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Essential Classic X-Men, Vol. 1

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Presents the original black and white stories of the X-men, which detail how the X-men came to be and their earliest encounters with some of their deadliest foes. Collects: Uncanny X-men #1-24


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Presents the original black and white stories of the X-men, which detail how the X-men came to be and their earliest encounters with some of their deadliest foes. Collects: Uncanny X-men #1-24

30 review for Essential Classic X-Men, Vol. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    3.8 stars For someone who hasn’t read the 60s version of the X-Men, I enjoyed it a lot. It pretty much tells us how the original team was created as Marvel Girl is introduced (Jean kicking ass from the very first moment we meet her is amazing, okay?). I really liked how the characters progressed through the issues; such as Beast and Cyclops. It’s also pretty cool to see how the art developed to what we all know today. A lot of people complains about the graphics but I didn’t mind them all. It wasn 3.8 stars For someone who hasn’t read the 60s version of the X-Men, I enjoyed it a lot. It pretty much tells us how the original team was created as Marvel Girl is introduced (Jean kicking ass from the very first moment we meet her is amazing, okay?). I really liked how the characters progressed through the issues; such as Beast and Cyclops. It’s also pretty cool to see how the art developed to what we all know today. A lot of people complains about the graphics but I didn’t mind them all. It wasn’t a revamp, y’all. They just pretty much changed the title so what were you expecting?? Anyhow, it was nice to see where some things came from and I’m satisfied with this.

  2. 5 out of 5

    C.

    Bitch all you want about the crappy quality of the "Essential" line, its still 24 comics for $14, and genre-forming issues that I've known of my entire life but never otherwise would have a chance to read. For some bizzare reason, Marvel titled the collection of the earliest issues "Uncanny X-Men," even though the title was merely "X-Men" back in those days, then switch to the simple "X-Men" for the latter issues when the book did have the "Uncanny" adjective. Whatver. These comics are pure pulp Bitch all you want about the crappy quality of the "Essential" line, its still 24 comics for $14, and genre-forming issues that I've known of my entire life but never otherwise would have a chance to read. For some bizzare reason, Marvel titled the collection of the earliest issues "Uncanny X-Men," even though the title was merely "X-Men" back in those days, then switch to the simple "X-Men" for the latter issues when the book did have the "Uncanny" adjective. Whatver. These comics are pure pulp brilliance. The villians are colorful, bizzare, and single-minded; the heroes say "gee-wizz!" and mean it; Cyclops narrates his every angst-filled inner emotion; and Magneto's master plan to destroy the X-Men involves knocking them unconscious, sealing them in a steel gondola and sending them into the stratosphere strapped to a hot-air balloon . . . where they will DIE!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! But somehow he forgot about Iceman. Brilliant, freakin' brilliant.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    I’ve always been a fan of the X-Men films and have been dying to get my hands on some comics, so I decided to start with the very first issues involving the team. I thoroughly enjoyed these first 24 issues! They were both exactly what I expected and not what I expected at all if that makes sense. While the story and conflicts are rather simple, they are fairly entertaining. I also enjoyed the banter between the X-Men, especially between Beast and Iceman. I wouldn’t have paired the two of them tog I’ve always been a fan of the X-Men films and have been dying to get my hands on some comics, so I decided to start with the very first issues involving the team. I thoroughly enjoyed these first 24 issues! They were both exactly what I expected and not what I expected at all if that makes sense. While the story and conflicts are rather simple, they are fairly entertaining. I also enjoyed the banter between the X-Men, especially between Beast and Iceman. I wouldn’t have paired the two of them together but they have a very nice dynamic going. I think my only gripe with some of these comics is how they address Jean. It just felt awkward with how the other X-Men would sometimes address her as “female” or “girl”, almost as if it were derogatory. I understand it’s a reflection of the time the comics were made, but it just made me a bit uncomfortable. Overall, I enjoyed reading these early issues and I’m looking forward to reading more!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    An enjoyable first X-Men book. Recommend. I've been listening to Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men (podcast) for almost a year now, and I picked this up as the only X-Men at my local library. I don't usually gravitate towards graphic formats because switching between reading the words and interpreting the images doesn't come naturally to me, but I found it a lot easier with the art in this than I have in other works. I don't know if that's because these stories are in black and white or what. The blac An enjoyable first X-Men book. Recommend. I've been listening to Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men (podcast) for almost a year now, and I picked this up as the only X-Men at my local library. I don't usually gravitate towards graphic formats because switching between reading the words and interpreting the images doesn't come naturally to me, but I found it a lot easier with the art in this than I have in other works. I don't know if that's because these stories are in black and white or what. The black and white illustrations did make for some confusion at first (original Iceman looks a lot like The Thing without color), but I got better at telling the characters apart as I went on. I particularly enjoyed Jay Gavin's art. The stories, narration, and dialogue reminded me a lot of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Jonny Quest and Thundarr the Barbarian, which was a fun nostalgia kick (I'm not really that old, but I grew up with Boomerang on Cartoon Network). It was also very cathartic for 2021 that in one issue, a mob marching on the White House was easily subdued by five teenagers (or "teen-agers" as the 60s have it), with no death and no blood. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I expected to have to grit my teeth through more sexism and awkward superhero writing, but for the most part, Jean is integrated fairly well into the team. She doesn't roughhouse with the boys (disappointing), but she contributes effectively to saving the world and isn't babied to an extant that bothered me. I wish she'd gotten a chance to have a female friend (if this collection passes the Bechdel test, I missed it), and there were some awkward references to her as "female" and "girl," but I was braced for a lot worse. In general, I felt this got worse in the issues written by Roy Thomas and wasn't as much of a problem with Stan Lee. Probably the most terrible part of the portrayal was Professor X being attracted to her (she's his student, for goodness sake!) but deciding that he can't pursue a relationship because of his paraplegia (she's your STUDENT! And that's pretty ableist.). So that was creepy as heck. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much the characters grew in just 24 issues, and I really enjoyed their other interpersonal relationships. Scott and Jean have a mutual attraction, but classically keeping failing to notice the other person's interest (and Scott's angsting in a very teen way about not feeling able to admit his feelings to Jean because of his eye powers. Yes, it sucks that he can't control them completely, but he's 24 issues into life-and-death experiences and hasn't accidently killed anyone yet, so if he has to wear sunglasses on his dates with Jean, who cares? Someone with more grounding than I have in disability theory will have to rule on whether this is also ableist.) I will nitpick one thing that I felt was a consistent issue, and that was Beast's dialogue. I get that the writers were trying to convey his educational and intellectual level, but I've listened to a lot of educated people speak, and most of their speech flows more naturally than that. They may use bigger, more specialized words, but they don't sound like they're flipping through a thesaurus, especially not in urgent situations. To give the writers credit, Beast's dialogue and some other opportunities provided pretty good expansions for readers' vocabulary (If you think of the original audience as teens in the 60s. We're talking words like entomology, etc.), but if anything, Beast and Angel should have sounded a bit more alike, as vocabulary is heavily influenced, not just by education and intelligence, but also by socio-economic status (children in wealthier families hear many more words growing up). Oh, and Scarlet Witch looks to be wearing a paper bag over her head with her face stuck through one side. In any case, I've ordered some more recent X-Men comics while reading this. I'm going to try jumping in with the recent solo titles of Jean Grey and Iceman, as I think it will be interesting to go from the early Silver Age X-Men to a title where Silver Age Jean Grey has been pulled forward in time. PS. I forgot to mention that there is quite a bit of racism, with the mutants--even the X-Men--calling mutants "homo superior" frequently, and generally assuming they are in some ways "better" or more capable, which is generally not a good example for them to be setting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    In this new graphic novel journey, I have finally decided to get into Marvel. Mainly X-Men. And what better place than the very beginning. Though showing its age in some areas, this Essentials volume is still a neat read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adam Graham

