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Review: X-Men #99

X-Men #99 cover
Cover by Dave Cockrum

X-Men #99
Published and © by Marvel, June 1976

Title: “Deathstar, Rising!”
Synopsis: The new X-Men race to S.H.I.E.L.D.’S orbital platform to rescue teammates captured by the Sentinels.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte (as Frank Chiara)

Review: The early, all-new X-Men is consistently a fun read, but this issue requires some serious suspension of disbelief. How, exactly, does a team of mutants manage to sneakily crew a government spacecraft … during a publicly broadcast launch … in the midst of a nationwide wave of anti-mutant hysteria … to rescue teammates … who are captives of a government program? Get past that, and Chris Claremont continues to establish his X-Men formula; at one point, the script even points out this “international, inter-racial and inter-sexual” team offers “something for everyone.” Indeed. That formula would grow richer with better execution in the years ahead.

Grade: B+

Second opinion: “Generally, a well intended but shaky effort. … 2 1/2 out of 4 stars.” – Marvel Art Review #3, 1976 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: While there are some misfires – a pontential romantic relationship between Storm and Colossus reads weird today – Claremont’s team building continues to shine.
Not-so-cool factor: The “deathstar” of this story’s title is pretty ho-hum compared to another space station we’d soon come to know!

Notable: First brief appearance of Black Tom Cassidy. … Cameo by Geraldo Rivera. … There’s an LoC on the “X-Mail” letters page from comic-book historian Peter Sanderson.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 30¢ variant of this issue, as well as a 10p British variant. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “Resistance, as they say, is futile … .” – Dr. Steven Lang, Sentinel maker and, apparently, Borg

Editor’s note: This review was written Jan. 26, 2021.

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