Back after a while in mothballs, it’s my X-collections recap!
Marvel hardly lets a single comic book issue go uncollected in book form, which means every week brings new hardcovers and trade paperbacks packed with their most major heroes – including The X-Men.
Read on for capsule reviews of the X-books out in the second half of September, which were unusually focused on past stories. Plus, get the skinny on all of Marvel’s other new collected editions from the latter half of the month.
If you’re looking for more X-info, head over to my Definitive Guide to Collecting X-Men Graphic Novels. Or, for a more basic approach, my Intro to X-Men (on a budget). New to the X-Men? Try my Where to Start Reading X-Men to pick a place to jump in.
X-Men Collection of the (latter half of the) Month:
New Mutants: Fall of the New Mutants TPB
CK Says: Buy it! When I first picked up the hardcover version of this collection earlier this year it was out of habit, but I quickly discovered the book was impossible to put down. Writer Zeb Wells capitalizes on a dangling plot thread from 80s blockbuster Inferno anda year of slow-boil character development to deliver a complex saga worthy of the X-Men’s rich dramatic history.
It’s hard to imagine a story more harrowing or epic than what the team had just endured in Second Coming, but Well’s pulls it off with art from Leonard Kirk, an efficient, unflashy penciler I’ve grown to love. I don’t want to spoil the story – if you enjoy this team of characters you’ll love it, particularly developments for Cannonball, Moonstar, Karma, and Magik.
Non-X-Men Collection of the (latter half of the) Month:
Dracula by Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano TPB
CK Says: Consider it. This comic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an unusual pick for a pair of reasons. First, it’s one of my collections of the month even though it isn’t an X-book. I bought it on a whim because I love Dracula, but it turned out to be an intuitive condensed version of the classic novel.
Second – and more peculiar – it collects a story that was started in the 1970s and then continued almost thirty years later by the same creators! This comic retelling of Stoker’s classic began in the horror serial Dracula Lives!, but when the serial was cancelled the tale fizzled with some chapters already completed. Legendary scribe Thomas reconnected with Giordano to complete the story as a recolored Marvel mini-series, but this is by far the superior presentation.
If you’re a fan of actual Dracula and not his many watered-down imitators, I suggest picking this up for your bookshelf. It’s also available in hardcover.
There were a handful of other X-titles out in September, but were any of them worth picking up? In my opinion, none of them were must-buys, but they included some solid stories worth considering.
Alpha Flight Classic, Vol 2. TPB
Collects Alpha Flight #9-16.
CK Says: Consider it. A long overdue second edition collecting John Byrne’s original early-80s run on Canada’s premier super-team, which he created in the pages of X-Men. Unfortunately, the first volume had been teetering on the edge of out-of-print, and when this edition was announced prices tripled. Thus, this is only worth picking up if you already have the first one or are familiar with the team.
Astonishing X-Men: Exogenesis TPB
Collects Astonishing X-Men: Exogenesis #1-5
CK Says: Consider it. Sci-fi tinged writer Warren Ellis had this unusually subtle tale slated for the main Astonishing X-Men series, but for reasons unknown to me it was shunted over to a mini-series. Just one look at the cover might tell you that the stylized figures of Kaare Andrews aren’t for you. However, inside is a subtle story about global politics and local justic that capitalizes on a long-dormant Alan Davis story from 80s Captain Britain and Excalibur. Since I love all things Davis, I was pleasantly surprised when I read this in hardcover earlier in the year. Just go in knowing this isn’t a costumed adventure, and that the art is a bit offbeat.
X-Men: First to Last Hardcover
Collects X-Men Giant Size #1 and X-Men #12-15
CK Says: Consider it. Former New X-Men and X-Force co-scribe Kyle Yost takes the reigns of the adjectiveless X-Men book for a single arc. His ability to mine past plots for new stories remains unmatched, as he pulls together a forgotten foe, intercuts with a classic X-Men story from the 60s, and introduces a new villain. It’s not a must-buy to me because it had no discernible consequence despite its scope. Also, while I love picking up old plot threads, I find inserting new chapters into old stories a bit annoying. That said, it makes a good companion to X-Men: First Class and features the cartoon-influenced pencils of Paco Medina, so there’s a lot here to like other than just Yost. If you’re not ready to commit to a hardcover right now, the TPB is forthcoming in April.
