X-Men 2099 isn’t as remembered as the Spider-Man 2099, but this team of mutants was a breath of fresh air for the franchise and legacy sequels.
The Marvel 2099 imprint took things far into the future, showing how a cyberpunk tomorrow would radically change the Marvel Universe. The most well-known aspect of this alternate reality is the heroic Spider-Man 2099, who’s perhaps one of the most popular variants of the Spider-Man character. Despite Miguel O’Hara’s prominence, he’s only one part of the universe that succeeded at what it was trying to do.
X-Men 2099 (created by John Francis Moore and Ron Lim) was popular in its own right, though it was far different from what many might expect from a next-generation X-Men team. Having only faint ties to the group’s past and moving things forward in a big way, Marvel’s futuristic mutants deserve as much spotlight as their web-slinging colleague. With Spider-Man 2099 receiving more attention as of late, this could finally rub off on the Children of Tomorrow’s Tomorrow.
X-Men 2099 Was a Forgotten Late ’90s Marvel Book
In the future of 2099, outcasts are more downtrodden than ever in the Marvel Universe, and that’s still the case for mutants in particular. Formed by X’ian Chi Xan and Shakti Haddad, the X-Men of 2099 invited all mutants to join a cause of rebellion against the many mega-corporations that had come to control their lives, namely the ubiquitous Alchemax. Inspired by the X-Men legends of old and the teachings of both Professor Charles Xavier and his extremist rival Magneto, X’ian sought to create a new paradise for mutants. Together with mutants such as Junkpile, Serpentina, and Metalhead, they went about freeing the oppressed (namely mutants) while being hunted down by the corporations they ran afoul of.
As with most versions of the X-Men, there was a lot of betrayal along the way, not to mention savage foes turned staunch allies. Most ironic is that they weren’t truly “fully formed” as a unit until around the series’ conclusion, adding even more of a dysfunctional family element. The team would become instrumental in humanity and mutants both surviving the catastrophic events that would occur in the 2099 timeline. This survival took them to the Savage Land, where aspects of the original X-Men’s lives continued to live on in strange ways. Since then, they’ve rarely been used at the same level as Spider-Man 2099, despite offering an organic way to expand the X-Men mythology.
X-Men 2099 Was Unique Among X-Men Books and “Future Sequels”
2099 as a whole was very much like the DC cartoon Batman Beyond, as they both featured futuristic worlds where past heroes were now replaced by new incarnations. With Batman Beyond/Terry McGinnis and Spider-Man 2099/Miguel O’Hara, new versions of their original counterparts’ old foes were also along for the ride. Miguel even met Peter Parker, and there was generally a lot connecting the two versions of the property. The same can’t be said for X-Men 2099, which was actually something of a relief. The book mentioned Xavier and the general concept of the old X-Men team, but blatant references to other well-known team members were few and far between.
There was also no attempt to directly emulate past mutants, with the 2099 X-Men having fairly unique powers. Metalhead’s abilities were arguably like those of legendary X-Men member Colossus, and X’ian’s name essentially made him the “Professor X” of the group. Beyond that, however, the series and its titular team were far more unique than most might expect, especially since the ’90s was the time of the more familiar X-Men being increasingly commercialized. Another interesting aspect is that the utopia X’ian envisions could be argued as foreshadowing both the final fate of mutants in the Ultimate Universe and the current Krakoa status quo in X-Men comics.
Sadly, a scant few storylines have been done with them since then, and the team has never appeared outside the comics. With Spider-Man 2099 getting a major role in the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, however, Marvel might decide to give the entire 2099 lineup another look. If that’s the case, an X-Men 2099 might be the perfect way to sate readers who want to return to stories where mutants are in more of an underdog status. The future is currently unknown for the X-Men of 2099, but it may very well be bright.