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X-Men, heroic mutations

From their first appearance on paper in 1963 to the many films and spin-offs of the early 21st century, the X-Men mutants led by Professor Xavier have never ceased to fascinate. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, they take their place in a world we are all too familiar with, that of discrimination.

Change and discrimination

If the theme of the X-Men speaks to us so much, it's because it takes place in a familiar world. People are born different from the majority, and because they are feared for certain qualities or powers, they are discriminated against and even hunted down. To make matters worse, some of them are truly evil and threaten the world. The X-Men have to save humanity, while part of it rejects them... and that's a complex situation.

The first issues of "The X-Men" comic book series began in September 1963 and introduced the original X-Men led by Professor X: Jean Grey, Angel (Warren Kenneth Worthington III), Iceman (Robert Louis Drake), Beast (Hank McCoy) and Cyclops (Scott Summers). They must fight Magneto, who is waging a war against humanity with his own group of mutants. Only later are they joined by the famous Wolverine (Logan), Storm (Ororo Munroe) and Rogue (Anna Marie LeBeau).

Mutants, robots and magic

The adventures of the X-Men take place in a slightly futuristic world, and are indeed science-fiction adventures. In the comics and their excellent cartoon adaptation (5 seasons from 1992 to 1997), they face three major threats:

  • Mutants: some mutants are evil or sensitive to the arguments of the bad guys (as well as the discrimination they suffer) and seek to harm humanity.
  • Robots: the military company Trask, headed by Larry Trask, creates the Sentinels, giant robots programmed to destroy mutants.
  • Magic: Professor X's brother-in-law, Cain Marko, obtains exceptional powers after being exposed to a divine ruby in Korea. He invents the character of the Juggernaut, and decides to take revenge on Professor X, who had always been the favourite of Marko's biological father.

Inevitably, as the episodes progressed, more and more powerful characters had to be created. Jean Grey became Dark Phoenix in Bryan Singer's films, while the very first mutant became Apocalypse, a being so powerful that he was considered a deity by certain peoples.

X-Men video games

The franchise also includes video games. Our particular focus is on "X-Men VS Street Fighter". In 1996, Marvel and video game publisher Capcom launched their "Marvel VS Capcom" project, a series of crossover games, of which the aforementioned was the first. Debuting on arcade, it was also adapted for Sega Saturn (1997) and Sony PlayStation (1998). The games were characterised by their tag team aspect: each player controlled two characters and could switch between them at any time during the fight.

Major cinematic success

2000 saw the release of the first live-action adaptation of the X-Men on the big screen. The film, directed by Bryan Singer, takes up the theme of discrimination perfectly (it begins in a World War II concentration camp) and presents the very complex relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Eric Lehnsherr, who were once close friends and collaborators but became enemies because of their differing views on the problem of discrimination.

Although the visual aspect of the film was shocking, with the X-Men dressed in drab black outfits whereas in the comics and cartoons they were magnificently coloured, audiences were particularly impressed by the quality of the characters. It has to be said that the big game was on:

  • Charles Xavier is played by Captain Picard himself (from the Star Trek series, Next Generation), or more precisely Sir Patrick Stewart. A Shakespearean actor by training, he lends an aura of grandeur and charisma to a character stuck in a wheelchair.
  • Magneto is played by Sir Ian McKellen, another great Shakespearean actor, who today is best known as 'Gandalf' in the Lord of the Rings film saga.
  • Wolverine (Logan) gave Australian actor Hugh Jackman the opportunity to reveal his talent and charisma, and really launched his career.

Unfortunately, the first X-Men saga to hit the big screen suffered a serious setback with the third opus, X-Men Last Stand. It was then relaunched with the film X-Men, First Class (Matthew Vaughn, 2011), in which young Xavier and Lehnsherr are played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender respectively.

Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman was rewarded for his charisma with his own series of spin-offs on the Wolverine character. The first two didn't really win over the critics, but the latest instalment in the series, "Logan" (James Mangold, 2017), which is much darker and more tragic, has received a great deal of praise and is even considered by some to be the best film in the franchise.

A host of derivative products at Shop for Geek

At Shop for Geek, you can discover the universe of the X-Men, the heroic mutants from the Marvel universe who have conquered the world of films, comic books and figurines. Since their first appearance in the pages of Marvel Comics, the X-Men have been led by Professor Xavier and have taken on formidable adversaries such as Magneto and Apocalypse. The X-Men films, especially those starring Wolverine, have left their mark on the world of cinema, as has Deadpool, one of the Marvel Universe's craziest heroes.

X-Men Pop figures, Legends and statues are available from stock in our geek shop, offering fans a full range of quality products at competitive prices. Explore our collection of X-Men figures, including versions of Dark Phoenix, and add these legendary heroes to your collection. Choose from our selection of Marvel products and join the X-Men universe with Shop For Geek today.