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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recommended Reading: Five X-Men Books You Need To Pick Up

Liked "X-Men: First Class"? Well, if you can't get enough of the movie, here is a list of some 5-star graphic novels/comic books you can feast your eyes upon so you can learn more about our favorite mutant team and its core players - courtesy of Marvel,  and yours truly.

For more in-depth backstory on Magneto, check out X-Men: Magneto Testament by Greg Pak and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico collected in an awesome papeback.

Description:  Today, the whole world knows him as Magneto, the most radical champion of mutant rights that mankind has ever seen. But in 1935, he was just another schoolboy - who happened to be Jewish in Nazi Germany. The definitive origin story of one of Marvel's greatest icons begins with a silver chain and a crush on a girl - and quickly turns into a harrowing struggle for survival against the inexorable machinery of Hitler's Final Solution From X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong writer Greg Pak and award-winning artist Carmine Di Giandomenico.

My recommendations continue after the cut.

Learn more about the nefarious Hellfire Club and its notable members Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost, grab Uncanny X-Men #129-134 where these two characters made their comic book debuts. These issues would be later collected to become the infamous X:Men The Dark Phoenix Saga by legends Chris Claremont and John Byrne, considered to be one of the greatest (tragic) events in comic book history.

Description: Gathered together by Professor Charles Xavier to protect a world that fears and hates them, the X-Men had fought many battles, been on adventures that spanned galaxies, grappled enemies of limitless might, but none of this could prepare them for the most shocking struggle they would ever face. One of their own members, Jean Grey, has gained power beyond all comprehension, and that power has corrupted her absolutely! Now they must decide if the life of the woman they cherish is worth the existence of the entire universe! Collects X-Men #129-137.

For a continuity-free and modernized take on the mutant team, pick Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection Volume 1 by the superstar team of Mark Millar and Andy Kubert, which is very new-reader friendly. Perfect for all newbies looking to find their place in the world of the X-Men for the first time.

Description: Collecting the groundbreaking first year of the Ultimate X-Men in one colossal trade paperback! The world stands on the brink of genetic war, Mankind has made the first move, launching an army of giant, cybernetic executioners called Sentinels--programmed to target and eliminate the mutant DNA strand. Now, Magneto and his mutant terrorist cell are preparing to follow through on their threats of Homo sapien genocide. The only force that can prevent total annihilation: five awkward teenagers and their crippled mentor!

Here's a personal favorite - Josh Whedon's Astonishing X-Men - which is nothing but... well, astonishing! A perfect mix of drama, soap-opera plotlines, kick-ass action, and smartass humor, Astonishing X-Men had me loving mutants again after the long hiatus of reading X-Men books.

Description: Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Whedon and Cassaday (Captain America, Planetary) assembled a tight cast - Cyclops, the Beast, Wolverine, and Emma Frost, joined by returning fan-favorite Kitty Pryde - and set forth a groundbreaking pace, from the opening pages of a Sentinel attack to the unexpected return of a beloved X-Man. Then, building on early momentum, they ratcheted up the danger and drama with a shocking second year, creating a must-read book that can truly be called "astonishing!"

And finally, the original 1963 series that Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby created, that really didn't achieve the same popularity unlike the Fantastic Four or Spiderman enjoyed back then.  The original team consisted of Cyclops, Angel, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Iceman, Beast and the paraplegic Professor X, making them the real X-Men: First Class. The art could be a major turn off since its pretty dated as well as its story and plot lines, but still it makes for a cool historical artifact. 

Isn't it nice to own your a unique piece of X-Men and comic book history and actually experience it? 

                            That's what I thought.

For more X-Men related stories, check out my other articles like my recent review on the X-Men First Class film and X-Facts: 8 Interesting "X-Men (First Class)" Bits .

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