X-Men Reading List – Days of Future Past Primer

21 May

On May 22nd, Marvel’s latest X-Men movie will come out: X-Men Days of Future Past. This latest film in the X-Men franchise comes as a partial reboot of the series, following up on the new cast and setting from X-Men First Class. Perhaps more so than previous X-Men film adaptations Days of Future Past will perhaps closely follow a specific story line from the comics of the same name. I don’t want to have any spoilers, so I won’t go into plot descriptions. However, it IS a classic “run” or story arc from X-Men, and I highly recommend you read it before OR after you watch the new movie.

With the new film coming out, this is a great time to catch up on some of the best story arcs from the X-Men canon. Best of all, your very own Hoboken Library (along with an assist from the BCCLS inter-library loan network) can provide you with plenty of great X-Men reading ūüôā


X-Men: Days of Future Past Р1981

Written by Chris Claremont









Astonishing X-Men Omnibus  Р2005-2008

By Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon – creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV), Firefly, Angel / writer of the very unique Planetary comics / director of The Avengers

Whedon brings a different and energetic perspective to the X-Men on his run of Astonishing X-Men. ¬†Whedon’s incantation of the team includes Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Lockheed and Wolverine. Whedon brings his brand of wit and humanity to the characters, offering up some good laughs along with the action throughout the run. The depth and humanity that Whedon brings to the characters breaths new life into¬†the characters and the comic itself. The plot is engaging with pacing that blends character development and story intrigue. This is a series that is immensely entertaining throughout with Whedon showcasing himself once again as an excellent story teller. This is a great series to check out, and you can read it all in one fantastic Omnibus Collection.





dark phoenix

Dark Phoenix Saga -1980

Chris Claremont

This is a classic storyline from one of the great X-Men writers – Chris Claremont. This is the story that changed Jean Grey’s character forever and spawned numerous depictions in other media – the 1990s animated cartoon along with references to Jean Grey and The Phoenix in some of the X-Men movies. The story’s implications are massive and it’s simply one of the most intriguing and interesting storylines. The plot reaches beyond Earth and the X-Men to encompass the galaxy and involves the Shi’ar Empire, the Imperial Guard and the cool character Gladiator. It’s superbly entertaining and a must read for those interested in getting the full character understanding for X-Men.







Age of Apocalypse Р1995-1996

Various authors

Perhaps I hold a special place for this run because I remember watching the X-Men animated cartoon that prominently depicted story lines with Apocalypse. This story features an alternative timeline where Xavier has died and Apocalypse has taken over North America. That sounds like a pretty good storyline starting point for X-Men fans! Definitely one to check out if you haven’t read it. We have the omnibus version that collects the whole run.






god loves man kills

God Loves, Man Kills – 1982

Chris Claremont

This story heavily influenced the plot of the X2 movie. While this influenced the story of the movie, the two have some big differences once you read the comic. The X-Men series has often had a theme exploring racism, prejudice and fear/hatred of people different from ourselves. This story, along with the character William Stryker, really brings this theme into focus for this series.









New X-Men – 2001

Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison’s New X-Men made a lot of changes to the series in style and focus. Some of the changes he made included:

  • changing the costumes from the various spandex to black leather with the yellow X logo
  • changing the look of Beast
  • showing Xavier’s school as a legitimate school with dozens of students, not just a training center for the X-Men (similar to how its depicted in the movies

Morrison also put a lot more time of the series into things that were not just battling super powered villains – exploring character relationships, having the X-Men work on public relations with the population, etc. At times controversial to X-Men readers and with some illustration inconsistencies, this is still a very influential series and a good read. We have the omnibus version collecting Grant Morrison’s run.




Apocalypse Solution – 2011 beginning

Rick Remender

Rick Remender brings together a compelling new storyline of the X-Force title in the most recent story line on this list.¬†In this storyline,¬†¬†Wolverine and Archangel are co-captains of a secret band of mutant assassins, unbeknownst to the rest of the X-Men. Their first battle pits the new X-Force against a resurrected Apocalypse and his new horsemen. This title includes some great artwork from¬†Jerome Opena along Remender’s deep understanding of the X-force characters.¬†









Magneto: Testament – 2008

Greg Pak

This unique short series gives you the childhood story line of Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto. The plot provides Magneto’s childhood and experiences as a Jewish boy living at the dawn of Nazi Germany and living inside a concentration camp. ¬†The pain and suffering young Magneto experiences at the hands of the Nazis would forever shape his character and fuel his ethos. A harrowing story that depicts the real potential cruelty of humanity, this is great read to either explore the Magneto character more in depth or read an X-Men title that is not based on big battles between super powered humans.







Onslaught – 1996

Scott Lobdell and Mark Waid

Onslaught is a sentient psionic entity created consciousness of two minds: Charles Xavier and Magneto. So, yunno, that’s a pretty cool place to start with a comic story! There are flaws in this series to be sure, but it’s a fun story and worth a read. This one is divided into four volumes. When requesting this item in the library’s catalog, go to the record and click on the little book icon next to each volume listed. See below







screen shot



Mutant Massacre – 1986

Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson

This series was a big comic Crossover event, where the plot of this series crossed over into other Marvel comic series, including Thor and Daredevil. In this story, the X-Men travel underneath Manhattan into the sewers to save the Morlocks from being massacred. For reference, the Morlocks are a community of mutants who feel they are outcasts, and live in underground tunnels in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. A fun crossover with a good amount of battling, this is a classic super-powered-human-battling-each-other story to read.







Messiah Complex and House of M Р 2005-2008

Brian Bendis – House of M

Messiah Complex – multiple writers

This is the recent pair of cross-over series that changed the direction of X-Men.¬†In House of M most of the world’s mutants get depowered as a result of the Scarlet Witch having a mental breakdown and changing the fabric of reality. Messiah Complex picks up after the big events of House of M and follows the story of the first mutant child born AFTER the events of House of M.¬†In addition to having a compelling plot, these are important series to read to understand the current continuity of the X-Men titles and universe.

There are certainly more excellent X-Men titles out there to check out, but this should give you a good start! If you ever have any suggestions for our comics and Manga collections, want to ask a questions, or just want to talk comics,  feel free to contact me. My name is Matt Latham and I manage the comics and Manga collections here at the Hoboken Library. You can reach me at hobkref@bccls.org.


Matt Latham
Reference Librarian

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