There was a discussion on this at the Gentlemen of Leisure website a while back- someone argued that while Rogue is in the driver's seat and not Carol, she has Carol's memories of flying but not her reflexes, which makes her a poor pilot.
As discussed, in this issue Reed tells Thing that he can change back to Ben at any time. Thing responds that this is no longer true, expressing his belief that while he knows everything that happened on Battleworld for the past few issues has been a figment of his imagination, he thinks that when he killed the imaginary evil Ben Grimm, he killed the Ben Grimm side of him.
Strangely, only two issues later, some leprechauns grant him 3 wishes, and he uses one of them to change back to Ben. However, he then needs to become Thing again to save his life, and so uses his last wish to change back to Thing. However he decides that the leprechauns must have been a dream, so the readers know that he is wrong about having killed Ben Grimm, but I think he continues to mope about it.
While it would make sense to us on Earth-Prime to not believe in leprechauns, Thing does live in a world where undersea kingdoms, vampires, sorcerers, the Impossible Man etc all exist, so it's strange how Marvel heroes draw the line at leprechauns as being too silly to be real.
Unless, of course, Thing is creating obstacles so he can't turn back to Ben, and refuses to accept any contradictions of this...
He smells bad because he doesn't have access to a shower.
As I recall, every Avenger who reacts negatively to D-Man is either a jerk (Namor, Moondragon, Starfox, Hercules) or has a super-sensitive sense of smell (Tigra). Even the Panther, who has a sensitive nose, tries to talk Namor down about it.
[We do see Firebird looking at him, but in her case it's probably Christian concern.]
Their reactions to D-Man say something about them, not about him.
To be fair, no one sits close to him, but to also be fair, he smells pretty damn bad. And he's well aware of it, but doesn't let it stop him from doing his job or dealing with the others pleasantly.
I really like D-Man; I always wanted to do a D-Man mini-series.
Rogue here comments that Maddie is coming along, "we finally got ourselves a first class pilot" & that they don't have to put up with her anymore. Claremont had introduced Psylocke as being a charter pilot (something she'd surely have mentioned to the team since at first she seemed to worry whether the team had a use for her. Not sure if Claremont had forgotten, though he will make reference to it in #256) and Rogue has Carol Danvers' memories, who Claremont had established was a "topnotch pilot" in the Air Force.
I never pay much attention to who out of the X-Men is flying the Blackbird, whoever it is always seems competent at it, but at this point they have a surplus of first class pilots.
Well, it's not hard for me to believe that a man whose scientific achievements include shrinking/growing methods and the creation of artificial intelligence, might also be able to find a way to disguise himself from super-people whose abilities he knows well. His super-suit somehow scrambles the Vision's sensors, throws off the Panthe's senses, disguises his voice, etc.
Regarding the legality of the marriage, it might be valid because the Avengers seem to enjoy a special legal status that grants them special clearances and so on. Sort of like military justice works in the case of soldiers.
My "Great FF Re-Read" has included over the past year a rotation with three other books. Among those were The Thing because the earliest issues coincided with FF and West Coast Avengers #'s 1-20 after I finished my Avengers run at # 275. The Thing mutating story seemed to start up out of nowhere. No fighting a radiation type villain or anything that indicated an event that would trigger it. It just starts up. In WCA he agrees to join in one issue and is a no-show the next, mutating unseen and disappearing.
Then this issue he does a John Cleese "I got better".
So yeah, all that for nothing.
That was my impression also, at the time. I've long felt that the Rogue character had been heavily retconned, almost beyond recognition from her original blueprints, but I'm told, and have some vague memories of it also, that Chris Claremont has assured us that he had her all planned out in advance, so it's pretty hard to argue against that.
Franklin's seemingly magical powers first began showing themselves at least as early as Fantastic Four #129-132 (1972-3), when Roy Thomas was writing FF, although his powers weren't being shown at a god-like threat level yet. Still, it'd been a long developing plot angle, since Franklin's birth in FF Annual #6 (1968), that Sue's and Reed's son was almost sure to develop powerful and strange cosmic-ray stimulated powers, which would probably be even more powerful than those of his parents, because Annihilus' cosmic control rod had been used to control the cosmic radiation in Susan's blood at the time of his birth. And that was from the Lee & Kirby days.
I noticed that Franklin isn't listed under the characters appearing for this entry, but maybe that's because this was an alternate universe version of Franklin who never appeared again (except maybe in a godzillion or so flashbacks)?
When discussing the topic of Rogue and Carol Danvers, when I read these issues in real time, for some reason when I read about Rogue's absorption of Carol's persona and powers, I always thought the only reason she began to feel guilty and to have a conscience was because of the effect Carol's persona was having on her. It always seemed to me that if she ever lost the Carol part of her that she would have reverted back to being a bad guy. I know that's not what happened, but that was my interpretation when I was a teenager.
Yay for the demon who gets the girl in the end! It makes you wonder how many other "failed demons" there are walking around in human form. Also, I love that Hellstrom taught in the "Para-Psychology Department," lecturing on various planes of existence. It makes perfect sense that this would be a legitimate branch of academic study in the 616-verse.
I'm certain, this is the first adult appearance of a Franklin Richards. Yep, the god-like power level threat first resolves in FF #141. J, son of K is right about FF #245 and I agree, by DoFP, the potential of his personally-available power wasn't established.
@Michael - I confess it is a while since I've read that one. Now you mention it I do recall Beyonder giving Rachel the choice between saving her friends & killing him. Still, I know they do smash up some of the Sentinels themselves without anyone getting disintegrated :-)
@Chris Z - Yeah I'm no expert on Franklin but I think really both Wolverine & Franklin's power levels are probably correctly portrayed for 1980, just they've both had a lot of power creep since then. As you mention, the portrayal of a grown-up Franklin (& Kitty), Wolverine actually dying & seeing the skeleton, etc all seemed incredible the first time you read it.
Not sure exactly when Franklin first was portrayed as godlike, I have dim memories of his power being a plot point in the Conway FF (& that Annihilus tried to use his powers somehow) but I feel like Byrne's FF, with the old Franklin in #245 able to transform both his own body & the Thing's, & then later the young Franklin destroying Mephisto, were when we started seeing real displays of what he could do. So maybe at the time of DoFP all that hadn't been established yet.
Jonathan, regarding Franklin Richards in Days of Future Past: Isn’t this the first time he’s shown as an adult? I read it in real time, and was not very conversant in Marvel lore back then, but I recall my sense of wonder at the revelation that a grown Franklin was the sole survivor of the FF.
Byrne (and Claremont) seemed to be blazing a trail with the character, and it excited subsequent creators who delivered the godlike Franklin you describe. But to me, for sheer uncanniness, none of them beats that first future Franklin.
Not only does this arc feature what is surely the most-easily-killed Wolverine you'll ever see (presumably if Claremont & Byrne had stayed just 2 or 3 panels longer in 2013, we'd have seen Wolverine now completely healed after being reduced to an adamantium skeleton, telling the readers it was just a flesh wound), but I think it's also the only version of adult Franklin who isn't so incredibly powerful that he could sort out this whole thing by himself. Other adult Franklins get to destroy Celestials, or are immortals who will be there to accompany Galactus when this universe comes to an end, even younger Franklins can destroy Mephisto or create pocket universes... but this guy, nada.
Alternative universes always seem weaker than the mian universe. in UXM #202, Beyonder has the team fight a group of Omega Sentinels from Rachel's timeline, and they bust up the Sentinels fairly easily, without anyone managing to get disintegrated by a single Sentinel blast. Not even Nightcrawler or someone.
They've already had Shaw & Kelly discussing Sentinels, so when Byrne is drawing Shaw & Kelly meeting up with an ominous Gyrich at the end of an issue where Kelly has survived an assassination attempt, I think it's clear that they would be discussing Sentinels again and it stops being an "absolute, unequivocal" win.
Also, regarding the coyness of the portrayal of the US President in that scene, while Byrne wouldn't have known exactly what Claremont would script there, I think it was wise that Byrne didn’t draw Carter/Reagan. Other than that they didn’t know who would win (if they drew Carter, the reference might be out of date in a month or two), Gyrich is literally talking about coming up with a permanent resolution to problems with a minority. You don't have to think too hard to come up with a real-life equivalent to that, & I think it would be fairly controversial for Marvel to depict a real-life President authorising that.
I wouldn't be surprised if the leprechauns were Cockrum's idea. Claremont & Cockrum were co-plotting in the 1st run.
Also, Cockrum came up with the idea for "Kitty's Fairy Tale" in the 2nd run, featuring the Bamfs, cutesy tiny people versions of Nightcrawler, & then wrote the Nightcrawler limited series which features Nightcrawler hanging out with two different "tiny people" races of himself, the Boggles & the Bamfs (who I think are from a universe where if someone tells a fairytale it turns out to be real).
Dan Adkins was the John Entwistle in Herb Trimpe’s band... Every panel popped and even made Betty palatable at times, even though secretly I was hoping for a closed hotel room door where the narrative suggests Hulk is pleasing her in such a manner that she will never whine again in this comic book 🤭
Yet another Marvel prospective super group in need of a soul and better writing. This book needed a John Buscema art offering and some inventive West Coast type super villains etc instead of so many Olympians and Shakespeare in the park guys. The line up was awesome
Bill Mantlo clearly was in need of some time off rollin a Joe Dirt looking Faun called Woodgod out to fight the Hulk? C’mon Bill. There is a whole lotta need for either psychiatric help or sleep aides to clean this hot mess of a character outta the memory bank.
The ending scene certainly portrays a threat, but it does not mean that dystopian future remains. It is easy to reconcile the notion that the dystopian future's inevitability has been removed, but that there is still a threat that the X-Men will need to overcome (and perhaps losses along the way). In other words, the X-Men's mission remains vital and ongoing.
My understanding is that they were *trained* by the Kree priests, but not actually genealogically related to them. For one, Heather Douglas's family is well-documented; her contact with the Shao-Lom monastery on Titan happened only because Thanos slew her parents after they saw his reconnaissance ship, and Mentor had her taken to Titan as an orphan. It's not even fully clear that the Shao-Lom monastery on Titan is made up of Kree exiles; I believe they've sometimes been described as Eternals who were trained by the Priests of Pama.
Mantis, too, was brought to the priests by happenstance; her father was the mercenary Gustav Brandt, later Libra, and her mother was a Vietnamese woman, the sister of the crimelord Monsieur Khrull. Brandt and his then-infant daughter stumbled upon the priests after Khrull burned them out of their house in a murder attempt that only killed her sister.
In both cases, human female children were *raised* in part or in whole by the Priests of Pama or their offshoots, but they are not actually their descendants so far as I can tell. And the psionic gifts seem to come from contact with the Cotati, the plant-beings, not from the Kree exiles themselves.
In the case of Moondragon, we have some evidence that she may have had latent psionic potential: her cousin was later turned into Sundragon via an apparent experiment conducted by the aliens called the Dance. Of course, this is by a different writer, many years later.
If you read the Celestial Madonna storyline, it’s implied that Moondragon and Mantis were descended from the pacifist Kree who hid on Earth and Titan, or are at least the results of a selective breeding program overseen by the Cotati. I don’t think they qualify as natural human telepaths.
@ Ataru320: "generic Darkseid-looking loser #73" LOL! No exaggeration, I really did
Not quite sure what all the hate is about with DeFalco and Ryan so far. The art reminds me of Byrne and the stories aren't THAT bad. Sure they're old fashioned to a degree but then I was never a big fan of the "gritty realism" that followed in the wake of Watchmen.
Perhaps I'm just biased because he finally ended Johnny and Alicia. During my "Great FF Re-Read" these may as well be brand new because I remember NOTHING about them. Maybe I bought them at the time and slotted them away and never read them? I don't think so, but they are almost 30 years old. True, I can do without Ben and Johnny's bouts of vandalism.
Also, I know I was a part of the work force by this time but 75c to $1 to $1.25 in a few years? WTF? What happened to the 5c raises of my childhood! (Angry emoji here)
I do recall being a bit bummed about that.
Also, Rachel was planned to be Jean's child but I believe after Jean's death this was made less obvious in the original story, or it would clearly be an alternate future, though Claremont would eventually decide to establish her as Rachel Summers anyway. But again, it sounds like Claremont & Byrne would have had some discussions over the plot if the idea originated before #137 but didn’t get used till 141-142 a few months later.
As previously discussed, Byrne has also talked about how he intended the dystopian future to vanish at the end of the story and that Claremont’s script prevents a clear win: “Even when I plotted DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and made sure it was an absolute, unequivocal, We Save The Day story for the X- Men, he managed to slip in a tiny scene that took the win away from them.” However, Byrne did also draw the epilogue featuring Gyrich & Kelly authorising the creation of Sentinels, which in itself denies the unequivocal win, I’m not sure what else he could have thought he was drawing there.
Byrne has said he plotted this storyline completely by himself, and I do believe he originated the idea, though there are signs that Claremont did at least have some discussions between the conception of the plot & Byrne actually drawing it, such as Claremont's reference in X-Men Companion to the placing of the Storm/Wolverine discussion: "The way it was structured in the plot is that the X-Men are in the hearing room, the fight begins, Wolverine lunges for Pyro with his claws extended, Storm whirls him away, grabs him in mid-air and says, "No killing. Not here. You're on national television. Put those claws away." She reads him the riot act right off the bat, and then they go into the fight. John felt, I suppose, that that would not work, so he waited until they were two-thirds of the way through the fight on the Mall, and then had everything stop dead, and staged the confrontation between Storm and Wolverine, which a number of readers found to be very awkward. Why stop in the middle of a fight, they wondered, when the bad guys are standing right over there, to have an argument? Obviously, it made sense to John; otherwise, he wouldn't have drawn it that way. I honestly don't remember the rationale behind it."
I'm not sure there's any "good" placing for the discussion after the battle has already started, it probably needed to happen on the way before they got there, it's not as if Storm couldn't have guessed there would be cameras.
As was recently discussed in the comments for Uncanny X-Men #98-101, it is canon (hinted in Classic X-Men & confirmed in X-Factor #18) that the love scene between Scott & Phoenix here is their "first time", not just their first time on-panel as I had originally thought. And as Phoenix turns out to be a duplicate of Jean, Scott & Jean don't have their real "first time" until after Phoenix & Madelyne.
There is of course a reading of the Dark Phoenix Saga as "good girl turns evil/sexy" (entertainingly summed up by Moviebob here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqVmd266VA8) & of course both Claremont & Byrne have done other stories where a female character dresses more sexy as they become evil.
The love scene here works both as a happy/tragic scene for the readers where Cyclops & Jean finally getting to express their love, but only once just before she dies, and also as part of the horror movie trope where girls who have sex have to be punished by being killed off (while the girls not shown having sex survive to the end).
But it's interesting to remember that to a certain extent that's an accident, & when this was written, Jean wasn't going to be killed off at all, that was simply a last-minute change done after X-Men #137 was already written & drawn, which not only improved the ending to the story but also created extra importance in earlier parts such as the love scene here.
I hadn't realised that Byrne had intended Thing's mutation to be a "new look" for him, like the pineapple form was during Englehart's run. What is confusing though is that the link I posted earlier specifies that Thing will return in #296 & also that the Valley Of the Diamonds plot will happen in that issue, so if Byrne had intended some "new look" a la the pineapple design, then it sounds like it would have debuted in #296 & then been fixed in the same issue.
I do remember getting Thing #36 as a kid & wondering why & what he was mutating into, looking forward to whatever would happen next? And of course what happened next was anticlimactic. He seemed fine the next time I saw him in this issue. Then I heard he'd appeared in a WCA issue inbetween, so I tracked down the WCA issue hoping for answers, and there were none. Which was a disappointment at the time.
But I understand that no-one needs an explanation in 2018 (in fact I think modern writers should in general be dissuaded from providing "explanations" for 30-year old comics as young readers won't care & as an older reader I find that such "fixes" usually cause more continuity problems than they solve. Though speaking of Slott, I loved his one-panel joke resolution to F.A.C.A.D.E., the mystery that no-one cared about.) Still, it's interesting that due to creator upheaval the plot never gets explained, even though 80s Marvel was in general all about continuity & explaining everything.
