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"Are these words from the future?"
Charles Xavier

New X-Men (2001-2004) is an American comic book series written by Grant Morrison, which follows the X-Men's "Blue Team" as they attempt to stop several new threats against both mutants and mankind.

The series was a retitling of the then-ongoing second volume of the X-Men series which began in the early 90's, and shared the series' numbering. Morrison, a critically-acclaimed writer known for their high-profile works at DC Comics, was brought onboard to revitalize the title and introduce a number of new story elements. Morrison started as they meant to go on, as the new villain Cassandra Nova directed an army of Sentinels to destroy the mutant island Genosha, resulting in sixteen million mutant deaths and a shake-up to the status quo.

The following arcs introduced several new students at Charles Xavier's school (including Beak, a deformed half-human birdman, Angel Salvadore, a young woman who sports the wings of a fly, the Stepford Cuckoos, and Xorn, a Chinese prisoner who can heal injured people and sports a black hole inside his helmet), and dealt with more mature themes.


The book resulted in a re-energizing of the franchise, and was critically and commercially acclaimed. However, certain controversial twists were hastily retconned by Marvel after the run due to fan backlash. The series reverted back to the original X-Men title beginning at issue #157.

Not to be confused for New X-Men: Academy X (which later went by New X-Men in it's later issues), or All-New X-Men.

The series contains examples of:

