The Hundreds of Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-Men #500 is due out this July and with the recent announcement over on Comic Book Resources of the issue’s Alex Ross cover, buzz is starting to build. I’ve been reading Uncanny for a long time, and each of the ‘hundred’ issues stick out for me. So in this, the 100th post on Comicdom Wrecks!, let’s take a look at the last four ‘hundreds’ and see where Marvel’s merry mutants have been.

Uncanny X-Men #100
Cover Date: August, 1976
Creative Team: Chris Claremont (writer), Dave Cockrum (artist)
Team Lineup: Banshee, Colossus, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine
What Went Down: Anti-mutant horror Steven Lang has captured the X-Men on his space station and forced the new team to battle android replicas of the original X-Men, seemingly at Professor X’s behest. The good guys win, everyone is saved and they all board a shuttle to get back to Earth. Only problem is that a radiation field is in their way, so Marvel Girl volunteers to pilot the shuttle, aware that she probably won’t survive the trip. Fortunately there’s a cosmic force watching her…
Significance: The immediate aftermath of this issue created an X-Phenomenon. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Phoenix? This is what caused it. So there.
In Retrospect: Though Havok and Polaris attacked them a few issues before, this is really Chris Claremont’s first true X-Men vs. X-Men story. The act would be repeated over the next three decades approximately 780 times. This issue still retains the tension it had then, and it is still a quality read 32 years later.

Uncanny X-Men #200
Cover Date: December, 1985
Creative Team: Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils)
Team Lineup: Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Phoenix (Rachel Summers), Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine
What Went Down: A reformed Magneto is put on trial by an international court as terrorists claiming to be the X-Men strike throughout the court’s location of Paris, demanding his release. The group, led by Fenris attack the court, actually seeking Magneto slain. Magneto defends the public’s safety, though Professor X falls, his already injured body now dying. Xavier is teleported away to be healed aboard the Starjammer, but not before making Magneto swear to take over his role as headmaster of the school.
Significance: This was a major turning point for the X-Men. Professor X would remain out of the book for 75 issues and the X-Men would face much darker times. Cyclops would leave next issue and the Mutant Massacre was not far off.
In Retrospect: This was a very good issue, though one would have to know the back story of Magneto, Professor X and Baron Von Strucker to understand Fenris‘ motives. Magneto’s redemption was a crucial part of the character moving past his raving lunatic Silver Age days, and this was the pay off. Though he eventually went back to villainy…sort of…this rounded out the character, and its effects are still seen today.

Uncanny X-Men #300
Cover Date: May, 1993
Creative Team: Scott Lobdell (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Brandon Peterson (pencils, epilogue)
Team Lineup: Archangel, Bishop, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey, Storm, Wolverine
What Went Down: Having been attacked by the Acolytes numerous times, the Gold Team (accompanied by Wolverine, Cyclops and Nightcrawler) finally strike back with the intention of rescuing the captive Moira MacTaggert. With the help of the identity-confused Neophyte, the X-Men take down Fabian Cortez and scatter the Acolytes.
Significance: This issue finished the story establishing the newer group of Acolytes and directly led to the return of Magneto in the Fatal Attractions story. Though most of them were personality-lacking drones, some faces (Unuscione, Voght) stood out over time. This issue also reveals that Illyana Rasputin will die of her illness (the Legacy Virus). She actually does two issues later.
In Retrospect: It’s got a shiny cover, but this issue is largely forgettable in favor of the much more important Fatal Attractions four issues later. It was nice seeing Nightcrawler back with the team at the time, and the epilogue hints that Magneto is alive, which was exciting. Overall, though, it’s good for the nostalgia, and neat that the same art team from #200 made it back for this one.

Uncanny X-Men #400
Cover Date: January, 2002
Creative Team: Joe Casey (writer), Cully Hammer, Ashley Wood, Eddie Campbell, Javier Pulido, Sean Phillips, Matt Smith (artists)
Team Lineup: Archangel, Chamber, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Stacy X, Wolverine
What Went Down: The X-Men strike at the Church of Humanity. Stacy X is captured and stalls by telling her origin, which is almost completely made-up (like her being one of the original X-Men). The X-Men save her, beat the bad guys and Nightcrawler realizes that there’s something he should know, but for some reason doesn’t.
Significance: None, really. The Church of Humanity story was eventually wrapped up by Chuck Austen in one of the worst stories ever (disintegrating communion wafers, anyone?) and then this, like most other Uncanny stories of the time, were quietly forgotten.
In Retrospect: I didn’t really like this story when I read it in 2003, and in going back, I don’t really like it now. It was a weak period for the book (no offense against Joe Casey, who I usually like) and six separate artists throughout really cut into the pacing. It’s good for completists, but not much else.

#500 goes on sale in July!

I just wrote a new column for Mutatis Mutandis! Check out the site when you get a chance!


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