Written By Desi LaSalle
Over the last two weeks, I have been reading a lot of old comics from my personal collection, primarily, The Uncanny X-Men. This title was one of the bestselling Marvel runs of the eighties and early nineties. I must say, it is truly sad to see how the quality of storytelling and art has fallen away from this iconic Marvel title. In my personal opinion, The Uncanny X-Men reached its highest point of success in two separate eras. The first one is from Uncanny X-Men # 112 – #143, by the team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne (my favorite!). We got the battles with Magneto, the legendary Dark Phoenix Saga, the introduction of Alpha Flight, Proteus and Days of Future Past. During this 32 issue stint we were treated to some of the greatest comic book stories and some of the most amazing art that we have ever seen in comics history. If you are just starting to venture into comic book collecting and you love the X-Men, this is where you should start. Not even the movie versions of these story-lines come close to doing them justice; that’s just how good they are. Forever etched in comic book history and definitely a hard act to follow, this run was virtually impossible to match.
Yet, to our surprise, the second era of The Uncanny X-Men came about from issues #161 – #225, with various art teams at the helm of the title. Even so, the most outstanding work would come from the likes of Chris Claremont again, but with the help of artists such as Paul Smith and John Romita Jr. In this era we got The Mutant Massacre story-line, The Fall of the Mutants, The Brood, The introduction of Rogue to the team, The Morlocks and Wolverine’s failed wedding among many great others. These two eras were the perfect blend of amazing art, storytelling and character growth. The beauty of these great comics is that you can read them two or three times and not get tired of them. These days we have various Marvel mutant titles out there and I only really like Old Man Logan and Extraordinary X-Men. They are still nowhere close to being as good as these two eras of The Uncanny X-Men that I have mentioned. There is also All New X-Men, but for me, the stories are weak and stale and the character growth is nowhere to be seen. The art in the majority of these new books are mostly sub-par, with exception to All New X-Men, which has Mark Bagley at the helm.
As a comic book fan it really saddens me to say this, because I love my mutants, I love me my X-Men, Wolverine is still dead right now in Marvel’s comic book continuity (our real Wolverine that is!). I find myself asking Marvel Why? How could this happen? Where did it go wrong? Most importantly, how can you fix it? To anyone that wants to see my point of view I cordially and respectfully invite you to read the comics that I have talked about in this article and feel free to come to your own conclusion. As a comic book fanatic, it pleases me greatly to know that you are going to have a very enjoyable reading experience, as for me, I will keep my eyes peeled and my fingers crossed hoping for Marvel to someday bring back the mutant magic! I just hope that the wait will not be too long!