    This book collects Issues 1-24 of the original X-men series, first lauched in 1963, a very different version from the one that was revived by Chris Claremont that are most common today, but the fundamental plot remains: a school for mutants led by Charles Xavier in New York because people fear and hate mutants because humans are fearful and think mutants can't be trusted. The X-men are a far less complex group than their modern incarnations where only Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Gir This book collects Issues 1-24 of the original X-men series, first lauched in 1963, a very different version from the one that was revived by Chris Claremont that are most common today, but the fundamental plot remains: a school for mutants led by Charles Xavier in New York because people fear and hate mutants because humans are fearful and think mutants can't be trusted. The X-men are a far less complex group than their modern incarnations where only Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl (Jean Gray) are the original X-men. So hooray for simplicity, even though I have no clue how Xavier maintains an accredited school with only five students. Or for that matter, while the public is scared to death of the X-men but celebrates the Fantastic Four. However, that's the Marvel Universe. The series really starts out poorly. While the first issue introduced Magnetto, it had the young male members of the team all but drooling and showing all sorts of uncomfortable sexual harassment stalker tendencies when Jean Gray joins the team. Really, for the first three or four issues, the lot of them are somewhat insufferable. In Issue 3, they encounter, the mutant the blob and essentially provoke him into attacking them and have him turn supervillain. However, this was the Marvel Age of amazing supervillains and that ultimately saves the book. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants comes along and keeps the book entetaining particularly with the Brotherhood's "not really evil but just confused" members Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Plus Submariner turned in a great guest starring appearance. While this was happening, several of the X-men began to develop more distinct personalities: Cyclops was the leader, and Iceman was the young impetuous one ala the Human Torch. One of the best characters was the Beast, an ultra strong character with huge feet. He was initially conceived as having a brooklyn accent like the Thing but Lee scrapped that and had him speaking in a scholarly way reminiscent of Johnny Littlejohn from Doc Savage. The middle to later parts of the book had some great stories in it. Issue 12 featured the coming of Juggernaut and was actually one of the very best Marvel comics I've read from that era. The comic doses out backstory on Professor X as well as on the issue's approaching villain This type of story was done to death during the silver age, but Lee did it differently as rather than getting a 10-12 page info-dump we kept being pulled from the flashback back to the story where Juggernaut who was approaching the X-men, so the whole issue built up to a great reveal on the last page that led into Issue 13. This book also introduced the Sentinels, the giant robots who have been of the X-men's biggest foes who in their first incarnation rather than merely protecting mankind from mutants, the robots went wild and decided to take over the world. Professor Xavier blamed the robot's misbehavior based on the fact that their designer was an anthropologist rather than a robotics expert which begs the question of how an anthropologist built the robots, but I digress. Other than a weak beginning, the X-men's big problem was an annoying catch and release policy as they released the criminal Blob on his word not to do evil again, and left the villain Lucifer around because they defeated him once. It makes your heroes look not so bright when exercising such a policy, though perhaps it's due to the X-men's own troubled status with the law. It also featured a typical Marvel romance. At the end of the day, the plot and characters are not on par with other Marvel group books of the era such as Fantastic Four and Avengers, but given the high standards of those books, that may not be a fair standard. Certainly, I've read weaker books and after the initial bumps, the book becomes thoroughly enjoyable. Lee's 19 issue run may not have been the most memorable but it was solid, as are the first five issues we have from Roy Thomas. Overall, I'd give this book about three and a half stars. Not Marvel's best, but still a great run from a company that was producing some of the greatest comics ever written.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tama-te-ra

