Retro Review: X-Men # 3 By Chris Claremont and Jim Lee

Retro Review 1

X-Men 3 (1991)

Published by Marvel Comics

Written by Chris Claremont

Art by Jim Lee

From time to time, I’ve looked for reviews on past issues and found that there are none to be found for many comics.  So what I’m doing with the Retro Review is I’m going into my long boxes and grabbing one random issue from it once a week.  Some reviews might be from comics originally published 30 years ago and some might only be from the past decade.  However, I will not be recommending for people to buy it or anything, but rather I’ll be providing it with a rating out of 10.

The Plot

Professor Xavier, Moira MacTaggart, and the Blue Team (Cyclops, Psylocke, Rogue, Gambit, Beast, and Wolverine) have been captured and brainwashed by Magneto and his Acolytes.  So now it’s up to the Gold Team (Marvel Girl, Iceman, Colossus, Archangel, and Storm) accompanied by Banshee and Forge to rescue them.  The Gold Team is outside of Asteroid M preparing to infiltrate it.  Inside Magneto is raging on Moira who altered him years ago in an attempt to make him into a better person.  One by one, the Blue Team is coming out of their trances.  The Gold Team makes it into Asteroid M and they quickly find Professor Xavier who much to the surprise of the X-Men cracks a joke.  The Gold Team then faces off of the Blue Team and the Acolytes until all of the Blue Team finally emerges from their trances.  Magneto is then forced to stop a plasma cannon firing upon Asteroid M.  Moira reveals that Magneto’s trusted Acolyte, Fabian Cortez, is utilizing his powers to fool Magneto into believing that he’s healing him.  Professor Xavier and Magneto then engage in yet another philosophical debate about their dreams both vocally and telepathically.  The X-Men all safely escape from Asteroid M and Professor Xavier then provides everyone with a motivational speech.

The Breakdown

I remember as a kid reading this issue the first time around and being excited at the prospect of Cyclops being a member of the X-Men once again.  He took a long hiatus (5 years in real time) and lead X-Factor during this time.  Also, the X-Men spent the better part of two years disbanded after being forced into the Siege Perilous.  So all around, this was an exciting time to be an X-Men fan.  We were also treated to seeing Jim Lee’s interpretation of Colossus and Iceman as well as Joe Rosas’ colouring, which was very dynamic at the time.  Visually, these comics did help the industry evolve in order to become more…well…dynamic.  The story was straightforward and was effective at temporarily benching Magneto for a bit in order to focus on new villains, etc.  Reading this story also reminded me of how Jean Grey was the glue and not necessarily Cyclops.  Wolverine was not yet overexposed in this story and it was still kind of cool when you see the words “Snikt” being used.  Also, at the time I remember being shocked when learning at the end that Claremont was leaving the X-Men after his lengthy and legendary run.  This was well before the internet and word took much longer to get around.  The characters’ interactions with one another were still pretty fresh as well (Psylocke, Gambit with Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, etc.).  Even the ads were interesting to look at.  I forgot about Derrick Coleman until I saw the Fleer NBA card set, which contained his rookie card.  I also remember so wanting those old Marvel t-shirts with the comic panels on them.  I recall having two copies of this issue, one for reading and the other got bagged because there was no way that these comics wouldn’t make me rich or at least pay for my university many years down the road.  This was a solid issue overall.

BUT…

One annoying aspect of the story was that this marked the beginning of the Gambit and Rogue saga.  Even though it was brief, it foreshadowed their relationship.  Gambit was still kind of cool here as well, such a far cry from what he’s become.  I never realized it at the time, but was Chris Claremont always so wordy? This series truly influenced comics in the 90s in both good and bad ways (which I’ll get into more in depth some other time).  Unfortunately, reading this comic reminded me how much I used to like Wolverine and Cyclops as well.  I still don’t get it, Scarlett Witch was controlled by Doctor Doom and gets a pass, but Cyclops was still affected by being possessed by Apocalypse AND then a cosmic entity and now he’s the worst villain of all time.  This comic was only a buck twenty-five (a buck if you were in the states).

Rating:  8/10

It was a fun issue with action and some character depth (I originally had it at 7.5).  Some may think that’s a bit high, but in comparison to what’s going on with the X-Men today, this definitely makes me long for simpler times.  Also, this was a very well put together comic.  At the time when I originally read it, I probably would have given it a 10/10.

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