This collection picks up with the redesign of the
team in Giant Sized X-Men #1. Read more to see how
well it holds up 25 years later, and post a comment to
add your own thoughts.

General Information

Title: Essential X-Men Vol. 1

Author: Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John
Byrne

Illustrator(s): Dave Cockrum, John Byrne

Original Publication Date: 2001 reprint of material
originally
published from 1975-1978.

ISBN: 0-7851-0256-6

Cover Price: $14.95 US, $21.95 Can

Issues collected: Giant Sized X-Men #1, Uncanny X-Men
#94-119

Premise

After all but Cyclops of the original X-Men are
captured, Professor X
forms a new team to rescue the original.

High Point

The new team often doesn’t get along. I have to
suspend my disbelief
for their powers, but it’s nice to see these people
acting the way
humans would act in these situations.

Low Point

Thunderbird’s use was cheap. I never once believed
his character’s
actions in his last issue as an X-Man. It felt like
he was added for
the sole purpose of giving Scott Summers a complex.

The Scores

The originality does fairly well. (I may be
biased here
because the first super-hero comics I read were
Classic X-Men, which
reprinted the same stories reprinted here.) Apart
from Colossus’
similarity to Hulk, and Thunderbird’s generic powers
(which were never
clearly defined, apart from being strong and fast,)
the abilities of
these X-Men were unique. Their personalities and
origins were also
new. (I think Wolverine was one of the first heros
since the 1930s
who had no clear origins.) The stories did a nice job
of keeping
things moving and dragging them into things, even when
the X-Men were
trying to go somewhere else. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is very good. There’s never
confusion in the
action or intents of the characters. Still, the black
and white
reproduction is lacking something. I give it 4 out of
6.

The story is well designed. Only at one
point in the 27
issue run does it feel like one issue doesn’t pick up
exactly where
the previous one left off, and in that case, the story
needed that
break, and it didn’t feel like there was anything
missing. I give it
5 out of 6.



The characterization was a little quick for
my tastes. I
know most people don’t by comics for conversations, so
I shouldn’t
expect much, but the characters weren’t particularly
deep.
Wolverine’s a scrapper who’s been around a while,
Nightcrawler’s a
goof who grew up as a showman, Colossus is a
kind-hearted generous
man, Storm is a very spiritual and caring woman who
prefers the simple
life, Thunderbird’s got something to prove and no
desire for teamwork,
Sunfire doesn’t care about anything but Japan, and
Cyclops is the same
Cyclops I read about in my old reprint of Uncanny
X-Men #1. (I may
change my mind about that when my Essential
Uncanny X-Men
Vol. 1
arrives.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response might have been better
had I been
reading these stories for the first time. Since I had
read them all
before, the response just wasn’t much. I give it 2
out of 6, but
first-time readers would probably get more out of this
category.

The flow of the story has the typical lengthy
dialogue pulled
through action that was drawn to happen much faster
than the
conversations. It’s jarring at times. I give it 2
out of 6.

Overall, this is a decent volume for someone
trying to get
into the X-Men after the movie. There are four
essential collections
in this line, as well, so a large number of stories
can be pulled
together quickly and inexpensively for a new reader.
(This is
probably why Marvel provided the Essential books to
the cast and crew
of the X-Men and Spider-Man movies.)
I give it 5
out of 6.

In total, Essential X-Men Vol. 1 receives 25
out of 42.