Comics
Published May 1, 2019

Jason Aaron Reflects on the Impact of 'Giant-Size X-Men'

The legendary writer looks back on a seminal moment in X-Men history!

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Since 1975, anyone who's thrilled to the adventures of Marvel's merry mutants probably owes a lot to GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1.

But what makes the issue—which premiered more than a decade after UNCANNY X-MEN #1—so special? A giant among comic book creators, Jason Aaron, lists his reasons above, but keep digging below for more insights about one of the most influential comics in history.

What's Old Is New Again

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched UNCANNY X-MEN #1 back in 1963 introducing the world to Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Beast, Angel, their leader Professor Charles Xavier, and their greatest nemesis, Magneto! Before long, though, Roy Thomas took over writing and other artists took over for Kirby. The series chugged along for seven more years, but in 1970 editorial turned it into a reprint series!

All that changed in 1975, though, when the first new X-Men story in half a decade came out in the form of GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1! Creators Len Wein and Dave Cockrum joined forces to not just bring the mutants back, but increase their numbers with characters from around the world! Now, they're some of the most popular X-folks around, but then, the new batch—Wolverine, Storm, Sunfire, Banshee, Warpath, Colossus and Nightcrawler—must have looked odd bursting forth on that classic cover for many readers! Though Banshee, Sunfire, and Wolverine had appeared previously, this cover marked the first look at the others.

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) #1

getting The Band Together

The first chapter of the tale revolved around Charles Xavier meeting with each of the newcomers and either offering, or asking them, for help. Upon arrival at his Westchester mansion, Professor X gave them Super Hero costumes made from Unstable Molecules and psychically inputted English into the brains of those who didn't already know it! At that point, Cyclops appeared and explained to the newcomers that he, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel, Havoc, and Polaris took off to find a wildly powerful mutant on the island Krakoa. After landing, they were blindsided by an attack. Scott Summers woke up in their ship already on his way home with his optic blast powers briefly suspended! Moments later, he landed in Westchester and did his best to relay what happened to Xavier!

After some Sunfire-related drama, the whole squad landed on Krakoa and broke up into teams. Eventually they all met back up at an ancient temple where the captured X-Men were unconscious, but trapped in some kind of vines that appeared to be feeding off of them. As Cyclops and his new companions freed the confined, Angel revealed that the whole thing had been a trap to bring more mutants to the island...

Angel then related that Krakoa wasn't the location of a new mutant, but the mutant itself! Nearby atomic testing created so much radiation that the living creatures on the nearby island became a colony intelligence. It fed off of the captured X-Men, but let Cyclops go in an effort to attract more food! In the ensuing battle, Professor X attacked the creature mentally while the others took a more physical approach in a plan that launched the sentient island into space!

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) #1

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) #1

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A Bold New Era

And with that, Wein and Cockrum saved the X-Men! UNCANNY X-MEN #94 came out later in 1975, continuing the exploits of this new team, this time with Chris Claremont in the writer's chair, a position he would hold for decades. Claremont would go on to co-create a small army of new, beloved X-characters and chronicle many of their most lauded adventures!

Given the seminal nature of this story, it should come as no surprise that other creators have come along and added to the mythos. In 2005, Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine revealed even more about this even in the six-issue limited series X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS.

Apparently, in between Scott's return and finding the new X-Men, Charles recruited another group of previously unknown mutants—Darwin, Vulcan (the third Summers brother), Sway, and Petra—to take on Krakoa, but they all seemingly died! In reality, Vulcan and Darwin survived. The former decided to take revenge on the X-Men while the latter joined them. This lead into Vulcan's bid to take over the Shi'Ar empire and a series of cosmic conflicts.

This also gave new life to Krakoa, which apparently shot off spores, creating offspring like the one that Beast built the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning on in WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. These days, he can be found hanging out with Quentin Quire.

Read these issues and more on Marvel Unlimited right now!

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