic. Morrison’s stuff is so so. Claremont, essentially, evolved the X-Men to greatness. He wasn’t perfect but he introduced innovative ideas and themes into comics.

Morrison hasn’t done anything of the sort. His stuff is meh and often seem like variations of older X-Men stories. Anyone disagreeing should take a read through Claremont’s first run.

I think Morrison has a few decent books and does seem to have his cult following. I really don’t care for the work. His recent Batman books and the such have been weak – I think the final nail in the coffin was the death of Robin (again) rubbish. Awful art and pretty lame writing.

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