Sunday, April 15, 2018


Mighty Marvel has two books for us this month, a matching pair titled X-MEN BLUE vol. 0: REUNION and X-MEN GOLD vol. 0: HOMECOMING. Why they chose to title these as if they were entries in the ongoing X-MEN BLUE and X-MEN GOLD series, which have nothing to do with this material, is anyone's guess -- though I would assume it's just some sort of cross-promotion; i.e. more casual fans might grab these if they seem like they're supposed to go with the other books in those series. To me, though it feels more like false advertising.

But in any case, these two collections, when combined with 2015's THE HUNT FOR PROFESSOR X volume*, encompass the full and complete Steve Seagle/Joe Kelly run on UNCANNY X-MEN and X-MEN from the mid-late-nineties. It was the era that fell between Scott Lobdell's and Alan Davis's runs, and is kind of notorious these days for some serious editorial interference -- but nonetheless, in my quest to own the complete 1990s X-Men, I'm happy to have all three of these volumes in my collection.

(Plug alert: for a pretty comprehensive list of various X-Men collected editions, check out my X-MEN COLLECTIONS page! Crazy as it sounds, by the end of this year, the entirety of nineties X-material will be available in hardcover and/or trade paperback, with the exception of just a handful of issues in the immediate aftermath of the "Onslaught" event. And with all these volumes coming up fast and furious, I may need to get back to my semi-regularly scheduled photo-reviews of X-Men books...)

In the realm of the Digital Unboxing, it's been a busy month for Marvel. Comixology/Amazon have been running some pretty big sales, offering newly released collections at a mere 99¢ a pop -- plus there have been, in recent weeks, two sales offering hundreds of Marvel collections at that same bargain price! So in the past month, I picked up the following in digital format: THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN AMERICA, EXCALIBUR EPIC COLLECTION: THE CROSS-TIME CAPER, MARVEL HORROR: THE MAGAZINE COLLECTION, MARVEL SUPER HEROES: CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS, MARVEL TEAM-UP BY CHRIS CLAREMONT & JOHN BYRNE, MASTER OF KUNG FU EPIC COLLECTION: WEAPON OF THE SOUL, NAMOR VISIONARIES: JOHN BYRNE vol. 1 and vol. 2, NEW MUTANTS EPIC COLLECTION: CURSE OF THE VALKYRIES, SPIDER-MAN: THE GRAPHIC NOVELS, THANOS: THE INFINITY SIBLINGS, VAMPIRE TALES vol. 1, vol. 2, and vol. 3, WEREWOLF BY NIGHT: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION vol. 2, WOLVERINE & NICK FURY: SCORPIO, X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN, X-MEN: LEGIONQUEST, X-MEN BLUE vol. 0: REUNION, and X-MEN GOLD vol. 0: HOMECOMING. (Those last two sound familiar for some reason...)

I would've grabbed more, but I already own many of the other 99¢ offerings I want from previous sales! Still, to drive home the point: that's twenty books for less than $20.00!

But sadly, it seems like this run may have ended. From what I've read, irate retailers bullied Marvel into contacting Amazon/Comixology about the sales, and a week or so after, the 99¢ offerings vanished from Comixology's site -- so it seems probable the same will happen on Amazon eventually. Mind you, I don't think anyone ever expected this to last; it was obviously some sort of experiment on Amazon's part, but it's still a shame the plug was pulled so quickly due to a retailer hissy fit. I was grabbing lots of stuff I wouldn't ordinarily have touched through these sales, as well as backup "digital copies" of many books I already own.

Oh, well... at the very least, we can hold out hope that the big, more-or-less quarterly price drops will continue on Amazon, where digital collections, while not discounted as drastically as to 99¢, go down to something like three or four dollars a pop.

It's been three years since THE HUNT FOR PROFESSOR X collection came out?! I checked to verify while typing up this post, seriously thinking it must have been just last year, or winter 2016 at the latest. You can't imagine how my jaw dropped when I saw the release date. How time flies!


  1. Oh man, the Seagle/Kelly run. That was bad. So, so very bad. I don't think either writer was a particularly good fit for the X-Books-some people aren't, despite my love for Ed Brubaker his Uncanny run wasn't that good-but then you throw in the ludicrous levels of editorial interference and you got a total disaster. There was an issue in the run-I want to say Kelly wrote it, but really, I can't say for certain who wrote it-that was utterly incoherent to me. I read it three times and had no idea what was going on it. For all I know, I got some kind of bad print run with pages missing, it was that bad.

