Review: The Uncanny X-Men #168

The Uncanny X-Men #168 cover
Cover by Paul Smith

The Uncanny X-Men #168
Published and © by Marvel, April 1983

Title: “Professor Xavier Is a Jerk!”
Synopsis: Trying to remain on the main X-team, Kitty Pryde ends up fighting Sidrian Hunters (with a little help from Lockheed).

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Paul Smith
Inker: Bob Wiacek

Review: Already renowned for his character work, Chris Claremont delivers up one of the best character-driven outings of the Bronze Age with Uncanny X-Men #168. Each team member gets a moment to shine, but it is Kitty Pryde’s determined effort to stay on the main X-team that provides the emotional core. Claremont’s script is elevated to the level of classic by Paul Smith’s sublime pencils. Then a relative newcomer, Smith is already a master storyteller with a command of facial nuance and expressive anatomy. This low-key issue is a pure distillation of the X-Men’s signature superheroes-meets-soap-opera formula.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “There is a new sophistication to be found here, as the X-Men palpably change, or mutate, as a result of their adventures.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “A slower interlude story is not a bad thing to have after the breakneck pacing of the last few years.” – John Jackson Miller, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … “(Claremont) was beginning to investigate new character developments, rather than mere rehashed moments of characterization.” – Robert Fleming, Fantasy Advertiser #92, August-September 1985

Cool factor: Kitty’s effort aches with an authenticity familiar to any overachieving teen.

Notable: First brief appearance of Madelyne Pryor (also review of The Avengers Annual #10 for more information).

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 75¢ Canadian variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “Professor Xavier is a jerk!” – Kitty Pryde, X-Man or X-Baby?

Editor’s note: This review was written April 22, 2024.

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