Comic Book / Uncanny X-Men

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All-New, All-Different.

Uncanny X-Men is a comic book series starring the Marvel Comics superhero team, the X-Men. It is the longest running X-Men comic book series, and by far the most prominent. The title was first published in 1963 (originally as just The X-Men) and so far consists of four volumes.

The X-Men was the original title for the X-Men launched by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Under growing anti-mutant sentiment, Professor Charles Xavier creates a safe haven for the growing mutant population and he recruits five young adults for a super-hero team, named the X-Men (for "extra power" or the X-Gene, which causes mutant evolution). The first volume of the book featured the five mutant heroes Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Jean Grey as they battled not only villains, but increasing prejudice against mutants. This also marked the first appearance of longtime X-Men foe Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The title never caught on with readers at the time; most readers thought the book was a poor Fantastic Four knockoff. Despite bringing in new characters such as Cyclops's brother Havok and Polaris (another of Magneto's children) and crossovers with the The Avengers, sales still slumped. The title ran for 67 issues before being canceled, and reprints of the issues ran until issue 93.

Later, the series was uncancelled in 1975 with Giant-Size X-Men, which introduced new mutants and a more diverse team: Storm, Colossus, Thunderbird, Banshee, Sunfire, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine. Chris Claremont took over writing duties, with Dave Cockrum and later, John Byrne as artists/co-plotters. This was when X-Men finally hit its stride and became a bonafide smash, with credit due to the new creative team and a number of memorable storylines such as the "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "Days of Future Past". After Claremont left, many writers and artists carried the series on, such as Jim Lee, Scott Lobdell, Ed Brubaker, and Matt Fraction. With issue #114, the series retitled itself Uncanny X-Men. While the series began as The X-Men, the entire series is referred to as Uncanny X-Men for convenience's sake, and also to differentiate it from Adjectiveless X-Men. This volume carried on until 2011 and ended with issue #544.

The first volume provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Academy of Adventure: Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
  • Affably Evil: As always, Doctor Doom. He and Storm have dinner while the other X-Men sneak through Doom's dungeons to free Arcade. Storm actually regrets that she's a distraction, because she's enjoying herself. Hell, Doom secretly knows what she's doing and carries on anyway!
  • Aliens Speaking English: Invoked, and blatantly lampshaded when the X-Men first meet the Starjammers.
    Nightcrawler: You speak English?
    Ch'od: Doesn't everyone?
  • Anti-Hero: Numerous over the years:
    • During Claremont's first run, Wolverine made no secret of the fact that he didn't abide by the Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
    • One of the biggest would be Emma Frost during Fraction's run, who was part of Norman Osborn's Cabal.
    • Doubly so for Namor, who was part of both the Illuminati and the Cabal during both the Fraction and Gillen runs.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In issue 500, when an "artist" decides that setting up a display involving Sentinels in the city where mutants have made their home is a good idea, we get a nice one.
    Angel: Sadie, come on! Twenty-foot-tall death machines—
    Beast: Genocidal robots no more artful than an A-Bomb—
    Emma Frost: Banal, predictable "shock schlock" that was passé in New York ten years ago—
    Wolverine: Hell with this.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Nightcrawler's (later-retconned) priesthood falls under this. While his being a mutant would be no impediment under canon law (to be fair, canon law has never had to talk in favor of or against blue-furred, three-toed teleporting mutants), the fact is that ordination as a Catholic priest is not a part-time job. A seminarian goes through four to eight years of college-level studies and then completes an internship at a parish before ordination begins, not a lifestyle conducive to being a swashbuckling superhero.
    • Holy War takes this to an even more ludicrous level, as the villains' plot is to make Nightcrawler Pope. There are a number of problems with this, from least problematic to most:
      • Nightcrawler, according to the story was at best a laicized priest, though the story more or less states he was never validly ordained in the first place (more on this below)
      • While in theory any baptized and confirmed Catholic male who fits the requirements for ordination can be elected Pope, in practice you need to be a Cardinal to have any realistic chance at being elected. Unless the villain was planning on getting Nightcrawler a cardinal's hat in short order, her plan was going to come to naught.
      • The group involved, the "Church of Humanity", is pretty clearly schismatic, taking orders from their own "Pope". How they thought they would even rate a seat in the Sistine Chapel at a conclave beggars belief. This also means that Nightcrawler's ordination was likely invalid, as it would have needed the consent of the local Bishop (not that one) or Archbishop as well as the Vatican. In Real Life, Archbishop Le Febre was excommunicated for performing ordinations without Vatican approval, so consider this Serious Business.
      • The rest of the plot involved placing nanobots in Communion hosts that would dissolve those who consumed them, and unveiling Nightcrawler as a "demon" and "Antichrist", thereby making Catholics believe that the Rapture had come. Catholics do not believe in the Rapture. That was a belief that only became current in Evangelical circles at the end of the 19th Century.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Peter Corbeau, an old friend of Charles', has no problem (or difficulty) acquiring a space shuttle for the X-Men to fly into space, then pilots it while under attack from Sentinels.
