It’s that time of year again, so comes another April Fools Day event on the UXN. This year was just an exercise in absurdity, based in part on real-life events involving Chris Claremont’s series X-Men Forever.
While I came up with the original idea, it was much more fleshed out by Binaryan, who did the manipulations of three images and came up with a good deal of the story-points of the narrative. Binaryan’s images are the Hellfire Club and the X-Men (1st series) #136 cover. His third image was the altered Giant-Sized X-Men #1 cover, but Peter Luzifer asked to take a stab at it and it was his image that was used. Finally, Peter supplied the day’s fourth image of the X-Men using Wolverine’s mask. Truly a collaborative effort.
On the site’s Front Page, we had the following:
In recent weeks there has been quite a bit of buzz about Chris Clarement’s new series, X-Men Forever, which will look at how the X-Men title would have been if he had never left as writer in 1991. However, it seems that even before it has been released, the “starting point” for the retro-series has already been retooled – and the UXN has the Full Story:
A link on this news item, as well as on the Latest Site Updates box, led to the following.
Though he was the unquestioned force behind Uncanny X-Men for many years, the self-proclaimed pragmatist Chris Claremont today admits that the last several X-centric series he has scribed were not commercial successes and each were sadly short-lived. As a result, many long-term story arcs were never given the chance to begin to coalesce. Considering this fact, along with the growing reality that in the age of the Internet keeping spoilers out of the hands of fans is a mounting impossibility, Claremont has decided to embrace the spoiler by letting the fan know of the next several years of story arcs of the new X-Men Forever series. This way, potential readers will know all of the exciting ideas coming down the line – and be more likely to pick up the book to learn the details.
The first detail is that, thanks to an unprecedented deal between Marvel and DC Comics, both companies are allowing the other to “adopt” a super-hero and villain that they may use in an alternate-universe title. As a result, while a version of Spider-Man (who is married, dammit!) will be appearing in a re-launch of “JLA Classified,” Marvel has obtained the rights for… Batman!
Upon hearing of this, Claremont asked that the alternate universe title in which he is to be used will be X-Men Forever, which will no longer start with X-Men (2nd series) #1… but now with Giant-Sized X-Men #1!
In this first story arc, as described in an exclusive interview between the UXN and Claremont, Professor Xavier will travel to the Batcave, informing Batman that his physical acumen and keen deductive skills are indeed not just the result of training himself to peak human capacity, but the result of his own mutant powers. Immediately agreeing to become a member of the X-Men, Batman will join his teammates – the All-New, All-Different X-Men – to rescue the old team from the living island, Krakoa.
Unfortunately, in a surprise twist on the way back, Cyclops’ bat-chute does not open after the team is forced to jump from a damaged Bat-jet and the team’s leader dies. Now without a leader, Batman is chosen as the logical replacement for the X-Men’s top job and he quickly puts his resources, training and deductive skills into re-shaping the group. A running joke, Claremont promises, will be the fight between Xavier and Batman as to who can put the most “X”s or “bat-symbols” on the most gear.
Subplots in the first several story arcs will focus on the romantic triangle between Batman, Jean Grey and Wolverine. With Cyclops gone, Wolverine quickly tries to move in on Jean, only to discover that she is much more attracted to the Batman, who possesses both the “bad boy” image that Wolverine has to offer, in addition to the “calm, cerebral and stoic” aspects she found so appealing with Scott.
Still, Claremont promises that this animosity between the two will not be prolonged, as sometime in the second year or so, Claremont will employ Batman’s keen detective skills to unearth Logan’s past, many years ahead of the time in the regular 616 timeline in Wolverine: Origins. From there, Wolverine & Batman will become fast friends. Much of this, however, will not be published in the main X-Men Forever title, but a spin-off mini-series – “X-Men Forever: the Bat and the Wolf,” purportedly to be penciled by Frank Miller.
By this time, Batman will have become so intertwined with the team that all X-Men will begin to sport new masks, based in part on Batman’s own. This is actually a tip of the hat to Gil Kane, who reportedly misdrew Wolverine’s mask on the cover of Giant-Sized X-Men #1, leading to the new X-Man wearing one very different from the one he used in his first, and only previous appearance, in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #181 & 182.
Another great storyline that Claremont says he is looking forward to writing and admits that you would be shocked to read… were you not being spoiled right now… is the first Hellfire Club story. In what would otherwise be a jaw-dropping revelation, Batman and the X-Men would be captured by the villainous band of mutants, only to learn that their latest member was the Joker! Also revealed to be a mutant, whose healing factor and ability is to survive seemingly impossible deaths, the Joker will use his hallucinogens to seduce Jean (or rather the Phoenix) into becoming the Hellfire Club’s servant. To see how Batman and the X-Men get out this situation, you will have to wait for the actual issue!
This use of the Joker is actually part of a larger change in the Hellfire Club. Previously based upon chess pieces (and really, how many of us play chess) the members of the Inner Circle will now be based upon playing cards, which will offer up many more possibilities of storylines as there are four suites instead of two colors. Instead of the White Queen, Emma Frost will now be the Queen of Diamonds (a tip of the hat to Morrison). Sebastian Shaw will be the King of Spades and the Phoenix will be the Queen of Hearts. Due to the card motif, there will be the possibility of Jacks and Aces, as well as Kings and Queens. No matter the amount of new kings and queens, though… there will be only one Joker!
Claremont has stated that he has the first five years of the new series plotted out, but also promises that, while there will be many storylines reminiscent of the original timeline, there will also be changes. For instance, the Dark Phoenix storyline will still happen, but will be slightly different. For instance, its conclusion, “A Death in the Dark Phoenix Family Saga” will still have Phoenix dying (though this time at the hands of the Joker and his cosmic crowbar – wait until you see this!!!), the storyline will not drag on for years and years, frustrating fans. This is mainly to due to the fact that Claremont has an ending in mind this time, and is not making it up as he goes along.
Past the first five years, Claremont is actually keeping mischievously quiet. However, rest assured that, should this marketing tool work, he will be happy to spoil you on the next half-decade’s worth of stories he has in mind! Of course, if he does, he promises to release it on another April Fools Day!
Thanks to all who let us know that they enjoyed the joke in the Feedback Forum. See you next year!