The third volume of “Essential X-Men” picks up right after what many consider the title’s “glory days,” following the Chris Claremont/John Byrne run. The third “essential” volume contains most of the second Dave Cockrum run on “Uncanny X-Men.”
Collecting “Uncanny X-Men” #145-161, “Uncanny X-Men” Annuals #5-6 and “Avengers Annual” #10.
The collection begins with the X-Men facing Doctor Doom to rescue Arcade, after the X-Men’s friends are being held hostage. John Byrne later retconned this story away, though as much as I like Byrne, the X-Men story doesn’t really make sense with a Doombot — a Doombot has an internal monologue and develops a crush on Storm? — so I think it’s sort of up to the reader as to whether they believe it was Doom or not.
I really like Josef Rubenstein’s inking on Dave Cockrum – it’s a very tight look that’s reminiscent of Byrne’s work in places.
The X-Men battle Magneto when he threatens to destroy the Earth’s governments unless they immediately disarm. He tells Cyclops he hopes this will force the world’s governments to focus on improving the well-being of the inhabitants of the world rather than build weapons. The X-Men of course oppose him, and even change his mind to some degree, though I was left feeling sympathetic to Magneto in this appearance.
In both issue No. 159 and Annual #6, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, the X-Men face the menace of Dracula in atmospherically drawn stories.
The X-Men team up with the Fantastic Four in Annual No. 5. Also included in this volume is Avengers Annual #10, written by Claremont and introducing Rogue, who later becomes a key member of the X-Men. (She battles the X-Men again in this volume in issue #158, where the X-Men attempt to remove themselves from the government’s databases.
This collection also features the White Queen attempting to subjugate the X-Men. The latter third or so of the book primarily features Deathbird’s alliance with the Brood in an attempt to overthrow her sister Lilandra’s position as empress of the Shi’ar.
Other guest artists include Brent Anderson and Jim Sherman.
- Matt Price
Comics read in 2011: 467 Still to go: 1544.