This is the end, my friends! The last in a series of four posts covering how Marvel could cover every X-Men comic book in omnibus volumes.
This post covers every X-Men series from Messiah Complex to the end of Marvel Now in an effort to give you maximum ideas for the The Most Wanted Marvel Omnibus Secret Ballot, where you vote for the comic runs you’d most like to see in an oversized format. Monday I covered all of X-Men from 1963 to 1991, Tuesday I reviewed 1991 to 2001, and yesterday I broke down 2001 to 2008.
- X-Men: From Messiah Complex to AvX
- Uncanny X-Men (1963) #487 – 544 & (2011) #1-20
- Age of Apocalypse
- Astonishing X-Men (2004) #25-68 & Annual 1
- Cable, X-Force, & Uncanny X-Force
- Captain Britain & MI:13
- Magneto (2014)
- Namor, The First Mutant (2010)
- New Mutants (2009)
- Wolverine (various)
- X-23 (2010)
- X-Factor by Peter David
- X-Men, Vol. 3 (2010)
- X-Men Legacy by Mike Carey (& Christos Gage)
- X-Treme X-Men
- X-Men in Marvel Now
With 21 more omnibuses from Messiah Complex to AvX and another 10 from Marvel Now, this edition brings our grand total of potential X-Men volumes to 113 possible omnibuses – which begs the question: How many of these could we possibly see in our lifetimes before books become completely obsolete and comics are downloaded directly into our brains?
Yet, with most Marvel omnibuses selling between 1,000 and 2,500 units in their first week, it makes me wonder how many of these books we could see if Marvel abandoned the outdated Direct Market model for determining their pre-order volume and sell-through.
Picture this – in October 2017 Marvel partners with Kickstarter plus one of the big online comic book sellers as a distributor to introduce the new “X-Men Omnibus Club: Year 1.”
There are three plan levels – “Uncanny & X-Men Only” for $120 year, “Omnibus a Month” for $600/year, and “Omnibus a Month w/Reprint” for $698/year. Each level comes with membership to Marvel Unlimited
You pay, and Marvel ships perfectly wrapped omnis directly to your home via their distribution partner – either 2 Uncanny-filling volumes six months apart or 12 total X-volumes (which they would announce at sign-up), including an optional 2 reprints existing hard-to-find books.
What’s the catch? They’ll only print the books when the “Omnibus a Month” level is funded by 2,000 people. Most books would also be available to the Direct Market, though perhaps at a delay from the club, though some obscure ones would have strictly limited print runs to increase demand. Marvel would plan to do this for 10 years or until one year didn’t fund. At the end of 10 years, every X-Men book would have been printed in omnibus.
This would remove all of the risk from Marvel pumping out these books quickly, and would actually subsidize them being sold on the direct market. Hell, Marvel sells chess sets with exactly this same model! Chess sets. Certainly there are more comic fans in the world who want actual, high-quality reprints of these books than want Marvel chess sets!
Unless that happens, all but a handful of today’s volumes are going to remain pipe-dreams.
From Messiah Complex to AvX
Every title in this period with the exception of Wolverine & The X-Men terminates with Avengers vs. X-Men.
We’re picking up Uncanny X-Men just prior to Messiah Complex, with the “Extremists” arc by Ed Brubaker in #487-491. Though it predates Messiah Complex, tonally it fits in with the material that follows more than anything that came before – especially since it was immediately preceded with the year-long mega-arc “Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire.” See Uncanny X-Men #444-544 for more information.
Uncanny X-Men: Endangered Species AKA Divided We Stand AKA by Brubaker & Fraction (33 projected issues, 17 optional issues)
Collects Uncanny X-Men #487-491, 495-512, & Annual 2, Endangered Species backups (about 6 effective issues), plus material from Divided We Stand (2008) #1-2, X-Men: Manifest Destiny (2008) #1-5, FCBD (Pixies and Demons), Nightcrawler #1, material from Eternals #7-9, and Runaways #10 (A-story), plus some story material from Cable (2008) and X-Force (2008).