    • Honorable mention to Moira Mactaggert, who in her first appearance witnesses a demon smash through the wall of the mansion... and instantly grabs an assault rifle.
  • Bad Boss: The Brood Queen, who seemingly couldn't go a single scene without threatening her own soldiers.
  • Bad Future: Days of Future Past, the quintessential X-Men example, debuted in issue 142.
  • Berserk Button:
    • An early one of Logan's was hurting women.
    • Don't hurt Moira Mactaggert around Banshee.
  • The Big Guy: Due to the series being a Long Runner, thhere have been a few through the years:
    • Colossus for the All-New, All-Different team.
    • Namor and Colossus during Matt Fraction's run.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the early days of Claremont's run, Scott and Jean have finally gotten over their unrequited crush, and make out. A passing man named Jack talks to his friend Stan about how "they never used to do that when we had the book."
  • Breakout Character: Wolverine is probably the biggest example, but Storm could also count.
  • The Caligula: D'Ken of the Shi'ar Empire. His madness and quest for power lead him to nearly destroy the entire universe. He gets driven completely insane for him troubles, and disappears from the title for three decades.
  • Chick Magnet: Cyclops. Jean Grey, Coleen Wing, Aleytis Forrester, Madelyne Pryor and Emma Frost all want him.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: During the "Second Coming" crossover, a big one was that the Nimrod sentinels were being taken down remarkably easily, to the point where two X-Men could take one down together, and Namor could take three at a time. One Nimrod used to be able to take an entire X-Men team.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Stan Lee and Jack Kirby make an appearance in an issue of Claremont's run.
    • When Jean faces Firelord, he is sent flying, and a man tells his friend Dave that "he hits the ground with this incredible sound effect" just as Firelord hits the ground. While running away, he asks if Dave is still listening, to which Dave says "Chris, do us all a favor -- shut up and run!!" Dave is clearly supposed to be Dave Cockrum, the artist on The X-Men at the time, and the man is Chris Claremont himself.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The all new, all different team's first encounter with Juggernaut, due to a combination of lack of experience and his sheer ability.
    • Likewise, their first encounter with a rejuvenated Magneto, who lacks the insanity that characterized him prior, and mops the floor with them. Only Cyclops manages to save them, and the team makes a break for it.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Storm, in her early days, what with having first grown up as a thief in Cairo, then spent some time being worshipped as a god in Kenya. An unseen incident involved her swimming naked in the mansion pool, and not understanding everyone else's reaction.
  • Dying as Yourself: When she's infected with a Brood egg, Storm tries to commit suicide in the vacuum of space.
  • Disney Death: The entire team during "Fall of the Mutants", with, for a while, the entire world thinking the X-Men were dead. It also led to Nightcrawler and Shadowcat moving to England and forming Excalibur.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In a training exercise, Logan tries to kill Colossus because he pushed him out of the way of a falling pillar, thus "cramping his style"... Douche.
  • Dragon Lady: Miss Locke for Arcade. She literally used the codename Dragon Lady.
  • Dying as Yourself: Jean kills herself to stop Dark Phoenix from getting out of control.
  • Enemy Mine: Averted. Magneto almost kills Mesmero for daring to defeat the X-Men.
  • Fad Super: Dazzler debuts in Issue 130
  • Fast Ball Special: This series is the Trope Namer. The main combination is Colossus throwing a Wolverine, though there are more.
    • Beast throws Nightcrawler so he can use the momentum after teleporting to quickly steal Magneto's helmet.
    • On the moon during the Dark Phoenix Saga, Wolvie tosses Colossus at Jean, since he knows he'll hesitate when trying to kill her.
  • Freak Out: Colossus completely loses it when the team goes into space for the first time, turning into metal and shredding his suit.
  • Fragile Speedster: Nightcrawler, while being the most agile member thanks to his Teleport Spam, is not particularly durable.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Cyclops, although by no means fragile, is not particularly durable either. But his beams pack quite a punch.
    • Similarly, Jean, whose telekinesis and telepathy are incredibly powerful, but she's even ''less' durable than Scott.
    • As is the case with Jean, Storm, who can shoot friggin lightning at her enemies and create hurricanes, but is pretty vulnerable otherwise.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Sunfire and the previous X-Men team barring Cyclops in Giant Sized X-Men #1.
