Here’s a recap of the newest X-Men hardcover and trade paperback collected editions from the blogger who owns almost every one ever published! Let me tell you, that’s a lot of collected comics!
Since this is my first column, I’m going to recap new releases from the whole month of July. Whether you’re a major X-Fan or a casual reader, I’ll tell you what’s worth picking up. If you have any questions, just let me know – I own the vast majority of these books, and I’m happy to help.
This is a supplement to my Definitive Guide to Collection X-Men in Graphic Novels, which tells you how you can buy any X-issue ever printed. Ever. But if you’re new to X-Men in comics form, you should read my recent Intro to X-Men (on a budget) post.
Collection of the Month:
Daken/X-23: Collision HC
Collects Daken: Dark Wolverine #5-9, X-23 #7-9, and the Daken/X-23 story from Wolverine: Road to Hell.
CK Says: Buy it! This hardcover has some heft to it in both page count and story, and it doesn’t require a lot of prior knowledge to enjoy. It introduces Wolverine’s amoral, bisexual, illegitimate, villainous offspring Daken to the criminal underworld of Madripoor. Meanwhile, Wolverine’s increasingly-less amoral, teenage, female clone X-23 and her chaperone Gambit wind up on Madripoor’s shores as well, hunting a connection to the Weapon X program.
The result? Much blood and claws, huge explosions, Daken doing his typical double- and triple-crossing, and some truly sumptuous art. (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
What other books came out in the July, including a fan-favorite Wolverine book I consider a “must-skip”?
Excalibur Visionaries: Alan Davis, Vol. 3 TPB
Collects Excalibur #59-67.
CK Says: Consider it. Classic Excalibur writer/artist Alan Davis hit his stride in his prior two Visionaries editions, but these stories from the end of his run are still strong – if a little more wacky than standard X-fare. Featuring a quintessential cast of Captain Britan, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Rachel Summers, plus Davis’s indelible artwork. (Be warned, the production quality here is slightly decreased from previous editions – particularly, the paper is not as glossy.)
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Vol. 3 TPB
Collects X-Men (1963) #22-31.
CK Says: Consider it. The Marvel Masterworks TPBs are outstanding quality reproductions of Marvel classics, but if you like the present-day X-Men the hijinks of the Original 5 (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, and Angel), might come as a slightly corny surprise to you. This group of issues bridges from the Stan Lee classics to the more psychedelic portion of the original run. They introduce a lot of forgettable villains (and Banshee!) with no Magneto in sight. However, if you enjoy Silver Age comics, these Roy Thomas scripts will likely delight.
Wolverine: Wolverine Vs. The X-Men
Collects Wolverine (2010) #5.1 and #6-9.
CK Says: Skip it. Jason Aaron is a fan favorite, but you’ll see no plaudits here. This is Wolverine for the Chuck Palahniuk set – stories full of conveniently contrived “surprising” resolutions comprised of ultra-bloody cliches. Issue 5.1 is a toss-away tale that stretches 35 years of Wolverine canon to near break-point, while #6-9 recaps an ultimately pointless battle between Wolverine and the X-Men that spends a lot of time in the “edgy” corners of Wolverine’s brain, courtesy of Emma Frost. Now that I’m through bashing it, I must confess: the art is grand! (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
X-Factor: Scar Tissue HC
Collects X-Factor #213-219
CK Says: Skip it. X-Factor has one of the best-written X-series since 2006, but this is its first inessential collection since Secret Invasion. That’s mostly because there’s no overarching story here – just a series of middling one-shots followed by a brief enjoyable arc of the crew acting as bodyguards for Spider-Man’s J. Jonah Jameson. Major players include Multiple Man, Darwin, and Monet. Aside from the shocking final panel, you can start #220 without any knowledge of this. Art duties rotate throughout – Italian newcoming Emanuela Lupacchino is the best of the bunch, on the JJJ arc. (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
X-Men Legacy: Aftermath HC
Collects X-Men: Legacy #242-244 & #248-249
CK Says: Consider it. There are no big battles in this volume. Instead, Aftermath presents the emotional fallout of being an X-Man in the wake of those fights for survival. The collection straddles the recent Age of X alternate reality, offering three issues prior (effectively a Second Coming epilogue) and two issues following up. Every issue includes plenty of Rogue and Magneto, the effective title characters of Legacy. Mike Carey continues to be the X-scribe most obsessed with continuity and using a wide cast of characters. (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
X-Men/Steve Rogers: Escape From The Negative Zone Oversized HC
Collects the 2011 spring crossover from Uncanny X-Men Annual 3, Steve Rogers: Super Solider Annual 1, and Namor: The First Mutant Annual 1.
CK Says: Consider it. This is a cinematic-sized story with an unusual small core cast of X-Men. A quartet of X is inadvertently trapped in the outer-space-like Negative Zone, including X-commander Cyclops, cantankerous stalwart Namor, supposed mutant-messiah Hope, and acid-tongued science officer Dr. Nemesis. Though the tale is ultimately forgettable, all four get plenty to do, as does original-flavor Captain America Steve Rogers in an utterly gorgeous chapter from artist Ibraim Roberson. Otherwise, the art trends towards cartoonish, but James Asmus’s story is much fun.
Other X-books out last month:
- Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine HC – Collects the entire six-issue limited series, plus a Director’s Cut edition of the first issue. Penned by Aaron and drawn by 90s Wolverine penciller Adam Kubert with covers from his brother Andy. (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
- New Mutants Classic, Vol. 6 TPB – Collects New Mutants #41-47 & Annual 2, and Uncanny X-Men Annual #10. Though the annuals have been reprinted elsewhere, this is the first chance to re-read most of the New Mutants monthly issues. Note that the paper quality has been decreased, as with Excalibur, above.
- New X-Men By Grant Morrison Book 3 – Collects New X-Men #122-126 in a pocket-sized format. This is one of the strongest parts of Morrison’s run on X-Men, but you should pick up the first two books before reading this one (or, just grab all three in a single regular-sized TPB). Includes some of my all-time favorite images and scripting of Jean Grey.
- Wolverine: The Best There Is – Contagion HC – Collects Wolverine: The Best There Is #1-6. Fans came down hard against this Wolvie sideline series, but its unrated depiction of an insane team of unkillable freaks making Logan one of their number does have its entertaining moments amidst the gore. (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
- X-Men: Lifedeath – Collects Uncanny X-Men #53, 186, 198, 205, & 214. Though this Marvel Premier Classic headlines with its acclaimed Barry Windsor-Smith Storm and Forge story, it’s easy to see that the issues are a disconnected hodgepodge – all of X-Men in alternate dimensions.
Also out last month:
- Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis Vol 1 TPB – Collects Avengers (2010) #1-6. (Also available in HC)
- Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 2 HC – Collects Avengers #7-12 and 12.1. (Also available for pre-order as a TPB)
- Avengers Academy Vol 1: Permanent Record TPB – Collects Avengers Academy #1-6 and material from Enter the Heroic Age. (Also available in HC)
- Hawkeye: Blind Spot TPB – Collects limited series of the same name, plus Hawkeye: Earth’s Mightiest Marksman.
- Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Vol. 11 HC – Collects Avengers (1963) #101-111 and Daredevil #99.
- New Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 1 TPB – Collects New Avengers #1-6. New Avengers is the “street level” Avengers team. (Also available in HC)
- Secret Avengers Vol. 1: Mission To Mars TPB – Collects Secret Avengers #1-5. (Also available in HC)