Lately I’ve been talking a lot about getting back into my favorite super heroes, the X-Men. Long story short, I started and fell in love with the comics in the 90’s, and later fell away from them. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get back into them I started again, but decided to go back to before I started (close to the beginning) since I’d missed out on so many legendary stories.
Perhaps the biggest and most and important story I had missed out on is the Dark Phoenix Saga.
The edition I read is a collection reprinted in 2019 (ISBN 978-0-7851-6241-0) and collects Uncanny X-Men #129-137.
After starting with Essential X-Men volume 1, which is in black and white, this was quite a different experience. After reading 528 pages in b&w, this was a special treat. I really appreciated getting to experience this saga in vibrant full-color. It was a much nicer experience (even though the previous stories were great, too).
Like many other X-Men fans who started around the same time as me or later, I already knew quite a bit about The Dark Phoenix Saga. At least I thought I did. I knew of the main result of the story (like pretty much everyone does as this point), but not how it exactly, physically occurred.
The creative team of Claremont, Byrne and others really shines in this collection as they create one of their greatest works, also considered widely to be one of the greatest stories in comics in general. The writing, art and character development are all top-notch. Even though I knew a lot of the outcome beforehand, reading it was still a really great experience. I won’t say anything specific, but seeing some of my most beloved characters going through such an ordeal first hand was really moving at times, and while knowing what was going to eventually happen definitely softened the blow, it still made me really feel for them.
This collection features not only Professor X’s then current team of Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus & Banshee, along with Phoenix of course, but also the first appearance of Kitty Pryde (aka Sprite, and later, Shadowcat)!
The tale definitely lives up to its reputation, and if you haven’t read it I would definitely recommend doing so. I’m excited and happy that I finally got to experience The Dark Phoenix Saga, and can’t wait to continue catching up with the X-Men! The cover price is $24.99, which is really a steal for such an awesome collection. (I got my copy from House of Pop Culture in Waldorf, Maryland. They have an amazing selection of not only X-Men Trade Paperbacks, but comics in general. If you’re anywhere near the area, check them out!)
Next up in comics I’ll be moving on to another legendary X-Men story: Days of Future Past.