Robot 6

Marvel cancels Age of Apocalypse and X-Treme X-Men

Guiseppe Camuncoli's interlocking covers for "Age of Apocalypse" #14, "X-Treme X-Men" #13 and "Astonishing X-Men" #61

Even as Marvel further expands its mutant universe in April with the debut of X-Men by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel, it will cancel two more X-titles as part of the finale of the “X-Termination” crossover event.

The publisher’s solicitations for April reveal that it will end David Lapham and Roberto De La Torre’s Age of Apocalypse with Issue 14 and Greg Pak and Andre Araujo’s X-Treme X-Men with Issue 13, with the latter teasing that “Kid Nightcrawler makes the ultimate sacrifice.” The two series will be sent off with interlocking covers by Guiseppe Camuncoli that connects to Astonishing X-Men #61, by Marjorie Liu and Matteo Buffagni, which was also part of “X-Termination” (see all three above). That title survives.

Both Age of Apocalypse and X-Treme X-Men recently had dropped below the 20,000-copy mark, traditionally viewed as Marvel’s “line of death,” with the former selling an estimated 19,337 copies to the direct market in December, and the latter just 16,682.

• The multi-verse is being consumed!
• No one is safe as our heroes split up to fight a war in two universes.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

• With the rift into the AOA widening, the only chance might be to step into the void—but at what cost?
• Kid Nightcrawler makes the ultimate sacrifice.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99



A shame, I was pleasantly surprised with both of these titles, especially X-Treme X-Men (since I hated the Astonishing X-Men arc it spun out from). I think this is further proof that Dazzler can’t sell comics.

If this leads to Dazzler showing up in Wood’s series, I’m totally okay with it.

Charles J. Baserap

January 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

And this shocked exactly nobody, unfortunately. I actually like both of them much better than whatever it is that Liu is doing on Astonishing considering none of the characters’ personalities line up with their appearances anywhere else, Northstar has been reduced to a lovesick whiny co-dependent teenager, and the plots have used more shoehorns to manufacture tension than at a shoe store. That title is sinking HARD. I want the Liu who did Black Widow and X-23 back.

It feels like Astonishing is struggle to find a unique identity in a crowded franchise.

But why is Astonishing which has no real identity still around?! Maybe a less fractured playing field would help focus attention on these side books with unique casts of characters.

And why not wait to see if the crossover would help boost sales? Makes no sense to axe it after a crossover before pt 1 even ships.

Further proof Dazzler can’t sell comics? Yeah, reduce her to sparkly wallpaper for four years in Uncanny and then toss her into a lead role with zero build-up and almost as little promotion then expect a new audience to jump on board.

She’s a great character that needs a solid supporting role in a marquee book so a new generation – and those uninformed – can see what she’s made of. X-Treme was a clever good time that didn’t take itself so seriously because, oh, EVERYONE else does. I’ll miss it.

Astonishing has a higher cover price, so that probably helps towards its survival. And I’d say the crossover was put in place to give both books a decent wrap up. Marvel would have preliminary orders for the first half of the x-over, as well as more concrete numbers for January’s and February’s issues, so they probably have a fairly good idea if the books would still be profitable or not.

Charles J. Baserap

January 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Why is Astonishing still around? Northstar and Kyle. Marvel had their big event with the marriage, claimed it wasn’t just for sales, sold 80k+ on issue #50…and now it’s down to 26k and I don’t think they want to pull the plug because of what it might look like; I mean, you know how people are. Static sold like garbage and was canceled, as did X-23, and yet when they were canceled, the forums were filled with accusations of prejudice, completely ignoring the sales component.

