Review: X-Men Annual #3

X-Men Annual #3 cpver
Cover by Frank Miller and Terry Austin

X-Men Annual #3
Published and © by Marvel, 1979

Title: “A Fire in the Sky!”
Synopsis: Arkon the Magnificent seeks Storm’s help to save his world – and he won’t take “no” for an answer.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: George Pérez
Inker: Terry Austin

Review: This is a good annual. Even a very good annual. But it’s not a great one. One of Chris Claremont’s greatest gifts as a writer is his ability to weave an intricate story tapestry from seemingly endless subplots. With that in mind, it’s not surprising the done-in-one nature of the annual format doesn’t play to his strengths. (To be fair, Claremont did pen Avengers Annual #10 [see review], one of the all-time greats.) This poor-man’s-Conan story featuring Arkon is just a middling X-Men story. But the art – by George Pérez and Terry Austin – is breathtaking. So. Much. Detail.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “OK, but not very memorable.” – John Jackson Miller, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents), 2003

Cool factor: George Pérez drawing the X-Men? With Terry Austin inking? Why are we having this conversation?

An interior page from X-Men Annual #3 by George Pérez and John Byrne
An interior page from X-Men Annual #3, penciled by George Pérez and inked by John Byrne.

Notable: According to the Byrne Robotics website, John Byrne inked one page of this story.

Character quotable: “You want interesting, Ima, better you should read those comickal books.” – Isadore Uhman, newsagent 
A word from the writer: “For me, this was the X-Men as a classic Hollywood adventure movie. Fantastic settings, equally fantastic adversaries, cool costumes, death-traps galore, (hopefully) heart-pounding suspense, impossible odds, a dash of romance in a cathartic ending. All for 75¢!” – Chris Claremont, talking about this issue in “Harmony of Vision,” a 2004 essay collected in “Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1,” 2006

Editor’s note: This review was written June 1, 2022.

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