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Comic Book / X-Men '92

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They're back! Marvel's most X-Treme Mutants!
You paved the way for everything I've done here... But I'm afraid the era of the extreme is over. The world that's coming deserves a better class of mutant. One that isn't burdened by all those pouches filled with aggression and inner turmoil.
Cassandra Nova, X-Men '92 #1, "Hope You Survive the Experience"

X-Men '92 is a 2015 Marvel comic book, co-written by Chris Sims and Chad Bowers with art by Scott Koblish and Alti Firmansyah. Launched as a Secret Wars tie-in, X-Men '92 takes place in a broad strokes version of the classic X-Men: The Animated Series. After a brief run of five issues, it returned as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative, this time being allowed a run of ten issues. The last issue was released in December 2016. In January 2022, it was revealed that a new mini-series would be released set in this universe called House Of XCII, giving the iconic House of X storyline a 90’s flair.

Do not confuse with "X-Men adventures", the actual Comic-Book Adaptation of the series. X-Men '92 is an homage to the TV series, but has its own stories.


X-Men '92 provides examples of:

  • '90s Anti-Hero: Per their mainstream incarnation, X-Force is positively stacked with these types, and even though they've left the team to join the X-Men, Bishop and Psylocke are still more willing to jump to violent means than the rest of the team.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Elements from the mainstream Marvel universe (like X-Force, X-Statix, and Cassandra Nova) that weren't present in the animated series are added here.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Quite a few characters, actually:
    • Cassandra Nova is the most prominent example, as she is reimagined from a very dark Omnicidal Maniac into an omnicide-indifferent Deadpan Snarker who appears in both volumes.
    • Joseph, who in his last mainstream appearance underwent a rather extreme Face–Heel Turn, is reverted into a character much more like his original 90s incarnation.
    • And in the eighth issue, it's revealed that even Apocalypse is less malevolent in this universe, as he is gathering disciples to stand against the threat of Xodus the Forgotten.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • While he has long been in a Face–Heel Revolving Door in the normal timeline, the Gladiator of this universe is established as a pretty firm Jerkass. It says something about a character when even long-running villains like Apocalypse and Cassandra Nova come across as more sympathetic than him.
    • In the animated series, Senator Kelly only spends the first season as a villain before getting Character Development and becoming an uneasy ally of the X-Men after being elected president. In this version, he is still president of the United States, but is also secretly one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen. Though with the revelations of the second volume, it ultimately turns out that Kelly is not so much more villainous as just more adversarial to the X-Men as a result of this twist, subverting this trope.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Subverted with the X-Brood, played straight with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard and Xodus the Forgotten.
  • Alternate Continuity: To both mainstream X-Men comics as well as the animated series. For example, while the animated series ended with Apocalypse pulling a Grand Theft Me on Fabian Cortez after losing his original body in the Story Arc "Beyond Good and Evil", here both characters are reset to their baseline selves. Cortez's role as a villain in the "Sanctuary" story arc is referred to in a Call-Back by Professor X, though, so clearly there's also a good deal of overlap too.
  • Alternate Self: A number of alternate Draculas gather in an extradimensional space to observe the Near-Villain Victory of Alpha Red.
  • Ascended Extra: Bishop and Psylocke are regular members of the X-Men in the comics, but in the cartoon Bishop was an ally that only appeared in a handful of episodes and Psylocke only appeared once. As a nod to this, they are noted to be the team's newest members.
  • Bad Future: As this trope is pretty much mandatory of any X-Men property, Scott and Jean get sent to one in the second volume. Thankfully it doesn't linger long enough to wear out its welcome.
  • Big Bad:
    • In the first volume, Cassandra Nova. Or so it would seem...
    • In the second volume, the Gamesmaster is set up as this, then Apocalypse. Of course, once again things are not as they seem...