It’s not because of the characters themselves; but it’s because the stories have no substance, got forced into place and then went nowhere. You ask me what this book is about and I can’t even tell you anymore. There’s nothing defined, it’s like a series of nonsequitors. Marvel made a huge deal about the marriage and the importance of the series and now they’re seeing that you need an actual compelling story to KEEP the readers; Northstar and Kyle could have been the next Hulkling and Wiccan. Instead they’re one-dimensional cardboard pieces. Northstar comes off as a co-dependent teen, constantly whining about missing his husband. I miss the strong, arrogant, take no crap Northstar. He can be a gay man AND still be portrayed that way; there’s no rule saying he has to act all lovey dovey. He’s been gay and tough for years, and now he’s just a shade of himself, and it’s kind of off-putting. The Annual was a joke of a story where the X-Men made Northstar fight everyone by himself while they got to know Kyle–the first and only issue where he’s been more than arm candy or scenery. Kyle himself had like 50 panels of “life” before the wedding got shoved into a convoluted arc about spies. Warbird suddenly became homophobic, just because, hey, SOMEONE had to be. There was no plan for this book, it seems like, past, “Here’s a place to have the wedding.” And it’s a shame. Because like I said, Northstar and Kyle could have been such a bigger deal had they been written in any compelling and realistic way and had they not stopped trying too hard to have almost EVERY issue some sort of relationship drama, or them pining and mooning over one another. They could have taken a page from Wiccan and Hulking, or even Apollo and Midnighter, or Stryker over at the now gone Avengers Academy. If they want to really reach the mainstream with gay characters, then put the damn characters in a mainstream book. Why is Kyle not handling PR or something full time at the Jean Grey school? Why is Northstar not teaching in Wolverine and the X-Men? Having a shoehorned marriage, and then burying them in the pages of a rapidly sinking book and randomly interjecting personal politics is not doing the job, nor is it showing a real commitment to the diversity.

Charles —

You make lots of solid points. But it kind of sounds you are conflicted. You say if the series gets cancelled, companies may face accusations that it was prejudice that sent the book to the chopping block. And that it was more of a sales thing…

I think all of it connected. If you write a crappy comic, one that fails to capitalize on the potential of a minority character, then sales will drop. Creators are amped up to handle characters they love, and if they can’t find the motivation to make Northstar, Static, hell even Storm, compelling, perhaps it’s because of their own biases…even if they are small hang ups. Anyone can write about themselves, or subject matter that’s near and dear to their hearts. Either the companies need to find people with more passion for writing material other than penning themselves in the book, or they have to expand the stable of writers to include more diversity.

There’s too many X books. You can’t keep up with them.

That bites. AoA was solid work from Lapham! But I guess when you double ship all your best sellers (and at $3.99 to boot), you not only squeeze out your competition, but your own lower tiered books. Damn shame.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

January 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I can’t say I’m surprised. Neither one of these titles set the world on fire. I’m just surprised that Astonishing isn’t on the chopping block, too. That book’s been floundering since Warren Ellis left.

Ok, now scale the whole damn thing back down to just Uncanny X-Men and then you’ll have done something. Take the money you were spending on having a bazillion titles to get one good writer and one good artist to create one good book.

Agree with MattComix except I’d say the market can & should support 3 “core” X-titles at the most.. but the abundance of tripe that they’re peddling these days including the “Gay” mast head book Astonishing X-Men which reads terribly BTW, just isnt cutting it.
I’d like to see the line boiled down to All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, & Wolverine & the X-men (at least until Aaron leaves it), * & leave X-Factor out of this discussion entirely as it hasn’t really been considered an X-book in years. (Thank you PAD)
& If the audience is really there for Northstar & Kyle or if a particular creator has a solid story to tell with them, that creator obviously not being Marjorie Liu, than fold those characters into one of the main books.
Either way, Marvel is on the precipice of the mid to late 90’s bankruptcy behavior in respect to their publishing methods.. obviously they won’t bankrupt with Disney backing them up, but the over-saturation has become outstanding to the point of being reminiscent of the days of Fantastic Force. Somethings gotta change.

Glad AoA got the axe, it wasn’t even about the AoA universe, why not just set it in another universe? Seriously, it was about a bunch of human characters that no one gave a shit about. If you’re going to make a book set in an alternate universe that was the setting for one of the most popular comics stories of all time (and a lot of that had to do with the characters), DON’T KILL OFF ALL THE CHARACTERS THAT MADE IT POPULAR!!! Seriously, why clear the decks of the AoA universe to introduce new characters that fans have no attachment to , and then advertise it as the AOA universe book? Hopefully Marvel learned its lesson and will retcon it so that this was just a universe that was SIMILAR to the AoA universe we love.

I’m so upset that Xtreme Xmen is cancelled I was really enjoying it, seeing Dazzler as a main character was cool and exciting. Just because it was new and it was a story that was different from other X books, even with the alternative characters, they became likeable, teen Kurt, James Howlett, Cyclopes. We were just finely getting view into their backstories! I think that this series has so much potential and it does’t deserve to be cut off.

X-Treme X-Men was a really fun ride. It was really a breath of fresh air, not taking itself too seriously and having a great time along the way. I actually found myself looking forward to each issue over all the rest. I’m really going to miss it, but I can’t say that I didn’t predict this happening. It felt like Marvel made no effort in promoting it at all. Sad days.

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