Great Pages: UNCANNY X-MEN #142

Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 1) #142 (1981)

From Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 1) #142 (1981)

Readers were introduced to the distant future of 2013 in the Days of Future Past storyline in Uncanny X-Men. A possible future for the Marvel Universe was presented, one in which anti-mutant hysteria reached its height in the 1980s and stayed there for years. Sentinels were put into mass production and began killing mutants at an alarming rate. In the second part of this two-part tale, a future Wolverine and Colossus attempted to infiltrate the Sentinel stronghold. Just as Wolverine set up a killing blow, a Sentinel spotted him and used its powerful blast attack to kill the aging hero. Wolverine died instantly.

Modern fans of Wolverine may be surprised to see the seemingly immortal hero dispatched so easily. Early in Wolverine’s creation, his healing factor wasn’t up to its current level. It was conceivable that a direct blast from a powerful Sentinel could kill him even if later stories showed that he could somehow live through an atom bomb attack. Here, Chris Claremont and John Byrne give one possible outcome for the fan favorite character. We’ll have to wait and see if this page is referenced in next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past film.


  1. I love old comics. Days of Future past was a terrific story, and it was told in two issues. That same story today would be a twelve issue mini series with eight month of crossovers in every monthly book, plus three separate tie in mini series, plus four issues of Colossus and Wolverine standing in that doorway discussing the attack.

    • I was going to say the same thing. I would like to read Avengers, New Avengers, X-Men etc. but Hickman,Remender and the other writers can’t seem to tell a story without it being one long saga. They are good writers but seem to have one idea and stretch it out as long as they can. It is so tedious to read comics today. I want to support the industry but they are making it really hard these days.

    • I agree completely as well. I remember buying those off the rack in high school and the story was so densely packed and well wriiten that I am spoiled for that kind of storytelling now. Bendis non-Powers work, Hickman, etc. just draw things out needlessly and it becomes forgettable by the time the next issue comes out. When X-Men 141 came out, we were counting the days to #142 and re-rereading that #141 until the new one came out. This may not be the decision of the creators involved, it may be editorial, but the first comment was so spot-on, if this two-issue story was done now it would be 6 issues minimum, have several tie-ins, and lose whatever steam and impact it should have had.

    • I like the long saga aspect of modern writers much more than the old school stuff. For example, look at Morrisons great Batman run, or Remenders Uncanny X-Force. Thats something that was unheard of back then.
      But then again, I am not one of the most nostalgic comic readers. I always liked the present of comics, no matter when it was.

    • “Hickman,Remender and the other writers can’t seem to tell a story without it being one long saga”

      I would argue that they both could, and choose sometimes not to, and that there are editorial pressures to sell more comics.

      Look at some of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men issues…there have been some great 1 issue stories, some incredibly imaginative short arcs, as well as a long-building narrative being told. Same for Remender. Even Hickman has told some great 1 issue stories in recent Avengers (Hyperion & Smasher issues, the Casino issue), even though other stuff is going on.

      And while Days of Future Past took 2 issues, you could just as easily say that Claremont allowed those seeds to meander for YEARS. I mean, Rachel Summers started there, and telling her story just dragged and dragged.

      Anyway, there’s my cautionary tale about grass being greener. 🙂

  2. This is a great page.

  3. This scene also shows the BIONIC housing s for Wolverine’s claws I believe.

  4. Ha, The future storyline in Days of Futures Past is supposed to have happened this year? I didn’t realize that.

  5. I remember being shocked by this page as a kid.

    In my opinion, Wolverine’s a much more interesting character when he’s written with at least some vulnerabilities. As a longtime fan of the character, nothing burns me up (no pun intended) more than when he’s drawn walking around as a metal skeleton with flesh dripping off him like some kinda T800.

    • Completely agree.

      Wolverine’s appeal was that he could heal but he wasn’t invulnerable. I can’t stand when they show him instantly healing from catastrophic injuries. He becomes a much more compelling character when he has to overcome the injuries.

    • I agree as well — it’s absurd the level they’ve taken his healing factor. And people complain about Superman or Specter being too powerful to be interesting — it’d be easier kill either of them probably. Unless of course, you’re Bendis and can have one Wolverine kill the other quite simply off panel, no fuss, no muss. “You know what to do” If you say so . . .

    • He still can be killed by a bucket of water, as Aaron recently explored.

    • Dang! Edit!!! I think it was Remender.

  6. Oh how I miss good John Byrne. Also isn’t the new Xmen First Class movie supposed to be based on this story arc?

  7. It’s July and I haven’t gotten to round up a single filthy mutie? Thanks, Obama.

  8. Something else you see in this amazing page that is frequently lost in modern books…..HE’S SHORT!

    He is supposed to be like 5’3″ and when artists draw him taller it takes something away from the character.

  9. I’m a huge fan of John Byrne’s art. Very detailed and clear.

    • Likewise!! Growing up I followed Byrne to whichever title he was on!!
      Alpha Flight? Awesome, jumped on board.
      Fantastic Four ? Great, count me in!!
      West Coast Avengers? Sure,I’m in.
      I even jumped on Man of Steel after a long time dislike of Superman comics (growing up)

    • And Terry Austin’s ink over his pencil is the best.

  10. X-Men at it’s best with Claremont and Bryne. Never got any better than this

  11. MarvelZombie2099 (@jefflovegrove) says:

    I think the Days of Future Past years passed quite a while back actually. I think it was supposed to be set in 1988 or something close to that. Byrne has his share of haters, but I always loved his art. Everyone today forgets that Wolverine is supposed to be short. Byrne always drew him short.

    The whole story was told in two comic books, with no special miniseries or hype, and yet people still talk about it today. There is a lesson here, Marvel.

  12. Dude…those buttery John Byrne pencils with just the right amount of Terry Austin seasoning.

    Kids, the Claremont/Byrne X-Men run is an international treasure. Not to be missed.

    • You, don’t forget the secret ingredient Terry Austin. I remember hearing Byrne talk about Terry using french curves to give the best arc to Wolverine’s shoulder pads. I mean, the guy just DID NOT CUT CORNERS! And it shows in every panel. Just look at how many tee-square and triangle lines are on that computer bank alone…then the windows, the floor and ceiling…and that was one panel.

      Guy is amazing.

  13. Of course now a days he can get shot at by a Sentinel and brush it off like a mosquito bite. That’s how overpowered his healing factor is now a days.

  14. Thanks Jeff for an awesome blast from the past!!
    Growing up Claremont and Byrne were the staple of my comic reading.
    a 2 issue arc that just blew me away