As they say, often ad nauseum over supermarket PA systems, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Or, if you like – Xmas. And what does it mean when you have a word with “X” in near comics? Yep, that’s right – the X-Men aren’t far behind. This week’s column is a Christmas-themed review column of five X-Mas X-Men issues, in chronological order. The Christmas they correspond with is shown in brackets after the issue number.
Uncanny X-Men #98 (1975)It’s Christmas, and the Sentinels attack! One of the first issues written by Chris Claremont, at the very start of his legendary run, it isn’t so much about Christmas as it is set then for no other reason than it was in shops in (one has to assume) December. Nonetheless, it’s a classic X-Men issue that telegraphs the real direction of Claremont’s run, placing the X-Men (and mutants generally) in the social context of an oppressed minority for the first time. It’s standard stuff now, but at the time it actually felt quite original! It’s also the first time we learn that Wolverine’s claws are NOT part of his gloves. Again, widely accepted now – mind blowing at the time!Uncanny X-Men #143 (1980)This is the “famous” X-Men Christmas, as far as such stories go. In 1980, Claremont and Byrne teamed up to write a story about Kitty Pryde trapped in the mansion and being attacked by an N’Garai demon on Christmas Eve. The holiday spirit is fairly strong in this issue, and not just for corny reasons – the seasonal setting serves to enhance Kitty’s isolation – it’s her first Chanukah away from home now that she’s a student at Xavier’s, and the X-Men have left her in the mansion by herself. As a young and relatively weak X-Man, it takes a lot of courage for her to defeat the demon – and there’s even a traditional Christmas Miracle ending, as the X-Men bring her family to visit after all!
22 December 2008