First Published: August 1998
Contents: First Edition: Uncanny X-Men #145 (May 1981) to #161 (September 1982), Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 (1979) to #5 (1981); Second Edition: Uncanny X-Men #145 (May 1981) to #161 (September 1982), Uncanny X-Men Annual #5 (1981) and #6 (1982), Avengers Annual #10 (1981);
Key Creator Credits: Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Brent Anderson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Michael Golden
Key First Appearances: Caliban, the Brood, Anna Marie Raven/Rogue, S’ym, Gabrielle Haller
Story Continues from: Essential X-Men Vol. 2
Story Continues In: Essential X-Men Vol. 4
Overview: Things never slow down for the X-Men, as evidenced in this third volume. The team finds themselves at odds with Dr. Doom and Arcade; the Hellfire Club; and the return of Magneto. The Starjammers return to Earth, inadvertently bringing the X-Men in first contact with the Brood. Cyclops rejoins the team, and comes face-to-face with his estranged father. Storm catches the eye of Count Dracula. An untold tale of Xavier and Magneto in their youth introduces Gabrielle Haller, who would become the mother of Legion. All of this plus Kitty tells Illyana a fairy tale of uncanny proportions.
What makes this Essential?: This is a good volume to read, but it is not a required volume to own. Claremont delivers solid stories which he re-uses later multiple times with later stories: Magneto’s attack in issues #149 and #150 lead to him being brought before a world court in issue #200; Emma Frost trades bodies with Storm in #151 and #152, setting up an ongoing rivalry between the two women; the Brood are introduced in 1982, but the first epic story happens the following summer (see Essential X-Men Vol. 4); and Illyana grows up in #160 (see below), which sets the stage for multiple stories in Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, and other titles for years to come. These stories are good, but the impact/fall-out of the stories are much more important for the total Claremont run with the mutants.
Footnotes: Once again, Marvel juggles the content listings between the first edition and the second (and later) editions of this Essential volume. The first edition contains annuals #3, #4, and #5, while the second edition contains annuals #5 and #6, along with Avengers Annual #10.
Avengers Annual #10 is also reprinted in Essential Ms. Marvel Vol. 1.
If you like this volume, try: the Magik (Illyana and Storm) mini-series from 1983/84. In Uncanny X-Men #160 (August 1982), 8-year-old Illyana Rasputin is drawn into the Limbo realm by the demon Belasco. The X-Men rush to the rescue of Colossus’ younger sister. During the battle, Kitty Pryde grabs hold of Illyana’s arm to pull her back out of Limbo. A short tug-of-war ensues before Kitty finally pulls Illyana back, but Illyana is now 13. The mini-series, by Claremont and John Buscema, details the five years that Illyana was in Limbo, receiving her training in the dark arts, that took place between two panels of #160.