Over the course of the X-Men's long history it has arguably grown and expanded almost more than any other Marvel comic, but with this growth comes a head scratcher for both newcomers and regular comic goers alike so if you would like to find out why a shadow phasing hero travelled back in time or how one member went crazy read on.

What To Read First

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

The story that kicked off Joss Whedon's (currently Avengers Director) amazing run and would prove to be one of the more defining stories of the X-Men. The story revolves around the idea of a "cure" for mutants. This idea would mean being a mutant is almost an illness something firmly rejected by Cyclops and Wolverine but surprisingly accepted by some members of the X-Men. A whole boat load of suspense ensues in this story arc and if you're worried about not being able to follow Joss uses Kitty as a gateway for new readers.

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class

Not to be confused with the movie of the same title, X-Men:First Class is a focus on the original five X-Men that started it all. While you won't need this to get caught up on what's currently going on you'd be hard pressed to find a better portrayal of these characters in their early days and it's a nice break from the sagas that seem to be popping up in the "X-universe" every other Wednesday.

Giant-Size X-Men #1

Giant-Size X-men #1

The comic book that preceded Claremont's run on the X-Men and introduced many fan favorite mutants like Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and brought Wolverine to the X-Men. This issue revived the franchise and introduced arguably the most diverse roster of the team.

The Chris Claremont Era

Writer Chris Claremont wrote Uncanny X-Men between 1975 and 1991. Claremont took these charecters when the were struggling D-list superheroes, and redefined them, making them Marvel's most popular books during his run. If you're not planning on reading this run as a whole, then these are stories may not be easy to follow if you don't have a basic grasp on the X-Men mythos. However, they are definitely well worth the read as they have shaken the X-Men to what they are today.

X-Men: Proteus

X-Men: Proteus

The X-Men were thought dead after a battle with Magneto in Antarctica. In this story, they finally make they're way home. They immediately visit Muir Island to see their friends, but soon discover that some strange things are going on there. Moira MacTaggert'so son, a mutant known as Proteus, escapes and causes Havok. See the X-Men face one of their greatest foes as they are pushed to limits both physically and mentally, that they have never reached before. Written by Chris Claremont and John Byrne with Byrne doing the art.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga

Arguably the X-Men's most iconic tale. The Dark Phoenix Saga is the story about original X-Man, Jean Grey, becoming corrupt with power. Written by famed X-Men writer Chris Claremont while collaborating with artist/writer John Byrne. The story has been inducted into the Columbia University library. It is definitely essential reading for anyone who is looking to get into X-Men.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Although we may be overwhelmed with time travel stories currently but you'd be hard pressed to find a more cooler and fun read than this story where an X-Men mutant sends a message back to her previous self to prevent an apocalyptic future in which mutants are rapidly being wiped out.

You will see Kitty Pryde become a member of the X-Men in this story, as she is the one sent back in time to save the past from the future. The X-Men will have to fight of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and their new leader, Mystique. This is the final story in the Chris Claremont/John Byrne run.

X-Men: I, Magneto

X-Men: I, Magneto

On the 150th issue of Uncanny X-Men, the teams most feared villians, Magneto, returns. One again he will find himself doing battle with the X-Men. In this story you will discover more to Magneto than just being "the bad guy." You will learn the traumatic events of his past that turned him into the master of magnetism, and you will also see that he has a human side. Written by Chris Claremont with art by DaveCockrum.

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

X-Men: God Loves Man Kills

God Loves Man Kills is what many X readers see as the X-Men's defining arc and it's hard to argue with them. In 1982 legendary writer Chris Claremont took the concept of the X-men and examined them in the light of real world analogies. What we got was a realistic portrayal of how the world may react to the dawn of mutants and how mutants may react to the world. Some fans might recognize elements of this story as the base for the movie X2: X-Men United. This is definitely a must read for any comic book reader.

