I unwrap the newest addition to my oversize hardcover X-Men collection – a copy of The Wedding of Cyclops & Phoenix! I make the case for why this book has the wrong title, talk about Sabretooth’s arc in the early 90s X-Men, and explain why this might be the best oversize collection for fans of X-Men: The Animated Series.
The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide on collecting X-Men flagship title comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. A part of Crushing Krisis’s Collecting X-Men: A Definitive Guide. Last updated November 2018 with titles scheduled for release through April 2019.
X-Men Flagship Titles
In 2011, Marvel ended their longest-running and highest-numbered title when they cancelled Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 with #544 to make way for a split in the X-Men between Cyclops and Wolverine.
In retrospect, the move didn’t make much sense. The subsequent Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 2 was still written by Kieron Gillen with a similar tone and cast – just less Wolverine and Kitty Pryde. It was by many accounts (including mine) one of the best runs of X-Men ever written. Sadly, that tile would also see cancellation 20 issues later, along with the end of Avengers vs. X-Men.
In the wake of Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel relaunched their entire line with nearly every creator shuffled onto a new book. In the shake-up, Brian Bendis hopped from the Avengers franchise to the X-Men franchise, taking over Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 3 and adding All-New X-Men to the mix as a second flagship.
That book of time-shifted young X-Men (and new cast members in Uncanny) pulled focus off of a vibrant new generation of X-students cultivated in the past decade and sent the flagships into a spiral of recursion where most of the plot was about the new characters being mad about the plot. Like a three-year-long episode of Seinfeld, almost nothing of significance happens during this run.
Bendis promised a lengthy run on X-Men, but another creator shuffle after Secret Wars in 2015 saw him depart the franchise for Iron Man in the All-New, All-Different Marvel.
In his place, Cullen Bunn took over Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 4. After a long streak of wrapping up soon-to-be-cancelled series for other writers, Bunn improbably struck gold on a menacing take on Magneto in his first ongoing series. He brought that villainous tone to Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 4.
Meanwhile, All-New X-Men, Vol. 2 was back under the direction of Dennis Hopeless (who had written the young X-Men before on X-Men: Seasone One). A third, brand-new title – Extraordinary X-Men – launched under the pen of Jeff Lemire and tied in closely to the current plot of the Inhumans and their Terrigen Bomb being poisonous to mutants.
After the resolution of the Inhumans thread in Inhumans vs. X-Men, Marvel relaunched the X-Men flagships with “ResurrXion” and a bevy of new X-Men titles, including a new twin pair of non-Uncanny flagships.
X-Men Gold was effectively “Uncanny,” with a Claremont-esque classic team of Kitty, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Rachel Grey, among others. Meanwhile, Cullen Bunn continued his Magneto thread into the All-New X-Men cast with X-Men Blue. Nearly a year later, Phoenix Resurrection returned Jean Grey to the cast of X-Men, and she launched a third flagship with X-Men Red. And, finally, the period wrapped up with five X-Men Black one-shots focusing on major X-Men villains.
Finally, in November 2018, Uncanny X-Men returned with a bang – as a 10-part weekly story arc called “X-Men Disassembled.” [Read more…] about Collecting X-Men flagship titles (2010 – present) as comic books as graphic novels
The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide on collecting Uncanny X-Men comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated November 2018 with titles scheduled for release through April 2019.
The X-Men franchise reached a crossroads in 2001 that would forever alter its direction, but also usher in a decade of substantial runs penned by just five authors – all of which was collected upon initial release starting with issue #410!
That’s why I think of this final decade of Uncanny X-Men as “The Collected Era”
In 2001, the black leather costumes of the first Fox X-Men film now existed in the public consciousness, but X-Men comics of the period were a hard-to-parse mess of neon spandex. Not only that, but Marvel’s newly-launched Ultimate Spider-Man reimagining of Spider-Man for the modern day was proving to be massively popular. An Ultimate X-Men followed at the beginning of 2001.
Together, these two changes allowed Marvel to experiment with the core of the X-Men franchise. Writer and actual psychedelic warlock Grant Morrison reimagined X-Men (1991) as the sci-fi, leather-clad, and frequently absurd New X-Men. Meanwhile, X-Force metamorphosed into X-Statix under the guidance of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred.
What’s often forgotten is that Uncanny X-Men also relaunched at the same time. Twice, actually! First, Joe Casey took the reins for a similarly leather-bound an slightly-absurdist take on X-Men. Then, midway through Morrison’s run, Uncanny swapped to author Chuck Austen.
Austen’s run is often reviled for its soap opera elements, as well as for deeply unpopular moments for Nightcrawler and Angel. Despite that, it remains very much in the Claremontian tradition of constantly churning conflict and romance, often introducing wild concepts from far outside the X-Men’s typical range of influences.
Chris Claremont himself would return as Austen’s replacement with The New Age in 2004. While opinions remain split on this run, it’s certainly more popular than his prior return on “Revolution.” New Age finds Claremont intermingling new toys and old favorites, writing a team that includes Storm and Rachel Summers but also including Bishop and X-23. His run crossed the House of M event that would decimate Marvel’s mutant population, though he did not deal with the fallout.
Ed Brubaker took over from Claremont with an audacious change in direction, following up on his Deadly Genesis mini-series by taking a core of X-Men to space for Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire and then steering them towards a rebirth from the ashes of Messiah Complex.
Though Brubaker wrote for an arc following Messiah Complex, the following era of the X-Men in San Francisco mostly belongs to Matt Fraction. Fraction reimagines Uncanny X-Men less as a team and more as a society of mutants, with nearly every heroic mutant passing through the background panels of the book at some point in his run. He writes to the considerable crescendo of Second Coming, a resolution of the remaining threads of House of M.
Finally, Kieron Gillen gradually takes over from Fraction over the course of a year. Gillen slims down Fraction’s massive cast to one foreboding “Extinction Team” lead by the increasingly revolutionary Cyclops. His run continues into the next volume past the punctuation of Schism through to the following run of Uncanny X-Men, Volume 2.
The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide on collecting X-Men comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. A part of Crushing Krisis’s Collecting X-Men: A Definitive Guide. Last updated November 2018 with titles scheduled for release through July 2019.
The X-Men debuted in 1963 under the pen of the father of the Silver Age Marvel Universe, Stan Lee, and his frequent collaborator, Jack Kirby.
This run features the classic team assembled by Professor Xavier: Cyclops, Marvel Girl AKA Jean Grey, Angel, Iceman, & Beast – all lead by Professor Xavier against foes like Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Namor, The Blob, and Juggernaut, and many other classic X-Men enemies that are recalled to this day. [Read more…] about Collecting X-Men #1 – 93 comic books as graphic novels