The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide on collecting Uncanny X-Men comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated November 2018 with titles scheduled for release through April 2019.
The X-Men franchise reached a crossroads in 2001 that would forever alter its direction, but also usher in a decade of substantial runs penned by just five authors – all of which was collected upon initial release starting with issue #410!
That’s why I think of this final decade of Uncanny X-Men as “The Collected Era”
In 2001, the black leather costumes of the first Fox X-Men film now existed in the public consciousness, but X-Men comics of the period were a hard-to-parse mess of neon spandex. Not only that, but Marvel’s newly-launched Ultimate Spider-Man reimagining of Spider-Man for the modern day was proving to be massively popular. An Ultimate X-Men followed at the beginning of 2001.
Together, these two changes allowed Marvel to experiment with the core of the X-Men franchise. Writer and actual psychedelic warlock Grant Morrison reimagined X-Men (1991) as the sci-fi, leather-clad, and frequently absurd New X-Men. Meanwhile, X-Force metamorphosed into X-Statix under the guidance of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred.
What’s often forgotten is that Uncanny X-Men also relaunched at the same time. Twice, actually! First, Joe Casey took the reins for a similarly leather-bound an slightly-absurdist take on X-Men. Then, midway through Morrison’s run, Uncanny swapped to author Chuck Austen.
Austen’s run is often reviled for its soap opera elements, as well as for deeply unpopular moments for Nightcrawler and Angel. Despite that, it remains very much in the Claremontian tradition of constantly churning conflict and romance, often introducing wild concepts from far outside the X-Men’s typical range of influences.
Chris Claremont himself would return as Austen’s replacement with The New Age in 2004. While opinions remain split on this run, it’s certainly more popular than his prior return on “Revolution.” New Age finds Claremont intermingling new toys and old favorites, writing a team that includes Storm and Rachel Summers but also including Bishop and X-23. His run crossed the House of M event that would decimate Marvel’s mutant population, though he did not deal with the fallout.
Ed Brubaker took over from Claremont with an audacious change in direction, following up on his Deadly Genesis mini-series by taking a core of X-Men to space for Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire and then steering them towards a rebirth from the ashes of Messiah Complex.
Though Brubaker wrote for an arc following Messiah Complex, the following era of the X-Men in San Francisco mostly belongs to Matt Fraction. Fraction reimagines Uncanny X-Men less as a team and more as a society of mutants, with nearly every heroic mutant passing through the background panels of the book at some point in his run. He writes to the considerable crescendo of Second Coming, a resolution of the remaining threads of House of M.
Finally, Kieron Gillen gradually takes over from Fraction over the course of a year. Gillen slims down Fraction’s massive cast to one foreboding “Extinction Team” lead by the increasingly revolutionary Cyclops. His run continues into the next volume past the punctuation of Schism through to the following run of Uncanny X-Men, Volume 2.