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X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift’ is an otherworldly adventure filled with unexpected cameos

Charles-freaking-Xavier strutting around the X-Mansion in full on leather bondage gear, one of the most iconic looks in X-Men history.

The early 1980s were a strange and awkward time for the X-Men. Uncanny X-Men saw Jean Grey dead after the Dark Phoenix Saga, Cyclops leaving the X-Men to be with Madelyne, and Storm leave after losing her mutant powers. There is perhaps no collection more emblematic of this tumultuous time than X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift, a perfectly fine and fun read, but one that highlights the strange plots, cameos, and developments of the era.

X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift is actually a reprinting of the original 2015 collection, with gorgeously vibrant coloring and some fun bonus material at the back. Clocking in at over 500 pages, The Gift collects its comics in this order: Uncanny X-Men (1981) #189-192, X-Men Annual (1970), X-Men and Alpha Flight (1985) #1-2, Uncanny X-Men (1981) #193-198, ending with Nightcrawler (1985) #1-4. In many ways, these comics are all deliciously weird, but they also feel incredibly disconnected, and The Gift has half the typical number of Uncanny X-Men comics compared to other volumes of the X-Men Epic Collection.

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X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift

Marvel Comics

With writing from X-Men legends Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, as well as lovely art from John Romita Jr. and Paul Smith, The Gift is a wonderful grouping of Marvel creatives. The title of the volume actually comes from the two-issue X-Men and Alpha Flight limited series, a fun romp between the two iconic teams as they battle against the Asgardian trickster god Loki. With fascinating cameos from Cyclops and Madelyne – who is a real highlight as the healer Anodyne – the series is an interesting read that paints Loki as a complex character, a characterization he had not been afforded as often at this point. The other main limited series plopped in this collection is Nightcrawler, a four-issue swashbuckling adventure featuring Kurt. Listen… if you like Nightcrawler, and seeing him go on wacky adventures, you will surely enjoy this series (even if it does feel fairly out of place).

The actual Uncanny X-Men tales are a weird mix, ranging from a battle against Warlock’s father the Magus, to a truly funky issue featuring Wolverine and the young Power Pack, as well as Storm’s Lifedeath II. Plus, the high fantasy Kulan Gath story, a villain who was originally created for the Conan the Barbarian series. What makes these issues even more disconnected is that a major cliffhanger that happens at the end of UXM #192 is kept a mystery for 150 pages, while the X-Men Annual and Alpha Flight issues invade. While I liked the X-Men/Alpha Flight limited series, I did not love the X-Men Annual, particularly Steve Leialoha’s art, which felt almost too cartoonish and lacked detail in a way that didn’t grab me.

X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift

Marvel Comics

One of my biggest gripes with The Gift is that Doctor Doom, who is featured assaulting Colossus and Kate Pryde on the cover, isn’t even in the comic! This image comes from one of Arcade’s truly bonkers birthday comics, where his assistant Miss Locke attempts to murder him for fun. Doom is just a robot, operated by Locke, and honestly… if I was a fan buying this because I wanted to see the X-Men battle Victor, I would be pretty disappointed. That being said, I actually really enjoy this Arcade issue, and Kate and Piotr coming to terms with their breakup and moving forward as friends is always a sweet moment to revisit.

Oh. I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention Charles-freaking-Xavier strutting around the X-Mansion in full-on leather bondage gear, provided by Callisto. Truly one of the most iconic looks in X-Men history, and Xavier honestly kind of slayed it.

Overall, the X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift is a fun read if you are someone who likes to see the X-Men in weird and wild situations. This collection meets a lot of iconic X-Men characters who are in incredibly strange times in their heroic careers, especially heroes like Storm, Rachel Summers, Nightcrawler, and Charles Xavier. With out-of-the-blue cameos like Power Pack, Arcade, and Alpha Flight, this collection gives you a lot less time seeing the X-Men interact with each other, instead of witnessing them working with others. While I can’t see The Gift is my favorite of the X-Men Epic Collection catalog, I have no regrets reading and enjoying it, and anyone who thinks this book is for them will surely not be disappointed.

X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift
‘X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift’ is an otherworldly adventure filled with unexpected cameos
X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift
Overall, X-Men Epic Collection: The Gift is a fun read if you are someone who likes to see the X-Men in weird and wild situations. With out-of-the-blue cameos like Power Pack, Arcade, and Alpha Flight, this collection gives you a lot less time seeing the X-Men interact with each other, instead witnessing them working with others. While I can't say The Gift is my favorite of the X-Men Epic Collection catalogue, I have no regrets reading and enjoying it, and anyone who thinks this book is for them will surely not be disappointed.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The X-Men/Alpha Flight issues are a real highlight
It is fun to see Madelyne as Anodyne, before becoming the Goblin Queen
I just love Selene, so her featured role in the Kulan Gath story was wonderful
The art in the Kate Pryde and Lockheed space tale didn't do it for me
The cover is misleading
In general the stories are just an awkward time for the X-Men
8
Good
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