Hardcover, 2011. Collects 1988's X-FACTOR #18 - 26, UNCANNY X-MEN #220 - 227, NEW MUTANTS #55 - 61, INCREDIBLE HULK #336, 337 & 340, POWER PACK #35, DAREDEVIL #252, CAPTAIN AMERICA #339, and FANTASTIC FOUR #312.
As a result, this hardcover has an unusual layout by X-event standards -- it's presented in three sections, each devoted to one series and each beginning with its own recap page to get readers up to speed on prior goings-on in those series. We kick off with the X-FACTOR segment, easily the biggest chunk of material in the book, filling 393 out of 824 pages. Following from the recap, we get X-FACTOR issues 18 - 20, HULK 336 - 337, X-FACTOR 21 - 25, POWER PACK 35, DAREDEVIL 252, CAPTAIN AMERICA 339, X-FACTOR 26, and finally FANTASTIC FOUR 312.
All of this covers the lead-up to Apocalypse's assault on Manhattan and Angel's transformation into the Horseman of Death, as well as the reactions from characters like the Power Pack kids, Daredevil, and Captain America. Unlike "Mutant Massacre", where I felt some of the crossover material was inappropriate or weakened the main story, here it mostly all fits with the possible exception of CAP, which rides the story's coattails with a tangentially related installment shoehored into the action.
Once the X-FACTOR segment concludes, we move into the X-Men's part of the event, beginning with their recap and leading into X-MEN issues 220 - 224, HULK 340, and X-MEN 225 - 227. As with the X-FACTOR portion, this includes a good amount of set-up material featuring the X-Men's rematch with the Marauders, awaited since "Mutant Massacre" a year earlier, as well as the first appearance of Mister Sinister. Plus we get the classic Hulk/Wolverine showdown in HULK 340 before the X-Men battle the main villain of the piece, the Adversary.
Personally, much as I enjoy the wonderfully serialized lead-in material, I've never been very enamored with the Adversary. He's tied in with Forge, one of my less-loved X-Men characters, and he just doesn't feel important enough to warrant his role in this crossover. I feel like the X-Men's part of "Fall" would have been better served if Sinister had been the villain all the way through, or if some other classic X-Men villains had appeared.
Next up, where X-MEN crossed over with HULK and X-FACTOR crossed over with several books, we have the contrast of NEW MUTANTS' portion of the event. Following their recap page, the X-Men's junior team star in NEW MUTANTS issues 55 - 61 in one straight shot, giving us the saga of Bird Brain, an appearance by the rival Hellions, and a final showdown with Cameron Hodge and the Right.
This is my least favorite part of "Fall of the Mutants". Post-Chris Claremont, with Louise Simonson writing, the series just doesn't impress me much, and this is not a very compelling run, storywise. But Bret Blevins' artwork is great, if nothing else, and it's also cool that there is a minor bit of crossover between NEW MUTANTS and X-FACTOR here, as the early X-FACTOR issues in the book set up the Right and the NEW MUTANTS chapters further that thread.
Additionally, it's worth noting that this segment of NEW MUTANTS issues picks up directly from the NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC volume 7 trade paperback, which ended on issue 54, Chris Claremont's final installment. Between the seven NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC trades, FALL OF THE MUTANTS, X-MEN: INFERNO PROLOGUE, and X-MEN: INFERNO, there are currently a whopping seventy-three straight issues of NEW MUTANTS available in collected edition formats. (And in fact, there are only a dozen issues currently uncollected at all -- #74 - 85.)
The back of the book features eleven pages of bonus material in addition to a few other bits and pieces strewn throughout the volume following the various segments. We have the usual house ads, a MARVEL AGE cover and article, Alan Davis's house ad for the event (which is also the cover of this book), Walter Simonson's character design sketches for "Death", an unused Marc Silvestri cover, and combined "trilogy" covers for each of the series presented here (X-MEN, X-FACTOR, and NEW MUTANTS each had three "Fall" branded issues whose covers could be put together end-to-end to form one larger image).
Sadly, there's nothing in here for the X-MEN II: FALL OF THE MUTANTS PC game, a frustratingly hard title which I played quite a bit as a youngster.
The book has some great graphic design; it's probably one of my favorites of the X-MEN hardcovers. But whoever put together the dustjacket spine for this thing deserves a few slaps with a wet noodle. The "Marvel" logo is... fat. I don't know why anyone would think it a good idea to stretch the text out to such humongous proportions to fill the entire spine! Later collections with larger page counts keep the "Marvel" to a more normal size with a larger field of blank space behind it, and they look much better. This is amateurish and ugly, to put it as kindly as I can.
The hardcover is still out there for a reasonable price (though a bit more than original retail unless you really do some digging). For those interested, Marvel reissued the story in 2014 as a two-volume trade paperback series. I can't speak to those books as far as bonus material and design, but they should contain all the same story issues and have at least the same reproduction as the hardcover edition. Interestingly, the paperbacks reverse the story order, placing the X-MEN and NEW MUTANTS material in volume 1, and all of the X-FACTOR stuff in volume 2.
There's a lot of good stuff in these pages, though I could live without the NEW MUTANTS portion. Much as I complain about mid to late Chris Claremont sometimes, I really do like the lead-up to "Fall of the Mutants". It's very serialized and extremely ominous. I simply wish it had starred a better group of X-Men. Imagine Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Banshee* going up against the Marauders and traveling to Dallas for that final showdown with the Adversary. It would've been a much better story that way!
Available from Amazon: Hardcover | Paperback vol. 1 | Paperback vol. 2
And to find out what happens next, check out X-MEN: INFERNO PROLOGUE, released in late 2014 and reviewed by yours truly last January. Then be back a month or so from now for my look at the X-MEN: INFERNO hardcover.
* Yes, Banshee.