  • Big Good: Professor X in the first volume, Apocalypse in the second volume.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the seventh issue Professor X recounts to his students the history of villain Fabian Cortez, which is taken almost completely verbatim from his history in the '90s animated series.
    • In the ninth issue Beast warns Fabian Cortez about enhancing his powers, calling back to the 90s animated episode "The Fifth Horsemen" where Cortez did exactly that.
  • The Cameo:
    • In the first volume, the Penal Colony has quite a few recognizable patients, ranging from Brotherhood alumni like Blob and the Toad to X-Force members such as Boom-Boom and Warpath. Even Sabretooth makes an appearance!
    • At the end of the first volume, Joseph, the young clone of Magneto, appears working in a diner. The second volume promotes him to a recurring character.
    • The classrooms in the second volume show a good number of young mutants from the Generation X and X-Statix stories. One of them, the Generation X Ensemble Dark Horse Chamber, is even promoted to semi-recurring status!
    • Blade shows up in holographic form as the Danger Room's Daywalker training program.
    • Rachel Summers makes one in the second volume in her "Mother Askani" incarnation.
    • The final issue has cameos from The Punisher, Spider-Man, the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider and Black Panther
  • Canon Character All Along: Starter Villain of Alpha Red, who at first appears to be an original character created for the title, is revealed to be Dracula's son Janus, a previously established character in Marvel Universe.
  • Chess Motifs: The Upstarts have a chessboard with X-Men playing pieces to play their Deadly Game with.
  • Cloning Blues: Cassandra Nova is reimagined as a clone of Xavier created by Apocalypse rather than his literal Evil Twin. Why she is female is left unexplained.
  • Composite Character: Combined with Team Member in the Adaptation, but the comic's depiction of Generation X is combined with X-Statix as the team features members of both.
  • Dark Messiah: Apocalypse has fashioned himself as one in this continuity, and is either so sincere or so manipulative that he has persuaded even longtime foes such as Exodus and President Kelly to support his cause.
  • Deadly Game: In the second volume, the Upstarts are playing a game with the lives of the X-Men at stake, complete with Chess Motifs.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cassandra Nova, Trevor Fitzroy, Apocalypse... it's almost to the point of being a World of Snark.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Magneto is established as being Killed Off for Real in the backstory after a terrific battle, allowing the writers to feature less frequently utilized villains without Magneto's shadow constantly hanging overhead.
    • In a hilariously irreverent example, Sabretooth is possibly killed offscreen by Deadpool, who uses his severed head to jokingly menace the kid Morlocks with - he seems to be mumbling 'help me', so it's unclear. But it's still funny.
    • Professor Xavier ends up pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to turn the entirety of Earth into mutants.
  • Death Is Cheap: Played with in the second volume: it sure looks like Joseph and Cassandra Nova kill off Fabian Cortez when he is unlucky enough to cross paths with them, but in the next issue, it's revealed that they simply wounded and captured him, as he is shown tied up with the Fenris twins.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In issue 8 of the second volume, Apocalypse is introduced casually dragging the body of the arch-demon N'astirh behind him, remarking that negotiations with Limbo went poorly. Hilariously, no one comments on this, suggesting that this sort of Cthulhu-punching is just par for the course for this version of Apocalypse.
  • Enemy Mine: In the ninth issue Apocalypse manages to convince Professor X to ally with his forces. And then Cable shoots him in the back.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even the Celestials, as Xodus's indiscriminate galactic slaughter of mutants proved too much for them to stomach.
  • Eviler than Thou:
    • In the first volume, Cassandra Nova is possessed and corrupted by the Shadow King.
    • In the second volume, Fabian Cortez and the Fenris Twins find out the hard way how unequipped they are to cross Cassandra Nova and her new ally Joseph.
    • Later in the second volume, Nova and Joseph go after Shinobi Shaw and Trevor Fitzroy only to be ambushed themselves by Apocalypse and his horsemen.
