Not many comic books reach that lucky number 500. Many are canceled or revamped with the number one. But the Uncanny X-Men reached that lucky number in August, and what makes it that much important is the fact that they moved away from the superhero capital (New York, what else!) to San Francisco. The 500th issue made headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle. I’m a huge X-Men fan and I live in San Francisco (perfect!), so what’s the goodies in the landmark issue?
That good ol’ Silver Age feel. The X-Men started during the civil rights movement in 1962 and during that great age of comics (dubbed the Silver Age) alongside Spiderman, the Avengers, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. It features the classic lineup of X-veterans (minus Jean, Rogue, and Xavier) of Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Colossus, Wolverine, Emma, Storm, Iceman, and Nightcrawler. The X-Men battle unforgettable villains such as the Sentinels and Magneto. The story also moves forward by presenting the X-Men as a military force and as a haven for all mutants to migrate to San Francisco. It makes perfect sense since San Francisco is the haven for the LGBT community. New plot developments are presented such as Magneto’s power loss and new villians like the Hellfire Cult and the High Evolutionary. It’s not the best issue of Uncanny X-Men, but it pays respect to the last 499 issues. With two exceptional writers (Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction) and two extraordinary artists (Greg Land and Terry Dodson), the X-Men start fresh for, hopefully, the next 500 issues.
“Why is everything centered around New York?” Brubaker asked. “If I was a mutant, I’d move to San Francisco.” That way, he said, you could walk down the street with your wings in full view, rather than having to cover them up, in fear of being seen.
Taken from the San Francisco Chronicle article, this is one of the many reasons why I love the X-Men:
“The X-Men moving to San Francisco isn’t just a physical move, it’s a spiritual move. I love San Francisco and we want to see it really represented,” says the city native during an interview last week at Isotope Comics in Hayes Valley. “Anyone who looks at the X-Men, the analogy is right there: If you’re different in any way due to race or sexual orientation or just being nerdy, there’s an X-Men character for you. They’re about being different and finding strength in that weakened position.”
I am most pleased to hear that the artists will get San Francisco right. Here’s an excerpt from the article again:
Marvel Comics artists will be visiting San Francisco frequently to get a feel for the fashion, architecture and even the way residents walk and talk. There are no cable cars in the first issue, but the artists did include a KRON TV news truck and a panel where the iconic mutant Wolverine walks through Noe Valley. The heroes make their base in the concrete bunkers beneath the Marin Headlands and join the protest of a controversial art installation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Plus the variant cover from Alex Ross is worth the price because it showcases all the classic X-Men.