Welcome to Part 19 of my reread through the Uncanny X-Men. In this post I want to cover Uncanny X-Men #105-110, which finishes the first part of the Phoenix Saga, from their last fight with Eric the Red, the alien Shi’ar spy, to the fate of the M’Krann Crystal, which fully shows the full set of changes that Jean Grey has undergone when she resurrected herself in issue #101. This post begins though, with a side-trip to Iron Fist #11, which was also being written by Claremont, and drawn by Byrne and inked by Dan Adkins. We do this only to see Jean and Scott leaving the hospital.
Welcome to post 15 of my re-read of the X-Men, which began in the Silver Age with X-Men #1 in 1963. We’re now well into 1974. We’ve gone through pretty much every appearance and guest appearance of the X-Men and even some X-Men-adjacent characters and we’re only a year away from Len Wein and Dave Cockrum’s new take on the X-Men in Second Genesis. I’m going to talk about five issues in this post and note a few others for those who want to read in a really completist way.
The first set of issues is a two-part Magneto appearance in The Defenders #15-16. I glossed over Magneto’s Amazing Adventures appearance against the Inhumans in the last post because he was bringing a bit of a tired plot to the table (creating a bunch of mutants from scratch to command and send into battle).
Welcome to part 14 of my X-Men reread! The X-Men are still in their publishing purgatory that lasted from 1970-1975. During this time, the X-Men series is reprinting middling mid-1960s material. Hank McCoy lasted 6 issues as the star of Amazing Adventures and the Silver Age X-Men seem to have had so little impact on the 1970s working creatives that artists, writers and colorists don’t know them well enough to get powers, personalities or even costumes right. It’s a dark era for X-Men fans.
But before getting into the main guest appearances in this post, I’m going to go back in time to cover four issues where the X-Men had at best a tangential role in the story because I like being something of a completist. Just before Hank McCoy’s run on Amazing Adventures, the title had been devoted to the Inhumans, who often split the issues with Black Widow. In issue #9-10 (Nov, 1971) Gerry Conway and Mike Sekowsky concluded an ongoing story-line with Magneto looking to make Blackbolt leader of a bunch of mutants Magneto would create.
Holy cow! We’re into double digits of my reread of the X-Men story that began in 1963. I include a full set of links to the post series at the bottom of this post. As we saw last time, some later creators have had some fun in writing stories that fit into those empty years between 1970 and 1975 when X-Men was just a reprint title. One of the most famous is John Byrne’s 1999-2001 series X-Men: The Hidden Years.
Welcome to the 9th episode of my reread of the vast X-Men story that began in 1963. The X-Men series stopped putting out original stories in early 1970, due primarily to low sales; it was a reprint magazine from issues #67–93, cover dated December 1970 to April 1975, until the beginning of the Claremont and Cockrum run in issue #94.
I’m going to go through their early Bronze Age appearances in coming blog posts, but for story continuity purposes, I’m also reading issues created in contemporary times but fitting into that 5-year dead period, like I covered for the original X-Men in X-Men: First Class.
So this time I read the 2014 series Savage Hulk, by writer/penciller Alan Davis, inker Mark Farmer and colorist Matt Hollingsworth.
This is a gigantic milestone! This is the 8th episode in my reread of the X-Men run. It covers from #59, the height of the Roy Thomas-Neal Adams run, to #66, the end of original X-Men stories, which hit the stands on March 10th, 1970. The end of the X-Men’s ongoing stories coincides with the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the Bronze.
The Silver Age X-Men, as a distinctly 1960s phenomenon reached their peak with some of the Arnold Drake stories with some interesting experimentation under Steranko’s art. The arrival of Neal Adams feels much more like it belongs in the Bronze Age. Both the art and the story complexity (under Roy Thomas) feels like it’s breaking creative ground that the best of the 1970s will follow.
The merry mutants’ uneven momentum had carried them for 7 years, but even a spectacular finish couldn’t save the series from its failure to come into focus. We’re going to talk today about that end.
I was super-tempted to pause my blogging about my X-Men reread to complain about my reread of another classic, but I opted for the high road and am glad I did, because this was a fun post to think through. And, for those of you still with me, we’re almost at the end of the original X-Men! So pull up a chair for the 7th installment of my reread of the X-Men.
In this post, I want to look at issues #54-58 (March, 1969 – July, 1969), a run that contains two major Silver Age milestones. The first is the introduction of Alex Summer, the mutant brother of Scott Summers. Alex will eventually join the X-Men as their 7th member. The second is equally exciting – the beginning of Neal Adams’ brief but spectacular run. The team-up of Roy Thomas and Neal Adams marks the beginning of the zenith of the original team, outshining the Kirby-Lee issues and sitting comfortably at the same table as many of the great Claremont-Byrne stories.
Holy mutants, Batman! We’ve reached week 12, episode 6 of the great X-Men reread! This is an exciting run, because we get to experience the first of two moments of major artistic experimentation in the Silver Age X-Men, as well as the first real addition to the X-Men’s roster since issue #1. This blog post will only cover the 4-issue Daughter of Magneto saga and a stand-alone issue with an FF villain (so October, 1968 to March 1969), but I think we’re getting to periods where it’s worth slowing down to experience the art and writing more slowly.
We left the X-Men at the end of issue #48, having been split up for two issues and still mourning their deceased professor. By the time issue #49 rolled around, we readers were ready to see the gang back together. Their reunion feels like a big deal not just because they’re together again, but because of the cover art and the new story.
Welcome to the 5th installment of my reread of the X-Men from 1963 forward. This is a cool one, going from cover date January, 1968 to almost the end of 1968. There are some big stories and even the middling stories in this run have their charm, and the best ones hold up as exemplars of the best of the Silver Age, including an Avengers-X-Men cross-over. If this it the first of these posts that you noticed, my can find my previous ones here:
- Part I: X-Men #1 (Nov, 1963) to X-Men #20 (May, 1966)
- Part II: Early X-Men guest appearances (1964-1965), X-Men #21-23 (1966), and X-Men: First Class Volume I (2006)
- Part III: X-Men: First Class, Volume II (2007)
- Part IV: X-Men #24-39: The Middle Years of the Original Team
I wish I could say that this run opens with a bang, but after the work that went into ending the Factor Three multi-part story line, Roy Thomas and company come out with a forgettable (or best forgotten) Frankenstein’s monster story in issue #40. Issue #41 follows up slightly better, because although they’re fighting another poorly-drawn hulking brute, it’s about a secret subterranean civilization that have all died due to human action.
While travelling in November, I loaded a bunch of X-Men comics onto my phone for the airports. I haven’t stopped reading and I started blogging about my reread. I’ve made the reread slightly more complete by adding in stories that were written later but fit into the canon.
In this post, I’m covering my thoughts on X-Men #24-39, with cover dates 1966-1967 which cover, most significantly, the introduction of Banshee and the multi-part Factor Three story. I mention the dates though because for the older issues I often spool up music from the corresponding year to play in the background for flavour. If you’re reading along at home via Marvel Unlimited or trades or Masterworks, give it a try. It’s weird way to situate yourself in the historical era.
It’s also important to situate ourselves in the comics era. During this period, Roy Thomas was getting his feet under him, with maybe as many hits as misses? Elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, Kirby and Lee were introducing the Silver Surfer, Galactus, and the Black Panther. On TV, the Adam West Batman series was premiering, as was the animated Spider-Man series, the first Fantastic Four animated series, as well as Marvel’s old Thor, Captain America and Iron Man cartoons which were half animated, half motion comic. It was a heady time to love superheroes, although I missed it by 15 years.