The Astonishing X-Men & Amazing X-Men comic books definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Find every issue and appearance! Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated August 2022 with titles scheduled for release through January 2023.
Astonishing X-Men launched under the unprecedented auspices of being an X-Men with the hottest possible creators that you could follow without a tangle of other comics to buy.
Though that concept would be slightly watered-down over the years, the theme of a standalone, fan-pleasing X-Men book focused on relationships as much as heroics has always been the mission statement of Astonishing X-Men, and it was echoed in 2014’s Amazing X-Men.
Note: Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1 (1995) and Amazing X-Men, Vol. 1 (1995) were both four-issue limited series that were part of the Age of Apocalypse alternate timeline. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 2 was a three-issue limited series that was a precursor to a major Apocalypse storyline.
When Astonishing launched in 2004, Grant Morrison’s massively popular run on New X-Men had just come to a somewhat abrupt halt, at least in part due to disputes behind the scenes. That lead to a line-wide re-alignment of X-Men titles, including cancelling Chris Claremont’s sideline title X-Treme X-Men and moving him back to the flagship Uncanny X-Men.
Marvel had unleashed something entirely new with Morrison’s run that no existing Marvel writer could replicate – not even Claremont: Morrison was an outside voice to the X-line who brought a much-needed injection of fresh ideas and a legion of new fans.
Enter Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly (though they’d all see cancellation by the time Astonishing kicked off). He was geek royalty with a massive fanbase, and despite having only written a handful of Buffy comics to that point, he had grown up with the X-Men. In fact, Buffy was based on Claremont’s archetype of Kitty Pryde (and Dark Willow on Phoenix)!
Marvel contracted Whedon to pen 12 issues, paired with rising superstar artist John Cassaday (who was in-progress on Planetary and just off of a run on Captain America). Rather than hand Whedon and Cassaday an existing title as they had with Morrison, Marvel created an entirely new one for the pair.
It was a prescient move on Marvel’s part, as when Whedon and artist John Cassaday hit delays within the first year of the book, it allowed the rest of the X-Men universe to keep moving while the pair toiled over each new issue. Marvel took the unusual step of treating Astonishing as “continuity-free” – though it acknowledges events like M-Day, it is free of crossovers and was released at a different rate than other X-books. In fact, it took four years for these 25 issues to be released – effectively putting them on a bi-monthly schedule.
Whedon took over the concept of a more academically-minded team from Morrison, with a staff of Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, and substituting Shadowcat for the recently departed Jean Grey. Dozens of Xavier Institute students are featured in the background of the early issues.
With Whedon & Cassady’s run on the book over, Marvel continued the trend of using Astonishing‘s crossover-free setting to lure high-profile creators – this time landing Warren Ellis. Creator of the critically acclaimed Planetary, Ellis actually got his start on Excalibur in the mid-90s. Ellis swaps Kitty Pryde and Colossus for Storm and Armor and gives the book a speculative fiction and sci-fi theme. Afterwards the book was handed to Daniel Way and Christos Gage, Greg Pak, and finally novelist Marjorie Liu – who played up the team-as-family theme.
Amazing X-Men began as Jason Aaron’s take on an X-Men away team as his run on Wolverine & The X-Men wound down, but it wound up as a single-shot story of Nightcrawler’s resurrection when he was whisked away to helm Original Sin and then launch Star Wars. Popular X-Men Academy and X-Force writer Christpher Yost wrote the majority of the remaining issues, which maintained a more light-hearted 80s feel to both the team and the stories.
Marvel relaunched Astonishing X-Men as part of their 2017 ResurrXion era, first penned by Charles Soul – who fit the A-lister billing – and then by Matthew Rosenberg, who would transition directly to writing the flagship Uncanny X-Men in early 2019.
The great thing about this pair of titles is that any time the writer changes is a great place to start! There is never any ongoing continuity – every run by a different writer is completely self-contained.
- Astonishing X-Men (2004) #1-68, Giant-Size, & Annual 1 (July 2004 – Dec 2013)
- #1-24 & Giant-Size by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday (July 2004 – July 2008)
- X-Men: Kitty Pryde – Shadow & Flame (2005) #1-5 (Aug – Dec 2005)
- X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong (2005) #1-5 (Mar – Jun 2005)
- X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong (2006) #1-5 (Nov 2006 – Mar 2007)
- #25-35 by Warren Ellis with Simone Bianchi, Phil Jimenez, & Kaare Andrews (Sept 2008 – Oct 2010)
- Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes (2008) #1-2 (Dec 2008 – Jan 2009)
- Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis (2010) #1-5 (July 2010 – April 2011)
- #36-42 by Daniel Way and Christos Gage (Apr – Nov 2011)
- #43-47 by Greg Pak & Mike McKone (Dec 2011 – Apr 2012)
- #48-68 & Annual 1 by Marjorie Liu (May 2012 – Dec 2013)
- X-Termination (2013) #1-2
- #1-24 & Giant-Size by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday (July 2004 – July 2008)
- Amazing X-Men (2014) #1-19 & Annual 1 (Jan 2014 – June 2015)
- #1-6 by Jason Aaron (Jan 2014 – June 2014)
- #7-19 & Annual 1 by Christopher Yost with Kathryn Immonen and Craig Kyle (July 2014 – June 2015)
- Astonishing X-Men (2017) #1-17 & Annual 1 (Sept 2017 – Jan 2019)
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Begins in July 2004 concurrent with the X-Men Reloaded event – parallel to Uncanny X-Men #444, X-Men #157, and the launches of Excalibur (vol. 3) and New X-Men: Academy X. In the Marvel Universe, House of M occurs sometime after issue #6.
