My X-Men Reading Project/Reading Order (WIP) (Feralia.net blog. episode 53)

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(Updated on 6/30/20, with Uncanny X-Men #350)

(Currently covers major stories from 1975 to 1997, but progressing quickly.)

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 to current stories. 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.)

Collections listed chronologically:

Recommended – Essential X-Men vol 1
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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
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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
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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

Recommended – Essential X-Men vol 6
Essential X-Men vol 6 2 inch
This volume can be found for pretty cheap and not only includes the Trial of Magneto, the early part of his stint leading the X-Men, stories with Rachel and early Nimrod stories, but includes most of the Mutant Massacre! You may want to do like I did, however, and read the Mutant Massacre in its full color trade paperback collection (it’s affordable and much more enjoyable in color). Review

Recommended – Essential X-Factor vol 1
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Highly recommended for the return of Jean Grey, the reunion of the original 5 X-men as X-Factor, the beginning of Angel’s transformation as well as the first appearance of the long-time and very important villain Apocalypse! Much of the Mutant Massacre is included in this collection, but I’d recommend jumping over to the full color trade paperback collection, then returning to the remainder of this collection. Review

Recommended – The Mutant Massacre
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Another must read. One of the darker stories, and has ramifications for lots of later storylines. Review

Recommended – Essential X-Factor vol 2 *First Part*
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More great and really important stories for the 5 original X-Men! I’d recommend reading from the beginning of this great collection through X-Factor #29, then jumping over to read the rest of The Fall of the Mutants, then coming back and finishing this volume, just to keep things in a good order (see below). Review

Recommended – The Fall of the Mutants
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While I personally didn’t enjoy this one as much as previous stories, I’d still recommend it for the sake of completion, and there are a few key moments. Review

Recommended
– Essential X-Factor vol 2 *Remainder*
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As mentioned above, I’d recommend reading the first part of this great collection, jumping over to The Fall of the Mutants, then back to this collection to finish these important stories which lead up to the next big story, Inferno. One other quick note: the last issue in this collection (X-Factor #35) is also included in the Inferno collection (recommended to read next), so you could skip it here and read it in color there. Review

Optional – Essential X-Men Vol. 8
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The first half of this volume bridges the gap for the team between Fall of the Mutants and Inferno, but there’s nothing critical, while the second half includes part of Inferno (The Uncanny X-Men & X-Factor issues only), and can be found in full color with the entire story in the Inferno trade paperback. Review

Recommended: Inferno
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Long, but very weird and fun! Major events with Madelyne & Cyclops featuring Mr. Sinister and long some long-awaited revelations. Review

Optional: Cable and the New Mutants
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If you’re a fan of The New Mutants & Cable (or later, X-Force) you’ll probably want to check these stories out if you haven’t yet. Otherwise, nothing critical is collected here. Review

Recommended* – X-Men Epic Collection: Dissolution & Rebirth
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While I didn’t enjoy these stories nearly as much as the others so far, there is a lot that happens that will help the next major story to make sense. Also, a couple of key team members are added. If you’re not worried about activities in between Inferno and X-Tinction Agenda, you could go ahead and skip this one, and stick with the major storylines. Review

Recommended – X-Tinction Agenda
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Another major event that shouldn’t be missed. The newly released (at the time of this writing) Milestones edition is better quality and includes more issues than older collections, and is also at a great price. Review

Recommended – Essential X-Factor vol 5
Essential X-Factor vol 5
The last black & white collection in my reading order is a must because it contains not only X-Tinction Agenda (which I’d recommend reading in color but still adds to the value here), End Game, and The Muir Island Saga, but a good Proteus story too!