    I love that Angel is an original X-Men character. I don’t remember whether or not he was a childhood favourite because of ‘Last Stand,’ but I love him for the sake of being an angel. Though Angel saying “mistakes are for homo sapiens is a little tone deaf. Iceman with shoes on looks disgusting. But he’s really cute when he’s not iced up. I’ve read most of this collection before. What I remember was being a little bored and perplexed at the training/schooling segments. And also loving the Blob’s a I love that Angel is an original X-Men character. I don’t remember whether or not he was a childhood favourite because of ‘Last Stand,’ but I love him for the sake of being an angel. Though Angel saying “mistakes are for homo sapiens is a little tone deaf. Iceman with shoes on looks disgusting. But he’s really cute when he’s not iced up. I’ve read most of this collection before. What I remember was being a little bored and perplexed at the training/schooling segments. And also loving the Blob’s appearance dearly. (Seeing the “Beware the Blob” cover again was pleasing.) The schooling is probably like how Hogwarts looks to us since the turn of the century. We want to go there and learn to be wizards. I know I wanted to be a mutant as a kid, but Xavier’s teaching is like a glorified version of Jackie Chan’s schooling. I did always wonder about the amazing coincidence that, in this Marvel universe the mutation evolved in humans to create a new race which co-exists with hundreds to thousands of other people who have been hit by cosmic rays or bitten by radioactive spiders. I guess that the universe comic creators would write in would be the one with the most potential for superheroes to be. I just read New 52 Harley Quinn and that was inexcusable in the wordy parts, but Lee’s X-Men dialogue is the meat. Harley Quinn was style over substance for damn sure. And the bolded words are logically bold. God I missed this. I’m only just realising this plot hole... doesn’t Magneto use his brain to use his powers, but his helmet blocks his brain from telepathy? Only one issue down, but I love. This is so cute. Bro. Surely ‘Beware the Blob’ panel 2 is one of Kirby’s most cherished drawings. Too, page 21, panel 3 is almost interesting from a bondage perspective. Superheroes in ropes... Quite intense when the professor “hurled himself from the chair.” Yo, I forgot about Mystique when I was reminiscing about X-Men for Hugh and Anna. The next time I read these early comics I’d like it to be a collection in colour, and reading the words out loud for my future child. The last issue I have any recognition of reading was that featuring Namor. But I’m also remembering admiring Juggernaut’s appearance at some point. Perhaps I flipped through to look at this epic villain out of awe. It is hilarious when the Stranger makes his departure.This early Magneto was getting on my nerves anyway. I want to see this as a TV series set in 1963. I love the aesthetic the standoff with Juggernaut would be a fun thing to realise practically. Altering his power a little so that he can be taken out for long enough to finish a story when he is not able to build momentum—in such a space beneath the plumbing of the mansion, and Mr. Fantastic restrains him from starting momentum until they fashion restraints around him or zap his brain. One of the problems with these earlier comics is the uselessness of the text. They dialogue spells out what is happening and preempts the actions and modus operandi of the characters. Only early on do the things the characters say count—early in the run to set up the characters which will say similar things for 24 issues more, and early in each issue when the majority of character work happens. Some of the standout character sequences are when Bobby has to face Magneto in issue 18, and the beginning of the following issue when Bobby and Hank are on a double date. In the middle of action the dialogue should be a little more revelatory and deep as opposed to obvious. Without some of the dialogue, though the link to the characters wouldn’t be as strong, the time saved having to read the obvious will be worth missing out on a few boring thoughts. When Beast is called “beastie” I always read “bestie.” Jean is really pretty as drawn by Jay Gavin.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rexhurne

