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Uncanny X-Men #98: Review

Apr 1976
Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

Story Name:

Merry Christmas, X-Men...

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Uncanny X-Men #98 Review by (June 5, 2024)

Review: The Sentinels return to hunt the X-Men in a very significant issue. This is the first part in a little storyline that will run the next few issues, ultimately culminating in a very significant change for a certain red-haired telekinetic! More on that later. Things really start ramping up this issue, as Claremont really feels like he’s getting into the groove, with this story serving to propel the series ever closer to the Certified Classic status it has all these decades later. This is really when the series starts to feel like how it will be for the years to come, setting up many plotlines that will go on to shape the series. The poor X-Men don’t get to enjoy Christmas without robots specifically designed to murder them showing up and whisking some of them away to space.

There are also a surprising number of smaller, though no less significant, details in this issue. The most important of which being that when Wolverine attempts to break him, Banshee, and Jean out of their prison, we get the confirmation that Wolverine’s claws are actually part of him, an obviously significant revelation. They reasoned that if the claws were in the gloves, anyone could wear the gloves and Wolverine wouldn’t be that special, and I completely agree. Storm also gets a particularly cool moment when she completely annihilates a Sentinel, showing for the first time just how powerful she can be. The cutest moment comes when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby cameo, commenting on the steamy kiss Jean gives Scott and saying they never would have done that when they had the book!

Comments: First time the new X-Men fight the Sentinels. First time Wolverine is seen without his mask. We get confirmation in this issue that Wolverine’s claws are part of him, not in the gloves. First appearance of Amanda Sefton, Nightcrawler’s future girlfriend, though her last name is not given. There are blink and you’ll miss them cameos by Nick Fury and Matt Murdock when the X-Men are gathered at Rockefeller. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby also have an amusing cameo, commenting on the risqué nature of Scott and Jean’s kiss.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Uncanny X-Men #98 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

It’s Christmas Eve and the X-Men gather in their civvies at Rockefeller Center to celebrate! The group splits off to pursue various activities, with Nightcrawler and Colossus intent on chatting up two passing ladies, while Banshee and Moira MacTaggert head out to show each other the sights. Wolverine and Storm each go off to do their own thing, leaving us to follow Cyclops and Jean Grey as they head to a planned dinner outing. Jean tries to get Scott to forget about the encounter with his brother from last issue and just enjoy the Christmas season. She plants a huge kiss on him (witnessed by an amusingly indignant Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). The two cannot enjoy their night for long however, as the roof is then lifted off by two Sentinels, revealing that the mutant-hunting robots have returned! Jean knocks one off balance, allowing Scott to blast it apart. However, the second sentinel uses that time to dose Jean with knockout gas, flying away with her after blasting Cyclops and leaving him hanging from the roof for dear life!

Banshee and Moira become aware of the Sentinels and Banshee tells Moira to warn the others as he flies off with Wolverine to intercept them. Storm flies up and spots Scott hanging from the roof, managing to catch him before he can fall. Scott reveals that he witnessed Banshee and Wolverine get snatched by some Sentinels, before yet another one arrives to attack him and Storm. Storm creates an enormous hurricane high above the city, sucking up the Sentinel and utterly obliterating it in an extremely impressive display of power! Scott then realizes that Professor X has to be warned about the Sentinels and we cut to the man in question, on his “vacation”, fishing in the Bahamas. Xavier is out with his friend, Dr. Peter Corbeau, trying to see if he can identify the binary system Xavier has been seeing in his dreams. A Sentinel then arrives to abduct Xavier and though he manages to drive it back, he gets captured as well after the ship is destroyed, leaving Corbeau stranded out at sea.

Days later, Dr. Steven Lang, the man behind the Sentinel attack, checks in on the four captured mutants in his lair. One of his technicians tells him about some solar radiation storms going on and says they’ll have to shut down the Sentinels for the time being. Lang details his plans to exterminate mutants, by cutting out the heart of the known mutant population, the X-Men, particularly Xavier. After Jean compares Lang to a Nazi he slaps her, causing Wolverine to furiously break loose from his shackles, carving up workers and Sentinels alike. He frees the others and they try to decide how they’re going to move Xavier. They then get ambushed by Sentinels, and resort to hitting them hard and fast before they get overwhelmed. They realize they’ll have to leave Xavier behind for now and Banshee grabs Wolverine and Jean, tearing through the base with his sonic scream and blasting through the wall before his scream is suddenly and mysteriously cut short!

Back at the institute, we find a frustrated Cyclops, who has been searching high and low for his captured teammates to no avail. Nightcrawler comes to check on him, worried that Scott has barely rested or eaten this whole time. Just then, they get an intruder alert near the back wall of the mansion and Nightcrawler teleports out to intercept the intruder. Turns out it’s Peter Corbeau, as he finally made it back to shore and he and the X-Men compare notes. Cyclops reveals how Cerebro can’t pick up any trace of the captured X-Men which could only mean they’re dead, which he won’t accept. After Cyclops says it’s like they just vanished off the face of the earth, Corbeau remembers that he heard one of the Sentinels talk about solar flares. Corbeau realizes that the captured X-Men aren’t on earth at all and we see why Banshee’s scream was cut short as after blasting through the wall, they’re now floating out in space, seconds from death! To be continued!



Dave Cockrum
Sam Grainger
Janice Cohen
Dave Cockrum (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Rosen.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Banshee
Banshee

(Sean Cassidy)
Colossus
Colossus

(Piotr Rasputin)
Cyclops
Cyclops

(Scott Summers)
Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler

(Kurt Wagner)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)
Storm
Storm

(Ororo Munroe)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Amanda Sefton, Sentinels, Steven Lang.

> Uncanny X-Men: Book info and issue index

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