In the total and complete never-in-a-million-years possibility that I got to do what I wanted with the X-men franchise, here's where I'd start:
Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Kitty, Colossus
Big Things Happen. If Apocalypse were to eat the M'krann Crystal or an army of Deviants show up and turn Chicago into an all-you-can-eat barbeque, it happens here.
Storm, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Warpath, Darwin, Rachel Summers, Angel and Iceman.
Hatred. Bigotry. Fear. But the X-Men are working to change the world. They're the public face of mutants' rights, reacting to disasters and policing the mutant population like a two-fisted version of the Red Cross.
I see the Blackbird flying overhead of a disaster area. Storm and Angel rescuing survivors and contain the damage while Rogue and Warpath are on the ground punching out looters. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler is passing out Hostess Fruit Pies to kids wrapped in emergency blankets.
When the X-men aren't working as mutant-kind's ambassadors they're fighting their own crazy soap-opera lives. I'd explore the idea that a mutant isn't just a human with superpowers. A mutant's life is different from a regular person's; the way they think, act, deal with relationships and perceive the world should be mutated as well. Otherwise, in a world that gives the FF and Avengers parades, why the anti-mutant bias?
100% on these facts: Ororo Munroe is sporting the mohawk and leather vest. She is not sporting a wedding ring. Rogue is wearing the new retro costume. Angel does not have blue skin. Iceman is a man covered in ice, not a man made of ice. Rachel Summers is wearing her mother's classic green costume and sometimes forgets to use her telepathy to hide her hound tattoos. And Darwin is awesome.
Professor X with Cannonball, Dani Moonstar, Husk, Hellion and Dust. The students have become the teachers. Fill out the rest of the roster with a rotating focus on the kids from "New X-men" mixed with Morrison/Whedon's kids and former New Mutants. The school. The Danger Room. Teen angst with two scoops of fun. Opening story arc: "Welcome to Xavier's, Hope You Survive the Experience!"
Banshee, Agent of SHIELD
One of the original pitch ideas for the All-New All-Different X-men was to have an international cast traveling the globe in a flying base, reacting to threats to mutant kind (Roy Thomas' idea). This would be the 21th century update of that unused concept.
Sean Cassidy, ex-Interpol and current SHIELD agent, gets top billing but it's definitely a team book. Globe spanning espionage action and mayhem. Banshee's team is an integrated mix of SHIELD personnel and former X-men, given a helicarrier and tasked as first responders to superhuman threats.
Team Leaders: Banshee and Mockingbird. (Isn't she dead? To riff on a line from Claremont: She was. She got better.)
Field Team: Bishop, Deadpool, Skids, Sabra, Gambit and maybe characters like Pete Wisdom, Puck and Sunfire. Plus a group of SHIELD agents (mix of mutants and humans) who have no ties to Xavier's school. Field team rosters can be custom tailored to the mission, drawing from the pool of agents living on the helicarrier.
Helicarrier Support Team: Forge, Cecilia Reyes, Sharon Friedlander, Tom Corsi and Roger Bochs.
Plus we'll have the SHIELD presence: agents, techs, medics, the post CIVIL WAR version of "cape killer" soldiers and interaction with people like Agent Brand, Maria Hill, Val Cooper, Gyrich, Fury, etc.
Cross-pollenization book, so your villains are Mystique's Brotherhood teaming up with Arnim Zola and the All-New All-Different Masters of Evil.
Don't touch a damn thing.
New Excalibur or Exiles
If Claremont deserves a "thanks for everything" book then he gets one of these and the other one get's the axe. If not, they I'd pull them both from the monthly slate.
But, wait. Where the hell's Wolverine? Glad you asked. With a solo book (guess which of the current two I'd axe) and a day job with the New Avengers, there's not enough time in the day. Let the rest of the X-men shine without the old Canucklehead for a while.
You sir, are a genius.
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