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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Second Genesis" of the Uncanny X-Men, 17 Jun 2003
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
I greeted the new and improved X-Men with less than open arms. I had been a big fan of the original Uncanny X-Men, which had gone out in a blaze of glory with comics drawn by Jim Steranko and Neal Adams. When Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum revived the title in 1975, after "X-Men" had been reduced to a reprint comic, I was not overly thrilled with the decision to jettison most of the original group. If Cyclops had not stayed then I might have given up on the title right then and there, but this was the old days when you could still buy every title in the Marvel universe for about five bucks (remember, this was when you could fill up your car and get change back on a $5 bill). So I stuck around and saw how Claremont, Cockrum, and John Byrne turned the "X-Men" into one of the premier comic books in the land.
The original strength of the X-Men was that their being hunted mutants served as a subtext for various issues involving social prejudice. Claremont and Cockrum put that in an international context by having Professor X go around the world to recruit his second generation of merry mutants recruiting from the mountains of Kenya to behind the Iron Curtain. This time around we find not only that the X-Men are no longer all white, they are also not all as young as before (Banshee qualifies more as a contemporary of Charles Xavier). Also thrown into the mix is their disparate temperaments; early issues always have Wolverine and Thunderbird in a contest to see who can blow up first.
This first volume in the "Essential X-Men" series (not to be confused with the single volume released of the "Essential Uncanny X-Men") contains "Giant Size X-Men" #1 and issues #94-119 of "X-Men." The new X-Men are put together to rescue the old X-Men, at which point the question becomes: what do you do with thirteen X-Men? The answer is to get down to a half-dozen by having all of the original X-Men leave except for Cyclops, to have one of the new X-Men decide not to play, and then you are down to seven, one of whom is doomed to die (and if you pay attention to the group logo on the cover you can see that they telegraphed their choice from the start).
All things considered, the new X-Men are an improvement over the original group, not only in terms of their powers but also in terms of their secret identities. I mean, all things considered all Angel could do was fly and the Beast was a muscular acrobat with lots of brains (the decision to make him blue and furry admits to the character's liabilities). Storm is an exotic elemental queen trying to fit in with regular folk and Colossus remains a man-child at heart, even in this brave new world. Most importantly, Wolverine makes the Thing look like a cuddly teddy bear, giving the group a dangerous edge. Claremont liked to skate as close to that edge as possible, and eventually he would send the series over the edge with his Dark Phoenix plotline.
Ultimately the idea of recreating the X-Men is more interesting than most of the particular stories being told in this collection. Far and away the best storyline is after Bryne comes on board as an artist when the new X-Men have to encounter the first and still greatest villain in the series, Magneto (#111-113). As Cyclops says when the bad guy finally emerges, "Lord, no! We're still nowhere near ready." What makes this work is that this is not an ultimate battle, but rather it is the first of many major conflicts between these characters. The aftermath in Ka-Zar's Hidden Land (#114-116) is also above average and the arrival of Lilandra holds the promise of taking the X-Men to the stars and beyond. Clearly Claremont and Byrne work best when they open up the scope of their stories to three issues or more. This first collection is devoted primarily for establishing the foundation for what is to come, but by the end Claremont and Byrne are clearly moving upward and onward.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for any x-men fan, 26 Jun 2001
If you read the x-men or intend to start this is a perfect book. This book includes 25 issues of x-men with some classic stories. The first issue starts with prof X recruiting wolverine, storm, colossus, nightcrawler, banshee, sunfire and thunderbird as the new x-men to go and rescue the old x-men. Highlights of the book include their first encounters with magneto and juggernaut and rivalry between old and new members-aswell as wolverine not really getting on with anyone. another highlight includes the first death of an x-man.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Essential, 2 Aug 2003
Don’t be fooled by the issue number on the cover, this is the start of the X-Men as we know them. Originally started in 1963 the X-Men concept never really took off and was cancelled in 1970. When the series was restarted in 1975, with issue #94, Marvel gave us the X-Men we now know and love.
This graphic novel is printed on cheap paper and only in black and white, BUT a copy of X-Men #94, showing Charles Xavier bringing the team together for the first time, will sell for well over 2000! So just take a look at what you are getting for this low price, not only the first issue, but around two and a half years worth of comics after this.