  • All Muslims Are Arab: Dust speaks Arabic and wears a Saudi-style abaya, despite hailing from a poor region in Afghanistan, where she would be much more likely to speak Pashto or Dari.
  • Apocalypse How: Magneto's plan in "Planet X" is a Class 4 (species extinction) - he intends to repopulate Earth with mutants.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Quoted almost word for word by Professor Xavier after Quentin Quire's "death":
    "Quentin Quire was liberated from his physical cocoon and born into a higher world at exactly 4:32 this afternoon. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but in this case we believe it to be the literal truth."
  • Bad Future: "Here Comes Tomorrow" - most of the X-Men (and humanity) are dead, with the few survivors being Fantomex's A.I. EVA, the Stepford Cuckoos and Wolverine.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun:
    • At the end of the "E is for Extinction" arc, Professor Xavier picks up a gun and promptly shoots Cassandra when it becomes clear that the X-Men are in over their heads in their battle with her, breaking his strict "No Kill" policy. Subverted, though, in that it later turns that it was Cassandra's mind in the Professor's body, and that the Professor's mind was in Cassandra's body when it happened.
    • Xavier threatens to shoot himself to prevent Cassandra Nova from taking over his body and Cerebra.
  • Behind the Black: In one issue, someone is trying to assassinate Professor Xavier in an airport. The assassin is covered in a shawl, and when some of the X-corp branch unmask the assassin, it is only then that the Professor, several yards away, tells Jean Grey who it is. This is a telepath who should have been able to tell the other telepath who it was before the audience finds out.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Stepford Cuckoos take it upon themselves to stop Quentin Quire's riot. Sophie uses Cerebra (and some Kick) to boost their abilities while her sisters handle Quentin face-to-face. Sophie dies as a result, though this turned out to be orchestrated by Esme.
  • Birds of a Feather: Beak and Angel come from similar backgrounds and meet when a group of students dares Angel to kiss the ugliest student in the school. They eventually raise a family together.
  • Black Bug Room: The Trope Namer. During Cassandra's first battle against the X-Men in issue #116, she traps Cyclops in a hallucinatory room that embodies the dark side of his consciousness. Said location is a red room covered in slime, whose only inhabitants are three massive bugs.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Angel Salvadore has the ability to fly, but does so at the cost of not being able to consume her food like a human; she has more fly-like organs, meaning that to eat, she has to vomit acidic slime on her food and let it dissolve into paste before sucking it back up. Even many of her fellow mutants regard this as gross. She also has a fly-like reproductive system, and ends up giving birth to five children — which she lays as part of a clutch of about a dozen or more huge, ugly eggs — about a week after getting pregnant.
    • Beak's mutation causes him to look like a deformed humanoid chicken.
  • Brain in a Jar: One of the new students at the Institute is Martha Johannsen, a powerful psychic whose brain was severed by Sublime, leaving her as a disembodied brain on life support. Fortunately, she's still able to communicate with people telepathically, and the Professor constructs a special jar for her with antigravity capabilities.
  • Brain Theft: Martha Johansson was an innocent mutant runaway who was kidnapped by the U-Men, who removed her brain from her body and placed it in a tank in order to force her to do their bidding.
  • Breather Episode: "Assault on Weapon Plus". After all of the drama over Scott's infidelity and the attempt on Emma's life, Scott goes out for a nice "boy's night out" with Logan and Fantomex (which involves them battling some cyborgs and breaking into a space station). They get back just in time for "Planet X".
  • Call-Back: Just before Jean dies, she makes a reference to dying right after coming back as the Phoenix.
  • The Cameo: A few of the X-Men outside of the main five make brief appearances. Archangel appears after "Imperial" to give a few of the new students a flying lesson, and Storm can be seen helping with the cleanup of Genosha along with Thunderbird, Sabra and a few others. In addition, some of the auxiliary X-teams also appear as employees of the X-Corporation. Many of the members of X-Factor note  work for the Paris branch, and a few former X-Force members note  work for the Mumbai branch.
  • Civvie Spandex: The team (sans Emma) wears matching yellow-and-black leather jackets and pants for the duration of the series. This was an influence from the movie that came out the year before this series.
  • Cloning Blues: The Stepford Cuckoos have this to some extent. In particular, Esme ends up taking Kick so she can feel like an individual, and she ultimately rebels against the X-Men and joins Magneto. It's understandable that all of them might have some doubts about themselves, though, since they were actually bred as weapons by Weapon Plus.
  • Comic Book Movies Dont Use Code Names: Whenever he's mentioned, Apocalypse is only referred to by his true name "En Sabah Nur". A rare case of this occurring in a comic book itself.
  • Composite Character: Sort of. Morrison says that they gave Emma the ability to turn into diamond because they originally wanted to put Colossus in the team's lineup, but decided to combine his powers with another character after he was killed off in the "Legacy Virus" arc.
  • Darkest Hour: Issue #147 - Xavier has been crippled (again), Xorn has revealed himself to be Magneto and leaves with several of Xavier's students, Logan and Jean are on an asteroid that's hurtling into the sun, Hank and Emma are stuck on a small island in the middle of nowhere after the Blackbird crashes, and the rest of the team is scattered and unsure of what to do.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jean Grey as Phoenix, who starts by passively asking the mutilated Wolverine if his "eyes have grown back yet" and dies just after she remarks to Cyclops how she seems to come back only to die again soon after.
