Uncanny X-Men #129-131
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #129, Uncanny X-Men #130, Uncanny X-Men #131
It starts with the X-Men returning from Scotland after their fight with Proteus. They find that Xavier has returned from space as well. Xavier tries to take over his traditional role of leading the X-Men, but comes into conflict with Cyclops, who has his own leadership style that works better with this group of X-Men since they are not children and students (Claremont has Xavier saying "Scott, notify Wolverine that his childish outburst will cost him ten demerits" which is pretty funny.)
A Cerebro alarm interrupts their argument. Two new mutants have been detected. We find that the Hellfire Club is observing the X-Men. They are still in shadows except for Jason Wyngrade. Emma Frost, the White Queen, is introduced, and she's sent to recruit the first mutant.
It's noted that the Hellfire Club is "only a few blocks down fifth avenue from Avengers Mansion". Sebastian Shaw will be fully introduced in issue #130.
The first mutant turns out to be Kitty Pryde, a 13 1/2 year old girl who's been having headaches and wakes up downstairs when she last remembers being on her bed. Ms. Frost shows up first with brochures about her school's academy...
...and then Xavier arrives with Wolverine, Colossus, and Storm in civilian clothes. Xavier sends Kitty and the X-Men to a diner while he talks with the Prydes.
The White Queen's plan is to manipulate her parents into going to her academy, but the Hellfire Club also send armored goons to attack the X-Men.
The goons fail, but Emma finishes them off with a mental blast. Kitty, learning that she has the ability to phase through walls, sneaks aboard the Hellfire Club's vehicle.
The next issue shifts focus to the X-Men going after the second mutant. It brings them to the warehouse district in lower Manhattan where an impromptu disco party is being held. Dazzler was supposed to have been a licensed character created in conjunction with a record company that would promote a singer, possibly Grace Jones or Bo Derek, as "Dazzler". The negotiations started in the mid 1970s when disco was still a happening thing. Various problems with the negotiations caused delays and eventually Marvel decided to 'go it alone'. And that's how Marvel came to introduce a disco-themed character in 1980 (Jim Shooter's tells the history here; he says that disco was still popular at this time.). As Jean and Cyclops enter the warehouse, Cyclops says "Tell me, Jean, is this where old discos go to die?"
We see Sebastian Shaw for the first time as he coordinates the Hellfire Club's attack on the disco with Wyngrade. Jean continues to exhibit extraordinary powers, transforming Jean and Cyclops' street clothes into their costumes.
This worries Scott. She's also having more timeslips and making out with Wynegrade in the disco club.
Still, this team (also including Nightcrawler) is able to fight off their Hellfire Club attackers. They get help from Dazzler, who is aware of and in control of her powers, unlike Kitty. She is able to create 'dazzling' bursts of light that stun her opponents.
No mention of absorbing sound as a power source yet. Of course, they've also got Phoenix...
They meet up with Kitty, who they send in to free Wolverine.
Soon the X-Men are routing the Hellfire Club.
The battle culminates in a psychic duel between Phoenix and the White Queen, which leaves Emma seemingly dead.
Dazzler rejects the offer to join the X-Men. She wants to focus on her singing career.
Phoenix uses her powers to manipulate Kitty's parents into forgetting that Kitty's been missing all night.
Scott and Ororo are concerned about Jean's change in morality, but really we all know if Jean hadn't done that, Xavier would have.
These are some pretty momentous issues and they're of high quality, with really nice Byrne art and a lot of good character moments from Claremont, as well as a decent action plot.
The back-up in Classic X-Men #35 deals with Kitty in the scene between where she realizes she has powers and when she resolves to follow the Hellfire Club and save the X-Men. It's a good place for a fill-in story that could have been used to deal with Kitty's reaction to her new situation. But instead we get a weird dream sequence (by Daryle Edelman and John Bolton).
Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bright deliver a back-up for issue #36 that shows Moria dealing with the death of her son Proteus. It's timely and it's actually not too bad at all. A little maudlin but better than most of the non-Claremont back-ups.
The final back-up is also by Nicieza but with Rick Leonardi on art (and Bob McCleod on inks). The story is again pretty good - it's just Dazzler and her friends sitting around a diner chatting - but the art is really over the top and messy, ruining it.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue starts with the X-Men leaving Scotland, so there should be no X-Men appearances between this issue and last.
Continuity Implant? P - (Classic X-Men reprints add new material)
Reprinted In: Classic X-Men #35, Classic X-Men #36, Classic X-Men #37
Inbound References (5): show
Banshee, Black King, Carmen Pryde, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, Donald Pierce, Harry Leland, Havok, Madrox the Multiple Man, Mastermind, Moira MacTaggert, Nightcrawler, Phoenix Force, Polaris, Professor X, Proteus, Shadowcat, Storm, Terri Pryde, White Queen, Wolverine
Emma Frost's face may have been taken from Diana Rigg from the 1960s Avengers British TV show, which had her playing a Black Queen undercover in a "Hellfire Club" in the "Touch of Brimstone" episode.
Sebastian Shaw is also the name of a character in "Dark Shadows" from the early 1970s.
Wolverine goes through both a Hustler and a Penthouse in the diner.
Dazzler's hair is ridiculously huge in her first panel; she would have more artistic indignities thrust upon her in her solo series.
How did Classic X-Men handle the reference to X-Men #110, considering that that issue got skipped for reprinting?
The footnote was completely removed in the reprint.
Interesting how Wolvie's reading material made it past the Comics Code!
131 was one of the first issues of X-Men I ever read.
And I still don't get why Scott didn't punch out Wyngarde at the disco. maybe Wolverine was right about him all along.
Scott didn't punch out Wyngarde at the disco because he had his glasses on, not his visor and there were plenty of people in the disco- if Wyngarde punched him back and he lost his glasses, he'd have been a danger to everyone in the disco.
When the X-Men went to Deerfield here in X-Men #129 it was not an accident. That is, Charley had not, as believed, used Cerebro, but had followed it up due to Wolvie whispering something in his ear.
I have always found Carmen Pryde to be a deeply poignant figure.
The story makes it very clear that Jean voluntarily kissed Wyngarde at the disco. THAT's why he couldn't attack him. It appeared consentual.
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