It’s the old two-for-one gambit as Marvel announced today that it will be replacing the long-running Uncanny X-Men title with two books as the X-Men split into two contentious groups as a result of the Jason Aaron-penned X-Men Schism series, which debuts in July. Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s new Wolverine and the X-Men #1 will debut in October focusing on a group led by Logan with a lineup that, according to Marvel, “no one will see coming.”
The Uncanny X-Men, which will end its 48-year run with issue #544 (see “Uncanny X-Men Ending”), will return in November with The Uncanny X-Men #1 by Kieron Gillen and artists Carlos Pacheco and Greg Land. Gillen, who is writing the final issues of the old Uncanny X-Men, sees the two new X-Men series as the natural result of the events in Schism as the tensions between Wolverine and Cyclops lead to a Civil War-like split between the various members of the group.
X-Men editor Nick Lowe told the AP that “The best thing about the split is that the two books hit very different chords. One is hardcore superhero action (Wolverine and the X-Men) and the other is something that I can’t go too deep into without spoiling Schism. The best way that I can describe it is as a return to a structure that made the X-Men what it was.”
Marvel’s EIC Axel Alonso defended the decision to end Uncanny X-Men and then resurrect it few weeks later: “Our longtime fans are very passionate…to them, we promise that there is a story-based reason for Uncanny to come to a close. We promise that there will be a reason for each and every new issue #1 that hits stores in the near future.”
Lowe noted that “One reason for doing this is because the new Uncanny X-Men is a departure. It is no longer what Uncanny X-Men was at its core. It’s not your father’s Uncanny X-Men. We are redefining what this book is and it necessitated this big of a statement.”
Alonso indicated that not only do the events in Schism set up the split of Uncanny X-Men into two titles, but they also presage a major X-Men event that Marvel is planning for the summer of 2012, which Alonso guarantees will have “all eyes (focused) on mutantkind.”
One might be tempted to see a bit of "issue #1 envy" vis-a-vis its chief rival in Marvel's plan if it weren't for slipping X-Men sales that really do necessitate some drastic changes.