  • Deconstruction: The series explores many of the harsher aspects of how a subculture of superhumans might function in the real world, with abuse of power-enhancing drugs, campus insurrection at the Xavier Institute, the homegrown culture of the "mutant ghetto", and even Che Guevara-esque idolization of Magneto figuring into the plot.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Genosha is unceremoniously destroyed at the end of the second issue of "E For Extinction", killing millions and leaving a few survivors to pick up the pieces.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Both Quentin Quire and Xorn/Magneto are revealed to be addicted to the mutant drug Kick, which enhances their powers and motivates the "Riot At Xavier" and "Planet X" arcs.
  • Easily Forgiven: The rest of the team doesn't seem to bear Emma any ill will for seducing Scott behind Jean's back. Even Professor Xavier, who has very little tolerance for people using psychic powers to manipulate others, doesn't call her out on her using telepathy to exploit his confusion.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Esme Cuckoo's clothing style changes radically after she betrays the team and joins Magneto. Justified, since the change in dress makes it clear that she has definitively broken free from the Cuckoos and become an individual (before that point, the Cuckoos always dressed identically).
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Sublime's U-Men and and Quentin Quire's Omega Gang both serve as this for the X-Men, though in varying ways:
      • The U-Men are humans who intentionally try to give themselves mutant powers by harvesting mutants' organs, and believe that it's their destiny to become a new superior species.
      • The Omega Gang are rebellious mutant teenagers who enact brutal vigilante justice on any humans with anti-mutant tendencies.
    • Cassandra Nova is this for Professor Xavier, essentially showing us how the Professor might turn out if he was mentally unstable and used his vast psychic powers for evil.
  • Evil Twin: Cassandra Nova is Charles's twin sister, whom he killed in the womb in self-defense.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: During the final battle with Xorn/Magneto, Fantomex opens fire on the villain, who of course deflects the bullets with his powers... right into the stasis tank imprisoning Xavier, freeing him. Given who Fantomex is, it's not hard to imagine this trope was at play here.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Esme Cuckoo gets hooked on Kick, tries to murder Emma, and finally falls in with Magneto when he tries to destroy New York City.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Jean, who previously stripped down to her bra and pants while on Asteroid M as it's hurtling into the sun, is stabbed in the gut by Logan.
    • Lampshaded in Issue 142 where Cyclops spends a good while listing off all the unappealing aspects of strip clubs.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Martha Johansson being No-Girl is hinted at when Ernst does a Verbal Backspace when she claims Martha says No-Girl agreed to going out on a date with Basilisk.
    • There are quite a few hints about Cassandra Nova having swapped her and Xavier's minds. Xavier earlier says he absolutely refuses to use a gun on another living creature, only to have no hesitation in shooting "Cassandra" later. When "Cassandra" tries to recover from Emma breaking her neck, she moans "ummmma....ummmm Charles..." or to be more coherent, "I'm Charles".
  • Freaky Friday Sabotage: Cassandra Nova somehow manages to give herself a modified version of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease before switching minds with her twin brother Charles Xavier, causing him to become trapped in a rapidly-degenerating body.
  • Future Badass: Beak's grandson Tito Bohusk Jr. is essentially Beak with full control over his flight powers—and without the angst or social awkwardness.
  • Gambit Roulette:
    • Sublime's master plan to wipe out mutantkind is, for lack of a better term, ridiculously convoluted, as he was controlling pretty much every character at one point or another, either through direct Demonic Possession or simply through subterfuge, meaning a couple of times one of his pawns will be defeated by another one.
    • Magneto's plan to infiltrate and destroy the X-Men. He fakes his death and goes into hiding after surviving an attack on Genosha that kills 16 million mutants, then builds a prison in China and poses as a prisoner on the off chance that the X-Men will rescue him and invite him to become a teacher at the Xavier Institute. Then he spends at least a year living under the X-Men's roof and indoctrinating a group of teenage students to hate humanity, presumably hoping and praying that nobody will figure out or look too hard at the content of his lessons. And he manages to trap Jean and Logan on his old asteroid base after Logan coincidentally winds up stranded in space and Jean goes to rescue him (which he couldn't possibly have planned on).
  • Glamour: The student Slick has this power telepathically, and his true appearance after being depowered is akin to an impish creature with duck like feet.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Sublime. He was behind everything from the Kick drug to the creation of Weapon X (actually the tenth experiment of Weapon Plus), and may even have manipulated humanity into turning against mutants in the first place.
  • Great Offscreen War: Sublime's takeover of Earth happens completely offscreen. After "Planet X", the action cuts straight from the present day to 150 years in the future.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Beak and Angel end up joining Xorn/Magneto when he reformed the Brotherhood of Mutants, then regain their conscience and rejoin the X-Men as they make their assault on the Brotherhood's base.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the Bad Future caused by Sublime's rise to power, a reformed Cassandra Nova ends up leading the next generation of X-Men in resisting him. It's implied that Ernst may have been a reborn Cassandra all along.