    The Seagle/Kelly era can be summed up for me by this simple fact: it ended a twenty-two year run of reading the X-Books, and, honestly, other than Morrison's run and Whedon's run, I've really not gone back to the X-Men. It was a mess.

    So, uhm, if you haven't read it yet...good luck?

    1. I read Seagle and Kelly at the time it was being published... my recollection is that I liked Seagle's UNCANNY more than Kelly's X-MEN, but I could be mistaken. In any case, I didn't love either title. As an honest-to-goodness fan of Scott Lobdell, I was disappointed to see him gone, and that put a damper on any enthusiasm I might have had for his successors.

      You hear a lot about editorial interference on the X-title in the 90s, and most of it gets laid at the feet of Bob Harras, but I really think Mark Powers was the major culprit. Harras was certainly a controlling editor, but it was Powers who screwed with Kelly and Seagle, and who later basically dictated all of Alan Davis's stories.

      Anyway, I bought these books mostly for the sake of completionism, though I do intend to re-read the stories someday. I'll probably just get to them whenever Gentlemen of Leisure reaches that point somewhere around 2045 or so...

    2. You could say they're covering the X-Men at a leisurely pace there...

      The only blame I'd lie at Harras' feet would be that as EIC he could've gotten Powers in line, but given the mess Marvel was at the time, I suspect just about anyone, even Shooter at his height, would have had trouble keeping things straight.

    3. Yeah, for all the flack he gets as a micromanager of writers, Harras was oddly apparently not a micromanager of editors. He let Mark Powers rewrite scripts and drive creators of the X-titles, and he didn't do anything about Ralph Macchio's lackadaisical attitude toward continuity in the Spider-Man books, either.

      I joke about Gentlemen of Leisure's schedule, but in all honesty, that's a herculean task Teebore has set before himself! I cannot imagine rereading every single X-book for a review series! The core titles, sure, but not all of them!

    4. It's especially so given the 90s with so many books to have to cover. He's not even gotten to Generation X and then X Man coming along. Plus having to read post Alan Davis/pre Warren Ellis Excalibur, the guy needs a medal!

    5. I didn't exactly have discerning taste in the late 90s (some might say I still don't), but even I dropped EXCALIBUR post-Ellis. I read for maybe a year after his departure because I wanted to like it -- I enjoyed Ben Raab's various mini-series at Marvel around that time -- but while I wouldn't necessarily say it was bad, it was just... bland.

    6. I read Excalibur until around the Cross-Time Caper, which was when I tapped out, and then came back for the period Teebore's covering at the moment and then left after a couple issues. I came back for Ellis, because I think his first arc was called the Soulsword trilogy so that caught my eye, and fell in love with the book.

      I lasted four issues after Raab took over, and since this was the time period where I finally stopped reading the main X-Books, I wound up following Ellis to Image. Whenever Gentlemen of Leisure gets to the Raab issues, man, Teebore's gonna really earn that medal.

    7. Yeah, I really enjoyed Warren Ellis's EXCALIBUR. I had not read the series up to that point, aside from a crossover chapter or two, plus the "Age of Apocalypse" X-CALIBRE issues, but when I learned Colossus had joined the team alongside Kitty and Nightcrawler, and I saw they would be dealing with the London branch of the Hellfire Club, that seemed a good time to jump in.

      My first issue was #96, which is actually a ways into Ellis's run (he started with #83 and his final issue was 103), but I eventually picked up the back issues, too. I'm pretty sure that was the only Ellis material I've genuinely enjoyed, probably because he hewed closely to the "house style" of the X-books from that time. Usually he's too dark and/or experimental for me.

      Looking at some covers online, it appears my final issue was 112. So I lasted less than a year after Ellis left, and seven issues into Raab's run (since he came aboard following a two-part fill-in post-Ellis). Also looking back, I believe a large part of the reason I dropped the book besides Raab's lackluster stories was that he depowered Captain Britain a mere ten issues after Ellis restored him! I really like Cap, and that rubbed me the wrong way. I swear, only Alan Davis ever handled him well on that series, though it looked like Ellis might have done more with him if he hadn't departed.

      Anyway, I look forward to revisiting all these issues in the fairly near future via GoL!