One other thing. depending on how you want to interpret the story, Ben could have visited Monster Island more than once. He went there at the end of Thing #36. Maybe he hid on a outgoing sea-liner and jumped ship when it got close enough to Monster Island. Then the Mole Man "cleared up" his mutation. After he stayed a while, he then went to Stockton for the anniversary and one last look at the surface and had Hopper take him back to Monster Island. That makes more sense to me than the Thing wandering around the west coast scaring people and unable to be found and explains why he looks like his old self and seems to feel healthy again. I'd like to include the WCA #10 appearance, but the timeframe doesn't work and having him shuttle back and forth just to say goodbye to the West Coast Avengers doesn't really seem justifiable if he returns again. One last visit to the surface world makes more sense than two.
Stern didn't seem interested in explaining what happened to cause or cure Ben, as in #299, he has Ben causally mention his "condition cleared up a little." Like Ben had a bad case of acne instead of a painful, body ravaging mutation. As for why he had the mutation, in another issue of Comics Feature, Roger Stern was interviewed before his first issue and mentioned energies that Ben was exposed to on Battleworld. So, it could have been that the change happened during the Rocky Grimm story, but was repressed until catching up with him in Thing #36. I personally asked Roger Stern via his web forum and he didn't remember at that point. And recently, I read John Byrne mentioning that he had changed his mind about changing the Thing's appearance before he quit in reference to a comment about the "pineapple" Thing design on Byrne Robotics. So basically, only Byrne really knew the whole thinking behind it, but since he was going to drop it as of #296 himself(and he even drew a first page of a hypothetical continuation of his FF run ala X-Men Forever with a splash of an angry, unmutated Thing several years ago), there's no narrative reason other than housekeeping to address it. And it's been over 30 years now and no one has touched it with a 10ft pole since. That said, if any writer would, Dan Slot, the new FF writer as of the new series, would be at the top of the very small list. But that would be out of scope on this site, even assuming Marvel allowed it, which is unlikely as well.
I'd heard about Byrne's "heart of hearts" plot that would cure the mutation, but I've never heard what Byrne intended to have caused the mutation in the first place.
From what you say, it sounds like Stern might have explained it if he'd stayed on, but Englehart probably wanted to move forward with other stories & it becomes a dropped, forgotten plot - we never get to find out why he mutated, & there's no obvious cause shown in the Thing series.
I was half-joking about "psychosomatic", but Byrne's idea of Thing is that Ben's mental blocks are powerful enough to override Reed's cures and change him into his early scaly form in #238 instead of changing him human. Thing used to change back to Ben randomly until he met Alicia, when he stopped. So Ben's mind has some power over his physical form. We might not want to stretch that too far, but if no-one's ever explained why Thing started mutating, perhaps it was some physical manifestation of the bitterness & depression he'd been experiencing in The Thing comic the past year or two. I don't necessarily believe it, but in the absence of any other explanations it might have to do.
A problem with the Mole Man's curing Ben is that as Fnord points out, Ben already looks "normal" here before he's even got to Mole Man. (The driver says "your face" & you expect to see a mutated Thing, but it appears he just doesn't know who Thing is.) Perhaps the mutations wax & wane, & in a few hours he'd look "mutated" again.
Well, Moondragon is a bit complicated by her ancestry tracing back to the pacifist Kree and their connection to the Cotati... Dr. Strange & Dr. Druid have some non-mutant/alien ancestry, natural psychic abilities enhanced by their magic studies...
Ben's mutation wasn't psychosomatic. For one thing, it was depicted on panel. He actually physically changed. The wrestlers in Thing #36 who held him down were touching his "clammy skin." Ms. Marvel slapped scales off his face and his whole body turned black. He was in real pain. Byrne intended to resolve the plotline ala the Valley of the Diamonds story which showed what was in Ben's "heart of hearts" and reverts him to his regular Kirby design. Since Byrne quit the book, Shooter side-stepped the plotline, doing a completely different story. Roger Stern mentions Ben's condiction next issue, but Reed can only speculate something happened to the Thing but he can't ask since Ben's so angry all the time. And canonically, Steve Englehart revealed that the Mole Man used technology to "fix his mutations" in WCA#23.
For me it's a great "comics!" thing that Pietro & Wanda were midwifed by a giant cow-woman. At the time, the High Evolutionary & his New Men were used a lot more, and seemed like a major part of the Marvel universe, but I feel like they stopped appearing so much, & younger readers will be puzzled by the sheer '70s randomness of Bova appearing in any stories flashing back to Wanda & Pietro's parentage. (I think Bova's involvement is about the only thing that hasn't been retconned in 3 different explanations of who their parents are?)
I think Bova has only appeared once before this, unnamed in a flashback in Giant-Size Avengers #1, and this is the first time the character is fleshed out.
Other than the general lack of interest in Whizzer & Miss America being their parents & some other plotholes from Wanda & Pietro's childhood memories, I wonder if part of the switch to Magneto was a way to avoid sliding timescale problems due to Whizzer & Miss America's WWII links, unaware that Magneto would soon be linked to WWII himself?
I remember the story itself disappointed me and how I longed for a solid, regular creative team for my favorite hero's book. (Nothing against MJ, though.) It always felt like that was what it took to get any kind of meaningful events, right. 90% of the best stories grew out of that ongoing association and gradual build-up of subplots. (We are, however, about to get one deluxe fill-in across the titles.) Kind of a weird time!
Note that by the time the magazine was published, Byrne had decided to leave the comic.
Regarding the recent debate on whether Byrne intended for Alicia & Johnny to marry in #300, Byrne makes reference to a "possible wedding" in that issue, & Johnny had twice been interrupted when seeming to be about to propose to Alicia in both FF Annual #19 and FF #287 (maybe he was intending the proposal to take place in the anniversary issue 296 & then the marriage in 300?). Not conclusive that the wedding wouldn't get interrupted somehow, but it does at least seem to suggest that it was something Byrne was on board with rather than something editorial came up with after Byrne left.
I can understand why they didn't want to have to fit in the story of the Thing being unmutated as well as everything else going on here, but did they ever explain why Thing started mutating in Thing #36? He mysteriously starts having dizzy spells & mutating, then just gets better? I guess being Ben it was something psychosomatic.
@D09: I enjoy this site immensely for the fact that i don't need a username, password, or have to log in. I'm tired of all of that. But here are a couple things from fnord above that made an impression.
"The characters were definitely stuck in a rut." [I agree, BUT....]
"....John Byrne could have evolved all of these characters without pairing Alicia with Johnny."
A loud resounding YES to this conclusion.
Even more controversial, and more permanent, was the fact that Johnny and Alicia eventually got married (after Byrne's run ended). Up until that point, this all could have been part of an elaborate "illusion of change" to be reversed one day.
Ah yes, # 300, one of the most hated comics in my collection. As I've said before, keeping it akin to an affair would have been far more interesting. Johnny could have come closer to or actually carry out a "fling" with Crystal again and all that would bring. Ben and Alicia could have had some tender nostalgic moments. Sharon Ventura could have been thankfully disposed of a lot sooner or better yet, not appeared at all.
So much potential wasted so we could have a "ISSUE # DIVISIBLE BY 50" Milestone.
No wonder Hammerhead's saying he doesn't die easy, he should just have said "hey, once you've survived nuclear explosions, the helicopter crashes are easy".
Obviously it's good that Byrne or editorial thought some explanation was needed, it just seems unlikely that Johnny is following the deaths & returns of minor Spider-Man foes. (Torch & Spidey must have met up not long after & Spidey told him about some recent adventures, even though that one isn't that memorable.)
Hammerhead's last appearance in ASM #159 might have actually been what prompted Byrne's invention of the exoskeleton. After #158 where Hammerhead's ghost apparently knows that the use of a particle accelerator will return him back to life despite neither Spidey & Doc Octopus knowing that, and then Hammerhead's return is treated as a cliffhanger that he is such a big threat that Spidey & Ock will be forced to team up together to fight him in the next issue. And on the 2nd page of #159, Hammerhead not only dodges Ock's tentacle strikes but then grabs one of the tentacles & throws Ock around by the tentacle, following which Spidey hurts his hand on Hammerhead's head then just stands around clutching his hand until he gets knocked down, hurt badly by a Hammerheadbutt to the stomach.
So it's possible Byrne saw that & felt it needed explanation why either Spidey or Ock couldn't have defeated Hammerhead in about 3 seconds without any need to team up. So I thank him for getting annoyed by the same things I do. :-)
Reading this again, there's some amusing exposition spoken out loud by Johnny, who on sight of Hammerhead's exoskeleton gives a monologue about how it's strength-enhancing & that he normally wears it with flesh-coloured gloves. Johnny deduces all that immediately & decides to say it all out loud. But it does back up Omar's point that Byrne seemed to be trying to establish here that Hammerhead had been wearing an exoskeleton in earlier appearances.
And when he first sees Hammerhead, Johnny monologues to Hammerhead's face that "you're the one they call Hammerhead. You were surgically rebuilt by some nutso scientist... But you're supposed to be dead! You died in a helicopter crash in the Hudson river!" Why is Johnny telling him all this? (And why is the fact it was in the Hudson river relevant?)
Obviously this is a standard comics convention, particularly in the "every comic might be someone's first" era, it's just amusing sometimes when you notice it happening.
The other amusing thing about it is that Hammerhead's death in a helicopter crash in ASM #159 was only minutes after he'd returned from his previous death from a nuclear explosion in ASM #131, and he'd done very little of major importance in that time. Did the papers the next day run with the story "Hammerhead Found Back To Life After Previous Death In Nuclear Explosion, But Has Now Died Again In Helicopter Crash"? You'd think Johnny would have heard about the nuclear explosion but maybe not the helicopter crash.
I would argue against Busiek treating him as a joke. There's a difference between making a joke with a character and treating him as a joke.
Its true that he did deal with the poor hygiene issue, and had some of the other members disrespect him--but Busiek also made a point of showing that the poor hygiene was because of D-Man's living conditions as a protector to the impoverished citizens of Zero Town, and he showed D-Man as an effective hero alongside the Avengers. He had Captain America chastise any other Avenger he heard speak disparagingly of Dennis, and he showed Jarvis treating him with respect.
D-Man getting treated as a joke is more the responsibility of Brian Michael Bendis, who repeatedly used D-Man as the butt of jokes in at least half a dozen issues that Dennis didn't even appear in. And the majority of the times that he actually did use Dennis on-panel it was very unflattering--ranging from him being a pathetic blubbering mess (when he applied to be a nanny for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' baby) or as a raving lunatic (as a member of the "Revengers"). He did give Dennis a bit more sensitive showing in the pages of THE PULSE, but even that was part of Bendis' downward trajectory for D-Man since that is where he was shown to have gone delusional and needed to be taken away for psychological treatment.
Thankfully Nick Spencer has rescued Dennis from joke status made him a serious supporting character again.
Marvel Unlimited seems to have the original version of the issue, without the Byrne inserts, and the mutant reference is there. Are we sure this was as Byrne addition? It looks like it's from the original issue to me. It's in the last panel on the bottom of page 18.
(Okay, Gruenwald did start the joke about D-Man's body odour when the mentally damaged D-Man returns from the Arctic, but I don't think Gru intended that to be an ongoing feature of the character once he was back home.)
I guess it's a hard thing to balance, exactly how jokey you want your jokey characters to be. Carlin & Gruenwald did seem to have a love for a particular sort of silly-but-you-also-take-it-seriously.
Regarding comments about D-Man as homoerotic sidekick, he has recently been established as gay.
I have seen anti-diversity people complaining that Marvel's current "minority" characters are too politically motivated & too perfect rather than being "real" characters with flaws, presumably they're not aware of D-Man who quite successfully manages to avoid this by having spent most of the past 30 years being portrayed as a complete loser & joke.
Gruenwald sort-of warmly portrays D-Man as a good guy in a silly costume who wants to be a hero but is too much of a "normal" guy despite his strength, he doesn't have that extra something that the great Marvel heroes do. Which makes sense as a character that would exist in the Marvel universe, even though they'd probably be killed off the first time they ran into a major supervillain (as nearly happens when he fights Titania). And in the MU, a "normal" hero is a loser. I think Busiek is first to treat him as a joke in a "mean" way, establishing D-Man's poor hygiene, which if nothing else makes him a very non-stereotypical gay character.
I planned on a lot longer commentary concerning the whole Johnny/Alicia story line but there's just no space here. And I'm exhausted by it. My opinion of hating their pair-up is well known from other comments as my "Great FF Re-Read" rolls on. Last week I finally made it to these stories and Dan Spector above sums it up quite well: Clumsily executed, but a joy to behold.
As I mentioned about # 356 it would have been better had there been a few issues of Lyja doing Skrull spy-things rather than the rush to reveal that occurred. Now while I'm glad the betrayal is finally over, I can't help but be reminded again of the obsession with making all anniversary and issues divisible by 50 into big major Events. The Johnny/Alicia plot would have been far more interesting had it remained for all intents and purposes an "affair" despite her not being married to Ben. But nope, we had #300 coming so they had to get married. Why? Character growth my ass. Character stifling more like it.
DeFalco rushes his Lyja reveal I'm convinced for the same silly reason. Got to be something big for the 30th Anniversary issue.
Well, It's finally over. And as awkward and clunky as it was, I actually thought it was just a little bit clever.
Everything Farouk/Shadow King had previously done makes him seem like a devilish agent of chaos & temptation, except the references here & in the apparent reference in UXM #255. It just doesn't seem to hold true to then claim he wants a precise, ordered, controlled universe, or why mutants are a threat to that universe in a way that non-mutant superheroes aren't. The X-gene is not something randomly created, it goes back thousands of years. (If it's that a lot of mutants have telepathic powers that may be a threat to him, well maybe, but there are non-mutant telepaths too like Moondragon.)
Good catch on the re-use of the "wild cards" metaphor. It does seem to be a metaphor he wanted to use even though it doesn't actually seem to fit either Shadow King, or Sinister's motives for killing the Morlocks. (How are the Morlocks, none of which are that powerful or involved in above-ground activities, a risk to any plan of Sinister's? I was never keen on the Dark Beast retcon but frankly that makes more sense. I think Sabretooth is just BSing there.)
As yourself & Michael have already said, it's kind of a weird mythology if the Shadow King, a manifestation of nightmares from the dawn of humanity, apparently wants this ordered crystalline universe, & he's the absence of passion, so he goes about it by corrupting people & making them enjoy their darkest desires, & he sees mutants as a wild card? In some ways that might be more interesting than Marvel's usual pantheon of immortal beings that only represent one particular aspect, & I'm not saying it couldn't be interesting if you find a way to make all that fit together, but it definitely seems like random contradictory elements that have been thrown together at different times of the character's conception.
Also we have Phoenix as a "good" cosmic entity who represents passion, but is both a force of creation & destruction/life & death, but is a risk of corrupting its human hosts with its seductive power, and its opposite, the Shadow King, who enjoys corrupting/seducing humans. A very Claremontian mythology there.
In the 1960s stories, the Crime Syndicate didn't rule their world; they were just crooks rather than heroes. The idea that they rule their world is an invention of Grant Morrison's from the 1990s.
It's a bit more ambiguous than this... While their first appearance in Justice League of America #29 (from 1964) does show the Crime Syndicate acting like stereotypical supervillains (stealing valuable artifacts etc), the very reason they decide to attack the JLA is because they've become complacent, since no one can stand up against them. And in the opening narration JLA #30, it's said that the members of the Crime Syndicate "dominate their Earth because they are the only super-beings on it". So maybe Thomas decided to expand on that idea and show what it would be like if super-beings really dominated an alternate Earth to the point of having become its dictators.
It's always been amusing that Destiny is trying to assassinate Kelly with a crossbow. If Hellfire are selling arms to the Brotherhood, that makes it extra funny. That can't have been the most expensive arms deal.
What are the arms being sold? The Brotherhood have powers and aren't using anything else. I guess Pyro has his flamethrowers, & Mystique uses a telepathic dampening field against Xavier here, maybe both of those are Hellfire tech? Though Mystique in general seems to have advanced tech: she works for the Department of Defense and in Avengers Annual #10, Iron Man notes that she has access to the latest top secret weaponry, including a SHIELD-designed gadget that freezes up Iron Man's armour. The skulls on her dress also turn into things like radios & guns, though that does seem a fairly bespoke thing that's unlikely to have been designed for someone other than her, not sure if it's ever been explained where they came from?
This story also has Shaw having provided advanced weaponry to the army such as the concussion cannon used here. So you'd think Mystique would already have access to Hellfire tech through her job at the Department of Defense & her access to top secret designs, surely Mystique doesn't need to do any separate arms deal with Hellfire when it can all be done "above board" through Shaw's contract with the Department of Defense?
