Among the many exciting comics announcements to emerge from San Diego Comic-Con in 2018, one turned out to be anti-climactic. During its X-Men panel, Marvel leadership was proud to announce that a new series of Uncanny X-Men would arrive this fall. The iconic logo was revealed in steel gray with a background of storm clouds offering an ominous tone. However, Marvel Comics was not prepared to offer any details on the series. It’s not clear which X-Men will be part of the team, what the core premise of the comic will be, or even who will be creating the comic.
That’s more than fine by us though, as there are few things comics fans like to do more than speculate about the future. While it might be frustrating to not know who will be creating the flagship X-Men title this fall, it does leave endless possibilities for whatever directions it could go. The key point of conversation now is who will write Uncanny X-Men. That one bit of knowledge will provide a clearer picture on what sort of stories fans can expect and which artistic talents would make for the best possible pairing.
After putting some serious thought into the issue, we have assembled a list of the eight top writers we hope to see announced for Uncanny X-Men. All of these writers are active today and available for work at Marvel Comics (sorry, Tom King fans), making each recommendation a very real possibility. Any of these eight very talented writers would have us excited for a new Uncanny X-Men, which has us even more excited to find out who it actually will be.
Hickman is the frontrunner for this role based on rumors alone. The writer has been on a hiatus from superhero comics altogether since his combined opuses with the Fantastic Four and Avengers collided in the massive Secret Wars event. It was an incredible amount of work that deserved a long rest. However, there are few writers who can assemble massive, franchise-defining storylines quite like Hickman. There are enough characters and history in the story of these mutants to provide the epic scale on which Hickman thrives. If he wanted to return to Marvel Comics, then the X-Men would provide the perfect stage to do it all one more time.
Tamaki is the rising star of Marvel Comics writers in 2018, and the recent debut on X-23 #1 has shown she has a real knack for writing the X-Men. In addition to capturing the characters of Laura and Gabby perfectly, her first issue also wandered through the X-Men and complex history of the Morrison era, providing special attention to the Stepford Cuckoos. While Tamaki has never written a team series before, she has yet to strike out on a single superhero assignment and certainly appears plenty knowledgeable about the X-Men. This could be the series to launch her from a favorite solo writer, to a team leader at Marvel Comics.
If Marvel Comics has a secret weapon it’s Al Ewing. Everything he touches turns out far better than anyone expects, including strange twists on video games and a last crack at the dying Inhumans franchise. There is no idea that Ewing can’t improve. It’s about time the writer was given one of Marvel Comics’ banner comics, and he has shown talent with all of the key elements in Uncanny X-Men. Ewing is a master at revising complex histories, capturing team dynamics, and making space epics accessible, so it’s difficult to imagine a much better writer for the new series than him.
Kelly Thompson is no slouch when it comes to writing superhero teams either. She covered a number of notable X-Men in the pages of A-Force, a team comic that focused as much on the internal dynamics of group as the best X-Men comics. Thompson has also evidenced a great adaptability between different titles. In addition to crafting great big superhero adventures, she has also provided some of the best street-level stories of recent years, including Jessica Jones and Hawkeye. Wherever the new Uncanny X-Men series needs to go, Thompson can surely lead it there.
The most astounding element of Christopher Priest’s return to comics is how the man only improved while on a hiatus. His Deathstroke remains one of the true must-read superhero comics of the past several years, and a recent stint on both Justice League and an Inhumans miniseries made it clear how wide his wheelhouse is. If DC Comics was foolish enough to miss keeping Priest on a headlining series or an exclusive contract, then Uncanny X-Men provides the perfect opportunity for Marvel to make the most of this uniquely talented writer.
While Marjorie Liu may not want to return to superhero comics, it would certainly be wise of the editors at Marvel Comics to ask. Liu and Sana Takeda, her co-creator on Monstress, were first teamed up for a definitive take on the mutant character X-23 before going on to sweep the Eisner Awards this summer. Liu has always been a master at devising meaningful, imaginative superhero stories and still infusing them with lots of fun. If there was ever a time to bring her back to the genre, that moment has arrived.
Rowell has quickly revealed an immense talent for telling stories of superhero teams on Runaways. Her 11 issues on the series so far have built beautifully on the past while developing a great central action piece and plenty of subplots in every issue. It is a beautiful combination of soap opera and fantasy action, the same sort of elements that made Claremont’s run on X-Men so charming in the '80s. If Marvel is looking to take a chance on a new writing talent in comics, then Rowell would be the closest they could come to a sure bet.
This is the closest pick to a pipe dream in this lineup. It’s certainly possible that G. Willow Wilson could tackle Uncanny X-Men, but it would make for a very busy schedule after announcing upcoming work on Wonder Woman and the creator-owned Dark Horse series Invisible Kingdom with Christian Ward. However, if Wilson did want to tackle the X-Men, it would be difficult to argue there is anyone better suited to address the politics and moment for the series at Marvel than she.