Optional – Bishop’s Crossing
Bishop's Crossing (1)
Spans much of the gap between The Muir Island Saga and the X-Cutioner’s Song and introduces Bishop, who will be a big part of the team from this point on. Besides that, however, nothing that is terribly critical overall. Review

Recommended – X-Cutioner’s Song
X-Cutioner's Song 144
A big crossover event with a bunch of major events which have a long-lasting effect for years to come. Exciting, and highly recommended. Review

Recommended – Fatal Attractions
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This one is really exciting, as tensions between the X-Men and Magneto finally come to a head and some crazy stuff happens. One of my childhood favorites. Fun and highly recommended. Review

Recommended – Father’s and Sons (Cable #6-8)
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This story is just three issues long, but has some pretty important parts for our favorite merry mutants. Review

Optional* – Generation X Classic vol. 1 (The Phalanx Covenant)
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While this was a big event, I feel like it’s more of an intro for the Generation X characters than anything. A good read if you’d like to see these characters from the beginning, and has really great artwork. Review

Recommended – Age of Apocalypse Prelude (Includes Legion Quest)
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Includes Legion Quest, which leads into the main Age of Apocalypse story. Explains how and why the AoA started. Great stories and art. Review

Recommended* – Age of Apocalypse The Complete Epic

This mega event is BIG (1300+ pages). If you don’t want to shell out the money or time, I’d recommend at least reading a detailed synopsis. Even though it’s an alternate timeline story, there are some aspects that carry on over into the real world afterward.

Optional – Road to Onslaught


Spans the gap between Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught. If you’re only reading the major stories, this one can be skipped. Recommended for more in depth reading and keeping up with the X-Men between big events. Review

Recommended – Onslaught


This major crossover includes issues from The Avengers, Spiderman, Hulk, Punisher and more. I read Onslaught: The Complete Saga, but X-Men Milestones: Onslaught has since been released, which is shorter, easier to find and more affordable. Review

Recommended* – Operation Zero Tolerance
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While I wasn’t a big fan of this story, I’d at least recommend reading a story summary since it’s a major one. Review

Recommended – Uncanny X-Men #350
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Just a single issue, but a pretty big one with major revelations. Highly recommended for Gambit fans and X-Men fans in general. Review 

Recently Read and now Reading – reviews & insertion coming soon:

Magneto: Rogue Nation
X-Men vs. Apocalypse: The Twelve
X-Men vs. Apocalypse: Ages of Apocalypse
Dream’s End (Legacy Virus Cure)
Eve of Destruction
Now Reading: New X-Men

Upcoming stories and events that I plan to read and list with recommended collections:

Astonishing X-Men
House of M
Messiah Complex
Divided We Stand
Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia
Nation X
Second Coming
Schism
Avengers vs. X-Men
X-Men Gold*
X-Men Blue*
X-Men Red*
Uncanny X-Men (2018-2019)*

House of X
Powers of X
Dawn of X

* indicates that I’m not sure yet how critical the story is and may skip it depending on what I learn

-Clint

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20 Responses to My X-Men Reading Project/Reading Order (WIP) (Feralia.net blog. episode 53)

  1. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 57: Classic Review: Essential X-Men vol 6 | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  2. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 61: Classic Review: Essential X-Factor vol 2 | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  3. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 62: Classic Review: X-Men: The Fall of the Mutants (vol 1) | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  4. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 67: Classic Review: Essential X-Men vol. 8 | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  5. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 69: Classic Review: X-Men: Inferno | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  6. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 70: Classic Review: Cable and the New Mutants | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  7. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 72: Classic Review: X-Men: Dissolution & Rebirth | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  8. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 73: Classic Review: X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  9. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 74: Classic Review: Essential X-Factor vol 5 | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  10. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 75: Review: X-Men: Bishop’s Crossing | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  11. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 76: Review: X-Men: X-Cutioner’s Song | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  12. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 78: Review: X-Men: Fatal Attractions | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  13. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 79: Review: Cable: Fathers and Sons | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  14. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 80: Review: X-Men: Phalanx Covenant (Generation X Classic vol 1) | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  15. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 87: Review – X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Prelude | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  16. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 94: Review – X-Men: Age of Apocalypse | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  17. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 96: Review – X-Men: Road to Onslaught | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  18. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 97: Review – X-Men: Onslaught | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  19. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 101: Review – X-Men: Operation Zero Tolerance | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

  20. Pingback: Feralia.net blog. episode 102: Review – Uncanny X-Men #350 | Feralia – The official website of the Feralia fantasy novels by Clint Cassa

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