THE UNCANNY X-MEN #138

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So a ton has been written about X-Men #134-137, in which Jean become Dark Phoenix and ultimately kills herself because her own power is too much for her to contain.  I’m not going to say more about that arc—it’s one of the most written about stories in Marvel history.  But I don’t hear a lot of people talking about #138, the coda, which is one of the best written X-books of all time.

The cover alone is iconic.  Look at the great job Buffy the Vampire Slayer did with its tribute cover…They even included the Toys R Us ad!

Incidentally, there are lots of other tributes to this cover.  This great comic book blog here ran a whole feature on it.  Go check it out–and support more comic book bloggers!  Blogging is a dying art, and comics blogging is even more rare.

But let’s get back to this feature on Uncanny X-Men #138….

The story starts at the grave site, with Cyclops narrating, and then it goes through anoverview of the entire series so far, all the way back to the Lee/Kirby stories that started it all.  So it’s kind of a jumping-on point, and I have to say that in the history of famous comic book deaths (Superman, Batman, Captain America), I don’t recall a writer ever using the “event” of death as a way to get new readers up to speed—so from a sales point, this is incredibly wise.  But it’s also wonderful as a narrative.  The cover shows Cyclops literally leaving all the old X-Men comic books in his past, moving on to something else, and then the issue ends with a new beginning…Kitty Pryde!

We’ve seen her before a few times, but this is her arrival to Xavier’s school–and she will very quickly become a major character.

(Hm.  I wonder if Claremont had to kill one female to make room for another one?  I guess I doubt it–his X-Men was always pretty full of women and minorities.)

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