  • Heroic BSoD: Polaris is revealed to have been in this state for months when the team finds her on Genosha - she blamed herself for not being able to save the millions of massacred mutants, and became a nude, deranged recluse who wandered around the island.
  • Hive Mind: The Stepford Cuckoos, first introduced in this series, share a mental link as part of their mutation. It's later revealed that they were actually created to be like this by Weapon Plus.
  • I Can Explain: When Jean catches Scott having a mental affair with Emma, she says: "Don't tell me. You can explain..."
  • Important Haircut: Esme Cuckoo cuts her hair short after she breaks free from the rest of the Cuckoos and joins Magneto. The haircut helps distinguish her from her sister clones, finally marking her as an individual instead of one-fifth of a Hive Mind.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: While none of them receive that much panel time, the Xavier Institute was filled with hundreds of students each with unique mutations. Most of them weren't properly identified until years later.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The later arcs, starting with "Murder at the Mansion," begin revealing a whole string of people behind other people: Angel Salvadore shot Emma Frost... under a psychic command from Esme Cuckoo... who gave said command at the behest of Xorn... who was possessed by Sublime. Furthermore, Sublime was ultimately revealed to be responsible for everything bad that happened in the run, apart from maybe Cassandra Nova, and even then it's implied she at least got her tech from him if nothing else.
  • Meta Origin:
    • The series officially canonizes the fact that mutants can receive additional secondary mutations, highlighted by Emma's survival during the destruction of Genosha (she becomes an indestructible diamond form, at the cost of the temporary loss of her telepathy).
    • The Weapon X program also gets this treatment. We learn that the "X" in its name is actually the Roman numeral for "10"—it's the tenth in a series of experiments devised by Sublime to create the perfect super-soldiers for combatting the mutant menace. The project began with in World War II with the creation of Weapon I... better known as Captain America.
  • Mind Screw: "Here Comes Tomorrow" is classic Morrison, particularly the final scene taking place in the acid trip of a dimension that is the White Hot Room, which may be the afterlife, the realm of the Phoenix Force, the inside of the M'krann Crystal, or any combination of the three.
  • Neck Snap: Emma breaks Cassandra's neck at the end of the "E For Extinction" arc while she is using Cerebra.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Morrison's run introduced the concept of "secondary mutations", with a few of the X-Men gaining new powers. Conveniently, Emma discovers her ability to transform into diamond right before a building falls on her.
  • No Fourth Wall: At one point in "Here Comes Tomorrow," Cassandra turns to the reader and says "I've had dreams, you know. Dreams with you in them."
  • Party Scattering: Done intentionally by Xorn/Magneto to separate the team while he cripples Xavier in "Planet X".
  • Psychic Link: The Stepford Cuckoos are quintuplets who share a psychic link, enabling them to function as a single person.
  • Puberty Superpower: Both Beak and Angel manifested their powers when they were in their teens - Angel was thrown out of her home when her father discovered she could fly, and Beak fled his home after discovering his physical changes.
  • The Real Remington Steele: Xorn "reveals" himself as Magneto before being killed.
  • Red Herring: When Cassandra first shows up, the X-Men theorize that she's the first specimen of a completely new species that's more advanced than both humans and mutants. This seems the most likely explanation for her strange physiology... until it turns out that she's actually professor Xavier's deranged twin sister, and that her messed up anatomy is the result of her creating her own body after existing as an incorporeal being on the astral plane.
  • Ret-Canon: The decision to give the X-Men black leather suits was inspired by the suits in X-Men.
  • Retcon: Xorn's reveal as Magneto was hastily swept under the rug as soon as Morrison's run ended. This was parodied in the Floating Hands animation Death Becomes Them (Watch it here)):
    Magneto: No, that was actually Xorn's twin brother, possessed by the sentient mold Sublime, pretending to be me, pretending to be Xorn.
    Beast: That defies all logic!
  • Retirony: Inverted. Midway through the run, Xavier announces that he wishes to retire and appoint Jean as the new Headmistress of the Institute in his place. Though he survives, Jean is killed, leaving Scott to become the new Headmaster instead.
  • Rewrite: The Weapon X facility is explained to be just one of several such installations created throughout the world. Captain America is revealed to be "Weapon I" (from the Project: Rebirth program), while several other characters (including the Stepford Cuckoos) are revealed to be later test subjects.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Is Apollyon Fantomex? It's hinted at, but in a context where it may just be a dying fantasy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Emma in the "E For Extinction" arc, who initially goes after humanity for destroying Genosha, but discovers the real culprit (Cassandra) and snaps her neck.
  • Robosexual: Tom Skylark, apparently. He's good with machines. And depending on if that was all the mutants in the world who were blown up with the Xavier Institute, he and EVA may be the last people on the planet.
  • Robot Buddy: Rover in "Here Comes Tomorrow" is a sentient, slightly dimwitted Sentinel (one of the few still left on the planet) who is commanded by future X-Man Tom Skylark.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Here Comes Tomorrow has a ton of Revelation imagery; Sublime takes the form of "the Beast" and talks about all life receiving "his Mark," and his second-in-command, Apollyon, shares his name with the being prophesied to release the horrors of Hell to torment the wicked prior to Judgment Day, among them an endless plague of giant, human-faced locusts possibly represented by the Crawlers. In addition, the White Hot Room visually calls to mind Revelation's seriously mindscrewy version of Heaven, and the Phoenix herself the "Woman cloaked in sun" said to birth the world's savior. Word of God confirms Buddhist imagery as well, another basis for the White Hot Room being the crown chakra, which is also mentioned in the story as the place at which the Phoenix anchors itself to its host.
