Uncanny X-Men Issue #95 (October 10, 1975)
Story By: Chris Claremont
Art By: Dave Cockrum and Gil Kane
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Brief Description: The X-Men stop Count Nefaria from starting a nuclear war, but one of the X-Men dies in this issue!
Characters Introduced in This Issue: None
Recurring Characters in This Issue: Count Nefaria, the Ani-Men, Wolverine, Storm, Banshee, Professor X, Colossus, Cyclops, Thunderbird, Nightcrawler
This issue takes place right after the last issue ended with the X-Men falling through the air after their jet was blown up. The X-Men team up so that none of them die in the fall.
Once they reach the ground, Nightcrawler infiltrates Count Nefaria’s base with his teleportation powers. Nightcrawler battles a frog man named Croaker and then is able to let the rest of the X-Men into the evil hideout.
When they enter the base, the X-Men do battle against Nefaria’s Ani-Men and defeat them.
However after thinking they are victorious, the X-Men realize that this was all a trap and the base will self destruct imminently.
Thunderbird notices that Nefaria is trying to escape in a plane and the mutant jumps on top of the plane. Determined to stop Nefaria, Thunderbird destroys the plane and it blows up in mid air, killing Thunderbird and theoretically killing Count Nefaria.
The rest of the X-Men escape the base before it blows up, but they are all distraught when they realize that Thunderbird has died.
This issue was a slight improvement over the last issue, but this is still a bad start for the Claremont run on the X-Men.
Thunderbird’s death is important in the ways that it effects other characters like Cyclops and Professor X, but Thunderbird is essentially a throw away character. He only appeared in 3 issues before his death and he was barely characterized at all in his time in the X-Men universe. It seems like John Proudstar was created solely so that he could be killed.
I also still hate the way Dave Cockrum draws faces. Hopefully he improves soon.
This issue is not all bad though. I always enjoy the trope where the X-Men fall through the air and this one was also enjoyable. The battles between the X-Men and the Ani-Men were also enjoyable, even though the Ani-Men are very bland villains.
This issue wasn’t very good, but at least it wasn’t as bad as the last issue.
One final note:
1. As we see in this issue, Banshee and Professor X are greatly affected by Thunderbird’s death. The rest of the team will also show their pain at their loss in the coming issues.