In Claremont comics, “Outer Dark,” like “Elder Gods,” tends to refer to the N’Garai. We met an N’Garai priestess or vassal called the Shadowqueen in Claremont’s Dr Strange run. Farouk’s invocation of the “Autarchs of the Outer Dark” here probably marks him out as a N’garai associate, too.
Not that every echo of other Claremont stories is necessarily significant. The line about how mutants are wild card’s in evolution’s deck and that’s why the supposedly order-obsessed Shadow King hates him is a close paraphrase of Sabertooth’s explanation to Wolverine circa X-Men 212 for why Sinister ordered the mutant massacre. (SBertooth says something like Sinister is dealing a new hand that doesn’t have a place for wild cards like the Morlocks.)
Claremont might in part be referencing George RR Martin’s Wild Cards series, to which CC would contribute. But card motifs come up quite a bit in Claremont stories: Destiny has a tarot here, and of course Gambit uses cards to channel his power.
It's not clear what Claremont's original idea for the Mystique plot in Ms.Marvel was. The scene where Shaw kills the arms dealer in Marvel Super Heroes 11 because he was selling arms to the Brotherhood was tacked on by Furman and obviously not part of Claremont's original plot.
Wasn't Claremont's original plan for an arms deal between Mystique and Hellfire to go wrong because of the Ms. Marvel conflict Mystique dragged into it, precipitating the conflict? Claremont made some noise about a big fight between Rogue and Sebastian Shaw as part of all this at the time. This would have been the source of Mastermind's grudge against Mystique.
So both times Destiny's powers of precognition basically help cause a bad future. Perhaps in both cases, her predictions help prevent a different bad future, but the very fact of the precognition makes a particular bad future more likely.
Typical Claremont "no clear wins", I guess, that the precognitive seems to sometimes help cause the bad futures by her predictions.
I recall Destiny on some instances being able to give probabilities like "in 6 of 7 possible futures this will happen", but if Destiny was indeed prompted by the possible future where Kelly authorised building of Sentinels, then it seems she didn't do enough checking of the possible futures. You'd think that the moment they go to assassinate Kelly, she'd get another prediction saying that now all the possible futures were something bad rather than just some of them, and realise they were making the wrong decision. (Though the story does have Kitty's time travel fogging up her predictions so perhaps you could explain it that way.)
That's an interesting thought, It's Destiny's predictions that Ms Marvel will cause something bad for Rogue that lead to something bad happening to Rogue when she confronts Ms Marvel. If not for Destiny's prediction, Rogue & Mystique wouldn't have got so obsessed with Ms Marvel & it doesn't seem likely anything would have happened. (I haven't got the comics to hand so I can't remember exactly what Destiny says about what Ms Marvel's threat is to Rogue, I'd remembered it as being quite unspecific. And if the idea is that if Rogue hadn't attacked Ms Marvel when she did, that the Hellfire Club would have gained control of Ms Marvel & had her kill Rogue, then I'm unclear on why the Hellfire Club would have her kill Rogue, since they don't attempt to attack Mystique or Rogue at any other point. What do they have to gain from that, unless Rogue involves herself in the Hellfire Club's plans? I know that Mastermind attacks Mystique during From The Ashes after he leaves the Club, but I don't think it's ever been explained why. Nathan Adler has a theory about it involving the Shadow King, but I doubt Claremont was actually thinking of that at the time.)
And here in DoFP we have the idea that if they kill Kelly, there will be Sentinels, and if they don't, then the attack prompts Kelly/Shaw to go ahead with the Sentinels (which Shaw had previously tried to push in #135, but we don't know if he'd have agreed it without the assassination attempt).
This issue was just spotlighted on Alan Stewart's blog Attack of the 50 Year Old Comic Books. Alan states that, according to Roy Thomas' intro for the Marvel masterworks collection containing this annual, Don Heck provided layouts and Werner Roth then did the finished pencils over those.
Also, as Luke Blanchard states in his comment, in that intro Thomas also relates that he instructed Heck to draw the splash of the Scarlet Centurion as a homage to Irwin Hasen's cover of All-Star Comics #35, the issue that introduced the Justice Society's own time-traveling foe, Per Degaton.
@Tuomos: In his blog Alan Stewart observes that, given this is Roy Thomas we are talking about, any similarities to JLA or JSA stories are no doubt entirely intentional :)
For those who are interested, here's a link to Alan's excellent blog...
Omar, I agree with your premise but come to different conclusions. The grudge against Carol Danvers made sense in light of the unpublished Ms Marvel tales, which involved Destiny predicting that Carol would kill Rogue. What happened in the unpublished Ms Marvel story as Claremont planned it (not as Simon Furman later executed it) might have added to the vendetta—although it need not, since Mystique seems to abandon the vendetta after Rogue joins the X-Men, at which time Mystique wants to get Rogue back but is willing to kill her herself if necessary.
I generally think Destiny’s predictions are the best explanation for the assassination attempt against Kelly, too, although on re-reading the issues I see she that’s never explicitly given as the reason for this mission (but Destiny does tell Kelly at one point he’s a greater threat alive). So you raise a good point about how the Hellfire/Brotherhood connection might fit in.
Is it only later that we learn Destiny was predicting a dark future for mutants if Kelly lived, or am I misremembering? There’s a nice tragic element to the idea that we get DOFP if Kelly dies but we get a dystopia predicted by Destiny if he doesn’t.
I still see this as the canonic ending to the X-Men in my head. If I could tell anyone when to start reading X-Men and where to stop, I’d say from Giant Size X-Men 1 to this miniseries. After this, it’s just a series of mistakes, like Cyclops abandoning wife and son, return of Jean Grey, Magneto as the “successor” of Xavier, etc. we wouldn’t have got Apocalypse, Archangel, Mr sinister (when he was still awesome), but it would still be the perfect ending.
D'oh! For some reaons, I always misremember Devil-Slayer as having facial hair because of those J.M> DeMatteis stories where Captain America's friend Dave Cox is brainwashed into using the costume to try to kill Cap. I guess I'm lucky I don;'t think Devil-Slayer has only one arm.
Here it is, the penultimate issue to the Lyja revelation. Though it wasn't obvious at the time it's clear something was going to happen. Upon re-reading while I fully embrace the beginning of the end of the Johnny/Alicia debacle there does seem to have been quite a rush put on it. It's as if DeFalco, finally getting the nod as writer, could not wait any longer to get this story told.
Even someone from my standpoint who utterly HATED this story line would have been patient for a few issues of some suspicious behavior and an easier transition to the the outcome.
In terms of Claremont's arcs, I wonder if Mystique's choice to target Kelly was intended to play into the intended Brotherhood/Hellfire conflict. Claremont was still writing as if the unpublished Ms. Marvel stories had happened in some form; he still thought they'd be completed and see the light of day in some format, perhaps Marvel Fanfare. If we assume that Mystique knows that Kelly is tied up with Shaw -- and between her Raven Darkholme identity's access and her general ability to spy on opponents, this wouldn't be much of a stretch -- this would give Mystique an additional motive to target Kelly.
Heck, it might be her only real motive. Before and after this story, Claremont generally plays Mystique as a self-serving sociopath more interested in grudges and self-preservation than in political ideals, hence her lunatic grudge against Carol Danvers and the Brotherhood later "selling out" to become Freedom Force.
Even if that isn't the intention here, and Claremotn was moving Mystique wholly into the role of an idealistic militant, the whole "Sentinels exterminate mutantkind" thing is due in large part to the schemes of two mutant villains: the epilogue to this story makes it fairly clear that the Sentinels in the DoFP future likely came from Shaw's factories, and their production and use is explicitly the result of Mystique's assassination scheme in both timelines.
I think the coyness is simply acknowledgment that this is a MU specific position, and the creators did not wish to establish the position of a real life politician on an obvious fictitious and controversial subject.
For some reason, I've always seen Robert Kelly as an analogue of Ted Kennedy (a charismatic politician with an Irish sounding last name that begins with K) and assumed he was a Democrat. There was a heavy push in 1980 for Kennedy to challenge Carter (which he did, but lost), and I assumed this was what Kelly did. Obviously Kelly is not an exact analogue of Ted, simply someone that assumed several characteristics. We shouldn't read too much into it.
The depiction of the president at the end of 142 is unusually coy. The story takes places on Halloween 1980, less than a week before the 1980 election. The epilogue is said to take place about a month later, in early December. The Feb. 81 publication date means the issue would have been on stands before the election, but maybe Byrne didn’t want to presume by explicitly drawing Carter (even though he’d be president until January 20 anyway).
Kelly is said to be a presidential candidate, which makes it seem a bit odd that he’s holding this controversial Senate hearing days before the election. Being anti-mutant must have been very popular.
Since Carter was president in the MU as well as in real life, as was Reagan, what party’s nomination did Kelly have? My guess is he was running as a sort of John Anderson independent. Maybe there was no Anderson in the MU.
The sliding timeline obliterates all this. It is notable, though, that the MU mutant control act does get introduced in 1984, and does subsequently get overturned by the Supreme Court (at least the registration part does). MU’s events do play out much like Rachel’s timeline, at least up to 1989 or so, even though Kelly lives.
So what were the Avengers & FF up to "a couple of weeks later" that they couldn't attempt to take care of Fafnir during #343 while he was tearing up New York before Thor returned with Eilif? Sometime tbe absence of characters in a place one would expect them is a continuity issue, too.
The National Security Adviser in this issue is a judge named Petrie. There was a Salia Petrie in Coaremont’s Ms Marvel. It’s an instance of Claremont reusing names, but there could be a link between the judge and the astronaut Salia—maybe he’s her father.
I do get the feeling Claremont like to reuse tropes and catchphrases he’d tried out earlier but had decided not to use. So maybe Maddie here isn’t significant.
Another interpretation does occur to me, though: in the original Dark Phoenix plans, Jean was going to survive but be reduced mentally to childhood, before her powers emerged, as a way to check her Dark Phoenix side. I wonder if Claremont isn’t reusing the “reduced to childhood” idea here, in which case this Maddie would have been a reincarnated Jean/Phoenix, at an age where her powers weren’t active. The “sick but got better” line would make sense in this context. And Claremont even used to use “got better” in other contests as an in-story remark when characters needed to snarkily explain being resurrected or surviving certain death.
This was a very cool story, but reading it a few days ago, it became even more clear to me that its plot is almost exactly like the Infinity Gauntlet.
Every story beat here has its paralel there.
Unfortunately Starlin then dipped into that pool again and again, making each reprise less cosmic, less significant, less awesome and ultimately less entertaining.
The stories where he doesn't use this plot device (Thanos obtaining godhood, simply to lose it again) are still great tho.
It's interesting to consider Moondragon's "un-life" illusion in the context of the New Gods that inspired her and the Titans. In Kirby's opus, "anti-life" wasn't about life and death in the literal sense; it was about loss of freedom, particularly freedom of thought, that is willingly surrendered to allay fear of responsibility, and which is instrumental in the rise of fascism. "Anti-life" is a term used by the philosopher Erich Fromm to describe fear-inspired "negative freedom", as opposed to the more difficult "freedom to". Gerber wrote some good stories about "fear of freedom", but in this story un-life is just a big, black egg.
Just a nitpick, but I don't think Kirby was feeling any particular responsibility for Doom's portrayal. He had a famously-bad memory, he was finally receiving due respect as an honored statesmen of comics, and if five different fans asked him the same question about Doom's face, he'd probably have given five different answers. I'm exaggerating, but not by much. He obviously put more thought into Doom than the Juggernaut or the Impossible Man. Ask him a question about those two, he'd probably need to see source material before he'd even recognize them as his creations. At least he remembered Doom, and obviously departed from the source material in his later recollections.
Hire Jack Kirby to do a comic, you get a Jack Kirby comic. Ask Jack a question about characters he did ages ago, you get a Jack Kirby answer.
This is nitpicky as hell, but for continuity's sake, it's kind of a drag Pat gives Spidey big 90s eyes and not period-appropriate Ditko narrows. I mean, to have Peter still wear that blue dress outfit, but no eyes? blarglargh.
But that's piffle. UToSM was great for most of its run. It was my first monthly comic subscription, and a breath of fresh air as we reached the high Clone age.
To the question of the extent of Doom's disfigurement: I agree entirely with Omar that the "little scar" theory represents a late reconsideration on Kirby's part, which arose after his departure from FF and Marvel. Throughout his FF run, Kirby almost certainly considered Doom to be a physically repulsive figure, whose face was a source a personal shame. That feeling of shame seems momentarily relieved in the present issues (in the portrait-painting scene), but its root was still an objectively ruined face.
The evolution in Kirby's conception would have had a real consequence for Doom's motivation, in my view--and would have marked a departure from Lee's (and the general Marvel) conception. It's too much to get into here; but it's interesting to me that long after Kirby had ceased to have an active hand in the character, he still felt a responsibility for the way Dr. Doom's moral orientation should be portrayed.
To Jese’s question about the splash where an unmasked Doom has his portrait painted: I would speculate that Kirby and Lee are referencing Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” There, the title character starts the play complaining that his repulsive physical deformity forces him to be evil. But after scoring a few brilliant Machiavellian victories (like seducing the widow of a man he killed), Richard starts to see his ugliness in a different light. He boasts that he’ll hire tailors to dress him in extravagant fashions, and even resolves to buy a looking glass so he can admire himself.
In the FF panel, Kirby visually “quotes” both the fancy regal dress and the looking glass. And Lee’s script seems to support the comparison with Richard, by having Doom predict that his face will establish a *new* standard of masculine beauty—that is, it doesn’t conform to the current standard (which would be the case if he had plastic surgery), but rather his very disfigurement will be considered beautiful.
This is exactly parallel to Richard’s reassessment of his ugliness, in light of his brilliant successes. Likewise, in this FF episode, we see Doom at his apex, on his home turf, with everything going right for him. His ego is so swollen that even the face he once hated is looking good to him. It’s a character thread Kirby and Lee never followed up on; but they were both literate creators and it’s plausible that they would mine Shakespeare greatest tyrant for their in-depth depiction of Doom.
I know that Kirby wanted Doom to just have a small scar that he over-exaggerated as being a full-facial disfigurement, so was this a partial build-up to an potential issue that would reveal Doom's face at long last?
To summarize, in stories like Fantastic Four #10, other characters react to Doom's face as if it is, indeed, horribly disfigured. The "small scar" drawing, however, is a much later piece; as shown in the link above, Greg Theakston apparently videotaped Kirby drawing it! As Cronin notes, Kirby's ideas about Doom changed significantly over the years.
It's also worth noting that even Kirby's "Doom is an egomaniac who can't stand a small scar" idea doesn't entirely fit with the idea here that Doom is perfectly happy to show his face, have it painted, and even stare at it in a mirror. Interestingly, the "unmasked Doom portrait" from this story will much later serve as a McGuffin in the Superior Foes of Spider-Man series.
John Byrne's combines the two idea, showing a relatively small scar that Doom turns into a disfigurement by putting on a red-hot metal mask, in issue #278. And Walt Simonson later fully retcons various "Doom unmasks" scenes by having Doom say only he and Kristoff have ever seen Doom's unmasked face in #350. So over the years, other creators noticed the contradictions and were moved to address them.
There were a few stories where Doom is protected by "diplomatic immunity", so clearly the US has relations with Latveria. And the FF are private US citizens & have no mandate to go to other countries & overthrow their governments & decide who should be leader. (On the other hand, if the US did ever decide to do so, they would probably need the FF's help, as the US army would stand no chance against Doom's technology.)
I prefer the idea in the Byrne run where Doom has some genuine liking for the general population of his country and where the FF see that when Prince Zorba of the former Latverian royal family came to power, the country became a mess (which makes sense, the country often doesn't even look industrialised, apart from the Doomtech). That way the FF can feel the Latverians are safe enough under Doom, and preferable to some alternatives.
As Thanos points out, Waid did a story where Reed took over Latveria, though he was pushed to do so by a particularly evil Doom who had sent Franklin to a hell dimension, and in that case the FF did get in trouble with both SHIELD & the UN for doing so. (Arguably the ramifications of that story should have also seen the FF tried for their actions here.)
After that, Bendis' Secret War had Nick Fury overthrowing the following Latverian prime minister (who the US helped elect) for funding US supervillains, so it seemed Fury felt that this non-Doom ruler of Latveria was worse than Doom, or that Doom is too difficult to overthrow.
