Sep 2, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 190: X-Man #2, April 1995

I talked yesterday, or the day before, about the short-lived "Counter-X" initiative, helmed by Warren Ellis, that revamped some of the B-list X-titles. The three that received this makeover were Generation X, X-Force, and X-Man, and they were all really fantastic revisionings of the characters. Unfortunately they were around for less than a year when the head honchos at Marvel scrapped a lot of the X-titles and brought in bigger names to relaunch the franchise. And while this gave us the excellent Joe Casey Uncanny X-Men and Grant Morrison's superlative New X-Men, we lost some really great titles. At the end of his run, Nate Grey, the X-Man, had taken on the role of shaman for the mutant tribe, striding across realities and dealing with adventures of a more spiritual nature. It really was an excellent take on the character, especially give the origins we're witnessing in the Age of Apocalypse. Though it hasn't been revealed yet, Nate is an artificially grown mutant, an identity that puts him outside a group of outsiders. This, to me, is a very good definition of a shaman. A holy person of this sort is supposed to be a part and also apart from the group he or she represents, and X-Man is certainly that. And where we see Nate discovering his powers in these initial issues, the payoff comes in his embracing his outsider role in the Counter-X revision. I really do think that the three Counter-X titles could have been some of Marvel's best mutant-related output, though much in the same way that I've suggested that Generation X, at the beginning, was maybe just a bit too Vertigo for mutant fans, perhaps the Counter-X books were a bit too Transmetropolitan.

As far as this particular issue goes, I have to say I'm enjoying Mr. Sinister the most of all the characters. He's a fascinating villain, and the way he both cares and does not care about Nate makes him one of the more truly complex characters in the Age of Apocalypse.

On a separate note, my commitments to school start in earnest today. I'm going to do my best to keep up with the comics and graphic novels, but I fully admit that things might become very hectic. Apologies in advance for the short entries, or incoherent ramblings, that might follow. See you tomorrow!

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