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Face Front, True Believers! A Marvel Comics Thread

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Him talking about discomfort and it "coming back up" make me think he's referring to indigestion, but I don't know anyone who would call that "gas". Just very weird writing
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I had zero interest in yet another "What if Spider-man but Venom" history, but this one was written by Chip Zdarsky, he of the great Spider-Man and Sister vs the Thinkerer run, so I gave it a try. The first issue was as agsty and grim as I expected, but there are glimmers here that give me hope this can be a solid "great responsability" take on the idea instead of the same old ramage-and-death take. So I'll be giving the other tree issues of Spider's Shadow a chance.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
So what is the best way to read 90s X-Men? Besides listening to Jay & Miles?

My original plan was to just read Uncanny, since that was (mostly) my favourite during the Claremont era, but I tried doing that and the moment a crossover story popped up I was completely lost, and it wasn’t even one of the dense and complicated ones!
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
There's no simple way to do it; the increasingly labyrinthine results of the editorial neglect, conflict and sprawling overwork in the period reflect directly back on the reading experience of trying to glean anything of substance from the absolute masses of material available and the wild inconsistencies in quality and coherence that grow from it. I decided to commit to an unreasonable read-most-of-what's-out-there reading order years ago (that has burned me out several times), which you can look up and find out whether the same sickness is in you too, but it's honestly not worth it unless it's something really important to you or sounds like an interesting experiment with your time. This is from the perspective of someone who usually cannot engage with media in any other way except through a hard commitment on that scale, so I haven't given much thought to what storylines or individual arcs would stand out as exceptional recommendations, as I'm unsure if I would even be able to distinguish them from the rest. I've just accepted that my own long-term investment will come with its ebbs and flows.
 
As someone currently doing this, I would agree that it's honestly not worth it.

However, here is how I would recommend someone do it if you just want the core X-Men stories, and not do the absurd thing that Peklo did or that I am doing:

I think for it to make sense you've probably got to at least read both the books with X-Men in the title. The idea of the Blue and Gold Teams for some reason stuck around in popular consciousness (maybe because millions of people bought X-Men Vol. 2 #1), but that distinction really only lasted a couple months before Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Vol. 2 essentially became one bi-monthly X-Men title with no clear distinctions. Early on, typically an arc that starts in one book will continue in that book, but they're very closely tied together because they have the same cast. So essential developments will happen in the other title. Later, you will end up with more situations where even during non-crossovers you're supposed to alternate between X-Men and Uncanny to follow the story. In any case, you've probably got to read both of them.

For crossovers, you will kind of have to accept that foreshadowing is going to be happening in spinoff books that you're not reading, but other than that you should be fine if you just read all the crossover issues. My guess is that you're in X-Cutioner's Song? During that, every book basically ceases to have its own identity and just transforms into a chapter of the X-Cutioner's song, so if you're just reading Uncanny it's kind of like reading only issues 2, 5, and 7 (or whatever) of what would in modern day be the weekly event maxi-series or whatever. If that's where you are, that event serves as a kind of a soft reboot for the line to work through a lot of loose ends left behind by Claremont and then the Image people leaving. In general things are on the upswing after that, from X-Cutioner's Song until things fall apart post-Onslaught.
 
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Wasn’t even anything that complex; it was Phalanx Covenant.

I just wanted to look at Joe Madeira art…

Ah. Is there something in particular that made you feel lost?

Off the top of my head, there two issues that I could think of:

(1) All the main action in that crossover happens in spin-offs, while the two X-Men titles are basically a side story to introduce Generation-X characters. So, just enjoy this side story, which is probably the best part of the crossover anyway, and don't worry too much about central plot of the crossover, which is honestly not that interesting. (The Wolverine and Cable issues are a good epilogue to the Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix mini-series, but all you really need to know Phalanx-wise is... the characters not featured in Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Vol. 2 beat the Phalanx off screen.)

(2) This is definitely the era when Uncanny and X-Men Vol. 2 are one bimonthly title, so yeah if you're just reading Uncanny it's like reading every other issue.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I'd check out the flagship Age of Apocalypse book Madureira did if you want him in his element, which went by Astonishing X-Men for four issues. That's another event that's self-contained in a sense but too vast if you let every tie-in take you for its individual ride; a quick spectacle-driven dip into a marquee artist's contributions is a good way to sample it. After that, he stuck around for a few years as the regular artist on Uncanny, so that's another possibility to pursue, but it's difficult to speak highly of very much in that period in a sustained fashion.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
(2) This is definitely the era when Uncanny and X-Men Vol. 2 are one bimonthly title, so yeah if you're just reading Uncanny it's like reading every other issue.
It was this one

Half the characters suddenly disappeared and they kept referencing things I didn't see and it was jarring
 
I think Alan Davis' run as a writer on Excalibur is definitely one of the highlights of the 90s X-line, in large part because it's out of step with the trends of the rest of the line and feels like the last holdout of the Claremont era. So much of it is narratively and stylistically a continuation of either Claremont's work or Alan Moore and Alan Davis' Captain Britain comics.

