THE UNCANNY X-MEN #143
(Cover by Terry Austin)
Published and © by Marvel, Mar. 1981
Synopsis: Home alone in the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, Kitty Pryde earns her “X” squaring off against a N’Garai demon.
Writer/co-plotter: Chris Claremont
Penciler/co-plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Review: Chris Claremont and John Byrne end their historic collaboration on X-Men on a high note, with a solo story that helped establish Kitty Pryde as a Bronze Age fan favorite. Macaulay Culkin has nothing on the future Shadowcat, who spent her Christmas home alone in a life-or-death struggle with an Alien-style demon. Claremont’s story delivers excellent character moments throughout (including the classic Kitty-Colossus mistletoe sequence), though his internal monologues can be a little much. Byrne’s art is spectacular, as is Terry Austin’s inking (and cover!) This entire run captured lightening in a bottle; mainstream comics have rarely been this good.
Second opinion: “An excellent issue of Uncanny X-Men and a fine farewell to a great pairing on the book.” — Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resources. … “The holiday spirit is fairly strong in this issue, and not just for corny reasons … 5 out of 5 stars.” — James Hunt, Den of Geek!.
Cool factor: This is one of the issue’s responsible for your Comics Bronze Age editor’s lifelong comic-book addiction.
Not-so-cool factor: From the “X-Mail” letters page: “John Byrne has resigned as penciler on the X-Men. This is his last issue. It is also Terry Austin’s last issue as inker on the book.” And so it ends. Sniff.
Notable: Last John Byrne X-Men. … The “X-Mail” letters page includes an LOC from future comics writer Kurt Busiek, who hated Claremont and Byrne’s X-Men run. … Tom Neely, of “The Blot” fame, did a wonderful one-page, cartoon synopsis of this issue.
Character quotable: “… we kind’a wrecked the Danger Room. And the Blackbird. And the hangar. And a lot of the house.” — Kitty Pryde, force of nature.