X-Men: Age of X
When you’ve grown up reading the Claremont/Cockrum, Claremont/Byrne, Claremont/Smith, Claremont/Romita, Claremont/Lee, etc. X-Men stories, it can be a little difficult to get all the excited about a new X-offering. Sure, there are great stories still being told (this goes back a ways, but the Joss Whedon Astonishing X-Men storyline was top-notch). Truth be told, I didn’t know what to think when I first picked up Age of X, an “event” epic that imagined an alternate reality for the slew of familiar characters. Immediately, you get immersed in a brutal, hard-to-stomach world of grisliness (Cyclops has had his eyelids removed and is forced to be the executioner of mutants on death row, for example). Yet it doesn’t take long before you’re gripped by this story. It’s one of the most exciting and compelling X-Men tales in years.
In this universe, mutants have been hunted almost out of existence. Still, many of the familiar faces of the X-Men, New Mutants, and X-Force are present in this realigned universe, which finds Magneto’s Fortress X under attack from a phalanx of human armies.
Most of the story is written by Mike Carey, who does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of these fighting teams, even as they have been altered to a sometimes almost unrecognizable shadow of their familiar selves. For those craving fight scenes, action, and the hunted-heroes aspects that made so many X-Men stories legendary (Days of Future Past, for example), this dark story is incredibly satisfying.