How to Read X-Men Comics in 2021 (House of X to X of Swords)

X-Men - House of X

Marvel comics can be intimidating to jump into. Established characters have decades of baggage, and because of cross-series pollination and world-altering events, modern comics can be pretty unforgiving to new readers.

However, reading the X-Men became far easier back in 2019 with Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X event. Not only did this rewrite all of the rules of the X universe, but it served as a soft reboot for the entire X line that has some measure of separation from the greater Marvel universe.

If you want to read absolutely everything, starting with House of X up through the X of Swords event, which concluded at the end of 2020, it’s actually pretty easy. Everything’s collected in an easy-to-follow series of trades, which is honestly pretty affordable if you want to buy all of them.

So I put together this guide to reading the full thing. Whether you want to pick up individual issues at your local comic shop, go digital, or read the trades, this guide will help you get the exact issues you need for a complete reading experience.

I should point out here that this is the order of the comics as established by publish date, and some people find it to be a little inconsistent. There are alternative reading orders if you really want to get into the weeds on this. The Dawn of X Timeline is a fan-favorite list that a ton of work went into, so check that out if you want an off-the-beaten path reading experience that many find superior to the publish order.

For this list, I’m going with the order set by the collected trades.

House of X/Powers of X

X-Men - House of X

This is where it all begins. Here, the entire X-Men universe gets a reboot, as a series of alternate timelines is created. I won’t get into spoilers (seeing how these timelines are handled is part of the surprise), but this means that House of X/Powers of X is the perfect jumping-on point for those looking to read the X-Men.

House of X and Powers of X were two series that ran concurrently, so trying to follow it on an issue-by-issue basis might not be completely straightforward. However, House of X/Powers of X is collected in a beautiful oversized hardcover volume, which features all twelve issues in their proper order. Here’s the Goodreads listing in case you want to track it down.

Obviously, all of this will make more sense if you’re familiar with these characters already, but this is actually a really great place to start reading X-Men. I should just warn you that the first few issues are deliberately disorienting. Stick with it, though, because once it starts making sense, it becomes one of the best X-Men runs in recent history (and perhaps ever).

Now here’s the reading order for House of X/Powers of X (look extra closely at this, because the order’s a little bit weird):

  • House of X #1
  • Powers of X #1
  • House of X #2
  • Powers of X #2
  • Powers of X #3
  • House of X #3
  • House of X #4
  • Powers of X #4
  • House of X #5
  • Powers of X #5
  • House of X #6
  • Powers of X #6

Dawn of X Vol. 1

X-Men - Dawn of X

After House/Powers of X, most of the X books were either rebooted or scrapped. The ones that were rebooted have all come together under a single canon, with Jonathan Hickman as the overseer. This means that the various books feel a lot more consistent than they did before (though not entirely).

A personal highlight of this trade is Marauders, which casts Kitty Pryde (now going by Kate Pryde) as something of an outcast from the X-Men crew. She ends up becoming a pirate with a drinking problem, resulting in the Marauders series, which is by far the most fun of all the new books.

Dawn of X Vol. 1 collects the first issue of all six X books in the correct(-ish) order. If you pick up the trade (here’s the listing on Goodreads), you can just read it cover to cover without worrying that you’re missing anything. If you decide to collect individual issues, however, here’s the reading order:

  • X-Men (2019) #1
  • Marauders (2019) #1
  • Excalibur (2019) #1
  • New Mutants (2019) #1
  • X-Force (2019) #1
  • Fallen Angels (2019) #1

Dawn of X Vol. 2

X-Men - Dawn of X

Dawn of X Vol. 2 collects issue #2 of all six X books. If you read the trade, the books will be laid out in the proper order. However, it’s not the same order as the previous six issues, and the order listed on the back of the trade is actually incorrect (Excalibur and Marauders are flipped this month).

Again, I think Marauders is the standout of the bunch.

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the correct reading order for Dawn of X Vol. 2:

  • X-Men (2019) #2
  • Excalibur (2019) #2
  • Marauders (2019) #2
  • New Mutants (2019) #2
  • X-Force (2019) #2
  • Fallen Angels (2019) #2

Dawn of X Vol. 3

New Mutants (2019)

Volume 3 is the same concept as the previous trades, only with the #3 issue of all three X series. The order flips back to that of Volume 1, with Marauders and Excalibur back in their original slots.

One thing to know about this collection is that New Mutants is telling two different stories (one penned by Jonathan Hickman, the other by Ed Brisson). Issue #3 is the first we see of Brisson’s story, but the series will jump back to Hickman’s story later on.

Another important note is that Marauders #3 jumps back in time a little, but the final scene happens after Marauders #2 (while most of the rest of the issue is a series of flashbacks). That can be a little confusing if you’re not expecting it.

