Each day in February, Dibbs is showcasing iconic comic book issues that you should collect! Today’s comic is none other than New X-Men #114! Same X-Men, new name? Read more to find out!
More comics are coming to the collectibles digital marketplace in the coming months, but be sure to grab some fracs of The Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine now available on Dibbs!
A New Era for X-Men
When Grant Morrison took the reins of New X-Men in 2001, he was standing on the shoulders of a giant. Legendary writer Chris Claremont had taken the comic franchise to new heights during his 17-year run of Uncanny X-Men and the superhero team had never been more popular. Several writers would go on to continue off Claremont’s success but none of them would change the franchise as much as Morrison.
The series would see many radical changes, the most prominent being the mass extinction of 16.5 million mutants living on the island of Genosha. This tragedy was in the midst of a “mutant baby boom” that caused a major spike in mutants being born all across the world. Another change was to Prof. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Canonically, the school had acted as the housing for a roster of young mutants over the years. Morrison turned the X-Mansion into an actual school, and focused heavily on younger mutants being taught how to better control their powers.
The X-Men’s aesthetics would also undergo a significant overhaul. The traditional and colorful spandex suits were thrown out the window and replaced with X-Men branded leather jackets and modern turtleneck sweaters. Along with the wardrobe change, Morrison introduced secondary mutations. These new mutations caused several mutants to undergo major changes in appearance, most notably Beast, who now more closely resembled a lion.
After a sentinel attack in Australia is stopped by Cyclops and Wolverine, Prof. Xavier warns the duo that a giant mutant surge has been detected in Ecuador, and that they need to investigate. Meanwhile, Prof. Xavier locks into a psychic battle with an unknown force while using Cerebra. After battling back and forth with this voice, Professor is found collapsed and weakened by Jean Grey.
Elsewhere, Cassandra Nova explains to the timid dentist, Donald Trask that within four generations Homo sapiens will be extinct, unless mutants are eradicated. She then leads Trask to a hidden Master Mold factory, guarded by several Sentinels. The book ends with Cassandra delivering the chilling line of, “Forget your dental practice, Mr. Trask. Your future lies in genocide.”
Morrison’s New X-Men quickly became Marvel’s best selling comic during its run. Critics often refer to the series as the best X-Men title since Claremont’s tenure, and many fans cherish it as their all-time favorite. Even with all this, much of what Morrison created was retconned (revised) by Marvel after his departure and return to DC. It’s been cited that the studio reversed many of Morrison's changed out of spite, though nothing official has ever been announced.
Despite Marvel’s undoing, many of Morrison’s creations made lasting impact on the franchise. Most notably was Emma Frost’s introduction as a member of the X-Men and instructor at Xavier’s School. Frost would also go on to have a romantic affair with Cyclops, which later turned into a full on relationship that lasted almost ten years.