Review: The Uncanny X-Men #153

The Uncanny X-Men #153 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum and Joe Rubinstein

The Uncanny X-Men #153
Published and © by Marvel, January 1982

Title: “Kitty’s Fairy Tale”
Synopsis: Kitty tells Illyana a bedtime story, recasting “The Dark Phoenix Saga” as an epic fairy tale with a happy ending.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Joe Rubinstein

Review: It’s long been said Chris Claremont’s stories tend to lean into the best tendencies of his artistic collaborators. That’s definitely the case with “Kitty’s Fairy Tale,” which showcases Dave Cockrum’s playful side. This done-in-one digression offers the X-Men a moment to breathe while also allowing their artist to flex his more humorous cartooning chops. Along the way we get the first appearance of the Bamfs, a prototype of Lockheed the Dragon and a happier ending to one of comics’ most tragic tales. If Cockrum drew a better Kitty Pryde, this one could have been an all-time classic.

Grade: B+

Second opinion: “(This issue) does much to showcase Cockrum’s cheerful sense of whimsy, but accomplishes little else.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “A delightfully light-hearted tale.” –  Michael E. Krupp, Comic Effect #24, Fall 1999 … “Provides a needed shot of light humor after a stretch of issues tearing the characters apart.” – John Jackson Miller, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … “The first time I read the story, I felt like tearing up the comic … but now I find myself enjoying it.” – Matt Denn, Comics Coast to Coast #1, 1982 … “The story has enough going for it that I can’t dislike it. If nothing else, it gently hints that there are more ways to do a comic book then our dreamt of in either of the Marvel or DC philosophy.”– Dwight R. Decker, The Comics Journal #69, December 1981 … “An unusual but clever story.” – Robert Fleming, Fantasy Advertiser #92, August-September 1985

Cool factor: There are several Easter eggs in this one for hardcore comic-book fans, including Elfquest references and Carol Danvers wearing an original Captain Marvel T-shirt.

Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “And now for something completely different.” – Kitty Pryde, storyteller

Editor’s note: This review was written June 11, 2023.

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