“X-Men: Days of Future Past” has hit theaters and, spoiler alert, nothing will ever be the same again.
No previous X-Men film enacted changes this sweeping while simultaneously pulling from disparate parts of the franchise’s fifty-year history. By the time the post-credits sequence has ended — you did stick around for it, didn’t you?! — odds are you’ll be left with a few burning questions and a desire to read more about some of the mutants you just saw on the big screen.
Well, we’re here to help facilitate your post-“Days of Future Past” reading frenzy! To that end, we’ve compiled a reading list that tackles some of the film’s overarching themes and plot points, spotlights some specific characters and looks ahead to the franchise’s future. We’ll throw up another spoiler warning here, mostly because we really don’t want to ruin that post-credits scene for anyone who’s managed to remain in the dark until now. Ready? Here’s what you need to read.
Okay, not all of “Uncanny X-Men.” You specifically need to read the Chris Claremont/Dave Cockrum/John Byrne era, especially if you feel the need to see more 1970s-era action. This stretch of issues, which kicks off in 1975’s “Giant-Size X-Men” #1 and continues to “Uncanny X-Men” #94 to #143, doubles as the X-Men’s greatest hits and features a lot of material that’s been loosely adapted for the film franchise. The original “Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past” stories are in here, as are in-depth looks at characters that should have gotten more screen time — Banshee, Colossus and Nightcrawler. Artists Dave Cockrum and John Byrne turn in career-defining work here, art that holds up today while still being very much of its time. If you want to see the X-Men sportingdisco looks like they do in “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” then this is the stretch of issues for you.
Of all the new X-Men introduced in the future portions of the film, Blink is easily the biggest scene stealer thanks to the movie’s crazy-innovative depiction of her teleportation powers. Viewers unfamiliar with the popular character should check out the entire “Age of Apocalypse” event, with a specific focus on “Astonishing X-Men” by Scott Lobdell and Joe Madureira. This alternate reality tale, one with serious “Days of Future Past” overtones, changed the mousey Clarice Ferguson we briefly met in the main Marvel timeline into a badass freedom fighter. She steals as many scenes in “Astonishing” as in the movie, and she gets way more lines.
Considering that the next X-Men film is subtitled “Apocalypse,” reading this and as much of the massive “Age of Apocalypse” mega-event as you can is probably a good idea. You’ll learn a lot more about that mysterious blue-skinned mutant glimpsed during the post-credits scene, and you’ll quickly realize that he’s nothing but bad news for the X-Men.
While Michael Fassbender’s second outing as the Master of Magnetism does not disappoint, some in the audience might find themselves a little bummed to learn that Magneto does absolutely no Nazi hunting in DoFP, even though those scenes were hailed as some of the best ones in “First Class.” If you leave this film wanting to see more revenge-seeking from the enemy/ally of Xavier’s clan, the current “Magneto” ongoing series by Cullen Bunn, Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire grants that very bloody wish. This time around, Magneto’s flying solo, using his mutant powers to hunt down everyone that wishes to do his people harm, destroying them, one by one. Trust us, you want to read this series — you will never look at a paper clip the same way again after doing so.
Tasked with tracking down the shape-shifting villain following her most recent betrayal, Wolverine embarks on a journey that takes him around the world — and even on a few trips down memory lane — in order to bring Mystique to justice. The Raven Darkholme found in the comics is twice as ruthless and cunning as Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, which is saying something since we know J. Law’s version of the character ain’t no slouch. “Wolverine” #62-65 by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney shows both characters at their most relentless and makes you immediately wish for a film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman and Lawrence. Considering how “X-Men: Days of Future Past” ended, we might just get our wish.
If you want to know more about the gun-totin’ energy-absorbin’ Bishop, another one of the future X-Men, we suggest you check out this collection of stories from the early ’90s era of “Uncanny X-Men.” If you haven’t picked up a comic book in twenty years, these highly stylized issues just might feel like going home; if you’ve never picked up a comic, then brace yourselves for a lot of guns, shoulder pads and pouches. Issues #281 to #293 of “Uncanny X-Men,” by Scott Lobdell, John Byrne, Whilce Portacio and many more, follow Bishop’s journey from his own hellish future to the present, where he teams up with a few familiar faces from the film franchise (Storm, Jean, Iceman and Colossus).
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