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The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 4 Hardcover – March 2 2021
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- Publisher : Marvel (March 2 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 848 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1302927043
- ISBN-13 : 978-1302927042
- Item weight : 2.23 kg
- Dimensions : 19.43 x 4.45 x 28.58 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #139,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in Singapore on June 10, 2021
The quality of the volume is also fantastic. The binding is glued, but the book holds together nicely and opens flat. The paper stock is a crisp white and everything about the design of the book is fairly consistent with the quality of previous volumes put out by Marvel.
What makes this an unforgivable disaster, is that for some unknown reason, the team responsible for putting this collection together, have fiddled with John Romita’s art! Why this was necessary is hard to fathom. Romita remains my favorite “classic” Uncanny artist. His line work and clarity of storytelling are some of my favorite in all of comics, and the work he did on Uncanny, is seminal. For for some unfathomable reason, they have interfered enough with his line-work, that the issues frankly look like they could have been drawn by another artist. And although the problem shows up throughout the entire volume, it seems to get progressively worse! Who in their right mind thought it would have been a good idea to “touch up” JR JR, on a seminal, incredibly important run in comics? And since the volume is mostly about JR JR’s work, and Chris Claremont himself declares as much in the introduction, it is just incredibly disappointing to see pages which were once so clearly JR JR’s artistry, reconstructed somehow until they no longer resemble the work of artist who originally drew them.
Admittedly, it took some time before i realized that this is what had happened. But the effect of the interference is hard to miss. It’s most odd in the character’s faces. But the interference is pervasive and ultimately, it becomes distracting. Reading this book is the equivalent of going to the cinema to see a film by a great director, only to watch a parody film by a student who studied their style and uses some of their techniques.
What is perhaps most confounding about this situation, is that JR JR’s work has been produced in collected editions before, albeit in black and white editions where these stories were previously reprinted. When this volume was finally announced, I became extremely excited at the possibility of being able to re-encounter the artist’s excellent body of work on X-Men, in color, in what I knew would be a high quality printing. I never imagined anyone would have been stupid enough to have re-worked the pencils, for any reason. Surely, if there was a challenge in re-producing these pages, other compromises should have been made? But to have interfered with the sublime line-work of one of the most famous, gifted, and influential X-Men artists of all time, seems like a boneheaded decision that is just unforgivable.
The result is that, speaking frankly, you are more likely to enjoy reading these stories in the black and white reprints Marvel released of these books many years back, than in this volume.
Save the money. Don’t reward Marvel for this travesty. Don’t let Marvel think this approach is successful, and encourage them to do it again. Avoid this book at all costs and spare yourself the pain of seeing altered JR JR art that is a mere shadow of the original work.
What were these people thinking?
It's nice to see the Kitty Pryde/Wolverine miniseries; their relationship is core to the franchise. But after that we get a lot of Rachel Grey story. She was put through many repetitive beats, always rebelling and having to be saved by the X-Men. She was later written off. The final Alpha Flight miniseries is a mixed bag. It's a bizarre story where various mutant and human cast members are transformed into Asgardians. Loki is a fun character but I just don't know how well he mixes with X-Men.
Art-wise, the omni really hypes up John Romita Jr. joining the book, but I don't think he holds a candle to Cockrum, Byrne, or Smith. Heresy, I know. To be fair it may just be that he didn't have the level of material to illustrate that those others did. I do really like his work on the book in the 90s. I think he benefitted from some of those later color and inking trends.
Overall I have to recommend this omnibus because it's rare to see a classic book collected so consistently across easy-to-find, well-made omnibuses. These always go out of print and then balloon to $250-$300 or worse, so you might as well grab it while you can.
The major issue I have with this collection though is the choice for the collection. The book isn't wall to wall Claremont X-Men. It contains a lot of X-Men issues, but then it adds a couple of limited series. The last actual Claremont X-Men Issue in the collection is #193. This means that for people trying to read the Claremont Issues from start to finish, there will be a gap from comprising 194-209 (209 being the last issue before the Mutant Massacre). So I was left scratching my head at the decision to include the mini-series "Wolverine and Kitty Pryde" (as cool as it is) as well as some of the other books, rather that those other Claremont issues that would take us right up to the Mutant Massacre. Doing that would have completed the first part of the Nimrod arc, as well as dealing with the Rachel/Black Queen Hellfire club arc. All cool stuff. The Wolves and Kitty story belongs more naturally in the Wolverine omnibus (and in fact that omnibus does have that series in it!). So when I finished this volume, I was left wondering how the issue (or issues I suppose) would be presented in these Claremont omnibuses. Hopefully they put these 15 or so issues with the Silvestri run in a future continuation of the Claremont omnibuses.
All that said, I feel my complaints are not huge. It is not how I would have curated the Claremont material. But I enjoyed this volume immensely.
Read those letter columns! Its fascinating in there!