Review: X-Men #116

X-Men #116 cover
Cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin

X-Men #116
Published and © by Marvel, December 1978

Title: “To Save the Savage Land”
Synopsis: The X-Men join Ka-Zar in an effort to save the Savage Land from the machinations of Garokk, the Petrified Man.

Writer (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Penciler: Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin

Review: This is a fast-paced, all-action issue. Unlike many of Chris Claremont’s X-outings, this one isn’t thick with subplots. Instead, the writer focuses on the conflict at hand, using the X-Men’s tussle with Garokk as a backdrop for several strong character moments. Wolverine, in particular, demonstrates a depth and potential not seen in earlier issues. On the art side, John Byrne makes excellent use of camera angles and perspective to keep the visuals dynamic. And, of course, with Terry Austin’s inking, the magic is in the detail. This is A-list superhero storytelling. 

Grade: A

Second opinion: “A thrilling, explosive story written with the emphasis on the effects of battle upon those who are under fire, and are drawn with a rich beauty that’s really quite staggering.” – Ed Via, AFTA #3, April 1979 … “This issue is where Wolverine really starts to emerge as a fascinating and intriguing character.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003

Cool factor: Wolverine and Zabu need their own series together.

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “C’mere, Zabu, you and me are gonna have some words.” – Wolverine, about to have a literal conversation with the saber-tooth tiger

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

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