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X-Men #100 (1976, August)

December 22, 2012

Anyone else just a little disappointed the world didn’t end after all? On Thursday, I did a Lord of the Rings marathon with my mom. Yesterday, I just didn’t really feel like posting. But I’m back today, with “Greater Love Hath No X-Man. . . .”

Greater Love Hath No X-Man. . . .

One of the most-homaged covers ever.

The original X-Men and the new X-Men brawl. The new X-Men are thrown off, trying to figure out what’s going on. During the course of the fight, we get a moment of history – the first-ever Fastball Special from Colossus and Wolverine. Called by name, even. I wonder if Claremont and Cockrum had a feeling how iconic that move would end up becoming. (I’m going to keep a Fastball SpecialTracker going, along with the Claremazon Moment Tracker. So far, the FST is at 1.) After the throw, Havok starts blasting Colossus, who shows a moment of badassitude by taking it, then getting up and moving through it to whack Havok with a steel beam. Storm tries to talk reason into Jean, talking about their close friendship, and the “confidences they’ve shared.” This, sadly, is another instance where Claremont’s jumping ahead early on kept us from actually seeing all that stuff. We’ve barely seen them interact at all, but we’re told they’re close friends, and it ends up being hard to truly believe at this point. Anyway, Lorna attacks Storm from behind, and buries her under some metal debris.

Wolverine goes after Xavier demanding some answers. He’s momentarily surprised when Xavier stands up and wallops him. Marvel Girl then attacks him telepathically. Wolverine falls back on his instincts, his senses, and kills Marvel Girl. Everyone is shocked, but it was a robot all along. Lang rants, and tells the captive (real) Cyclops, Jean, Xavier and Corbeau that his goal is the extermination of mutantkind. Cyclops finally has enough and blasts out of the tube he’s being held in. Then he quickly frees the other with another blast that shatters all three tubes. Cyclops can be pretty badass himself, when he needs to be. Lang gets into his flying gunship and attacks Cyclops, while the viewscreen shows the X-Men destroying the X-Sentinels. He ends up smashing into the viewscreen, seemingly dying (of course, we eventually learn he survived). The X-Men retreat to the shuttle they arrived in as the station starts coming apart. Corbeau says th flight computer’s destroyed, they have no functional pressure suits, and the solar flare means no one would be able to survive piloting for a manual re-entry. Jean telepathically absorbs Corbeau’s flying skills, ex[plains she’ll use her telekinetic powers to block out the radiation, and knocks out Cyclops before he can argue any more. She also yells at Wolverine, in a panel that leaves me wondering why people decided she was attracted to him. Oh well.

After this, things get very sad. Cyclops freaks out in the life-cell, and has to be held back by the others, while in the cockpit, Jean struggles against the flare (Claremazon Moment Tracker: Jean – 1). It gets through her shields, and the final panel is of her yelling Scott’s name as she’s hit by the radiation.

It’s a great issue. Some great characterization throughout it, some awesome moments, and a major cliffhanger ending. Only 6 issues into the run, and this is already the best the series has been. Cockrum does some great art and some very good layouts. Claremont can get a bit wordy, but it’s not a big problem. This was labelled as “the Spectacular 100th issue,” and it actually holds up to that declaration.

I mentioned the cover being homaged a lot. My favourite homage has to be Avengers Academy #38, which even includes the “spectacular” blurb at the top, and the arrow with very similar wording. For a flag football game. I love it. I miss Academy.

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