X-MEN BLUE #36

The ride is over for the time-displaced X-Men of X-MEN BLUE. Thirty-six issues (plus an annual) gave us an in-depth look at the original five X-Men as teens in the modern timeline. According to writer Cullen Bunn, the series was supposed to have eighteen issues, so for the concluding issue to be X-MEN BLUE #36 is pretty impressive.

X-MEN BLUE #36
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Like the time-displaced X-Men, X-MEN BLUE wasn’t meant to last. The end, though pushed back, was inevitable. These kids need to go home at some point. Still, did I enjoy the series? At some points. Did it deliver everything it could have delivered? No, but most series don’t. Although I’ll miss X-MEN BLUE to some extent, I can’t help but think that the end of X-MEN BLUE signifies the beginning of something bigger and better for the X-Men. Marvel needs to shed off this dated time-traveling story and move onto something new in UNCANNY X-MEN.

Loose Ends

X-MEN BLUE #36
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I like X-MEN BLUE #36, and the conclusion of X-MEN BLUE in general, because it’s the opposite of how X-MEN GOLD ended. Most of the issue just shows the team trying to sort of “finish what they started” instead of introducing an entirely new plot as in X-MEN GOLD. We see that Poison Jimmy Hudson is still alive (and doing surprisingly well), the Raksha have taken over Madripoor’s crime-fighting scene again, and the Mothervine mutants are well-cared for at Xavier’s. Teen Jean and Scott’s flailing relationship finally finds sustenance in a real kiss, and Bunn even brings a close to the never-really-resolved Mojo storyline. Everything that began in X-MEN BLUE finally found an end.

Last Words in X-MEN BLUE #36

Some conclusions to comic book series go out with a bang. A writer will make the final issue the end of a dramatic arc, as in the recently finished ALL-NEW WOLVERINE. The last thing readers see of the series is a huge battle and a high-emotion climatic moment. It’s everything you think of when you imagine the end of a comic book.

If that’s what you’re looking for out of X-MEN BLUE #36, you should probably look elsewhere. Bunn gives us, more than anything, a reflection piece. Each character gets a little bit of time to think back on their time in the future before inevitably going back to the past. Scott talks to his dad, who, after returning to the past, he’ll forget is alive. The entire team visits the modern version of the Cape Citadel missile base — the place where their first mission took place decades earlier. Strangely enough, all this reminiscing and nostalgia doesn’t make this a sad issue. More, X-MEN BLUE #36 feels properly finished. It’s truly said goodbye.     

X-MEN BLUE #36
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Future of the X-Men

X-MEN GOLD and X-MEN BLUE are over, but a whole new wave of X-Men comics are coming out soon. Next month, Marvel will release the villain spotlight series X-MEN BLACK. UNCANNY X-MEN and X-FORCE are returning in the coming months, which should be interesting. There are still a few issues left in the EXTERMINATION miniseries. EXTERMINATION has already radically changed the course of X-Men comics with the death of Cable. X-MEN BLUE #36 doesn’t show the time-displaced teens getting in their time machine and heading back to the past, so we’ll assumedly see that at some point during the EXTERMINATION story.

At the moment, the X-Men are going through a transition period. X-MEN BLUE and X-MEN GOLD lacked the grit and rawness that past modern X-Men series’have had, which is partly why they weren’t as successful. Though fun reads, these series didn’t exactly leave a lasting impact on the X-Men franchise. As much as I enjoyed it, Bunn’s soft, reflective ending to X-MEN BLUE seems to be an admittance of that. It’s time to put these series away and focus on a new era of X-Men.

X-MEN BLUE #36
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

A Well Drawn Conclusion

Marcus To is definitely one of the most talented artists to work on X-MEN BLUE. His slightly cartoonish (borderline Anime) style works perfectly with the young, teenage Blue team roster. The scene where Jean and Scott kiss looks like something right out of a young adult graphic novel. I can see how some readers, who like the darker side of the X-Men, might not enjoy this kind of work, but, for the characters and plotlines of X-MEN BLUE, I really think it works. These characters are kids, and they deserve to look like kids.   

Matt Milla is a great colorist and does a wonderful job bringing the bright, fun colors that make To’s lines pop. If Milla had decided to use a more reserved and duller palette, the theme of adolescence probably would’ve been lost. By utilizing a saturated palette, the art in X-MEN BLUE #36 parallels its young characters.

X-MEN BLUE #36
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Final Thoughts on X-MEN BLUE

For me, X-MEN BLUE was a normal series. It had some points that really impressed me and made me want to read more, and it had some points that really disappointed me. Seeing the now-old X-Men young again is a fascinating concept that Bunn fully got to explore in this series. The thing is, that exploration is only temporary. Jean (i.e. the real Jean) is back which means there isn’t much of a need for the teen Jean anymore. Although never proven, I’ll always think Bendis’ idea for wanting to bring the time-displaced original X-Men to the present timeline had to do with Jean. Marvel Girl’s death in NEW X-MEN left an uncomfortable hole for many fans. Now that OG Jean is back, the time-traveling X-Men lack purpose. They need to go home.

What did you think of X-MEN BLUE #36 and of the series as a whole? Did you love it, hate it, or are you somewhere in between? Let us know in the comments!

X-Men Blue #36 by Cullen Bunn, Marcus To, and Matt Milla
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Bunn, To, and Milla say their final goodbye's to the Blue team in a surprisingly neat and tidy final issue. Every loose end Bunn ever created finds a proper tie, leaving readers with the distinct feeling that the series is finished -- not just over.
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One Comment

  1. […] On top of that, Taylor practically ignores Rachel’s character, even though her relationship with Jean is something a lot of fans (myself included) want to see. To keep this series at the top, Taylor needs to give his characters some worthy side stories or put the whole plot on overdrive. UNCANNY X-MEN is coming, and I’d hate for this series to fall into the same forgotten bin as X-MEN GOLD and X-MEN BLUE. […]

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