Changing the modern costume of the X-Men was supposed to demilitarize the Cyclops team

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Since their initial debut, the X-Men have looked different, but their alterations by artist Jamie McKelvey have made a conscious attempt to demilitarize their costumes. Tasked with redesigning the team’s uniforms for the name X-Men: Blue, McKelvey gave the original five members their own distinctive look, inspired by athletic sportswear and workout gear.
Since their debut in 1963, the X-Men have changed their appearance more than once over the years. Originally dressed in matching blue and gold uniforms, the original five members of Cyclops, Beast, Ice Man, Angel, and Jean Grey/Wonder Girls received their first redesign in X-Men #39, where Jean provides customized costumes for his teammates. Since then, the X-Men have changed their costumes to keep up with the times; perhaps most obviously in the 2000 X-Men movie and its black leather Matrix-style jumpsuits. The evolution of the image of the X-Men can best be seen in the costumes of the leader of the Cyclops team, who went from the heavy image of Jim Lee in the early 90s to the leather jacket of Frank Quitely in the new millennium.
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The team once again revised the costume design for the 2017 film “X-Men: Blue No. 1”, created by Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina. The series continues the story of the original X-Men displaced in time from the “New X-Men” by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen, in which the younger versions of Cyclops, Jean, Monster, Angel and Ice Man are pulled from the past to the present. day. After a conflict with the inhumans, the time-displaced X-Men learn that they may be from an alternate timeline and are not required to return to the past. They then decide to leave the X-Mansion to travel the world and find their place in the X-Men: Blue team. And what could be better than getting brand new costumes, this time courtesy of the outstanding artist and costume designer Jamie McKelvey, who recently shared on Twitter his original costume sketches. In his post, McKelvey states: “It was part of my conscious decision to try to change the design of superhero costumes from militarization [so in the original]. Therefore, I drew inspiration from modern sports and training equipment, which is designed to allow a lot of movement and often colorful with bold shapes.”
Some designs are preserved for a long time, some are not. They belong to the second category, but I still really like them. pic.twitter.com/LKQnW2grMQ
— Jamie McKelvie (@McKelvie) June 28, 2022
It was part of my conscious decision to try to change the design of superhero costumes from militarization. Thus, I drew inspiration from modern sports and training equipment, which is designed to allow a lot of movement and is often colorful with bold shapes. pic.twitter.com/T6pb0kKDdK
— Jamie McKelvie (@McKelvie) June 28, 2022
Some superheroes have a backstory where military aspects make sense (various captains), but most don’t.
— Jamie McKelvie (@McKelvie) June 28, 2022
McKelvey is no stranger to designing superhero costumes, creating iconic looks for Captain Marvel Carol Danvers and Miss Marvel Kamala Khan. The new look of the classic X-Men embodies everything that fans would like to see in a modern redesign, keeping true to the original shapes and colors, but adding real versatility that the original spandex couldn’t handle. Doubly impressive is that McKelvey creates a more realistic look while avoiding the militarized images of superheroes popularized by genre-redefining works such as the Ultimates series by Mark Millar and Brian Hitch that have dominated the genre in the last few decades.
Unfortunately, the new species didn’t last long, as the time-displaced X-Men eventually returned to the past when their storyline ended in 2018. However, given the cyclical nature of comics, there is reason to hope that Jamie McKelvey’s redesign for the classic X-Men will return at some point in the future.