Next up in my X-Men reading quest is Essential X-Factor vol 2 (ISBN 0-7851-2099-8. See the above cover image for the collected issues.) It’s 544 pages, and black & white.
Like volume 1, this collection has a lot of the early, important stories going on. My favorite thing about it is the continued story of Angel’s transformation into Archangel, which ties directly to one of my favorite villains, Apocalypse. Also featured are Cyclops and Jean Grey’s relationship, Cyclops’ son, and events that lead into the Inferno storyline. And not to mention, some important, long awaited moments for Beast!
Another big plus that deserves mention is the inclusion of the X-Factor issues of The Fall of the Mutants storyline. I’ll get into this more as I review that collection in an upcoming review, but this ended up being important for me because the trade paperback collection (or, part 2 of it, to be exact), which includes these issues is at the moment out of print and very expensive. So being to read those issues here in Essential X-Factor volume 2 was a big help despite having to read them in black & white.
As far as reading order, I read Incredible Thor #378 and X-Factor #17-29 and Annual #2 in Essential X-Factor vol 2, then jumped over to the trade paperback of The Fall of the Mutants so that I could complete that storyline, before finishing the rest of Essential X-Factor vol 2. (One additional note is that the last issue in Essential X-Factor vol 2 – X-Factor #35 – is included in the next story collection, Inferno, so you could skip it here and read in in full color if you’re reading that collection next.) I have all that broken down in my X-Men reading order.
In conclusion, this is another collection with really great, important stories, especially for the original 5 X-Men.