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X-Men: Starjammers By Dave Cockrum review – Just in time for the Dawn of X

Brush up on Corsair and his space pirates ahead of their upcoming appearances.

The Starjammers. They’re space pirates who’ve been a part of the X-Men saga since their first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #104, way back in 1977. That means Corsair, Hepzibah, Raza and the rest of this merry gang of cosmic outlaws are older than Emma Frost, Rogue, Gambit, Bishop and countless other X-Men mainstays. And yet, you don’t see them all that often due to the constantly changing status quo of the X-Books.

Well, that sure has changed, as current X-Mastermind Jonathan Hickman appears to be all in on including the Starjammers in the continuing adventures of Marvel’s mutants. They’ve already appeared at a Summers family dinner in X-Men #1 and they’re set to appear once again in New Mutants #1.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Truly, there’s no better time for readers to get a little more familiar with these Chris Claremont co-creations, so Marvel’s released the oversized X-Men: Starjammers by Dave Cockrum trade paperback, which collects their first and later appearances, as illustrated by co-creator Cockrum. There’s some John Byrne and Paul Smith in the mix as well, but more on that later.

So, is this 450-page collection worth your hard-earned $39.99? I’ve read it, so follow along to see if this book’s right for you!

You should buy this if… you’re an X-Men fan

I guess I should say if you’re a diehard X-Men fan who hasn’t already read all the issues collected here. For the record, those issues are:

  • Uncanny X-Men #107-108
  • Uncanny X-Men #154-158
  • Uncanny X-Men #161-167
  • X-Men: Spotlight on Starjammers #1-2

Me? I’m a diehard X-Fan who’d read everything in here except for the Spotlight on Starjammers two-parter, so that was the main draw for me. With that said, the last two chapters of this trade are a throwaway space adventure tale written by Terry Kavanagh that doesn’t carry much weight. It does have latter-day art by Cockrum, though, which–in my opinion–looks stronger than his earlier pencils featured in the rest of this collection.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

But if you’re an X-Fan, or someone looking to become a little more knowledgeable about the world of X as you dig into those Dawn of X series, it’s hard not to recommend X-Men: Starjammers. You’ve got Claremont in his prime, exploring the relationship between Cyclops and Storm–two leaders trying to find their place among the X-Men–as well as Scott’s reunion with the father he thought dead: Corsair. You’ve also got Kitty Pryde and Colossus’ first kiss among other smaller moments that would form the foundation for X-Tales to come.

Quite a few of the stories in here were adapted into episodes of the X-Men Animated Series, so seeing them in their original form is cool too!

While the Starjammers certainly star in this, the real meat here is the “Brood Saga,” which probably would have been a better title for this one as it’s one of the X-Men’s most iconic sagas (they’ve got a few). But hey, #Marketing. While this storyline has been published in past trades, those no longer appear to be available, so this is your one-stop location for those first Brood issues.

Finally, the last few pages of this collection feature original Cockrum designs and pencils, including a sketch of Bloodstar, who would go on to become Corsair. Cool!

You should buy this if… you’re a Captain Marvel fan

Yep! Carol Danvers may not be on the front cover, but she’s on the back! In her Binary form, of course. That’s right, Captain Marvel fans, long before Carol was played by Brie Larson on the big screen, she was a regular in the X-Books. And she was also a bit lost–until Brood experiments transformed her into Binary. While the movie Carol didn’t look like her red-faced comics counterpart, those powers were definitely present in the film’s conclusion (also, probably the flick’s most powerful scene).

So if you’re looking to learn more about them–and the Starjammer phase of Carol’s life–then this book’s for you. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see Larson team up with the Starjammers in a future Marvel film, as these characters are all under the same roof.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

You should buy this if… you’re a fan of Cosmic Marvel stories

Disclaimer: I don’t really care for Cosmic Marvel stories–but you might! While these are very much X-Men stories (including all the heavy X-Continuity that scares away casual comics readers), characters like the Starjammers and Brood went on to become regulars in Cosmic Marvel events. If you like everything from space ships to space whales, you’ll might get a kick out these these sci-fi-heavy tales from a few decades ago. There’s even a little bit of Thanos in the mix!

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

You should buy this if… you’re a fan of good art

Come on, it’s got “Dave Cockrum” in the title. But aside from several issues worth of pencils from one of the greatest X-Men artists of all time (um, he designed Nightcrawler, among countless other iconic characters), we’ve also got early “Phoenix Saga” John Byrne and the beginning of Paul Smith’s stellar run. Work from these other artists are included simply because they’re finishing stories Cockrum started. But man is that smooth Smith art so cool to see. Truly one of the X-Men’s most underrated artists.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

In conclusion…

Do you fit into any one of those categories? If so, then this may be your next TPB purchase. Like many recent Marvel tomes that collect older stories, it’s not going to be the most consistent read. These comics were created long before writers understood the benefits of “writing for the trade.” Aside from the “Brood Saga,” which is a more cohesive story with a beginning and an end (for Claremont, at least), treat the rest of this as a time capsule–as well as a nice primer for the more cosmic aspects of the Dawn of X.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

X-Men: Starjammers By Dave Cockrum
Is it good?
Not a cohesive story from beginning to end, but enough essential X-Men stories and reveals to make this worth your while.
An ideal collection for Dawn of X readers who have never heard of the Starjammers.
Collects the "Brood Saga" - an early X-Men classic.
Lots of key moments in X-Men - and Marvel - history.
Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, John Byrne and Paul Smith - bringing their A-game.
Don't expect a cohesive story from the first page to the last.
If you're not an X-Fan, a lot of Claremont subplots won't mean much.

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