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.
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?
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.