A Very Merry X-Mas! - 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'

Welcome to the eleventh installment of A Very Merry X-Mas, where I count down my 24 favorite X-Men (or X-Men related) Christmas stories!

Today, we look at #13 in the countdown, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin from X-Men #119.

This is a weird one. It is specifically CALLED "Twas the Night Before Christmas"...

but here's the weird thing. It's called "Twas the Night Before Christmas"....because that just happens to be when the story is set! Well, for most of the issue, at least. For the majority of the story, this is a simple action adventure of the X-Men (and Sunfire and Misty Knight and Colleen Wing) facing off against Moses Magnum for the fate of Japan.

And it IS a cool story, which is why it is hard to knock it too far down the list, as this is right in the middle of the legendary Byrne/Claremont/Austin run of comic book stories which is, well, you know, legendary.

The big change in this issue is that Byrne and Claremont decided to finally write Banshee out of the book by having him save the day but lose his voice in the process. This was a few issues after Byrne and Claremont had split the X-Men up following a battle at Magneto's polar headquarters. Phoenix and Beast believed that they were the only survivors while Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm and Banshee believed that THEY were the only survivors and unlike Phoenix and Beast, who were rescued by Professor X, the other X-Men had to find their way home the loooooooooooong way, starting with a visit to the Savage Land and then a trip to Japan. As the book began to spotlight Phoenix more, though, Byrne and Claremont likely felt that they had to lighten the cast load a little bit, so Banshee was written out (well, not COMPLETELY written out, but done as a superhero for quite a number of years...)...

This was during a weird period where the X-Men were implausibly unaware that Beast and Jean Grey were still alive. Beast was a famous Avenger! How did they not think to call the Avengers to tell them that their teammate was dead!

Anyhow, after Banshee recovered from his injury, the X-Men celebrate Christmas in an adorable sequence...

We then see Phoenix's story move forward, as well, as she travels to Muir Island for the next stage in her own independent adventures (which will end up with her under the thrall of Mastermind)...

A Christmas issue right smack in the midst of an iconic comic book run had to come SOMEwhat high on the list, but it was also not really much about Christmas, so middle of the pack sounds about right to me.

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