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One of the biggest absences in the Marvel NOW! announcements is the X-Men. The sole X-Men-related series is the ominously-titled Death of X. During San Diego Comic Con, Marvel Comics released some information about a limited-series called Inhumans vs. X-Men. Neither of these series seems to promise good things for mutants. Furthermore, there has been a lot of chatter over the past year or so about Marvel Comics moving away from mutants and towards Inhumans due to movie rights. So what exactly can we expect from Marvel regarding the future of mutants and more specifically X-Men?
Since the movie rights to the X-Men belong to 20th Century Fox, many people feel that Marvel is pushing their comics towards Inhumans, a property that Marvel Studios owns. It would not be the first time. For example, there is no current Fantastic Four comic book series, another license that Fox owns. Furthermore, Marvel Comics definitely has been highlighting Inhumans lately as their sub-group of humans who get powers. So it does seem plausible that Marvel Comics is putting less emphasis on mutants and instead trying to shift that attention and stories towards Inhumans. If that’s true, would Marvel even cancel all X-Men series like they have done to Fantastic Four?
However, I think there are a few things wrong with this theory – and I do not think the X-Men are going away. Firstly, Marvel Comics has been putting a lot of emphasis on Deadpool lately. There is the strange case of Gwenpool, an alternate reality version of Deadpool that began as a Spider-Gwen variant cover. Also, there are the Mercs for Money, a new group of relatively obscure mercenaries that spawned three solo series for Marvel NOW! – for Solo, Foolkiller, and Slapstick. All of this in spite of the fact that 20th Century Fox owns the rights to Deadpool. So why has Marvel Comics been putting so much focus on a character whose film rights they do not control? Obviously, a five letter word that runs the comic industry: sales.
Put simply, Marvel has been emphasizing Deadpool because he is a very popular character who sells lots of comics. Likewise, they are trying to transfers some of the Deadpool Midas touch to the Mercs for Money. Many people have always believed that Marvel canceled Fantastic Four out of spite for not owning the film rights to FF. However, the reality is that Fantastic Four had been struggling in sales for some time. Perhaps the film rights played a part, but Deadpool shows that Marvel will not throw away comic sales just out of spite.
So that brings us back to the X-Men and Inhumans. The Internet loves to believe that the Inhumans are taking the mutants’ place. Also, Marvel has thrown fuel to this theory with the X-Men omission from Marvel NOW! and their publicity push towards Inhumans. At the same time, comic book sales tell a different story. Let’s look at the sales of X-Men and Inhuman issues over the last three months (numbers from Comichron).
25. Uncanny X-Men #6 57,434
31. Extraordinary X-Men #9 51,322
46. All New X-Men #8 39,942
55. X-Men 92 #2 33,862
69. Uncanny Inhumans #7 27,088
101. All New Inhumans #6 20,152
22. All New X-Men #9 51,549
23. Uncanny X-Men #7 50,936
24. Extraordinary X-Men #10 50,015
58. X-Men 92 #3 30,112
64. Uncanny Inhumans #8 28,527
73. Uncanny Inhumans #9 25,216
100. All New Inhumans #7 18,833
34. Civil War II X-Men #1 68,470
51. Extraordinary X-Men #11 45,532
52. Uncanny X-Men #8 45,409
54. Uncanny X-Men #9 44,617
83. Uncanny Inhumans #11 29,539
91. X-Men 92 #4 25,044
92. Uncanny Inhumans #10 24,552
124. All New Inhumans #8 17,865
When you look at these numbers, it’s clear how this works out. Uncanny X-Men, Extraordinary X-Men and All New X-Men out-sell Uncanny Inhumans and All New Inhumans in all three months by a wide margin, often doubling the sales of the Inhuman series. Additionally, even X-Men 92, something of a novelty series related to the 1990s animated television show is outselling the Inhumans’ series in two of three months. Looking at this more closely, the X-Men sales numbers are very solid. They are not near the top of the charts, but consistently topping 40,000 and 50,000 sales are good numbers. The Civil War II tie-in issue also shows that the mutants are capable of excellent number for event or mini-series.
Consequently, based on these facts, you see that Marvel Comics would be incredibly foolish to cancel all X-Men series and hope to replace their X-sales with additional Inhumans series. The Inhumans are a borderline property that is not doing great numbers while the X-Men have a core of very devoted readers, which leads to respectable sales. If anything, the linking of X-Men to Inhumans is probably more like the linking of Deadpool to the Mercs for Money. With Inhumans vs. X-Men, Marvel is hoping to make some X-readers discover and possibly buy Inhumans series. In any case, X-Men fans do not have to fear line-wide cancellation, in my opinion. I think that once the Marvel NOW! is closer, X-Men will play a part at the start or soon after the beginning of the line.