    This was an interesting dive into the past. Like most people i remember the X-Men as the team with wolverine, storm,colossus etc, but i never knew that was actually the second iteration. This team of X-men i regretfully have to say i found quite boring. I didn't read this volume that long ago, but for the love of god i couldn't tell you the difference in personalities between iceman, angel, and the old beast (without his famous blue fur this time). As for the villains, i was quite shocked with M This was an interesting dive into the past. Like most people i remember the X-Men as the team with wolverine, storm,colossus etc, but i never knew that was actually the second iteration. This team of X-men i regretfully have to say i found quite boring. I didn't read this volume that long ago, but for the love of god i couldn't tell you the difference in personalities between iceman, angel, and the old beast (without his famous blue fur this time). As for the villains, i was quite shocked with Magneto. Apparently he got all of his character development way later down the line, because nothing of it is found here. Even for 60s standards, his personality is as one-dimensional as it can get. At last his iconic outfit and powers are there so that's something. A special shoutout for this version of Toad as the most annoying character. The Sentinels were also surprising boring this time around. The villains that stood out to me because of their personalities were quicksilver and the scarlet witch. With their potential it's no surprise that they would come to the hero side of the marvel universe. Juggernaut's first appearance and backstory also left an impression. I recommend this only as a casual study in the history of the X-Men. For the enjoyment factor the Claremont era is much more flashed out. As for the silver age i found the Spider-man and Fantastic Four comics way more unique. No wonder the classic X-Men eventually got cancelled while those kept selling. I gave it an extra star because The core idea of the team, and some of the villains were an important (but flawed) stepping stone for Claremont and others to built upon.

  9. 4 out of 5

    The_Mad_Swede

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This volume collects the first 24 issues of Marvel's X-Men from their debut in the 60s at the hands of maestros Lee and Kirby. As a long time X-Men fan it has been immensely fun to finally read the first stories involving Marvel's merry mutants and certainly more than interesting to see what has changed over the years. Most notably, the key element to mutants starting to pop up being radiation causing mutation in unborn children (rather than the more pure genetic strands that's been relied on muc This volume collects the first 24 issues of Marvel's X-Men from their debut in the 60s at the hands of maestros Lee and Kirby. As a long time X-Men fan it has been immensely fun to finally read the first stories involving Marvel's merry mutants and certainly more than interesting to see what has changed over the years. Most notably, the key element to mutants starting to pop up being radiation causing mutation in unborn children (rather than the more pure genetic strands that's been relied on much later on). As such it once again lends credence to the notion that the Marvel Universe (much, MUCH more so than DC's) originates from excess doses of radiation, obviously relating to the fears and concerns of its time. This volume introduces the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and a Magneto who hardly resembles Claremont's later on redeemed headmaster of Xavier's school one iota, the Blob, Unus the Untouchable, the Stranger, Ka-Zar and the Savage Land, the Mimic, the Juggernaut, Dr. Trask's Sentinels and the Master Mold, and many others. Not forgetting to mention, of course, "The Most Mysterious Fighting Team of All Time!" Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl. Warmly recommended for fans of 60s' Marvel, X-Men and good, fun superhero action-drama all around!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Historically I've never been a big X-Men fan (the origin story is very important to me and being a mutant always seemed like a cop out for how you got your powers) but I've also never read the early ones so.... picked this up. a compilation of the first 24 issues of X-Men. Pretty damn good. Good characters, good villians (too much Magneto in the early issues), good art, good stuff. Nothing great here but all aspects were very good. Will probably continue the series for a while at least. Historically I've never been a big X-Men fan (the origin story is very important to me and being a mutant always seemed like a cop out for how you got your powers) but I've also never read the early ones so.... picked this up. a compilation of the first 24 issues of X-Men. Pretty damn good. Good characters, good villians (too much Magneto in the early issues), good art, good stuff. Nothing great here but all aspects were very good. Will probably continue the series for a while at least.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    These first 24 issues of X-Men are cheesy, dated, and often embarrassingly sexist (Beast in particular loves to address poor Jean as just "female" and the other members often refer to her as "girl.") BUT I do respect them for being the beginning the FREAKING X-MEN. These first 24 issues of X-Men are cheesy, dated, and often embarrassingly sexist (Beast in particular loves to address poor Jean as just "female" and the other members often refer to her as "girl.") BUT I do respect them for being the beginning the FREAKING X-MEN.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kati

    It didn't age well. I mean, The Miraculous Magneto? Did anyone ever take this seriously? It didn't age well. I mean, The Miraculous Magneto? Did anyone ever take this seriously?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dani Wood

    Loved it!! Was great to read the origin of some well-known and much-loved heroes and villains. Will I ever not love Bobby Drake?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Al Capwned

    This book contains the first 24 original X-Men issues and it is probably one of the most dated comics I've ever read. This book contains the first 24 original X-Men issues and it is probably one of the most dated comics I've ever read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nessa [October Tune]

    I am not a fan of this old artstyle but I just love Charles and Erik so much ok? Ok.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Datagu

