Review: The Uncanny X-Men #144

The Uncanny X-Men #144 cover
Cover by Brent Anderson and Joe Rubinstein

The Uncanny X-Men #144
Published and © by Marvel, April 1981

Title: “Even in Death …”
Synopsis: While working on a fishing trawler in Florida, Scott “Cyclops” Summers crosses paths with Man-Thing and the demon D’Spayre.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Brent Anderson
Inker: Joe Rubinstein

Review: Life after John Byrne begins with this Cyclops-focused one-off. It is … OK? Fill-in artist Brent Anderson’s pencils are perfectly serviceable but lack the dynamism of Byrne’s iconic X-work. Similarly, new regular inker Joe Rubinstein’s finishes are fine, but fall short of the high standerd set by the departed Terry Austin. Byrne’s absence is also felt on the story side; after more than three years of intricately plotted epics – and some of the best superhero stories in the medium’s history – this issue feels slight and a little lifeless.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “An assortment of coincidences worthy of the ‘Hulk’ TV show.” – Jonn Hay, BEM #32, February 1981 … “Offers little in the way of plot, instead once again rehashing earlier X-Men stories.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “No character in the Marvel U can venture to Florida without running into the Man-Thing; it’s in the rulebook, somewhere.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … “A superb fill-in job by newcomer Brent Anderson.” – Matt Denn, Comics Coast to Coast #1, 1982

Cool factor: Ahh, well, umm …
Not-so-cool factor: Yeah. John Byrne is missed.

Notable: According to the annual statement of ownership on the “X-Mail” letters page, X-Men had an average total paid circulation of 191,927 for the 12 months preceding Oct. 1, 1980.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 20p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “I still feel fear – as do all living things – but I don’t let that fear rule me. I don’t despair!.” – Cyclops, Mr. Positive

Editor’s note: This review was written Feb. 3, 2023.

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