Published and © by Marvel, April 1976
Title: “Merry Christmas, X-Men …”
Synopsis: The X-Men’s Christmas outing to Rockefeller Center is interrupted by the return of the mutant-hunting giant robots, the Sentinels!
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Sam Grainger
Review: For young readers during the Bronze Age, Chris Claremont’s X-Men often provided a bi-monthly passport to distant locales for fun experiences with cool friends. Sure, the Sentinels’ return is exciting, but the real fun here is spending Christmas with the X-Men at Rockefeller Center. Claremont is masterful at crafting comic-book soap opera. This issue is filled with delightful character moments, from Nightcrawler and Colossus’ pursuit of the ladies to Scott and Jean’s deepening relationship. With the exception of a couple rough panels, Dave Cockrum more than holds up his end with dynamic, action-packed art. The new X-Men is great fun.
Second opinion: Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.
Cool factor: The first great new X-Men creative team is firing on all cylinders here.
Notable: First brief appearance of Amanda Sefton. … The crowd scenes include several cameo appearances, including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. … It’s revealed that Wolverine’s claws are part of his body, not his costume. … According to the annual statement of ownership on the “Mutant Mail-Box” letters page, X-Men had an average total paid circulation of 119,231 for the 12 months preceding Sept. 22, 1975. … LoC from future Marvel editor Jo Duffy.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 30¢ variant of this issue, as well as a 9p British variant. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.
Character quotable: “Strange man, Wolverine … we’ve been together almost a year … and I’m still not sure he’ll work out.” – Cyclops (hmm … in hindsight, that Wolverine guy probably worked out alright)
Editor’s note: This review was written Jan. 5, 2021.