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The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #3

The countdown continues with 1980’s “Demon” from Uncanny X-Men #143 by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin…

In this story, the final issue of the acclaimed Chris Claremont/John Byrne/Terry Austin run on X-Men, Kitty Pryde is feeling the blues on Christmas Eve because she is without her family for the holidays. She is keeping up with her X-Men studies, though, in an impressively subtle piece of foreshadowing…

As mentioned, this was the last issue John Byrne co-plotted on the book before he left the title, and you can tell the difference between Byrne X-Men and post-Byrne X-Men really well in this sequence featuring Wolverine…

Byrne’s Wolverine is just like that – a guy who could go off on his best friend without even thinking about it. Post-Byrne Wolverine was, well, a Samurai. Not saying one way is better than the other, just noting that it is a significant difference.

So anyways, Kitty is alone and she is attacked by a demon (who was last seen forty or so issues ago – helpfully recapped in the beginning of the issue)…

The rest of the issue shows Kitty thinking on her feet as she manages to survive the demon’s attacks, until she finally figures out a way to stop it, using her training from earlier in the day (if you haven’t read this issue, you might want to stop reading this piece now)…

Isn’t it striking how well-crafted that sequence is, right down to the hand popping out of the flames? SUCH a great job by John Byrne.

Of course, this being a holiday issue, things end happily as Kitty’s parents show up (it turns out Xavier was going to get them to surprise Kitty) and we get a nice coda to the book…

If you’re going to leave a comic, this is as good of a way to leave as any! A very good issue.

26 Comments

I believe it’s the latest version of the Days of Future Past trade that has everything from that post-Phoenix saga recap/Jean funeral issue (138) through this, with an annual in there too, and I remember being impressed with how meaty the book was. 7 issues, by my count, and it had so much interesting stuff going on it was like a 25 issue run of things today ;)

This was a good issue, but I’m not a big Kitty fan. But very well done stuff.

The Crazed Spruce

December 23, 2013 at 2:07 am

Am I the only one who’s surprised that it only ranked third? I figured it was a shoo-in for the top spot.

Great story – though I disqualified it from my personal list of votes due to the Christmas aspect not being significant enough
(so I’m still on 3 out of 10…and may remain that way…)

Spruce, I figured it would come in at #2. Giffen and Bisley must have surely had the top spot locked up the moment voting started. Racking my brain to think of another Christmas issue that will fit in at #2, but it’s pretty early and my brain isn’t working yet.

Solid work from the days when I really loved XMen.

#2 must be “Silent” — except for the boys of a certain PD choir.

i remeber reading a copy of this issue and how kitty wound up proving by the battle with the beast she is truely an xman not to mention storm crack of what good is controlling the weather if i can’t have a nice xmas without a major snow storm.

I now have no idea what is going to be #1. I thought it would be this. And that’s not sour grapes. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 10 have made my list, and this was only 10. I wasn’t expecting my higher up ones to be on there, and really don’t expect my missing issues to make it anyway. (I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers by saying I’m not shocked my #3 I’ll be Doom for Christmas is no where to be seen). So I’m glad no matter how it goes. But it is interesting to see more twists and turns to this one than a lot of the other polls.

Gah…got so into the poll didn’t get into this post. I think the ongoing/growing Mariko relationship was a lot of why Wolverine was becoming a Samurai. To try and prove worthy of her love, and not just an animal. That’s why killing her was the worst thing Hama ever did. He’s been directionless for so long he hasn’t had any reason to try and be a better man, rather than the Billy Bad Ass 365 days a year. The headmaster at the school thing could serve a like purpose if he wasn’t already appearing in 30 different titles with completely different uses and characterizations in each.

There was something to be said for characters primarily appearing in one title back in the day….(Or writers realizing that the Avengers wasn’t the place to radically alter Captain America’s personality and such over his own book).

I actually read this before I saw Alien, so I didn’t get that this was an homage.

And then only about a dozen issues later, they created ANOTHER thinly-veiled Alien homage, the Brood. For the longest time when I was a kid, I remembered this issue as involving a Brood and was surprised when I reread it to discover that it was actually a demon (N’garai, yes?) that just happened to be very, very similar to them.

Aside from the setup of Kitty being alone for the Holidays. This story has absolutely nothing to do with X-Mas. It doesnt figure into the plot, the resolution, or even Kitty’s character (she’s a Jew after all). Yea its a fine story in and of itself, but it doesn’t deser to be on the list at al. Let alone ranked so high.

Kitty Pryde is feeling the blues on Christmas Eve

… but she’s jewish? Was she not originally or something?

She can still feel the blues on Christmas Eve even if she’s Jewish. Everyone else is with their friends and family and she’s by herself.

It doesn’t make any sense though. Did hanukkah and christmas not even close to overlap that year? And aren’t most (or all?) of the X-Men ostracized from their families for being mutants? I mean when did you ever see Jubliee call her folks or whatever?

I was also pretty sure this would be number one. Huh.

And Buttler, I actually STILL usually forget this issue doesn’t feature a Brood. Then one of these articles comes along and reminds me. Then I forget again.

All the people trying to split hairs and say this isn’t a Christmas story probably think that “Home Alone” and “Die Hard” aren’t Christmas stories, either.

Did hanukkah and christmas not even close to overlap that year?

The end of Hanukkah was two weeks before Christmas in 1980. So not as far apart as THIS year, when they’re three weeks apart, but still pretty far.

If she’s intangible why duck the blow, why run away? Just stand there and let it try to punch you.

DC Sheehan – after being clawed by it once while phased and being hurt she wasn’t going to stand and do it again
the demon is magical – it hurts her even while she is phased

With this, two my ten have made this list. This was my number one, love this issue.

Anonymous, Hank, Jean and Colossus were all close to their families, IIRC (of course, in the decades since, maybe they’re all retconned into abused kids). And a lot of Christmas stories don’t really depend on Christmas: it’s an excuse to bring the family together, or have people miss their folks, or struggle to get home, or to highlight how miserable the protagonist’s life is.

To me it seems that the bulk of the story (pages 9 to 20) have nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas.
The only Crhistmas related scenes in the story not featured above are page 4 (a young couple getting a tree for their first Christmas get killed and eaten [body and soul] by the demon as the first of many victims), and page 8 (where Cyclops calls, wishing everyone a happy Christmas and remembers the loneliness of his Christmases in the orphanage).
This was in my votes for my favourite Kitty Pryde stories but did not make my list for my favourite Christmas story or my favourite Wolverine story or my favourite Storm story.
And if anyone does spend their Christmases running from a demon out to eat their soul then they have my sympathy

I’m shocked that this wasn’t number one. Pretty sure I voted it my favorite X-Men story.

@John King: That’s how I spend Christmas most years, but it’s not holiday specific. I just run from a lot of demons in general.

Placed in an awkward situation by his agent, Pryor said he and Allen are “on the same page” after a Tuesday discussion. Pryor further distanced himself from Stanley, stating that he never once considered that Allen would factor in anything but winning games

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