I liked the storyline they did a few years ago where Doom got killed again, and Reed actually took over Latveria to help prepare it for a gradual transition to democracy without a civil war. I wish they could have let the ramifications of that stay, instead of having Doom just come back and take back over a few months later.
I think the idea is they're afraid a civil war would result if Doom is suddenly removed- that's happened several times in real life when a dictator is suddenly removed and in the MU, it happened when Rick Jones murdered a Middle Eastern dictator.
Also, to PeterA, it's a problem that exists at the core of Doom's entire character and especially stories set in Doom's home turf of Latveria. Either the heroes have to knuckle under and bring Doom to justice/free the people when they fight Doom in Latveria, or there has to be a legit (and non-Stockholm Syndrome reason) they leave town with Doom on the ropes but undefeated.
So anyone want to touch with a ten foot pole the last picture? Did Doom have secret plastic surgery between appearances? Create a fake synthetic mask just like the one worn by Baron Zemo during the Free Spirit segment of Fighting Chance in Captain America? Or at the very least, see a decent enough shrink to pierce his giant size ego to make him realize he wasn't disfigured as badly as he claimed he was?
I know that Kirby wanted Doom to just have a small scar that he over-exaggerated as being a full-facial disfigurement, so was this a partial build-up to an potential issue that would reveal Doom's face at long last?
The Human Top costume here seems like the basis of the redesign Whirlwind briefly gets as an agent of the Mandarin and Zeke Stane in Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's Invincible Iron Man series of the 2000s.
I'm still lost as to where the hell this Doom came from. Best not to think too hard about such things going into the early '90's stories?
Kudos to him though for a perfect one word description of the ongoing Johnny/Alicia farce: Preposterous!
*Oops, that should have been "may have been thought NOT worth the costs".
(The letters pages also prove that you can't please everyone, & they weren't afraid of printing negative letters sometimes, probably because they knew other readers would then write in to respond. Some readers think it went downhill after the first 6 or 10 issues, one guy thinks that there is too much of Peter's personal life, another writes in to complain about the cheesiness of the cliffhanger in the Master Planner trilogy, someone thinks Spider-Man is Marvel's worst comic...)
This issue was entirely plotted by Ditko who was no longer communicating with Stan, so I wonder whether Stan had any thoughts on Peter's ageing when the artwork arrived. He could still have got some of the artwork redrawn, though this would have been a few pages rather than a single panel, so it may have been thought worth the costs.
Some of the reader's letters from this period and later are interesting reading, from issue #39 on there's occasional debate on the letters pages from college-age/early '20s readers on what sort of adult Peter should grow into, & some other readers hoping he won't age too quickly. There are some letter writers who see Spider-Man's youth as the important part of the character, but more seem to be responding to the originality/realism of the character, & are disappointed by elements they see as unrealistic, or they see his realism as potential to keep growing into a truly original and "real" character with more real-world issues, hobbies & solutions. No-one was expecting Charlie Brown or "Brand X" DC characters to age, but responding to the "real" aspects of Spider-Man made some readers hope he continued to become more real, because that was what they liked about the character, to them his originality was more important than his youth. Some of those readers will presumably have been disappointed by the forever young media property he became.
In 1965 Marvel was still allowing change because everything was still being done by the original creators - Lee, Kirby, and Ditko. There was no "media property" for them to take care of because the property was whatever they did. Characters age, give birth, and even have replacements. It's not until the original creators leave and new creators are given the property that characters began to freeze into recognizable forms that would not change.
Regarding the issue of a "change in personality"; it could be the idea that Alicia at least tried to keep moderately decent relations with her step-father whereas, once she got married, Lyja/Alicia severed all ties with her step-dad. Most likely because it was way easier for her mission to stay clear of Alicia's step-dad and not risk him tripping her up.
Man, did I hate these multi-part Annual stories. Partially because I wasn't goaded into buying ones for books I didn't get at the time just to read it. By this time I was boycotting anything with a letter "X" on it anyway.
The second reason was the story was a snoozefest as were they all. I found this out by taking advantage of what makes this such a great website. After re-reading this annual, skimming it mostly, I figured to follow the rest here and see how the stories turned out.
After a couple minutes of looking through the New Mutants part two I quit. Because it sucked! At least what I read. How did it end? Don't tell me, I don't care. Not even enough to read a synopsis! Imagine that.
P.S. Am I the only one who doesn't care one F-ing iota about reading a Volcana story?
90'S ANNUALS SUCK!!!!
I'd agree with that, it would probably make more sense if they'd kept all the 3 Limbos separate and the other 2 Limbos are just dimensions with similar properties to Immortus' Limbo (or if some editor had told Claremont/Mantlo "we already have a Limbo so can you call this place something else"). I mean, presumably Belasco & Immortus both simply named their dimensions after the Catholic concept of Limbo, and Rom is saying something Galadorian that the closest translation is "Limbo", there's no reason to assume that the dimensions should have to be connected.
Not that it really matters as the connections between the 3 Limbos are I think forgotten now, and the connections are vague enough that they can almost be treated as in-jokes. I'm just surprised that this issue making all 3 Limbos related didn't result in Englehart or someone else in 80s Marvel making a Unified Theory Of Limbo with maybe a battle for territory between Immortus, Belaso and all these Dire Wraiths that kept appearing.
The idea that the Limbo to which Rom had banished so many Dire Wraiths was the True Limbo ruled by Immortus first appeared in ROM #19 when Rom was banished there by his own Neutralizer and encountered the Space Phantom. The story in Avengers #268 seemingly confirmed that and later official handbook texts established that the historical figures whom Immortus controlled were actually disguised Dire Wraiths. And then Avengers Forever revealed that those historical figures were really Space Phantoms, so who knows what's what anymore.
Personally, I prefer the idea that Rom's Limbo and Illyana's Limbo (Otherplace) and True Limbo are three separate places, with True Limbo being a Singularity in the Marvel Multiverse and the other two just being mystical pocket dimensions whose ties to "reality" are looser than normal. One of the reasons why I dislike the idea that Rom's Limbo was True Limbo is because, by definition, there is (or should be) only ONE True Limbo. So, unless the Wraith-Galador War in Reality-616 was an anomaly, that could mean that hundreds or thousands or millions of divergent Roms each spent two centuries busily banishing Dire Wraiths from their respective timelines into a single location, leaving True Limbo filled to the brim with banished Wraiths.
I actually very much like Mantlo's suggestion offered here that Limbo is "less a place than a concept". With one line of dialogue he simultaneously acknowledges the seemingly-contradictory depictions of Limbo in various stories and agues that it doesn't matter. If you try to get too specific about what Limbo looks like or who lives there then it becomes just another parallel dimension, as opposed to a really strange realm that's weird and scary and totally unpredictable.
Kudos to Shooter, Stern, Hannigan, & Bingham for seeing to it to tie up 3-yr-old loose ends to a story that couldn't sustain sales the first time around, supporting a twice-cancelled character with no intended new series following the MP run. I don't really see a commercial upside to having done that. The way it concludes is a total mess that should have been better given the time they had to do it, but it shows at least an editorial commitment to maintain the cohesion of the Marvel Universe even in its less prominent incidents. (Is there any lettercol evidence from the Kirby series asking for resolution to the Klan/Dragon Cult story?)
Yeah, funny animals were a common thing in underground comix at the time. Before Howard was created, there had already been George Crumb's Fritz The Cat (who got his own X-rated film), the cigar-smoking Dirty Duck (in Air Pirates Funnies), another X-rated film Down And Dirty Duck (unrelated to Dirty Duck, & created to follow the trend of Fritz The Cat), plus things like Fat Freddy's Cat (the cat owned by the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers) and animal superhero parody Wonder Wart-Hog, the Hog of Steel.
So Howard The Duck was actually quite late in the game with this trend, though to be fair to Gerber, he created Howard as a one-off joke character that he didn't intend to become a star of his own comic.
Well that's about all I've got on this subject. I'm probably wrong but that was just the impression I had at the time. I wasn't reading these things so carefully or completely as I do now, and I'm still pretty casual in my reading to be honest. Too bad IMO that they didn't do more with the Grace Jones mystique (if I can use that word lol) because she really had style. That might be why I preferred the earlier version of Rogue.
I'd have been more Dazzled by the Dazzler if she'd been more closely modeled after Jones, that's for sure.;) Hi Ali! xxxooo
It also occurs to me that Selene is introduced around the same time -- in terms of publication dates, if not continutiy chronology -- that Marvel is wiping out all vampires. And Claremont had used Dracula and is daughter Lillith in Uncanny. Maybe he had some "vampires vs. the X-Men" stories that he wanted to tell?
There was a fairly sizable demographic of underground comics readers at the time, and a popular theme among that crowd was in making fun of Disney funny animal characters, usually doing things that Disney characters would never be allowed to do in their own cartoons. Air Pirate Funnies comes to mind but there were others that I don't recall quite so clearly. I always thought Marvel was trying to appeal to that crowd. Underground comics had charmed the same audience that Stan Lee had long been trying to appeal to. It was still the baby boom generation growing up, so it was really a pretty huge demographic.
More broadly, this issue reflects Claremont's ongoing moves to turn the X-Men into more of a "dark fantasy" book, something that was already visible in earlier issues of Uncanny and in his New Mutants run, and which will also pop up relatively soon when "Fall of the Mutants" gives the team an explicitly magical advers....errr, opponent and then ties them to stuff like Roma and the Siege Perilous.
Here, the Citadel of Light and Shadow turns the central "evolution" element into something more like "mystical self-actualization" on a species level; in other words, a science fiction element fully becomes a fantasy element instead. Again, a lot of this seems like a trial run for the Fall of the Mutants thing -- invincible magical enemy, heroic sacrifice, and mystical resurrection -- and the Siege Perilous -- a magical crystal connected to both rebirth and a test of spirit.
I'd say that X-Factor under Louise and Walter Simonson does the opposite:. Both textually and subtextually, Apocalypse is a mythological "tempting devil" or "dark god" archetype reinterpreted through the soft sci-fi "mutant" metaphor.
Spite and IP would explain running the color comic at a loss for a while, but not making Howard into one of Marvel's few black-and-white magazines, something that represents an investment in production costs and marketing.
The key, I think, is that Howard initially got attention from some respected quarters, as well as from a type of reader that Marvel wasn't otherwise selling to. This would incentivize Marvel to keep the property running and , later, to try to signal to that audience segment that this was something beyond their usual offerings by presenting in an "adult" format as a B&W magazine. If Marvel could break into a new audience with one of their properties, that opens the door to other publications and a new revenue stream.
Remember, some of Marvel's success was partly because they picked up the unexpected demographic of college kids in the 60s, which Stan Lee then played to deliberately int he comics, with his lecture tours, and with endless Bullpen Bulletins touting brushes with folks like Fellini. And comparatively recently, Marvel had managed a hit -- and a lasting one -- when Roy Thomas pushed for and got the Conan license. (Note that Conan was also featured in a B&W mag.) Howard would have looked like a similar opportunity, hence the search for a format that would "work" to attract and keep the property's "non-superhero fan" audience.
That wikipedia entry says what I thought, which is that there are 2 Limbos, Illyana's & Immortus/Rom's. But as this issue establishes that Illyana's Limbo is connected to Rom's Limbo, and Avengers #268 establishes that Rom's Limbo is connected to Immortus' Limbo, then either Rom is randomly sending his Dire Wraiths to 2 different places or both Limbos are connected in some way, the same thing even if they don't take the same form.
"Destiny, Mystique, and Rom were all supposed to be over 100 years old"
Not yet, at least in Mystique's case. Uncanny #170 says Mystique is 30 years old. Claremont had other thoughts about her age later.
Mystique referred to Rogue as her protege in Avengers Annual #10, & the Rom issues definitely show Rogue as a "child" & they came out some months before these issues, but maybe everyone wasn't aware of that yet & the style of the short hair gave the impression of an older woman, it grows pretty quick once she joins the X-Men.
I haven't gone back & read all these early Rogue appearances but I'm not sure when it's clearly established that she has no control over her ability to touch others - she does wear gloves from the start, which suggests that's already in place, but in her first X-Men appearance, Wolverine punches her in the face with no transference from the flesh-to-flesh contact. Not sure whether that's an art error or if they hadn't specified out how her powers worked yet. Avengers Annual #10 seems to be mostly concerned with how she's been trained not to hold the touch too long or it will become permanent like with Ms Marvel, but I don't recall it yet being established that she couldn't turn the power off at all. Is that first made clear when she joins the X-Men and needs to become sympathetic? As a Grace Jones-y villain she does enjoy kissing the unwilling heroes, when she becomes a hero she does still do that on occasion, though less sadistic & more flirty.
At it's best, Gerber's Howard works for me as a search for meaning within life and, on a meta-level, within comics. Harvey Pekar in a Donald Duck suit. Unfortunately, the satires rarely made for any stories of lasting appeal, but in those cases where Howard & his pals come across as most human, those really click with me, humor or lack thereof aside. #24-27 are particularly strong.
I speculate that Marvel kept the book going after Gerber's departure specifically to spite him and any claim of ownership he might have expressed. Shooter was definitely not someone who respected any artist's or writer's attempt to control characters they had created. The company owned them, and dragging out Howard's disappearance from publication for an extra year or so was a way to prove that that's what mattered, not who was writing or drawing him.
I like classic Rogue even better now, knowing she was meant to resemble the amazing Ms. Jones. Another difference which I thought stood out in the annual was that she seemed to enjoy using her energy-leeching powers quite a lot. Kissing unwilling guys seemed really fun for her too. Quite a contrast from the shyer, more inhibited Anna Paquin version, who is still, in fairness, a very interesting character.
Since Destiny, Mystique, and Rom were all supposed to be over 100 years old, it makes sense to me that all us ephemerals might seem like children to them. Still I think you're probably right about the Rom stories (which I still haven't read), and I'm guessing Claremont might've started revising her character specs just as soon as he saw the readers take a liking to her. Older people don't often join the X-Men, so maybe he just wanted her younger so she could be part of the team. Just guessing.
John Romita, Jr. originally intended Dazzler herself to resemble Grace Jones. I wonder if Claremont picked up his advice from JJR, or if the Bullpen was just full of Grace Jones fans. Pull up to my bumper, baby, in your long black limousine...
Spider-Woman was supposedly created to secure copyright to stop a cartoon using the name Spider-Woman, the cartoon ended up changing its name to Web Woman when Marvel got there first.
Similarly, She-Hulk was apparently created out of a fear that the popular Hulk TV series might spin off a female character into their own series, in the same way Bionic Woman had spun off from Six Million Dollar Man. Presumably the thinking was that creating their own She-Hulk would ensure that the TV company didn't own the potential spin-off character.
agreed with everyone on Code Blue's association with THor being wrong for them, they had far too mush success with guys like the Wrecking Crew who are no match for Thor but should be a big challenge to most everyone else. Could have been better to introduce them in New Warriors or something, as guys who would control a situation until the team got there.
They never worked for me, partly because they just didn't seem to belong in Thor's book, but I like the idea of them being the dumping ground for unused street-level villains, the sort that appeared once in Team-Up/Daredevil/Luke Cage, & you're not totally sure whether Scourge got round to killing them off or not. Characters with names like Mad Dog Rassitano & Fireworks Fielstein seem perfect for a light-hearted series where they fight guys like The Big Wheel, Hypno-Hustler, Mr Fish, Schizoid Man, Gamecock & the Ringer. (I was going to suggest Equinox the Thermodynamic Man as the absolute limit of power of guys they should be facing, but I just looked him up & was surprised to learn he's actually made a lot of appearances recently.)
It's obvious it isn't the classic Yancy Street Gang. And it's a good thing, because showing their faces would probably ruin the unimportant, but rather funny mystery around them. (however, I liked the Aunt Petunia reveal, so go figure)
Dictionary Dawson even says "we are some of the current membership of what has been popularly referred to as the Yancy Street Gang!" in the scan above. They're probably just relatively new recruits.
The gang members who appear in Marvel Two-in-One #47-48 are shown as white adult men (with dramatic shadows on their face), not this new, younger and multicultural iteration.
It's still pretty funny to fully see a Yancy Street Gang. Doom has to be another wacky Doombot in this story, though. He sounds too out of character.
