Thor marked the beginning of another Super Hero summer at your multiplex; this weekend saw the release of the second big title “X-Men: First Class”. First Class was a far superior film to Thor and I would recommend you go check it out. If you wish to pick up a couple of books to familiarise yourself with the X-universe then this handy little list will point you in the direction of some of the best mutant stories Marvel have published. I have chosen one title for each of the film’s two main characters Professor X and Magneto plus a couple other titles you should be reading for mutant fun, I chose to focus on the modern X-books rather than the classic stories, hope you enjoy.
X-Men Legacy spun out of the big X-Men crossover event Messiah Complex. The first story arc of this book ‘Divided He Stands’ focuses on Professor X as he recovers from being shot in the head. Xavier is fully explored in this title, the closest thing we will ever get to a Professor X solo book. Crucially for the X-Men First Class connection we see Xavier’s history throughout the book, though it is significantly different to the movie history. This book was one of the most entertaining X-Men books to come out of the Messiah Complex story line and as a character study of Charles Xavier it is one of the best books that character has ever starred in. Also it stars Gambit and Rogue. Everybody loves Gambit and Rogue.
X-Men First Class deals with Magneto’s history as a Holocaust survivor. Magneto’s past was explored in Greg Pak’s ‘X-Men Magneto Testament’ set in Nazi Germany. One of Marvel’s greatest villains is just a boy in this story, a boy living a painful existence in Jewish ghettos and concentration camps. A truly heartbreaking story this book creates a depth of sympathy for a villain rarely attainable in other mediums.
Best of the X
Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is, in my opinion, the single greatest X-Men book ever written. Joss put together an all-star X-Team with Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Beast. It’s this team aspect that makes re-reading this series so refreshing, many titles today focus on assorted mutant groups and communities annoyingly disregarding the traditional X-Men format. Similar to Buffy there is also evidence of the Whedonesque staples: characterisation, humour and soap opera. All this and John Cassaday’s artwork make a recipe for the perfect X-Men book, in fact one of the best comic books of the last decade.
The best monthly x-book on the stands right now is Uncanny X-Force. If you read my regular comic book round up I am sure you are more than aware how I feel about this series. Wolverine and a team of other kick ass mutants including fan favourite Deadpool work under the radar as assassins taking care of threats to mutantkind before they become threats. Trust me this book rocks.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out the comic book that got me into super hero comic books in the first place Ultimate X-Men. Mark Millar’s first arc on Ultimate X-Men is one of the best Ultimate books around. The continuity free take on our favourite mutants was the perfect jumping on point for new readers, like me, in the early 00s. Ultimate X-Men #3 is what I have to thank for hooking me all those years ago.