Aug 23, 2008

[Comics] X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of the Future PastHot on the heels of the Dark Phoenix Saga, The Uncanny X-Men had another epic tale that will forever be remembered all throughout comic book history.

One of the parts of the X-Men series that always interested me were the Sentinels - those towering robotic giants that were the bane of all mutants, all the while garbed in purple. Yes, purple! Everyone fear the purple robots!

Kidding aside, the concept of the mutants really was something that appealed to part of my geekdom obsessed with robots and most things mechanical. Of course one of the best stories that featured these fearsome robots was one set far off in one of Earth's possible, yet dismally dark future.

Days of Future Past was a generation-spanning tale documented in The Uncanny X-Men issues #141-142. The story follows two timelines - one is the bleaker future where the Sentinels rule North America and most of the worlds mutants and other metahumans have been killed. In order to prevent their timeline from happening, the remaining X-Men try a daring plan to stop the Sentinels from every rising to power. Using Rachel Summer's powers, she sends the psyche of the older Kitty Pryde to switch with her younger self in order to warn the X-Men of the danger in their future.

Kitty PrydeImage via Wikipedia Back in the "present" timeline, the X-Men are warned by the future Kitty Pryde possessing the body of her younger version and they try to stop the pivotal event that will forever change Earth's dark future.

Post-apocalyptic tales of the future may pretty much be bread and butter for the entertainment world these days but in 1981 it was still a concept being explored a bit more often by the entertainment world, as eventually demonstrated in movie franchises like the Terminator series. There's something that makes us see the future as a dark and nearly hopeless world that sets the stage for some interesting storytelling, provided the tale is told in an effective manner.

In this case, the story was quite masterfully done given the skilled writing of Chris Claremont and the art of John Byrne. Their future is indeed bleak but not entirely without hope despite the significant hardships the future X-Men face and somehow manage to surmount day after day in their efforts not to give into despair.

The world of Days of Future Past, later on tagged as Earth-811, is one that remained quite popular and has been revisited many times in both the comic book world and in other media. The cartoon series had to attempt to tackle this storyline to a limited extent and even the recent movies featured the world to a limited extent, if only as a Danger Room battle simulation.

It may just be two issues worth, but this was indeed an excellent of the kind of storytelling that helped the X-Men reach their current level of popularity - and that's coming from a non X-Men fan, hehe.

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