When Davis is gone and Excalibur truly enters the 90s though, it's like a microcosm of everything wrong that era. (Constantly shifting creative teams, no one seems to know or care what the book is about or who the characters are, no one seems to remember what happened the previous issue, a Warren Ellis reboot that arguably works on its own terms but that no one knows how to follow up on, followed by another round of soft reboots and then cancellation, etc.)
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
I’m not sure any writer/artist combo has ever been as compatible as Claremont and Davis.

They… really got what each other were going for
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
This week on Marvel Unlimited:
Avengers #45: Wind-down from both King in Black and the Enter the Phoenix arc; no idea who the new Phoenix is, but everyone on the team seems to. Blade is chosen to be the UN and Avengers ambassador to the Vampire Nation in Chernobyl. I love that Chernobyl is now the Vampire Nation. (y)

SWORD #5: Peepers! Magneto! They're Besties! Also Fabian Cortez is given a chance to question the Never Kill a Human rule, and is told to hit the bricks. I'm sure nothing will come of it. Also a storyline I'm sure was going to be a whole big thing for all the cosmic books is discretely resolved with nobody ever really getting involved. Well... okay then. 👋

The Way of X #1: Nightcrawler realizes that, hey, pretty much everything about Krakoan society is DEEPLY SCREWED, decides to put a bit more focus on course-correcting. Doctor Nemesis is around and has a brain full of drug-mushrooms. I feel like this is a book Grant Morrison would be salivating to write. (y)
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The new Phoenix is revealed at the end of the Phoenix arc. It's Echo, who first appeared as a Daredevil supporting character about 20 years ago.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
Started to read Age of Apocalypse, as per the curated reading list on MU; which means the first thing I read was a four-part Blink miniseries where she is accidentally flung into the Negative Zone, where she meets and falls in love with Annihilus (transformed into an amnesiac handsome man).

Any kind of Mutant rebellion in a Post (currently?) Apocalyptic future is quickly introduced and discarded.

And Blink totally makes out with a outer space Bug Dracula, who has to be one of the hardest Marvel characters to make out with.

Not a bad story but really not the ideal way to introduce the storyline.

…kinda want to read Exiles now too
 
Oh yeah a lot of the curated reading lists on MU are totally bizarre.

"Want to read an event from 1995? Start with this limited series from 2001!"
 

LBD_Nytetrayn

..and his little cat, too
(He/him)
Oh yeah a lot of the curated reading lists on MU are totally bizarre.

"Want to read an event from 1995? Start with this limited series from 2001!"

Knowing what I do about comics, yeah, that makes sense.

Not even unique to comics, really.
 
In this particular case, because the list also excludes the Legion Quest story that is the actual prelude to the event, it's more like if you watched Avengers: Endgame by starting in the middle with the scene featuring Loki, took a break to watch the Loki mini-series, and just finished the movie without ever going back to see how it started.

I guess you could do that, but it's kind of weird to give as the official order.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
Luckily, Legion Quest isn’t really required reading; “Let’s see what happens if Magneto formed the X-Men instead!” Is a pretty easy set-up to wrap your head around and the first issue of the story in earnest does a really good job of establishing that.
 
When it comes down to it these are meant to be enjoyable by children as standalone stories, so it's more or less going to make sense in any order, I think.

It's just kind of bizarre because the list seems to follow no principle at all: it doesn't follow publication order, but it's also not chronological either. It doesn't exclude Legion Quest because it's excluding stories from the main universe, because it includes an even less relevant X-Men Prime issue. It also isn't trying to comprehensively include all the AoA stories, because it excludes very direct followups made shortly after AoA while including stories from years later. It's just... a collection of some of the relevant issues, presented in a mix of chronological and publication order. Any list is going to be arbitrary, but this one is very odd.

You could definitely skip Legion Quest. Every list has to start somewhere. That being said, Legion Quest definitely flows directly into the first AoA issue (X-Men: Alpha), while the list has you read an AoA nostalgia miniseries and two supplementary side stories that fill in AoA Lore before you even get to the first issue of the event and its iconic opening image of a defeated Bishop climbing a mountain of corpses.
 
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Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
Granted, the inability to make these standalone stories that could be easily understood by children regardless of when they pick up an issue is a big part of the reason why Marvel was in such rough shape in the 90s.
 
Yeah.

