Review: X-Men #124

X-Men #124 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum and Terry Austin

X-Men #124
Published and © by Marvel, August 1979

Title: “He Only Laughs When I Hurt!”
Synopsis: Trapped in Murderworld, the X-Men must survive myriad deadly challenges – including brainwashed betrayal by one of their own!

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

Review: Chris Claremont’s X-Men run is known for its subplots and soap opera, but this issue features cover-to-cover action. That’s not to say it’s short on soap opera – see Colossus’ emotional heel turn as a Soviet supervillain – but this all-out fight fest offers a thrilling change of pace. Claremont’s script is aided by the always-excellent fight choreography and assured storytelling of John Byrne, which in turn gets an assist from the detailed polish of Terry Austin. Despite a slightly hurried conclusion, this is a superb team effort from one of the premiere creative trios of the Bronze Age.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “About as intense and suspenseful as the Space Family Robinson encountering a man wearing a giant carrot suit.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003

Cool factor: The Proletarian would have been an awesome Cold-War-era villain.

Notable: Origin of Arcade.
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: “ZARP … ZAP …. ZOOP … ZORP … ZRAP … ZACK … ZRAM … ZKOW” – Cyclops, letting his optic blasts do the talking

Editor’s note: This review was written May 29, 2022.

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