This could optionally include the 13 issues of Messiah Complex rather than collecting around it. It could also include Wolverine #62-65, an epilogue to Messiah Complex.
This book might look a little odd at first, but I am confident it is the best way to collect this material. I will attempt to anticipate your questions with a brief FAQ, if you’re so inclined.Click to expand a FAQ on this volume.
Why include the 13 issues of pre-#500 Brubaker material and all of Messiah Complex rather than go for a 100% “by Matt Fraction” edition?
That’s a great question! Unlike any other pre-Messiah Complex material in other titles, Brubaker’s prior story arc has nowhere else to go unless we see Marvel double-dip the Shi’ar material out of the War of Kings omnibus to create “X-Men by Ed Brubaker, collecting Deadly Genesis #1-6 and Uncanny X-Men #475-499.” There’s no point to that, as the thread of the first half of the run dead-ends without the other Cosmic material from War of Kings.
Plus, Messiah Complex is definitely the start of Post-Whedon X-Men. It creates a through-line directly to #500 that continues through Avengers vs. X-Men. It wouldn’t make sense to begin a Fraction omnibus from #500 – it would contain none of the context for his run, including Scott and Emma’s relationship as seen outside of Whedon’s control and the team actually moving to San Francisco.
I feel Marvel should be looking at this period from Messiah Complex to AvX in a similar way to how they collected the War of Kings saga – getting everything in one place for new readers to read it from end to end.
Would Marvel really put the entire Messiah Complex into an Omnibus?
A year or two ago I would have said no. Now, I’m not so sure. Messiah Complex was a crossover book, but it hasn’t been printed for over half a decade and remains a popular and pivotal X-Men story. We’ve seen Marvel re-collect a ton of the space saga to make it easily buyable for modern day fans rather than collecting around prior OHCs like Annihilation Conquest or Rise and Fall, so why shouldn’t they do that here?
Why not start at Messiah Complex and instead collect UXM #487-491 beside pre-Messiah Complex X-Men Vol. 1 by Mike Carey?
There was nothing unifying the X-Men titles prior to Messiah Complex. Carey’s X-Men (1991) felt completely different than Uncanny in that period with no through-line between the two. (It also looked really different, which Chris Bachalo and Humberto Ramos on art.)
(Related: There is an argument for including Secret Invasion: X-Men #1-4 since it plays heavily upon the San Francisco location, but it was written by Mike Carey and is likely better off in the Legacy omnibus line, as it matches the tone of his two pre-Legacy arcs.)
Plus, placing that material together would likely mean ending an omnibus with Messiah Complex, while I am adamant it should be near the beginning of a book.
Okay, so why not just start at Messiah Complex and end at Utopia?
Utopia feels less like the end of something, and more like the beginning – it starts the middle arc of the X-Men’s five year plight as an endangered species by putting their backs up against the wall. It belongs with the rest of the Utopia material through Second Coming.
Also, again, this would strand #487-491.
Uncanny X-Men: Utopia AKA Second Coming AKA by Fraction, Land, & Dodson (50 projected issues)
Collects Uncanny X-Men #513-525 & B-story from #526, Dark Avengers #7-8, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus & Utopia, Dark Reign: The Cabal, Dark X-Men #1-5, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1-3 & The Confession, Dark Reign: The List – X-Men, Nation X #1-4, Second Coming: Prepare, Second Coming #1-2, New Mutants #12-14, X-Men Legacy #235-237, X-Force #26-28, X-Men: Blind Science (2010) #1, X-Men: Hellbound (2010) #1-3, and X-Men: Hope (2010) #1
This is basically the OHCs of Utopia (364 pages, but without X-Men Legacy #226-227, so -40) + Nation X (360 pages) + Second Coming (392 pages) + Second Coming: Revelations (208 pages, but without 3 issues of X-Factor, so -60) + Dark X-Men (120 pages). That’s 1344 pages, which would be one of Marvel’s biggest omnibuses.
