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Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Volume 8 Hardcover – February 22, 2012
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The stories collected here are mostly the second part of what has become known as the "Brood Saga". Claremont serves up a couple of well thought out alien cultures for the X-Men to cope with/relate to/fight. The psychological issues are also deftly handled. This is Claremont at his best.
There are a few stand alone issues as well. We get Illyana's encounter with Belasco and transformation into Magick, Xavier's earliest encounter with Magneto, and in Annual 6 a second round with Dracula. All that is not excellent is very good indeed.
The pencilling is handed from Dave Cockrum to Paul Smith in this volume. At first one feels shortchanged but Smith comes into his own quickly.
The book is rounded out with some solo tales that appeared in various reprint books. Outstanding here is Kitty giving Illyana a tour of the mansion and grounds. Louise Simonson contributes an interesting, behind the scenes introduction and there are a few original art pages.
Highly recommended. If you liked previous uncanny X-Men volumes you'll like this one as well. Find another jumping off point.
So, for me Paul Smith is my favorite X-men artist. Of course later I would discover John Byrne and Neal Adams issues that were fantastic. But this is where it all began for me, I was 16 and I loved the X-men.