X-Men - Dawn of X

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the correct reading order:

  • X-Men (2019) #3
  • Marauders (2019) #3
  • Excalibur (2019) #3
  • New Mutants (2019) #3
  • X-Force (2019) #3
  • Fallen Angels (2019) #3

Dawn of X Vol. 4

X-Men - Dawn of X

Dawn of X Vol. 4 collects issue #4 of the same six books. Once again, the order is switched up, but this time the back of the trade properly reflects this. And New Mutants #4 is a Brisson issue again. Honestly, I started falling out of love with Marauders at this point.

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the reading order:

  • Marauders (2019) #4
  • Excalibur (2019) #4
  • New Mutants (2019) #4
  • X-Force (2019) #4
  • Fallen Angels (2019) #4
  • X-Men (2019) #4

Dawn of X Vol. 5

New Mutants (2019)

In Volume 5, we’ve once again got the same six books. They’re in the same order as the previous volume, and the order is listed correctly on the back of the trade. New Mutants returns to Hickman’s story.

Here’s the Goodreads listing for Dawn of X Vol. 5, and here’s the correct reading order:

  • Marauders (2019) #5
  • Excalibur (2019) #5
  • New Mutants (2019) #5
  • X-Force (2019) #5
  • Fallen Angels (2019) #5
  • X-Men (2019) #5

Dawn of X Vol. 6

X-Men - Dawn of X

Once again, Volume 6 collects issue #6 of all six X books. However, this will be the final issue of the Fallen Angels miniseries, so expect a shakeup in Volume 7 (more on that when we get to it). Also, we’re already jumping back to Brisson’s New Mutants.

Frustratingly, the order is once again listed incorrectly on the back of the trade (though the issues are laid out in the correct order inside). Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the correct reading order:

  • Marauders (2019) #6
  • Excalibur (2019) #6
  • Fallen Angels (2019) #6
  • New Mutants (2019) #6
  • X-Force (2019) #6
  • X-Men (2019) #6

Dawn of X Vol. 7

Wolverine - Dawn of X

With Fallen Angels having concluded in the previous volume, Volume 7 makes some changes to the format. A new Wolverine series begins here, and X-Force is completely absent, replaced by another issue of Excalibur.

If you’re reading the Dawn of X trades (which I think is the recommended way to get through this series), just go through this volume like you normally would. If you’re reading individual issues, though, this is where things can get a little confusing.

One important thing to note is that if you pick up Wolverine #1 outside of this collection, it actually contains two stories. This Dawn of X trade only features the first of those (the second is reprinted in a later volume).

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the correct reading order:

  • New Mutants (2019) #7
  • Wolverine (2020) #1 – The Flower Cartel
  • Marauders (2019) #7
  • Excalibur (2019) #7
  • Excalibur (2019) #8
  • X-Men (2019) #7

Dawn of X Vol. 8

Marauders

If you’re wondering where X-Force went, fret not, for it returns in Volume 8. We’ve also got the addition of Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost.

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the correct reading order:

  • Marauders (2019) #8
  • Wolverine (2020) #2
  • Wolverine (2020) #3
  • X-Force (2019) #7
  • X-Force (2019) #8
  • Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost

Dawn of X Vol. 9

Cable

Volume 9 steps away from Wolverine’s series for a bit to see the beginning of another new series with Cable #1. Except this isn’t the old and grizzled Cable; this is a young and scrappy version. All of this makes sense if you were reading X-Force right before House/Powers of X interrupted it, but if you weren’t just bear with it.

Anyway, here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the reading order:

  • New Mutants (2019) #8
  • Marauders (2019) #9
  • Cable (2020) #1
  • X-Men (2019) #8
  • X-Men (2019) #9
  • X-Force (2019) #9

Dawn of X Vol. 10

Hellions - Dawn of X

With Volume 10, we only get five issues instead of six. Perhaps this is because both Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler and Hellions #1 are pretty chunky. Still, it seems like Marvel could have squeezed another issue into this collection, especially considering we’re following more than six X-Men books at this point.

And if you didn’t pick up on it in the previous paragraph, Hellions #1 starts yet another new X-series.

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here is the reading order:

  • X-Force (2019) #10
  • Excalibur (2019) #9
  • Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler
  • Hellions (2020) #1
  • New Mutants (2019) #9

Dawn of X Vol. 11

Wolverine - Dracula

With Volume 11, we finally get the second half of Wolverine #1, and honestly, Viktor Bogdanovic’s art makes it worth the wait. I’ve never been a fan of Dracula as a recurring character in the X-universe, but with Bogdanovic drawing him, I have little to complain about. Seriously, I think this is the best art in the entire current X line.

Oh, and we’ve got six issues again (though the Wolverine story is technically only half of a double-sized issue).