(Minor mistake, but while I'm here... you got Two-Fisted Tommie Boyd listed as "Tommy" in the character tags)
Never read this, but from the scans it seems to sort-of-but-not-quite establish that Illyana's Limbo is a "concept" that is related to Rom's Limbo.
I'd been under the impression that Immortus' Limbo was the same as Rom's Limbo (Dire Wraiths appear in Immortus' Limbo in Avengers #268) but that Illyana's demonic Limbo was totally separate to the Immortus/Rom Limbo. This muddies the waters by having Illyana recognise Rom's Limbo as her Limbo, which would make all 3 Limbos the same. Did anyone bother to make a "correction" establishing what if any relation the Limbos had to each other, or is the (probably unintended) implication that Illyana & Immortus have the same Limbo just a dropped plot point no-one remembers from a Rom annual?
Sure, there's enough wiggle room that the Limbos are "less a place than a concept" if you don't think about it too hard & just accept that it's comics, but between this & Avengers #268 it seems that there is "some" relation between all 3 Limbos, whatever it is.
Certainly Claremont did change his ideas over time. It's kind of interesting if Rogue started off as meant to be like Grace Jones, but when Anna Paquin gets cast as Rogue, Claremont seemed to think she perfectly captured the scene he & Paul Smith had done of a shy, vulnerable Rogue joining the team. (I think Grace was rarely seen as shy.)
Since Golden didn't know who Grace Jones was, did Claremont perhaps intend Rogue to be black, or just a white version of Grace Jones? The quote doesn't seem to specify. Possibly the about-to-debut mohawk Storm replaced Rogue as Claremont's Grace Jones-inspired character, though the mohawk look was supposedly a joke from Paul Smith that Claremont ended up liking.
Still, even if Rogue wasn't intended as a child in Avengers Annual #10, this was changed by no later than her Rom appearance where Rom, Destiny & Mystique all refer to her as a child on separate occasions.
This article doesn't address why there were so many Claremont-scripted references to Rogue as a "woman" or "lady" in Avengers Annual #10. Michael Golden doesn't actually say she was intended to be a teen in the Clarion Register article which cbr.com linked as evidence. What it says is:
"Claremont's only advice to Golden was that the musician and actress Grace Jones should inspire Rogue, and that she should have white streaks in her hair."
Grace Jones was born in 1948, so she would have been about 33 when Avengers Annual was written in 1981.
Calling those scenes "ignorant" would be fine. I doubt Stan or his bretheren knew much about Africa beyond what they read in the pulps. But to call it "racism" seems unfairly harsh. There doesn't appear to be any intentional negativity there (which is what I'd require to call it racism).
Silly question: Furman (in 1992) has scripted Claremont's plot, and Ms Marvel makes reference to a friend who says "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice". And Furman knew that everyone reading would know who that was.
But if we are reading our Marvel comics in the correct order, it will I think be another 3 years before Wolverine debuts that catchphrase. So anyone unfamiliar with the phrase will read this, & it will take a further 3 years of reading all the Marvel titles in the correct order before they find out the answer to this mystery reference to an unidentified character who says that phrase (admittedly, that's actually quite quick for an X-mystery to be resolved).
So is this now retconned as the first appearance of Wolverine's catchphrase, or are there other continuity inserts where Wolverine uses the phrase before his solo series?
Agree on the “shield is huge” comment. If anything, the shield should look smaller when used by John Walker (USAgent) since he was always depicted to be larger than Steve Rogers, and on Steve the shield looked more proportional.
I'm not saying that the retcon doesn't work, I'm only saying that I think Claremont's original intention was for Rogue to be an adult. Marvel Super-Heroes #11, published in 1992, was part of a long-term revision of Rogue's character from villain to hero. Avenger's Annual #10, published in 1981, was Rogue's first published appearance, so it goes back to Claremont's original intentions for her, as a villain. In Uncanny X-Men #169-171, published in 1983, she started her journey from villainy to heroism. Somewhere between 1981 and 1983, I believe he decided to make her younger as well, as part of that revision.
Marvel Super Heroes #11 resurrected old unpublished material that was intended for Ms. Marvel #25, but it was revised as necessary to fit into the revised 1992 continuity. In the unrevised Marvel universe I read about between 1981 and 1983, Rogue was a villain, and an adult. In the revised Marvel universe after 1983, she got more heroic, and younger.
Maybe her journey youthwards started in Rom #30-32 (1982), which I didn't read at the time, with some discussion between Claremont and Mantlo. Maybe it started with Rogue's appearance in Uncanny #158, also in 1982, but if so, I didn't notice it at the time. Or maybe it started here in Dazzler. But all the stories in Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Fanfare, X-Men Classics backup stories, etc., were published afterwards and long after the retcon.
A great plus to this site is the synopsis aspect of it when needed. By this I mean that in addition to my "Great FF Re-Read" I've doing the same to the Defenders, Marvel Classics, various horror reprints, among others AND the Avengers! After I left off with #275, the last one I have, I decided to re-read my West Coast Avengers. I may have purged this set somewhat because I have only #'s 1-20, 2 Annuals and the Byrne run. Having just finished #20 and the story unfinished, I can come here to see how any story that got cut off finished up.
So yes, I agree with Bobby - it was Stan being ignorant & unthinkingly using phrases that he had read elsewhere & seemed dramatic, rather than intended racism, but still worth calling out for its unthinking nature.
Bobby does also have a point with Stan's patriarchal, stuffy, pipe-smoking male geniuses like Reed & Hank, & how they treated their partners... Stan again was a man of his time. Star Trek was supposedly a future where everyone was equal, but the last episode (written by Gene Roddenberry himself) features an evil woman who went insane because women are forbidden from becoming captains, so she tried to steal Kirk's body, ends with Kirk in some Stan-eque dialogue pitying her for not realising her limitations as a woman. So Stan fits in with some other "progressive" 1960s pop culture as still having one foot in their past.
I think Fnord was referring to the references not only to "darkest Africa" but also "the seething dark continent". Once you might be able to get away with, twice is pushing it. The "dark continent" supposedly did not originate as a racist term, it started off in the late 1800s due to the lack of European knowledge of the continent, however note that black people had already been being called "darkies" (& being used as slaves) for over a hundred years before the "dark continent" phrase was coined, so it's hard to believe it was entirely innocent. It's not as if Europeans did not know what colour the people of "the dark continent" mostly were.
Still, whether they started off as racist terms, I think it should be clear enough that by the 1960s, referring to Africa as "darkest Africa" & "the dark continent" etc should have had a rethink.
I don't think Stan was racist, he has a good record with characters like Joe Robertson, Black Panther & the Falcon. But I do think that being born in the 1920s, he might have used the terms unthinkingly, possibly influenced by early 1900s Eurocentric/imperialist tales of Africa he read as a youth.
As I mentioned above, in Marvel Super Heroes 11, Carol says Rogue is barely more than a child. The first half of Marvel Super Heroes 11- up to when Carol confronts the Brotherhood- was written by Claremont and intended to appear in Ms. Marvel 25. Moreover, the entire plot revolves around Mystique protecting Rogue because she's like a daughter to her. That issue is evidence Claremont intended Rogue to be a child.
Besides- Kitty's what, 14 at the time of this story? Rogue's like 16 or 17- it's easy to mistake a 16 or 17 year old for a 19 or 20 year old- and you would call a 19 or 20 year old a woman.
But the Spider-Fear arc didn't really start until Web of Spider-Man 4, which was published a year after Secret Wars 1. Peter gives Ock the big speech about how he'll never win in Spectacular Spider-Man 79 but the first evidence we see that Ock is crazier than usual is this story.
Might this be the very first Marvel Team-Up? That is, I know Hulk encountered the Four, Spidey auditioned for them- but has anyone else ever teamed-up- oops, Namor and Dr. Doom have, by this point! Is this the first time heroes have joined forces in the Marvel Age? Henry Pym outfits Janet with her Wasp gear so she can become his partner (Jun. '63 ToS, #44). It's a matter of specific wording, I suppose. Awesome artistic team-up- trying to imagine the talents, the other way 'round! It's 1) this darn villain ! But, cool evolution of characters. R.I.P. Ditko, Kirby
this was a pretty uninspired second appearance. Spidey beats Raxxon the same way as last time but with some random gray thing lying around rather than webbing. Its clear Stan didnt know what Ditko intended the gray thing to be if I recall correctly (apologies if im wrong, im writing from memory).
This is just a casual note, to clarify that, although this story pops up as Rogue's first chronological appearance, her first actual published appearance was in Avengers Annual #10. One can easily link to Avengers Annual #10 by clicking Rogue's linked name in the "Characters Appearing:" section just above this comments section.
When doing this, one notices that there are no less than three continuity implant stories (such as this one) which pop up before Rogue's actual first published appearance. That's not a problem, it's in fact the intended purpose and nature of this site to list continuity inserts in chronological order continuity-wise, as opposed to publication order-wise. But casual users should be aware of this feature. Or at least I should, because I'm so easily confused sometimes!:)
So I'm re-reading Avengers Annual #10, written by Claremont, more carefully this time. For starters, on page 4 Professor X calls Kitty Pryde a child, saying "Thank you, child."
On page 11, Spider-Woman thinks of Rogue as a "woman" in two instances. On page 12, Thor grabs Rogue from behind, saying, "Hold, woman!" Page 13, Hawkeye calls her "a woman," and Vision calls her "the mystery woman." Page 26, Iron Man refers to "the lady's capabilities" in reference to Rogue. Nowhere is she referred to as a girl or a child, and she's consistently drawn to look older than Kitty Pryde, Jessica Drew, Carol Danvers, Wanda Maximoff, Janet Pym, Mystique, and Destiny.
Doesn't prove anything, but I'm still thinking she was originally intended to be at least over 21, and Claremont later changed his mind. Wouldn't be the only time he ever changed his mind. Marvel's writers openly and unashamedly admit that they just make most of it up as they go along. With all the comics Claremont's written through the years, he might have easily misremembered some of the circumstances afterwards. Memory is mostly reconstructive.
I always had the impression that Doc Ock was a late addition to the secret wars cast because he was basically in the middle of his "Spider-fear" arc. They had to work hard for Doc Ock and Spidey to not encounter each other in SW and had to put the Doc back in the institution almost immediately after SW so he could appear here.
I imagine the toy company insisted on Doc Ock because, with his metal arms, they figured he'd be more visually appealing. And the comics had to scramble to make in happen. (Just a theory based on no actual evidence).
Although Ditko disappeared from Marvel between 1966 and 1979, he was still quite visible to those of us who followed him wherever his artwork might lead us. He had already put Charlton Comics back on the spinner racks in '65, when Charlton started reprinting his and Joe Gill's Captain Atom stories from '61. So in '66 Ditko returned to Charlton and Captain Atom, even though I believe he was paid less there than at Marvel. There he revised Charlton's Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett) with a new version (Ted Cord), and created Nightshade, both in Captain Atom's backup feature stories. Blue Beetle was soon given his own title to carry, with another new Ditko character, the Question, as his own backup feature. Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Nightshade, and the Question would later be acquired by DC Comics, and still later, be revised by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons as Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and Rorschach, for the Watchmen series.
In '67 Ditko designed a Question-like character called Mr. A for Wally Wood's Witzend magazine. He went to DC in '68, where he created or co-created the Creeper, Hawk & Dove, and Shade the Changing Man. I'm sure there were more which I don't remember. But this is just to clarify that he wasn't exactly idle or pining away his time before returning to Marvel in '79, by which time he had become even further disillusioned about the comics industry after all his adventures with DC.
Ditko's work and name will live on, long after I am dead and forgotten.
I have always been somewhat more fond of Steve Ditko's work on Doctor Strange than on Spider-Man. Just a personal preference. As I get older, I do become somewhat more fond of the Spider-Man stories by Ditko, as well. In any case, the last 20 or so issues of Ditko's run on Strange Tales are an epic tale featuring Doctor Strange's world and dimension spanning struggle against Dormammu, Baron Mordo, and their minions. This issue really is a stunning conclusion, with the maddened Dormammu pitting himself against the majestic, awesome form of Eternity.
Steve Ditko really was one of a kind. He will definitely be missed.
She wasn't really middle-aged, she was just drawn that way!:)
In real time I'm pretty sure I read Avengers Annual #10 first, and probably not very carefully. It left a strong impression. Was her redemption worth what happened to Danvers? Hard to justify that. She was not a nice person. And I only just now realized that Marvel Super Heroes #11 was written in 1992. But your point about Rom #32 still stands. However I didn't catch it at the time, because I've probably never actually read it.
To nerd out a bit more regarding Captain Marvel, it'd take her four hours from our perspective as stationary observers here on Earth. But since she's traveling at light speed, she's experiencing 100% time dilation. So from her perspective, the trip to Pluto is instantaneous.
@Michael, I've heard that, but they surely could've fooled me ha. They were consistent about it. Michael Gustovich set the pace in Marvel Super Heroes #11. Michael Golden's Rogue lacked only a cigarette hanging from her lips in Avengers Annual #10. She looks like someone who's worn out from a fairly long life of too many martinis. Sal Buscema drew her faithfully to that model in Rom: Spaceknight #30-32. With Dave Cockrum in Uncanny X-Men #158, it's kinda vague, and I could maybe see it either way. Maybe Claremont had words with him about her age. And then we have Frank Springer here.
I think it's partly the short hair. For the continuity implants, she seems to have grown it out a bit, and gone with the dry look for awhile, in Classic X-Men #44 (which reprints Uncanny X-Men #138), and in Marvel Fanfare #60. Then I guess she must have cut it again and given herself another home perm just in time for the Avengers Annual, where she seems to have suddenly aged again by about 20 or so years.
The Rogue that joined the X-Men wasn't a bad character, but by the time she came around, I was already accustomed to the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants version. Another change was from leather to lace. In real life, people can sometimes do that, but it's hard to get used to it. It's just one of those retcons that doesn't really work for me. I thought I knew her!;D
This is one of the only times the Melter has a plan that doesn't involve attacking superheroes; he's lucky that the superhero who showed up to stop him is the one guy who's most vulnerable to his gimmick. To someone like Spider-Man or Daredevil, he's just a guy with a ray gun that he can only aim by turning his whole body.
GCD gives Jim Shooter a secondary script credit for #29. C. Tomlinson, L.T. U.S.A.F. (Ret.), is given co-credit for writing #28 as a "technical advisor."
Frank Springer had a number of co-plotting credits for Marvel and several foreign publishers, most of which appear to be for Marvel reprints (duplicate references to the same reprinted stories). He also had one co-writing credit for DC in 1968, along with the infamous E. Nelson Bridwell, on a single page text article, and 2 listed writing credits for National Lampoon.
These stories come close to obtaining the coveted "so-bad-it's-good" status in my eyes. Great to see "classic" middle-aged Rogue being a total asshole again for one last fling before Claremont turned her into a child.
Does anyone know if this incident is ever mentioned again? Having read all the way up to the early 90's (though only in the X-titles), I can't recall hearing about it. It would have been cool if Tony and Warren had actually developed a friendship based on Tony's being so willing to risk his life for Warren here. As rich playboys, they would have probably gotten along.
"This is the second time we've seen Reed resist a female seductress because of his love of his wife. It's a definite theme of Simonson's run, building him up power-wise as well as character-wise."
Simonson's Reed Richards was about as good as Richards ever got. Later writers have eroded his character badly IMO, for the sake of cheap thrills and shocking reveals. So many character changes, all compressed into about 10 years of Marvel time. It's been a very busy 10 years.:)
I was a big fan of Art Adams when his career began though I haven't followed him beyond the happenstance of him doing a book I happened to purchase. My favorite moment in this arc during my "Great FF Re-Read" was Johnny pining for Nebula. Finally, the "chinks in one's armor" has begun in their travesty of a marriage where not too long ago we were still enduring "Oh my dearest darling" moments.
Putting an end to what should never have happened in the first place is going to be great to relive.
Anyway, in what was an odd "art imitates life" moment the exchange between Hank And Tigra above hit close to home: "I'll just have to keep trying with you won't I?"
"And, I'm not saying we won't get together, in time."
I'm going through this with a lovely lady at my workplace at the time of writing. Not a 'no' but it's slowly sinking in that the way I feel about her is not the same she feels about me. And yes, I am a "nice guy".
A bittersweet moment to say the least.
The "Unholy Three" name is likely taken from the novel by Tod Robbins, twice filmed starring Lon Chaney, Sr. (once as a silent, once as a talkie). The film is about three carnival workers -- a little person, a strongman, and a ventriloquist -- who become murderous criminals using their distinct skills.
