There’s no question that Marvel Comics has never been more popular or recognizable than it is today. And it’s more than just the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because the comic books are reaching new fan-bases as well. However, while the Avengers and Spider-Man seem to be doing great, it would appear as though the X-Men have been placed on the back burner to an extent.
Back in the halcyon days of the 1990s, you couldn’t boot up a video game console or step into an arcade without being greeted by the X-Men. Whether it was a fighting game, an action-platformer, or RPG, the popularity of the comics and animated TV show were at an all-time high. Don’t pretend the theme song didn’t just run through your head. This popularity continued all through the early ’00s with 10 different X-Men games being released during that time. Since 2010 there have only been two, and that’s even if you count the Wolverine games.
The last console video game based on the X-Men was X-Men: Destiny back in 2011. Since then, all that fans have had to play are a couple of mobile titles that, while fun, hardly satisfy the needs of die-hard X-fans. And now, one of the better ways for X-Men fans to game with their favorite mutants is through an online slot. It features numerous characters from the blockbuster series, include classic heroes such as Wolverine and Professor X in addition to baddies-turned-heroes like Mystique. The movies are still huge box office draws so it doesn’t really make sense for Marvel not to take more advantage of the franchise. Fans would jump all over a new X-Men game, especially a throwback to the ’90s series for mobile devices. Really, it’s downright crazy that there hasn’t been a big-budget X-Men game in a half a decade.
Even the comics haven’t been kind to the merry mutants these days. It was revealed earlier this year that Marvel is quietly phasing out the X-Men from their comic line-up in favor of the Inhumans and other books that tie more closely to the MCU. Marvel (and the MCU) are owned by Disney while 20th Century Fox still owns the movie rights for the X-Men franchise. As a result, Marvel is only interested in making books tied to its licensing rights. The only X-Men book included in a list of titles available this October is the ominously named “Death of X” with a suspicious new book called “Uncanny Inhumans” taking the place of what used to be the X-Men.
We can at least be thankful Marvel was able to reconcile with Sony (owners of the Spider-Man film rights) and the character has seemingly escaped the wrath of the great comic book cull slated to take place later this year. Also, we’re going to be treated to a new Spider-Man video game that we can only hope is the beginning of a new trend for Marvel. The currently untitled game was shown at this year’s E3 and looks like the best comic book game in ages.
The company has said that Spider-Man is the beginning of a vision to usher in a “brand new era for the Marvel games business” and we hope they’re not pulling our chain. It’s been far too long since we could reliably look to superhero titles for quality gaming experiences and Spider-Man definitely looks to be a step in the right direction. If only we can get them to show the same love to X-Men…