X-Men: Days of Future Past Review
Having been burned not too long ago on X-Men comics that didn’t stand the test of time, I stepped into X-Men: Days of Future Past with caution. It’s reputation as being one of the best X-Men story arcs has bubbled up to the point where it’s the focal point of the next movie, but my time reading other 80s era X-Men omnibus wasn’t all that entertaining due to how much the medium has evolved since then. I could have just left this one be, but knowing that the movie was coming soon and that many herald it as one of the best, I figured I should give the best of the old stuff a shot.
There are many trade paperbacks and omnibuses that contain the two-issue Days of Future Past arc. The 2011 book that I have includes X-Men #138-143 as well as X-Men Annual #4; none of which have anything to do with the primary subject. More recently, another book by the name of Days of Future Past came out with the two main issues and a completely different set of additional issues to round things out.
Having now read the main attraction, it’s clear to see why it’s highly regarded. Chris Claremont devised a great plot supported by interesting story beats and strong characters. In particular, Kitty Pride in her past and future states do a great job of moving the story forward. It still drives me nuts how heavy-handed Claremont’s writing can be, as he doesn’t trust his artists or readers to understand things unless he explains them in great detail, especially when it comes to a person’s powers. I don’t need to be told 100 times how Wolverine’s claws work. Besides, the pictures of him stabbing and slashing things are fairly self-explanatory. Times were different then I guess, and it doesn’t take away from the strong framework that he established.
The additional issues have no real connection to Days of Future Past, but they capture the team at a very interesting point in their careers. Starting with the funeral of Jean Grey, Cyclops recounts almost two decades worth of continuity in one issue. On one hand, it sort of helps set the stage for new readers in regards to what has happened to the team up until then. However, it also reads like one giant info dump rather than a th0ughtful recollection of the past before moving onto other things. Following that is a weird annual issue where the X-Men team up with Dr. Strange to save Nightcrawler from Hell.
Everything after that is surprisingly strong. We get a glimpse of many iconic X-Men characters during their humble beginnings, including Wolverine, Night Crawler, Colossus, Storm and Kitty Pryde. It’s cool to see their relationships build and watch them fumble along as they struggle to build team chemistry. My favourite of the extra issues involves Wolverine and Nightcrawler fighting alongside team Alpha Flight to take down a threat in the Canadian wilderness.
Based on my sour first taste of retro X-Men, Days of Future Past is a much stronger effort that does a better job of withstanding the test of time. The feature event is still a great read and some of the additional content is almost as strong. I can’t speak for all of the different trade paperbacks that contain the two-issue Days of Future Past run, but this particular release is a cheap way of getting your hands on some classic comics.