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Uncanny X-Men #95: Review

Oct 1975
Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Uncanny X-Men #95 Review by (May 22, 2024)

Review: The cover of this issue promised to kill off an X-Man and boy does it deliver! Given that Thunderbird is the only one who’s not really a household name amongst comic fans decades later, three guesses on who bites it. The story goes that Wolverine and Thunderbird were deemed too similar to each other and so they decided to kill one of them off, ultimately deciding on Thunderbird. In hindsight, this was a phenomenal decision given how Wolverine goes on to become something of a big deal. Just a bit. This was actually highlighted a bit in the last issue, in which both characters have similar interactions with Cyclops, showcasing their similarities and redundancy. Thunderbird would eventually return to life, only within the last few years, meaning it took almost 50 years to be undone!

As for the rest of the issue, the X-Men show impressive teamwork against the Ani-Men, helping each other out and acting like a true team. There’s a funny little interaction where Cat-Man comments how his claws are real, unlike Wolverine’s. Boy, that comment aged well. The big downside to this issue is that the problem of the Doomsmith system ends very anticlimactically. Last issue established that they had a time limit to shut off the system and when they eventually find it, they’re too late and the base is going to blow! However, Xavier then psychically shows up and tells them that it was put out of commission during their fight with Ani-Men, which feels so abrupt and jarring. It’s like they didn’t know how to end that part before killing off Thunderbird. Still, a solid end to the new X-Men’s sophomore outing, while ramping up the stakes with immediate character death.

Comments: Death of Thunderbird, as well as the first death of any regular X-Man. Nightcrawler establishes that he retains velocity when teleporting, when explaining why he can’t teleport to the ground from freefall.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Uncanny X-Men #95 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

After Count Nefaria’s disruption beam destroyed their aircraft last issue, the X-Men were left to freefall to their deaths! Cyclops quickly devises a plan and tells Nightcrawler to teleport down. However, Nightcrawler tells him that he retains velocity when he teleports, so he would still die teleporting down from this height. Colossus elects to get down on his own by crash landing while Storm and Banshee, the fliers, carry the rest safely to the ground. Banshee needs to leave Cyclops behind, as he can’t carry two people at once. Cyclops eagerly awaits Banshee’s return and counts down the seconds until impact, getting saved right in the nick of time! Once on the ground, Nightcrawler teleports inside the base and is quickly intercepted by Frog-Man, one of the Ani-Men. Nightcrawler teleports behind his foe and easily takes him out, taking him prisoner while he searches for the controls to open the entrance hatch.

While Nightcrawler opens the hatch, Frog-Man escapes and the rest of the X-Men enter the base. As the X-Men make their way through the base, suddenly the corridor is filled with a blinding, choking gas, courtesy of Count Nefaria. The X-Men smash through to the next corridor to escape the gas, where they are met with opposition in the form of the base’s soldiers, hypnotized by Nefaria. Colossus shields the others from the soldiers’ bullets, while Storm whips up an impressive wind and floods the base, washing the soldiers away and decisively dealing with them without harming them. Further into the base, the Ani-Men suddenly ambush the X-Men, as Gort, the Ape-Man, quickly takes out both Thunderbird and Banshee. The rest of the X-Men battle the Ani-Men but, still weary from the gas, find themselves at a disadvantage.

Wolverine is saved from the Cat-Man by Colossus, as Cyclops and Nightcrawler take out each other’s enemy. Storm fries the Ape-Man, allowing Nightcrawler and Wolverine to work together to take him out. Finally, Dragonfly tries to hypnotize Cyclops, but in doing so, gets blasted by his optic beam. With their foes defeated, they make their way to find and shut down the Doomsmith system, while electing to leave Thunderbird and Banshee behind. When they find it, they also find that Nefaria has engaged the self-destruct sequence, meaning the entire base is going to blow sky high soon! Banshee and Thunderbird regain consciousness and intercept Nefaria trying to flee in a small aircraft. Thunderbird jumps aboard the plane while Banshee pleads for him to get off so he can stop the plane with a sonic blast.

Back with the other X-Men, Cyclops tries to figure out how to disarm the Doomsmith system, when suddenly Professor X psychically calls to him. Xavier tells Cyclops that their battle with the Ani-Men put the entire system out of commission, as well as the self-destruct sequence. He then tells them that they’re needed outside, where Thunderbird is in the process of destroying Nefaria’s plane. Thunderbird’s pride won’t let him stop and he eventually succeeds in stopping the plane. However, this causes the plane to crash in a stunning explosion, killing Thunderbird in the process, while Xavier psychically feels every bit of agony, refusing to leave Thunderbird in his final moments. As the X-Men witness the wreckage, Banshee tells how he pleaded for Thunderbird to get off the plane, and Cyclops tells him he did everything he could, and that this kind of thing is a risk they all face in this line of work. It comes with the uniform.

Dave Cockrum
Sam Grainger
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Karen Mantlo.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Sean Cassidy)

(Piotr Rasputin)

(Scott Summers)

(Kurt Wagner)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

(Ororo Munroe)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Ani-Men, Thunderbird (John Proudstar).

> Uncanny X-Men: Book info and issue index

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