With Legacy in full throttle and an acquisition of cinematic properties by Disney, Marvel attempts to win back the True Believers.
To embrace Marvel’s newest initiative by returning the most popular key characters to the mainstream after hiatus, the publishing giant fell into somewhat treacherous footing with longtime fans during its ambitious foray to introduce new characters and sidelining favorites during its NOW! and All-New campaigns under the larger umbrella of the relaunch enterprise Revolution. Rumblings and rumors began shortly after the announcement of Legacy in April that it wouldn’t be long before Disney would maneuver to regain media rights to its fractured portfolio. Gossip on social media reached a fever pitch with leaks of Fox and Disney in labored negotiation to work out a deal. Days ago, speculation became reality. Comic Watch first broke the story on December 7th.
After reports incited massive debate on social media, we challenged our Age of Marvel social media group to vote on a central question. As Marvel aims to win back fan loyalty, which defunct teams should return to publication and another series? The votes were cast and here are the results.
#10. Uncanny X-Men:
This choice was added by voters signifying a clear voice that though some fans like their teams color-coded, the X-Men should always be Uncanny! Favorite rosters and eras are the subjects of countless threads and polls in nearly every Facebook group or forum with opinions across the spectrum, but with regard to sales figures, the 90’s creative team of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee skyrocketed these mutants to the height of their popularity.
#9. X-Men 2099:
Launched in 1993, X-Men fans were propelled into the year 2099 and the world of mutants at the end of the 21st century in memoriam to the mutant Charles Xavier who lived 100 years ago. Members included Skullfire, Serpentina, Meanstreak, Krystalin, Cerebra, Bloodhawk, Metalhead, X’ian, Junkpile, La Lunatica, and Sham. 2099 went for 35 issues with the original series ending in 1996. Seen only in rare appearances in miniseries, the 2099 gang recently popped up again in X-Men Blue during its “Crosstime Capers” storyline, sparking both nostalgia and a newfound interest in readers alike!
Clearly, mutants are fan favorites at any time be it past, present, or future. Coming in at #8 on the countdown, these mutants crossed reality and dimension to find their way into reader’s hearts. The Exiles were charged by the Timebroker to investigate and fix broken realities. Perhaps the most interesting concept of the comic was its daring formula of interchangeable characters and rosters. Exiles gave readers a taste of these characters after they had been discarded from the main 616 universe as well as others and achieved commercial success with 2 series and multiple crossover features. Fans of these wanderlust mutants have been calling for a return since 2009!
#7. Alpha Flight:
In between mutant heroes and government-sanctioned protectors, Alpha Flight bridged the gap between the Avengers and the X-Men as sort of a distant cousin of the two. The team represented Canada’s northern interests and defense and often delved into a variety of mythical themes and native heritage. Alpha Flight gained mainstream attention in 1992 for a storyline featuring the topic of HIV/AIDs. The story was a precursor for Northstar acknowledging he was gay in issue #106, a plot that had been stifled by editorial edict since Bryne’s efforts in 1983, and despite the controversy, Northstar became Marvel’s first openly gay superhero. The team went on to include numerous new members, villains, roster changes, and a second team, Omega Flight. After 4 volumes, Alpha Flight has been noticeably absent from the Marvel landscape since 2011 having limited appearances as support staff for Captain Marvel in her self-titled comic.
Once again fans voted for another X favorite, making X-Factor the #6 most wanted on our Age of Marvel countdown. X-Factor reunited the original five members of Xavier’s X-Men into its own monthly title. The series originally was intended to feature Beast, Iceman, and Angel after the cancellation of Defenders with the return of Cyclops by leaving his wife Madelyne Pryor, a fateful decision that would eventually drive the dejected women to become the demonic Goblyn Queen. A little-known fact, Marvel’s disco diva Dazzler was originally slated for the fifth spot as it was critical to have a female lead. Writer Kurt Busiek conceived the idea to reintroduce Jean Grey to the team instead and the rest is history. X-Factor has been reimagined consistently throughout 4 volumes until its cancelation in 2015.
#5. Young Avengers:
Young Avengers takes the 5th spot on the list and in fans hearts. In the aftermath of the critically divisive “Avengers Disassembled” storyline, Marvel made a play yet again for a younger audience with a comic consisting of solely teen heroes. The title featuring Patriot, Iron Lad, Wiccan, Hulkling, Speed, Prodigy, Miss America, Hawkeye, Kid Loki, Stature, and Marvel Boy (not to be confused with Marvel Boy or Justice from the New Warriors,) each held roots with their parent title and related mantles or roles they assumed. Though the Young Avengers run was limited to only 2 volumes consisting of a total 27 issues, the series was seen as a fresh take on the Avengers brand and has garnered a diehard fanbase. It’s worthy to note that outside of the Exiles, this series is the sole title conceived and released after 2000 to make the list.
#4. The New Warriors:
All they wanted was change the world. And so they did. The New Warriors were the “Heroes for the 90’s,” filling the vacuum of teen-oriented books in Marvel’s catalog at the time. Making their debut in The Mighty Thor #412 against nonother than the Unstoppable Juggernaut, The New Warriors written by Fabian Nicieza and art by Mark Bagley featured Kid Nova, Namorita, Speedball, Firestar, Marvel Boy, and Night Thrasher, all of which, with the sole exception of Night Thrasher, were all characters that at one time had their own solo series or were supporting characters in other titles but were for the most part unused. The Warriors burst onto the scene making frequent crossover cameos with X-Force, X-Factor, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man. Throughout its initial 75 issue run, the roster expanded to include Silhouette Darkhawk, Dagger, Powerpax, Rage, Turbo, Timeslip, and the Scarlet Spider. Though there have been 5 total volumes and numerous new characters and angles, subsequent relaunches never truly recaptured the initial magic of the 1st series. Though the series features numerous storylines, their greatest impact in recent years was the Stanford Terrorist Attack, the catalyst for sparking the Superhuman Registration Act during the first Civil War storyline. Though fans have been clamoring for another comic homecoming, its TV adaptation has hit rough waters after Freeform announced it will not air the show, which as of December 17th is still in limbo leaving the fate of the Warriors return uncertain in any format.
