Review: X-Men #131

X-Men #131 cover
Cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin

X-Men #131
Published and © by Marvel, March 1980

Title: “Run for Your Life!”
Synopsis: Half of the team – plus Dazzler – races to rescue the remaining X-Men from the clutches of The Hellfire Club. 

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

Review: “The Dark Phoenix Saga” refuses to let readers catch their breath. This issue literally starts at a full sprint, with neophyte mutant Kitty Pryde desperately fleeing Hellfire goons. Throughout the issue, Phoenix continues to escalate; her power is growing exponentially, as is her willingness to embrace it. By the time she faces off with the White Queen, readers might actually feel a bit worried for the recently introduced villain. Chris Claremont and John Byrne spent a good deal of time foreshadowing these issues and the payoff is fast approaching. This issue feels like a roller-coaster ride right before the drop. 

Grade: A+

Second opinion: “A climatic episode.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: The characterization with Phoenix is really strong.
Not-so-cool factor: Hey, Cyclops, why are you putting an untrained 13-year-old in harms way? (Also, Dazzler’s roller skates.)

Notable: According to the annual statement of ownership on the “X-Mail” letters page, X-Men had an average total paid circulation of 171,091 for the 12 months preceding Oct. 1, 1979.
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: “Well, ‘your majesty,’ let’s see how good you really are.” – Phoenix, not yet “Dark” but still damn terrifying

Editor’s note: This review was written June 23, 2022.

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