This article comes to us from Kevin, a Historian in his day job and an X-Fan in his spare time who typically gets the 2 confused. He tweets at @MagnetoRocks.
The most recent era of X-Men opens with one thing previous. Within the first pages of this summer time’s House of X #1, Charles Xavier stands beneath the branches of an immense plant organism, wanting down at bare, writhing figures as they emerge slowly from strange golden balls. He smiles beneath the massive Cerebro helmet that covers the upper part of his face – beneficently or creepily relying in your perspective – and then utters his most basic line: “To me, my X-Men.”
Except how basic is it really?
It’s definitely ubiquitous in trendy X-comics. Solely every week earlier than Home of X #1 was revealed, the ultimate problem of the earlier period closed with Storm shouting the familiar phrase as she and the bulk of the X-Males returned from the Age of X-Man reality to save lots of the day in Uncanny X-Men #22. Before that, she used it in the current past while leading her own workforce in Extraordinary X-Males.
Earlier in the same current quantity of Uncanny X-Men, the cry was at the middle of a stunning double page spread as a psychic message despatched out by Jean Grey to all of mutantkind. Many different characters have also deployed this rallying cry in recent times; Kitty Pryde and Illyana Rasputin, for example – nevertheless it has gone past the X-Universe. Deadpool has joked concerning the catchphrase, and Spider-Man has shouted it while main a staff of mutant trainees. It has even led to spin-off phrases; both a future model of Charles Xavier and the 616 Magneto have at occasions had cause to declare “To me, my Brotherhood!”
Outdoors of the 616 universe, the unlocking of each X-Man within the 2013 video game Lego Marvel Super Heroes is greeted with an achievement named “To me, my X-Men”. Jonathan Hickman himself has beforehand revealed his fondness for the phrase when he greeted the official announcement of his position writing the X-Men Franchise in March 2019 by tweeting “To me, my X-Followers!”
But all the references cited above are conspicuously current, inside the last decade. They are additionally, notably, all stated by characters aside from Professor Xavier, with whom most followers associate the cry. In fact, “To me, my X-Males” is a far more trendy addition to X-canon than many readers assume – and, maybe extra surprisingly, it has only not often been stated by the Professor himself.
The reply which can come to mind for a lot of followers is the Silver Age, because the kind of imperious declaration which Stan Lee’s Charles Xavier was susceptible to creating. Upon inspection, nevertheless, the phrase “To me, my X-Men!” never appears independently all through the 1960s. The closest approximation appears within the ultimate panel of X-Men #1, which does indeed embrace a thought bubble from Xavier ending with the road ‘To me, my X-Males!’ – however not by itself. These phrases seem solely as the top of a longer sentence operating on from the previous line. The complete sentence reads “And now, return to me, my X-Men!” Considerably much less catchy, and positively less iconic. Not notably impactful, either, since it might not be referenced again for a few years to return.
Still, it is a begin; certainly the origins of the X-Men’s battle cry lie here, appropriately of their very first challenge. When, then, did it first appear its abbreviated and best-known type?
The answer is: Later than you’d assume.
If an iconic X-Men component doesn’t seem in the Silver Age, then it regularly finds its origins in Chris Claremont’s seminal 16-year run on Uncanny X-Men. Not so right here, as “To me, my X-Men!’ is solely absent from the franchise in each the 70s and the 80s. Nor, so far as I can tell, did it debut in the aftermath of his departure, in the early 90s era which produced each the X-Males’s biggest business peaks and their broadest pop culture relevance yet. It’s by no means as soon as uttered in the animated collection, nor both of its 2000s follow-ups.
The earliest occasion of “To me, my X-Males!” which I can find is in a completely sudden place: Excalibur #93, revealed in January of 1996, over three many years after the longer psychic command which ended X-Men #1. Even more weird is the context through which it seems, as the first line of the difficulty and part of a string of instructions apparently issued by Professor X. Not so uncommon, perhaps. But in a twist, this turns out not to be Xavier at all, however quite Excalibur regular Pete Wisdom in a bald cap. You learn that proper. Professor X’s most famous line is first spoken not by the Professor himself, however by a British undercover agent who had been created lower than a yr previously. Sporting a bald cap.
So, did this look in Excalibur result in the phrase turning into established as an X-Men mainstay?
It did not. Months after this challenge, at the start of Marvel’s now-annual large crossover for 1996, the (really dire) Onslaught: X-Men, Charles Xavier telepathically summons all of his college students with the phrases: “Come to me, my former students! Come to me, my X-Men!” This formulation can be repeated in other tales, resembling a 2000 concern of Marvel Comics X-Males by Mark Millar. The actual fact that writers were not using the truncated line in the precise context the place it made full sense is a reasonably good signal that it was not yet thought-about iconic. As far as I can tell, the line didn’t appear once more between 1996 and 2001, and if it did sneak in somewhere – there are a variety of 90s X-Men comics and I can’t rule it out totally – then it definitely wasn’t imbued with much significance.