At a guess, Stan Lee was a fan of the film(s) or the novel: these guys, the original trio of Enforcers, and the Circus of Crime all share some similarities with the premise of the novel.
A challenge, eh? The green-clad guy in Champions 2 is the unnamed demon from "What Lurks beneath the Mask?" in Strange Tales 136, though he's colored differently, and nothing in that story indicates he's any sort of lord of the dead.
In #2, there's a panel that depicts some lords of Hell as part of a union led by Pluto. One appears to be Mephisto, and another appears to be the Satan appearing in Ghost Rider which was also written by Tony Isabella at the time, which would seem to contradict the later assertion that Mephisto and "Satan" were the same. Pluto's also shown with some green-clad guy in that same panel, whom I suspect appeared in a Ditko Dr. Strange story.
This Captain's anti-communist attitude made me think he was William Burnside when reading this story, but apparently that isn't the case. There were so many Cap replacements between the Golden and Silver Ages, no wonder I sometimes get them mixed up. (okay, just three guys, but that's still a lot)
I actually like Namor's outfit, but it does look strange.
Never read this (didn't even know it existed till now), but I almost want to read the whole thing just to see if the whole thing's as weird as it seems. Just seems like out-of-character bad fanfiction from start to finish,
A bad callback to the Hulk-Wolverine fight from #340, with the Hulk saying "Hey! Is this really necessary?" when attacked? The Mimic now actually looks like the people he is taking powers from, but doesn't absorb the Hulk's power this time? Banner getting drunk with some young hitchhiker friends? (And if Banner being drunk could have an effect on the Hulk, why would he do it just before sundown when the Hulk's about to appear?)
I was wondering why an editor wasn't there to sort out this mess, but then it seems he is an editor.
The real issue is how to handle necessary exposition in the least obtrusive manner. Like anything, it requires a certain level of craft to determine if it is best done by the art alone, requires caption boxes, or thought balloons or dialogue. Of course, unnecessary exposition needs to be edited out.
Thought balloons and caption boxes are tools, nothing more or less. They can be used well or used poorly. But they are no more wrong than a hammer is wrong, even if the job you need at this time is actually a screwdriver.
I like this issue, it shows Johnny has personal integrity, and here it is demonstrated well. His character is likeable in that he often chooses to take the mature or humble route in various situations.
So I think as Ellison was not used to writing for comics, he was doing some telling-not-showing, and the work seems halfway between a "mature" Miller-style Daredevil comic & a 60s comic where too much is explained to the reader. It's not as if Ellison is the only comics writer of this period who sometimes has too much exposition in the thoughts or dialogue, but there's something particular about his style in this comic that doesn't work in the way a professional comics writer would have done it. And it does suggest narrative boxes would have been better than thought bubbles, simply because they would have described the clunkiness of the thoughts better.
Having him narrate the story to Black Widow as a flashback might also have been a better choice than having the story explained almost solely by thought bubbles.
I agree with Michael. Great works by Moore & Miller that didn't use thought bubbles unfortunately seemed to make the rest of the industry embarrassed by the idea of thought bubbles. But there's nothing wrong with thought bubbles or narration boxes, they are simply ways of portraying what a character is thinking. Sure, some people will think it more sophisticated not to show exactly what the character is thinking & instead rely on some decompressed artwork to show over several panels what the character is thinking (hoping that we actually have a good artist that can pull that off), but in most (non-graphic) novels you will have at some point or another a description of what the character is thinking, & no-one gets embarrassed about that as being unsophisticated. As Omar says, modern comics are trying to be films, not novels. Thought bubbles or narrative boxes are just conventions of the genre, not really too much more ridiculous than speech bubbles.
I do think there is a particular problem with Ellison's use of the thought bubble here though, because Daredevil is alone most of the issue, the thought bubbles are being required to do a lot of exposition, and the thoughts are unnatural: For example, Miller might just have had DD thinking "no heartbeat" & believed the audience would understand, rather than "for the first time I'm close enough to hear her heartbeat", which is explaining a story point. Similarly, we are told a shark is without water, and then also told it is dying.
Gerber's run on Omega The Unknown is also worth looking at for pointed commentary on the superhero genre. The Amber character, like Beverly in HTD, is also a far more interesting supporting character, than, say, Mary Jane Watson. Gerber did valuable and under-valued work writing these women characters more fully realistically than usual.
Thought bubbles are a technique, just like first-person narration captions; they can be used poorly or well. I've seen stories that absolutely needed first-person narration captions -- Miller's Daredevil #181 springs to mind -- and stories where the need to show lots of characters' interior monologues would make thought bubbles a stronger choice to avoid the clutter of multicolored narrative captions. Essentially, captions are for stories that use first-person narration; though t bubbles are closer to third-person omniscient narration.
Here, I think the balloons are doing two things: first, they're there to show fragmented, stream-of-consciousness thoughts. The irregular shape of the bubbles calls attention to their size and position on the page in ways that the comparative visual regularity of caption boxes would not.
Second, thought bubbles, by definition, open up the sense that any character can have their thoughts on the page. So when a character does not get their thoughts "bubbled," that can mean something. And this story has little girl-shaped robot drone-bombs....none of which have thought bubbles. And this, of course, hints indirectly at their true nature.
The move to captions also works for comics trying to be cinematic; thought bubbles work better for comics that play up the "literary" or "written" aspect of comics scripting. Any writing or comics tool has many subtle, particular uses in the right hands.
Andrew, maybe it's a generational thing, but I don't see anything wrong with thought balloons. The whole "thought balloons are bad" school of thought seems to spring from a desire to be sophisticated. Now, there are bad ways to use thought balloons but there are bad ways to use dialogue as well. And no, it's not odd Ellison used thought balloons- at the time this story came out the majority of writers- including Chris Claremont and Roger Stern- used thought balloons. And Denny O'Neil- the regular writer of Daredevil at the time- used thought balloons- check out fnord's scans of his issues.
The house full of deathtraps is a pretty old trope by this point. If anything, the one scene of the endless mansion from the outside makes me think of the Winchester Mystery House, which would inspire a much better story the following year, "Ghost Dance" by Alan Moore in Swamp Thing 45, and a mediocre film earlier this year.
What sticks out more than anything in retrospect, to me, is the endless thought balloons. Like laugh tracks in sitcoms, the thought bubble narrative seemed perfectly fine at the time, even necessary, but it's just painful for the modern reader. It's a little odd that Ellison would use them, while working on a book that Frank Miller had used to largely replace the thought ballon with the running first-person narrative box, and in a story for which it would have fit perfectly.
Well, duh. The 90s are like this. The best things to come out of the 90s are all stories out of continuity or one-shots/novels. All the core books are utterly awful. Comic books won't get good again until the early 2000s.
A lot of freelancers and staffers would consider it a real treat to have a chance to pose as Spider-Man or Captain America on an actual published comic book cover. I wonder if the freelancers even got paid for it? I'd have gladly done it for free, just so I could put the cover on my wall for a while. No matter how bad it was hah
To be fair to Lobdell, like I said above, supposedly Harras had him rewrite the issue to make Magneto more evil. Harras's tendencies to make changes like that caused problems no matter who was writing- the implication that Norman Osborn kidnapped Peter's and MJ's baby, and MJ's death, being the two most glaring examples from the Spider books.
Maybe it would have been wiser to have Nicieza writing both X-Men titles and Lobdell doing... well, not X-Force, because his strengths don't fit that book either, but something else. It just makes more sense to have the two X-Men titles written by the same author, as opposed to having X-Men and X-Force written by the same author and Uncanny written by someone else. Coordination between titles about the same group of people would seem to be more important than coordination between two groups of different, but related people.
I ran out of space in the previous comment, so this is a continuance of that.
All that said, this issue does have awful pacing. I could believe that Magneto would behave this way, but I think it is a poor decision to have him behave this way so abruptly. He shows up at the funeral and immediately threatens to kill the entire planet? In the words of Ron Burgandy, "Well, THAT escalated quickly." They could have built up to it. A lot of the threatening dialogue and blunt manifestos about Magneto and Xavier's conflicting methods that are uttered here probably could have been saved for the showdown in X-Men 25, and then that issue wouldn't have felt so belabored (from a dialogue standpoint).
Also, Magneto as he is presented in X-Men 25 seems more like the Magneto we have come to know - far over the line now, but a significant step back from his behavior in this issue - which just feels backwards. So while I was okay with this issue as I read it (apart from the pacing I actually enjoyed it), it does stick out like a sore thumb when you take the event as a whole. Just more proof that Lobdell was not adept at writing issues that require more than character development.
I actually didn't have that many problems with this issue as I read through it. I think that Magneto's insane behavior makes sense when you consider a couple of things:
1) The hopeful worldview that he had attempted to embrace to honor his friendship with Xavier has been heading downhill for a very long time. From his inability to protect the New Mutants sufficiently to his attempts to create a haven for mutants, first in the savage land and then on Asteroid M, which both failed horribly, to his being shot out of the sky by a (some might say reasonably) fearful world, plenty of things have conspired to convince a man who barely embraced the dream in the first place that it was unachievable and that humans will always hate and fear mutants.
2) His powers were at an all-time high, which is established to make him insane. I don't think that the fact that he still resembles the character that Claremont built through the years contradicts this; rather, the reason he isn't doing things as loony as the silver age is that this isn't the silver age. Comics of that era were written in an entirely different style, and, let's just be honest, with a much lower expectation for the intelligence of the reader on average, since they were aimed at children. The insanity was just a retcon - Magneto behaved the way he did in the silver age because that's how Stan Lee wrote a villain. It's not odd to think that a modern take on Magneto's insanity would be at least a LITTLE more nuanced.
As I see it, there are several motivations that Cortez could have for doing all this. This issue doesn't really do a good job of explaining anything, but X-Men #26 reminds us that Cortez isn't aware of Magneto's death. He is ostensibly trying to protect himself from Magneto's vengeance, which is why he has kidnapped Luna (the idea being that Magneto can't hurt him if he is constantly holding Magneto's granddaughter). As for starting a rebellion in Magneto's name, he did try to deny that he had betrayed Magneto, so maybe he thinks he can prove himself with this grand gesture and regain his standing with the acolytes. It's not spelled out clearly, but it's at least hinted at in part II.
On top of all that though, this could be a way to earn points in his battle to lead the upstarts. He has lost the chance to kill Magneto, something that at one point he thought he had already done. He has lost leadership and the trust of the acolytes. He has gone from the lead in the competition to last place. But if he can start a full fledged war which causes the deaths of several prominent X-Men, Avengers, and possibly topples a country, he'd be right back out in front, if not a shoe-in to win the whole thing, right?
Mandrill's worst crime might have been getting his girlfriends to get the face tattoos. I mean nowadays morons get face tattoos all the time but in the 70s it really would have ruined their future employment prospects.
A friend o mine got this in a captain crunch giveaway contest (I opted for spider-man 252). I remember at this point we still didnt know what exactly Wolverine's mutant powers were (yeah, he had claws but those werent mutant "powers"). In one panel, Wolverine is blurred as he is running fast, so my friend guessed he had super speed.
Omar, I agree with you. Claremont has a lot of strengths as a writer, but also several weaknesses some of whom are prominently displayed here. The sudden reversal by deus ex machina that the heroes are able to stumble into is a major problem for him. The resolution is not being organic either to the characters or the story. This happens a lot in his stories as he wants to eat his cake and have it too (enact permanent changes to indulge his whims, but then turn everything back to normal because he obviously has to). So the heroes simply get lucky, as opposed to figuring out the solution on their own.
There's a lot of enjoyable moments in this storyline, but it fails to conclude satisfactorily, and it is a major interruption of what should be the focus of the book. X-Men are supheroes, and they've dealt with alien threats before so some elements are OK. But this is a major departure.
There's no reason to assume that Storm being reborn in the Brood Saga would end the connection with Dracula. (Presumably, it was ended when Strange used the Montesi Formula on Dracula and/or when Roma brought Storm back to life.)
In this story, Lllith claims that the connection to Storm (and to Wolverine, for that matter) is severed when Dracula "dies" here, something that doesn't really fit with his old Tomb of Dracula appearances.
It seems to me that between this and the upcoming Thor story, we were getting a sort of "farewell tour" fro Dracula ahead of his (then) final destruction in Stern's Doctor Strange. In that light, Rachel's death and vampiric destruction, as well as the reintroduction of the Montesi Formula, work as setup for Dracula's final bow.
I've never been very fond of this story: it seems like the plot devices come fast and frequently, and the resolution requires not one but four deus ex machina elements -- the magic Acanti soul that can do anything, Storm's super-specialness being played up to the point that she can become Force ghost and do what Jeanix couldn't in reclaiming her humanity after an empowering rebirth, Carol turning into Binary and developing vast cosmic power, and the Starjammers turning up "in the nick of time" (as the story itself lampshades). It also doesn't help that the Brood are deadly dull except as physical threats: monodimensionally evil, but also too talky to come across as alien and creepy.
More generally, the book's been turning harder and harder towards "dark fantasy" since at least issue #159, and Claremont seems to be recentering it away from the Silver Age elements -- Cyclops is the weak link throughout this story, Xavier is corrupted, and the series has little to do with mutant rights -- and towards the new characters and his pet themes. There are a few sequences that signal this: Cyclops's breakdown regarding Professor X, where Storm responds to his tantrum and request for solace with "foolish man, you had but to ask;" and Wolverine doing the hard work of keeping a Dark secret from the team for their own good and (for what seems the first time in the series) referring to Cyclops as "the boy." In the end, it's Logan's toughness and Storm's spirituality that save the team.
With this story and the Brood Saga that starts at its end, Claremont really starts playing up the faults Xavier and Cyclops, and in turn dramatically playing up the strengths and specialness of Storm and Wolverine.
It's more pronounced in the upcoming multi-parter, but here, we have Xavier *telling himself* it's unethical to make out with his patient....and then justifying it anyway. Later, during the fight sequence, Magneto is decisive and effective, while Xavier is both brash and sentimental, and prove3s of little use.
He also starts to get arbitrary limits on his powers: not only can't he read Magnus's mind, which might be justified by those old Kirby/Lee stories where Magneto has some kind of psi talent, but he also somehow can;'t affect the mind of Baron Strucker, an ordinary human being.
It's especially evident given that a footnote places this flashback after the events shown in the flashback in #117; but the Xavier in that story was far more decisive, wise, and capable than this one. Claremont's views and goals for the Professor had clearly changed (really, somewhere back in the Dark Phoenix era), and this stuff seems in part like an effort to reflect that changing view.
According to Byrne, it was Stern's idea to make the black costume a symbiote: "Todd McFarlane likes to say he "created" Venom -- usually forgetting David Michelinie. When I hear this, I usually respond by saying "No! I created Venom!" And it goes like this: Iron Fist used to be getting his costume torn up all the time. By the next issue, it was usually repaired again. I didn't much like the notion of Danny Rand sitting in a corner with a needle and thread, so, extrapolating from Chris's (then) idea that K'Un L'Un was actually a crashed spaceship that used its warp drive to phase between dimensions (Chris being in a sci-fi mode that week), I suggested that the outfit was made of some kind of biological material that "healed" instead of having to be patched. We never got around to using that in IRON FIST, and years later, after Spider-Man got his alien costume in SECRET WARS, Roger Stern asked if he could use the notion, and added the idea that the suit was some kind of symbiote. Tom DeFalco (if memory serves) took this a few steps further, until David and the Toddler added a big, ugly mouth and gave it a name, Venom. So, who "created" Venom?"
One thing about these later Spider-woman issues, she almost never loses fights: she kicks the Fly's butt (who has beaten Spider-man and MK). No problem with Hammer and Anvil, Hulk-level foes. And here she out kung-fu's the Silver Samurai. She has some solid wins.
I really liked that Jessica and Dazzler really didn't get along (just because they're both girls). It makes sense as their personalities are basic opposites. Jessica was all business and thought of Dazzler as a ditz. Kind of reminded me of early Moon Knight/Spider-man team ups, where the two worked together but clearly didn't like each other.
The leader of the Posseessors, called "Lord Leader" in this story, is explicitly said to be the same leader in the first Posseessors story, the one who went one-on-one with Strange. Should he be tagged?