    • The Rule of Symbolism particularly comes into play with Sublime's decision to possess Hank McCoy for his final endgame, even though his only mutant powers are animalistic strength and senses. Story-wise, it stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief a bit (Morrison specifically avoids saying how Sublime managed to conquer Earth and rule it for 150 years in Hank's body, and it's never explained why he didn't just do it when he was possessing Magneto or Quentin Quire), but it's allowed to slide because of the symbolic importance of Sublime using someone with the codename "Beast" as his host.
  • Sanity Slippage: Magneto, who is being manipulated by Sublime through the use of Kick, begins to hear Xorn speak to him, with the explanation that he made Xorn too well. Xorn swears that he is his consciousness and will never leave him.
  • Satan: Sublime is an ancient creature who deceives humans to possess and rule the world though the body of a man known as "the Beast" in an apocalyptic future. Morrison would recycle a number of phrases used to describe Sublime, such as "hole in things" and "true enemy," for Doctor Hurt, the Louis Cypher Big Bad of his run on Batman.
  • Shout-Out: The cover for issue #141 is a reference to The Terminator.
  • So Proud of You: Inverted. When Magneto kills Esme, Emma cradles the dying girl and tells her that in spite of her turning against the X-Men, she's still proud of her.
  • Space Whale Aesop: "Here Comes Tomorrow" - Humanity and mutantkind are doomed unless a man who just lost his wife immediately begins sleeping with another woman.
  • Stripperific: Emma - this is highlighted by the final issue (#156), which has a cover photo of her (wearing a skintight pantsuit) hugging Cyclops while looking devilishly into the camera as she sticks her butt out.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge:
    • Risque has her organs harvested by the U-Men off-panel.
    • Darkstar is offhandedly shot by Fantomex—although she does get a rather touching farewell as Xavier shares his memories of what she was like at her funeral.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: In issue #150 (the final part of "Planet X"), Magneto says this after killing Esme:
    Magneto: May the future forgive me. May history judge my actions, great or small. In the final reckoning... when I have given them paradise, and the world is free... those poor dead will not seem so many. Now, let the sky fall.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Esme's boyfriend Kato turned out to be a shapeshifting member of the Imperial Guard, Stuff. A shocked Esme mentions that "Kato" read her poetry and told her he loved her, to which Stuff coldly replies "and like a fool you believed me."
  • Wham Episode: The "Planet X" arc is a concentrated sequence of these - Xorn reveals that he's Magneto, Jean finds Logan alive and well at the asteroid, the asteroid is destroyed and Jean becomes the Phoenix again, Xavier is crippled (again), Magneto enacts his plan to kill all the humans in New York and many mutants are killed, including Magneto, Esme (one of the Stepford Cuckoos) and Jean, just before the last panel reveals that the Phoenix Force is alive and well hundreds of years in the future!
  • Wham Line:
    • "Where did she send those Sentinels?" - Issue #115; Scott and Logan realize Cassandra Nova has already won, since the mutant-killing robots that she built have already departed to their destination.
    • "Professor Xavier tried to kill his twin sister when they were both in the womb. We need to talk." - Issue #121; Jean and Emma suddenly realize who Cassandra really is after probing the Professor's memories (particularly striking, as it's the only line of dialogue in the entire issue).
    • "And it's Weapon Ten, not X." - Issue #129; Fantomex drops an essential piece of Backstory as casually as if he were talking about the weather.
    • "What if the real enemy... was inside... all along?" - Issue #138; Kid Omega's Famous Last Words. Doesn't seem particularly whammy, until you reach the end of the series and realize this is far more literal than it sounds.
    • "X-Men emergency indeed, Charles... the dream is over." - Issue #146 - Xorn reveals his true identity (sort of).
    • "... call me SUBLIME." - Issue #152; the puppetmaster stands revealed, and it's... the Starter Villain? Did not see that coming.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc is heavily influenced by The Wizard of Oz. Many of the characters are direct counterparts to those found in Oz (Tom and Rover are Dorothy and Toto, flying Nightcrawlers are the flying monkeys, Tito is the Cowardly Lion, etc.), and the ending strongly mirrors the film (someone wishes for something to be true, and goes to a wizard for help).
    • "Riot at Xavier's" is Lindsey Anderson's If with Quentin Quire in the place of Mick Travis.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Inverted this time with Jean and the Phoenix entity. It's implied that Jean only lost control because she was afraid of her power before, and repressed it. Now, she's out and proud, and completely in control of herself.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Lampshaded - one of the students asks how Logan finds the time to be on three teams at once.
  • You Are Too Late: In the first issue, Scott and Logan nail Cassandra after a brief, tense battle with her nano-sentinels... only to find that she already sent them to Genosha and nearly killed almost everyone on the island.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ernst is a little girl with super strength, but her mutation has made her look like a little old woman. It's implied it's actually because she's Cassandra Nova in the midst of rehabilitation.

Live, Scott.

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