Earlier today, Marvel announced that Brian Michael Bendis has extended his exclusive contract with the company. Bendis has been writing for Marvel since 2000, with lengthy runs on New Avengers, Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man and his current run on All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men.
However, Bendis is leaving the X-Men franchise with the upcoming release of Uncanny X-Men # 600. While speaking with Comic Book Resources, Bendis said “Over the course of the last few years, I will have written almost 90 issues of X-Men. That’s a good run! One of the best parts about being on X-Men was that I knew I was never going to hit Chris Claremont’s X-Men record, so I was free of whatever that is that drives such a thing.”
Bendis added that “we were planning everything out, and boy, ‘Uncanny #600 came like two weeks before Secret Wars. So I thought, ‘That’s interesting! Let’s make the most out of that!’ I can’t say too much other than what a perfect thing for the X-Men to have an anniversary issue just before Secret Wars!”
What this likely means for the X-Men is that Bendis will put the characters back largely to their pre-Bendis status quo. That includes putting the original five X-Men back into their proper time period. This isn’t a far fetched theory, as Bendis essentially did the same thing with his Avengers run before Jonathan Hickman took over.
“I know my departure is not going to help the paranoid people who think the X-Men’s days at Marvel are numbered,” said Bendis. “That’s not what this means. I know you’re not going to believe me, but I wish you would. If you knew me on a personal level, you would know that I don’t fib. This is because I’ve done my X-Men, and there are these other things that I want to do more. I would love to do both, but I can’t do both. I’ve already done the X-Men now, so I want to do this other thing before I die.”
From a story perspective, Bendis hinted that Eva Bell’s time travel adventures in the recent X-Men annuals will come into play as his final X-Men issues come out. He also said that “the premise of Uncanny #600, for lack of a better term — it’s not similar to “The Trial of Jean Grey,” but this is the trial of Hank McCoy. It doesn’t involve a judge and jury trial. Hank was the inciting incident of my run. There are big goings on for Hank coming up in “The Black Vortex” crossover and leading up to #600. Even when it was focused on Jean, Scott and other elements, this whole story was about Hank McCoy, in a way.”
Uncanny X-Men # 600 will be released in May. Chris Bachalo will be the artist of the main story, with contributions from Stuart Immonen, Kris Anka and Mahmud Asrar. Additionally, Bendis indicated that several previous X-Men comic creators have been invited to provide chapters of the oversized Uncanny X-Men # 600.