  • Final Solution: Done by the X-Men to vampires as a desperate Godzilla Threshold brought on by Alpha Red. This does not kill all vampires (though it does kill the corrupted Alpha Red), instead "merely" turning them all human. One would think a world without vampires could only be a good thing, but as it turns out...
  • Good Needs Evil: Invoked at the end of the Alpha Red storyline, when another world's Dracula grimly remarks that a world without vampires is a world without balance. And sure enough, "no more vampires" ends up being the tipping point that allows the story's true Big Bad to escape from his cosmic imprisonment.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • In the first volume, the Shadow King has possessed Cassandra Nova and corrupted her idealism to make the world a better place into something evil.
    • In the second volume, at first it looks like the Upstarts will be this, as they are the ones responsible for unleashing Alpha Red and are playing a Deadly Game behind the scenes, but they end up folding pretty quickly to the Cassandra Nova/Joseph team up and Apocalypse reveals that the real bigger bad is the Original Generation villain Xodus the Forgotten.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Andrea and Andreas Strucker, the Fenris Twins.
  • Harmless Villain: Per his original incarnation, Shinobi Shaw is much more interested in being The Hedonist than the Deadly Game he is ostensibly playing. He even give us this gem of a line:
    Shinobi: Who wants to spend all day thinking up ways to kill the X-Men when you could be playing shuffleboard with Miss November?
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Surprisingly (and very refreshingly) averted. Ever since an epic battle that ended with Magneto's death, the X-Men have been popular heroes.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing:
    • The first volume opens with the X-Men playing extreme laser tag. Naturally, Jubilee wins.
    • In the second volume Scott and Jean go to Alaska on a much-needed getaway. When we catch up to them, they're playing a board game (which eagle-eyed 90s readers will be able to identify as X-Men Alert!).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The above mentioned Adaptation Expansion is lampshaded by Trevor Fitzroy, a mutant from the future, who's ignorant of all the new young mutants and surprised at how popular the X-Men are. He thinks history changed somehow.
  • Legion of Doom: Played with in issue #9 of the second volume, where it certainly looks like Apocalypse has assembled an army of X-Men villains. He has, but as it turns out their purpose is to fight with the X-Men against Xodus the Forgotten.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • There is no indication that the Fenris twins are either Neo-Nazis or engaged in any Twincest like their mainstream incarnations.
    • The setting as a whole is this to an extent, as the usual grimdark anti-mutant atmosphere is dialed way back and, as mentioned above, the X-Men are regarded by the public as heroes rather than menaces. This is especially ironic as the title is based off the continuity and characters of the notoriously grimdark '90s.
    • While lost in space the X-Men encounter a faction of mutant Brood that are notably less villainous than Brood normally tend to be. While the concept of Brood that deviate from the race's usual Always Chaotic Evil depiction is not unique to this series, in conjunction with all the other examples of this it becomes noteworthy.
    • The comic ends with the entirety of humanity deciding to become mutants to save their world.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Dracula is the father of Alpha Red.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Using the Darkhold, they are able to turn humanity into mutants. Every last one of them.
  • Meaningful Name: It is almost certainly not a coincidence that the Greater Scope Villain Xodus has a very similar name to the mutant Exodus, and while details are teasingly scarce, a glimpse in Apocalypse's mind when Professor X reads it seems to further hint at some sort of connection between the two characters. Unfortunately, no mention is made of it in the tenth and final issue, turning it into another Aborted Arc.
  • Mecha-Mooks: No 90s X-Men adaptation would be complete without Sentinels, now would it?
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The second issue of volume 1 is called "Here Comes Tomorrow," which is the name of Grant Morrison's last arc in New X-Men, the book that introduced Cassandra Nova.
    • The second issue of volume 2 is called "Young Blood," a nod to Youngblood, the Image project that Rob Liefeld created after leaving Marvel in the '90s.
    • The fourth issue of volume 2 is called "Pages from the Book of Sins."
