PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Uncanny X-Men, soon to end in just a few more issues, won't be gone for long. Two new titles will replace Marvel Comics' longest-running current series in November as it draws a 48-year run to a close with issue No. 544.
In what the publisher is calling "X-Men Regenesis," two separate teams calling themselves the X-Men will take root this fall with the respective series - "Wolverine & The X-Men" due in October and "Uncanny X-Men" starting in November. They will feature a divided roster of former friends and colleagues under decidedly different leadership and boasting competing goals.
Nick Lowe, who has edited the current series and Marvel's X-Men related titles, said the logic of dividing the teams will become readily apparent as the divide between longtime leader Cyclops, aka Scott Summers, and his comrade but less than friend, Wolverine, aka Logan, see what's left of their tenuous partnership shatter in the upcoming mini-series "X-Men: Schism." It is being written by Jason Aaron.
"The best thing about this split is that the two books hit two very different chords. One is hardcore super hero action and the other is something else entirely that I can't go too deep into without spoiling 'Schism,'" Lowe said. "The best way I can describe it is a return to a structure that made the X-Men what it was."
And that, he said, is why there will be two titles rising, phoenix-like, from the ashes of one.
Kieron Gillen, who is writing the current "Uncanny X-Men" and will do the same for the new series, said much of what is to come will be laid out in the five-issue "Schism" story that comes out next month.
Though details of the story have been kept under wraps, Marvel has made no secret of the impact it will have on the X-Men and their friends.
""The events in 'Schism' will cause a huge rift in the X-Men, the ripple effects of which will be felt in Marvel Universe," Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said. "In the course of this story, Cyclops and Logan will realize that there is no way for them to continue on the course they've been going - or, indeed, to even co-exist."
Gillen said that "there's no hope for a united team as long as they hold the beliefs they do. There's also the chance the schism will make the individuals involved (never) look each other in the eye again."
But readers may question the logic of ending the original series only to restart it a month later.
Alonso said it was not a decision taken lightly.
"Our long-time fans are very passionate - and we love them for it. To them, we promise that this is a story-based reason for 'Uncanny' to come to a close," he said. "We promise that there will be a reason for each and every new issue No. 1 that hits stores in the near-future."
Lowe called the move wholly rooted in the stories being told and those that are coming.
"Our reason for doing this is because this new 'Uncanny X-Men' series is a departure. It is no longer what 'Uncanny X-Men' was at its core," he said. "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 said it was not a hasty decision to end the current series and make room for two new ones.
"For five years, we've been getting our ducks in a row to prepare for 'Schism,' just as 'Schism' sets up a 2012 event that will have all eyes focused on the X-Men," he said.
Ultimately, when "Schism" concludes, Alonso said that the survivors -whomever they may be - "will stare at each other across a philosophical chasm the size of the Grand Canyon. This is a war for the heart of the X-Men."