Review: X-Men #121

X-Men #121 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum and Terry Austin

X-Men #121
Published and © by Marvel, May 1979

Title: “Shoot-Out at the Stampede!”
Synopsis: The X-Men face off against Alpha Flight at the Calgary Stampede, with Wolverine’s freedom at stake.

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

Review: This fight should never have happened. Alpha Flight is a government organization and it sure seems like there was a diplomatic option that would have made more sense compared to the property damage and risk to civilians of this operation. This is doubly true once they initially capture Wolverine; take your target and go home. But, look past this story flaw and this is a fun and effective superhero comic. The art and action are excellent, and the issue serves as an efficient introduction to Alpha Flight. Throw in a fun twist ending and this one still makes the grade.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “X-Men #121 can’t match the moodiness of the previous episode. However, the violence is well choreographed by Byrne.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “The battle between superhero teams is a mainstay of superhero comics, and no one does it better than Claremont and Byrne.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: Storm vs. Snowbird is a fantastic battle of capes.
Not-so-cool factor: Its’s a shame Canadian artist John Byrne didn’t get to draw either of the covers for the debut issues of Marvel’s Canadian superhero team (see also review of X-Men #120).

Notable: First full appearance of Alpha Flight.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “I don’t worry about tomorrow, man. I take each day – each moment – as it comes. No questions, an’ no regrets.” – Wolverine, philosopher

Editor’s note: This review was written March 24, 2022.

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