Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely, Ethan Van Scriver, Igor Kordey, Leinil Francis Yu, Tom Derenick, Tim Townsend, Mark Morales, Prentis Rollins, Dan Green, Gerry Alanguilan, Danny Miki, Rich Perotta, Scott Hanna, and Sandu Florea
It's hard to believe that it's been more than a dozen years since Grant Morrison took over the X-Men, giving the property a conceptual shot in the arm, and setting up some story ideas that have been in use ever since. I distinctly remember the excitement that came from reading New X-Men #114, when Morrison and artist Frank Quitely launched their story. Suddenly, the mutant heroes were a "rescue organization", were wearing sensible costumes, and had undergone some pretty sudden changes, not the least of which was a hugely different appearance for Beast.
This pretty solid trade paperback collects thirteen issues of the regular series, and one annual. In these pages, we meet a ton of new characters like Xorn, Angel, Beak, the Stepford Cuckoos, Glob Hermann, John Sublime, and Cassandra Nova, many of whom are still important characters today. We see the machinations of Nova, who goes from committing genocide in Genosha, to trying to use the Shi'ar Empire to wipe out all mutants on Earth, while infecting the X-Men with a curious virus.
Morrison's writing in these comics is stellar. He plays with the original core concept of the X-Men, that mutants are mistrusted and maligned, but updates that idea for a more modern, celebrity-obsessed culture. He also returns to the original purpose of the Xavier School, to train new mutants and protect them.
Frank Quitely's art is always wonderful, and it's cool to see him play with some pretty iconic characters, especially since he doesn't draw mainstream superheroes anymore. Ethan Van Scriver's art is also very beautiful, and Igor Kordey, who was famously given very little time to draw some of these issues, is understandably all over the place.
I'm not sure that many other comics from this era would stand up as well as the ones in this book. I know that the current stable of X-Books do not look very good in comparison to these modern classics.