Reentering the Marvel universe
January 24, 2011 5:44 PM   Subscribe

For someone who hasn't read any X-Men comics, or any of the spinoffs, for many, many years, where would be a logical and entertaining place to jump in?

I really can't remember where I left off with the comics over a decade ago, but I've heard that the franchise has since had some excellent writers and artists take the series in interesting directions.

Is there a logical place to jump in after such a long lapse? Or should I just abandon X-Men and start anew with something like Ex Machina?
posted by pilibeen to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I think Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run is a good place to start in. (Probably because it's where I jumped back in, but still) It gets back to everyone in a team uniform, and has a fresh start. It's really good, even made me really like Emma Frost.
posted by Caravantea at 5:50 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm a huge fan of Grant Morrison's New X-Men, and it was how I got into the series. Whedon's run is excellent as well, and it's just as good of an entry point.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:54 PM on January 24, 2011

Thirding Whedon's run. Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 is an amazing story.
posted by oblio_one at 6:06 PM on January 24, 2011

Kieron Gillen is taking sole writing control of Uncanny X-Men this spring/ summer so that Matt Fraction can focus on a big crossover. I found Gillen's recent run on Thor quite accessible and well-crafted, even though I hadn't been keeping up with 95% of Thor continuity over the years; I expect similar miracles from his X-books work.

(I enjoyed Fraction's solo run on Uncanny X-Men. That being said, I am a 25-year X-Men geek, and certainly I had an easier time of it than, say, Mr. F-- if you come in cold, it's readable but not as deeply amusing a read. If you want to tackle the Fraction run at some later point, I recommend reading the above-recommended Grant Morrison work first and in depth.)

I really liked Joss Whedon's first six issues of Astonishing X-Men (the arc's called "Gifted"); I didn't find the rest of it anywhere near as compelling. I love love love Agent Brand, though, and if you do read Astonishing and find yourself loving her too, I commend you to another Gillen book-- SWORD: No Time To Breathe, which is a TPB collecting all the issues of that late lamented series. SWORD is all Beast and Brand all the time, having wacky near-space adventures, and it's flat fantastic.

You'd think Warren Ellis and the X-Men would be a solid fit after the pitch for it he blogged some years back... unfortunately, I didn't find much of his X-Men work all that compelling for me, and it came out on an awkward schedule (although nowhere near as erratically as Whedon's run on Astonishing did).

At the moment, the only X-books I'm reading are Uncanny, the new Generation Hope (which is a new team book that spun off from an entire mutant-Messiah plotline that spanned multiple books and killed off a major character for the nonce; fortunately, it's readable on its own merits), and Rick Remender's sublimely nutty and amoral Uncanny X-Force (Wolverine, Psylocke, Archangel, Fantomex, and Deadpool run around doing all the wetwork the main X-teams consider ethically questionable. Yes, Deadpool's in. It is the only book where I find Deadpool at all tolerable, and that is saying a lot coming from me). X-Force just started, and shouldn't be too hard to pick up on.

I haven't liked anything from Kyle and Yost in the X-book arena-- too much death for the hell of it, not enough consequence. Oddly, I find some of their other work outside of the WFH realm hilarious and readable, so I think it's just the mix of wanton homicide and the X-Men that annoys me.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:43 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, yes-- you will have a giant WTF about Emma Frost if you're coming back in cold. You may want to just spoil yourself with Wikipedia first and get it out the way.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:46 PM on January 24, 2011

The Grant Morrison run was awesome, largely self contained, and is available in trades. You definately want to get it.

Personally I found the Whedon run a bit of a drag, but it reads a lot better collected. That said, it definately gets a bit ropey towards the end.

I find the current X-Men pretty incomprehensible, and so avoid it, which is a shame as their are some great people on it right now, as fairytale of los angeles points out (and that SWORD series was great) - maybe I should follow his advice and pick up Uncanny and Generation Hope.

Really, for that old timey X-Men feel you can't go wrong with the actual old timey X-Men - The Essential Editions of Chris Claremonts run are easily available, and it gets very good very quickly and stays good. There's something to be said for reading the original X-Men stories that so many of todays stories are just rehashes of.
posted by Artw at 8:25 PM on January 24, 2011

I really, really enjoyed the Winick and Bedard runs on eXiles (but stop before they gave it to Claremont.) It's about a group of X-Men each from a different alternate universe (most of which we've encountered before) tasked with protecting the multiverse by making sure things go the right way in various universes, so each story involves a What If? premise.

I'm sure there were tons of references I was missing as they traversed the various universes, but I didn't find it to detract from the stories.

And I'll ditto Morrison's New X-Men and Whedon's Astonishing X-Men. But if you're doing both, do Morrison's first -- Whedon's follows it pretty directly.
posted by Zed at 8:06 AM on January 25, 2011

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