X-MEN: THE HIDDEN YEARS VOL. 2 (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)
Collects X-Men: The Hidden Years Nos. 13-22, Fantastic Four Nos. 102-104, and selections from Amazing Adult Fantasy No. 14 and Yellow Claw No. 2 (cover dates December, 1956- September, 2001)
Writer and Artist: John Byrne
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorists: Gregory Wright and VLM
Fantastic Four #102-104 by Stan Lee (Writer), Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott (#102), and John Romita, Sr., and John Verpoorten (#103, 104)
Story from Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 by Stan Lee (Writer) and Steve Ditko (Artist)
Story from Yellow Claw #2 by Jack Kirby
John Byrne's proposed 27 issue maxi-series that would fill in the gaps of the all-reprint issues 67-93 of The X-Men was cut five issues short by then-new Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada. Quesada's action resulted in bad blood being spilled on both sides, with Byrne never to return to Marvel.
While I am a fan of the * footnote boxes, they are used here in such frequency that they are distracting and pointless. Cyclops took a dump* *refer to XMTHY #__. It's almost that bad, I kid you not.
Byrne seems to really flesh things out beyond The X-Men, featuring never-rans like the original Dazzler and The Promise (a bizarre Atlas era reference), all the while inserting as much of the rest of the Marvel Universe as possible. While the Phoenix set up makes sense, the Fantastic Four retro-crossover feels labored and unnecessary. This is accentuated by the inclusion of the original issues in the back of the book, which I had previously read in Marvel Masterworks The Fantastic Four Vol. 10.
|"Only the bad guys kill." Man, I miss those days. Now The X-Men kill.|
Byrne does his damnedest to rectify the disappearance of Monster Island in his Mole Man story. He also does a good job at wrapping things up in a hurry. Still, it would have been nice to have five more issues to complete his original vision.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The font on the spine is ugly.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Covers to X-Men: The Hidden Years #13-22 minus trade dress. (1 page)
Linework and Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5. The core series needs no restoration per se, while the vintage supplemental material uses the post-2007 Masterworks files.
Paper rating: 4.5 out of 5. Fair weight semi-glossy coated stock. Not quite as shiny as what was used in Vol. 1 but definitely not matte.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback. The thinner cover allows this book to lay flat in one hand like a giant periodical, at least for much of the book. I like that.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. While the waxlike lamination is consistent with Marvel's usual quality, it was around the time of this book's release that Marvel (or rather their vendor) began making the covers ever-so-slightly-narrower than pages, resulting in occasional, minute corner damage to the pages. The cardstock itself is also thinner than what Marvel has used in the past. These are cost saves and they suck.