For years, my white whale in terms of out of print trade paperbacks I would look for at used book stores and comic book stores was X-Men: Fatal Attractions, an old, out of print tpb from the mid-90s. No matter where I looked, I just couldn’t find this volume at a reasonable price. But then, suddenly, Marvel solicited this X-Men: Fatal Attractions Hardcover, an oversized hardcover which not only collects the issues included in the original trade paperback, but also includes additional issues of both Uncanny X-Men and X-Factor. This is a gorgeous collection, reprinting one of the more influential X-Men storylines of the nineties, as it features the infamous scene of Magneto ripping Wolverine’s adamantium out of his body, which would change the way that Wolverine was handled for the rest of the nineties. It’s an oversized hardcover collection, and is much larger than I would have originally expected, but the newly included issues give the collection not just additional pages, but also greater context for what the teams were dealing with the at the time, with regards to the Upstarts and Acolytes, plus the emergence of the Legacy Virus, coming out of X-Men: X-Cutioner’s Song.
The stories included in this collection are of fairly high quality, although the actual script is at-times bogged down with over-exposition, which afflicted many X-books from this era. What I really appreciated about this volume was how it includes additional issues so that it bridges the gap between the last OHC and this one without orphaning any issues. These additional issues really give a greater sense of what the X-books were like during this time, and what the different teams were dealing with in their various books. Trevor Fitzroy and the Upstarts are featured heavily in these additional issues, as well as Fabian Cortez and the Acolytes. These issues also help to build up the mystery that was running through these books at the time, as to whether or not Magneto was truly dead, or if he was actually still alive. It’s odd, however, that Magneto’s actual return isn’t built up to in a major reveal, as he casually appears during the Fatal Attractions crossover, and the characters never really get a chance to act surprised or shocked at his not being dead.
The collection is notable for advancing the plotline of the Legacy Virus, which was officially kicked off in the epilogue to X-Cutioner’s Song, and ran through the X-books for the rest of the decade. It’s interesting to see the early development of the Legacy Virus, as readers see the first signs of the virus, as it infects Illyana Rasputin, Multiple Man and others. It’s not clear that Multiple Man is for sure infected, but readers of X-books in the nineties will be aware that he is in fact infected, although it would retroactively be changed to it being a dupe who was infected and later died from the Legacy Virus.
The centrepiece for this collection is of course the actual Fatal Attractions storyline proper, and it holds up fairly well, nearly twenty years later. It still feels like it just happened the other day, with the truly epic showdown in X-Men #25 still being a fantastic read as Wolverine loses his adamantium.
The artwork in this collection is extremely enjoyable, and maintains a high level of both quality and consistency throughout. Some of the best artwork in this collection belongs to the Kubert brothers, with Andy illustrating the aforementioned X-Men #25, and Adam illustrating Wolverine #75, where it is first revealed that Wolverine had bone claws beneath the adamtnium the whole time. There’s also early work from Joe Quesada, Brandon Peterson, Greg Capullo and more, with John Romita Jr. illustrating a few issues of Uncanny X-Men. Be warned, though, that this is not Romita Jr.’s best work, as it is overly blocky and bulky, and not really in a good way.
For fans of the X-Men, and and the nineties X-Men in particular, this collection is a must-have, with stories that hold up fairly well, with some truly great artwork, as this was a great looking period for artwork at Marvel Comics. Sure, there’s a few leather jackets to be had here, but for the most part there isn’t much of typical nineties excess to be found here, thankfully. This is a great looking collection, with a lot of extras included, which give the collection a lot more value. Recommended!