The X-Men were once Marvel's premiere team and now they have a shot at regaining their lost glory
Marvel Comics post-MCU and pre-MCU are two completely different worlds. While this has been a fun change of pace with a lot of titles, the 'X-Men' comics have suffered a lot due to this new movie-minded attitude. However, things are starting to change for the better.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a total gamechanger for the comic book industry, making many relatively unknown characters like Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon into massive pop culture icons.
Fox's 'X-Men' movies have had much less of an impact compared to their MCU counterparts despite having made quite a lot of money at the box office. Though 'Dark Phoenix' sunk like a bag of bricks, the franchise, in general, has had quite a pleasant run. Of course, it helped that the X-Men were already Marvel's most popular team long before the movies but all that would soon change. Ever since the MCU started to properly take shape, Marvel has tried to revamp their comics to parallel the movies. While some changes were more cosmetic, others have been deeper and longer-lasting.
Marvel Comics post-MCU and pre-MCU are two completely different worlds. While this has been a fun change of pace with a lot of titles, the 'X-Men' comics have suffered a lot due to this new movie-minded attitude. Undoubtedly there were those rare gems that reminded one of mutantkind's past glory, but post-MCU it became clear that there was no place for mutants in the new Marvel Comics. After decades of being oppressed by their fellow fictional characters, the X-Men now faced a different kind of problem, one driven primarily by real-world legal and financial interests.
Before 2008's 'Iron Man', Marvel's properties were spread over a variety of studios all of whom have since ended up competing with the MCU to varying degrees of success. The 'X-Men' movie franchise was easily the most successful of all the Marvel properties that existed outside of the MCU. The rights deal between Fox and Marvel meant that the MCU could not introduce or even reference mutants, which created a bit of a problem. Over their long history, mutants have been major players in pretty much every major comic book event, barring perhaps the 'Infinity War'.
To compensate for the lack of mutants in the movies, Marvel began phasing them out of the comics and replacing them with the Inhumans. Mutant populations dropped, beloved characters like Scott Summers/Cyclops were turned into villains, and many of the less iconic mutants had their origins retconned to make them Inhumans. The rise of Inhumanity was directly tied to the decimation of mutantkind by an epidemic of M-Pox, a disease caused by the mutant's X-gene reacting with the Terrigen mists that gave the Inhumans their power.
Obviously, the X-Men didn't take this well and the conflict continued to escalate until the two offshoots of humanity ended up going to war with each other, with disastrous consequences. Meanwhile, Inhumans became major players in the MCU through Marvel's 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' series, though admittedly not for long.
Thankfully, the pendulum has now swung back and the X-Men's fortunes are on the rise again. After Disney and Fox completed their historic merger, the X-Men have now become part of the MCU and Marvel is presently busy fixing the damage done to them in the comics.
The comic book giant is totally revamping the entire history of mutantkind with acclaimed writer Jonathan Hickman taking the lead. The two flagship titles of the relaunch, 'Powers of X' and 'House of X', have put out only five issues between them but they have already changed the game in its entirety.
While the 'X-Men' titles of the last decade have focused on the decline of mutants and their impending extinction, 'House of X' and its sister book have revitalized the X-Men and given them a new homeland, a new purpose, and a vibrant, distinctive culture of their own. In many ways, this is somewhat similar to the approach that legendary writer Grant Morrison took with mutants back when he worked on his acclaimed 'New X-Men' series with artist Frank Quitely.
The combination of Hickman's revamp and the Disney/Fox deal bodes well for the future of the X-Men. As distressing as it has been to see them dragged down in recent years, the time has finally come for the X-Men to once again take their place as the greatest Marvel heroes ever.
The next installment of Hickman's run, 'House of X '#3, will arrive on August 28, 2019.
The X-Men will officially be joining the MCU some time in Phase Five, though they may still be introduced during the upcoming Phase 4 that starts with the movie 'Black Widow', releasing May 1, 2020.