Think that Cyclops, Ice Man, Angel, Beast and Marvel Girl were the original X-Men
? A new project from Marvel this August will ensure that everything you knew was wrong as Christos Gage
and industry legend Neal Adams
unveil the all-new, all-different First X-Men
Scripted by current X-Men: Legacy
writer Gage from initial ideas by Adams, First X-Men
is described by editor Nick Lowe as the series that explains the concept's long-running tagline:
In those early X-Men stories, everybody hates and fears them, but we never really know why. It's so core to the concept, but it was there before the series started. Here we found out why mutants are so hated and feared in a way that is different from any other super heroes.
The five-issue mini-series takes place before Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original tales featuring the self-proclaimed "strangest heroes of all," but nonetheless manages to work some familiar faces into its line-up, including X-Men founder Charles Xavier, future Magneto Erik Lensherr and, perhaps surprisingly to some, Wolverine. Christos Gage offers a brief explanation:
It takes place before the original X-Men and at a time when the government was snatching mutants up and doing scary things to them. Logan notices this and thinks somebody needs to look out for them... We wanted this to be something you could hand to somebody who just saw the X-Men movies and they'd enjoy it as a good X-Men story. At the same time, for giant nerds like me, FBI agent Fred Duncan from the early stories is in there, and when Professor X talks about his brother you know it's Juggernaut.
For long-time Marvel fans, the appearance of the Sub-Mariner during his amnesiac hobo period was also promised, along with Sabretooth, the first generation of Sentinels and the origins of the mutant struggle in the Marvel Universe. "Of all the mutants on Earth, Professor X could easily pass as a human. Why would he want to get involved in this? Maybe all this was going on before Professor X was Professor X, when Professor X was a teenager," said Adams:
Maybe mutant kids were getting abused by the military, by the government. Somebody would have been looking out for them, but maybe that person came to Charles Xavier, realizing he couldn't protect these kids. That was my pitch... The concept that Charles Xavier could pass for a human I don't think has ever really been explored. At some point in his life, he made the difficult decision to step forward as leader of the X-Men and as a mutant. He could have wiped all of this out of the world's collective mind. Why didn't he? Stuff to think about.
Lowe and Adams made a point to emphasize that this story is firmly set in existing continuity, with Lowe going so far as to say that the series is "key to Wolverine's history an his relationships with other characters," and that it "will answer questions that have been out there for decades." Whether or not it will feature the same kind of dinosaur-riding lunacy as Adams' recent Batman: Odyssey
, however, will likely remain a mystery until the series debuts in August.