Agreed, though I think you're thinking of the costume Xavier gets just after Secret Wars, which is similar to the Secret Wars one but modified to make it infinitely worse, with a bigger X connecting like suspenders to some thigh boots. (see UXM #189 for example...)
I have no evidence but I wonder if Claremont told Romita Jr to make the costume a bit kinkier, & Romita didn't know how to deliver that, which is how it ended up as something the Wasp would reject as a bit too much? It was close to UXM #192 where Nocenti stopped Claremont from doing a story with Xavier wearing women's clothes, so Claremont settled for Xavier being dressed in Morlock bondage leather instead. And later, Claremont will do a joke scene in UXM #254 where a new team of X-Men all accidentally get kinkier costumes, all stockings & thigh boots. (They are attempting to get changed into Moira's new body armour versions of the classic yellow X-Men uniforms, which are themselves quickly modified by either Claremont or Lee into thong versions of the same outfits. I think in-story the outfits are modified by Forge, but I'm not sure why he decided that change offered extra protection.)
Romita Jr did design Prowler, Hobgoblin, Typhoid Mary etc so it's not like his costume designs are always that terrible.
Hulk was given a leg brace & a crutch, either one of those could have turned out to be evil.
Yeah, as Omar states this is a Venom parody. The plot is silly. but then many people thought Spider-Man having fights with his evil costume was also silly, it's just forgotten now due to Venom's popularity.
The "Secret Wars" nabisco on the corner is kinda amusing, though I think a later comic (maybe a Deadpool?) will do the same joke, so it's no longer the last tie-in.
Maybe it's a bad sign that Quasar is already doing such a silly plot by his 8th issue. I think Gruenwald did miss a trick by not having Hulk's evil leg brace make an appearance, though that would have tipped his hand & made it a pure farce, while I think he was aiming for a drier "dumb idea taken seriously" parody, your mileage may vary as to how successful that was. (Does anyone remember what happened to the leg brace? Could it still be at large, committing all sorts of horrors?)
Can you imagine what might have happened if Quasar asked Eon to give him info on the Technarch? Sam should have mentioned that Warlock was a mutant of his race at least. That could have gone very badly...!
And yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head about why people make fun of the Liefield patches. It's a combination of there being SO, SO many of them (similar to certain characters' teeth) and them having no apparent use.
The art in #74 is so 90's. It's not even just Wolverine. I mean, the sentinels have muscles. Why do the sentinels have muscles? Because EVERYTHING must have muscles, apparently.
As for the continuity stuff, I get that it's the editors job to catch those kind of things, but I also feel like writers should read up on the characters they are going to be writing. I understand a writer missing something like this, that didn't occur in an X-title. And I would also understand if a guest-writer popped in and missed something. But if you are supposed to be the main writer on a series, like Nicieza with X-Men, I don't think it is unreasonable to require that, as preparation for writing that series, you go back and read the stuff that has come before. Idk, maybe I am being unreasonable and thinking about how easy it is to read comics online nowadays. Maybe Marvel didn't have an archive of everything that writers could read from. But if they didn't, how were the editors catching it? From memory?
Seems to me that it's either being too hard on them or not hard enough.
It's implied (or more than implied, IIRC) that the new Star-Lord origin is a result of the timequake at the end of Age of Ultron, which is the Marvel equivalent of the Superboy-Prime punch. So arguably, the new origin is in an alternate timeline, and no more in the scope of this project than Killraven or the Ultimate Universe.
Although the art might make the building look like a regular structure, the first panel of the the first page specifies that it was the roof of "the New Mutants headquarters." Which means since they are wearing the Blevins costumes, this has to be Ship, since they are still in New York, presumably about to vacate to the mansion underground complex. This being the case, doesn't this affect the placement and require Ship's appearance to referenced?
This Stern run was incredible.........the darkness and posturing of the characters was right on point.
Juggernaut, Cobra, Mr. Hyde, Will O Wisp, all this was leading towards the badness of the Hobgoblin frenzy.
Mike Zeck work was terrific. He made those covers on the Punisher first limited series and Secret Wars. Cap I used to scrape up change to get, just because. I don't think he sold that well for sometime. His stories were like Evil Knievel, Big Foot, Kung Fu show, and history lessons in one.
Cloak and Dagger......this time period in America was just before the crack era. Also more things were being brought to attention such as homelessness, runaways, child protective services, etc. This appearance was key with the underworld in Marvel (Punisher, Daredevil (Frank Miller). Now C & D have a TV show?! These were the times. Mantlo was terrific
Can't a time travel story be told without Kang being involved? One of the most overrated and worn out villains in Marvel. I'm probably the only one who thinks so. I'm sure some of my thousands of alternate timeline duplicates think otherwise so no big deal.
Well I'm no Batman expert, but he was always a bit pouchy, wasn't he? He had the utility belt with the Batarangs and the Batgas and whatever other Bat-gadget he might need at any opportunity.
While Liefeld characters I think are more made fun of because we never (or rarely?) saw them use whatever was in all these dozens of tiny pouches everywhere. They were too busy using guns almost as big as they were, which definitely wouldn't have fit into the pouches.
I was still buying books when this came out so I'm surprised I didn't get it. Perhaps the 12 issues or the art put me off. Anyway, I skimmed the stories here after they were referenced in West Coast Avengers which has joined my "Re-Read" stack.
This issue might be worth owning. Anything that hurts that miserable SOB Quicksilver is a bonus in my book.
Steven Grant replied to a Twitter thread that Kurt Busiek had started about writing fill-ins. Busiek brought up Vienna and Grant briefly explained why he created her. The Vienna part of the thread starts here:
I'm also in favour of keeping the page up - Bendis' retcon (as usual for Bendis retcons) doesn't come up with something completely coherent enough to disregard all these stories, and 616 Star-Lord has referenced things from these stories that Bendis didn't use. So there's no perfect fit, none of it is more definitively "canon" than the rest, and you just have to squint a bit and say maybe Superboy-Prime's punch had an effect on bits of Marvel reality too.
It's not as if other characters don't have teething problems in development. Claremont's Magneto is not the same guy as the nuclear bomb-using crazy ranting telepathic guy from the first X-Men issues, the Punisher who first appears in ASM #129 doesn't seem the same guy (or using the same tech) as the guy in Punisher's other appearances, etc.
In defense of pouches, in recent years both Captain America and Batman have had multiple pouches on their belts (yellow pouches, no less) and they look just fine. There was even an amusing scene in the short-lived Herc series where Hercules complains about the pouches on his new uniform, but later finds useful supplies in them when he's in a bind.
Regional teams are a gimmick. There is no reason why the American South can't have a team, or even that its members originate from there. But that can't be all it is. The West Coast Avengers weren't particularly Californian - they were existing members of the team who just happened to be based in LA. Any local flavor was essentially window dressing. Originally it was just Stern's attempt to keep more Avengers in play instead of losing them to silly limited series or other titles. Likewise, these Great Lake "Avengers" aren't particularly Midwestern even if they are based in Milwaukee.
The Rangers, however, are completely a regional gimmick, which is why I think Marvel never did anything with them. They were just one more obnoxiously obvious ethnic/regional stereotype concept out of many that Bill Mantlo created.
Alpha Flight could have been a very gimmicky team since the core characters are obviously based on cultural stereotypes, but both in their X-Men appearance and in Byrne's initial run in their own series, the characters quickly ascended past their shallow origins and became real people.
So there is no reason why a team based in the South couldn't be good from a creative point of view. But like all things, it is utterly dependent on the qualities of the creative team.
I wouldn't want a Southern Avengers team (or any other "Southern" team, for that matter) to be populated with things representative of the South. It's a terribly cliche thing to do. Most super-powered people are not endowed with super powers representative of their region/country. And when they are, you get cringe-worthy characters like Shamrock, Blitzkreig, and (the Australian) Talisman.
I'm all for a Southern team, Avengers or otherwise. Just have them be people from the South with powers that are as random and regionally unrelated as what you'd find in the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, or the Avengers.
It's working okay for me using Linux and Firefox but my way-out-of-date Mac OSX 10.5.8 and Firefox 10.2 can no longer access the forum although I was always able to access it previously. The browser error message is "The connection was reset. The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading."
You're probably right, but it does seem fortunate to get Happy out the way ahead of time while no-one was expecting it.
And it is possible - Favreau announced in June 2006 that Pepper Potts would be in the film, and I could imagine Quesada wanting the comic to reflect how the film was going to be.
Also, Bendis, Millar, Quesada, Brevoort, Alonso, and a few others met with Favreau before filming started, saw the script & made recommendations etc. That meeting would have been at some point between April '06 when Favreau was hired & March '07 when filming started.
Anyway, just my conspiracy theory! Could be wrong.
Happy died in Iron Man 14, which came out in December of 2006. The Iron movie came out in April of 2008. I don't think Marvel knew the details of the film at the time the decision was made to kill Happy.
It's a sad life in general for characters no longer featured in the comic. You might end up on heroin like Karen Page, or age at normal rates like the Blonde Phantom, or you might be brought back for the first time in years to provide a meaningful death in a crossover.
Certainly things don't go well for Pepper & Happy - after Happy loses his job & their foster children, they eventually divorce (supporting characters are the only Marvel characters who can get a divorce), then re-marry, then Pepper has a miscarriage, & then Happy dies (I guess two divorces would be pushing it), I think to make way for Pepper to come back to the comic full-time, & date Tony again for any fans coming from the Cinematic Universe.
Maybe. This situation brings up another thought for me though. How old are the X-Men in 2018? I ask because if Hank is nearing 30, that implies that 11-12 years have gone by since the X-Men were founded. But it's been another 26 years since then in real time, so you would think that by now in comic time it has been at least another 9-10 years. BUT according to Marvel's sliding time scale, there weren't even superheroes that far back. So are we to believe that 10 years between the beginning and now, and that almost no time has passed since then? Or do we disregard his age at this time and assume everything that has happened so far took place in, say 5 years? this is what I mean about the sliding time scale being dumb. You can't have a universe go on forever, without rebooting its continuity, and still claim everything that has ever happened occurred in the last decade or so.
I better idea would have been to establish that every three years in reality is one in Marvel, or something like that. It allows for a sliding time scale without crunching the events at either end.
I've tested the forum in multiple browsers & devices and everything seems fine. No changes were made recently and no one's been banned. If anyone is still having trouble, please let me know what's happening (exact error message if one is given) and your OS & browser versions.
I am too disheartened to learn that Pepper and Happy had these two disposable, nameless, and tagless foster children, whom they were unable to support, and whom they were forced to abandon back to children and family services. Does Gwenneth Paltrow know about this?;)
There is some debate about quite how much impact the Sexual Revolution really had on people's lives. Studies such as the Kinsey Report would suggest that people in the 'Fifties were not particularly chaste. They just didn't talk about it as much.
Still, that is not really the point. Marvel has a sliding time scale. When Claremont, Simonson or JMS refer to Scott's & Jean's or Peter's & Gwen's past together. They are referencing events that were meant to have happened five or six years ago.
Interesting that you note that Marvel dumbed down this comic anticipating an influx of kid readers. I remember seeing the wedding event at Shea Stadium of Spidey/MJ on TV as a little kid. I wanted to find the wedding issue of Amazing Spider-Man as my first comic. Unfortunately, the comic was sold out on newsstands and I ended up getting the next ASM. Issue 293, the issue where Kraven shoots and apparently kills Spidey!!!?!! Big marketing Marvel
Re: Rogue and Gambit's ages- Hank is usually written as 18 when he joined the X-Men. Rogue is said to be 18 in X-Men 182, while Gambit is said to have married Belladonna and killed her brother on his 18th birthday. Obviously some time has passed since for both of them but I think that saying they're as young as he was when he started out is fair.
Also, in regard to the debate over the age of the X-Force "kids":
Marvel's sliding time scale where everything has always happened within the past 10-15 years (usually closer to 10) is ridiculous. I understand the need for a sliding time scale in this medium, but it should really be more around 20-25 years so that it doesn't have to slide SO much. There's really no need to try to crunch all of Marvel's history into such a short period. It ends up making things make less sense, not more.
ANYWAY, in my head, X-Force is mostly in their late teens at this point, with many of the younger X-Men in their early 20's and the original team at or around 30. This seems to fit with how they are written as well as what has been said in recent issues (Then again, The Beast, in the same issue in which he mentioned that he was about to turn 30, also said the newer X-Men like Gambit and Rogue were as young as when he first began, which is obviously not true, so take their dialogue for what you will). I read Sam as being somewhere between 18 and 20 by now. I'm pretty sure, based on calculations I made when everyone was younger, that he is only a year or two younger than Colossus, and we know Sam is older than Kitty Pride, who has to be at least 16 or 17 by now, right?
This is my favorite issue of X-Force to date (meaning, out of the first 19 issues, not everything that follows - I haven't read that). I didn't feel like the metaphor was over-extended. To me it was pretty well-done, putting question to the X-Men's methods in a more modern, seemingly darker time. I personally still take the X-Men's side on the "open-hand" approach, and I lament that in modern times, Cannonball's line of thinking seems to have lead to more compromised heroes than we had before this time period. But as far as making the reader think about what they might otherwise take for granted, I think it's effective, and the book is richer for it. It also, like Jon said, does a good job of letting Sam shine as a guy who is finally ready to step up and take on the responsibilities of leadership.
Btw, I didn't get the impression that Sam meant to slap the Professor upside the head - which would have been very immature and overly emotional. I read it more as something like what Wolverine has sometimes done - coming as close as possible without causing harm, with the intention of making a point.
When the original stories were written in the 1960s, it was pre-sexual revolution. It was not unusual for couples to wait until marriage or engagement before engaging in sex. Of course, people also got married much younger back then. So Scott and Jean (or Peter and Gwen) being chaste would not have been unusual. But starting in the late sixties and early seventies, birth control started becoming more and more available although it was supposed to be limited to married couples only. It didn't become legal everywhere for everyone in the US until 1972. So when the original New X-Men stories came out in the mid to late seventies, it would have been a lot more natural to imply couples were having sex.
So it's only because of the sliding timescale that people would think Scott and Jean (or Peter and Gwen) not having sex in their teenage years (or even early twenties) as strange.
Certainly there were people who had pre-marital sex prior to publicly available birth control that women controlled, but it was called the sexual revolution for a reason.
I love this story. In only one issue of development you feel the pain of each character, and when Ghost Rider backhands the older lady it was shocking.. it lets you know this was not your normal superhero comic. J.M. DeMatteis is a fantastic writer. Really enjoyed it.
How many Morlocks died because Sam, Doug, Shan, Illyana, Amara, Dani, Bobby, Warlock and Rhane ran off without telling anybody? Magneto, Moira, Tom, Sharon, Ororo, Logan, Betsy, Rogue, Peter before he collapsed and (maybe) Longshot were the only ones at the X-Mansion working to save the wounded before they died. Sure, you can add Callisto, the Healer (after he recovered) and other miscellaneous Morlocks, but as far as healthy bodies who can contribute to problem-solving, the X-babies just cut the mansion's strength in half and didn't even tell anybody they were leaving. How childish.
Instead Moira's dead on her feet and Magneto's walking around floating silverware and talking about how the world hates him. He's not calling the Avengers or Fantastic Four for help, he's not warning his children about the mutie-killers running loose. They just somehow get by with over half of their numbers completely missing.
And it's never brought up again. Magneto might have said something in "New Mutants" #75, Rhane cries to Storm about Doug's death in "X-Men" #271. Storm should have flattened Sam, Rhane, Warlock and Bobby with hurricane-level winds and screamed at them about running away. I think Cable would agree with Storm, 'don't you ever pull that stunt on me.'
At this point, I think the biggest weakness in Claremont's mutant titles is that no one ever passed along relevant information - maybe as a retcon - and the plots and characters had to be twisted to accommodate that.
"Break" meaning Scott thought Jean and Hank were dead and somehow failed to notice that Hank was operating publicly as an Avenger.
@Jonathan- you'd think he'd wear the visor during sex but he didn't seem to be wearing it in X-Men 176 when he had sex with Maddie at the start of the issue. You'd also think he'd be wearing it while flying a plane but Claremont threw in several scenes while Scott was flying or co-piloting a normal plane (i.e. not the Blackbird) and he was wearing his glasses.
The dream sequence issue (#128) is actually quite important.
1. It foreshadows Guardian's return
2. It shows the pay-off to the ENTIRE registration storyline running in the book at the time: Master basically getting the Canadian government to register all the super powered beings in Canada so he can brainwash them and create a Fourth Reich style dictatorship with the super powered people enslaving the normal Canadians.
