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
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.
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.