Anyway, here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the reading order:

  • New Mutants (2019) #10
  • New Mutants (2019) #11
  • Wolverine (2020) #1 – Catacombs
  • Excalibur (2019) #10
  • Hellions (2020) #2
  • Hellions (2020) #3

Dawn of X Vol. 12

Magneto - Dawn of X

Cable? Remember him? Yeah, we’re finally going back to Cable’s series in Volume 12. We also see a big ol’ Magneto issue and the beginning of yet another series with X-Factor #1.

Again, we’re getting another five-issue volume, with two larger-than-normal issues to (sort of) make up for it. But the trades are also getting further and further behind the current floppies. I think Marvel should up the frequency of these trades a bit (X of Swords got an oversized hardcover before the last couple Dawn of X trades were out).

Anyway, here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the reading order:

  • Hellions (2020) #4
  • Marauders (2019) #10
  • X-Factor (2020) #1
  • Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto
  • Cable (2020) #2

Dawn of X Vol. 13

X-Men - Dawn of X

Yet another trade with just five issues. Come on, Marvel, you have Disney money! You don’t need to do this to us comic book readers! We’ve also got two issues of yet another X-series (this one’s a miniseries) with Empyre: X-Men #1-2.

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the reading order:

  • Cable (2020) #3
  • Cable (2020) #4
  • X-Men (2019) #10
  • Empyre: X-Men (2020) #1
  • Empyre: X-Men (2020) #2

Dawn of X Vol. 14

X-Men - Dawn of X

It’s becoming very clear that Marvel’s milking this thing a bit, as we get yet another five-issue collection. In Volume 14, we wrap up the Empyre miniseries, and we finally get more Wolverine and X-Factor.

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here’s the reading order:

  • Empyre: X-Men (2020) #3
  • Empyre: X-Men (2020) #4
  • X-Men (2019) #11
  • Wolverine (2020) #4
  • X-Factor (2020) #2

Dawn of X Vol. 15

Marauders - Kill Shaw

Could it be? We’re getting six issues in one trade? And one of them is a Giant-Size (featuring my favorite fake French dude Fantomex)? And not one, but two issues of Marauders? It’s true! All of it!

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here is the reading order:

  • X-Factor (2020) #3
  • Wolverine (2020) #5
  • New Mutants (2019) #12
  • Marauders (2019) #11
  • Marauders (2019) #12
  • Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex

Dawn of X Vol. 16

X-Men - Dawn of X

And here’s the end of the line. This is the last trade for Dawn of X, as it’s all leading into the X of Swords event (more on that later). It’s been a long, long road. Note that X-Men #12 was supposed to be collected here (it’s listed on the back even), but it’s not actually in the collection. Oops.

Thankfully, X-Men #12 is included in the X of Swords hardcover as a prelude, so it’s not a huge deal that it’s missing here (unless you plan on skipping X of Swords, I suppose).

Here’s the Goodreads listing, and here is the reading order:

  • Giant-Size X-Men: Storm
  • X-Force (2019) #11
  • X-Force (2019) #12
  • Excalibur (2019) #11
  • Excalibur (2019) #12

X of Swords

X-Men - X of Swords

This is it. X of Swords is the event that the Dawn of X has been building up to for more than a year. I can’t imagine trying to read this in floppy format, but thankfully it’s collected in a beautiful oversized hardcover. Here’s the Goodreads listing for that.

Here’s the complete reading order for X of Swords:

  • Prelude – X-Men (2019) #12
  • Chapter 01 – X of Swords: Creation
  • Chapter 02 – X-Factor #4
  • Chapter 03 – Wolverine (2020) #6
  • Chapter 04 – X-Force (2019) #13
  • Chapter 05 – Marauders (2019) #13
  • Chapter 06 – Hellions #5
  • Chapter 07 – New Mutants (2019) #13
  • Chapter 08 – Cable #5
  • Chapter 09 – Excalibur (2019) #13
  • Chapter 10 – X-Men (2019) #13
  • Chapter 11 – X of Swords: Stasis #1
  • Chapter 12 – X-Men (2019) #14
  • Chapter 13 – Marauders (2019) #14
  • Chapter 14 – Marauders (2019) #15
  • Chapter 15 – Excalibur (2019) #14
  • Chapter 16 – Wolverine (2020) #7
  • Chapter 17 – X-Force (2019) #14
  • Chapter 18 – Hellions #6
  • Chapter 19 – Cable #6
  • Chapter 20 – X-Men #15
  • Chapter 21 – Excalibur #15
  • Chapter 22 – X of Swords: Destruction

And finally, Reign of X!

New Mutants - Reign of X

After X of Swords, the X-Men enter the era called Reign of X. Reign of X will be collected in trades, but those aren’t out yet at the time of this writing. So if you loved the Dawn of X trade format as much as I did, know that the format lives on with Reign of X!

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