You don’t need to ask if the stories are good or not, if they were bad would the X-Men still be going strong nearly thirty years after these stories were originally released? Of course not. If you need convincing more; Chris Claremont, the writer of these particular stories, wrote X-Men for more than a decade after they were released and has returned to the X-Men universe and is currently writing a series entitled X-Treme X-Men which is also fantastic.
Some would say the art is a little simplistic, but I think it is very realistic when compared to the overly muscled, oddly proportioned superhero’s some modern artists prefer.
With the X-Men 2 movie recently released and X-Men 3 in discussion, I couldn’t recommend this graphic novel more to any new X-Men fans.
Great stories, great art and a great price for what is a small piece of history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth of a new X-Men era, 29 Nov 2008
By 
I. R. Kerr (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I missed many of these tales first time round so this book was an ideal opportunity to catch up.
Starting with the iconic Giant Size X-Men 1 which opens with the introduction of Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) you knew this was going to be something different. The new team that Professor X gathers Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Banshee, Thunderbird and reluctant ally Sunfire are led by Cyclops to search for the old X-Men who have vanished on a strange island. Not wanting to give the game away but they rescue the original X-Men who, apart from Cyclops choose to go their own way, as does Sunfire.
This collection also covers X-Men issues 94-119. The teams first bout together is against an old Marvel favourite, Count Nefaria and has fatal consequences for one X-Man. Moira McTaggart appears for the first time, and hints of her past relationships with Professor X are dropped aplenty.
The next series of tales blend into each other starting with the return of Havok and Polaris (Lorna Dane) and a new Eric the Red as well as the X-Men's first real bout of plane smashing. Old favourites the Sentinels appear, their eventual defeat is marred by the crash of the team's shuttle and the apparent death and rebirth of Jean. Juggernaut returns and Banshee's errant cousin Black Tom Cassidy appears and just when things were looking bad enough Magneto enters, he is at the point of defeating the X-Men when they depart.
Then the start of the long running Shi'ar story, introducing princess Lilandra, Firelord, the Starjammers and a whole host of new characters. This and several future storylines are so cleverly inter-twined that you'll keep going back to re-read parts of some tales. Just count all the Star Trek references in the Starjammers tale.
Back on Earth, the familiar names keep popping up Weapon Alpha, Alpha Flight, Warhawk, Mesmero and a great fight against Magneto in the depths of Antarctica which leads inexorably to the Savage Land and Ka-zar. Sauron makes a brief but memorable re-appeareance.
The last tale has former gun-runner and international menace Moses Magnum who has grown in power and threatens to destroy Japan, allowing Sunfire to return.
There are so many strands here that writer Chris Clarement develops from Len Wein's initial tale and the artwork by Dave Cockrum and John Byrne has stood the test of time. These strands unravel over many years and I am looking forward to catching up with the past.
The X-Men are the flagship team of Marvel just as the FF were in the early days and you can see here why they have had such a long lasting appeal and Wolverine is as iconic now as Spider-Man was in the early years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, 17 Mar 2013
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Collects 'Giant Size X-men #1 and X-men #94-119, this marks the start of the "new x-men", although some of the characters still feel slightly underdeveloped and the early stories still feel a bit Adam West Batman camp it's a good and fun read. It gets better about two thirds of the way through the writing becomes a bit tighter and the story becomes more involved as opposed to "there's an enemy, the x-men beat him". If you plan on collecting the rest of the Essential x-men volumes it's definitley worth getting but if you only want one or a couple of them it wouldn't hurt too much to missthis one, the only really important plot points in it are in "Phoenix Unleashed" which sees the birth of the phoenix. The entire volume definitely would have benefited hugely by being in colour but then I suppose then it would have cost alot more, for the price I have no real complaints.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The old order changeth, 11 Sep 2007
By 
I. R. Kerr (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Essential X-Men Volume 1 TPB (New Printing): v. 1 (Paperback)
I missed many of these tales first time round so this book was an ideal opportunity to catch up.
