Review: X-Men #135

X-Men #135 cover
Cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin

X-Men #135
Published and © by Marvel, July 1980

Title: “Dark Phoenix”
Synopsis: Drunk on her exponentially increasing power, Dark Phoenix defeats the X-Men, devours a star and kills billions.

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

Review: X-Men #129 (see review) was the comic that hooked Little Me as a lifelong comics reader, but this is the issue sealed the deal. The cover practically screamed “BUY ME … OR ELSE!” from the spinner rack. Looking back through an adult lens this issue is actually a bit of a breather, as Dark Phoenix wanders off into space and commits the heinous crimes for which there would be no turning back. The creative team makes great use of cameos to weave the events of this story into the greater fabric of the Marvel Universe. And the art is simply spectacular.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “In Uncanny X-Men #135, Claremont and Byrne move from the classically superheroic trappings … to a cosmically broad canvas.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “This is just a comic book story. Claremont often makes readers forget that.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: Oh, those poor asparagus people.
Not-so-cool factor: Jean Grey’s internal dialogue reads far too rational.

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 15p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “There is no joy – no love – in Dark Phoenix. I sense pain, great sadness – and an awful, all-consuming lust.” – Storm, thinking ill of her friend’s heel turn

Editor’s note: This review was written Oct. 10, 2022.

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