Excuse me while I geek out, but I have a confession to make. Despite being an enormous comic book fan (both of the superhero and non-superhero variety), I was never really into the X-Men.
Oh sure, I bought X-Men # 1 back in 1992 like a bajillion others, but I always found the book inaccessible with its army of characters and a back story that stretches back into the 60s. When a friend of mine bought Uncanny X-Men # 275 way back in grade school, I – like a million other boys – was blown away by the Jim Lee art. I hadn’t seen anything like it. Sleek, dynamic, rendered in cross-hatches that made the characters burst out of the page, it was a far cry from anything being published at the time. But, who were these guys in the book? What was going on? I had no idea.*
When Marvel’s Mutant Genesis initiative rolled along in the early 90s and relaunched the X-books, I bought into X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, and X-Men but dropped it all together after a couple of issues. Instead, I fell in love with the quirky Excalibur book by Alan Davis. To this day, I still love those Excalibur issues.
Fast forward to 2014. I had (ahem) “appropriated” some files of Chris Claremont’s early X-Men run and I decided to give it read. I instantly fell in love with it. Although somewhat dated, I realized why the X-Men became such a hit. I quickly bought Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vols. 1 & 2 (who says piracy leads to lost sales?). These volumes featured classic tales like the Proteus Saga, The Dark Phoenix Saga, and Days of Future Past and I suddenly found myself hungry for more X-Men stories.
These days, the X-Men is a whole franchise unto itself. The current book being written by Brian Michael Bendis entitled All-New X-Men features the original 1960s X-Men roster transported into the present time. The run provides a perfect counterpoint to the Claremont stories, like book ends of long epic. Reading Kitty Pryde evolve into the mentoring “Professor K” (essentially playing the role Professor X served in the early X-Men run) provides a nice symmetry with her 1980s introduction as the youngest and greenest X-Man.
So, if anybody is on the fence with these Omnibus editions, I say go ahead and jump into these books. They feature solid superhero stories and the beginnings of some of today’s best loved Marvel characters. ‘Nuff said.
*footnote: Although I never really got into the X-Men in the 90s, I bought and loved Grant Morrison’s New X-Men which I felt was a very contained and complete story from start to finish.