Review: X-Men #122

X-Men #122 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum and Terry Austin

X-Men #122
Published and © by Marvel, June 1979

Title: “Cry for the Children!”
Synopsis: Colossus passes a test, Lilandra takes the throne, Jean Grey runs into trouble, Storm visits Harlem … it’s a transitional issue!

Writer (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Artist (breakdowns): Byrne
Artist (finishes): Terry Austin

Review: In the hands of lesser creators, transitional issues are often a snoozy mess. But in the hands of mainstream-comics masters like Chris Claremont and John Byrne, the reader is treated to a smorgasbord of subplots and character-development moments. In a very real way, “The Dark Phoenix Saga”starts here – with several other stories being seeded or nurtured, as well. The X-Men continue to grow in interesting ways and are starting to feel like real people. With Byrne providing only breakdowns, Terry Austin gets to take his detail work to another level. This is assured work from a legendary creative team.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “X-Men #122 features the deepest-yet exploration of the X-Men’s psyches, and is the first issue in the series’ history wherein none of the X-Men fight a super-powered antagonist.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 …“A catch-up issue is what this basically is: a necessary evil after the past year is exhausting series of adventures.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003

Cool factor: Terry Austin’s Harlem graffiti is loaded with Easter eggs for comic-book fans.

Notable: First appearance of Jason Wyngarde. … Guest appearance by Power Man and the Daughters of the Dragon.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “We’re superheroes, Ororo, not God. We can save humanity from Doc Doom or Galactus – but not from itself.” – Luke Cage, philosopher for hire
A word from the writer: “The X-Men were coming together as a team, and in large measure as a family, and each of them were growing and changing as individuals.” – Chris Claremont, talking about this issue in “Harmony of Vision,” a 2004 essay collected in “Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1,” 2006

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

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