    this comic was absolutely amazing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    It should first be noted that I kinda grew up on checking out silver age comic volumes from the library, so my enjoyment of 60's comics is generally much higher than your average fellow. However, with that said, X-men is not the best of silver age comics. There's good reason this title eventually got cancelled, though it was actually decent at the time of cancellation. However, this did lay the groundwork for what was to come when the series would get revisited in '75. It also has a bit of the N It should first be noted that I kinda grew up on checking out silver age comic volumes from the library, so my enjoyment of 60's comics is generally much higher than your average fellow. However, with that said, X-men is not the best of silver age comics. There's good reason this title eventually got cancelled, though it was actually decent at the time of cancellation. However, this did lay the groundwork for what was to come when the series would get revisited in '75. It also has a bit of the New Mutants/Generation X charm of the main characters still being youth. Though most of that charm is brought up in my head rather than in the page. I was starting to see why people would be drawn to making such stories as First Class, etc. Though it still seems like a deadend way of writing. I was getting the inclination to throw around a modern interpretation of the early days though. So I too was suckered in. The most important thing to come from the beginning was that the origin of the superpowers was built into the system. There's good reason Stan Lee hated trying to come up with the origins for these characters powers. And he hit the jackpot with this one. The origin of the powers didn't matter so much as the backstory of the character. The powers obviously don't make sense in reality even if you are an evolutionist, but... well you're reading the wrong thing if that matters too much to you. The best issues of the run all come lumped together as issues #12-16. These include the introduction of Juggernaut and the Sentinels. The former was told in a style that I haven't seen predated. The Sentinels story was the first to really push what would become the strongest theme for the series as a whole. It also may have gotten ripped off by the I, Robot movie, though I bet Stan Lee took the idea from somewhere as well, possibly even from Asimov's original. Besides that though, Magneto is kinda laughable. He's a stereotypical villain. The love triangle thought bubbles can be tiresome. Also Jack Kirby needs a bit more sci-fi, I think. He just never feels entirely at home with X-men earthboundness. Also, X-Men kinda counters Kirby's Hegelian philosophies I think. If we are supposed to be growing better, why do the same evils get passed down to the next step of humanity? Perhaps if he had been writing it would have come across differently. I do like how Professor X is kinda set up to be a bit too harsh and end-justifies-the-means oriented. Though I am not sure that is exactly how Stan Lee viewed it. It has been used, and perhaps overused, plenty now and I think it is how I best like Professor X. It may be his dream that they follow, but he has a few issues to work out. Oh and there's that one creepy thought bubble he gets in issue 3... If you're a continuity junkie like myself this is a fairly important read for the series. And if you like silver age comics it is still quite readable/enjoyable. It just doesn't stand up to, say, Fantastic Four or Spider-Man from the time period. The cover art is enjoyable as it gives you a glimpse into an alternate dimension where Bruce Timm and Paul Dini got a different license in the early 90's... Includes issues #1-24 First appearances: Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey/Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Magneto, Blob, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Mastermind, Toad, Juggernaut, Sentinels, the Trask family, the reinvention of Ka-zar (and Zabu!), the Savage Land, the mansion, Cerebro, the original Asteroid M. Some lesser knowns: Vanisher, the Stranger, Mimic, Unus, Lucifer, and Locust. I look forward to finally filling my gap between #24 and Neal Adams work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joey Hines

    Wow, this book got a lot better as it went along. I'd heard that the 60s X-Men barely resemble the modern ones I know and love; people make it sound like basically everything good about them was invented in the Claremont era, but that isn't exactly true. In fact, it's amazing how many of the pieces were in place right from the beginning. Magneto starts causing trouble in the very first issue, and he's back in #4 for a long arc with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Toa Wow, this book got a lot better as it went along. I'd heard that the 60s X-Men barely resemble the modern ones I know and love; people make it sound like basically everything good about them was invented in the Claremont era, but that isn't exactly true. In fact, it's amazing how many of the pieces were in place right from the beginning. Magneto starts causing trouble in the very first issue, and he's back in #4 for a long arc with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Toad, and Mastermind. Throughout this book you'll also see the introductions of the Blob, Ka-Zar, the Savage Land, Juggernaut, Bolivar Trask, and the Sentinels; and cross-overs with the Avengers, Sub-Mariner, and Human Torch. And plenty of soapy star-crossed romance between Scott Summers and Jean Grey. Sound awesome? It is! That being said, it's obvious Stan Lee was writing too many books at the time to display his full powers in each one, and these issues are not nearly as compelling as the contemporaneous Spider-Man or Avengers ones. It can be a chore to get through the overly-expositional dialogue and captions, and these 20-page comics can feel very long indeed. It really improves with #12, an awesomely excecuted Juggernaut issue that also features quite a cool origin for Professor X. From there on the writing really improves, as if Lee was beginning to see the real potential of his mutants. The Sentinels arc in #s 14-16 is easily the high point of the collection: just epic! Also not to be missed is #20, featuring the story of how Professor X lost his legs. Lucifer and "the Stranger" are awesome villains who foreshadow the cosmic heights which the X-Men would eventually reach. Overall, this will probably bore you to death if you're not a big X-Men fan already. The writing is only great about half the time, and the civil-rights-metaphor that X-Men is famous for being isn't as clear as you might expect, given the '63-'66 publication dates. But if you are an X-Men fan and/or aspiring superhero historian as I am, these issues really can't be missed. This Essential edition reprints the issues in black and white, and while Jack Kirby's designs retain a certain charm in monochrome, I recommend starting with Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men, Vol. 1 if it's in your budget/library, because it reprints this same era in color and on better quality paper. I would imagine color makes these stories a little more stimulating and easier to plow through.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I bought this book not knowing much about the pre-1975 X-Men but ended up liking it quite a bit. I had read a re-print of the first issue years ago but had very little idea about what happened in any issue after that. Watching the evolution of the X-Men is kind of neat: in the very beginning Beast was a dime-a-dozen type dumb jock character, but within a few issues they turned him into the intellectual he's been ever since. Additionally: in the first few issues the X-Men were loved superhero cel I bought this book not knowing much about the pre-1975 X-Men but ended up liking it quite a bit. I had read a re-print of the first issue years ago but had very little idea about what happened in any issue after that. Watching the evolution of the X-Men is kind of neat: in the very beginning Beast was a dime-a-dozen type dumb jock character, but within a few issues they turned him into the intellectual he's been ever since. Additionally: in the first few issues the X-Men were loved superhero celebrities a la the Fantastic Four, but they soon settled on the X-Men being hated and feared by the very people they were protecting as being a more interesting dynamic. This book contains the debuts of Magneto, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants(including Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Toad), Juggernaut, Sentinels, Ka-Zar, and the Blob; as well as several other villains who they may have had high hopes for but ultimately became fairly obscure in the Marvel Universe(Vanisher, Unus the Untouchable, the Locust, Lucifer-villains you won't typically see in cartoons or the movies). Jack Kirby's artwork in the early issues is a lot of fun(constant action poses and shocked expressions), and the stories are action-packed. The early issues are not without their faults, however. Pretty much every single one of the first 24 issues has Cyclops and Marvel Girl expressing their love for each other in thought balloons but never actually saying anything. I get it's not Cyclops personality to be open with his feelings but still: 24 issues of "I love him/her but can't say anything, he/she doesn't feel the same way I do" gets repetitive pretty quick. Also: I love Archangel but as Angel, with no mutant powers other than just being able to fly, he always seems like too much of a liability. Pretty much all he can do is scout ahead and dodge things in mid-air. I also find it somewhat humorous that Professor X spends years training the X-Men for battle in the insanely brutal Danger Room(which is featured in just about every issue-it's a quick way to introduce each X-Man and their powers individually by showing them go through obstacles)but when Marvel Girl joins the team she's immediately sent to confront Magneto with virtually no training whatsoever. Speaking of Magneto: he's the villain in most of the first dozen or so issues, and Professor X lends an assist to the X-Men in just about every issue as well(which makes sense, since they're only teenagers in the early issues).

