This is less aimed at collectors of classic runs in comics history than those who want to plug a hole in the gap in their X-Men collections. Marvel's pretty generous to X-fans these past couple years, churning out oversized hardcovers like nobody's business, but this is the first book they've released that's not a collection of a single storyline (a la Inferno, Fall Of The Mutants, Mutant Massacre etc.) and as such it stands as little more than a ramshackle series of issues from a particularly dull period in 16-year scribe Chris Claremont's run on the series. It hasn't an overarching theme of any kind and features a pretty poor selection of X-Men (Wolverine shines when he does appear but otherwise you'll have to make do with a pre-Asian Psylocke, Lorna freaking Dane and, erm, Teenage Storm for most of the book). At the worst of times the issues collected here are frankly hard to follow and horribly illustrated. I'm not trying to stir the pot or wind anybody up but I had trouble remembering the first half of the book as soon as I'd read it. The issues towards the end certainly pick up the slack but I can't say it's worth the sixty quid.
Horribly illustrated, you say? Yes, Jim Lee's name may be on the cover of this book but only seven of the issues are drawn by him and unless you're a Marc Silvestri fan (read: masochist) you're in for a share of disappointment. Fill in issues from the likes of Rick "Spider-Man 2099" Leonardi are even worse.
Sure, the presentation is nice. The book is gorgeous, the binding is sturdy but flexible and there's a decent selection of Lee-centric extras, but this is not for casual Omnibus readers - this is for serious X-Men buffs, and should really only be picked up by completionists (sigh...like myself).
Omnibus Essentials -
Page Count- 704
Issues Collected- Uncanny X-Men 244-269, X-Men Annual 13, Classic X-Men 39 and material from What If? 5
Creative Team (s)- Chris Claremont, Terry Austin, Sally Pashkow, Ann Nocenti (w), Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee and others (a)
Other Books Collected- None
Extra Content- 21 Jim Lee covers from Alpha Flight, Wolverine etc., 5 pages of character designs, 1 of trading cards and an interview
on 10 March 2012
I've been reading the X-Men TPBs over the past few years, and when this (and volume 2) came along, I picked them up to continue on the storyline, along with X-Tinction agenda, which sits between the two. Of the three books, this is the weakest in terms of storyline, it feels fairly directionless. However, the quality of the printing makes up for much of this. After having to read the black and white reproductions of the Essential series, the Omnibus printings are a sight for sore eyes. If you can afford them, I recommend these volumes.