X-Men: The Brood Saga

While Lilandra is preparing to leave Earth, to return to the Shi'ar Empire, the X-Men visit her to see her off. They are attacked by a insect like race known as the Brood. The Brood infect the X-Men with eggs, that when hatched, will transform them into the alien creatures they were fighting against. See the X-Men as they try to come to terms with what has happened to them in this story. Written by Chris Claremont with art by Dave Cockrum.

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto

Magneto, who is now a reformed allies of the X-Men, is captured by Freedom Force and forced to stand trial for his actions in the 'I, Magneto. This is a turning point in the life of Magneto as he turns over a new leaf. Written by Chris Claremont with art by John Romita Jr.

X-Men: Mutant Massacre

X-Men: Mutant Massacre

Mutant Massacre was a turning point in the X-Men mythos. It is one of the darker stories written by Chris Claremont with art by John Romita Jr and later Rick Leonardi. You will see the very first iconic battle between Wolverine and Sabretooth as well as the introduction of Psylocke. The story is about a new group of mutants, that call themselves the Marauders, attacking the X-Men's allies, the Morlocks. You will see the X-Men fall to a low point and attempt to build themselves back up in this iconic tale.

X-Men: Fall Of Mutants

X-Men: Fall Of Mutants

Another great story written by Chris Claremont, this time with art by Marc Silvestri. This story focuses on Storm and Forge, as Storm seeks out Forge in a attempt to regain her powers. However, she discovers a secret from Forges past that he was in the midst of trying to atone for. This will lead to the X-Men being forced to make a difficult decision.

Meanwhile, you will also see the birth of Arcangel as Cyclops, Jean, Beast, and Iceman have one of their earliest battles with the ancient mutant known as Apocalypse. They will have to face their former teammate as he fights against them at Apocalypse's side.

X-Men: Inferno

X-Men: Inferno

Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri continue their run in another great story. This tale revolves around the wife of Scott Summers, Madelyne Pryor, who had become desperate after her son was kidnapped and makes a deal with Demons to try and get him back. This story concludes what was started with Mutant Massacre as you will see the X-Men come face to face with the Leader of the Marauders, Mister Sinister.

Meanwhile, Colossus' sister Magik struggles with her role as the Dark child, the commander of limbo. After being tricked by a demon called N'Astirh to bring limbo to earth, she will have to struggle to find a way to put things back where they were meant to be.

X-Men: X-Tincton Agenda

X-Men: X-Tincton Agenda

Some of the X-Men are attacked at their home by the forces of Cameron Hodge. They are taken to Genosha, a island where mutants are treated as slaves. The X-Men will have to team up with both X-Factor and the New Mutants to stop them and rescue their allies. It will be the mutants versus a military state, as their captured allies will have their powers stolen from them and pushed to some of their lowest points. They will have to concoct a master plan to win this one. Written by Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson with art by Jim Lee, Rob Linfield, and John Bogdanove.

X-Men: Crossroads

X-Men: Crossroads

Directly following the events of X-Tincton Agenda, the X-Men are teleported to the far reaches of space where they reunite with their mentor, Professor Charles Xavier. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Magneto and Rogue will battle Zaladane in the Savage Lands. This story is another turning point in the life of Magneto, as we see him start to become more ruthless again. Written by Chris Claremont with art by Jim Lee.

X-Men: Muir Island Saga

X-Men: Muir Island Saga

Things on Muir Island have been strange for some time, with Moira MacTaggert acting strongly for months. Banshee tells Professor Xavier about this, and he discovers that the Shadow King is behind it, his oldest foe, the reason he founded the X-Men. The remaining X-Men will team up with X-Factor to battle their allies who are being controlled by the Shadow King on Muir Island. While Xavier does battle with the Shadow King on the astral plane. Written by Chris Claremont, Fabian Nicizea, and Peter David with art by Andy Kubert, Paul Smith, Steven Butler, and Kirk Jarvinen.