  20. 4 out of 5

    James Hold

    I prefer the 60s X-men to what's been around since. It was simpler. The Angel was useless, but he served as Jean's boy toy. Beast was much more interesting. They ran out of ideas for what to do with him so somebody said, "let's make him a REAL beast." How original. The entire concept of Cyclops was ridiculous in it violated Newton's Laws (he should have broken his neck the first time he fired off his eyebeams), while Marvel Girl was there for the adolescent boys and Iceman was what everyone said I prefer the 60s X-men to what's been around since. It was simpler. The Angel was useless, but he served as Jean's boy toy. Beast was much more interesting. They ran out of ideas for what to do with him so somebody said, "let's make him a REAL beast." How original. The entire concept of Cyclops was ridiculous in it violated Newton's Laws (he should have broken his neck the first time he fired off his eyebeams), while Marvel Girl was there for the adolescent boys and Iceman was what everyone said, "a frozen version of the Human Torch." DC's Doom Patrol which came out at the same time (and which some say Marvel ripped off) was far better. Still there was something likable about them. So, time passed and we now have a Marvel Mutant-verse. I hate it. Why? Because it's lazy. The first Flash got his powers by breathing hard water fumes. Barry Allen got struck by lightening. The Wizzer had a transfer of mongoose blood. Other guys had magic amulets. Or they invented things. Or they simply had muscles. How do mutants get their powers? "Oh, they're just born that way." Really? How lazy can you get? Born with an ability to control the weather, slip thru interdimensional space, cause immense sonic waves just by screaming? No. I don't accept it. You have to give me a REASON, no matter how silly or far fetched, for a person to have superior powers. You can't say, "they just do." Today's X-men is fluff and dust bunnies. You want somebody who can do something extraordinary? Fine. No problem. Just say he can and be done with it. Don't wrack your creative brain for an explanation. Simply do it. I didn't mind that with the original X-men because they kept the numbers to a minimum. But now we have enough super-powered mutants to populate a nation. (I suppose the Inhumans fall into the same category -- and BTW, what a horrible TV show and Kirby should be rolling in his grave.) X-men today is just ridiculous. The over proliferation of characters makes it so. And comic books, while they may be anything else, should NEVER be ridiculous. Give me Lee & Kirby's 5 good guys fighting 5 evil ones any day.

  21. 5 out of 5

    East Bay J

    Righteous! I decided to re-read Essential Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, having recently read Wolverine: Origin. What incredible fun! The team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is phenomenal. Their work in the 60's completely revolutionized comics and set a precedence that still resonates today. Lee's cheesy yet witty dialogue and narration combined with attempts to incorporate cultural changes and social issues of the time adds interesting sociological overtones to these stories. The light chauvinism of the mal Righteous! I decided to re-read Essential Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, having recently read Wolverine: Origin. What incredible fun! The team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is phenomenal. Their work in the 60's completely revolutionized comics and set a precedence that still resonates today. Lee's cheesy yet witty dialogue and narration combined with attempts to incorporate cultural changes and social issues of the time adds interesting sociological overtones to these stories. The light chauvinism of the male members of the X-Men contrasting the women's lib message in Jean Grey's developing independence and equality as a team member makes for good effect. The presence of pseudo-beatnik-hippy types is too cool for school, goofy as it is. And Kirby's art is wild. This book is in black and white so you can really study and appreciate Kirby's lines sans the cheap, primitive color work of the time. Kirby brought a lot of action to comic book art and influenced so, so many artists since. It goes without saying he is one of the giants of comic book art. Re-reading this reminded me of what I love about The X-Men so much and what kept me reading it for so many years. The metaphor of the mutants as a feared minority, the real life situations they went through with family and loved ones and the great characters and character development all combine to make those crazy X-Men one of the best comic book creations ever. Definitely a very fun and very enjoyable read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevruzz

