Published and © by Marvel, February 1979
Title: “The Submergence of Japan”
Synopsis: Returning from the Savage Land, the X-Men soon team with Sunfire in an effort to save an earthquake-stricken Japan.
Writer (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Review: This issue offers a stark example of the powerful difference an inker can make. Ricardo Villamonte steps in for X-regular Terry Austin and to say the latter’s detailed finishes are missed would be an understatement. John Byrne’s pencils are clearly present, but the finishes range from a little rough to downright tragic. The art is still better than many comics from this era, but it’s disappointing compared to any Austin-inked issue. On the story side, Claremont delivers some strong character development as the X-Men quickly get pulled into another fast-paced, action-packed adventure. Not a great issue, but still quite good.
Second opinion: “Sensitive scripting, superb characterization and a quite interesting plot. … 10/10.” – Al Schroeder III, AFTA #3, April 1979
Cool factor: Even without A+ art, the Bronze Age X-Men were a dependably enjoyable read.
Not-so-cool factor: Sunfire. Why is he always such a jerk.
Notable: Guest-starring Sunfire and the Daughters of the Dragon. … First appearance of Mariko Yashida.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant and a Whitman variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.
Character quotable: “Intruders – stand where you are! Or face the wrath of the protector of Japan – the lord of the living samurai – SUNFIRE!” – Sunfire, with a less than congenial welcome to his old “friends”
Editor’s note: This review was written March 24, 2022.