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Comic Book / Age of X-Man

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But where's the Apocalypse?
Age of X-Man is a 2019 Bat Family crossover event spinning out of the X-Men Disassembled storyline in Uncanny X-Men. The event is spearheaded by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, who previously worked on Cable and wrote the Apocalypse back-up stories in X-Men: Black.

Nate Grey, the son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey hailing from the Age of Apocalypse, has returned. He has managed to warp the world into the antithesis of his home dimension, a world where mutants are treated like celebrities and the world is in a state of peace and acceptance... at least on the surface.

The event has a similar structure to the aforementioned Age of Apocalypse, launching from an Alpha issue before several miniseries tell its story and explore its world. Notably, the other X-ongoings, such as Mr. and Mrs. X, X-Force (2018) and even Uncanny X-Men itself, will not be interrupted to make way for the storyline.

The comics involved in the story are:

  • Age of X-Man: Alpha — The Age of X-Man starts here! Written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Naddler, art by Ramon Rosanas.
  • The Marvelous X-Men — The Age of X-Man's premiere mutant team has created the perfect world and are hailed as the saviours of mutantkind... and no one dares says otherwise. Written by Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson and drawn by Marco Failla.
  • Nextgen — In an era of peace and harmony for mutantkind, teenagers still need to rebel. Written by Ed Brisson and drawn by Marcus To.
  • The Amazing Nightcrawler — Kurt Wagner has finally made it and is now both a Marvelous X-Man and A-list actor. Surely thing will be easy from here on, right? Written by Seanan Mc/Guire and drawn by Juan Frigeri.
  • The X-Tremists — The secretive X-Tremists protect their perfect world from hidden threats. Written by Leah Williams and drawn by Georges Jeanty.
  • Apocalypse and the X-Tracts — In a world without love, one hero will rise up and teach people the ways of love and family and romance... Apocalypse?! Written by Tim Seeley and drawn by Salva Espin.
  • Prisoner X — In the mutant detention centre known as the Danger Room, everyone wants to kill everyone else. At least until Lucas Bishop arrives. Written by Vita Ayala and drawn by German Peralta.

The event can be considered a spiritual successor to both Age of Apocalypse and House of M.

