Why I Love The X-Men

With X-Men: Days of Future Past coming in a few days, I’m going to take a moment and share some of the reasons why I love these characters.

  • Puberty.  It seems like an odd place to start, but the X-Men, unlike other superhero teams, have all experienced a dramatic shift when they hit puberty.  Along with a steady shift from adolescent to adult, that’s when then all came into their mutant power.  One day, they were just another kid; they next day, they could read minds or control the weather.  They were different simply because of who they are, something teenagers have to deal with all the time.
  • Hate.  The world hates them, just because of who they are.  They are the perfect analog to any minority.  In the past, they paralleled the Civil Rights movement.  Today, they are presented as minority champions.  Many times, the world hates them on an individual level, too.  The modern king of this is Cyclops, but the same could be said of Gambit, Archangel, Jean Grey–virtually all of them are hated for who they are as people.
  • Imperfect.  Often, mutant powers come with horrible consequences.  Wolverine is destined to outlive those he cares about, Rouge touching someone always causes problems.  If Cyclops looks at someone without some eyewear, that person will die.  Yet, they still cope, though some days are better than others.
  • Diversity.  Superhero teams are typically fraternities of white men.  The X-Men are as far from that as you can get.  Just using the Gold and Blue teams (above), one of them is led by an African-American woman who isn’t the sole representative of either of her minorities, while the other is almost evenly split between men and women.
  • Cooperation.  When they are at their best, the X-Men get along.  There are periods where the personal issues cause divides within the group as a whole, but when there’s a problem, the X-Men push forward, sometimes having to confront their biggest personal issues in the process.  (The reason why The Dark Phoenix Saga is the most popular story?  The team has to confront their shock of Jean being driven mad, even though she’s their most beloved member.)

I could get into characters and personalities, but, as a whole, these are the reasons why I love this group.

Anyone have other reasons why they love the X-Men?


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