The X-Men are a superhero team in the Marvel Comics Universe. They were created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The X-Men #1 (September 1963). The basic concept of the X-Men is that under a cloud of increasing anti-mutant … see full wiki
Professor Charles Xavier is a mutant born with the ability to read minds. Mutants are people who are born with special powers such as telekinesis or control over the magnetic field. Some are born with abnormal characteristics that stand out amongst normal people, such as wings sprouting from their back or over sized limbs.
Professor Xavier is the headmaster of a school that teaches mutants how to control their powers. A group consisting of five students under his tutelage form the X-Men. Their purpose is to put a stop to mutants who use their powers for evil purposes.
Professor Xavier's dream has failed and ended in a nightmare. The year is 2013 and most of the X-Men along with Earth's heroes are dead. The Sentinels have taken over and all remaining mutants are either prisoners in detention camps or fugitives struggling for survival. The last remaining X-Men; Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, and Sprite are putting their lives on the line for one last desperate attempt to end the horror. They plan to mentally send Kitty Pride back in time to 1980 hoping to prevent the assassination that created this dark future. However, the real problem isn't going back in time, instead, convincing the present day X-Men that this isn't a game, and learning the identity of the actual assassin are the real challenges. -summary
Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Volume Six comes out swinging with another classic storyline, which is also highly respected as a Marvel Milestone, X-Men: Days of Future Past. When looking back at this story arc, I can't help but think that James Cameron was heavily influenced by this story to create The Terminator, a film that would also be recognized as a classic in its own right. Now getting back to this storyline, although it is a very good story, I do find it to be slightly over-rated.
Written by Chris Claremont, Days of Future Past takes place in an alternate future, where the Sentinels have pretty much accomplished their primary mission, which is the destruction of mutantkind. In this world, we witness a devastated New York City and an entire race being forced into extinction. Claremont painted a very grim picture depicting racial genocide and this world is indeed horrible. The mutants are forced to wear collars which distinguishes them from regular people and they are not allowed to breed. The sentinels are the street police capturing as many mutants as possible, and immediately terminating the ones who are considered too dangerous. Some of the X-Men who went on to become parents were forced to watch their children killed. The holocaust has indeed returned, and to the chagrin of the one called Magneto; it is happening to his people all over again as he's forced to witness these horrors a second time.
Claremont does a good job on depicting the hell of this new world. However, due to the short length of the series, which is only two issues. There are far too many things only brushed upon, and are given a small mention. Personally, I would have preferred the series being a bit longer, perhaps around 5 issues or so. I would have enjoyed reading the actual rise of the Sentinels, and the heroes struggle against them. Therefore, their imminent defeat would have been more of a surprise, instead of just BOOM!, here it is and the Sentinels won, take it or leave it. I would have preferred watching how they managed to pull off killing The Hulk, Doctor Doom, The Avengers, and The Fantastic Four. For me, I just don't think this future was properly fleshed out.
The plot itself also suffers from some rather annoying pacing. The shifts between the future and the present didn't mesh well to me, because everything felt a bit too by the numbers for the future X-men, once their objective became clear, and the present day X-men were involved in their typical melee. Again, a longer length would have helped flesh the story out a lot more. Now don't get me wrong, I still like the short arc but it does have its issues for me.
The next few issues are large amounts of filler, and many of these stories are indeed forgettable. Once again, the X-Men are in a feud with Arcade, plus this time, Doctor Doom is thrown into the mix. The only good I can think of concerning these throw away stories is the character development and light comedy. Claremont builds up Kitty Pride as a very like-able character, and it's no wonder she went on to become a fan favorite. I liked her from the very beginning and it was a joy to see her getting face time in these issues. The reader will also learn more about Storm, and just how powerful she really is when pushed. But the final story which ends this volume on a good note is the all out battle with Magneto. The issue isn't only action packed, but the reader will also see a more compassionate side to him.
The artwork by John Byrne, Dave Cockrum and others, continues on its path to excellence. Although it can have a dated feel, it doesn't hurt the story in any way. The dark and atmospheric artwork in Days of Future Past creates an uneasy and moody feel, unlike any X-Men story up to this point or any X-Men story later. The mass graveyard which can be seen in great detail, which is presented when Kitty Pride is walking to the detention camp creates a very eerie sensation. The action panels are entertaining as almost always, with the battle against Magneto taking place in issue # 150 being the best to me.
Overall, this is still a solid collection even though I don't find it to be on par with the previous volumes. After the first two stories, it was kind of hard for me to get through. In any case, I still recommend this collection for a purchase. The first two stories along with the last one makes this a book worth checking out.
This volume contains issues 141 - 150, across 248 pages:
The X-Men # 141, January 1981 "Days of Future Past"
The X-Men # 142, February 1981 "Mind out of Time!"
The X-Men # 143, March 1981 "Demon"
The X-Men # 144, April 1981 "Even in Death"
The X-Men # 145, May 1981 "Kidnapped!"
The X-Men # 146, June 1981 "Murderworld!"
The X-Men # 147, July 1981 "Rogue Storm!"
The X-Men # 148, August 1981 "Cry, Mutant!"
The X-Men # 149, September 1981 "And the Dead Shall Bury the Living!"
The X-Men # 150, October 1981 "I Magneto..."
Pros: -Three excellent chapters
Cons: -A few throw away stories, some bland action panels
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