Thursday, June 25, 2009

To the X-Treme!

This week in Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1, the kickoff to this summer's big X-Men/Avengers crossover, Matt Fraction gave me a birthday present six months early with the completely unexpected return of Adam X the X-Treme in courageous cameo form!

To celebrate, here is the text of an eerily prescient reply I sent to Kiel nearly two months ago in response to an e-mail thread he started called "Characters That Never Made It":

I don't know how many of you actually read X-Men enough in the 90's to remember Adam X, aka X-Treme, but basically he was the most 90's character created in the history of ever. He wore a backwards hat with an "x" on it, had ridiculous braids and a goatee, had blades protruding from every part of his costume, and his name was fucking "X-Treme." Nonetheless, Fabian Nicieza specifically and the X-Men PTB in general certainly seemed to have big plans for him. He was introduced in a pretty unimportant X-Force Annual (that was, I believe, Tony Daniel's first major work), but then the next time he showed up in an X-Force two-parter, he co-starred with Shatterstar battling Arcade but, more importantly, it was revealed that Mr. Sinister had some sort of interest in him. Not long after, he showed up in an issue of X-Men proper drawn by Andy Kubert where he was pretty much the only character in costume throughout (Jean Grey showed up for two seconds) and the whole story was about him having some sort of weird adventure with Cyclops and Havok's grandfather while he tried to learn about his past (he was, of course, an amnesiac). Also, at some point, he was revealed to have ties to the Shi'Ar.

Basically, in the course of that issue Fabian did everything but outright confirm that X-Treme was the long alluded to third Summers brother. And from what I've read in urban legends territory, that was absolutely the plan, but it got scrapped. X-Treme ended up next appearing briefly in the Fabe-written Captain Marvel series (starring Genis, but years before the Peter David book) where his story was resolved by (I believe) the reveal that he was the child of D'Ken and an Earth woman who was heavily implied to be Cyclops and Havok's mom, making him their half-brother (again, this has never been "officially" stated).

It was a case where one creator (Fabian) had created a plotline (the third Summers brother) and had a plan to resolve it himself with a character he created, but the mystery ended up far outlasting his tenure on the books (and continued on--and was actually largely forgotten about--until Ed Brubaker created Vulcan). Obviously there were big plans for X-Treme either just by Fabian or by him and his bosses (I mean, they did devote an entire issue of X-Men to him), but they were jettisoned. Why? Possibly because everything about the character screamed 1993 and there was no way in hell he was ever going to be timeless, but more likely because they saw that the mystery he was created specifically to resolve had some legs and after that there was nothing else for him to do.

For what it's worth, I liked X-Treme well enough, but I have shown a pretty huge weakness for anything dripping with 90's excess (see: Superboy's original costume). I did think he had a fairly unique power that wasn't just a generic energy blast, which was that if he cut somebody he could (quoting from wikipedia here) "cause the electrolytes present in oxygenated blood to ignite," but even that was super super 90's (unless you're a Red Lantern).

Utopia continues next week and here's hoping somebody's gonna burn!


Patrick J. McQuade said...

That was hilarious and informative. I remember him... Backwards hat - snicker snikcyer - He's like Poochie from the Simpson, only not a joke.

KP said...


And that "Characters That Never Made It" post is so gonna make a comeback next week!