You might think the problem with this book is its size, but I suspect it would be whether or not Marvel considers it to be sellable. The Nation X and Second Coming: Revelations OHCs lingered in stock for a long time, so we’re effectively just pushing this omnibus on the strength of people wanting to read the pair of crossover stories.
I think those stories are that good, and with them as bookends Nation X seems all the more fascinating as it defines the new structure of what is effectively the first non-Genoshan mutant state.
Another argument against this book would be that Marvel collected #526-534 in “by Matt Fraction” Complete Collections. However, Gillen co-plotted both of those arcs, and they kick off the “five lights” story – which is definitively a part of the third portion of this multi-year X-Men epic. Plus, they wouldn’t fit in this book!
The final argument against this book is that Second Coming is as much an X-Force story as it is an Uncanny X-Men story, and that it deserves to be in an X-Force omnibus! I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that, but X-Force comes here straight from Necrosha, which would feel like a fine, fitting finale to that volume even without Second Coming. There’s no need to double up.
Now, let’s move on to the final period of the great Endangered Species trilogy – the Gillen years AKA “the best Uncanny X-Men has been since Chris Claremont’s original run.”
Uncanny X-Men by Kieron Gillen (54 projected issues)
Collects Uncanny X-Men (1963) #526-544, 534.1, Uncanny X-Men (2011) #1-20, Heroic Age: X-Men, X-Men: Regenesis, Generation Hope #1-12,
(You could argue to include both AvX: Consequences #1-5 and Generation Hope #13-17 here. If there’s any way to make AvX fit, I think it must be included! However, right now either would cause this to split into two volumes, which I think makes it very unlikely to happen.)
You’ll find Schism in Wolverine by Jason Aaron Vol. 2, below.
I’ll head off the first argument against this volume at the pass – you don’t actually need Schism to understand what’s happening in Gillen’s run, especially with the GenHope Schism issues included. Really, nothing happens in Schism. It’s enough to say “Cyclops and Wolverine had a fight.” Plus, it’s an Aaron story, not a Gillen story.
Could you rejigger the Gillen run to move #526-534 back to a Fraction omnibus, starting it cleanly with #534.1 and making room for AvX Consequences? Yes, but I maintain that divorcing the “Five Lights” story from Gillen’s work here is a mistake, plus the “Quarantine” arc feels more like Gillen’s voice than Fraction’s.
Should the Steve Rogers crossover, X-Club, and Magneto: Not a Hero be included with Gillen’s run? No. No non-Aaron issues were included in Aaron’s Wolverine & The X-Men omnibus. This is no different – it’s an uninterrupted look at Gillen’s X-Men, which doesn’t reference those stories in the slightest.
Finally, should AvX: Consequences be in the Gillen omnibus? If it can be made to fit, yes! There’s no reason it has to be collected with AvX itself, since it’s as much an epilogue to Gillen’s own run as to the event.
If you’re really jonesing for all of that side material, we could see it as this:
X-Men: Regenesis OHC (29 projected issues)
Collecting Uncanny X-Men Annual 3, Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual 1, Namor Annual 1, Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1-4, X-Club #1-4, Magneto: Not a Hero #1-4, Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega #1-5, Generation X #13-17, X-Sanction #1-4.
(This has the benefit of collecting all of the James Asmus GenHope material from the annuals and from the end of Generation Hope itself. If you chose to omit the Gillen GenHope material from his main omnibus, it could easily fit here. Also, this book could omit the Alpha & Omega mini if it’s alternately collected below.)
(You could even include the otherwise stranded X-Men: World’s Apart #1-4, Heralds #1-5, Pixie Strikes Back #1-4 and Psylocke #1-4 just for solid coverage of the entire period, which would push this to omnibus size – just as long as you don’t include the garbage fire of Prelude to Schism #1-4, which accomplished nothing. You could also include the X-adjacent Alan Davis Clandestine story from Wolverine Annual 1, Fantastic Four Annual 33, Daredevil Annual 1)
See X-Treme X-Men, below.
