Has anyone ever noticed that science fiction stories about the future are never all about sunshine and puppies playing in fields of joy?
If reading X-Men for nearly three decades has taught me anything, it is that the future pretty much tends to suck.
Across multiple timelines.
Days of Futures Past? Sucks.
Wherever the hell Rachel Summers or Bishop came from? Sucks.
The Age of Apocalypse? Ultra sucks.
No sunshine and happiness in any of those places, just a steady, driving rain and three-legged, one-eyes puppies with rabies.
|When a guy named Holocaust is running things,
you just know this place is going to be a No Fun Zone
Later this month, X-Men: Legacy writer, Mike Carey, is going to take us on yet another trip down memories-yet-to-come lane when he kicks off Age of X.
Running mainly through Legacy and New Mutants, the mysterious storyline focuses on a world in which mutants are on the run (again) and world powers are cracking down hard (also, again).
What we do know is that it seems that a great deal of it has to do with Jean Grey’s powers first manifesting and killing over half a million people, which prompts the Government to engage in the systematic termination of all mutants, with the Avengers commissioned to lead the hunt.
|Whoopsie. My bad.|
Anti-mutant sentiment is so high that Susan Richards turns in her own husband for harboring a mutant, leading to the arrest of the Fantastic Four.
With Jean’s little boo-boo happening before the formation of any official X-Men team, it has fallen upon a ragtag group of mutants led by Magneto to protect mutantkind from extinction.
If you are thinking you have seen something like this before, take a bow.
In fact, this seems, on the surface anyway, to be some sort of amalgamation of several of the alternate timelines we have seen already.
Jean’s inadvertent massacre sounds eerily like the one that was spoken about in the future concentration camps we saw during Messiah CompleX, and also echoes the event that touched off Marvel’s Civil War.
Magneto leading a team of mutants in the absence of Charles Xavier? Yup, we saw that in Age of Apocalypse.
Whoa. It’s like deja vu all over again…
Government backed sentinels on the prowl for mutants? Take your pick, it has happened so many times.
An event called the Decimation, that significantly depletes the mutant population? Yeah, that would be the House of M aftermath, which was called…wait for it…Decimation.
So this leaves us all wondering: what’s the hook? What makes Age of X stand so differently that it needs to be told?
Well, for one, Carey has hinted that this is not simply a glimpse of an alternate timeline; this Age of X is going to have elements that somehow manifest and reveal themselves to the characters in the present.
Since her first appearance, much has been made of a possible connection between Hope and the deceased Jean Grey. So far her powers have been pretty benign, but she appeared to manifest a Phoenix raptor in the closing moments of Second Coming, and Bishop was so convinced she was responsible for the future he came from that he betrayed his longtime teammates in an effort to kill her.
This begs the questions: what if Bishop was right? What if the X-Men made a mistake in putting all of their hopes, pun intended, on her?
And Number One on the “Not to Babysit my Daughter” list…THIS guy.
As the X-Men have always had allegorical stand-ins for real world social and political situations, the Age of X appears to be getting into the debate between freedoms and security, as the fear over future “attacks” by mutants has allowed a more totalitarian rule to manifest in America’s land of the free, with people willing to accept a war against the “other” and living under constant surveillance “just in case.”
How far is too far, when protecting the populace?
And what if those doing the protecting are part of the problem in the first place, with secret agendas of their own?
Whatever effects the revelations of Age of X have on the present will not be revealed for several months, but it is safe to say that this will not be just another alternate reality; this will be a cautionary tale for our mutant heroes and something that will change the way the X-Men think and operate…
How many mutants does it take to screw up a timeline..?