The X-Men – they’re weird, they’re wonderful, and it can be a real nightmare to find a logical starting point amongst the constant array of titles associated with the team, when faced with Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, All-New X-Men, Wolverine & The X-Men, X-Men, Extraordinary X-Men (I could go on) and all the interwoven and history soaked storylines it’s not easy to find a comfortable entry point, but fear not, we’ve thrown together a few that we think are pretty reasonable starting points.
The Dark Phoenix Saga – Chris Claremont & John Byrne
It’s an oldie but a goodie, gone from the charts, but not from our hearts…or X-Men storylines. Beginning back in 1980 and running from X-Men 129-138 The Dark Phoenix Saga changed the face of the X-Men and introduced some fan favourite characters along the way.
Telling the tale of Jean Grey’s transformation into the Phoenix and her darker alter-ego, with appearances from X-Men staple supporting characters The Hellfire Club and the Shi’ar Empire along the way.
This one’s a true classic in the comic book world and the effects of this iconic story still come up in events in recent history, so it’s easy to point out as a great first X-Men book to read as it will pave the way for other events – even if they don’t immediately follow on from this one.
Astonishing X-Men – Joss Whedon & John Cassidy
Joss Whedon is a pretty well known guy these days, he’s been responsible for two Avengers films, as well as a horde of great TV shows and films, but he’s also worked in comics on and off over the years, and it’s no great stretch to say that his best work in comics may well be his four volumes of Astonishing X-Men (which has conveniently been recollected into two Ultimate Collection sized volumes).
The series is studded with great emotional moments, and incorporates a slimmed down cast of characters compared to many other runs. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed and Wolverine form the core of the team, and although there’s plenty of outsider appearances none of them seem to get in the way too much.
There’s plenty of extended reading here, if the villains pique your interest there’s the opportunity to venture back to New X-Men, and if you want to move forward there’s plenty more Astonishing X-Men by a bunch of different writers, not to mention Brian Michael Bendis’ House Of M takes place towards the end of this run which leads into plenty more extended reading – not to mention a great event within itself.
Wolverine & The X-Men – Jason Aaron
This run takes Wolverine the typical loner bad boy of the X-Men family and puts him in the headmasters chair. After a schism between the X-Men Wolverine decides to open his own school – the Jean Grey School Of Higher Learning…and hilarity ensues.
Luckily he has Kitty Pyrde to help him out when things get tough (especially if these things involve his favourite student, Quentin Quire). This book focuses on a lot on characters who had previously been in the side lines, and is a great place to start if you want some mutant-style high school hijinks.
So where did you begin with the X-Men and what would you recommend to new readers? As always let us know in the comments!