The second installment of the X-Men by Chris Claremont & Jim Lee omnibus collection is a real archive of the mutant history. It consists of the follwing stories, reproduced in this order:
- X-Factor #63 and 64: a 2 part story featuring Iceman by Loise Simonson & Whilce Portacio.
- Uncanny X-Men #273 to 277: by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee (with all-star guest artists in #273, including Silvestri, Byrne, Portacio). This issues contain the resolution to the Savage Land arc featuring Rogue, Magneto, Ka-Zar and Nick Fury that started in the previous Omnibus and the Shi'Ar space opera that retrieves Charles Xavier to the X-Men, featuring Wolverine, Storm, Gambit, Jubilee, Psilocke, Banshee, Forge and the Starjammers. These stories are in my opinion the highest point of the book and one of the best sagas in the whole X-Mythos, where Claremont and Lee shine most.
- X-Factor #65 to 68: with plot by Lee & Portacio, script by Claremont and pencils by Portacio. Featuring the original X-Men (Cyclops, Jean, Beast, Archangel and Iceman), Apocalypse and the Inhumans. This is one of the most essential sagas of the history of the X-Men, because in it the aftermath of the battle against Apocalypse, Scott Summer's son is tranported to the future by the Askani, where he will become the man we know as Cable. This is THE story that (for better or worse) kickstarts a new direction for the X-Men, that would be developed in X-Cutioner's Song and continues up to this day with Messiah Complex, Second Coming and the soon to be Avengers Vs X-Men event.
- Uncanny X-Men #278 to 280 & X-Factor #69 and 70: by Fabian Nicieza, Claremont and Peter David, with art by Paul Smith, Andy Kubert and Kirk Jarvinen. The X-Men and X-Factor battle Shadow King and in the aftermath the whole structure of the X-Frachise will change: the X-Men will be divided in the now classic Blue and Gold teams, reinstating in them Cyclops and the original members, while the new X-Factor with Polaris, Havoc and Madrox will be created.
- X-Men #1 to 3: with art by Jim Lee, this is the last Claremont story, with an epic confrontation with Magneto that will later lead to the Fatal Attraction saga. / X-Men #4 to 7: with plot and art by Jim Lee and scripts by John Byrne and Scott Lobdell. The Omega Red saga, featuring the creation of this now classic villain. / X-Men #8 and 9 & Ghost Rider #26 and 27: featuring the first confrontation of Bishop and Gambit, this is a crossover with Ghost Rider against The Brood. Art by Jim Lee in the X-Men episodes and Ron Wagner in the GR ones. / X-Men #10 and 11: a Mojo story featuring Longshot and Dazzler. Art and plot by Jim Lee, script by Lobdell.
FOR THE COMIC-BOOK READERS (not the specific X-Men or Jim Lee fans): As you can see, the impact of these comic-books at the time was HUGE, not only in the stories of the X-Men universe, but in the USA comic-book publishing world: we are witnessing a big part of the birth of Image Comics in this omnibus, and a whole new way of creating and understanding comics at the time. I'm not going to discuss the quality of this stories, that's up to the reader to decide. What is undeniable is the impact and relevance of these publications at the time, because for better or worse they changed forever tha landscape of the comic-book market in the USA.
FOR THE JIM LEE FANS: The Uncanny X-Men and first X-Men issues printed in this book are personally my favorite Jim Lee pages of all time. I think that today he is a better artist (more accomplished, more skilled), but these comics show so much GUT, so much HUNGER that is just moving. By looking at his art you can witness the ascencion of a young artist with one and only one sight in mind: to conquer the world. Oh, and the extras included in this volume will make you drool.
FOR THE X-MEN FANS: This book (alongside Vol. 1, X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner's Song) are the HOLY SCRIPTURES. And that's it. If you really love X-Men you must have this collection (even if it means selling yout kidney).
Now about the edition: it is a very high quality hardcover sewn-binding, sporting excellent paper stock, excellent printing, and silver metal printing of the front and spine. It has a lightweighter paper compared to older Marvel omnibuses, but the quality is still great and it makes the book more manageable to read. This edition presents 96 pages of extras (yeah, 96 pages if I counted right) and two 4-pages fold-outs, one with the X-Men #1 complete composite cover and another one with the classic vertical pin-up by Lee featuring most of the X-characters at the time. They are printed both with the original coloing in the front and the new remastered coloring on the back. Marvel also printed is the complete set of traiding cards that Jim Lee did in 1992 (9 per page, with the back of the cards printed in the next page). And lot of sketches, pin-ups, reprint covers and magazine articles. Some of these pages are printed from scans and thus show lower quality, but they are all in pretty decent standards at the least.
All in all, this book is a REAL TREAT, Marvel definitely went all the way to make an excellent edition. Buy it now before it goes out of print, this one's a keeper. I've uploaded a set of photos I've taken to show the main features of this book, you can check them at the top, on the customer images section.
NOTE OF WARNING - Most of you probably know it already, but here it goes just in case: before reading this second volume, you should pick up X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda HC, which acts as a sort of "Vol. 1.5" of the X-Men Omnibus by Claremont & Lee, as it fills the gap between the two books of this collection with a crossover that involved X-Men, X-Factor and New Mutants (and thus was published as a stand-alone book). And if you want to read further just pick up X-Men X-Cutioner's Song HC, it's the saga that comes chronologically next.