One way that AoA manages to be pretty readable by 90s standards is that there is a clear start (Alpha) and a clear end (Omega), and then everything else is a 1 to 4 issue story with its own clear beginning, middle, and end that you can engage with as you please based on your level of interest in the premise and creative team. Also, because the original event lasted 4 months and had consistent creative teams, it's not full of the ignored cliffhangers, forgotten foreshadowing, and general issue to issue inconsistency that's so common to the X-line in the 90s.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
This week on Marvel Unlimited

Fantastic Four #31- Reed and Ben go on a crazy science adventure because Reed saw a Future where Ben beats him entirely to death and he wants to renew their friendship so he won’t, Bentley 23 decides that exploding Valerias ex is a good way to get into her good graces, and Alicia and her daughter have a nice bonding moment. Aww. (y)

New Mutants #17- Honestly kind of lost the plot on what’s going on with this book. Apparently Shadow King is allowed to live on Krakoa (isn’t he a demon, not a mutant?) and Dani and Xian complete a quest in Otherworld to retrieve a missing Mutant who is happier living in a crazy fantasy world because he looks like a demon anyway. Also, the other weird-looking Mutant kids want to start gathering corpses for weird experiments. Also Xian wants Dani to kill her in Krakoas ritual death sports arena. 👋

Beta Ray Bill #2- Speaking of Body Image Issues; Bill recruits Scurge (bored of Heaven) and Pip the Troll to go on a quest to find some way to make it so that Bill doesn’t look like a gross space horseman anymore. Bill is literally the only person in this issue to treat anything seriously. I love this book. 👍
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
AND ALSO

Curse of the Man Thing: Spider-Man a continuation of a really fun Man-Thing crossover story that began with the Avengers and will end with X-Men. Everyone keeps getting possessed by the last earthly remains of Man-Things corpse so as to try to convince the still-lingering spirit of the guy who turned into Man Thing to bring himself back to life and stop a science-witch from killing the entire human population with mushrooms that explode people who are afraid of being exploded by mushrooms. (y)

X-Men Legends #3 I... thought this was a series of one-offs so I didn't read the preceding issues, but I guess this is an interquel to CLaremonts original X-Factor run, that deals with the original XF team having to contend with the fact that their ship (formerly Apocalypses' ship) is suddenly turning into a Transformer and also is going to kill them. Also, Cameron Hodge shows up looking like a Sonic the Hedgehog mini-boss. On the plus side; a double-dose of Simonsons are on writing and Drawing duties! 👋
 
X-Men Legends #3 I... thought this was a series of one-offs so I didn't read the preceding issues, but I guess this is an interquel to CLaremonts original X-Factor run, that deals with the original XF team having to contend with the fact that their ship (formerly Apocalypses' ship) is suddenly turning into a Transformer and also is going to kill them. Also, Cameron Hodge shows up looking like a Sonic the Hedgehog mini-boss. On the plus side; a double-dose of Simonsons are on writing and Drawing duties! 👋

The idea so far seems to be original classic teams go back to finish dangling plot threads or do an extra arc.

So, the reason the Simonsons are the writing and art team is because it's an interquel to their own X-Factor run. Claremont only wrote a few issues here and there on X-Factor. If I'm remembering correctly, maybe even just one last brief arc to get rid of baby Nathan right before the 90s line reshuffle, when the divisions between titles were getting blurry (there was an abundance of crossovers and also the original X-Men as X-Factor were showing up frequently as guests in the main X-Men book).

The previous arc on X-Men Legends was kind of funny because it was Fabian Nicieza reminding everyone that he had already canonically revealed Adam-X to be The Third Summers Brother in obscure issues of a short lived Captain Marvel series before everyone forgot about it and made Vulcan as another Summers brother to solve the already solved mystery of The Third Summers Brother. It was honestly about as good as you could hope a 90s nostalgia throwback that is also an extended continuity footnote to be, though.
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Engine
(He/Him)
This week;

Hellions #11 The Discount Murderworld arc with Arcade comes to an end and Sinister continues to prove that a guy who calls himself Mr. Sinister may not be on the up and up. And he also continues to be my absolute favourite Hickman era X-Men character👍

Immortal Hulk #46 setting things up for the big finale, with the Ufoes, Avengers, Gamma Flight and all the living Gamma Mutates converging on a Leader and One Below All possessed Devil Hulk in Manhattan. I wound up with more sympathy for the U Foes than I had previously thought possible, which is not saying much.👍

Heroes Reborn #1 kinda weird that they brought back Heroes Reborn and there wasn’t much brouahaha. It’s a story where Jason Aaron just gets to have the most fun possible crafting an alternate timeline where the Squadron Supreme formed instead of the Avengers, and only Blade remembers the right history, and it Is bonkers and wonderful. 👍
 
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