Dark Phoenix (Prices) Rising

X-Men #101

As we well know at this point, movie and television announcements spur comic sales. What’s even better is when that announcement is followed by a good movie, which isn’t always the case (remember X-Men: Apocalypse? The voice made Apocalypse sound like a chain smoker. I still hear it in my nightmares, and not for the right reasons). This is where the choice to sell early or wait until after the movie releases becomes an important issue. Where a good movie can boost sales, a bad one can lower value.

As I go to comic conventions and watch the Facebook sales pages, what I see consistently pricey is “X-Men” #101. For those who don’t know, this is the first appearance of Jean Grey as Phoenix, which is the celestial power that possesses Jean. The Phoenix turns evil, wreaks havoc or Havok if you prefer (X-humor, which sounds way worse now that I see it in print), and ultimately leads to the first of, like, a hundred times Jean dies. However many times Marvel tries to recreate the magic of the original Dark Phoenix Saga, that first death still has the most emotional impact, which only helps to keep the issues of this storyline popular.

Toward the conclusion of “X-Men: Apocalypse,” Jean goes Phoenix on the movie’s villain and sets up another film version of the Dark Phoenix Saga. We’ve seen this already in “X-Men: Final Stand,” and it was utterly horrendous, which did take away from the popularity of the original comics, but thankfully not too badly. It didn’t help things that Marvel has gone to the Phoenix well a little too often. Still, it’s remained an iconic X-Men storyline, and collectors have consistently sought it out.

The fervor for “X-Men” #101 has picked up now that Fox is officially moving ahead with a revamped edition of the Dark Phoenix Saga. According to the GoCollect database for graded sales, every grade of X-Men 101 is on the rise. As of this posting, anything above a 3.0 is averaging over $100. If you’re lucky enough to own a 9.6, that one is averaging nearly $800.

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I still have a bad taste left from the last X-Men movie. (I acknowledge that “Logan” is part of the X-franchise, but when I call Apocalypse the last installment, I’m referring to those movies focused on the team with the X in the title.) I was excited and eager for Apocalypse last summer, and as soon as the title character hit the screen, everything went downhill. By the end of the movie, I was ready for an X-Men reboot. And it’s for that reason that I’m not banking on X-Men 101 to hold its current inflated value.

The pieces are in place for Dark Phoenix to be another disappointment in the X-franchise. “Days of Future Past” was well done and mesmerizing both visually and from a storytelling perspective. It’s disappointing that Fox can’t keep that momentum going. I would not be surprised if Dark Phoenix turned out to be only marginally better than Final Stand.

My final advice: Sell ‘em if you got ‘em.

Dark Phoenix likely will be a forgettable movie just like its predecessor, X-Men:Apocalypse. The high interest in Phoenix will wane after the reviews start rolling in, and people won’t be jumping on the higher priced copies. Now would be the opportune time to make money off this issue. By the time it hits theaters, it’ll become a buyer’s market.

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