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X-Men #109 (1978, February)

January 12, 2013

Before I get to today’s story, I should mention that Champions #17, from January, features Blob, Unus, Lorelei and the Vanisher, being attacked by Sentinels, as part of a plan to get all the X-Men out of hiding for revenge. It’s meh, as most issues of the series were. Anyway, onto today’s story, “Home Are the Heroes!”

Home Are the Heroes!

It’s Guardian! Yay! Different name, but it’s him. Awesome.

The X-Men return home. Storm waters her plants with a miniature thunderstorm in the attic, while Jean’s parents talk to her about what’s going on. She thinks back to right after they exited the M’Kraan Crystal, where Corsair told Jean not to tell Scott about Corsair being his father.  She wonders if she made the right decision by making the promise. Nightcrawler sets up a double date for himself, Colossus, Amanda and Elisabeth. There’s a funny moment when he goes to tell Peter, who’s trying to write a letter featuring the phrase, “I am sorry I have no written, but my friends and I were busy . . . saving the universe. . . .” He can’t go on the date, though, because he promised to have a picnic with Sean and Moira. Nightcrawler has a nice moment with Scott. I keep forgetting just how much of a friend Kurt tried to be to Scott. He was always there when Scott needed someone to put things in perspective for him with an insightful comment. It was good. Sean, Moira, Peter, Ororo and Wolverine go out to the picnic, though Wolverine is going so he can hunt – meaning sneak up on a deer and touch it. Secret depths.

After an hour of tracking a doe, Wolverine’s attacked by James MacDonald Hudson, now going by the name Weapon Alpha, who’s been sent to bring him back to Canada. Alpha calls him “Weapon X,” the first time that’s been used. He mostly calls him Logan through the argument and fight, though. The fight eventually winds up crashing the X-Men’s picnic. Peter tells Alpha to back off, Alpha refuses, and Colossus sends Alpha flying. Alpha fires a blast at her, which bounces off Colossus and hits Moira. Banshee flips out and Alpha retreats. We get a weird moment where Ororo and Sean are in the air, Sean says to go back, and Ororo replies that Banshee is signalling them to go back. Just a very weird typo.

It’s a great issue. A lot of fun, some heart, a cool fight, and a Canadian superhero who’s the equal of any Avenger. Years from now, this appearance will lead to an Alpha Flight ongoing, which will be awesome. Because Alpha Flight kicks all sorts of ass. All the characters get moments showing what kind of person they are, with Wolverine getting the most notable moment demonstrating hidden depths. And Byrne’s art continues to be excellent. There’s a fluidity to it. Perhaps the artistic high point of this issue is three panels of Peter throwing a punch at Alpha and becoming Colossus as he does so. It’s a cool moment, well-done. There’s also a bizarrely amusing moment, where Scott and Kurt are watching Jean talking to her parents outside, and she switches from civilian clothes to her Phoenix costume. It’s such a dramatic moment, but seen from afar, it looks weird and funny.

  1. Yesterday I got Essential X – Factor Vol. 5, and today I read the first 2 issues of that volume: Uncanny X – Men # 270 and New Mutants # 95. It’s so impressive how much those 20 years old comics stood the test of time. Especially the X – Men issue written by Claremont was far better than a lot of average products I regularly read nowadays. None of those 2 issues was an unforgettable masterpiece, but the fact that both of them still are perfectly readable is very remarkable, in my opinion.

    • Yeah, those were a great time for comics in general. I haven’t read enough to be certain, but I suspect the ’80s was probably when comics were at their best. I suppose something from that period had to be good, given how much the rest of ’80s culture sucked.

      • Now that you make me think about it, in that period we also got Miller’s Batman and Daredevil, Grell’s Green Arrow, Byrne’s Fantastic Four… even nowadays there are plenty of good comics to read, but I agree with you, comics were at their best in the ’80s, and those quality levels probably will never be reached anymore. Thank you for your reply! : )

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