A whole load of X-Men

I started this post as the Image Comics Expo was taking place, and found it impossible not to get distracted. Stunning creative teams developing unique high concepts for a publisher that is already releasing some of the best comics around. It felt like a real statement of intent from Image: we want to properly compete with Marvel and DC for your money, and we’re going to do that by bombarding the market with books you’re not going to be able to resist buying. What an excellent strategy!

Anyway, back to that massive haul of comicbooks I recently retrieved from the family home. There’s a fairly random mishmash of Uncanny X-Men and X-Men in the piles pictured above, running from the early 1990s (just after Chris Claremont left the books) to the early 2000s (including Claremont’s disastrous return to the line), most of which was purchased on eBay a few years back during a period when I was attempting to fill in gaps in my collection. There’s also a few Uncanny X-Men Annuals, a couple of Onslaught one-shots, and the New X-Men and X-Factor instalments of the Messiah Complex crossover.

Then there’s Gambit volume 3 #2-6, #8-9, and #12. Launched in 1999, Fabian Nicieza did a great job writing the character, and for the majority of its 25 issue run it was the best X-Men book around (which isn’t saying much given the quality of the other titles at the time, but still). Cancelled as of issue #25 (just a few short months before Grant Morrison redefined the X-Men concept), it remains the longest running Gambit series. Alas, volume 5 won’t be challenging it for that accolade, having been cancelled with #17.

Oh, and not forgetting X-Force volume 1 #1. Actually, maybe we will forget it. Which is fairly easy for me, given that I’ve never read it.

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What the Postman Bringeth! #1

This week I went a little crossover crazy. Firstly, I bought the entirety of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover, spanning Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Force, and X-Factor. Brilliantly, all 12 issues were still in the sealed bags they were originally packaged in, way back in 1992-93. Secondly, I picked up the four issues of the untitled X-Men/Ghost Rider crossover from 1992, which ran through X-Men #8-9 and Ghost Rider #26-27.

Now, the 1990s X-Men era is not a popular one. Dropped plots, endless crossovers, editorial interference, and the over-expansion of the line resulted in a lot of comics that are not fondly remembered. Nevertheless, it’s my era – the point at which I first came to comics – and so naturally I have a certain affection for it.

Back in the 21st century, with people raving about the new Hawkeye series, I figured I’d pick up the first volume of the trade to see what all the fuss is about. It’s always exciting when a couple of talented creators take a B-list character and craft a viable ongoing series, so Matt Fraction and David Aja deserve a lot of credit. Here’s hoping it lives up to expectations.

Finally, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me to buy The New Eternals: Apocalypse Now, a spur-of-the-moment purchase of a title I didn’t even know existed until I stumbled across it on eBay. I guess developments in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and Uncanny Avengers have reinvigorated my interest in Apocalypse as a character, and hopefully this one-shot will delve into the complicated minutiae of his existence.