4 Huge Changes Coming to the X-Men Franchise This Summer

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There’s never been a more exciting time to be reading Marvel’s X-Men comics. 2019’s House of X and Powers of X established a brand new status quo for mutantkind, and writer Jonathan Hickman and his team have been busy building on that status quo ever since. One thing has become clear in recent weeks – big things are brewing for the X-books this summer.

From the alluring mutant fashion of the Hellfire Gala to the ominous “Trial of Magneto” to a brand new volume of Marvel’s flagship X-Men, here’s a rundown of all the major changes in the works and why June may be the perfect time to hop back aboard the X-Men train.

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What Is the Hellfire Gala?

Currently, Marvel’s X-Men line is exploring an overarching storyline dubbed “Reign of X.” If Dawn of X was devoted to building on the foundation of House of X and Powers of X, Reign of X shows the new mutant nation of Krakoa reveling in its recent victories. The mutant race is growing in size and power, and they’re using an event called the Hellfire Gala as both a celebration and a collective show of force.

All of Marvel’s ongoing X-books will take part in the Hellfire Gala storyline in June. Each issue (along with the one-shot special Planet-Size X-Men #1) will showcase a different story and a different group of characters set during that same evening. By the time the Gala is finished, many things will have changed for the mutants of Krakoa, for good and ill.

But the Gala is, ultimately, a big party, so it’s also a chance for your favorite X-Men to show off their biggest and boldest outfits. Check out the slideshow gallery below for a look at the many eclectic designs featured over the course of this glamorous evening.

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The Return of the Real X-Men

X-Men #1 cover by Pepe Larraz. (Image Credit: Marvel)

The irony of the current X-Men era is that, for all that mutantkind is on the rise, we haven’t seen an actual, official squad of X-Men since the start of House of X. The very existence of the X-Men has been forbidden by Professor Xavier himself. To paraphrase the Flag-Smashers in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, mutantkind is focused solely on the idea of “one land, one people” now. The days of the X-Men as a superhero team fighting for human/mutant tolerance are a thing of the past.

Except that’s not quite true. Among the major developments in 2020’s X of Swords crossover, Cyclops and Jean Grey broke ranks in order to lead a team into Otherworld and save their comrades. Cyclops believes the world still needs the X-Men, even if that means cutting ties with the Quiet Council of Krakoa and venturing back out into the human world.

That the plot catalyst for Marvel’s upcoming relaunch of X-Men in July 2021. The first new series to launch after the Hellfire Gala, this volume of X-Men will be written by Gerry Duggan (Marauders) and drawn by Pepe Larraz (House of X). Whereas the current X-Men series features a wide ensemble cast, the new series will focus on a specific team lineup – Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Wolverine (Laura Kinney), Synch, Polaris, Rogue and Sunfire.

Magneto on Trial… Again

Whatever happens during the Hellfire Gala, it would seem Magneto is due for a bad night. Marvel is teasing a second new series spinning out of that crossover, one called The Trial of Magneto.

While details on the new series are scarce for the time being, we do know the series is written by Leah Williams (X-Factor) and drawn by Lucas Werneck (Empyre: X-Men). Launching in August 2021, the series will deal with a murder mystery that begins during the Hellfire Gala, though it’s unclear whether Magneto is the prime suspect or the man charged with finding the killer. Magneto’s “trial” in this case could be more of the metaphorical sort.

Art by Valerio Schiti. (Image Credit: Marvel)

The title is clearly a throwback to 1985’s Uncanny X-Men #200, which is also called “The Trial of Magneto.” In that case, Magneto is tried for crimes against humanity, but winds up convincing the judge of his inner goodness and becomes the new leader of the X-Men. That story is an important watershed moment for a character who was once the X-Men’s greatest foe, and it stands to reason this new trial will be just as critical in shaping Magneto’s future place in the Marvel Universe.

Hickman’s Next Major X-Men Story

Hickman has been the prime mover of the X-Men line since the start of House of X in 2019, overseeing all of the monthly X-books in addition to writing the core X-Men comic. So with Marvel relaunching X-Men under a new creative team, you might be wondering where that leaves Hickman himself. Is he stepping away from the franchise?

Not as far as we can tell. Marvel is teasing a new monthly series from Hickman to begin in September, though both the title and the artist are being kept under wraps. Whatever this new book is, it’s safe to assume it’ll have a major impact on the overall X-Men status quo. Is Hickman spearheading an Uncanny X-Men series to run alongside Duggan and Larraz’s X-Men? Is this the long-rumored series focused on Moira MacTaggert, that all-important mutant character who’s barely appeared since Powers of X #6? We’ll have to wait until Marvel reveals more about this mystery title.

Let us know in the comments below which of these mutant fashion reveals is your favorite. And for more on the future of the X-Men, find out how House of X could inspire the MCU’s X-Men and see how The Falcon and the Winter Soldier took early steps toward introducing mutants.

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Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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