X-Men Origins II TPB
Collects X-Men Origins Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Emma Frost, and Deadpool
CK Says: Consider it. This is a great book for both comic newbies and total X-junkies alike, as it provides a modern, in-canon retelling of the origins of major X-Men characters by equally major creative teams. It’s great for fans of the past few X-Men movies, as all of these characters have been featured in versions that don’t quite align with their comic book selves. This was out earlier this year as an oversized hardcover.
Late September collections from the rest of the Marvel Universe:
Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 TPB – A new edition in Marvel’s premium paperback reprint line collecting classic issues. This volume collects Amazing Spider-Man #51-61 and Annual 4.
Deadpool, Vol. 8: Operation Annihilation Hardcover – Collects Deadpool (2008) #36-39, featuring The Hulk. A TPB version is available for pre-order.
Essential Defenders Vol. 6 TPB – A new volume of Marvel black and white Essentials line, massive phone-book size tomes of classic issues. Collects Defenders (1972) #107-124, New Defenders #125, Avengers Annual 11 and Marvel Team-Up (1972) #119. Many of these issues are reprinted here for the first time! Featuring X-Men’s Angel and Beast.
Iron Man 2.0, Vol. 1: Palmer Addley is Dead TPB – The adventures of War Machine, the all-silver iteration of Iron Man’s suit piloted by James Rhodes (as seen in Iron Man 2). Collects issues #17 and a Prelude one-shot.
Marvel Ghost Stories TPB – An uneven collection of classic Marvel supernatural stories. Collects Captain America (1968) #326, Ghost Rider (1973) #12, Hellstorm (1993) #6, Silver Surfer (1968) #8-9, Tomb of Dracula (1972) #23, War Is Hell #9, and West Coast Avengers (1985) #41.
Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics Vol. 6 Hardcover – Marvel premium hardcover reprint line continues its trek through Golden Age issues #21-24, including stories with Namor, The Sub-Mariner.
The ‘Nam Vol. 3 TPB – Marvel continues their gradual reprint sequence of this 1980s series focusing on the war in Vietnam. Collects The ‘Nam #21-30 and material from Savage Tales (1985) #1 and #4.
Spider-Man: The Vengeance of Venom TPB – Collects stories from the first few years of Venom, including Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #332-333, #346-347, #361-363, & #374-375; Spider-Man: The Trial of Venom; and material from Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #373, #388 & Annuals 25-26; Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 12, and Web of Spider-Man Annual 8.
Venom by Rick Remender Hardcover – Reimagines the alien Venom symbiote as a piece of military-grade equipment deployed for special tactical missions, but it comes with a caveat – if you get too emotionally involved in your goal, the suit takes over! Available for pre-order as a TPB.
Two books from Marvel’s re-launched CrossGen universe, which features characters they acquired via Disney’s buy-out of the company in 2004.
Ruse: The Victorian Guide Murder TPB – Collects the four issue mini-series of Victorian-era adventures of Mark Waid’s Sherlock Holmes -esque detective Simon Archard.
Sigil: Out of Time TPB – Collects a four-issue mini-series from the knockout creative team of Mike Carey (X-Men Legacy) and Leonard Kirk (New Mutants). This one is on my wishlist!
Finally, the late September books from Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, which is a separate continuity from the stories in main Marvel books:
Ultimate Comics Avengers Vs. New Ultimates Hardcover – Collects Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1-6. Elsewhere this is advertised as “The Death of Spider-Man,” as on the TPB available for pre-order.
There you have it! Now that a few weeks have gone by, have you picked up any of those collections? If not, is there one you have your eye on after reading this post?
I’ll keep playing catch-up next week with an October recap to get us back on schedule.