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There are a lot of different comic book spin-offs of the X-men. Here is a list of the ones Wikipedia considers 'Core'

Astonishing X-Men • New Mutants • Uncanny X-Force • Uncanny X-Men • Wolverine and the X-Men • X-Factor • X-Men • X-Men: Legacy.

How do these all tie into the group? As far as I'm aware X-Men and Wolverine and the X-men are the two main ones. X-force is some secret group of Cyclops'(?), and Ultimate is a different continuity althogether (after a reboot?) But otherwise how do these titles fit together? What makes them different? In essence, why do they 'need' to exist? Are they based in the same 'universe' as the standard X-Men comics? From what I can find they don't seem to be...

Astonishing X-men

It is a continuation of Grant Morrison's New X-Men title and features a similar line-up of characters, including Cyclops and Emma Frost (as co-team leaders), Beast, Shadowcat, Colossus, Lockheed and Wolverine.

Yet these character have been separate since Schism, so is this linked in anyway to X-Men and their storylines? I'm thinking about the results of House of M and the current AvX.

New Mutants

During the Regenesis event, the New Mutants, with the exception of Cannonball and Karma, choose to join Cyclops' side, but rather than remain on Utopia, they establish a new base at the 1128 Mission Street in San Francisco.

This seems more like it's linked into the Core X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men. Is that right?

X-Factor

X-Factor Investigations is a detective agency run by Jamie Madrox, formerly known as Multiple Man.

I can't tell if this is link to the core X-men comics at all.

X-Men: Legacy

No Suitable Summary Found

This sounds like it links to Messiah complex but has diverged somewhere....?

(Uncanny?) X-Force

In 2007–2008, during the Messiah Complex crossover, a new version of X-Force was formed that had Wolverine leading a more militaristic black ops branch of the X-Men

This seems link in again via the Messiah complex but is possibly happening at a different time? I don't know how this is linked really.

So How do all the different Comic Lines (out of universe) and X-men Teams (In universe) tie together continuity wise?

p.s. I'm mainly askign so I know which titles coincide with AvX but I'm more generally interested too.

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+100

Short answer, all of the titles you mentioned (except for Ultimate Comics X-Men) are in continuity with the main Marvel Universe, and their entire runs are in continuity with the main Marvel Universe. Yes, Wolverine is in too many of them in addition to his appearances in his own series and Avengers books. Yeah, the timeline regarding where they all fit in with Schism is not entirely clear. These are just things that comic book fans have to get past. Figuring out how Wolverine can be in multiple places at once is secondary to having Wolverine in that book and, in theory, making it sell (he's incredibly popular, but whether or not his inclusion actually boosts sales, that's another question).

Long answer, to dive into each of these titles. As of Spring 2012, the X-Line is divided into two camps and locations. Half of the books follow Cyclops' team on the island Utopia off the coast of San Francisco, as they fight for the survival of the mutant race and practice an isolationist agenda. Wolverine's team is stationed at the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning in Westchester, NY, as they teach the next generation of students to integrate into society. Fights still happen, of course. Continuity wise, issues released in the same month more-or-less take place around the same time. There are times when a book (like Uncanny X-Force, for example) will go on a long, long storyarc taking months to tell, meaning it will get somewhat out of step with the rest of the titles. Sometimes schedules have gotten confused to where events from one storyline's fallout will show up in other titles before that title has finished it's story. For the most part, though, Marvel tries to make sure that doesn't happen. All of the X-Men comics have known that AVX was coming for some while now, and have been building up to it.

The current X-Comics are:


Wolverine's side:

  • Wolverine and the X-Men - starring Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Beast, Rachel Summers, and a whole lot of students. This is this side's flagship title. This follows the main ongoings at the Jean Grey Institute campus; there's a lot of school procedural mixed in with absolutely epic, insane action.
  • Astonishing X-Men - starring Wolverine, Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Northstar, Iceman, with Cecelia Reyes. So far this series seems to put a small section of Wolverine's team in Manhattan proper, as they fight city-based bad guys.
  • X-Men: Legacy - starring Rogue, Gambit, Frenzy, Rachel Summers, Cannonball and Husk. This follows the adults at the Jean Grey Institute who are mostly charged with the campus' protection and security.

Cyclops' side:

  • Uncanny X-Men - starring Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, Namor, Danger, Magneto and Hope Summers. This is this side's flagship title. This is Cyclops' primary team, what he has dubbed the Extinction Team. They are charged with taking on the giant, Earth endangering threats that are too big for any other mutant team.

  • New Mutants - starring Dani Moonstar, Magma, Cypher, Warlock, Sunspot and X-Man. This squad of X-Men live in San Francisco proper and are tasked with tying up the loose ends of the X-Men's past (this means they tend to go on adventures that are deeply rooted in comic book lore, usually referencing storylines from a decade or more ago).

  • X-Men - starring Storm, Colossus, Jubilee, Psylocke, Warpath and Domino. This follows another squad of active duty X-Men, similar to the one in Uncanny X-Men but they go on less grand scale and urgent missions.


Sorta Unaffiliated:

  • Uncanny X-Force - starring Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke and an alternate reality version Nightcrawler. This is Wolverine's black ops hit squad, which has more or less been outed. They still operate out of Colorado, though, and while the events of this book have repercussions in other books, the title itself is fairly independent. They have not aligned with either side, as evidenced by Wolverine and Psylocke's teaming up (they are on opposing sides) and Deadpool, Fantomex and Nightcrawler not appearing in any other X-Men team comics.
  • X-Factor - starring Multiple Man, Layla Miller, M, Strong Guy, Siryn, Wolfsbane, Longshot, Rictor, Shatterstar, Havok and Polaris. X-Factor exists in the Marvel Universe but has rarely crossed over with the main X-Men comics since its inception in the mid-00s. This comic follows a mutant detective agency, led by Multiple Man. They were recently hired by Wolverine to do a mission for his side, but that doesn't mean they have sided with that side.
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    This is exactly the sort of clarification I wanted! And I was sure it'd be you answering somehow... – AncientSwordRage Apr 30 '12 at 20:13

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