Starting off with the iconic Giant Size X-Men 1 which opens with the introduction of Kurt (Nightcrawler) you knew this was going to be something different. The new team that Professor X gathers Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Banshee, Thunderbird and reluctant ally Sunfire are led by Cyclops to search for the old X-Men who have vanished on a strange island. Not wanting to give the game away but they rescue the original X-Men who, apart from Cyclops choose to go their own way, as does Sunfire.
Their first bout as a team is against an old Marvel favourite, Count Nefaria and has fatal consequences for one X-Man. Moira McTaggart also appears for the first time, and hints of her past relationships with Professor X are dropped aplenty.
Kierrok, spawn of the Elder-Gods interrupts their mourning but the nucleus of the team is now established and see the demon off.
The next series of tales all blend into each other starting with the return of Havok and Polaris (Lorna Dane) and Eric the Red as well as the X-Men's first real bout of plane smashing. Fans will know how odd it is to see Cyclops and Eric together.
Old favourites the Sentinels appear as Marvel Girl returns to celebrate Christmas with Scott and the team only for them to be whisked into space to meet the new range of X-Sentinels. The eventual defeat of the Sentinels is marred by the crash of their shuttle and the apparent death, then rebirth of Jean as Phoenix.
From therein it just picks up speed as we go to Ireland to meet Banshee's errant cousin Black Tom Cassidy, along with Juggernaut and some leprechauns which leads into a trip to Scotland to Muir Island research centre with the return of Magneto who is at the point of defeating the X-Men when they depart. Their journey takes them back to New York where they meet Shi'ar princess Lilandra as well as Firelord before they journey through a Star-Gate to an unnamed world to the Neutron Galaxy and a whole host of new characters and the Starjammers leader Corsair who happens to be Cyclops' father, this and several future storylines are so cleverly inter-twined that you'll keep going back to re-read parts of some tales. Just try counting all the Star Trek references in the Starjammers tale.
Back on Earth, the familiar names keep popping up Weapon Alpha, Alpha Flight, Warhawk, Mesmero leading to a great fight against Magneto in the depths of Antarctica which leads inexorably into the Savage Land and Ka-zar. Sauron makes a brief but memorable re-appeareance.
The last tales see the X-Men take on former gun-runner and international menace Moses Magnum who has grown in power and threatens to destroy Japan, allowing Sunfire to return.
We also get to hear a lot about the teams past lives especially Wolverine, his codename Weapon X, and he understands Japanese having spent some time there. The dark side of Phoenix starts to take over Jean, Nightcrawler gets to grips with his powers, and Stan and Jack appear briefly. There are just so many strands here that writer Chris Clarement develops from Len Wein's initial tale and the artwork by Dave Cockrum and John Byrne has stood the test of time, these strands unravel over many years and I am looking forward to catching up with the past.
The X-Men are the flagship team of Marvel just as the FF were in the early days and you can see here why they have had such a long lasting appeal and Wolverine is as iconic now as Spider-Man was in the early years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the essential x-men in the tales that made them famous, 16 Jun 2001
By 
This book shows how the x-men are outcast from the rest of comic book heroes.Wolverine!Nightcrawler! Storm! Colossus! Banshee!Born with special mutant gifts, first summoned by professor Xavier to save the original x-men, an underground group sworn to protect a world that fears and hate them. Relive their original adventures, discover the human within the hero, and the truth behind the legend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The classic origins of everybodies favourite team of mutants, 14 Jun 2001
By A Customer
this book is a classic as it tells all the classic x stories since giant size x-men 1 to a futher 23 full comic books. it is great to see how all the mutants started out and a great read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt the greatest X-Men stories ever, 21 July 1999
By A Customer
This beautifully written collection of comics reprints the classic team of X-Men in the stories that made them famous. Not only are these the X-Men's early years but they are also one of the best comics ever written. Once you pick this book up you wont be able to put it down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that you won't put down until you're done!, 7 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This book has many back issues that are EXTREMELY hard to find. It also has the origin of the second generation of X-Men, which include Wolverine, Storm, Collosuss, Nightcrawler, and Banshee. Since I just started reading the X-Men comics, it was a great way to find oput about their past.
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Essential X-Men Volume 1 TPB (New Printing): v. 1
Essential X-Men Volume 1 TPB (New Printing): v. 1 by Chris Claremont (Paperback - 18 Oct 2006)
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