X-Men fans are used to sweeping changes in their favorite X-Men comics. It seems like there's a massive creative re-structuring of the core books every five years or so, with new titles introduced and old titles given the axe, and the team line-ups changing like the seasons. What X-Men fans aren't used to is seeing your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man on the team. Or the vampire hunter Blade. Or the assassin Elektra. Or a She-Hulk from the future. What the heck is going on here?

The latest re-launch finds these unusual picks fighting alongside more familiar X-Men characters like Psylocke, Gambit, Jubilee, X-Man, and Magneto. Newsarama has all of the promotional images for the all-new comic, but editor Nick Lowe is tight-lipped on the specifics of why so many non-mutants are joining the team.

Marvel's re-starting X-Men (not to be mistaken for Uncanny X-Men) with an all-new issue one this July. There's a big hint at the Blade connection, as the first arc in the book sees the mutant team facing off against vampires. For the purists, Marvel's cover art for X-Men #1 reflects a more traditional X-Men line-up, with Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, and Emma Frost standing proud (rendered by artist Paco Medina.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the more unusual choices are coming aboard as guest-stars for the first few issues (written by Victor Gischler). I can't imagine Spider-Man wanting to bring even more grief to his life by claiming he's a mutant, and I can't see Blade sticking around after the vampire threat is vanquished, to fight Sentinels or Apocalypse.