Review: X-Men #125

X-Men #125 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum and Terry Austin

X-Men #125
Published and © by Marvel, September 1979

Title: “There’s Something Awful on Muir Island!”
Synopsis: Reunions and time slips, galactic affairs of state and trouble on Muir Island … yup, it’s another transitional issue!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin

Review: For the second time in four months, the X-Men settle in for an oft-dreaded transitional issue. But, as with X-Men #122 (see review), Chris Claremont and John Byrne prove to be in their element with these thick brews of subplots and character moments. A year-long subplot in which a divided team mistakenly thinks the other team members are dead nears its conclusion, while both “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and Proteus storylines advance. An initial, brief glimpse of the Black Queen is startling in retrospect. Add some typically excellent art from Byrne and Terry Austin and this is an excellent outing.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “The issue also contains an unprecedentedly introspective image of Magneto in his outer space headquarters. … (This is) the very earliest inkling of Claremont giving added dimensionality to Magneto” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “After a year of only sporadic appearances, it’s refreshing to see Jean Grey finally return to the title.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003

Cool factor: No one does transitional issues as well as Claremont and Byrne (though the Marv Wolfman/George Pérez and Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen teams came close).

Notable: First brief appearance of the Black Queen. … Cameo crowd-scene appearances by Popeye the Sailor Man and The Phantom Stranger.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Using my power does’t tire me as quickly as it used to. If anything, it makes me feel good.” – Jean Grey, dark foreshadower

Editor’s note: This review was written June 1, 2022.

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