Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Hardcover Review

Uncanny X-Men Omnibus
Marvel Comics
Oversized Hardcover
848 pages
$99.99
ISBN 9780785121015

Contributors: Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Terry Austin, Glynis Oliver, Frank Miller, George Perez, and original Giant-Size X-Men #1 cover by Gil Kane.

Reprints: Giant-Size X-Men #1, X-Men (Uncanny) #94-131, X-Men Annual #3

Background: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men in 1963.  The original team's exploits were chronicled for 66 issues (until 1970) before being cancelled.  Issues 67 through 93 were reprints of the series until their relaunch in 1975 with Giant-Size X-Men #1. 

Synopsis: The X-Men have been captured by Krakoa, the living island.  Cyclops manages to escape and Professor Xavier desperately scours the globe in order to assemble a new team!  Soon Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Banshee, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird, and Sunfire are training in the Danger Room.  They rescue the original team and defeat Krakoa, but once the dust settles all the old members have no interest in staying together.  Only Cyclops remains to train the new recruits and transform them from a team of loners. 

Tragedy strikes on their first mission as one of the X-Men dies!  Still reeling from their loss they face the return of the Sentinels and a journey into near-Earth orbit.  On the way back Jean Grey seemingly sacrifices her life to save the X-Men, but is mysteriously resurrected as Phoenix!  Magneto returns to face a fresh crop of mutants calling themselves X-Men, but can a group with such obvious handicaps (two members with high metal content in their bodies) and inexperience overcome the most powerful foe of the original team?

Witness the shocking origin of Professor X along with the first missions of Canada's premier super-hero team: Alpha Flight.  They plan to reacquire Wolverine (aka Weapon X) for the Canadian government.  Who is Mutant X and what is his shocking link to Moira Mactaggart?  Meet Kitty Pryde and then see the X-Men face the Hellfire Club!

Pros: You get to watch Chris Claremont go from rookie writer to breakthrough talent in the span of these issues, Byrne's art is groundbreaking for the time, Cockrum continues to do phenomenal covers after he leaves regular penciling duties, beautiful hardcover collection, great extras like: house ads, Cockrum character designs, and Classic X-Men covers by Art Adams

Cons: Characters in the early issues are pretty one-dimensional, George Perez annual wasn't up to par with regular series, they created Alpha Flight and Dazzler, "master of the dangling sub-plot" easily describes Claremont and some of his stories took decades to resolve

Mike Tells It Straight: This is the way to be introduced to the "All-New, All Different" X-Men!  Claremont was a rookie when this gig started and his writing talent forged the X-Men into the #1 comic of all time.  He made the X-Men multi-dimensional and added a maturity to their stories.  These issues represent the foundation of the X-Men under Claremont's guidance and easily fall under "must reading" for any fan.  

TO BUY and Recommendations: