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X-Men (Earth-616)/Retcons

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This is a page tracking all retcons that have affected the X-Men storyline. Retcon stands for "retroactive continuity", meaning a previous story has to be altered or ignored to allow for a more recent storyline to be accurate. This could include such things as origin changes, identity changes, event changes, and anything else that requires a previous issue to be wrong as written.

Additionally, timing incongruencies are also listed below, because the second occuring timing statement is in principle a retcon of the previous time benchmark. Eg, if a given statement leads one to conclude 2 years have passed between two points, and a later one asserts something such that no more than 1 year could have passed between them, the latter is retconning the timing statement of the former.

All retcons should be listed by the issue that is changed, followed by a description of what forced aspects of that issue to be ignored or altered, and in which issue that occurred.

Events are grouped by publication decade below. This list is likely incomplete - add additional retcons in the appropriate place.

Silver Age

  • X-Men Vol. 1 #1 - Professor X claims he lost the use of his legs in a childhood accident. In X-Men Vol. 1 #9 it was stated that he lost the use of his legs during an encounter with Lucifer as an adult, and many later stories depend on this.[1]
  • X-Men Vol. 1 #1 - Jean arrives at the school for the first time in this issue. She has never been there before, nor has she met Professor X previously. Bizarre Adventures 27 revealed that Professor X had been instructing her some time previous, making much of X-Men 1 blatantly false.
  • X-Men Vol. 1 #12 - Professor X and step-brother Cain Marko served in the Korean War together as part of Juggernaut's origin story. Due to Marvel's sliding timescale, this was later amended to the Vietnam War, and at the present is in a sort of limbo because there is no war which is both sufficiently recent and utilized the draft to move it to.
  • X-Men Vol. 1 #42 - Professor X dies. The cover explicity states "Not a hoax. Not a dream." In X-Men Vol. 1 #65 it is instead revealed that it was the Changeling, taking Professor X's place so he could work on investigating the Z'Nox, who died.[2]
  • X-Men Vol. 1 #54 - Impossible timing scenario. Scott and the X-Men take Alex out for drinks after his graduation. However, note that the drinking age in New York State at the time was 21 (and has been ever since for NY, even though at the time most of the nation's drinking age was 18), and Scott is *older* than Alex. The writer apparently forgot that comics do not happen in real time, but even if they did, Scott was ~17 in 1963, and its only 5 years later, meaning he could probably drink (he's 22), but his younger brother almost certainly can't! Of course, because of Marvel Time, 5 years haven't actually happened, and so even Scott isn't old enough to drink in NY yet! Oops?

Bronze Age

  • X-Men Vol. 1 #101-X-Men Vol. 1 #137 - Jean Grey died on the moon at the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga, having used the Phoenix codename since 101. In Fantastic Four 286 it was revealed that Jean had been replaced by the Phoenix Force, and it was the Phoenix who 'died' on the moon. Later stories further changed this so that the Phoenix was a powerful cosmic being who could never permanently die.[3]
  • Uncanny X-Men #141 - Kate Pryde, Kitty's future self, specifically tells the X-Men that Professor X, Moira MacTaggert, and Senator Robert Kelly will die if the X-Men don't stop the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. However, when Rachel returns to the past, she has a clear flashback outside of the X-Mansion of Professor X dying much later when the Sentinels attacked the mansion, an event which was to occur years after the Brotherhood's assassination of Kelly et al. in Washington D.C.

Modern Age

  • Uncanny X-Men 171 - Impossible timing scenario. Madelyne Pryor has a nightmare about the plane crash that only she walked away from, and she names a date! September 1, 1980. Scott Summers thinks to himself "That's the day Jean died." (referring to the Phoenix Force). Now, despite the fact that the date has clearly been retconned to something more recent, that's not the major issue here. Given how Marvel Time works[4], This timing is impossible based on events that occur in Uncanny X-Men 179. Where, to whit, Storm says Kitty "was not yet 15" (referring to a mocked-up body made by Masque to look like Kitty). Kitty first appears in Uncanny X-Men 129 at the age of 13. Thus, less than 2 years pass between 129 and 179. However, UXM 171 was published in 1983, which makes that the present date for events in the comic (see the marvel time footnote), and thus Jean died 3 years prior to that. But Jean dies after Kitty's introduction! Basically, these two independent timing metrics are totally incongruent, because it claims more time passes between UXM 137-171 than between UXM 129-179!
  • While never explicitly stated, it was heavily hinted during Chris Claremont's run that Sabretooth was Wolverine's father, and Claremont has stated in an interview that that was what he had intended. Once Claremont left, other writers took Wolverine's backstory in different directions (e.g., Wolverine's James Howlett persona).

The 90s

  • Following the Fatal Attractions event, it is revealed that Wolverine's claws are part of his mutant powers. This directly contradicts earlier stories in which wolverines claws not being a mutant power is a plot point.[5]

The Noughties (00s)


  1. See X-Men Vol. 1 #12, X-Men Vol. 1 #117, Uncanny X-Men #161
  2. writer Roy Thomas specifically kept the Changeling as a possible out for Professor X's death, including his notable absence during the Sentinel storyline in X-Men Vol. 1 #57-#59.
  3. This is perhaps the most far-reaching retcon in the history of Marvel Comics. Not only did it reverse the definitive and supposedly confirmed death of a major character, it also occurred many years after the fact with no preparations made for such a retcon and thus the character's death being taken as a given by writers during that time period. Additionally, it requires us to balefire (make such that it never existed) the Watcher's comments in X-Men 137 because the Watcher confirms the being's identity as Jean. Such a dramatic and far-reaching retcon was necessary to comply with editor-in-chief Jim Shooter's requirement that any attempt to bring Jean back from the dead must also make her innocent of the death of the Shi'ar planet (see X-Men Vol. 1 #135), which basically required the being who died on the moon not be Jean. This was also a highly controversial retcon - there were many who were pleased with the return of the character, but there was also many upset that the bite had been taken out of what was a powerful storyline - that 'Jean died human rather than live as a god' (Paraphrased from the Watcher, UXM 137).
  4. Marvel Time is a system of retroactive time-compression such that an issue is always written now, but real time has not occurred between it and previous issues. So for instance, from the perspective of Uncanny X-Men 150, it really is 1981, but it hasn't been 18 years since Professor X brought the X-Men together. When historical events become important, events that are chronologically incongruent (Professor X serving in the Korean War) get shifted to appropriate more recent analogs (e.g., Vietnam). However, if a comic gives a historical date, that does set relative timing between the two events. Similarly, character age of a given character between two issues can theoretically be compared. When all available benchmarks do not agree, contradictions in the amount of time that has passed occurred.
  5. See Uncanny X-Men #221-222, Uncanny X-Men #235-238, and to a lesser degree X-Tinction Agenda

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