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rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 1/8

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Top Document: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 1/8
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--- The current list of X-Titles and Teams (+)

The current published monthly titles which tell the stories of the
interacting genetic soap opera which is the X-Men are as follows:

   * Uncanny X-Men: The original book; covers one main team of X-Men.
     Team members include Angel (winged flight), Havok (energy blasts), 
     Husk (shape changing), Iceman (ice manipulation), Juggernaut 
     (unstoppable strength), Nightcrawler (teleportation), Northstar 
     (superspeed flight), and the book has occasionally featured 
     Jubilee, Polaris, and Chamber.

   * New X-Men: The sequel and companion title to Uncanny X-Men. 
     Team members, mentored by Prof. Xavier (telepathy), include Beast 
     (strength and agility), Cyclops (eye blasts), former White Queen 
     Emma Frost (telepathy and diamond skin), Phoenix (telepathy and 
     telekinesis), and Wolverine (enhanced senses and self-healing). 
     The title often features students at Xavier's school, including 
     Angel, Beak, and Dust.

   * X-Treme X-Men: A third core title; covers another set of X-Men. 
     Team members include Bishop (energy blasts), Storm (weather), 
     Sage (memory, analysis, and the ability to "see" others' potential 
     mutant powers), and Cannonball (flight from blasting power). The 
     title has also featured Rogue, Gambit, and Shadowcat.

   * X-Statix: A team of corporate-sponsored mutants / celebrities. 
     Team members include Orphan (super senses, athleticism), Anarchist 
     (acidic sweat), Vivisector (bestial form), Phat (fat control and 
     strength), Dead Girl (corpse memory, spirit communication), Venus 
     Dee Milo (energy form and teleportation), El Guapo (skateboarding), 
     and Doop (pocket dimension storage, cameraman). 

   * New Mutants: Training the newest kids how to use their powers.  
     Teachers and mentors include Prof. Xavier (telepathy), Mirage 
     (brings desires/fears to life), and Karma (mind possession).  

   * Wolverine: Solo adventures with the world's most popular X-Man. 

   * Weapon X: Covert operations with former X-Men allies and villains.

   * Deadpool/Cable: Team-up adventures featuring very odd teammates.

   * Mystique: Solo adventures with the longtime X-Men nemesis.

   * Exiles: Magik and friends time-hop through alternate dimensions. 

   * Ultimate X-Men: A hip, alternate version of the X-Men team.

   * Unlimited: One-shot X-Men-related stories by various new creators.

Obviously, these popular mutants have been featured as main characters 
or guest characters in quite a few former and current titles. Even in 
earlier decades Marvel was crossover happy, so it can be safely assumed 
that the X-Men have made guest appearances in probably every Marvel 
comic. Those interested in collecting them all should track down Aardy 
R. DeVarque's Annotated Index to X-Men Guest Appearances and Exhaustive 
Completist's Supplemental X-Men Checklist, both of which can be found at .

--- Hints for picking up back issues and older storylines (+)

There are two ways to get into reading the titles: starting with the 
current crop of books, or starting with the origins of the characters.

If you're diving back in after a few years away, go to the core titles: 
Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men, and X-Treme X-Men, which feature most of the 
characters from the X-Men movie, cartoon, and older comics. Each of the 
titles rebooted with a new creative team multiple times over the past 
few years, so there are numerous good starting points. For New X-Men, 
start with #114 or #127 (the "E is for Extinction" or "Riot at Xavier's" 
storylines. For Uncanny, #410 is the reboot jumping-on point (the "Hope" 
storyline). For X-Treme, either start with #1 or wait until #24. For 
newer titles like X-Statix, Wolverine (restarted), and New Mutants (new 
version), just start with issue #1 or the first collected edition.

Tons of color trade paperbacks (known as TPBs) exist that collect the 
various storylines and crossovers from the various titles. If you missed 
a few years, and don't want to spend the cash to pick up a title you 
don't want to read, check out your local library. Many libraries have 
purchased the droves of TPBs Marvel has issued since 2001, so your home 
library may have some of them, and/or may be able to get them through 
Inter-Library Loan.  Just ask your local librarian--that person is there 
to help.

If you're new to the X-Universe, the best way to learn who all these 
people are and where they are coming from is from the back issues. 
Essential Uncanny X-Men (only one volume) reprints issues 1-24 of the 
original (Uncanny) X-Men in a large "phonebook-sized" black and white 
paperback. The four volumes of Essential X-Men reprint Giant-Size 
X-Men #1 and then Uncanny #94 through Uncanny #179, plus annuals through
Uncanny Annual #6. There are also three books of Essential Wolverine 
reprints, which cover Wolverine #1 through #75 or thereabouts. Great 
stuff for those just getting started. The Marvel Masterworks editions 
also reprint early issues of X-Men in color, including #94-100, #101-110,
and 111-121, soon to be available through Barnes & Noble in TPB form. 

Readers who left off before Giant-Size X-Men might appreciate the newer
stories in X-Men: The Hidden Years. Those stories are set during the 
reprint years of the title. Although the title has been cancelled, you
should be able to find the issues in back issue bins. X-Men Classics and 
X-Men: The Early Years reprinted old Uncanny issues, and are a cheap way 
to pick up back issues without paying back issue prices (on the other 
hand, you miss the letter columns, something desirable in back issues). 

For the truly adventuresome, the book "Marvel: Five Decades of the 
World's Greatest Comics" offers a large history of not just the teams 
and the characters, but also the company itself. It's surprisingly 
unbiased, considering Marvel's usually corporate jitteriness, but it is 
expensive. Your local library may have a copy.

Above all else, be patient. The comics are based on over thirty years of
comic book history. A lot of that history is, unfortunately, somewhat
presumed knowledge to read the X-Men titles. You'll figure out what's 
going on soon enough. In the meanwhile, enjoy the comics.

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Top Document: rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 1/8
Previous Document: PURPOSE/INTRO
Next Document: WHAT ARE THE X-BOOKS?

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