The first X-Men Forever series was a 2001 6 issue mini series written by Fabian Nicieza. In a similar vein to a previous similarly named story starring The Avengers, Avengers Forever, the series was a Time Travel story involving the grouping of Jean Grey, Iceman, Mystique, Toad, and the Juggernaut. It addressed classic X-Men themes while trying to fix some instances of Continuity Snarl and Plot Holes that were attached to certain characters and events over course of the X-Men history. This is not that.
The next volume of X-Men Forever (2009-2011) was a Marvel Comics title written by Chris Claremont set in an alternate reality similar in places to the 1990s era of the mainstream Marvel Universe. The title allowed Claremont to tell the story lines he had intended to tell within the pages of X-Men Vol. 2 before a dispute with Bob Harras forced him to depart Marvel for a brief period.
The title was intended to reflect the X-Men's journey through a more consequential and more grounded world, where characters not only die, but STAY dead, certain characters also go through new, even questionable, changes and never revert back to their status quo. Claremont insists that all changes are permanent. The series lasted only two years before being cancelled for low sales.
Examples of the Claremont series:
- Alternate Universe: The continuity remains more or less the same as the 1990s era of the Marvel Universe, with changes occurring only when an X-Man makes a life-changing decision (Peter Rasputin beginning a relationship with The Black Widow). Interestingly, recent 616 events are also covered and better explained or abruptly ended (The dwindling Mutant population and Storm's marriage). It's officially Earth-161 of the Marvel Multiverse.
- Anyone Can Die: The series kicks off with the death of Wolverine, and later kills off Tony Stark, Beast, and Black Panther.
- Body Horror: Both played straight and inverted in the case of Rogue and Nightcrawler, who essentially switch powers and appearances when they touch after Rogue's powers were amplified by Fabian Cortez.
- Canon Discontinuity: At least as far as this title's internal canon is concerned, the entire publishing output of Marvel Comics after X-Men #3 is this. Not just the X-titles. EVERYTHING, judging by Tony Stark's demise.
- Cast from Lifespan: The source of mutant's power is their life. Once the power runs out, they die. What's unclear is how the likes of the 5000 year old Apocalypse, who explicitly has immortality as one of his powers, is supposed to fit into this. Though Moira McTaggert mentioning that Logan's and Sabertooth's healing factors replenish their lifespan provides a possible Handwave.
- Cartwright Curse: Jean Grey is having a hard time keeping her boyfriends alive.
- Cloning Blues:
- There is at least one Storm clone running around. It's either the Evil Storm or the Kid Storm. Actually, it's Perfect Storm — Kid Storm is the real deal, only with her psyche having beeen ripped from her and made into a sentient energy field. By the end of the series there were THREE Storms running around.
- There's also an evil(er) Sabretooth clone. He's leader of the Marauders, an entire team of cloned mutants.
- And an evil clone of Wolverine.
- Seemingly averted completely with (the late) Madelyne Pryor. Nobody — not even Sinister — refers to her as ever being Jean Grey's clone.
- Dramatic Irony: Homo Superior are the flawed creation, not the next stage of evolution.
- FaceHeel Turn:
- Ororo is revealed as Logan's murderer. Later, Illyana Rasputin, upon the restoration of her demonic powers reveals her true loyalties lie with Count Belasco, and willfully remains evil even after Kitty briefly turns to the dark side and rejects it.
- Mariko Yashida is the second leader of the Consortium, having taken over essentially to vent her rage both for Wolverine's death and the fact that Wolverine was having an affair with Jean Grey.
- The Ghost: Madelyne Pryor — and that she died — is mentioned several times, but nothing at all is revealed about how it happened. (Everyone seems to recall her in only a positive light.)
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Storm has a huge scar that came right across her face and between her eyes as a result of Kitty slashing her across the face in retaliation for Storm killing Logan.
- Handicapped Badass: Sabretooth can kick your ass blindfolded and with only one hand. In fact, he sort of has to.
- HeelFace Turn: Sabretooth and Mystique join the X-Men.
- It's Been Done: Aspects of Claremont's most famous unused storyline, Wolverine being killed and later used as a sleeper assassin for an enemy, were inevitably used TWICE. Once for "The Twelve" crossover story, and again for the "Enemy of the State" storyline in Wolverine's own title. The "Mutant Burnout" storyline, designed to explain why the Mutant race does not expand in greater numbers, is a more grounded version of the reality warps Marvel used to diminish the Mutant population at the conclusion of House of M.
- Killed Off for Real: The revolving door on mutant heaven has been shut - nobody to die in this series has ever come back, and Claremont says it'll stay that way.
- Kudzu Plot: But of course. Chris Claremont has a reputation for these. However, this series isn't quite as bad about it and even pulls together some things he would've resolved if given the chance in his original run. However, with the series' cancellation, we have more Kudzu plot that will never be resolved. We leave the series with Nathan being ferried to Mr. Sinister for purposes unknown, Nightcrawler is near-comatose after having tried to absorb Thor's power, and the secret to "Mutant Burnout" is still undisclosed.
- Non-Indicative Name: For a series where people die and stay dead, the "Forever" part of the title is ironic.
- Papa Wolf: A rather twisted version; after he hears about Wolverine getting killed, Sabertooth comes to the X-Mansion in a murderous rage, seeking vengeance for his son's death.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Averted. Claremont was not a fan of the ridiculously-strong Healing Factor of Wolverine, who's shown having trouble healing from broken ribs. Similarly, Sabretooth is blinded and isn't sure his eyes will ever heal — although in that case it's justified as being part of his succumbing to Mutant Burnout.
- Put on a Bus: Claremont dismisses most of the existing student body that was active in the 1990s by having them be placed in secret sub-groups and never mentioned again.
- Psychic Radar: In #7, Jean Grey and Professor X work together to maximize their psychic radar scope and power and get around the interference from a mountain range.
- Really Gets Around: Jean Grey. In LESS than twenty issues, she bounces from Scott and Logan to cock-teasing Hank McCoy. WHILE MOURNING LOGAN'S DEATH.
- Ship Sinking: In only a few dozen issues, Claremont dropped an anvil on Jean/Logan, Jean/Scott, Kitty/Peter, Ororo/T'Challa, and Jean/Hank.
- Take That!: A metric ton of it. Claremont wasted no time in using his creative freedom to snipe established mainstream continuity, which resulted in established and current developments and mythologies being swept aside so Word of God can set the record straight on what SHOULD have happened. Cable was never Nathan Summers, Nathan never went into the future, Sabretooth is Wolverine's father, Mr. Sinister is really a child, and so on. A lot of it was what he would have done had he stayed on X-Men back in the day.
- Xenafication: Kitty Pryde, full-stop. Justified in that she's taking on Wolverine's personality traits as well as a stolen claw, and Lampshaded non-humorously by her friends and family worrying about the darker turn her character's taking.
- Your Cheating Heart: Jean cheats on Scott with Logan.