The collection of the first six-issue arc, “Gifted,” is one of the finest X-Men graphic novels you can buy – Whedon’s plotting and writing of the entire team is pitch perfect. After that, the plot across the subsequent three storylines is slightly uneven, but the writing and art continue to be astonishing. The entire run bears an impressive narrative arc. [Marvel Unlimited]
as a single, oversized hardcover volume…
as two recollected volumes…
as originally released as individual, softcover trade paperbacks:
A number mini-series occur in and around this series using the same cast. They are:
X-Men: Kitty Pryde – Shadow & Flame (2005) #1-5
(2006 paperback, ISBN 978-0785118169 / digital) [Marvel Unlimited]
This is a solo Kitty Pryde adventure that is loosely a sequel to her original 80s mini-series with Logan. This mini-series can be read between issues #12 and #13.
X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong (2005) #1-5
(2005 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785116417 / 2006 paperback, ISBN 978-0785119241 / digital) [Marvel Unlimited]
(2012 Endsong+Warsong paperback / digital)
This mini-series by Greg Pak is effectively Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2.5, released to help relieve the long wait between Whedon/Cassaday issues. It can be read between issues #12 and #13.
X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong (2006) #1-5
(2007 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785119302 / 2008 paperback, ISBN 978-0785119319 / digital) [Marvel Unlimited]
(2012 Endsong+Warsong paperback / digital)
This mini-series by Greg Pak is effectively Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3.5 and can be read between issues #18 and #19.
Astonishing X-Men Companion
(2020 paperback, ISBN 978-1302922856 / digital)
This title is somewhat of a misnomer – this book wasn’t specifically a companion to Joss Whedon’s run, so much as it happened to be released at the same time with some of the same characters, plus collecting an unrelated Whedon X-Men short-story from Giant-Size X-Men. Collects X-Men Unlimited (2004) #2-14, Giant-Size X-men (2005) #3-4, Mythos: X-Men (2006) #1, and material from Free Comic Book Day (2006) X-Men / Runaways
Astonishing X-Men (2004) #25-35 by Warren Ellis with Simone Bianchi, Phil Jimenez, & Kaare Andrews (Sept 2008 – Oct 2010)
Begins in September 2008 shortly after the Messiah Complex crossover, parallel to Uncanny X-Men #500 and X-Men Legacy #214, in the midst of the Manifest Destiny arc. It’s easy to track its placement, since it introduces Storm to the San Francisco headquarters.
Warren Ellis’s science-fiction flavored run subtracts Shadowcat and Colossus from the team and adds Storm and newbie Armor (a supporting character in Whedon’s run). Ellis is known for acid-tongued characters and alternate universes, and he brings both to bear on the X-Men – relishing in both Emma’s nastiness and Beast’s know-it-all-ness. SWORD”s Agent Brand appears throughout.
Artist Simone Bianchi’s pencils on the Ghost Box arc are perhaps the most stunning, classically-influenced art to ever appear in an X-Men regular series, while Exogenetic‘s penciler Phil Jimenez is a fan favorite. However, most fans did not enjoy this book at the time of its release. [Marvel Unlimited] [Ghost Boxes on Marvel Unlimited]
#25-30: Vol. 5: Ghost Box
(2009 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785133902 / 20xx paperback, ISBN 978-0785127888 / digital)
Also collects the miniseries Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes (2008) #1-2, which is a non-canonical companion to this run.
Astonishing X-Men: Exogenesis (2011) #1-5
(2011 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785144915 / 2011 paperback, ISBN 978-0785140337 / digital) [Marvel Unlimited]
This mini-series with artist Kaare Andrews was originally slotted as the follow-up arc to Ghost Box. It’s a subtle adventure that references a plotline from Ellis’s run on Excalibur in the 90s.
This pair of stories begins in April 2011 sometime after the Second Coming crossover, likely placed after Uncanny X-Men #534, and Generation Hope #4, but prior to X-Men Legacy #245, New Mutants #22, and Uncanny X-Force #5.
It starts roughly parallel to X-Factor #215 and Daken #6. It is unclear how this run begins in relation to Wolverine #1-6, X-23 #6, and X-Men, Vol. 3 #8.
In the Marvel Universe, it begins before Fear Itself.
After a half-year hiatus, Astonishing returned with Wolverine: Origins helmer Daniel Way alternating scripting duties with Christos Gage, who moves on to script X-Men Legacy in the wake of Schism. [Marvel Unlimited]
#36-37, 39, 41: Astonishing X-Men: Monstrous
(2011 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785151142 / 2012 paperback, ISBN 978-0785151159 / digital)
A brief, light-weight arc featuring Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, and Armor in a major monster fight in Japan. Also contains a Fin Fang Foom story from Strange Tales #99.