    There's nothing quite like reading the old stuff. It's dated and often facepalmingly silly, but it's not much different from watching an old genre show like "Star Trek" or "He-Man" Like any other long-running series, X-Men went through its share of growing pains. On the one hand, there are random moments of strangeness that crop up every so often, like Iceman's ice can heal injuries, or Magneto doing astral projection. The good news is that this first volume is packed with some fantastic adventur There's nothing quite like reading the old stuff. It's dated and often facepalmingly silly, but it's not much different from watching an old genre show like "Star Trek" or "He-Man" Like any other long-running series, X-Men went through its share of growing pains. On the one hand, there are random moments of strangeness that crop up every so often, like Iceman's ice can heal injuries, or Magneto doing astral projection. The good news is that this first volume is packed with some fantastic adventures. One of the highlights is the Brotherhood arc. Stan & Jack really knew how to stage some superb action involving lots of characters with wildly different power sets. The best story is definitely the first appearance of Juggernaut; a taut, action-packed throwdown that really stands out among the rest. There are some things that I can't stand of course, like Marvel Girl. She’s such a typical Marvel Age girly girl. She’s willowy and lovelorn, and she’s never allowed to be a badass like the other men on the team. There's also the agonizing will-they-or-won't-they between her and Cyclops which gets old real fast. The low point is Lucifer, the villain that broke Xavier's back. That's really all you need to know about him. Otherwise he's a generic waste of ink that every adaptation replaces with the already awesome Magneto.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I was initially excited by this book (I mean, it's X-men, comon!) but I ended up being kind of disappointed. No, very disappointed. If you want some good X-men, I'd recommend the later era, the New X-men, Astonishing X-Men, the Dark Phoenix Saga, etc. The original comics suck. The art is just ok, nothing super eye catching (granted, this version has no color). Jean Grey did not have much action AT ALL and for a lot of the comics just wheeled Professor X around while the guys were fighting, and whi I was initially excited by this book (I mean, it's X-men, comon!) but I ended up being kind of disappointed. No, very disappointed. If you want some good X-men, I'd recommend the later era, the New X-men, Astonishing X-Men, the Dark Phoenix Saga, etc. The original comics suck. The art is just ok, nothing super eye catching (granted, this version has no color). Jean Grey did not have much action AT ALL and for a lot of the comics just wheeled Professor X around while the guys were fighting, and while I can't recall specifics (if I find them I'll post them), some comments/lines about either her or women had me bristling. And I'm not a feminist. The storylines were really boring, characterization was generic and shallow, and the writing was just plain BAD. Some lines got old really fast, like "I'll get you, insert name here!" "Not while insert other character's name here is alive!" I'll have to reread it, but I don't think my rating will change. Thank heavens for Chris Claremont.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    How much leeway so you give conics from this decade? I pushed through the first 30 or so issues but as stories they honestly cannot hold a candle to even the 90s cartoon. In terms of the worst element of the writing, Lee's cheesy dialogue competes with a surprising amount of sexism for the honour, and it is difficult to put aside the bland, shallow nature of the characters, scenes, and stories of these comics. What little plot & characterisation we get is blunt and unimaginative. Fans, especiall How much leeway so you give conics from this decade? I pushed through the first 30 or so issues but as stories they honestly cannot hold a candle to even the 90s cartoon. In terms of the worst element of the writing, Lee's cheesy dialogue competes with a surprising amount of sexism for the honour, and it is difficult to put aside the bland, shallow nature of the characters, scenes, and stories of these comics. What little plot & characterisation we get is blunt and unimaginative. Fans, especially female fans, of the movies or TV shows looking to get into comic canon be warned: these stories are nothing like the slashy goodness that is First Class, and many beloved characters from the animated series are unrecognisably badly written. Unless you are determined to delve deep, AVOID THIS ERA. It is perplexing and unrewarding. Do what I should have done and jump in with Dark Phoenix, trust me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Okay, I'm gonna say a few sacrilegious things. I must say I did like it, and it was worth it to me to see the X-Men's origins. But this teeters on being boring at times. Not because it doesn't have enough action, but because it has too much. You read up to the fight scene and then I found myself flicking pages, going "fight scene, fight scene, fight scene - Ah! talking!". I enjoyed it all the same. Especially to see Magneto shaking his fists all the time. Jean Grey establishes herself early on a Okay, I'm gonna say a few sacrilegious things. I must say I did like it, and it was worth it to me to see the X-Men's origins. But this teeters on being boring at times. Not because it doesn't have enough action, but because it has too much. You read up to the fight scene and then I found myself flicking pages, going "fight scene, fight scene, fight scene - Ah! talking!". I enjoyed it all the same. Especially to see Magneto shaking his fists all the time. Jean Grey establishes herself early on as annoying by being the only psychic in the history of the world to not be able to tell when someone fancies her. Jesus, if there was one thing you would want psychic powers for, it'd be to tell if you stood a chance of getting laid or not! And what kinda name is Unus?! Unus the Untouchable, gotta be the shitest name for a villain yet. You just know they were all calling him Anus behind his back. Sheesh!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mike McAdam