#3. The New Mutants:
“Don’t call em’ X-babies anymore.” The New Mutants, created by Chris Claremont and industry vet Bob McLeod, was the first spinoff series from its parent X-Men title with its debut in 1982, and Marvel’s response to DC’s Teen Titans, featuring a large cast of characters with an emphasis on interpersonal relationships, teenage issues, and coming of age storylines. The New Mutants were intended to graduate and assume the name and role of the X-Men, however, despite the best efforts of headmasters Xavier and Magneto, these junior mutants found themselves in trouble more often than not. The series gained attention after the Demon Bear arc with groundbreaking visuals from artist Bill Sienkiewicz, shattering the conventional superhero comic book trademarks at the time. Founding members Cannonball, Sunspot, Mirage, Karma, and Wolfsbane were joined by new recruits Warlock, Cypher, Magik, and Magma. As the series progressed and members departed, (or died,) the roster transformed again to assimilate the XTerminators after the crossover “Inferno” with Rictor, Rusty, Skids, and Boom Boom joining the team. With the introduction of Cable as their new leader by writer and artist Rob Liefeld, (who we can all thank for Deadpool’s introduction in issue #98,) the series never realized its original goal of becoming the next X-Men and instead became X-Force, ending with issue #100. The New Mutants have consistently found new fans in every decade since the 80’s with the subsequent “New Mutants Forever ” and 2 additional series. In a clear effort to promote their upcoming film, Marvel has announced the return of the New Mutants in a six issue mini-series entitled “Dead Souls.” But for most, it’s not enough and countless followers are pleading for a regular series.
#2. Power Pack:
Kids heroes are all the rage. Power Pack began in 1984 and has always been a quirky comic that highlight 4 siblings that gain super powers and traipse across the universe onboard the sentient ship Friday. It would be a mistake to write off this comic just because of its preteen characters as light-hearted adventures. Power Pack regularly addressed mature subjects throughout its 63 issue first series such as gun violence, drugs, abuse both physical and sexual, remorse, and responsibility. The Power siblings gained their powers by coming into contact with the alien Whitey of the Kymellian race. Alex took on the name Zero-G, Julie became Lightspeed, Jack donned the moniker Mass Master and the youngest Katie as Energizer. Franklin Richards joined Power Pack as Tattletale as writer Louise Simonson saw a natural fit with him being of relative same age. Opposite of many other superhero kids, the Powers come from a stable two-parent home environment with neither aware of their children’s abilities. Despite their on again off again self-titled series, the Powers have been featured collectively or separately in an impressive number of other titles including the New Mutants, Avengers, Fantastic Four, The New Warriors, X-Men, and Loners to name just a few.
#1. The Fantastic Four:
Securing the top spot on the list at #1 is Marvel’s “First Family,” The Fantastic Four. Widely considered to be Marvel’s vanguard title with a staggering 645 issues (if you’re counting by way of Marvel’s numbering,) beginning in 1961, Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny predate every other team the countdown, but nearly every other team in current publication. This Legacy title founded by the legendary combination of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby featured a story in which 4 people went into space and after exposure to cosmic radiation gained superhuman abilities. A semi-dysfunctional family unit that opted for public recognition and achieved celebrity status as protectors against evil: thus began the tale of Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, and Thing. The Marvel universe would be a far different landscape without the hallmark title as it marked the first appearances of the Four’s main nemesis Doctor Doom, the cosmic entity Galactus, his rebellious herald the Silver Surfer, the menacing alien Skrull race, and loads of others, thus causing a tidal wave of influence on the greater Marvel Universe. Not to mention Reed and Sue’s kid Franklin, born a mutant, is the single most powerful being in the Marvel Universe. Despite its rich history, the Four began to run into problems creatively beginning with the conflict-ridden “Heroes Reborn.” In the aftermath of the companywide “Onslaught Saga,” the fan base collectively panned Marvel’s initial attempt to relaunch the series in a more contemporary format. Conflicts internally between creative partnerships didn’t help the title as it began to show a decline. After disappointing sales and disastrous reviews of the film adaptations, Marvel made the decision to cancel the series in 2015 after 53 years, a decision the rocked the publisher and fanbase to its core. Despite numerous speculative accounts and swirling rumors, it’s unknown as to the truth of the reason why the fated decision was made. Marvel maintains that the move was purely a business decision due in large part to slumping sales figures. With Fox owning its film rights, industry insiders pointed the finger at then CEO Ike Perlmutter’s vindictive and deliberate sabotage, regardless of its achievement of saving Marvel from folding in the early 60’s. However, in the early morning hours of December 14th, staunch fans received a glimmer of renewed hope. In an official announcement made by Disney in which if approved by regulators of antitrust, Disney will acquire the media rights from 20th Century Fox. If the deal clears, Mickey and Marvel will become one and the same, and the Fantastic Four combined with the rest of Marvel’s properties indeed show promise of what some speculate to be an inevitable revival.
Votes resulting from data driven polling is acquired through member participation in the Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, and Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages will continue to publish polls and other interactive content. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
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