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While most superheroes appealed to fans' desire to escape their normal boring lives, the primary appeal of the X-men seemed to be fans embracing their own abnormalities. Instead of being admired as most other heroes had been, the X-Men were considered freaks. Instead of being perfect specimens, they were (literally) mutants. Rarely seen as saviors, they were usually shunned as outsiders. Perhaps it is not surprising that this unappreciated quality would appeal to most bookish adolescents.



The original X-Men were born and raised separately, but were discovered and trained together by Professor Charles Xavier. Jean Grey had psionic powers, Hank McCoy was a genius trapped in a brute's body, Warren Worthington had the wings of an angel, Scott Summers shot energy beams out of his eyes, and Bobby Drake could generate blizzards. Their arch enemy was another mutant named Magneto, but almost immediately they found themselves feared (and policed) by the normal citizens they sought to protect.


So much has happened over their first fifty years that one really must just go read the comics (or watch the movies). In addition to the popularity of the founding members though, other major X-Men characters like Storm, Rogue, and Wolverine have helped to make it the most valuable commodity in the superhero business.


Particularly vexing to fans is the multiplicity of the X-Men franchise. It became a victim of it's own popularity. It has been almost impossible, given the breadth of titles and timelines available over time, to define who or what is an X-man. Some of their many incarnations include X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Ultimate X-Men, X-treme X-Men, New X-Men, X-Men 2099, X-Men:Legacy, and Astonishing X-Men. A few of these comics featured identical characters doing completely different things at the same time. It did not help (nor is it universally appreciated by the fans) that major characters such as Phoenix and Colossus died -only to brought back to life years later. It also did not help that some characters were clones of themselves. Often there is even life-changing time travel involved where characters have gone back/forward amongst eachother. Then there are, of course, the animation series and the motion pictures -each of which make their own imprint upon shared characters and plots.

None of this has done much to dampen enthusiasm for the most successful comics franchise of all time.


The X-Men have recently been headquartered at the Xavier Institute

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