Review: X-Men #104

X-Men #104 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum

X-Men #104
Published and © by Marvel, April 1977

Title: “The Gentleman’s Name is Magneto”
Synopsis: During a side mission to Moira MacTaggert’s island, the new team faces their first battle with the X-Men’s arch-nemesis, Magneto.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Sam Grainger

Review: After hitting their grove early (for example, see review of X-Men #98), the new X-Men creative team often struggled to maintain its magic. To be clear, this is still an above-average superhero comic for its era. Strong characterization (Moira MacTaggert grows more interesting with each appearance) and dynamic art always provide a strong foundation. But that makes Magneto’s one-note villainy all the more awkward here. Likewise, the occasional poorly rendered panel stands out. But the real problems remains with pacing: After focusing exclusively on the main story, Claremont crams no less than five plotlines into the final two pages. Ouch!

Grade: B

Cool factor: Ooooh, Magneto. That should be cool …
Not-so-cool factor: … except Magneto isn’t yet the complex character he would become.

Notable: First appearance of Muir Island. … First brief appearance of the Starjammers. … First off-page appearance of Proteus. … According to the annual statement of ownership on the “X-Mail” letters page, X-Men had an average total paid circulation of 116,992 for the 12 months preceding Sept. 20, 1976. … LoC from future Marvel editor Jo Duffy.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Why is it that every time we ride in something mechanical it crashes!?!” – Nightcrawler, discovering one of the many hazards of his new occupation

Editor’s note: This review was written Feb. 14, 2021.

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