"Marvel, MY Universe": The Uncanny X-Men
Everyone dreams of writing the for Marvel or being behind the creative direction of the Marvel Universe. Here I present my ideas if I were ever lucky enough to be in charge of Marvel. My first entry of many is for the flagship X-Men title - The Uncanny X-Men.
I've always been a huge X-Men fan, so this franchise is near and dear to my heart. I aggressively started collecting X-Men comics around the time of Nu Marvel, especially during the Morrison Era and it made a huge impression on me. I liked the idea of mutants developing their own sub-culture that included fashion, music, drugs etc specific to mutant kind. I thought this interpretation really lent itself well to the whole idea of mutant rights being a metaphor for civil rights, and so mutant culture would be a metaphor for black or gay culture etc. While I appreciate the creative reasons for DeciMation, I believe the direction of "mutants-as-an-endangered-species" can only provide so many interesting stories before ideas start running out. What I would do is have mutant numbers start to increase again; not massively where it gets ridiculously out-of-control but to the point where they're legitimately a minority race again with its own sub-culture rather than an endangered species.
With that being the backdrop, the X-Men rediscover Xavier's Dream of peaceful co-existence between human and mutant kind. Taking it all back to basics to what started the X-Men in the first place - the Dream. While I've enjoyed watching the X-Men as some sort of paramilitary force fighting for survival, I've missed the days where there was a deep philosophical drive behind the X-Men's reason for being. And now that the X-Men no longer are fighting for survival, they can now fight for a dream worth fighting for again.
At the advent of mutantkind's regeneration, the X-Men decide to do things right for once. In this brave new world they decide to have one team of X-Men to act as the premier superhero team for mutants - to save the world from natural disasters, mutant, non-mutant or extraterrestrial threats! Essentially they'd act like the Avengers of mutantkind; the truly superheroic team that saves lives whether it be mutant or human. They'd be the public face of mutants and so this X-Men team will become more like celebrities, actively trying to represent the positive side of mutants and be a walking-talking PR campaign for mutantkind. Their mission: to win the hearts and minds of human society in the same spirit as Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men", as the X-Men try to present themselves as true superheroes in every sense of the word. Which is why Cyclops chooses the team's members specifically for "media/PR" purposes - some members are popular amongst the public, so having them on the team will endear the X-Men to them, and some members are so obviously "mutant" that having them on the team will help the public get used to the idea of "freak-as-hero" image the X-Men wish to portray. They do become steadily popular, as they become a cult phenomenon especially with young human teenagers who view them as pop icons; they’re especially loved in Japan and the X-Men even start to go on talk shows, deliver interviews and have merchandise labelled after themselves! But as with every celebrity positive, there are the negatives...and can the X-Men deal with such negatives...?
Here's also another twist to the team - I never understood why, even with Xavier's Dream of co-existence, the X-Men were so...isolationist. Co-existence suggests integration with, not segregation from, humanity. So the Uncanny X-Men decide to actually invite and have HUMAN superheroes on the team; this is a bold statement to the world, a statement to show that humans and mutants can work together to save the world. Easier said than done! No doubt, like any team of superheroes, there will be conflicts but now there will be conflicts that are inherently species-based. Can this little experiment of mutants and humans working together on the public stage really work? Have the X-Men become too mutant-focused to work well with humans? Can the human members of the team deal with their reputations being tarnished by being on the team and being labelled as "terrorists" like some extreme anti-mutant groups call the X-Men? It's a great time for the human superheroes to walk in the shoes of the persecuted mutants for once and maybe on the flipside the X-Men will experience walking in the shoes of celebrated superheroes. Who knows? The one thing Cyclops does know is the world is watching them - and the Uncanny X-Men can't be anything less than heroic!
Base of Operations: Utopia - will still act as a mutant haven/nation but also act as a mutant embassy open to the general public. The public are encouraged to visit Utopia to participate in a cultural exchange, as the X-Embassy building showcases X-Men and mutant history so that the general public are educated on mutant culture.