Uncanny X-Men 135-137

The Dark Phoenix Saga


Just in case I don't get the message across correctly, I'll just come out and say it : The Dark Phoenix Saga is the best story arc in the Claremont-Byrne run. Byrne's art is topnotch but it is Claremont who really pulls out all the stops. Plotting is faultless, sequences blend into each other seemlessly with well-timed transitions, dialogue is in character. Best of all is the pacing, as Claremont builds up to several key moments in the story with heart-wrenching effectiveness. This is as flawless as this run can get. It is a joy to read.

Claremont and Byrne expand the backdrop to galactic levels. This panel is representative of that.

the galactic races

To the left is the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree Empire. To the right the ruler of the Skrull Empire. In the foreground Lilandra, Majestrix Shi'ar with her ministers. These are the three galaxy-spanning races of the Marvel Universe - a testament to how big this storyline is.

This is the core event of the storyline.


The murder of five billion innocents by the Phoenix. Jean Grey is one of the gentlest, kindest, X-Men, just imagine what this does to her - not to mention the rest of the team.

There are so many great things in this three-issue arc. If you read closely you'll notice a vindication of sorts for Professor X - the last few issues have been showing a strained, subtle competition between him and Cyclops; here too is the ending between the long running romance between Scott Summers and Jean Grey. The battle scene is from the best of the X-Men tradition: they are outnumbered, outgunned and running out of time - this always brings out the best in them. Build up of the story is strong, and the ending is very satisfying.

One thing though, the story arc can be read as a standalone tale but it will reward those who are familiar with recent X-Men history. Jean Grey's inner conflict starts long before issue 135 and many other subplots have their origins from previous issues. But don't let this stop you, I won't even hesitate to recommend this to those who haven't read a single issue of the X-Men.

Posted by  Pete Albano - December 1, 2011

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uncanny x-men 135 cover

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X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga

Marvel Masterworks: Uncanny X-Men Vol. 5 (Hardcover)

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Marvel Masterworks Uncanny X-Men HC (2003)

Uncanny X-Men (1963) comic books

If you're not familiar with Marvel Masterworks, this is what it's like :


108 : Shi'ar

111-113 : Magneto

114-116 : Savage Land

117 : Professor X Psi-War

118-119 : Japan Earthquake

109, 120-121, 139-140 : Alpha Flight

122-124 : Arcade

125-128 : Proteus

110, 129-134 : Hellfire Club

135-137 : The Dark Phoenix Saga

138 : Cyclops Leaves

141-142 : Days of Future Past

143 : Christmas with Kitty

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Claremont & Byrne Run

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