Marvel revived the Astonishing X-Men brand after Whedon’s departure for Warren Ellis, who told a pair of arcs plus a mini-series that fans had a lukewarm reaction to. He was followed by a marginal period split between Christos Gage and Daniel Way, then an arc by Greg Pak, and finally a 20-issue run by Marjorie Liu. See Guide to Astonishing & Amazing X-Men for more.
Astonishing X-Men by Ellis & Liu (36 issues)
Collects Astonishing X-Men #25-43, 48-59, 62-68 & Annual 1, Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes #1-2, Astonishing X-Men: Exogenesis #1-5.
This would perhaps sell more units as a sole “by Ellis” edition, but that would be under 20 issues and quite a waste.
You’ll notice this omnibus is missing the post-AvX Greg Pak run in #46-48. It’s the prologue to the interdimensional hijinks of his X-Treme X-Men, and would be better collected with that than here, where it feels alien compared to the arcs on either side.
This volume also skips a pair of “X-Terminated” crossover issues, which would also be collected along with X-Treme X-Men.
Two new X-Men titles spun out of Messiah Complex were two sides of the same coin – X-Force battling the biggest threats to mutants in the present day and Cable ferrying Hope through the future to try to keep her alive until her mutant powers activated.
X-Force by Kyle & Yost (38 projected issues)
Collects X-Force (2008) #1-25 & Annual 1, X-Force: Sex & Violence #1-3, Cable #13-15 (and material from #6-7 & 12), Messiah War one-shot, X-Men: Future History – The Messiah War Sourcebook, X-Force/New Mutants: Necrosha One-Shot, X-Necrosha: The Gathering, and X-Force Specia: Ain’t No Dog, as well as some background material.
[Thanks to John S. on FB for catching two of the one-shots I omitted!]
Cable by Duane Swierczynski (35 projected issues)
Collects #1-5, King-Size Cable, #6-25, Messiah War one-shot, X-Force #14-16, X-Men: The Times and Life of Lucas Bishop #1-3, X-Men: Future History – the Messiah War sourcebook.
These are both pretty self-explanatory. Yes, I collected the primary contents of the Messiah Complex OHC twice, although X-Force doesn’t need the Lucas Bishop series as an explainer. Also, Necrosha was not a direct crossover, so you don’t need to collect all of Necrosha’s issues with X-Force – they’ve been collected as separate TPBs, and belong in separate omnibuses. See X-Force and Cable for current collecting information.
And, of course, we already have an Uncanny X-Force omnibus, which is one of the best X-Men omnibuses of all time. This one is impossible to find at affordable prices right now, but see X-Force for more-affordable collection options.
Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender Omnibus
Collects the entire series – Uncanny X-Force #1-35, 5.1, 19.1, and material from Wolverine: Road to Hell.
While this book would be on the short side, this entire run of the X-Men’s British cast by Paul Cornell was a delight
Captain Britain & MI:13 by Paul Cornell (22 projected issues)
Collects Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom #1-6, Captain Britain and MI:13 #1-15 & Annual 1
In 2014, Magneto broke out of Uncanny X-Men to begin starring in his first ongoing title, written by Cullen Bunn. Bunn had yet to have a longstanding hit for Marvel, which made the low-key perfection of this comic even more shocking.
Magneto by Cullen Bunn (21 to 41 projected issues)
Collects Magneto (2014) #1-21 (and could easily add to that Uncanny X-Men (2016) #1-19 & Annual 1)
Magneto is Marvel’s villain with the most consistent arc, stretching all the way back to his debut in X-Men #1 in 1963. What he’s hasn’t ever been is a character that does remarkably well in the foreground for an extended period of time. He’s always been used for either a spectacular but brief run of villainy or an extended supporting turn.
Cullen Bunn changed all of that in a way that felt both abrupt and apt. Finally, we were inside Magneto’s head, and it turns out it makes a surprising amount of sense in there. Bunn’s Magneto is neither a hero or a villain, but someone who will do whatever it takes to promote the safety of his people. Sometimes that’s playing leader, but others it’s judge and executioner.
