Friday, December 2, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #129 (January 1980)

Title: God Spare The Child...
Cover: John Byrne, Terry Austin
Co-Plotters: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Script: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Colors: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis:  The X-Men depart Muir Island after defeating Proteus, leaving Banshee, Havoc, and Polaris behind along with Moria MacTaggert and Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man.  While in flight across the Atlantic, Jason Wyngarde projects another timeslip into Jean Grey's mind, sending her back again to the 1700s when she is aboard a ship bound for New York where she will marry the knight of the realm. The illusion is broken by Cyclops who has the first heart-to-heart conversation with Jean since the two were reunited after her presumed death in X-Men #113.

The X-Men return to New York for a joyous reunion with Professor Xavier and get back to the daily rhythm of their lives. Friction between Professor Xavier and Scott emerges over the training and teamwork of the X-Men, but the teacher and former pupil are distracted from that issue when Cerebro's contact alarm sounds, signaling the identification of two new mutants. We then learn that a mysterious organization known as the Hellfire Club has been watching the whole exchange, thanks to the bug that their agent Warhawk placed in the Xavier Mansion back in X-Men #110.

A subset of the X-Men travel to Chicago to meet one of the mutants identified by Cerebro. They visit the Pryde family in their civilian guises to offer their daughter Kitty enrollment in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.  While Professor Xavier speaks with Kitty's parents, Logan, Ororo and Peter take Kitty to the local Malt Shoppe.  The team is attacked by a team of the Hellfire Club's armored soldiers, but overcome them after a brief skirmish. Before they can interrogate the villains, the X-Men are knocked unconscious by a mental blast from the White Queen and taken prisoner.

The Hellfire Club troops load the heroes onto their waiting hovercraft and the White Queen detonates explosive charges hidden in the armor of the units that fell in battle to the X-Men. "Oh, don't worry about them, Cutler--The Hellfire Club has ways of dealing with failures!," says Emma Frost as she triggers the explosion. Unbeknownst to the villains, Kitty Pryde phases aboard the ship and accompanies them along with the unconscious X-Men to a massive industrial complex on the outskirts of Chicago.  The story will be continued in X-Men #130 with the Debut of the Dazzler!

X-Men #129 is the beginning of what would become known as the Phoenix Saga, one of the most beloved and influential stories in the history of comics. Of note, X-Men #129 introduces key characters, the White Queen and Kitty Pryde and sets the stage for many great issues to come. This issue is a personal favorite and a Must-Read for any X-Men fan. The creative team of Claremont-Byrne-Austin is absolutely magic and the story is so compelling, intricate and well balanced between action and plot development that it truly stands out against anything else published during this time period.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

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