Review: X-Men #138

X-Men #138 cover
Cover by John Byrne and Terry Austin

X-Men #138
Published and © by Marvel, October 1980

Title: “Elegy”
Synopsis: At Jean Grey’s funeral, Cyclops recalls his life with Jean and the X-Men – then steps away from the team.

Writers (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Penciler/co-plotter: Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin

Review: After a breakneck run of issues, the X-Men creative team takes a moment to pause and recollect. Told from Cyclops’ perspective, this issue serves as an epilogue for “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and effectively closes the door on the first chapter of the “all-new-all-different”-era X-Men. It would have been nice to mourn Jean from other team-members’ perspectives, as well, as, overall, this issue lacks a bit of dramatic weight. But it provides some strong character development for Cyclops and serves as a fantastic jumping-on point for a then-still-growing legion of new X-fans.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “This is a quintessential ‘transition issue.’ ” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … “A quiet, reflective footnote to the classic ‘Dark Phoenix Saga.’ ” – Michael E. Krupp, Comic Effect #18, Winter 1997 … “In a sense, the issue is almost a eulogy for the title, as many readers see Jean’s death is symbolic for the end of a great era of X-Men storytelling.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003 … “A delight for longtime fans.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1980s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon,” 2014

Cool factor: For new fans, this issue offered a fantastic way to catch up.

Notable: Cyclops leaves the X-Men and Kitty Pryde joins the team.
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: “I am leaving the X-Men, Professor.” – Cyclops, taking some time

Editor’s note: This review was written Oct. 14, 2022.

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