So when did “To me, my X-Men” really enter the X-Males lexicon in a extra lasting means slightly than as a throwaway in aside title? In late 2001, at the finish of Grant Morrison’s New X-Males #116, Charles Xavier has simply shot the then-mysterious antagonist Cassandra Nova within the head and apparently killed her. With blood nonetheless dripping down his face, he declares that enough is sufficient, and it is time for change. As his workforce collect around him, he declares: “To me, my X-Men.” Unusually sufficient, the moment is introduced as a well-known one, and the line is – no less than in my reading – already treated as a well-known catchphrase. It’s no surprise if readers then and now both handed over this moment with out seeing it as a momentous precedent. It additionally appears unlikely that Morrison was knowingly quoting Ellis’ problem of Excalibur, until he believed that it too was referencing an earlier story. Given Morrison’s well-known reverence for the Silver Age, might it’s that he was intentionally calling back to the ending of X-Men #1 but either misremembering or intentionally tweaking? It appears very possible.
But right here too, there was to be one other twist; the subsequent difficulty would reveal that this was not the actual Xavier at all, but fairly Cassandra Nova herself after taking up his physique. For the second time in a row, Charles Xavier’s most well-known line appeared whereas being stated by someone who was not Charles Xavier masquerading as him. It might recur three more occasions in Morrison’s run, first used by Fantomex in New X-Men #130 after which twice by Professor X – lastly the actual Charles Xavier this time! – in New X-Males #146.
For the remainder of the 2000s, “To me, my X-Males!” would make sporadic appearances right here and there. Warren Ellis, writer of its unique look in Excalibur, would reference the road as soon as again in a problem of Nextwave in 2006: “To me, my X-bait!” Perhaps its most iconic utilization would come from Joss Whedon on the finish of Astonishing X-Men #23 in the identical yr, when it is Cyclops who shouts the line after blasting his alien adversaries on Breakworld, cementing his position as the group’s permanent, badass leader. Even after this high-profile appearance as part of a climatic splash web page on a bestselling run, nevertheless, the phrase appeared only not often; in a problem of Wolverine: First Class, or an early difficulty of the third volume of New Mutants. In January of 2011, it lastly made its first ever appearance in a problem of Uncanny X-Males, a mere 529 points after Xavier’s first telepathic name, when the enigmatic villain Lobe shouts it out mockingly as he spreads a drug which bestows mutant powers.
The ultimate milestone in the improvement of “To me, my X-Males!” got here with the daybreak of Marvel Now! In 2012. The catchphrase was notably missing during Avengers vs X-Males, one other absence which appears telling. Having an X-Man shout the warcry as a counterpart to their opponents’ famous “Avengers Assemble!” appears too good of a comic second to omit, until it did not but possess comparable status. In the aftermath of the crossover, nevertheless, it all of the sudden started to appear all over the place. Through the 2013-2015 period, the phrase appeared or was referenced in Uncanny X-Males, All-New X-Males, Uncanny Avengers, X-Men Legacy, a Battle of the Atom Special, Deadpool, and Spider-Man and the X-Men – the record goes on. Its new prominence has continued nicely into the aftermath of Secret Wars because it turned nearly a ritual of passage for team-leaders to shout within the first points of each new collection. This brings us full circle to the established order with which we began, where the phrase could be handled as a ubiquitous and easily recognizable catchphrase for all the franchise, instantly recognizable to creators and followers alike.
In sum, it appears that evidently regardless of a bizarre first look during Excalibur in the 90s, Grant Morrison deserves the bulk of the credit for popularizing “To me, my X-Males!” as an necessary line. It is unclear whether or not he knew that he was coining one thing new; he might properly have believed that he was simply referencing the final, a lot less quotable line of X-Men #1. Indeed, this type of Mandela Impact can also be chargeable for so many X-readers in the present day assuming that the catchphrase dates in its recognizable type to the Silver Age whilst they themselves learn comics throughout the years when it not often or never appeared in any respect. For the decade after Morrison, the line was used only sometimes, most memorably by Whedon, earlier than passing into increasingly frequent use in the 2010s. It is just after 2013 then that we will actually call “To me, my X-Men!” ‘iconic’ or extensively referenced.
In a ultimate irony, the period after 2013 can also be an era during which Charles Xavier has largely been lifeless. Not only was the actual Professor X apparently just the fourth individual to make use of his most well-known catchphrase behind the motley crew of Pete Knowledge, Cassandra Nova, and Fantomex, however the variety of occasions he has finished so might be counted on one hand. In a daring era of latest beginnings for the X-franchise, perhaps Hickman permitting Professor X to ship the road most related to him is definitely a radical departure in any case.