Monday, September 14, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Uncanny X-Men #123-127

Artist John Byrne was born July 6, 1950 in Walsall, Staffordshire, England.  His family emigrated to Canada when he was eight years old.  He enrolled at the Alberta College of Art and Design but dropped out before graduating.
John Byrne (comics) - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
In addition to X-Men, Byrne made significant contributions to Fantastic Four and, later, Superman for DC and Star Trek for IDW.  He has a couple of important creator-owned titles to his name as well, including Next Men (previously featured quite a long time ago here) and Danger Unlimited.

Without a doubt, Byrne is the most sophisticated artist I've seen in this exploration since Jack Kirby.  However, as strong as the work is, Byrne does not have the most stellar reputation as an easy person to work with and has not been shy about throwing fellow creators under the bus publicly.  His reputation has even earned him lampoons within the medium.  Both Booster Cogburn in Destroyer Duck and Johnny Redbeard in Savage Dragon are based on Byrne.

Both Byrne and Chris Claremont were inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2015.


My Recent Reads

Uncanny X-Men #123
Originally Published July 1, 1979
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne
  • Spider-Man makes a cameo, running into Scott and Colleen on the streets of New York, just moments before the couple are captured by Arcade.
  • Arcade throws the X-Men into a pinball machine of horrors called Murderworld, challenging them to find their way out before it kills them.
  • Colossus is brainwashed by a KGB agent and becomes the Proletarian.


Uncanny X-Men #124
August 1, 1979
Claremont/Byrne
  • We get the backstory on Arcade.
Hulk - Wikipedia
Hulk via Wikipedia
  • Among the challenges Arcade sets for the X-Men are Magneto and Hulk in robotic form.
  • The X-Men fight their way out of Murderworld but Arcade escapes.  Colossus reverts back to normal. 


Uncanny X-Men #125
September 10, 1979
Claremont/Byrne
  • This is mostly a development issue rather than having a self-contained story of its own, sort of like a Thursday episode of a television soap opera.  But then, we get a touch of Friday cliffhanger at the very end.  The develoments:
    • Moira is testing out Jean on Muir Island and theorizing about her Phoenix powers.  They are observed from the shadows by an unknown foe.
    • Light years away, Charles is also starting to worry about Jean and, also bored by not being allowed to do much while among the Shi'ar, makes a plan to go home.
    • We learn Jason Wyngarde has been using his own psychic powers to mess with Jean emotionally.
    • Moira discovers Mutant X has escaped!  All on Muir Island are in great peril.
    • The Beast returns to the Westchester mansion and reveals to the X-Men that he and Jean survived the encounter with Magneto in Antarctica!
    • Scott calls Muir Island.  Lorna answers the phone and tells Scott of the security situation with Mutant X.  The last thing he hears is her scream.


Uncanny X-Men #126
October 10, 1979
Claremont/Byrne
  • The X-Men are finally re-united at Muir Island after over a year (in publication time) of separation.
Proteus (Marvel Comics) - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
  • Mutant X, also known as Proteus, has escaped.  Moira explains his powers: he possesses bodies to use as a host, killing them once he leaves.  When his victim is a mutant, he absorbs his/her abilities.  Moira drops one more bombshell: Mutant X is her son, Keven MacTaggart.  The X-Men split up to find him, expecting he'll head to a city where he can find a large number of hosts.
  • Wolverine is the first to catch up with Mutant X, who is thwarted by the Adamantium in Wolverine's body.  Metal is his one weakness.  
  • Nightcrawler joins the fight, causing Mutant X to use his reality altering powers.  Strom enters, too, though Mutant X still gains the advantage.
  • To be continued.

Uncanny X-Men #127
November 10, 1979
Claremont/Byrne
  • Moira scares Mutant X away from the fight above, shooting at him with metal bullets.
  • Mutant X escapes and possesses two more bodies on his way to Edinburgh.  Moira suspects, correctly, that he is heading there to confront his father, Joseph.
  • Moira makes it to Joseph first and warns him.  Joe, her long-separated yet still possessive husband, is a royal prick.  So we the readers are not exactly disappointed when...
  • Proteus hunts down his father and kills him.
  • On the down side, he possesses his father's body and now goes after Moira.
  • The X-Men finally catch up with Proteus who takes Moira as his hostage, initiating a stand off.
  • To be continued.

3 comments:

  1. You know, I think Byrne's most significant contribution to comics, other than his stint on X-Men, was his run on She-Hulk. I'm pretty sure it was Byrne who introduced the idea that She-Hulk was aware of her own status as a comic book character.

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    Replies
    1. I think you are right! Byrne’s run on She-Hulk is gold!

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    2. I guess I'll need to look into this!

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