My X-Men reading order (WIP) ( blog. episode 53)

(Updated on 10/14/19, with Essential X-Men vol. 5)

The goal with this list is to share my project of quickly catching up on all of the major X-Men storylines at reasonable prices, with the main focus on enjoying the stories. The Essential collections are all reprinted in black & white. This is disappointing (and sometimes a bit hard to read), but I picked up quite a few of them where full colored collections of major story arcs were out of print, super hard to find and/or ridiculously expensive. The Essential collections can be found for far below their already low cover prices if you shop around, which is a big plus, allowing you to catch up on huge chunks of stories (normally over 500 pages each) at really great values. When available at reasonable prices, the full color collections are recommended instead, for a much more enjoyable experience.

From all of the research I did, I found that the preferred place to start among most fans is at the beginning of the Chris Claremont Era and Giant Sized X-Men #1, and I would have to agree. I have collected some of the earlier material, but I’m not planning on reading it until I’m completely caught up.

There are an overwhelming amount of different titles and issues in the X-Men timeline, often times crossing over with one another, making it difficult to know where to start. It’s quite a daunting task, but I hope this guide will make it a bit easier.  It’ll likely be a work in progress for some time, but I’ll add to and alter it as I go. (I’ll also add the cover art for each collection as I read it.)

Recommended – Essential X-Men vol 1
essential-xmen-vol-1 2 inches
Beginning of the Chris Claremont era, starting with Giant Sized X-Men #1. Features the Professor X’s formation of the “All New X-Men” to rescue the original team, and their ensuing adventures. Includes the first appearances of Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler (while Wolverine, Banshee and a couple of others are recruited as well). Widely considered to be where the series became truly great. Review

Recommended – Essential X-Men vol 2
essential-xmen-vol-2 2 inches
Recommended mainly for the Proteus Saga and continuing adventures from Essential X-Men vol 1. The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past are also included in this amazing collection, but I highly recommend reading their full color collections. (I’d advise reading the issues leading up to them, jumping over to the full color trade paperbacks, then moving back to Essential X-Men vol 2 for the remainder of this amazing collection). Also includes the first appearance of Kitty Pryde. Review

Recommended – The Dark Phoenix Saga
dark-phoenix-saga 2 inches
Still widely available at a very reasonable cover price at the time of this writing. This story is a must. Review

Recommended – Days of Future Past
days-of-future-past 2 inches
Another must read story. Like The Dark Phoenix Saga, it’s still widely available at a reasonable cover price at the time of this writing. Review

Optional  – Essential X-Men vol 3
Essential X-Men vol 3 2 inches
Good stories, though not as amazing as those before. I grabbed this collection mainly because it sets up the next major story: The Brood Saga. It includes Avengers Annual #10, which features Rogue’s first appearance, but the black & white presentation of that issue in particular leaves a lot to be desired. Definitely worth reading, especially for some parts with Colossus’ sister, Illyana, but I wouldn’t consider this volume to be critical as far as catching up on the major stories. Review

Recommended – Essential X-Men vol 4
EssentialvX-MenvVol 4 2 inch
Like vol 2, vol 4 contains awesome stories that make picking up this collection up easily worth it, despite the black & white presentation. Included are The Brood Saga and God Loves Man Kills (both are amazing) and also the introductions of Madelyne Pryor and the Morlocks. Like the other Essential collections, it can be found for far below the $19.99 cover price. Review

Optional – New Mutants Classic vol 1
NM Classic 2 inch
A nice collection featuring the introduction of Professor X’s new students. It’s a good read, but I wouldn’t consider it critical to the overall stories if you’re just trying to catch up on major events like I am. Review

Optional – Essential X-Men vol 5
Essential X-Men vol 5 2 inch
Fun to read, but not critical. There are some other stories that go on during this time that I’d like to come back to and possibly add to this list (Secret Wars I & II and the Wolverine Kitty Pryde Limited Series). Review

Now Reading:
Essential X-Men vol 6
Essential X-Factor vol 1
The Mutant Massacre

Upcoming storylines/events that I’ve collected and plan to read next:

Fall of the Mutants

Later stories and events that I plan to read and list with recommended collections:
Cable & the New Mutants*
Seige Perilous*
Xtinction Agenda
Muir Island Saga
Bishop’s Crossing*

Xcutioner’s Song
Fatal Attractions
Phalanx Covenant
Age of Apocalypse

Road to Onslaught*
Operation Zero Tolerance
Magneto: Rogue Nation
X-Men vs. Apocalypse: The Twelve
X-Men vs. Apocalypse: Ages of Apocalypse
Legacy Virus Cure
New X-Men
Astonishing X-Men
House of M
Messiah Complex
Divided We Stand
Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia
Nation X
Second Coming
Avengers vs. X-Men
X-Men Gold*
X-Men Blue*
X-Men Red*
Uncanny X-Men (2018-2019)*

House of X
Powers of X

* indicates that I’m not sure yet how critical the story is and may skip it depending on what I learn
indicates stories that I read and collected as a kid but will revisit


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