Last September, I looked at a bunch of then-upcoming Marvel Epic Collections that I thought were interesting, and in the 10 months since, I’ve bought them all. So I thought, y’know, maybe it was about time to do that again. It’s early July when I’m writing this, so let’s go through the end of the year.
The release dates listed are what it Marvel currently have scheduled, and are subject to change.
July 19: The New Mutants: The End of the Beginning (COLLECTING: New Mutants (1983) 95-100, New Mutants Annual (1984) 7, Uncanny X-Men (1981) 270-272, X-Factor (1986) 60-62; material from New Warriors Annual (1991) 1, X-Men Annual (1970) 15, X-Factor Annual (1986) 6) — This is the end of the original NEW MUTANTS series, which includes the X-TINCTION AGENDA and KINGS OF PAIN crossover events. Issue 100 of the series is effectively a preview for the upcoming relaunch as X-FORCE. Volume 1 of X-Force, titled Under the Gun, is also already available. Now there’s just a few volumes in the middle of New Mutants that need to be released to complete the series in Epic Collection format, and I wouldn’t complain about a re-release of the Demon Bear Saga. Speaking of re-releases…
July 26: Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn (COLLECTING: Captain Britain (1976) 1-2; Excalibur (1988) 1-11, Excalibur Special Edition (1988) 1, Mojo Mayhem (1989) 1; material from Mighty World of Marvel (1972) 7, 14-15; Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 31-38) — The first Epic Collection volume of the the British X-Men spinoff team, Excalibur — Featuring Nightcrawler, Captain Britain, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, and Meggan — has been out of print for a couple of years now, and is going for way too much money on the secondary market. I missed this one the first time around, but have picked up all the Excalibur EC’s since, so I’m definitely gonna pick it up this time.
August 2: Generation X: Emplate’s Revenge (COLLECTING: Generation X (1994) 10-23, Generation X Annual ’95-’96, Generation X San Diego Preview (1994) 1, material from Incredible Hulk Annual ’97) — After the New Mutants graduated to become X-Force, GENERATION X was formed as the next junior class of X-Men. This second volume is the end of the first year, plus nearly entire second year of the series, as it really starts to find its legs.
August 2: Wolverine: Tooth and Claw (COLLECTING: Wolverine (1988) 101-109, 102.5; Wolverine Annual ’96; Uncanny X-Men (1981) 332; Venom: Tooth and Claw (1996) 1-3; Logan: Path of the Warlord (1996) 1; Logan: Shadow Society (1996) 1) — It’s weird to title this WOLVERINE Epic Collection after the included VENOM mini-series, but I don’t know what else you’d call this bizarre mish-mash of a collection. The main Wolverine issues are from the time period where Wolvie started becoming increasingly feral and started wearing the over-the-head bandana mask. The Path of the Warlord and Shadow Society one-shots are issues I’ve never even heard of, so including them here is a welcome addition.
August 16: The New Fantastic Four (COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) #347-361 And Annual #24 And Material From Marvel Holiday Special #1) — Isses 347 through 349 introduce the “New” Fantastic Four, a team consisting of Marvel’s four most popular characters at the time: Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider. I’m not 100% sure if those three issues are worth this entire Epic Collection, but I’ve also never really investigated the Fantastic Four in any serious way. This may be as decent a place as any to start, much as the Iron Man: In the Hands of Evil Epic Collection got me into what ol’ Shellhead was up to around that time.
September 6: X-Men: Dissolution and Rebirth (COLLECTING: Uncanny X-Men (1963) 248-267) — Another re-issue of a previous Epic Collection that’s gotten stupid expensive on the secondary market. This is from the tail end of the X-Men’s infamous Outback Era, includes the first appearance of Gambit, and I think most of the art in here is by Jim Lee. Missed it the first time, definitely not gonna miss it this time.
October 11: Venom: Carnage Unleashed (COLLECTING: Spider-Man: The Arachnis Project #6, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #118-119, Spider-Man (1990) #52-53, Venom: Separation Anxiety #1-4, Venom: Carnage Unleashed #1-4, Venom: Sinner Takes All #1-4 (A stories) and #5, Uncanny Origins #7 and Venom subplot pages)– I get that Carnage was in the second Venom movie earlier this year, but I think calling this one SEPARATION ANXIETY might have been better for the 90s Venom fans who will remember the video game of the same name? I dunno, maybe not. Anyways, Venom didn’t have an ongoing series in the 1990s, but rather a series of seemingly-neverending miniseries that ran form 1993 through nearly the end of the decade. These Epic Collections will definitely be the best way to collect them all in proper publication order.