    • Spider-Man in Issue 123.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Wolverine and Cyclops are a pretty well-know example, with Wolvie hating Cyke for his cautiousness and Cyclops hating Wolverine for not following orders and his lone wolf tendencies. They got better, but it never really faded completely.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Rogue, who started out as a member of The Brotherhood before joining the X-Men to help with their power.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Storm, following her Depowering. Forge helped her get through it... though she did not take it well when she found out he was responsible for it in the first place.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jean thought she was pullign one when she decides that, with her TK, she can keep out lethal radiation long enough to pilot a shuttle containing the X-Men. However, the Phoenix decided differently.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When Rachel van Helsing is turned into a vampire by Dracula in Uncanny X-Men Annual #6, she asks Wolverine to kill her with a wooden stake.
  • I Knowyoure In There Somewhere Fight: Kitty to Storm when Storm was bitten by Dracula.
  • Improvised Cross:
    • In one eighties issue, Nightcrawler and Wolverine are fighting Dracula. Wolverine crosses his claws to make a cross and Dracula tells him that in order for that to work on him you have to believe. Nightcrawler holds up two pieces of wood in a cross-shape and tells Dracula "I believe!" and Dracula recoils. Look at it here.
    • In Uncanny X-Men Annual #6, which is a continuation to the events above, Rachel Van Helsing keeps Dracula at bay with two candlesticks forming a cross. Since she has been recently turned into a vampire, it burns her as well.
  • Inner Monologue: During Chris Claremont's run, characters had a tendency to do this.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Hijack pretty much ran on this when it came to using his phone.
  • Interactive Narrator: The narrator, who is kind of a condescending dick, sometimes taunts the characters.
    Omniscient Narrator: You and the X-Men had saved the world from a nuclear holocaust, but you lost a man to do it... and try as you might, you can't balance those scales in your mind or in your heart... can you, Cyclops?
    Cyclops: No.
    Narrator: Can you?
    Cyclops: No!
    Narrator: CAN YOU?
    Cyclops: NO!!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Early Wolverine was, put succinctly, a raging asshole, often drawing his claws on his teammates for minor offences (he once tried to kill Colossus for saving his life for God's sake). It takes some time (in and out of universe) for him to lighten up.
    • Sunfire, being a proud, racist nationalist, started off as an antagonist to the X-Men. He was later persuaded to join briefly by Charles, then almost immediately quit, then came back. However, when Logan first meets his cousin Mariko, she notes he often spoke of the X-Men with respect.
  • Kid from the Future: Rachel Summers/Grey debuted here.
  • Killer Robot: The Sentinels, not to mention the much more advance model Nimrod.
  • Large Ham: Even in a World of Ham, Storm stands out for being the hammiest. Especially during Claremont's run.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: It turns out that, when Emma and Namor confronted Sebastian Shaw about his building Sentinels, Selene made sure Emma forgot about the entire event. She remembered when she pieced her memory back together after fighting the Phoenix.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Corsair reveals to Scott that he's his father on their second meeting.
  • Missing Dad: Cyclops' dad, Corsair, shows up when the X-Men first encounter the Shi'ar, and after a quick mind-scan, Jean reveals to the X-Men their relation.
  • The Mole: Cyclops during the X-Men's first conflict with the Brood, as it's revealed that under his visor, his transformation was happening.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Gladiator of the Imperial Guard operates on this, and Just Following Orders.
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Doom invites Storm into his castle for dinner after she threatens him... and continues the dinner even though he knows she's distracting him.
  • No Nudity Taboo: Storm, before she got the hang of American sensitivities.
  • Off Model: During the Matt Fraction run, but what do you expect with Greg Land on art? Watch as Emma Frost inexplicably changes hairstyles between panels.
  • Only Friend: Black Tom Cassidy is this to Juggernaut.
  • Psycho Rangers: The X-Sentinels to the original X-Men. They're Sentinels with the same powers and abilities.
  • Purple Prose: Since the series debuted in the Silver Age, this is to be expected, but Chris Claremont's run was infamous for this, describing even the most simple actions with narration boxes.
  • Put on a Bus: Quite a few characters over the years, especially during Chris Claremont's long run.
    • The entire original group of X-Men, save Cyclops, leave after Giant-Sized X-Men. Jean, Havok and Lorna Dane return soon after, but Iceman and Angel take a while longer.
    • Banshee, who left after losing his powers after straining them to save all of Japan from sinking into the ocean.
    • Wolverine, during his mini-series and engagement to Mariko. After Mastermind caused her to break said engagment off, he rejoined the team.
    • Cyclops, who lost leadership to Storm, despite her being without powers at the time, and decided to leave to spend more time with his family.
    • Nightcrawler and Shadowcat, both of whom were horribly injured during the Mutant Massacre, and woke to find the X-Men apparently dead, leading to them founding Excalibur.
  • Rapid Aging: Magneto was de-aged to a baby before being aged back up into his regular age by Eric the Red.