#38, 40, 42-43: Astonishing X-Men: Children of the Brood
(2012 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785157878 / 2012 paperback, ISBN 978-0785157885 / digital)
An X-Men vs. Brood space station battle featuring Storm, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Lockheed, and Agent Brand – and introducing the character Broo. Also collects a fantastic one-shot story of Emma Frost and Danger. Reprints a classic Brood story from Uncanny X-Men #162
Begins in November 2011, parallel to other Regenesis titles launching out of Schism.
The angst of Schism split the Cyclops and Wolverine twosome that typically headlined this title. What to do? An initial arc by Greg Pak followed Cyclops directly out of Schism. [Marvel Unlimited]
X-Men: Schism (2011)
(2012 oversize hardcover, ISBN 978-0785156680 / 2012 paperback, ISBN 978-0785156888 / digital) [Marvel Unlimited]
Collects the Schism mini-series, X-Men: Choosing Sides, and X-Men: Regenesis. See Jason Aaron’s Wolverine for more collection options.
#44-47: Astonishing X-Men: Exalted
(2012 hardcover, ISBN 978-0785161776 / 2012 paperback, ISBN 978-0785161783 / digital)
A tale of the Utopia-based Team Cyclops interacting with alternate realities, by Greg Pak and Mike McKone. Also includes material from Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1.
Marjorie Liu takes over scripting duties and transfers the book from post-Schism Team Cyclops to Team Wolverine, with a cast of Wolverine, Gambit, Iceman, Northstar, Karma, and Cecilia Reyes … versus a revamped Marauders!
The general theme of this run was that it followed number of the professors of the Jean Grey School on their less-academic adventures as a companion to Wolverine and the X-Men (2011). Liu continued to helm the title with the same cast through its cancellation, focusing at least one story on each member along the way. Her cast was Wolverine, Celia Reyes, Gambit, Iceman, Karma, Northstar, and Warbird. [Marvel Unlimited] [Annual on Marvel Unlimited] [Extermination on Marvel Unlimited]
#48-51: Vol. 10: Northstar (2012 oversize hardcover, ISBN 978-0785161790 / 2013 paperback, ISBN 978-0785161806 / digital)
Also collects Northstar’s coming out story from Alpha Flight (1983) #106 and material from Nation X #2
#52-56 & Annual 1: Vol. 11: Weaponized (2013 paperback, ISBN 978-0785164159 / digital)
The story continues directly from prior volume. Astonishing X-Men was no longer released in hardcover as of this volume.
Avengers vs. X-Men: See Guide to Marvel Universe Events – Avengers vs. X-Men. Wolverine is a lead character in the story, and Gambit and Iceman play minor, supporting roles.
#60-61: X-Termination (2013 paperback, ISBN 978-0785184430 / digital)
Collects X-Termination (2013) #1-2 [AKA Alpha & Omega], Age of Apocalypse (2011) #13-14, X-Treme X-Men (2012) #12-13, Astonishing X-Men (2004) #60-61.
After the end of this series: Wolverine continues to appear everywhere; Gambit leaves the core X-Men for All-New X-Factor; Iceman and Northstar are primarily team members in the subsequent run of Amazing X-Men, below. Celia Reyes next appears in the first few issues of Nightcrawler (2014) (which continues from Amazing X-Men‘s first arc) and then in X-Men (2013) #18-22. Karma makes a few minor appearances and then for seemingly no reason is one of “The Utopians” in All-New X-Men (2013) #40-41 and Uncanny X-Men #600.
A new series launched out of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and The X-Men in the fall of 2013 featuring Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Northstar, Iceman, and Firestar hunting for their potentially-revived friend Nightcrawler. [Marvel Unlimited] [Annual on Marvel Unlimited]
Amazing X-Men (2014) #7-19 & Annual 1 by Christopher Yost with Kathryn Immonen and Craig Kyle (July 2014 – June 2015)
Christopher Yost’s run in this title features a very “classic” Claremontian line-up anchored by Storm and Nightcrawler and stories that are rooted in Claremont-era themes, including Wendigo and Juggernaut. He was joined for some of the run by his longtime creative partner Craig Kyle. Kathryn Immonen wrote issue #7.
An all-new, all-star Astonishing X-Men launched in 2017 with author Charles Soule at the helm alongside several A-list artists. This single mega-arc starring Psylocke, Archangel, Rogue, Gambit, Old Man Logan, Mystique, Bishop, and Fantomex as they grappled with Claremont-era threats of the Shadow King and Proteus – plus, a resurrected Charles Xavier?! [Marvel Unlimited]
In Marvel’s Fresh Start, writer Matthew Rosenberg launches a completely new team and story. The initial line-up includes Beast, Dazzler, Colossus, Havok, and Warpath. Some themes of this title continue to Rosenberg’s run on Uncanny X-Men (2019). [Marvel Unlimited]