According to GoCollect's list of Most Popular Comic Books, one of the hottest books in the country right now is The Uncanny X-Men #211 (UXM #211). As of January 30, UXM #211 shot up 984 spots to #15 on that list. Yes, that's right -- it went from not being on the list at all (the list goes to 1000) to the top 15. Collectors have generally overlooked this comic; for example, GoCollect doesn't currently include UXM #211 on its Key Issue Comic Books list.

X-Men #211 contains several important first appearances

Investors have several good reasons to view UXM #211 as a key issue. First, it contains a major first appearance -- the Marauders, the X-Men's nemesis, make their first full appearance in UXM #211. After making cameo appearances in The Uncanny X-Men #210, Scalphunter, Arclight, Harpoon, Riptide, and Scrambler appear for the first time (Blockbuster and Prism first appear in X-Factor #10, Vertigo is in Marvel Fanfare #1, and Sabretooth is in Iron Fist #14). On the first page of UXM #211, Scalphunter introduces the Marauders: "We're the Marauders. We kill mutants. Who's next?" During the next few pages, the Marauders shockingly murder hundreds of Morlocks, outcast mutants living in the subterranean tunnels beneath Manhattan.

In many ways, the Marauders represent a perverse, mirror image of the X-Men. Like the X-Men, they come from racially and globally diverse backgrounds. For instance, Scalphunter is Native American, Harpoon is Alaskan Native, Scrambler is Korean. Unlike the X-Men, who seek peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants, they seek to advance the agenda of a eugenicist by executing mutants who don't fit Mr. Sinister's view of a supreme race.

UXM #211 is also a key issue because the first battle between the X-Men and the Marauders dramatically alters the X-Men's roster. The Marauders maim Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Colossus. Due to their injuries, they remain hospitalized for many months; Dazzler, Longshot and Psylocke take their places on the team. Lastly, although he does not appear, Mr. Sinister is, for the first time, driving the storyline behind the scenes.

Some grades of UXM #211 are dropping in value; it may be a good time to buy

In spite of its recent surge on GoCollect's list of Most Popular Comic Books, I think UXM #211 remains undervalued even though it contains the first appearances of several important X-Men villains. Raw, high-grade copies UXM #211 have recently sold for less than $5 on eBay and sales of CGC 9.4 copies have dropped by nearly 31%. Most investors have instead focused on The Uncanny X-Men #221 (UXM #221). This is a hot book; as of January 25, CGC 9.0 copies, for example, have risen nearly 80% during the past three years. During the same period of time, CGC 9.0 copies of UXM #211 have dropped by 53.2%.

Closing thoughts

If we adhere to the principle of selling high and buying low, it might be a good time to purchase UXM #211 and lock in those Marauder first appearances. Although we can only take an educated guess as to what's in Kevin Feige's mind, I think it's a good bet that Mr. Sinister and the Marauders appear in the MCU.

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