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Essential Classic X-Men, Vol. 2 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 2) Paperback – May 17, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; New edition edition (May 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785121161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785121169
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Hazelwood on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Yes!

If I could allow myself to post a review with only one word, that word would be "Yes". I've been a collector of the Essentials and especially the Essential X-Men for more than four years now, and while I've greatly enjoyed cruising through seven volumes of the celebrated Claremont run, I've always pined for a second volume from the sixties. I've heard about how the series was a poor seller during the end of the Silver Age and how it wasn't as great a priority for new volumes (and yet Killraven was?). I was sorely tempted to drop an extra hundred dollars to buy the material in the hardcover Masterworks format when I heard that the Essential "Classic" X-Men #2 was finally on its way. Now that I've read it, and after waiting for it for half a decade, I'll do my absolute best to provide a review as impartial as is possible.

The X-Men series under writers Roy Thomas and Arnold Drake never quite reached the heights that Stan Lee and Chris Claremont achieved, but they were still plenty of great tales to be found. Early on, the Mimic engages in a hard-hitting brawl with the Super-Adaptoid, an android that has assumed the powers of most of the Avengers (too bad the Super Skrull couldn't have swung by to make it a three-way battle of the superteam-amalgamations). Then the X-Men begin a multi-issue hunt for Factor Three, a seditious band of mutants out to trigger nuclear war and reign over Earth in the aftermath. I guess the plot was nothing new, but I still felt that it was a good "Grandiose" style of story in that it held my interest over a long string of installments. Plus it contained one of my favorite light-hearted Silver Age moments when the cash-strapped kids put on some fund raising projects in order to charter a plane to pursue Factor Three into Europe (Hey mister!
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We sure waited a long time for Volume 2 of the "Essential Classic X-Men," not to be confused with the "Essential X-Men" (which is now up to Volume 7), since Volume 1 came out in 2002 (and was entitled "Essential Uncanny X-Men"). This collection has "X-Men" #25-53, along with "Avengers" #53, covers the period when I first started reading Marvel comics. "X-Men" #43 was the first one I bought (so I was not sure who was the dead Professor X they are all talking about), and then I started working my way backwards and forward at the same time. After Spider-Man the merry mutants were my favorite comic book, probably because I could identify with both Cyclops and Beast, and because we are still talking about teenager superheroes at a point where I was (only) the former.

Things start off slowly in this collection. The X-Men tangel with El Tigre (#25) who then becomes an incarnation of the godKukulcan (#26). Then things pick up with the return of the Mimic (#27), who had all of the X-Men's powers, for a trilogy that involved first the Banshee (#28) and then the Super-Adaptoid (#29), who had all of the Avengers' power. The Warlock (#30), the Cobalt Man (#31), set up another rematch with the Juggernaut (#32-33). Then Tryannus captures Professor X (#34), and then Spider-Man shows up for a visit (#35), followed by Mecano (#36) and the three-part Master of Factor Three story (#37-39). Next up, the Frankenstein monster (#40), and a two-parter with the Sub-Human (#41) that ends with the death of Professor X (#42), at which point Magneto shows up (#43) and then Red Raven (#44).

The crossover with the Avengers starts in "X-Men" #45, where Cyclops takes on Quicksilver before we get to "Avengers" #53 where the two superhero teams take on each other.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on October 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It may hard to believe to modern comics readers, but the X-Men weren't always a hot commodity. In fact, the first incarnation of the team lasted just a few dozen issues before going into a semi-hiatus status with only reprints. It would take the appearance of the "new" X-Men in Giant Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94 to raise the comic to the "A"-list. But even if it was a second-tier book in the beginning, there was a lot of good stuff there.

Essential Classic X-Men #2 covers issues 25-53, a period which saw the original team of Iceman, Angel, Beast, Marvel Girl and Cyclops really come into its own, especially when its leader, Professor X, apparently perishes. Many classic villains are featured in this book, including Juggernaut, the Blob, Unus, Mastermind, the Mole Man, the Super-Adaptoid and most particularly Magneto. There are also some instantly forgettable villains such as the Cobalt Man and Mekano, and sadly (considering how many issues he occupies), the Mutant Master, leader of Factor Three. This run is also notable for the first appearances of the Banshee (looking rather freakish) and Polaris.

Unlike the first volume, the X-Men (with the possible exception of Marvel Girl) are beginning to become really distinct characters. Nonetheless, the most interesting member winds up being the temporary X-Man, the Mimic, whose prickly personality is a nice contrast to his utterly benevolent teammates.

With an assortment of writers and artists, this collection is generally hit-or-miss, but overall, there is enough good stuff to merit a solid four stars. By today's standards, these stories may be somewhat crude, but they are representative of the stuff produced in the 1960s. Most importantly, they are fun to read, and provide a lot of the basis for the modern Marvel mythology. For those only familiar with newer versions of the X-Men, this collection has both historical value and is an entertaining read.
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