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Review: X-Men #101

X-Men #101 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum

X-Men #101
Published and © by Marvel, October 1976

Title: “Like a Phoenix From the Ashes!”

Synopsis: Jean Grey nearly dies saving the X-Men but becomes Phoenix instead … then the rest of the team goes on vacation.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte

Review: X-Men #101 is an invitation to whiplash. Start with the striking cover, join a dramatic atmospheric reentry in medias res, see Jean Grey reborn as Phoenix before being rushed to the hospital … not to be seen again this issue. Instead, once the doctors announce she’ll survive, the new X-Men head off to vacation in Ireland. Not what the reader is expecting halfway through what could have been an epic outing. Still, Chris Claremont delivers some great character building throughout, establishing relationships and dropping hints of back story. The mid-issue shift is jarring, but both halves of this story are strong.

Grade: B+

Second opinion: Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: Oooh, that striking, iconic cover.
Not-so-cool factor: There are leprechauns lurking in this issue. Luckily, the remain in the shadows till next issue. Also, Professor X recalls his best-forgotten love for his young student, Jean Grey. Ick.

Notable: First appearance of Phoenix. … First full appearance of Black Tom Cassidy. … There’s an LoC on the “X-Mail” letters page from comic-book historian Peter Sanderson, who feels Wolverine is “supremely expendable.”

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 10p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there are also Mark Jewelers and National Bookstore variants, as well as a Marvel Legends reprint.

Character quotable:Here me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever – I am PHOENIX!” – Jean Grey, reborn

Editor’s note: This review was written Feb. 2, 2021.

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