October 11: Wolverine: Back to Basics (COLLECTING: Wolverine (1988) 17-30, Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection (1989), Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure (1990) 1) — Yet another re-issue of an Epic Collection that I missed out on the first time that’s gotten crazy expensive on the secondary market, probably because of that iconic Jim Lee cover. The Jungle Adventure is a weird story that involves Apocalypse and dinosaurs, drawn by a pre-Hellboy Mike Mignola. Gonna have to snag this one, too.
October 18: Thor Epic Collection: Blood and Thunder (COLLECTING: Thor (1966) #468-475, Thor Annual (1966) #18, Silver Surfer (1987) #86-88, Warlock Chronicles (1993) #6-8, and Warlock and the Infinity Watch (1992) #23-25) — Not to be confused with the excellent movie that just came out, Blood and Thunder takes place after The Infinity Crusade, the third of the Infinity Gauntlet/War trilogy. Because it was a crossover between Silver Surfer, Warlock Chronicles, Thor, and Warlock & The Infinity Watch, I was never able to collect all the single issues. I’ve always been curious about this one.
October 25: Deadpool: Mission: Improbable (COLLECTING: Wolverine (1988) 88; X-Force (1991) 47, 56; Deadpool (1997) 1-9, -1; Daredevil/Deadpool Annual ’97; material from Wolverine Annual ’95) — The first Deadpool Epic Collection contains his first appearance and all of his earlier appearances. This one starts with the beginng of his first ongoing series from 1997. If you already have all the Deadpool Classic paperbacks, it seems that you can totally skip out on his Epic Collections. But since I DON’T have any of those…
December 6: X-Men: The X-Cutioner’s Song (COLLECTING: Vol. 21: Uncanny X-Men (1981) 289-296, X-Men (1991) 10-16, X-Factor (1986) 84-86, X-Force (1991) 16-18) — Picking up immediately after the recently-released Bishop’s Crossing EC, this is a curious one. The X-Cutioner’s Song was already collected as the second X-Force Epic Collection, except that one included the surrounding X-Force issues, plus a Cable miniseries, and a couple other X-Force-centric issues. THIS one contains the 5 previous issues of Uncanny X-Men, as well as the 4 previous issues of adjectiveless X-Men (1991). But before you blow this one off, check this out: issues 10 through 13 of X-Men (1991) have ever only been reprinted in overpriced hardcovers and omnibus collections that now go for STUPID money. Additionally, issues 10 and 11 include backup stories that don’t get collected with the main stories, since they’re by a different creative team. THAT means, this is the first time EVER that they’ll all get collected in one place. For X-Men completionists who don’t want to buy single issues, those four issues make this one an absolute must-buy.
December 20: Amazing Spider-Man: Invasion of the Spider-Slayers (COLLECTING: Vol. 24: Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 368-377, Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) 27, Spider-Man/Dr. Strange: The Way to Dusty Death (1992) 1, Spider-Man Special Edition: The Trial of Venom (1992) 1) — Hey, do you have a copy of Maximum Carnage? Maybe you got it included in the Carnage: Born in Blood Epic Collection earlier this year? Maybe you randomly got it as a birthday gift from a friend? Well, this is what Spidey and Venom were going through immediately BEFORE Maximum Carnage. Coincidentally, ASM #368 was one of the random issues that ended up in my possession before I seriously got into comics the following year, so this one piques my interest to see how we got from there to the return of Carnage. Plus, that Trial of Venom issue has some pretty sick art.
January 3, 2023: Silver Surfer: The Return of Thanos (COLLECTING: Silver Surfer (1987) 24-38, Silver Surfer: The Enslavers (1990)) — Let’s cheat a little bit, hm? This one comes out the first week of next year, but that’s close enough. This volume follows up on the recently-released Silver Surfer: Parable Epic Collection, and sees the 1990 return of Thanos thirteen years after he was turned to stone by Adam Warlock in Marvel-Two-in-One Annual #2 from 1977. Thanos’ return leads into his Quest to collect the Infinity Gems, and form the Infinity Gauntlet. I have an old TPB that includes some of these issues, but replacing that collection with an Epic one is definitely in the cards for me.
So there you go! The next baker’s dozen Epic Collections that I’m looking to pick up. Which ones strike your fancy? Are there any EC’s you’re gonna buy that I didn’t list here? Let me know in the comments!