The Uncanny X-Men #152
Published and © by Marvel, December 1981
Title: “The Hellfire Gambit”
Synopsis: Sprite and Storm – who is trapped in the White Queen’s body – race to save the X-Men from the Hellfire Club.
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Bob McLeod
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Review: As 1981 comes to a close, the X-Men series continues to stagger in the shadow of the legendary Claremont/Byrne/Austin run. This is still an above-average series for its time, but the stories aren’t as sharp and the art is inconsistent. It’s unclear here what the villains’ convoluted plan is trying to accomplish, with the political machinations and Sentinels of the prior issue long an afterthought. The art, by guest artist Bob McLeod and regular inker Joe Rubinstein, shows promise but lacks the stylized power, grace and detail of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” art team.
Second opinion: “A great-looking cover adorns, another issue crammed with action.” – John Jackson Miller, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … “… Claremont’s best all-around story since Byrne left. There were a few plot twist, a dab of humor, but most importantly, it was exciting.” – Matt Denn, Comics Coast to Coast #1, 1982
Cool factor: There’s still a touch of the sinister to the Hellfire Club that is terrifying.
Not-so-cool factor: The conclusion is incredibly rushed.
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: “Anyone can kill, princess. It’s easy. I know. What takes courage an’ strength – what separates the humans from the animals – is not killin’.” – Wolverine, talking Ororo down
Editor’s note: This review was written April 14, 2023.