Sure, why not.

First off -- here's the ultimate truth about the AoA event. *It's too big for one book*. And I'm not even talking about the sequels or spin-offs or follow-up material: the original 1995 event, just on its own, will not fit into one Omnibus. That's the hard truth we had to face down when we made this book. Something had to give.

We explored our options, took the book through a few different permutations -- and the route we ultimately decided to go was to remove the material that would best fit in a companion book, should a companion book be greenlit.

Right now, the Omnibus contains the main spine of the AoA event: the original "Legion Quest" event that created the AoA to begin with -- the Alpha one-shot and eight miniseries that ran in place of the eight monthly X-books -- and the conclusion in X-Men Omega. (When the dust settled we were able to include the sourcebook and ashcan edition as well, but nothing more.)

What's missing from the original 1995 event? The "red skies" tie-ins. The stuff that didn't affect the main story. The 2-issue X-Universe mini, which answered the question "so what are all the non-mutant heroes doing?" (Answer, nothing much.) And the 2-issue "X-Men Chronicles" mini, which filled in backstory that was nice to know, but not vital by any means. (And pretty much all of it is explained in dialogue in the main miniseries anyway.) Let's face it -- you do not need to read any of these issues to understand or enjoy the main AoA event.

Frankly, after the decision was made, I realized that taking those issues out actually helped the main story flow better! Let's be honest, the AoA is a slow-moving read. You get eight chapter 1s in a row, then eight chapter 2s, and so on and so on. It takes a long time to get anywhere in this story, and dropping in four more "meanwhile" issues (all of which are double-length, mind you!) brings *the eight more important plotlines* to a screeching halt.

And I said this before a few months back -- but when the AoA event was originally published, readers didn't finish "Legion Quest", read the backstory in X-Chronicles #1-2, then pick up X-Men Alpha. That wasn't the original reading order. Immediately following Xavier's shocking death, readers were thrown straight into the deep end of the AoA with Alpha -- full of confusing references, unfamiliar status quos and strangely changed characters. Part of the fun of the story was figuring out what happened on your own. And that's the experience you're going to get from this Omnibus as well! It's still a lumbering beast of a story, but the fat has been cut and the action's been pared down to the essentials.

I won't give any cryptic hints either way on the current odds of a companion book -- mainly because Marvel's internal schedule is always subject to change, and I can't predict the future with 100% certainty. But I will say that a companion HC has been my plan all along -- and that's the solution I'm pushing for to collect the rest of the event.

If/when this plan of mine comes to fruition, we'll have one Omnibus that collects the main event, the essential action of the story -- then a second Omnibus that collects the ancillary, non-vital stuff: the prequels (including X-Men Chronicles #1-2, which are set in the past anyway), the unimportant stuff that occured during the main event (X-Universe and its follow-up in Hulk: Broken Worlds #2), and then all the sequels. Which would then dovetail right into the "Uncanny X-Force" AoA storyline, and the ongoing AoA series that's launching soon. A cool read if you're interested in the bigger picture of the AoA universe.

Anyway, there you go: that was the thought process behind excluding what we did. Something simply had to go to make the book viable -- so we removed the stuff that (a) was least important, and (b) would mesh best with a potential collection of the later AoA material.

I really truly don't think you'll miss any of it when reading this Omnibus.

Oh, and you asked about X-Factor #108-109. Well -- frankly, they're not really part of the Legion Quest storyline. Yes, #109 says "Legion Quest" on the cover, but let's be honest, they stuck that slug on there to raise sales. In X-Factor #108-109, Legion awakens from his coma. That's all you need to know. It's not vital, and including the issues would have detracted from our mission to "cut the fat" from the storyline.

Same with X-Men #38-39 and Uncanny #319, which were also in the "AoA Prologue" TPB -- all they add to the story is "Professor X senses Legion", which can be established on a recap page. Frankly, the real point of the AoA Prologue TPB was just to bridge the gap between the Generation X Classic vol. 1 TPB (which ended with X-Men #37 and Uncanny #318) and the AoA event.

I won't begrudge anybody for being annoyed that the Omni doesn't collect every single issue. Everybody's got their own individual preferences for how they want things collected, and I knew going in that I could never please all of you. But I stand by my belief that the Omnibus is, in general, a much superior package than the 4-TPB set. (Or, technically, superior to TPBs vol. 2-4, which is what it more or less replaces -- the Omnibus doesn't overlap with AoA TPB vol. 1 at all.)

The trades have several flaws:

- some issues in the wrong order. (Notably, Apocalypse assaults the X-Mansion and captures Magneto, then in a "later" issue, discovers that Magneto was hiding there.)

- some missing pages (and missing *panels* too, believe it or not).

- many many many word balloons with missing or altered dialogue.

- some issues (X-Men Alpha, Astonishing X-Men #2, etc) that are obviously scanned from printed comics.

- a few pages with reversed colors (like the old color-plate swap errors we used to get in the 1980s, where red becomes yellow for one page).

- several #1 issues that accidentally use the faded-background 2nd print cover instead of the original cover.

- extremely washed-out color in the entirety of Generation Next #1-4.

- and a phenomenon that I call "scan doubling" on a lot of pages -- where you can visibly see a seam across the page, as if two half-page scans were stitched together poorly.


The Omnibus fixes all of these issues: we dug out the original film for Generation Next and the scanned issues, touched up all the word balloons, sorted out the covers, got rid of the scan doubling, and gave the book a vastly improved reading order to boot -- the continuity hiccups have been fixed, and the events flow much more naturally across all eight minis.

You'll like it. I think you'll like it better than the trades. And a potential companion book would get the same loving care. (Did you know that all the pin-ups from X-Men Chronicles #2 were skipped in the TPB?) But again, I can't give any cryptic hints either way about that.

Many moons ago, I asked you guys to trust me. Well, now you know my plan. It may not be everyone's ideal solution, but that's cool. Just understand that it's the best that I could do, given the limitations, restraints and realities of book publishing.

I love what I do, and I appreciate the opportunity to make books that you guys are so passionate about.

Let the critiques fly!

-Jeph!

Whosoever knows completionism burns at the touch of ... THE OMITTER
Last Edited By: jephyork Feb 21 12 3:40 AM. Edited 1 times.