Editor Danny Fingeroth in 2005 had this to say about the rationale behind this and other reprint series of the time: "Somehow in my mind is the idea that Marvel had promised the advertisers in their comics a certain minimum monthly circulation for their ads (which ran in all comics in a given month), and they needed to put out extra material to meet those commitments, so doing these reprints seemed the easiest way to do it." This information added 2005 by Steven Tice.
As a counterpoint, Kirk Groeneveld points out that simultaneously over in the main X-Men title, a subplot involving Jason Wyndgarde (Mastermind) undercover was unfolding. As Mastermind had not been
seen since the earliest issues of the X-men, this series of reprints would have been a very subtle way to bring new fans up-to-speed regarding Mastermind's original appearance. This would prove to be a significant plot point within four issues.