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X-Men: Fall of the Mutants Omnibus collects issues #18-26 of X-Factor, #336-337 and #340 of The Incredible Hulk, #252 of Daredevil, #339 of Captain America, #35 of Power Pack, #312 of Fantastic Four, #220-227 of Uncanny X-Men, and #55-61 of New Mutants, all of which were originally published between 1987 and 1988. Like other Marvel Omnibuses, this one features low-gloss archival quality paper, finished boards, and a sewn binding. Despite these features, however, the Fall of the Mutants Omnibus gives the general impression of having been rushed sloppily through production. The foil-stamped title on the front cover, for instance, looks terrible, having accidentally been left-justified instead of centered. The three individual pages of summarized back-story are amazingly sloppy as well: not only is the writing horrendous, but strange textual characters are accidentally mixed in amongst the text, weird formatting errors are evident, words seem to be missing, and sentences sometimes lack concluding punctuation. These pages are indeed so embarrassingly bad as to be almost comical. Extras include some house ads (randomly scattered throughout the book), a reproduction of a Fall of the Mutants Contest Reply Card, covers to the Fall of the Mutants trade paperback and Essential X-Factor vol. 2, a Fall of the Mutants article from Marvel Age #58, and (dreadfully done) combined cover spreads for each of the main books.
Plot-wise, Fall of the Mutants Omnibus contains three, largely separate stories, each running through one of the main X-Books of 1987. The first, written by Louise Simonson, sees X-Factor struggle both to protect themselves from their traitorous business manager and protect New York City from Apocalypse and his Horsemen. In the second story, written by Chris Claremont, Storm undertakes a quest to murder Forge (who has, ostensibly, become evil) while the X-Men rescue Madelyne Pryor from the Marauders and find themselves face-to-face with Freedom Force. In the last story, also written by Louise Simonson, the New Mutants befriend a strange bird-boy, who leads the group into a dangerous adventure that ends in tragedy.
All three stories contain big events important to X-Men history, including the first appearance of Archangel, Roma's gift to the X-Men, and the tragic death of one the New Mutants. New readers encountering these stories for the first time, however, are likely to find them something of a mixed bag. The X-Factor tale is woefully convoluted and--in this reader's opinion--somewhat poorly drawn by Walter Simonson (panels are spare and, with Bob Wiacek on inks, often appear sketchy). Luckily, the Peter David Hulk stories that cross-over into it are beautifully drawn by Todd McFarlane. John Romita Jr. and Al Williamson also provide excellent art for Ann Nocenti's interesting Daredevil cross-over. Chris Claremont's X-Men storyline makes for a more enjoyable read--particularly the now classic Storm segment--but, as with Simonson on X-Factor, Marc Silevstri's art for it (inked by Dan Green) is not his best. The New Mutants bird-boy saga, however, proves to be the most enjoyable of the three. Though by far the least epic part of the "Fall of the Mutants" event, this quirky story manages to be both comical and, thanks to Brett Blevins' gorgeous and sometimes gruesome art (inked by Terry Austin), genuinely nerve-wracking.
If you're a die-hard fan of the X-Men and don't already own the trade paperback version of X-Men: The Fall of the Mutants (X-Men), this edition is worth picking up. If you're a more casual X-Men fan or already own the previous version, however, there's no reason to buy this--especially considering its sloppy production quality.