Next up is Essential X-Men volume 5. This collection is black & white and a huge 632 pages! (The biggest so far.) It collects Uncanny X-Men #180-198 & Annual &7-8.
As far as value, this is yet another Essential collection that delivers. I was able to get it for below the cover price by shopping around. Also per usual, the black & white isn’t as fun to read, but it was a huge chunk of stories at a price I couldn’t pass up.
These stories take place in between some of the major ones, and weren’t as exciting as those. But hey, can every story be on the level of Dark Phoenix?
Would I recommend it? Yes, but it depends on your reading goals. If you’re trying to just cover the major stories and catch up, I’d pass on this volume. However, if you’re reading all of the classic Uncanny X-Men, go for it. I was going to read volumes 4 and 6 anyway, so I figured, why not read the volume in between to keep getting to know our favorite merry mutants? It was fun to read if only for that, but also included are Cyclops’ relationship with Madelyne Prior (I won’t go beyond that for fear of spoilers for those who don’t know the story) and the ridiculously awesome Colossus vs. Juggernaut barfight! The first appearance of forge is also herein, and – probably my favorite thing about the collection – some pretty good stories featuring Rachel (it was cool getting to know her), and Rogue as well. The Alpha Flight crossover was also a lot better than I expected.
There’s also a lot going on during and outside of this volume which I’d eventually like to go back and read: Secret Wars, The Kitty Pryde & Wolverine Limited Series, and Secret Wars II, also , not to mention the stories going on with the New Mutants.
Overall, these stories aren’t up to the level of those legendary stories before and after, but fun to read if you want to be complete.