Retro X: Remembering Uncanny X-Men #100

Retro X: Remembering Uncanny X-Men #100

Next week, Marvel Comics’ Uncanny X-Men hits its milestone 500th issue. After 45 years of mutant mayhem, having spawned an entire line of books for Marvel, as well as, a successful film franchise, a number of cartoons series, and tons of toys and video games—the Children of the Atom show no signs of slowing down. July’s 500th issue marks a change of scenery for the X-Men as well as the addition of writer Matt Fraction as he teams with series writer, Ed Brubaker.

Newsarama, with the help of some special guest experts, is taking a look back at the historical milestone markers of the Uncanny X-Men starting with the "All-New, All Different” X-Men #100. Time seems to prove that Charles Dickens’ statement, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” could be the truest perennial theme of these heroic mutants.

All-New, All Different” X-Men #100

Writer: Chris Claremont

Artist: Dave Cockrum

Inker: Frank Chiara

Release Date: August 10, 1976

Cover Price: $ 0.25 {sob}

Title: “Greater Love Hath No X-Man”

You read that right, folks—25 cents! In August, 1976, Jimmy Carter was seeking to become President of the United States; a terrible earthquake killed thousands in China; and Tom Brokaw became the regular anchor of NBC’s The Today Show. Marvel’s “All-New, All Different” X-Men were only 7 months old. After several years spent as a reprint book, the X-Men were given a second chance; the fresh faces of Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum jump started a Renaissance period for Marvel’s mutants.

Team Roster: Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Banshee, and Colossus; with appearances by Professor Xavier and Marvel Girl.

In issue #100, the X-Men find themselves battling robotic versions of their predecessors, the X-Sentinels, aboard a space station orbiting the Earth chock full of Mark III Sentinels and their villainous creator, Stephen Lang. Overcoming all the seemingly stacked odds, the X-Men attempt to escape the space station using a shuttle craft—but like most of us who aren’t astronauts, re-entry appears highly unlikely. Claremont and Cockrum left audiences with one heck of a cliffhanger as the shuttle plummeted through the atmosphere with Jean Grey at the controls—barely keeping dangerous radiation from entering the craft and killing everyone on board.

How Chris Claremont remembers writing the 100th issue: "Here we were, seven issues into the series, and Dave (Cockrum) and I suddenly had to deal with a Big Event. What to do? The answer came with Jean's transformation at the end of the issue, into Phoenix (although we wouldn't see the pay-off until next issue). The team had triumphed over their adversary but here, it looked like it would be at the cost of one of their own. Little did Dave and I know then what we were setting in motion ... The creative synergy between Dave and me set the hallmark for the best of the issues to follow."

How Mike Carey (writer, X-Men Legacy) remembers the 100th issue: “I have mixed feelings about Uncanny X-Men #100. The X-sentinels were kind of a let-down, all things considered - not that great a resolution to the arc that began so brilliantly in #98 ("Merry Christmas, X-Men... the Sentinels are Back!"). But on the other hand, look at that cliffhanger: the X-Men hurtling back to Earth in the shuttle, Jean keeping up her shields as long as she can until finally she's beaten down and lets the radiation through. Fantastic stuff.”

How Ed Brubaker (writer, Uncanny X-Men) remembers the 100th issue: “My fond memories are of #99, not #100. That was the first issue of the All New All Different X-Men that I ever saw, when I was seven or eight, at the 7-11.”

How Lucas Siegel (Best Shots, Newsarama) remembers the 100th issue: “Ah, the X-Sentinels. Well, it was cool to see Havok and Polaris regarded as important as the original five; important enough to make a dupe of, anyway. I think it's commonly forgotten just how long those two have been around. Robo-Havok held his own, too, beating on Colossus a bit, as I recall. The best thing about this issue, though, was the premiere of the now oft-used team up between 'ole “Iron-sides” and a certain “Canucklehead”: The Fastball Special.”

How Steve Ekstrom remembers the 100th issue: Honestly, I didn’t read this issue until it was reprinted as a Classic X-Men story. My first issue was Uncanny #129—I was 8, I think. I just remember being so into the idea of “old versus new”—and, like Lucas, Havok was one of my favorites—but damned if he wasn’t revealed to be a robot! I remember Lang’s villainy quite a bit—he always seemed like he was shouting at the top of his lungs with evil…he was a complete Grade-A baddie—the “A” standing for @$$hole. This arc kind of started paving the way for one of the hottest runs in modern mainstream comic book history—The Phoenix Saga. Oh…and that classic Dave Cockrum cover is beyond iconic.

Who knew what lay ahead for the X-Men? Coming back from the brink of cancellation, certainly no one saw their huge rise in popularity that would carry Chris Claremont and the X-Men into the ‘80’s and up to the 200th issue in December of 1985.

To be continued…

Do you have any memories of All-New, All Different X-Men #100? Let’s hear them!

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