1979’s Uncanny X-Men #129-131 began the legendary Dark Phoenix Saga, which runs to issue #137. In those first three issues, we saw far more clearly the hooks that Jason Wyngarde got into Jean Grey, the Phoenix, and we saw more dramatically how Phoenix had been changing. She’d become more violent, sensual, tempted by emotions and desires she’d suppressed all her life. In the fictitious dream world that Wyngarde had been constructing in Jean’s mind, as a means to control her for the Hellfire Club, he’d been giving her unlimited power in a setting without moral restraint. Today I’m diving into the year 1980, with issues #132 – #134: the middle of the Dark Phoenix Saga and the progression of the corruption of Phoenix by the Hellfire Club.
Like most of you, I read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, so I was happy to see it get the premium specialty TV treatment, although I didn’t have the time or the right subscriptions to watch it until this year. I just binged all three seasons, and it’s a gem. It has a few flaws, the most major being its pacing, which might be why Starz dropped it after season three, but even these three seasons are a work of art.
My son is *super* excited about the MCU’s latest TV venture, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I thought Marvel did spectacular work with WandaVision (see my reviews here and here) which was a real stylistic and tonal departure from the movies. I came to Falcon and the Winter Soldier with less excitement in part because sometimes I feel just saturated with cape and cowl stories. Luckily, the first two episodes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier delivered in a way that really worked for me.
I’ve continued reading the Oz series by videoconferencing with my niece a few times a week. We’re having a lot of fun. Not long ago, we finished L. Frank Baum’s fourth entry in the series he really didn’t want to write, but as they say…. “if you back up a dump truck full of money…”
Dorothy is going to rejoin her Uncle Henry in California where he’s visiting his brother. She’s picked up at the train by Jeb and his horse and buggy. On the way to the ranch, a terrible earthquake opens the ground and swallows them up!
When the two first episodes of Marvel TV’s new WandaVision dropped six weeks ago, I blogged about my reaction to something that was at tonal right angles to everything else I’d seen from the MCU. I just finished watching the penultimate episode and now I think that the show is actually not even in the same ballpark as anything else produced by Kevin Feige.
It feels like the MCU and Vertigo Comics snuck off to have a weird love child. This series owes a lot more thematically and tonally to Tom King’s 12-issue Vision series (my blog thoughts here) than any of the regular Avengers comics. I’m going to go into why I would put this show in the same category as Westworld, but I might have to spoil one or two things. If that’s within your spoil tolerance, come onboard. If not, don’t hit the read more yet. I’ll wait.
I’ve been doing more reading with my 10-year old niece and book 3 of L. Frank Baum’s Oz series was a real treat. While I’d seen the Wizard of Oz of course, Ozma of Oz was the first book I’d read and luckily it can be read entirely fine with nothing more than the 1939 movie as an introduction. This book was also my introduction to the otherworldly art of John R. Neill.
Ozma of Oz was published in 1907, and as I’ve noted in my previous posts, L. Frank Baum’s series is really the first major American fantasy world. The story begins with Dorothy travelling with Uncle Henry on a steamer to Australia. A storm picks up and Dorothy is washed overboard.
Well, if you’ve been waiting for my epic reread of the Uncanny X-Men to reach one of the most consequential and memorable stories in comic history, your waiting has paid off. It only took 26 blog posts, but we’ve arrived at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga. This arc of the Dark Phoenix Saga, from issue #129 to #131 does some major things.
First, it introduces a mutant who will over the course of the coming decades become a very important X-Man and eventually one of the team leaders: Kitty Pryde. Second, it introduces a mutant who over than same time period will become an iconic X-Men rival and villain, and eventually an ally, teammate and leader herself: Emma Frost. Third, it deepens the corruption of Phoenix’ soul by Jason Wyngarde and Emma Frost.
Welcome to the 25th installment of my reread of The Uncanny X-Men from 1963’s issue #1. We’re now in 1979 and this post will cover issues #125-#128. This is a really memorable run for me for a few of reasons.
First of all, it’s an amazing 4-issue story with huge stakes and high drama, and an example of the Claremont-Byrne team entering their creative peak.
Second, in these 4 issues, some really messed up stuff starts to be revealed about the psychological manipulation of Phoenix that puts the whole series and Marvel history on a collision course with the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Third, issue #128 was one of the first four comics my mom gave me after she came back from a trip, and I remember reading it with a sense of wonder and confusion as I learned by myself how to read comics. I very shortly ended up trading parts of my fledgeling collection to a friend in return first for issue #125, and then finally issues #126 and #127 (and #137!). So my inexperience with the form as well as the non-linear way in which I absorbed the story are indelible parts of my view of what later became known as the Proteus saga.