It wasn’t only Bunn’s writing that made this run a thrilling success. It also boasted a decidedly unglossy, indie-style take on art, largely by Gabriel Walta colored by Jordie Bellaire. Their sketchy, chalky, desaturated take on Magneto’s messy work of defending his race only emphasized his moral grayness.
Bunn’s post-Secret Wars run on Uncanny X-Men continues his authorship of Magneto, but the tone, artwork, and story are something entirely different. I don’t really think they’d make sense to collect here alongside Magneto … but, it’s an option.
Namor gained his first ongoing title in nearly two decades in the wake of Second Coming. Unfortunately, it didn’t create very much material with which to craft an omnibus.
Namor, The First Mutant by Stuart Moore OHC (18 issues)
Collects Namor, The First Mutant (2010) #1-11 & Annual 1, Uncanny X-Men Annual 3, Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual 1, and Fear Itself: The Deep #1-4
You don’t have to collect The Deep here since it’s not Moore, but it does have the next step of Namor’s solo, X-adjacent adventures. See Namor for more information.
A new New Mutants title launched around the time of Utopia.
New Mutants: Regenesis AKA by Wells, Abnett, & Lanning (52 projected issues)
X-Infernus #1-4, New Mutants (2009) #1-11, 15-21, 25-50, material from X-Force/New Mutants: Necrosha One-Shot, Exiled #1, Journey Into Mystery. #637-638.
This bears some explaining.
X-Infernus brought Magik back into the X-Men fold, which was somewhat the impetus for this new team to form. New Mutants crossed over into Necrosha with issues #6-8, but they don’t cross over directly with the main X-Force issues. However, the crossover into Second Coming in #12-14 was direct and can’t easily be excerpted.
Then, Age of X in #22-24 doesn’t really have too much impact on this title compared to Legacy – plus, Carey wrote all of the crossover issues, so it’s better collected with Legacy.
That takes six issues out of this 50-issue rotation, giving us room for X-Infernus and a direct crossover with Journey Into Mystery. For more on this run, see Young X-Men.
There is a lot of Wolverine in this period – it’s not limited to Jason Aaron, who first wrote Wolverine: Weapon X coming out of Messiah Complex while Wolverine later switched to Dark Wolverine, then Aaron switched over to a 2010 volume of Wolverine after Second Coming when Dark Wolverine transformed to Daken.
Got it? No? Maybe it’s time to visit the Wolverine Guide.
Wolverine by Jason Aaron Omnibus
Collects the entire 16-issue Weapon X #1-16 series, along with the preceding stories from Wolverine Vol. 3 #56 and #62-65; Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1-4; Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine; and material from Wolverine Vol. 3 #73-74, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #3, Wolverine Vol. 2 #175.
Wolverine by Jason Aaron, Vol. 2
Collects Wolverine (2010) #1-20, 5.1, & 300-304, plus Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1-6, X-Men: Schism #1-5 (bonus that’s not in the complete collections!), and material from Wolverine: Road to Hell.
(This could also include the digital-first series “Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted” co-written by Aaron with Jason Latour. It’s effectively 7 issues. It slightly messes with the finality of this volume to include it, but it fits the tone of the end of Aaron’s run.)
Even as a noted non-fan of Aaron’s Wolverine, I can admit that we really deserve to have this second volume. Aaron’s first volume on Wolverine was relatively lightweight, compared to this second volume saga – a deeply personal arc that contextualizes Schism better than anything happening elsewhere in X-Men at the time.
