A lot of people think that the Bryan singer produced “X-Men” motion picture, released in the summer of 2000, was the beginning of the current mania for all things super-hero at the box office. Eighteen years later and the trend is (unbelievably) as strong as ever. maybe even a lot more unusual is that the X-Men are still in the fold with a new motion picture (Dark Phoenix) due early next year. and while the brand is still the property of Fox enjoyment -fingers crossed- that may soon change if the Disney/Marvel deal goes through.
If people are ready to come out time after time for the marvel Mutants, this is a testament not only to the films that have featured these characters over the years, but, even a lot more so, to the exciting comic books that inspired the films in the first place.
Originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the early sixties, the X-Men started out as a second-tier marvel book. This was true until the late seventies when, at the hands of writers and artists like Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Len Wein, and John Byrne, the Mutants got a much needed face-lift.
The result was one of the most successful comic book series of all time: The (now) Uncanny X-Men, which spawned a lot more spin-offs than you can detect while strapped into Cerebro. If you like the recent Deadpool sequel: thank the Uncanny X-Men. If you’re looking forward to the new Mutants at the cinema next summer: thank the Uncanny X-Men, if you take pleasure in the legion TV series, well, you get the idea.
The apex of the Uncanny X-Men run is undoubtedly Claremont and Byrne’s classic Dark Phoenix Saga. told over the span of 37 issues and four years (most modern titles don’t even last half as long), this controversial story arc ends with the death of an original ‘X-Man’: marvel girl aka Jean Grey (but don’t worry, this is comics, she eventually comes back)
The appeal of this run by Claremont and Byrne however is the careful weaving of plot and slow unfolding of their tragic tale. A character met once, 10 or 20 issues back, or an event that happened early on and seemed irrelevant can turn out to be crucial later in the story. This gives the Phoenix Saga a layered sense of indicating allowing the reader to get to know and care about the characters as well as satisfying re-readings. Also, and unfortunately, it’s a lot of likely the reason why it’s so hard to film this story. The first attempt, the 2006 movie, X-Men: the Last Stand, ended up being the weakest film of the original X-Men trilogy. Of course, that doesn’t indicate Fox is ready to give up on the saga. The next version will be released February 2019. Without additionally delay, here are the Phoenix Keys:
Uncanny X-Men #101 (Oct. 1976) – first Phoenix, Phoenix Saga Begins
For what is ultimately a tragic tale, it actually starts with triumph and self-sacrifice. The X-Men had been battling long-time foe Magneto in space. They need to get back to earth but their shuttle is damaged with radiation levels rising and any attempt at reentry a certain death sentence. Jean uses her telekinetic powers to lock the X-Men into safety pods and then pilots the shuttle back to earth managing to land it in the ocean. That’s where X-Men #101 begins: A triumphant Jean rising out of the water, reborn. She is now Phoenix and the saga begins. This comic has been appreciating steadily and prices went up after the announcement of the movie. A 9.4. sold for $1,100.00 on Ebay on may 23rd.
Uncanny X-Men #132 (April 1980) – Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 4), first full Hellfire Club
This comic is underrated. Not only does it feature the first appearance of Donald Pierce (recently featured in the Logan motion picture played by Boyd Holbrook), but this is the first full appearance of the Hellfire Club, long time antagonists to the X-Men and Jason Wynegard, who has been appearing to Jean in dreams and seducing her, is revealed to be the mutant known as Mastermind. Still cost effective in high keys, this is probably a great investment and, over the last two years, has produced best returns on 9.0 graded copies.
Uncanny X-Men #134 (June 1980) – Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 6), first Jean as full Dark Phoenix
The tragic element of the story begins to surface here. Jean in Phoenix form was powerful, but as the power increases we learn that the Phoenix is an entity unto itself. Its nature is cosmic and no mere human girl (not even one who is a mutant) can consist of it. The Phoenix is revealed to be the Dark Phoenix in this issue. This comic is heating up in value, 8.0 grades are up 65% considering that last year.
Uncanny X-Men #137 (Sept. 1980) – Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 9), death of Jean Grey
This issue brings the Saga to an end. The Phoenix was taking over Jean’s mind and body, and its urge to feed had reached Galactus-like levels. Consuming a complete star system in the Shi’ar empire, and in the process killing all life therein, makes everyone aware of jnull
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