Review: The Uncanny X-Men #151

The Uncanny X-Men #151 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum and Joe Rubinstein

The Uncanny X-Men #151
Published and © by Marvel, November 1981

Title: “X-Men Minus One!”
Synopsis: Kitty Pryde must transfer to Emma Frost’s academy; the X-Men are attacked by Sentinels that are under Hellfire Club control.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: James Sherman
Inker: Joe Rubinstein and Bob McLeod

Review: This story is quite the hodgepodge. What works: The Hellfire Club using its wealth and political influence to take over the Sentinels program. Terrifying. What sort of works: There’s some interesting mature twists, but the “Freaky-Friday”-body-swapping plot feels played out. What doesn’t work: It strains credulity that the X-Men would let Sprite transfer to a school operated by the White Queen, even though that’s what Kitty’s parents were demanding. On the art side, James Sherman’s work is similarly a mixed bag: He draws some lovely panels, but the inconsistency is distracting. This issue is a real mixed bag.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “Less than thrilling.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “The shift in art styles is a little jarring.” – John Jackson Miller, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … “A welcome change of pace.” – Matt Denn, Comics Coast to Coast #1, 1982

Cool factor: The Hellfire Club is always a fun foe.
Not-so-cool factor: The old “Freak Friday” swaparoo? Really? 

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: “They’re all filthy rich. They don’t need to be criminals. They do it for kicks. They’re sick.” – Kitty Pryde, offering a classist critique of the Hellfire Club

Editor’s note: This review was written April 13, 2023.

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