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X-Men #94 (1975, August)

December 8, 2012

Before I get to today’s comic, I should mention that Avengers #137 by Englehart and Tuska, from July, has the Beast show up wanting to join. The Stranger shows up and challenges them. Wasp gets hurt in the process. #138 from August has them track the Stranger to his base, where it turns out to be Toad in disguise.

But now, X-Men #94, plotted by Len Wein, written by Chris Claremont, art by Dave Cockrum. The story is titled “The Doomsmith Scenario!”

X-Men #94

Kind of an ugly cover for that start of one of the most incredible runs in comic book history.

Xavier congratulates the X-Men on beating Krakoa. Sunfire leaves, and so do most of the older X-Men, excepting Cyclops, who stays because of his “cursed, mutant, energy-blasting eyes!”

X-Men #94

I find this scene so hilariously narmy.

That’s honestly one of my favourite moments ever. Anyway, after the old X-Men leave, Cyclops takes the new X-Men to be trained in the Danger Room. They spend weeks training, until Thunderbird makes a mistake, and Cyclops yells at him.

Then we cut to Valhalla Mountain, in the Rockies, the home of NORAD war room. It comes under attack by Ani-Men, and once they’ve secured the war room, Count Nefaria enters. He gasses the rest of the base, then announces that he’s holding the world for ransom. He activates the Doomsmith System, apparently not knowing that, after a certain point, it becomes irreversible. He’s given the world two hours, but the X-Men have 52 minutes to shut it down. The X-Men head off to stop him, but when they approach the mountain, a bunch of missiles are launched at them. Cyclops avoids most of them, but one hits the plane, and blows it up. The X-Men eject in a smaller compartment – the captions compare it to a phoenix, actually. Which is interesting. But then Nefaria hits their small plane with a sonic disruptor which causes it to disappear.

This issue kicks off Chris Claremont’s amazing 16-year run as X-Men scribe. His time defines the franchise, and his influence can still be felt. The Phoenix Saga, the Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, God Loves Man Kills, the Mutant Massacre, Inferno, X-Tinction Agenda, X-Cutioner’s Song, Muir Island Saga – and that’s without even getting into the characters he creates. Kitty Pryde, the New Mutants, Gambit, Jubilee, and more. He is, without any question, the most important X-Men creator, even more than Lee/Kirby. Lee and Kirby invented the characters, but Claremont made them. And, lucky me, I finally get to review comics that are great.

Not that they don’t still have stuff they can be mocked for. Claremont’s run is actually pretty easy to make fun of, because of his writing style. I mean, I’ve already made fun of Cyclops’s “cursed, mutant, energy-blasting eyes!”

Still, it’s a truly epic run.

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