I bought this from Mile High Comics when I was 14 with Christmas money in 1983 or 84. I wish I could remember what I paid for it, but it was a lot to me as a kid. Certainly the first expensive collectible I ever bought. I had read about it and wanted to own an important X-Men book. It sat in storage for decades until I pulled it out last year and shared it here, not intending to post my whole collection much less write a recap of the issue.
This issue marked the X-Men’s return to the stands after Giant Sized X-Men 1. Originally intended as Giant Sized 2, the issue was split into two parts, 94 and 95. Len Wein and Dave Cockrum created the team, many of the character designs coming from Cockrum’s work on Legion of the Super Heroes. Plotted by Wein, former intern Chris Claremont was brought in to write the series, having sat in on the work sessions for GSXM1.
The initial splash page is great, the old and new teams reflected in a mirror behind Xavier’s head. The first piece of business is to get rid of the old team, so they inform X they have grown up and are leaving to lead their own lives, with only The Man Called Cyclops remaining. Jean and Scott profess their love for each other, and then she’s gone. Don’t worry, bud, she’ll be back…
The new team quickly fractures as well. Sunfire tells everyone to go to hell and flies off. Good riddance. Banshee decides to stay along with the others. Weeks of training in the Danger Room are covered in a really nice splash page as the team comes together and works on their skills. Thunderbird gets injured and the hothead mutant argues rudely with Cyclops.
Meanwhile, Valhalla mountain, site of the NORAD nuclear command center, is rather easily taken over by Count Nefaria (last seen in issue 22)and his freaky Ani-Men. He takes the world hostage, threatening nuclear annihilation if he isn’t paid millions of dollars.
The Avengers are busy, so Hank McCoy calls in the X-Men. The team flies to Colorado in the Blackbird but are promptly shot out of the sky by a ray and when last we see them they are all plummeting through the sky.
A lot of people comment that the first Cockrum run is superior to the second. He has a lot of nice moments in this issue and the dialogue from Claremont is energetic and fun.