    I love the X-men. I grew up reading the comics but that was in the 80s and I, on a whim, got curious to read the original comic books from the 60s and found this volume at the library. It was interesting to see how they started but, to be honest, the beginning issues aren't good. The stories are corny and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. I liked the creativity that went into the stories and some of the villains. Some of the subplots (Cyclop's crush on Jean Grey) move at a glacial pace and go nowh I love the X-men. I grew up reading the comics but that was in the 80s and I, on a whim, got curious to read the original comic books from the 60s and found this volume at the library. It was interesting to see how they started but, to be honest, the beginning issues aren't good. The stories are corny and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. I liked the creativity that went into the stories and some of the villains. Some of the subplots (Cyclop's crush on Jean Grey) move at a glacial pace and go nowhere even after 24 issues. I am glad this title was created and I am glad it improved vastly by the 1980s because if I had read these first, I would never have become a fan. I will probably read the next volume at some point to see when it started to improve. I don't know how things were in the 60s so maybe this was how all comic books were but it didn't hold up well over time. I remain a fan though. :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    RonnyPooReadsBooks

    This bind up puts the original movie series to shame, like there are so many things they cut out when creating the movies. Its seriously ridiculous the movies could have started from the original books, I don't see why they didn't. The X-men movie series could have been so much longer and more explained instead of just a regular super hero movie series, they could have turned it into something extraordinary. And I mean X1 and X2 and X-men the last stand before they decided to restart the series. This bind up puts the original movie series to shame, like there are so many things they cut out when creating the movies. Its seriously ridiculous the movies could have started from the original books, I don't see why they didn't. The X-men movie series could have been so much longer and more explained instead of just a regular super hero movie series, they could have turned it into something extraordinary. And I mean X1 and X2 and X-men the last stand before they decided to restart the series. I can't even watch those movies without being annoyed and I used to love those movies. I also hate how they make the X-men rely on Wolverine when they clearly don't need him now. This is literally me when watching those movies.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    As an avid X-Men fan, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to read these early issues where the X-Universe first began! As a fan of the X-Men during Chris Claremont's reign, it was very interesting to go back and see what the original five X-Men were like when Stan Lee was at the helm! The issues are mostly episodic with a few story arcs here and there. And, as with most comics, some issues are better than others. Regardless, this is a wonderful collection and a must-have for any hard core Marvel Comics As an avid X-Men fan, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to read these early issues where the X-Universe first began! As a fan of the X-Men during Chris Claremont's reign, it was very interesting to go back and see what the original five X-Men were like when Stan Lee was at the helm! The issues are mostly episodic with a few story arcs here and there. And, as with most comics, some issues are better than others. Regardless, this is a wonderful collection and a must-have for any hard core Marvel Comics/X-Men fans! I definitely recommend this anthology for current fans and for those who want to find a good starting point for the X-Men franchise! I can only hope that the future volumes are even better than the first! Four stars!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I liked these. The idea that you could be a superhero in the 1960s by throwing a snowball is simply amazing to me! This was the first group book I ever started reading. Their perspectives and quirks were much more endearing than other groups of the day such as the Justice League or the Avengers or the Defenders. They also seemed to be more than realistic other teen groups such as the Teen Titans, because as a reader you always knew those kids could call Batman or Superman if they ever got in ove I liked these. The idea that you could be a superhero in the 1960s by throwing a snowball is simply amazing to me! This was the first group book I ever started reading. Their perspectives and quirks were much more endearing than other groups of the day such as the Justice League or the Avengers or the Defenders. They also seemed to be more than realistic other teen groups such as the Teen Titans, because as a reader you always knew those kids could call Batman or Superman if they ever got in over their head, but the X-kids were on their own and I think readers could relate to them better because of that vulnerability. These are good clean comics that are good for kids and they are affordable!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Max

    These early stories are generally pretty fun. It's interesting to see the characters develop over the course of the first few issues (it takes a little while for the Beast to become a long-winded intellectual, for example). It's also nice to see the variety of villains the X-Men face. From the expected evil mutants to mad scientists and evil aliens, there doesn't seem to be much of an overarching theme to their villains, though that isn't necessarily an issue. It is somewhat annoying to see the These early stories are generally pretty fun. It's interesting to see the characters develop over the course of the first few issues (it takes a little while for the Beast to become a long-winded intellectual, for example). It's also nice to see the variety of villains the X-Men face. From the expected evil mutants to mad scientists and evil aliens, there doesn't seem to be much of an overarching theme to their villains, though that isn't necessarily an issue. It is somewhat annoying to see the casual sexism in the comic, though, and the Jean Grey/Scott Summers love plot angstily plods along, repeating the same basic conflict in every issue.

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