This book, like all the books in the Marvel Masterworks line, is an excellent addition to any comic fan's bookshelf. The softcover versions are affordable and contain full-color reprints of classic comics in chronological order. These books are a great resource for nostalgic baby boomers, comic book collectors/historians, or curious new readers. They provide a convenient way to follow the evolution of long-running comics franchises like the "X-Men", the "Fantastic Four", and "Spider-Man" from their humble beginnings.
With any story, it is helpful to go back to the very beginning, to see who everyone is and where they came from. That's what you get with X-Men, Vol. 1. This book collects the very first adventures of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's superhero squad the X-Men. In these stories we meet the original X-Men lineup (Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Ice Man, Marvel Girl and, of course, Professor Xavier) as well as notable villains Magneto, the Blob, Toad, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch. Any fan of the X-Men from cartoon shows, movies, or newer comics will get a kick out of these early stories, where our favorite superheroes are still clean-cut teenagers. It's also neat to see co-creator Stan Lee start developing the characters into the personalities with which we are now familiar.
Marvel Masterworks volumes are excellent, and this stands as one of the most important ones. (The very start of the X-Men!)
However, I must warn new readers and younger X-fans that the stories collected in this volume are from 1963 and 1964, and the comic book style will seem very dated to modern readers. For such a graphic medium, these comic books are very "talky". Lots of speech bubbles crowding up the frames and explaining every move in almost unnecessary detail. And don't expect to see popular characters like Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Colossus, Shadowcat, or Gambit. They wouldn't appear until the 1970s or 1980s. Heck, Beast isn't even blue in these early stories. (The adventures of the all-new X-Men, featuring Wolverine & Co., are being released as "Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men", starting with Vol. 1.)
And while these early stories are interesting from an academic perspective, I wouldn't say they are all great entertainment. Particularly for readers more accustomed to modern comic storytelling. This is a chronological presentation of all of the old comics, not a "best of" collection or a "greatest hits" package. So keep that in mind. The creators were still testing the waters with their characters and storylines.
Still, this is a great place to start if you are interested in the history of one of America's top superhero teams. There's no place to start like the beginning. But know that the X-Men have a long history and that a purely chronological approach to "discovering" the comics might be tedious work. 1960s "X-Men" is definitely worth checking out, but 1970s and 1980s "X-Men" are essential, too, and might be more satisfying to some readers.
So, keeping in mind the age of these early "X-Men" tales, this is an excellent volume of vintage Marvel comics. One of the most essential Masterworks books out there. The birth of one of Marvel's major superhero franchises. This is a far cry from today's "X-Men". It's interesting to see how it all began and I encourage any curious reader out there to check this book out, if they are so inclined. If you think you might be interested in the early days of Professor X's team, pick this up. You've got nothing to lose.