Hardcover, 2009. Collects 1986's UNCANNY X-MEN #210 - 214, X-FACTOR #9 - 11, NEW MUTANTS #46, THOR #373 - 374, POWER PACK #27, and DAREDEVIL #238.
The book opens with UNCANNY X-MEN #210, X-FACTOR #9, UNCANNY #211, and X-FACTOR #10. From there, we move into the majority of the one- and two-off chapters -- NEW MUTANTS #46, THOR #373, POWER PACK #27, and THOR #374. Then it's back to the "core" material in UNCANNY #212 and X-FACTOR #11, followed by DAREDEVIL's contribution in issue 238, and then the saga is capped off by UNCANNY 213 and 214, which was not originally identified as an official piece of the crossover, but which provides a nice coda to the whole thing.
The reproduction of most of these issues is very nice, with the criminal exception of Alan Davis's X-MEN 213 (below), which looks absolutely horrid and represents an unforgivable crime against one of Marvel's best artists of all time. That issue is, for me, easily the highlight of "Mutant Massacre" in terms of both story and art, and I can't believe it came out looking so awful in this book.
There are a decent eight pages of bonus material here, including a house ad by Walter Simonson in two different formats, and design sketches for the villainous Marauders by John Romita, Jr. (Oddly, though he designed the characters, Romita only drew them in two issues before departing X-MEN in the middle of the crossover.)
We also have the cover to the nineties trade paperback of this material by Terry Dodson, as well as covers, two to a page, of issues 6 through 11 of the SABRETOOTH CLASSIC reprint series from that same decade, featuring art from Steve Epting, among a few others. (Yeah, maybe this is representative of the height of nineties excess, but don't knock SABRETOOTH CLASSIC! For a young budget-conscious teen, this was the cheapest and easiest way to read several of the characters early appearances.)
I like the concept behind this crossover for a few reasons -- One, it was Marvel's first big mutant "event", making it a novelty at the time. Even though I never read it as it came out, looking at it in retrospect, it still comes across as relatively well planned and executed by all parties involved, and it's clear the story trumped any commercial/marketing considerations. And two, the mutant Morlocks had long been an albatross for the X-Men at this point, ever since artist Paul Smith unilaterally turned what Chris Claremont had intended as a small band of reclusive subterranean mutants into an enormous community which really should not have existed in the first place. The goal of "Mutant Massacre" was to drastically decrease the number of Morlocks in the X-Men's world, and it succeeded there.
"Mutant Massacre" also has a handful of "bits" I like, such as the return of Colossus's classic costume -- still the best look for the character -- and the first mention of Mister Sinister, the character who would eventually become my favorite X-Men villain. I don't know how it felt for readers at the time to have that named dramatically dropped on them in the middle of the action, but looking back on it now, knowing how big the character would become in the ensuing decade, it feels pretty momentous. The crossover also gives us the first battles between Wolverine and Sabretooth committed to the page, several years after Claremont and John Byrne had decided to make the pair mortal enemies.
All that said, I can't help feeling the impact of "Mutant Massacre" is diluted by the participation of other non-mutant family titles. Their involvement is at least organic from a creative standpoint, given that Louise Simonson, writer of X-FACTOR, was also the writer of POWER PACK, her husband Walter, artist of X-FACTOR, was the writer of THOR, and Ann Nocenti, editor of the X-books, was the writer on DAREDEVIL. But the POWER PACK issue, featuring a bunch of kids taking out Sabretooth, undermines the character, while Thor, a cosmic character who is normally above this sort of thing, is a bizarre and incongruous fit for the mutant shenanigans. Daredevil at least fits in tone, but like POWER PACK, his fight with Sabretooth sort of lessens the villain's threat factor a bit.
Nonetheless, MUTANT MASSACRE is a handsome collection which, with the exception of UNCANNY X-MEN issue 213, makes for a very nice archival package of the original mutant crossover. It's out of print, but still available from third party sellers -- albeit at a premium price these days. It may be worth a purchase for hardcover completists, if you can live with the substandard reproduction on that particular issue. On the other hand, if you love Alan Davis as much as I do, you might want to pass on this one and pick up the trade paperback from 2013. Its dimensions are smaller, but the price is a far better bargain for the contents and I'm pretty sure Marvel would have cleaned up the offending artwork for that edition. (Don't hold me to that, though, as I only own the hardcover.)
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