The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just In Time For Marvel To Start Killing Off Mutants

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

The X-Men have been fighting each other for a long time. Today, according to a long-delayed X-Men comic originally slated for release in May, it seems like all that drama may have been for the wrong reasons.

Marvel's highest-profile mutants have been at war with each other at least since the 2011 "Schism" storyline that highlighted philosophical divisions between Cyclops and Wolverine and resulted in each mutant leading his own X-Men. The 2012 Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover saw Cyclops killing Professor X, while wielding part of the cosmic Phoenix Force. The division deepened. On one side were a group of X-Men led by Wolverine committed to carrying out Xavier's mission of working towards a peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans. On the other side were a more militant cadre, following Cyclops' lead to aggressively fight anti-mutant prejudice and oppression all over the world.

Into this entered superstar Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, who started his run on two major X-Men books in late 2012. The key plot point in Bendis' X-Men storylines was time travel, specifically the presence of the original five X-Men in the present-day. The younger versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel and Beast were brought forward in time by an older Hank McCoy. The grown-up Beast hoped that the appearance of a teenage Scott Summers would shock the elder Cyclops out of his disturbing behaviour. That didn't work, and the X-factions wound up fighting against each other — and various bad guys — for the better part of three years. In this week's Uncanny X-Men #600, the hostilities cease.

Spoilers follow.

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

Uncanny X-Men #600 features the team's blue-furred super-genius getting called on the carpet by a gathering of mutants who feel that his actions have endangered everything they hold dear.

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

This isn't the first time that the X-Men have been at odds with each other. But all of the latest conflict has felt more dramatically apocalyptic, a lot of it triggered by McCoy's meddling. The rampant and reckless use of chronospatial displacement was a recurring theme in Bendis' X-titles, including visits from X-Men from the future who came to the present more than once to try and change history. Perennial leader Cyclops had previously been the most positive optimist in the X-Men but Bendis wrote him as an abrasive, paranoid activist. And the big takeaway here is that Beast — though seemingly still his eruditely pleasant self — has become his polar opposite, a well-intentioned person who has caused great harm to the very people he's tried to save.

The turnabout gets even more severe when Cyclops stages a giant assembly of mutants in Washington, DC. Everyone goes in expecting the worst...

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

but there's no mega-battle. Just what looks a whole lot like reconciliation.

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

The other parts of this anniversary issue are smaller character-centric vignettes. Young Iceman, who recently acknowledged that he's gay, talks with his older self about why he never did the same.

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

A long-teased romance starts to bloom among members of the original X-Men, too.

As is the case with much of Bendis's writing, this finale derives its energy from characters reckoning with the choices that they have made in their lives. Thematically, the past and present versions of Bobby, Scott and Hank come face-to-face with where they have been and where they're going. And it seems like their journeys will next happen under one banner of mutant unity.

While it feels like this issue sets the table for the radically altered state of mutant affairs in Marvel's autumn All-New, All-Different relaunch, nothing in Uncanny X-Men #600 feels like it justifies a months-long delay. In the All-New, All-Different storylines, homo superior are getting killed off by the same Terrigen Mists that change normal people in superpowered Inhumans. But as this panel from today's Extraordinary X-Men #1 shows, that's not all.

The Long-Delayed Uncanny X-Men #600 Finally Came Out, Just in Time for Marvel to Start Killing Off Mutants

It makes sense that the X-Men would need to present a united front against impending extinction. However, as part of Marvel's inner creative circle, Bendis likely knew where the X-Men needed to be months in advance. The ending that he delivers probably won't make all X-Men readers happy, but it's at least finally here.


    Marvel, you've lost the fucking plot.

      Yep, if the rumors are true that they're writing mutants out because they don't have the movie rights, then this is all kinds of fucked up

    After such a build up and long wait for #600 it felt a bit...meh. Nice character moments but overall what was the point? Cyclops call for revolution ends in a peaceful public gathering? The trail of beast was a few terse words and him quitting? Why such a long delay? There was nothing to spoil the post-secret wars relaunch. Felt pretty underwhelmed after finishing it. That being said I enjoyed Extraordinary X-Men #1, hopefully Lemire and the other X-writers can deliver something great.

      Its just like the end of civil war, lol.

    I dunno why anyone ever gets so worked up, all it takes is another writer to step in & reset what Bendis did.
    Happens so often too.

      I don't envy any writer having to come in and clean up the mess that Bendis has made of the X-books.

        Oh whatever, xmen has always been a big mess since Claremont took over in the 70s. It's part of its charm.

        The xmen & their families, friendships & rivalries are so convoluted. It's the best/worst kind of soap opera.

        Bendis hasn't done a thing that even the worst writer couldn't reset or retcon & you know it'll happen.

        Everyone always makes out like the worst shit possible has occurred.

        Last edited 05/11/15 11:24 pm

    Bendis... take a break and think about what you're going to write next. You burnt out terribly on Xmen and Guardians of the Galaxy. You're other stuff was really on point but mannn you just created going nowhere garbage with these comics

      Bendis is on fire when he's writing solo hero books whose stories are mostly self-contained so the effects on the Marvel Universe's continuity are minimal. Daredevil, Alias, and the like are awesome books, no doubt about it.

      It's when he writes team books that his issues with continuity and characterisation become prominent. Guardians and X-Men have both suffered terribly as a result.

        I love some of his solo stuff but his run on New Avengers was great, he took a team nobody gave a shit about & made them Marvel's biggest franchise.

        It's true Alias, Daredevil & (early) Ultimate Spider-Man are better, but it's not team books he's bad at.

        Think about it, all of those solo books had supporting casts, really how is that all that different from a team?

        Bendis biggest flaw these days is rehashing old ideas. Part of the reason his early Marvel stuff is so much better is because he brought a fresh voice & new ideas to the table. Nothing he's doing these days is anything new for him.
        It's a real shame, he used to be great, but now he spreads himself too thin over too many titles, teaching & working in movies & tv.

          That whole Siege arc he did was amazing. It was planned out and set up in advance and the payoff was gripping/shocking.

          But that felt like he had a plan and a direction. Xmen and Guardians had hints of ideas, but it was like he got bored of them or just didn't know how to realise them or he just got distracted. This just made these books frustrating especially when I like him as a writer and the art in the books was fantastic with Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen.

            Yeah, I dunno. I definitely find his latest stuff boring & drawn out.

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