In addition to the usual X-Men tropes, this story provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: The Summers Institute for Higher Learning, which houses students for ten years and allows them to pursue a track in either law enforcement, agriculture, medicine and history. Teachers at the Institute include former X-Men Box, Cecilia Reyes, Husk and Sunfire, with Warren Worthington (Angel) serving as dean and Psylocke appearing as a guest lecturer. Though the courses are pretty standard fare compared to a usual school the fact that students on a law enforcement track essentially become deputy members of Department X (along with the whole, “everyone in attendance having superpowers” thing) means this is no ordinary school.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: The Resolution event that led to the current state of society was recent enough for the X-Men to be relevant to the circumstances and surviving members to still exist concurrently, but also somehow long enough in the past for there to be no living memory of sex and reproduction. Glob Herman in NextGen is aware of how things used to be, writing what he remembers down in journals he passes off as fan fiction. Further cracks show when he leads other characters to discover the holes in the world's history.
    • Colossus is finding himself increasingly drawn to Kitty Pryde, a member of Apocalypse's rebel team, despite the fact that he has no memory of her. Early in the arc he is seeing painting a picture of Lockheed.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Colossus is missing an arm. Due to his grim comments about what went down in Russia during the Resolution, it was most likely then that he lost it.
  • Badass Beard: Sported by X-Man, Colossus, and Magneto. Inverted in the case of Nightcrawler, who has a beard in the main universe but not here.
  • Bat Family Crossover: The early 2019 one for the X-Men, although some titles won't be involved.
  • Broken Masquerade: Cracks begin to form even early on, with Anole, Bling and Glob seemingly forming a rebellion against the stringent rules of society from within the Summers Institute.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world built by Nate after the events of Disassembled seems perfect, with everyone gaining superpowers, peace being achieved for mutantkind and advances in technology leading to a new golden age. But between the outlawing of relationships, rampant mind-wipes by Department X, outright erasing of individuals from others' memories and more it’s clear that life is only perfect in this world if X-Man’s laws are followed without resistance of any kind.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The mutants in charge are said to be morally dubious in order to protect their new utopia. Also the fundamental principle behind the crossover in the first place, with Nate holding this attitude. The solicits for the tie-ins seem to suggest an undercurrent of sinister politics.
  • Fantastic Racism: All forms of interpersonal relationships are prohibited, including familial. The Cuckoos are looked on with disdain for having an obvious sibling resemblance (as a telepathic gestalt, they get an exception, but people still find it strange and even disgusting). X-tremists introduces "grade", short for retrograde for people who still have what are considered obsolete romantically sexual relationships.
  • Forbidden Love: Romantic and familial relationships are banned. Family units no longer exist, children are made artificially and raised communally. People who had families from before are separated from them. Anyone that violates these principles are taken and mindwiped in "reeducation".
  • Foreshadowing: The cover of the Alpha issue (shown above in the page image) depicts the main cast of the Marvelous X-Men squad that serves as the primary superhero team of this reality, with one major omission. The one member of the squad not shown on the cover is Bishop, who appears as a member throughout the issue. What makes this foreshadowing is the fact that Bishop gets caught engaging in an illicit relationship with Jean Grey and sent to prison while Jean has her mind altered. The issue ends with X-23 replacing him on the team as if she had always been there and the pictures on the walls even showing her to be a member of the squad all along. X-Man’s reality warping skills have gotten so powerful he’s even erasing Bishop from the front cover showing the “heroes” of the crossover.
  • Harmless Freezing: Played with for drama in the first issue of "The X-Tremists". Iceman is a member of the Department X officers, charged with detaining those who violate the social tenets of society, and regularly freezes perpetrators solid to bring them in. Unfortunately one such couple they just captured is expecting a child, and the officers are now concerned he may have killed the baby doing so.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: The go-to exclamation of surprise appears to be "By Hope's Grace!" in the same situation one might say "Jesus!"
  • In Their Own Image: The tenets of society all but explicitly follow Nathan's background. Romantic and familial relationships don't exist, all reproduction is done artificially, everyone is raised by surrogates until their role in society is assessed and assigned.
  • Killed Off for Real: Anyone who wasn't at the beach when X-Man created the Age of X-Man is apparently dead in that universe, with Cyclops, Wolverine, Hope Summers, and Professor X being confirmed as dead. According to the "Secret History" variant covers they were killed by Stryfe, which somehow sparked the Resolution.
    • A series of portraits hanging above the blackboard in the History classroom in the first issue of Nextgen depicts the four aforementioned heroes as well as Rogue and Gambit (busy in Mojo World during the events of Mr. & Mrs. X) and Cable who was killed by his younger incarnation during the events of Extermination.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Several of the remaining X-Men after "Disassembled" won't be transported into this reality, specifically Cyclops, Wolverine, Magik, Havok, Multiple Man, Karma, Banshee, Wolfsbane, and Hope Summers. Oddly, however, Mirage is part of this and part of Scott's new team.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The reality crafted by Nate is a surface-level realization of Charles Xavier’s dream with everyone becoming a mutant so that no one group is being subjugated by another. But this comes at the cost of altering the X-Men’s minds and sicking thought police on anyone who steps out Nate’s preferred line of thinking and mentions of reconditioning being made in reference to Jean Grey, the only telepath possibly powerful enough to threaten Nate’s reign.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: The Resolution, where everyone in the world became a mutant. Exactly what happened hasn't been explored yet, but Cyclops, Wolverine, and many others gave their lives for it.
  • Rabid Cop: Moneta is most zealous in doing her job in Department X. Unbeknownst to everyone else she kept a pregnant detainee handcuffed to a pipe in their basement with no material comforts, the barest efforts to feed her and assaults her when she protests her mistreatment. All the while spewing hate about her having a romantic-sexual relationship and stereotyping her ability to shapeshift into a rat person.
  • Reality Warper: How Nate created this world.
  • Rebellious Spirit: The premise of Nextgen is that in an era of peace and equality, and also repression, the teen mutants still need to rebel.
  • Single Precept Religion: The Age of X-Man is governed by the Guiding Principles, chief of which seems to be complete individual autonomy - no relationships, be they familial, sexual, or romantic, are allowed. This is under a counterintuitive belief that such units end up dividing people.
  • Six Student Clique: The main cast of Nextgen are tenth year Summers Institute Students Glob (The Quirk), Armor (The Head), Anole (The Smart One), Pixie (The Pretty One), Rockslide (The Muscle) and Shark-Girl (The Wild One), all of whom hang out at lunch and in study hall as a steady friend group.
  • Spiritual Successor: Its structure and format and the fact that X-Man is the cause makes it one to Age of Apocalypse. That it's an alternate-world story spinning out of a "Disassembled" story makes it one to House of M.
  • State Sec: Department X are the new regime's secret police, hunting down people who have illegal relationships. Unusually, they appear to be very short on resources — they travel around in an old VW camper, and there appear to be a grand total of six members in the whole of America. They also seem to have a very light-hearted approach to their job — which quickly becomes rather disturbing, considering what their job is. The fugitives who fear their custody know them as the X-tremists, something they're pointedly unaware of.
  • Stylistic Suck: Kurt is a famous movie star in this reality starring in a very flimsily set up action film involving ray guns, flimsy sets and hammy acting. Given the fact that a star of Kurt’s caliber could afford a better budget on his movie but his 616 version has always been a fan of throwback swashbuckler films, this may be intentional in-universe.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: The current incarnation of X-Force are busy hunting Kid Cable, Rogue and Gambit are stuck in Mojoworld, and Cyclops and Wolverine were missing from the X-Men when the event began, thus none are involved in the story. In fact, Cyclops and Wolverine return while the story is still going and thus are dubbed the last X-Men.
  • Swapped Roles: Apocalypse and Genesis in "Apocalypse and the X-Tracts" actually have a relationship with each other, but their attitudes are swapped. Apocalypse is now a pacifistic spiritual leader while Evan is anxious to do battle to prove his worth.
  • There Are No Global Consequences: Averted in the backstory to the mass awakening of mutant abilities worldwide. Thousands nearly drowned when an eight-year-old spontaneously developed Making a Splash abilities and Piotr and Kurt both mention chaotic scenes in Russia and Germany, respectively. This could be a part of the plan to keep the X-Men from seeing through the facade by continuing to portray them as heroes even in a mutant utopia.
  • Unperson: Seems to be the primary means of punishment that X-Man has for dealing with rebellious X-Men. Bishop is removed from all pictures depicting the X-Men and replaced by X-23 after breaking the world’s “no-romance” rule.
    • Laura almost recalls Gabby in Marvelous X-Men #1, with Nate quickly rewriting her memory, implying that Honey Badger was too much trouble, leading her to become this.
    • In Nextgen #1 Blob tells a rebellious Bling that getting their mind wiped for a third time is something they don’t want to experience, implying that those who go against X-Man’s will too many times get this treatment.
  • Uterine Replicator: All children are artificially created in hatcheries called Cerebros. The teenage Nature Girl finds the fact that people used to have sex unbelievable.

Example of: