Artists: John Byrne & John Romita Jr.
I have been an X-Men fan for years, and have recently decided to read both classic stories, as well as modern stories that I've always wanted to read. I am continuing with a story that starts directly after the last one I reviewed (Dark Phoenix Saga) with Days of Future Past which collects both the classic two part story, as well as having some fun, and interesting stories either side of it.
Following the events of Dark Phoenix Saga, the X-Men morns the loss of Jean Grey, as well as introducing Kitty Pryde as an official member of the X-Men. Wolverine and Nightcrawler also take a trip to Canada, and Kitty's future self is sent back to warn of the apocalyptic future.
This was a fantastic book, and although it may not be as good as the Dark Phoenix Saga, it was still in it's own way brilliant, being very interesting, and unique. Chris Claremont showed that he could come off a phenomenal story, and continue to produce amazing stories, and although they weren't quite to the level of Dark Phoenix Saga, they came close. I also loved how Claremont once again balanced things, starting with a very emotional issue, then following up with a fun story before returning to a more serious story. During this Claremont also added some exciting moments, as well as the usual drama, and suspense. He also once again did a great job with the character development, adding a lot of depth, as well as more tone, and drama. I also loved how Claremont managed to mix the styles of these stories up, with them all being very unique, as after a long story with Dark Phoenix Saga, it's nice to have a few shorter stories.
The art was also magnificent, and John Byrne did a outstanding job, showing why he's one of the best artists to have worked on a X-Men title. The detail in Byrne's art was as usual amazing, with everything being as close to perfect as possible. Byrne also showed the characters emotions perfectly, also having their characteristics perfect, with this being one of the reasons I love his X-Men art so much. The action sequences were also phenomenal, being very exciting, and at times fun, also adding plenty of depth, and tone. The layouts of Byrne's art was also spectacular, being very dynamic, whilst also adding more depth, and drama to the stories. I also felt that John Romita Jr.'s work on the The Uncanny X-Men Annual #4 was also amazing, and his work back then was much better than it is today, as although there are times where I still enjoy it, his art in this Annual was much more appealing.
The first part of this book would see the funeral of Jean Grey, with Scott re-telling the adventures they shared as X-Men. I found this to be an interesting way of continuing from Dark Phoenix Saga, as it takes the pace down slightly, whilst also allowing people who haven't read the earlier stories a chance to get a brief summary. It's also fitting to have this sort of story at a funeral, as it shows the journey the person took. I did however at the same time felt that it took away from the emotion, not allowing as much grieving time, but overall it wasn't a bad way of following up from that great storyline.
With the aftermath of Dark Phoenix out of the way there would then be a one-shot annual story, which would see Nightcrawler taken to what appears to be Hell, with the X-Men, and Doctor Strange following to rescue him. I found this to be a very fun, and interesting story, and I loved how it played of Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri's Devine Comedy, as although I've still to read it myself, the story behind it has always fascinated me, and I've enjoyed some of the stories that have been inspired by it. This take however is one of the more unique ones that I've seen, as although not the best, it was very entertaining, and exciting, as well as being very fun, and suspenseful.
Following that would be a short two part story that would see Kitty Pryde officially join the team, whilst Wolverine, and Nightcrawler visited Canada, and Alpha Flight to help with Wolverine's status in their secret service, where they'd land up fighting Wendigo. This was probably one of the more exciting stories, falling just behind the main event (Days of Future Past), as it had some brilliant action, as well as a bit of emotion, and a hint of fun, showing that although the series had a dramatic storyline that would change it, that it can easily move on. I also during this loved seeing Wolverine, and Nightcrawler's friendship build, and their interaction with Alpha Flight was also very interesting.
Now I finally come to the main story in this book, the two part Days of Future Past story, which would see the struggling X-Men of the future living in a world where they're oppressed by the Sentinels. The team eventually decide to switch the mind of future Kitty Pryde (now called Kate) with the mind of her younger self in an attempt to change history. I really enjoyed this story, and after reading about it, as well as seeing adaptation, whilst also looking forward to the upcoming film adaptation, it was nice to finally read the actual story, which was amazing. It was so gritty, and dramatic, whilst also being very unique, and exciting. I also loved all the action both from the future, and the present, proving to be the classic that it is.
The book would then finish with a more fun story which would see Kitty in the X-Mansion whilst a N'Garai demon attacks her. This was a fun, and exciting way of ending the book, and although it wasn't as good as the Days of Future Past parts, it may have been the next best, with both it, and the Wendigo story being very close quality wise. I also liked how this story would also be very suspenseful, and dramatic, which added more depth, and tone to it. It was also nice to see Kitty grow as a person, going from a rookie to someone that can handle themselves against a serious threat, which was nice considering she had been help back prior to this.
This was an amazing collection of stories, and the Days of Future Past parts were as amazing as I hoped they would be. Besides that it had a mixture of fun, and exciting stories, whilst also having some dramatic, and suspenseful moments. It would also have great characterisation, and overall was a great continuation from the phenomenal Dark Phoenix Saga. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this book, as all the stories are amazing, but if you're just looking for the Days of Future Past parts, and can get them cheaper than this book you might as well do that, but you'd be missing out on some amazing stories.