    • The final issue is called "Earth X" and involves everyone on Earth gaining superpowers in order to fight the giant villain.
    • Professor X donning the armor of Onslaught for his Astral Projection battle with the Shadow King in the first volume is a riff on a story arc in Ultimate X-Men that had Xavier go to the future for training and come back wearing Onslaught armor.
    • During the first arc of volume two involving vampires, Jubilee is the first one turned. When Dead Girl casts a spell that magically turns all Earth's vampires into humans she dramatically utters the invocation, "No more vampires".
    • With Cassandra Nova reimagined as a clone of Charles Xavier, her and Joseph literally become a case of Xavier's clone teaming up with Magneto's clone. Now why would those two be drawn together, I wonder?
    • Future Sinister being blasted to pieces by Future Rachel is a clear invoking of Sinister's fate at the eyes of Cyclops in Inferno (1988), as well as his defeat at the end of season 2.
    • Exodus and Bastion being Apocalypse's horsemen. In the comics, Exodus has his powers awakened by Apocalypse and is initially meant to be his herald until he rebels, while in the Age of Apocalypse Bastion is captured and reprogrammed into being one of Big Blue's horsemen.
    • Apocalypse proclaiming good and evil to be "meaningless words used to describe lesser beings" is a callback to one of the many badass boasts made by the '90s animated Apocalypse, as well as his penultimate Story Arc in that series which was even titled "Beyond Good and Evil".
    • Exodus fighting Havok in the ninth issue is a callback to Exodus's brief use as an Evil Counterpart for Havok under the pen of Chuck Austen.
    • The comic ends with humanity becoming mutants, with the comic's title being "Earth X". Earth X was a series where humanity gained super powers, but they were done through the Terrigen Mists.
      • The plan was also by Apocalypse, which is a callback to the character's main goal in X-Men: Evolution
  • Noble Demon: Dracula is written this way, even getting outraged at one point when Storm questions his honor.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Xodus's current title "The Forgotten Celestial" is relatively innocuous, but his former title of "Xodus the Harvester" is much more accurate and menacing.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The X-Men's mystic Final Solution to vampires indeed comes back to bite them, as it weakens the cosmic seal on Sealed Evil in a Can Xodus enough for him to break free.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the final issue, Fitzroy and the other Upstarts panic over the fact that once this ends, the X-Men are gonna be gunning after them. Then it gets worse when Deadpool speaks up and tells them the he remembers, too, while twirling a gun.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Xodus the Forgotten Celestial combines this with Fantastic Racism and Final Solution, as he is a Celestial who foresaw the rise of mutants and travels from world to world exterminating any mutant populations he finds so they never become powerful enough to supplant the Celestials. Think of him as a very large, very cosmic Freeza.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Fabian Cortez uses one to infiltrate mutant rock star Lila Cheney's concert disguised as one of her staff. Against all logic, it works.
  • Penal Colony: Clear Mountain in the first volume, where Cassandra Nova is tasked with rehabilitating various low-tier X-villains.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The Darkhold is depicted as an arcane computer program on a CD here.
  • Post-Script Season: The success of Secret Wars (2015) arc led to Marvel giving '92 a second run as an ongoing series.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Jubilee and Chamber, something that wound up carrying over into the main canon in Generation X (2017). Interestingly, both Monet and Dead Girl are said to be heartbroken by the pairing of the two, but exactly who they're heartbroken by is left ambiguous.
  • The Quiet One: Bastion and Exodus, who get a single line each in the first run and maybe two or three lines between them for the entirety of the second run. Bastion at least has the excuse of being a robot.
  • Original Generation: Xodus the Harvester, the Forgotten Celestial and Greater Scope Villain of the 2nd series, is an original villain exclusive to this book.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: President Kelly gives one to Professor X in the ninth issue that combines this with Strawman Has a Point, as he argues that the X-Men's reactive approach to superheroics and penchant for getting caught up in their own soap opera dramas makes them ineffective protectors, hence his alliance with Apocalypse.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Xodus the Forgotten Celestial, who is named as such because his fellow Celestials sealed him away in another dimension.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Darkhold's cyberspace avatar's dialogue is deliberately reminiscent of Clippy, the infamously annoying Microsoft Office helper.