That volume tracks well as a connector to…
Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Omnibus
Collects Wolverine and the X-Men (2011) #1-35 & 37-42 & Annual 1
However, Wolverine’s title didn’t end with #304! Cullen Bunn continued to write it from #305-317, except for #310-313 by Jeph Loeb. Let’s take a look at the material we have available to collect in this period that has yet to appear in OHC format – 62 total issues.Click to expand the list
- 13 issues – Wolverine #305-317 & #1,000
- 3 issues – Wolverine Annual 1 is a three-part Clandestine story with Fantastic Four Annual 33, Daredevil Annual 1
- 12 issues – Wolverine: The Best There Is #1-12
- 3 issues – Astonishing Tales: Wolverine/Punisher #1-6 (2008) [a digital-first series, about three issues worth]
- 3 issues – Fear Itself: Wolverine #1-3
- 2 issues – Wolverine vs. Thor #1-3 [a digital-first series, about two issues worth] (reprinted as Wolverine: Wendigo]
- 3 issues – Wolverine & The Black Cat: Claws 2 #1-3 [this was released originally in an OHC]
- 4 issues – Wolverine/Hercules: Myths, Monsters, & Mutants #1-4
- 4 issues – Wolverine & Captain America (2011) #1-4
- 4 issues – The contents of Wolverine: Dangerous Games – Wolverine (2003) Annual 1, Wolverine: Dangerous Games, Wolverine: Firebreak, and Wolverine: Killing Made Simple.
- 4 issues – The contents of Wolverine: Flies to a Spider – Wolverine: Chop Shop, Wolverine: Switchback, Wolverine Holiday Special: Flies To A Spider, and Wolverine Dead Man’s Hand.
- 7 issues – Other material including Wolverine (2003) #900, Wolverine: The Amazing Immortal Man and Other Tales, Wolverine: Saudade, Wolverine: Mr. X, Wolverine: Savage, Wolverine: Under the Boardwalk, Wolverine/Deadpool: The Decoy
If Wolverine was as red-hot and lacking for material as Deadpool, Marvel would find a way to collect this material. However, as it stands, I think out best chance might be this:
Wolverine: The Best There Is (37 projected issues)
Wolverine #305-317, 900, & 1,000, Wolverine: The Best There Is #1-12, Wolverine/Punisher #1-6 (3 issues), Fear Itself: Wolverine #1-3, Wolverine vs. Thor #1-3 (2 issues), Wolverine & Captain America (2011) #1-4
Finally, there is Daken – Wolverine’s son. I pray for him to get some cross-media exposure so I can buy this book, because I love this material.
Daken: Dark Wolverine (50 effective projected issues)
Collects Dark Wolverine #75-90, Daken: Dark Wolverine (2010) #1-23 & 9.1, Franken-Castle (2010)
#19-20, Wolverine: Origins (2006) #46-48, X-23 (II) (2010) #7-9, material from Wolverine: Road to Hell (2010) #1 and Heroic Age: Villains (2011) #1, and story pages from from Wolverine Origins.
A pair of X-23 Complete Collections hit all the major beats of X-23, but they left out some of the connective tissue – see the X-23 Guide for the play-by-play. An omnibus has the ability to completely cover her journey from her debut through Schism.
X-23 by Kyle, Yost, and Lui (53 projected issues)
Collects X-23 (2005) #1-6, X-23: Target X (2007) #1-6, NYX #3-7, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #450-451, X-Men Vol. 2 (1991) #165, Marvel Team-Up Vol. 3 (2005) #5-6, Captain Universe/X-23 (2006) #1, X-Men: Manifest Destiny (2008) #4, X-23 [I] (2010) #1, X-23 (II) (2010) #1-21, X-Men: To Serve And Protect (2011) #2 (4th story), Venom (2011) #13, 13.1-4, & 14, and relevant material from Wolverine: Road to Hell (2010) #1 and All-New Wolverine Saga (2010).
We already saw a first volume in the last era…
X-Factor by Peter David, Vol. 1 (37 projected issues)
Collects Madrox #1-6, Son of M #1-6, X-Factor (2006) #1-23, and X-Factor Special: Layla Miller One-Shot.
Where do we go from there? Two additional volumes to wrap up this spectacular series – learn more about how it’s collected today in the X-Factor Guide.
X-Factor by Peter David, Vol. 2 (45 projected issues)
Collects X-Factor (2006) #28-50 & 200-219, X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead, She-Hulk #31
X-Factor by Peter David, Vol. 3 (44 projected issues)
#220-262 & 224.1 & story pages from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6-9.