X-Men: Mutant Genesis

X-Men: Mutant Genesis

See the debut of the X-Men's new costumes, made iconic by X-Men: The Animated Series, in this story. Magneto has returned as a antagonist and it is up to the X-Men to stop him. Magneto will make a discovery that will have him questioning if he ever truly was reformed. This story marks the end of Chris Claremont seventeen year run with the book and the first issue of this story went on to become the highest selling comic book in the world according to the Guinness book of world records. It is the beginning of a new Era for the X-Men in this tale.

90's Era of X-Men

For many people, the 90's version of the X-Men is the definitive version. The X-Men's popularity were at a all time high, both in the comics and in general. However, it was a rocky start when Chris Claremont left the book. Artists took over the duties of plotting the books, which hurt the quality of the storytelling. That didn't last very long, because Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicizea gained creative control at around Uncanny X-Men #289 and X-Men #12 and returned quality writing to the books. By this point there was so many X-Men that they were divided into two teams. A Gold Team that were featured in Uncanny X-Men and a Blue team that was featured in X-Men vol 2. These stories might be hard to follow at times, but the following will be a guide to the biggest X-Men events of the 90's.

X-Men: X-Cutioner's Song

X-Men: X-Cutioner's Song

It is easier to understand this story if you are at least familiar with the events in Cable: Blood and Metal and X-Factor: Endgame.

While at the a rock consert Professor Charles Xavier takes the stage to deliver a message of peace, when he is attacked and gunned down by a man that appears to be Cable. The X-Men teams will join together along with X-Factor as they try to hunt down Cable and his group, X-Force, while simultaneously trying to find a cure for Professor Xavier. In this story you will also witness the truth behind Cable's origin and the return of Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen as well as Mister Sinister. While behind the scenes the strings are being pulled by the Mutant Liberation Front's leader, the man known as Strife. Written by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicizea, and Peter David with art by Andy Kubert, Jae Lee, Greg Capella, Brandon Peterson, and Lary Stroman.

X-Men: Fatal Attractions

X-Men: Fatal Attractions

Magneto Returns to his role as a antagonist. He gathers the forces of remaining Acolytes and captures the space station, Graymalkin. When the X-Men learn about this, they retaliate. Witness one of the most iconic battles in comic history, Wolverine vs Magneto, in this story. Written by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicizea, and Lary Hama with art by Andy Kubert, Joe Quesada, Chris Sprouse, John Romita Jr, and Ken Lashley.

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse

This story is set in a alternate timeline, so it is not necessarily essential reading, but it is a fan favorite.

Professor Charles Xavier's son, Legion, travels back in time to kill his father's enemy, Magneto. However, the X-Men intervene, but Professor Xavier is the one who accidentally gets killed. These events form a alternate timeline where the ancient mutant known as Apocalypse rules the earth. Bishop is the only X-Man being able to retain his memories of the old world during this time, during to being a man out of time. With Xavier dead it is up to Magneto to form the X-Men. There will be multiple groups of mutants in this story lead by different people, with some friends never meeting in this alternate reality. This was a year long story arc that was written by Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicizea, Lary Hama, John Francis Moore, Warren Ellis, Mark Waid, Jeph Loeb, Howard Mackie and Terry Kavanagh with various artists.

What To Read Now

Upon the launch of All New, All Diffrent Marvel, the X-Men currently have three team books.

  • Extraordinary X-Men is the current flagship title, and it follows Storm as she leads the X-Men and tries to find a way to save her people from the terrigen mist. This book is new reader friendly.
  • All-New X-Men is a book that follows the time displaced original five X-Men as they're joined by X-23. It can be kind of confusing for new readers, but for the most part it is new reader friendly.
  • Uncanny X-Men follows Magneto as he uses his methods to try and save his people from the T-Mist. This book is aimed towards long time readers and might be confusing to new readers.

There are two solo books, Old Man Logan and All New Wolverine. Old Man Logan is better if you have read Mark Millar's Old Man Logan before reading it. All New Wolverine follows X-23 as she takes the mantle of Wolverine.

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