This might be the perfect trade paperback.
X-Men Epic Collection: Second Genesis TPB (Marvel Comics)
I’m serious. This book is the absolute best collection of early X-Men comics. There are amazing stories contained here that I’ve been reading or reading ABOUT my entire comic collection career. Let’s do a speed round of some of the items that are in this giant 500 page beast:
- New X-Men team formed: The classic lineup we all hold as the gold standard of Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Thunderbird, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Banshee, and Wolverine.
- Krakoa destroyed.
- Original X-Men retire.
- Thunderbird dies (I mean, he kind of wanted to).
- Juggernaut and Black Tom appear.
- Erik the Red introduced.
- StarJammers introduced.
- Alpha Flight introduced.
- Sabretooth’s first appearance.
- The storyline that introduced the Phoenix.
This book has all of this; from the initial staggered introductions of the X-Men team we’ve all come to know so well, to the weird as hell costume debuts (what the actual jesus were they thinking with Colossus and his knee high boots and leotard)?
We see so many seeds of what would come later in this epic Claremont run as well: the Cyclops and Havok rivalry is kicked up several notches, Wolverine’s love for Jean, as well as his grudging respect for Storm and his outright hostility at Cyclops. My own favorite? The budding friendship of Nightcrawler and Wolverine – two creatures as different as could be, still finding common ground.
My personal favorite run of the “New X-Team” was just before and on through Kitty Pryde joining, as this sets the stage, introduces the players, and gives you some incredible set pieces along the way. This also introduces the real outer space aspect of the X-Men teams. It gives Wolverine’s mysterious backstory center stage at times, making him the most interesting secondary character of the team. Oh how times have changed.
As a kid, I got introduced to the X-Men as a fluke. I was a big DC comics fan, and while visiting my buddy David’s house in first grade, I happened to notice a brown and tan figure with claws peeking out of the pile of He-Man figures we were playing with.
“Who’s this guy?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s Wolverine – have you read Secret Wars?”
Just a few simple words, an offer to give me the Wolverine toy that he didn’t really care for and a subsequent mad dash to every pharmacy in a five-mile-radius to find comic racks and I’m still sitting here reading X-Men.
I truly think that these issues are the lightning that everyone is still trying to catch in the bottle with today’s X-Books. Claremont and company created new characters in 1975 that are still dominating the comic world alongside icons created far earlier like the FF and Spider-Man. Look at that list above! 17 issues of X-Men cover all those classic stories and set the tone for the books still to this day. How many Phoenix storylines have we seen? How many trips to space are the various X-Teams on?
I cannot recommend this book any higher. Even the filler pieces – Iron Fist and Marvel Team-Up – are great reads that showcase new characters and flesh out the X-Men’s place in the Marvel world.
When I was 8 and a giant nerd – I found some graffiti on a building that said “X-Men Forever!” Up until that point, I was the only kid I knew that read the book. Everyone else was into Superman or He-Man – strong,perfect men who always did what was right. My own favorite was a homicidal maniac with claws, and his demon BAMFing buddy – so finding out that someone somewhere was on the same page as me was fantastic.
Seeing this book, put together in this way with the quality and attention to detail = fantastic. This is bookshelf material, and a must have collection for any X-Fan.
Marvel? If you’re listening? I’d like to pre-order the next ten of these please. Ship them right to the house.