While it’s tempting to figure out how to fit the 18 issues of David’s All-New X-Factor into this run, it’s divorced from here by several years and doesn’t even really connect very strongly to this cast.
This adjectiveless X-Men title presented itself as “X-Men Team-Up,” bringing outside characters into X-Men stories. After Schism with issue #20, it shifted to being more of an “X-Men away team” while Uncanny X-Men focused exclusively on the so-called “Extinction Team.” See how it’s currently collected in X-Men, Vol. 3-4.
X-Men by Victor Girschler & Brian Wood (48 projected issues)
#1-11, Giant Size X-Men #1, #12-15, 15.1, 16-41, X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – Storm & Gambit, X-Club, Blade, and Mutants vs. Vampires #1-2.
For most Marvel characters, this would be an easy sell – fun, low-continuity stories with attractive art. However, in the world of X-Men that probably means it’s not even in the top 50 most-wanted X-Men omnibuses! The only way I could see it becoming more of a priority is if X-Men joined the MCU.
Mike Carey took over X-Men (1991) with issue #188 and immediately injected it with a sense of adventure that had been missing from recent arcs (and also invented brand new villains!). Then, after Messiah Complex, the title switched over to a single-character focus – first on Professor X, and then to Rogue – who continued leading the team after Second Coming. See X-Men Legacy for more details.
It’s all excellent, despite some fan misgivings about Rogue’s rekindled relationship with Magneto towards the end of the run.
X-Men by Mike Carey, Vol. 1 (44 projected issues, plus additional material)
Collects X-Men #188-204 & Annual 1, Secret Invasion: X-Men #1-4, X-Men Legacy #208-225, Wolverine: Origins #28-30, X-Men Original Sin, and maybe material from X-Men: Pixies and Demons – Director’s Cut (2008), X-Men: Divided We Stand (2008) #1-2, and X-Men: Manifest Destiny (2008) #1-5.
Most X-books break best around Second Coming, but this book has a better break with Rogue gaining control of her powers and she, Xavier, Gambit, and Danger heading back to San Francisco, unaware of what has been transpiring there.
X-Men by Mike Carey, Vol. 2 (39 projected core issues, plus 3-7 additional issues)
Collects #226-234, 238-260, Giant-Size X-Men Legacy, Age of X: Alpha, New Mutants #22-24, and Age of X: Universe #1-2.
We could pad this with other Carey material – X-Men Origins: Beast (2008), X-Men Origins: Gambit (2009), Wolverine: Firebreak (2008), and maybe even X-Men: No More Humans OHC – although, that is post-Now and wouldn’t make much sense in this context.
Note that I included the pair of Utopia issues and the Necrosha issues, as both are indirect participations in events that work fine on their own, as opposed the gap for Second Coming.
After Carey departs from the title, Christos Gage takes over for #260.1 and 261-275. This continues a focus on Rogue, but spreads the attention out to include more of the faculty of the Jean Grey Academy.
I’m a little stymied for how to collect this slight 15 issues. The best idea I’ve come up with is:
Wolverine & The X-Men Companion (39 projected issues)
Collects, Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega #1-5, material from Uncanny X-Force #18, X-Men Legacy #260.1 & 261-275, Wolverine and the X-Men (2014) #1-12, and Spider-Man & The X-Men #1-6.
I could understand an argument for trying to get Amazing X-Men into a WatX Companion book, as well, but at 20 issues that’s a long enough series that could stand on its own.
Greg Pak used Astonishing X-Men #44-47 as a back-door pilot for this Dazzler-centered, reality-hopping series. Meanwhile Uncanny X-Force #19.1 was an overt pilot for a new Age of Apocalypse ongoing title.
The pair crash into each other for their finale, which is my justification for including all of Age of Apocalypse here – it’s not going to make it into any other omnibus since the Age of Apocalypse Companion already covers everything else about that reality prior to Uncanny X-Force.
X-Men: Xavier Must Die by Greg Pak (36 projected issues)
Collects Astonishing X-Men #44-47, material from Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1, X-Treme X-Men #1-13 & 7.1, Uncanny X-Force #19.1 & Age of Apocalypse #1-12, X-Terminated: Alpha and Omega, and Astonishing X-Men #60-61.
See X-Treme X-Men Guide for more.
With most Marvel Now titles running in the 18-40 issue range, it’s really not all that hard to map them into omnibuses – it’s pretty much one per title! Note that Gambit began slightly prior to Marvel Now.
All-New X-Factor (2014) as All-New X-Factor by Peter David
Collects All-New X-Factor (2014) #1-18.
All-New X-Men (2012) as All-New X-Men by Brian Bendis (44 projected issues)
Collects ANXM #1-15, 18-41, Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #11-13, Uncanny X-Men #600, and material from X-Men: Gold
Collects Amazing X-Men (2014) #1-19 & Annual 1.
(I could also see an argument for collecting Nightcrawler and Storm’s solo series here, but Marvel isn’t usually that adventurous.)
Collets A+X #1-18 and Savage Hulk #1-4
(I’m not sure what you could add to that or pad it out with to make it more feasible and interesting.)
Cable & X-Force as Marvel Now: Cable & X-Force (53 projected issues)
Collects Cable & X-Force (2013) #1-19 (plus a story from Marvel Now! Point One (2012) #1), Uncanny X-Force (2013) #1-19, and X-Force (2015) #1-15
Cyclops as Marvel Now: Solo X-Men
Collects Cyclops #1-12, Nightcrawler #1-12, and Storm #1-12
Gambit (2012) as Gambit by James Asmus
Collects Gambit (2012) #1-17
Nightcrawler as Marvel Now: Solo X-Men, as discussed above.
Spider-Man & The X-Men as Wolverine & The X-Men Companion, above.
Collects Savage Wolverine (2013) #1-23, an anthology title, as well as Wolverine: In the Flesh (2013) – #1
Storm as Marvel Now: Solo X-Men, as discussed above.
Uncanny Avengers Omnibus
Collects #1-25, 8AU, & Annual 1
Uncanny X-Force as collected in Marvel Now: Cable & X-Force, as discussed above.
Uncanny X-Men (2013) as Uncanny X-Men by Brian Bendis
Collects Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1-11 & 14-35, 600, Annual 1, and All-New X-Men Annual 1
(This omnibus is small enough to include Battle of the Atom in full, although I think any book that did that should also include X-Men: No More Mutants OGN, which was not written by Bendis.)
Wolverine (2013) and Wolverine (2014) as Death of Wolverine
Wolverine (2013) #1-13, Wolverine (2014) #1-12 & Annual 1, Death of Wolverine (2014) #1-4, and Death of Wolverine stories from Nightcrawler (2014) #7, Storm (2014) #4, Wolverine and the X-Men (2014) #10-11, and Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America (2014), and Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan (2015).
(It’s hard to make an argument for this omnibus to exist without including Death of Wolverine, which all of the 25 prior issues lead up to – even if it might feel more right collected with Wolverines.)
Wolverines as X-23 and the Wolverines
Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #1-5, Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1-7, and Wolverines (2015) #1-20
Wolverine & The X-Men (2015) as Wolverine & The X-Men Companion, above.
X-Force as collected in Marvel Now: Cable & X-Force, as discussed above.
X-Men (2013) as Marvel Now: X-Men Omnibus (28 projected issues + one OGN)
Collects X-Men (2013) #1-4, 7-26, Marvel Knights X-Men #1-4, and X-Men: New More Humans OGN
X-Men: Legacy as X-Men Legacy: Legion Omnibus
Collects X-Men: Legacy (2013) #1-24
These collections orphan All-New X-Men material from All-New X-Men/Indestructible Hulk/Superior Spider-Man: The Arms of The Octopus and Uncanny X-Men/Iron Man/Nova: No End in Sight. While these issues could fit with their respective titles, neither sequence was written by Brian Bendis, and Marvel tends to be a stickler for single-author collections whenever they can.