    • The trade paperback gives a title to the Alpha Red storyline: "The World Is A Vampire".
  • Smug Super: Fabian Cortez, who was already a Smug Snake, gets upgraded to one of these, boastfully calling himself the "supreme mutant" as he makes demands of the Gamesmaster.
  • So Last Season: Omega Red's main reason for appearing is to get trashed by Alpha Red to show how powerful he is.
  • Team Member in the Adaptation: As mentioned under "Composite Character", the members of X-Statix are part of this universe's Generation X, as well as Blink, who underwent Comic Book Death during the events that led to Generation X's founding.
  • Those Two Guys: As something of another Mythology Gag, the Upstarts Shinobi Shaw and Trevor Fitzroy are always seen together, and when Shinobi goes on an "extended cruise" Trevor is notably the only Upstart invited.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the regular continuity Fabian Cortez, while having his moments as a Manipulative Bastard, is most often a Smug Snake who overestimates his own abilities and pays the price for it. While he still retains his Smug Snake attitude (and even ramps it up to Smug Super levels) his competence and willingness to get his own hands dirty are cranked up a notch, culminating in the very impressive feat of getting all the X-Men stranded millions of miles from Earth by using his Super Empowering abilities to overload the mutant teleporter Lila Cheney. Even Apocalypse, though displeased by this disruption to his plans, can't help but be impressed by this.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Cable takes a pretty big one in the ninth issue when he shoots Apocalypse in the back without any provocation at all.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: Omega Red's introduction has him as co-commander of the People's Protectorate which is basically Russia's answer to The Avengers (and a reworking of the old Soviet Super-Soldiers/Winter Guard team.
  • Trigger-Happy: Jubilee in the first volume is a heroic example of this, Cable in the second volume... not so much.
  • Totally Radical: As a series set in the '90s, expect lots and lots of '90s slang, especially from Jubilee.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Being pretty a much a villain in name only, Shinobi Shaw wastes no time bailing on the Upstarts competition in favor of going on an extended pleasure cruise.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Fitzroy's shrimpy sidekick Bantam is nowhere to be seen despite being a fixture in the One Man's Worth storyline of the 90s cartoon.
    • When the Upstarts are introduced one of them is said to be absent, a female character who is "off planning a nasty bit of business in London". This is almost certainly a reference to Siena Blaze, the last of the Upstarts in the original canon, but no mention of her is ever made again.
    • In the eighth issue it is revealed that Mystique has been impersonating the Gamesmaster the whole time. Of course, this calls into question what happened to the real Gamesmaster, or even if there is a real Gamesmaster in this continuity. It should be noted that Gamesmaster does make a brief cameo in the animated series, appearing as one of the psychic prisoners of Apocalypse in the 4-part "Beyond Good and Evil" story arc.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After the battle against Alpha Red Beast gives a subdued one of these to Storm, chiding not her but the entire team (him included) for the way they defeated Alpha (which essentially amounted to forcing every vampire on Earth to become human against their will) and wondering how different it would be if humans ever managed to do the same to mutants. This becomes a Call-Back when Xavier calls out the entirety of humanity with the request to become mutants to help save the world from Xodus. They all accept the request.
  • Wolverine Publicity: X-Men '92 might be the only Marvel book to actually avert this stale comic staple. Traditional Marvel publicity hogs like Wolverine and Deadpool are used, but not to the point of overriding the other characters (Deadpool is actually a minor character as a member of this universe's incarnation of X-Force). And this isn't limited to heroic spotlight hogs, either: Magneto is deliberately given a Death by Adaptation so the narrative can breathe without his and Xavier's issues overriding everything else.