  • Ridiculously Mutant Robot: Stephen Lang (no relation) managed to build X-Sentinels, who managed to imitate the powers of the original seven X-Men expertly, include Jean and the Professor's telepathy. Somehow. It took Logan's nose to figure them out.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Cyke, when he thought Jean was killed by Stephen Lang. She just manages to stop him from killing the guy.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Thunderbird for the All New, All Different X-Men, dying on their second mission.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In the classic "Days of Future Past" storyline, Kitty Pryde travels back into her old body to prevent the Sentinels' rise to power.
  • Shaming the Mob: When Rogue tries to join the X-Men, they swear then and there to quit. Professor X promptly reminds Storm that she once stood by Wolverine when he was at his worst, so why should Rogue not be given a chance? This more or less convinces them.
  • Ship Tease: Emma and Namor. She's half of why he even aligned himself with the X-Men.
  • Shout-Out: When Lilandra first appears, Misty Knight, at the time Jean's roommate, makes a Star Trek reference.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Jean tells Wolverine to shut up when he acts like a dick to try to stop her from piloting a shuttle through a solar flare (she says her TK will protect her).
  • The Smurfette Principle: With all the lineup changes over the years, there were a few rosters with only one female member:
    • Jean Grey was the only female member from issues #1 to #59 (September, 1963-August, 1969). Then supporting character Lorna Dane (Polaris) joined the team.
    • Storm was the only female member in issues #95 to #96 (October-December, 1975), after the resignations of both Jean Grey and Polaris. Then Jean rejoined the team.
    • The X-Men disbanded in 1989. The issues continued following former X-Men and their associates.
      • Jubilee was the only female protagonist in issue #252 (November, 1989).
      • Psylocke was the only female protagonist in issue #256 (December, 1989).
      • Dazzler was the only female protagonist in issue #260 (April, 1990).
      • Storm was the only female protagonist in issues #265 to #267 (August-September, 1990). She is also the only female protagonist in issue #270 (November, 1990).
    • Rogue was the only female member in issues #343 to #349 (April-November, 1997). She does not appear in issue #346 (August, 1997). Psylocke appears in her own subplot in issues #348-349 (October-November, 1997) but does not interact with the team. Then Psylocke rejoins the team.
    • The X-Men briefly disbanded in 1999. The issues continued following a duo of former X-Men. Marrow was the only female protagonist in issues #373 to #374(October-November, 1999). Then the team reformed with Rogue, Shadowcat, and Storm joining the ranks.
    • Jean Grey was the only female member in issue #394 (July, 2001). Then the title started featuring an all-male roster.
    • Stacy X was the only female member in issues #399 to #409 (December, 2001- September, 2002). Then M joined the team. Stacy was also the only female member in issues #414 (December, 2002) and #416 (February, 2003), following the departure of M. Then supporting character Husk joined the team.
    • Husk was the only female member in issue #435 (February, 2004). Followed by a spotlight episode for a male member of the team.
    • Polaris was the only female member in issue #443 (June, 2004). Then title then started featuring a new roster, with Marvel Girl/Rachel Grey, Sage, and Storm.
    • Emma Frost was the only female member in issue #492 (January, 2008). Then Storm returned. Emma was also the only female member in issues #494 to #495 (March-April, 2008) and #497 (June, 2008). Hepzibah appeared in #496 (May, 2008) and in subsequent issues.
  • Soaperizing: Exemplified during Claremont's run.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Taken Up to Eleven during the Claremont and Lobdell runs. Especially noticeable with Banshee, who really shouldn't be able to talk while using his powers.
  • Teleport Spam: Trope Codifier Nightcrawler was introduced in this series.
  • Tempting Fate: When Professor X mentions Moira Mactaggert will be looking after the mansion while he's away, Banshee assumes she'll be some manner of old hag. He is naturally speechless when he opens the door for her, and pretty much falls for her then and there.
  • That Woman Is Dead: Phoenix's introduction.
    Phoenix: Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you once knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever — I am PHOENIX!
  • Third-Person Person: Early on, Wolverine had a tendency to refer to himself as "the Wolverine" or "Wolverine" when angry or annoyed.
  • Token Evil Teammate: During Matt Fraction's run, Emma and Namor, as both were already pretty dark and were secretly part of the Cabal.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: In #177, a powerless Storm grabs a length of pipe to defend herself when attacked during a blizzard, only to have her hands freeze to to the metal.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jean, when she becomes Phoenix, which Scott lampshades.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The first Sentinels abduct Bolivar Trask and demand he make more of them, threatening to kill him if he doesn't. The mark .ii Sentinels also turn on Larry Trask, his son, when they realise he's a Mutant, and kill him. The later Sentinels do not have this problem though, doing exactly what they were programmed for.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Cyclops and Wolverine became this over time, most notable in the few years before Schism, in which they were actually pretty tight, where Jean wasn't concerned. After Schism...
  • World of Ham: Silver Age Chris Claremont, so yeah. Lots of monologuing and shouting to yourself.

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