This volume in Marvel’s collection of the Dawn of X relaunch, housing all the third issues from various X-books, has its highs and lows. I am very much a fan of this publishing method; as a reader of all the X-books, I would prefer to have them all in trade form than individual issues. The only downside, as noted in my review of the first volume, is that this trade comes out many months after the individual issues were released. If Marvel could release these Dawn of X collections closer to the single-issue publishing dates, I believe this could be a great alternative for comic fans looking to immerse themselves in a larger shared universe.
As for the book, much like the previous volumes, it has a beautiful cover that captures the various narrative threads present in all these issues. Lining up the existing Dawn of X trades together provides a series of windows into the world of the X-Men that would entice even non-readers to take a second look. The covers are excellent pieces of art and graphic design.
I assume that if you are picking this trade up, you have read part 1 and 2, but not every issue here requires having knowledge of those issues. Tonally, these issues are all over the place; there are cartoony, fantasy adventures mixed with gruesome body horror and ink-laden layouts.
The New Mutants (Bandini/To/Flaviano) issue wasn’t the most popular with fans, but in this collection it provides an necessary level of levity, providing spotlight on lesser-known teen mutants while the main Hickman team is off in space.
X-Force (Cassara/Kudranski) is one of my favorite issues in this set, and provides some truly gruesome shots as the team investigates the group that has kidnapped and mutilated Domino.
Fallen Angels (Alanguilan/D’Amico) stands apart from the other issues, but makes logical sense when one considers the different paths Marvel has charted for each of their X-books since this relaunch.
X-Men (Hickman/Duggan) is a fine standalone issue dealing with a group of octogenarians, bent on undermining the key resource mutants have on Krakoa. This single issue adventure, full of unlikely villains and plot beats, gives Hickman time to play with the X-Men while still providing background into the larger world he is crafting.
Excalibur (Hill/Yu) is the issue that requires the most in the way of context to understand and enjoy, but the art and character development is top notch.
Finally, Marauders (Howard/Brisson/Percy), one of my favorite books to come out of the Dawn of X, focuses almost entirely on Sebastian Shaw and demonstrates exactly why the X-Men may come to regret incorporating their mutant foes into their ranks.
With each issue focusing on separate characters, there is surely one X-book here that features a mutant you love. More importantly, having every third issue published together here exhibits the direction Marvel has taken with their X-books: radically different styles and tones for each book, giving room for any comic fan to find an X-Men team that fits their tastes.
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