Which led to an ironic bit of Marvel screwing crap up in the 00s with Civil War; when they launched Omega Flight out of Civil War, they acknowledged the Canadian SHRA but rather than admit that it was a conspiracy by a villain to take over a nation, they had Talisman say "we registered our people and didn't have any trouble" since they couldn't give fans the satisfaction of acknowledging how badly registration worked out for the Canadians and how they dodged a major bullet.
I commented on the last issue about how much I don't like Lee's art style, in particular the way he draws faces. But I think he did a good job on this issue. The moon setting does help, I think, but it also seems like he put more effort in here. The faces do not look badly drawn or emotionally out of place in this issue. His use of shadows matches the setting and the tone quite well. I could be a fan if he did this consistently.
Peter throwing in the aside about never having had sex with Gwen during Sins Past was a strange choice. It doesn't move the plot along one jot, and JMS must have known it would annoy at least some of his audience. Maybe, he feared future writers would ret-con the children as Peter's.
Off-topic for this page, but JMS's original plan for the story was that they were Perter's kids; it was Marvel editorial that forced this change.
Scott and Jean also have an odd "break" period ahead of #132, where Scott seems to have given Coleen Wing his apartment key. He has a later line that Colleen is "a friend -- nothing more," but that doesn't mean that nothing happened.
Their romance seems to have been less "school crush" and more "slowly drawn together, despite fits and starts." Jean goes off to college and there's a while where it looks like Ted Roberts will be her love interest, but she's drawn back to the X=Men and Scott, and when the team briefly breaks up, they move to the same city and are clearly romantically involved.
The idea tbat they're romantically involved in some way apparently lasts through the cancellation/Hidden Years era, but the early All-New All-Different era plays up Cyclops as a tortured loner, so things with Jean seem to have cooled off. Then Phoenix replaces Jean, and even so, Scoitt's maybe running around with Colleen Wing while "Jean" is being stalked/seduced by Jason Wyngarde. And then they come back together (from Scott's perspective) and have an adult romance. Then "Jean" dies and Scott mourns, has a short fling with Lee Forrester, and eventually finds Maddy.
The tough bit is that Jean, in early X-Factor issues, does seem to think there's an old romance with Scott to go back to. That suggests that at the time of her cocooning, she saw Scott and herself as a couple, or at least as people headed back into coupledom. And then Inferno gives her all the Phoenix memories....
As discussed above, Roth's conception of an ape-like Banshee isn't his own, he's merely imitating popular racist caricatures of the Irish that date all the way back to the 19th century. See here for some examples. That someone thought this kind of stereotyping was still okay in 1967 os baffling, especially considering how out of place Banshee's cartoonish features look compared to the other characters in the comic.
Peter & Gwen don't have the same excuse to avoid intimacy that Scott does, though Michael's suggestion about Captain Stacy's death is interesting... at the funeral, Peter is wondering how he can look at her or touch her knowing he is partly responsible for her father's death, on the other hand he does continue to date her so that does improve over time, and it was her father's dying wish that he continue to love & look after her. (And it's one of those comic book drama conventions that Gwen seems to solely blame Spider-Man but never mentions Doctor Octopus.)
In ASM #101, I think the first Spider-Man issue not scripted by Stan, Roy Thomas has Gwen invite Peter to watch "I Am Curious (Yellow)" with her, she does suggest "you could cover my eyes during the spicy parts" but I think that is a young woman fearing judgement if she seems too keen to see what was essentially the first mainstream film that everyone watched for the sex scenes. I suspect Stan might have had this changed if he'd seen the reference before it went to print.
Possibly though if X-Men hadn't been cancelled by that point, we might have seen Roy sneak similar "come on, they must be doing it" references into Scott & Jean's relationship, but we'll never know.
Yeah I'd thought that #132 was their first time that she'd been able to see Scott's eyes, not their first time full stop... X-Factor #18 does say they weren't kids anymore but I don't think Weezie was aware that they were meant to be 24.
After about #111, they do spend most of the time thinking the other is dead & are not reunited too long before #132, on the other hand they do say at some point in the early #100s that the new team has been together a year, so it's still got to be over a year between their (already very belated) first kiss on-panel and their consummation.
In fairness, Cyclops' powers do at least provide some reason for a lack of closeness, his worries that his eyes will kill someone keeping him apart from people. And without getting graphic, if he was getting intimate with someone I think he would have to be wearing his full visor, his sunglasses would be too risky... (now I'm kind of surprised that Claremont never depicted this, some sort of "wearing mask while doing it" is surely one of the few kinks he didn't feature at one point or another...)
That physical intimacy is so scrupulously avoided during Marvel's Silver Age, would suggest to me that the audience is being invited to draw their own conclusions. If they wanted you to infer that Peter & Gwen or Scott & Jean were being chaste, then surely they could have thrown in a few scenes where Peter walks Gwen to her door, receives a peck on the cheek and departs. We never see anything like that. Some readers might choose to believe that is what's happening, but it is just as easy to believe the opposite.
Peter throwing in the aside about never having had sex with Gwen during Sins Past was a strange choice. It doesn't move the plot along one jot, and JMS must have known it would annoy at least some of his audience. Maybe, he feared future writers would ret-con the children as Peter's.
"At least, I thought he would! Maybe I was wrong! Maybe it was just an excuse not to get close! Anyway, I spent my adolescence worshipping Jean in tortured silence! Our time for love came when we were older... on a butte in New Mexico"
Nothing happened until #132! Claremont & Byrne explicitly say that Jean is 24 when she dies (just a few weeks before the episode on the butte). They would have been a couple for about six years by that time. Neither character has ever shown any religious convictions. It just makes them seem a bit weird.
I suppose it supports my supposition that Jean's feelings for Scott were just a schoolgirl crush, and she was so over him by Giant-sized X-Men #1. Look at her actions, she leaves the X-Men, despite Cyclops choosing to stay. She flirts outrageously with Wolverine. Then she moves into a groovy singles pad with Misty Knight. Cyclops was about two weeks away from the "it's not you, it's me" conversation. Only she gets replaced with the Phoenix before she can put her plan in motion.
Does anyone have any estimates for how heavy the water tower Spider-Man lifts in #89 might be? You always see these water towers in Spider-Man comics of the time, but it's clearly a Master Planner-type effort for him.
I have them about nine years apart. Excuse me if I don't reference the books but if Sue was 12 when she first met 19/20 year old college student Reed and he had a 40th birthday then she's probably 31 or 2. Johnny mentions once to Alicia that "you're not much older" than he was. I have him around 21/2 so she's maybe 22/3. All conjecture everyone.
"Lazerfist" seems unnecessary for sure. Why couldn't she just be "Lyja"? Anyway, during my "Great FF Re-Read" she hasn't happened yet. I'll reserve judgment until I get there.
Peter does I think consider marrying Gwen a few times. The idea of Peter & Gwen never being intimate seems dumb to me, and I think to many other fans (especially joined with the retcon that she was intimate with Norman Osborn, a crazy sweating man who was a bad father to one of her friends). But the Captain Stacy angle is a legitimate interpretation as something Peter would blame himself for, I think Betty blaming him for her brother's death is one of the main things that splits them up.
I've just checked X-factor #18 and Michael is absolutely correct. Rusty & Skids are doubting whether to get together since it doesn't seem to have worked out well for Scott & Jean (& coincidentally to my "messed up" running gag, I was surprised to see Rusty even says "no wonder Scott's a nut case" when describing Scott's relationships with Phoenix & Maddie). Rusty goes to Scott and asks him "when you were a kid, if you and Jean, well, if you ever... you know..." and Scott responds saying back then they "loved each other very much, but things were different", they were being trained for combat & Xavier would "have frowned on any... extracurricular activity".
Scott then says "At least, I thought he would! Maybe I was wrong! Maybe it was just an excuse not to get close! Anyway, I spent my adolescence worshipping Jean in tortured silence! Our time for love came when we were older... on a butte in New Mexico"
Possibly Weezie was following up on the implications of this Classic X-Men story?
Alicia's and Sue's resemblance is eventually mentioned again in Marvel Knights 12, when Alicia impersonates Sue. But yeah, usually they're drawn looking nothing alike. And how much older is Sue than Alicia anyway? You'd think people could tell.
For what it's worth, in X-Factor 18, the dialogue is about as explicit as possible that Jean and Scott never had sex- it was the Phoenix Scott had sex with.
Regarding Peter and Gwen, I think the issue is whether you think Peter would have sex with Gwen knowing that she blamed Spider-Man for her father's death, since she would never consent to sleeping with Spider-Man.
Apropos of nothing... when analogizing Marvel and DC, the Doom Patrol is often cited as the closest approximation to the X-Men, but half a year after this story is published an issue of Metal Men follows it almost beat for beat. In issue 37, the Metal Men, hunted by an angry, bigoted mob, and without the support of their mentor (Doc Magnus, who is in a coma) are forced to leave their sanctuary and assume civilian identities, guided by a new mentor (in this case, billionaire Mister Conan)... and of course the new job of the only woman in the group is modeling. The real-life comparisons are pretty tight as well: the new direction failed to halt slumping sales, the book was cancelled, going to reprint for a while, and resumed with the status quo restored in the mid-seventies.
True, I don't think anyone had shown or made reference to Sue & Alicia as looking similar after that original introduction. It's just a "continuity problem" which amuses me. But in the original comics, it is clear that Ben loves Sue until he gets Alicia, then he moves on to Alicia. (I kind of suspect that if a writer other than Byrne had put Johnny & Alicia together, Byrne would be the first person pointing that out & saying the writer didn't understand Stan & Jack's original intentions.)
For what it's worth, I do actually think #332's undoing of the marriage is a better story than the Lyja the Lazerfist retcon, but that may just be because no-one in #332 is called "Lyja the Lazerfist". But I agree that Franklin having messed with adult character's love lives would have wrecked Franklin because as Fnord says, "it's the sort of things that later writers would continually pick at".
And the idea that the Skrulls might try to infiltrate the FF (& that Alicia would be the perfect target) does actually make perfect sense as well, it's just the poor execution of it & the fact that the readers can tell it wasn't originally intended, causes some plotholes, & is just a way to undo the marriage.
Regarding Englehart's wig in this issue, I'd love to think it was some snark by the colourist but Englehart was already bald at the top of his head by 1982 so I think it's a joke Englehart came up with, that the disguise of "John Harkness" was just Englehart wearing an unconvincing wig.
Wow this was something. Love Mantlo and these characters but the plot, dialogue, art.. ridiculous! Why is Ghost Rider so afraid of getting bit on the neck.. he is a skeleton!? Also did you know Ghost Rider's bike runs out of gas? How did Man-Thing get to California from Florida? What happened to the mountain afterwards? What the hell was this? Quality is F-minus. Entertainment? A
In #138, Claremont & Byrne do establish that Scott & Jean kissed during issue #32, though by the sounds of it, the use of the history of the comic in that issue might have been down to Byrne rather than Claremont.
The fact that Scott & Jean were not very demonstrative on-panel before Claremont doesn't mean more wasn't going on, but it leaves it open for a retcon like this, and coming from Claremont with his long association with the characters, I can accept it slightly more than JMS' one.
Still, the fact that it is now "canon" that Peter & Gwen never slept with each other means that Peter's 1st time was probably with MJ in ASM #150, although again that's just the 1st "on-panel" suggestion. And similarly, in my head canon, do I think Scott & Jean hadn't had sex before #98? It seems unlikely, despite both of their repressions. They will have spent a lot of time together between #32 and #98.
But as a bit of fun, if you decide to accept this retcon from the Classic X-Men version of this issue, and you accept the retcon from FF #286 that Phoenix replaced Jean, then it means that the first time Scott had sex, it was with the Phoenix Force pretending to be Jean. (It also means that when Jean returns after FF #286, Scott has had sex with both Phoenix & Maddie but not yet with the real Jean. No wonder they're so messed up.)
Oh I agree that they had been dating a while now & the idea they never "went the whole way" until after Jean became Phoenix is not totally convincing to me, though I can see that reading of it from Claremont's point of view, that he introduced the idea of sex into a previously chaste '60s comic.
Similarly, in Spider-Man during "Sins Past" it was claimed that Peter & Gwen never consummated their relationship, which doesn't convince me at all, & really that retcon was a mistake due to JMS having to change his original plans that Peter & Gwen had kids.
So really, both of those retcons of non-consummation are taking advantage of the fact that in 1960s comics teenage relationships weren't likely to be portrayed as obviously sexual. Spider-Man dated both Betty Brant & Mary Jane but was never shown kissing anyone until Gwen in issue #59, but that doesn't mean he never kissed the other two just because it wasn't shown on panel. I think Scott & Jean's first on-panel kiss happens in X-Men #94, they are never shown kissing before Claremont starts writing them, and the point is made in the original X-Men #98 here where we have Stan & Jack reacting to a passionate kiss between Scott & Jean.
I think I missed the hints that Scott & Jean were living together, though I'd be interested in knowing when they were. Byrne has said that Claremont was not overly familiar with the pre-Neal Adams X-Men issues so he may have missed some hints too.
After Professor X dies in #42, the X-Men disband and Scott & Jean get jobs and move to New York. I always thought it was implied they were living together (although, I would have to dig out the issues to confirm that). Even if I am misremembering, it seems unlikely that two healthy young people, who have been a couple since the mid #30s, still haven't consummated their relationship by #98.
I have to agree with you fnord that PAD did a good job with these issues. I complained about how the jokes were like a steamroller in his first few issues, but here I think he does an excellent job of restraining himself when the tone calls for seriousness. Boom-Boom's comment sounds like something she would say, and Warren's response is exactly how he would react to it.
I don't much care for Lee's art style here though. The lack of backgrounds is one thing (I guess you could say that it draws more of your attention to the characters), but I hate the way he draws faces. People look angry when they aren't, or, occasionally, weirdly lopsided. That shot of Gambit standing with Psylocke has me wondering why Gambit, who is supposed to be attractive, suddenly looks like a boxer who has been punched in the face a few too many times and gotten a dislocated jaw.
In hindsight it's unfortunate that story was told. Despite the additional maturing of characters who griped and fought early Fantastic Four were still kid-oriented comics and so you had silly stories like that still. I cringe when I remember that Skrulls who mastered interstellar travel did not have advanced enough surveillance equipment that they're fooled by drawings cut from comic books. The Impossible Man??!
That admittedly weird use of Alicia in that comic (#8?) was certainly written not realizing the long term impact Alicia's character would make.
In any case, IMO their rebound for the two of them romance was far more interesting than a needless marriage.
Your mileage may vary on how well Claremont mashed genres, but I give him the benefit of the doubt. In "New Mutants" #50, Illyana has lost control of the magical demonic Limbo to her long-time demon servant who has been infected by the Technarch Virus (or whatever it's called) and cast a magic wish that brought her to the space opera Starjammers, Ms. Marvel's current incarnation and the long-exiled Charles Xavier, for a time-travel story, an alternate-universe story and a superhero fight that has nothing to do with earthbound problems and gave all the New Mutants something to do. The Penguin isn't invading magical dimensions and ripping apart planets just to make a point to Batman, right?
There's tons of reasons to not like this story as a genre mash-up, as Claremont's typical mess, any number of reasons. [Why did we just get a history lesson about Robert the Bruce?] But it was a good graduation story for the X-Babies, setting them up for the next 50 issues where they became adults and...
I too read this in the X-Men Classic reprint line. It was the first comic I bought at 8 and only watching TAS I was so confused but so enraptured at the same time! I had no idea who the New Mutants were and was only familiar with Storm, Rogue and Professor X. I have to say though the confusion didn't make me not want to read it had the opposite affect, I had to know more and find out who everyone was. So while I get comics should be new user friendly sometimes jumping in the middle of something can be just as rewarding to a reader.
But it wasn't vetoed so it's canon just like Lyja and She-Thing are canon. All we can do with them now is try to forget them and ignore them, just like most writers have been doing for quite awhile. Kind of shows a weakness in the system when the editors have no better sense about such things than the writers do, but there you are.
The backup story to #98 implies Jean is planning for her & Scott to consummate their relationship in their date tonight, but the date is interrupted by the Sentinels' attack.
As far as I know, Scott has never been shown to have a love interest before Jean, I'm not sure when he'd have had the opportunity what with spending most of his life either at Sinister's orphanage or being trained by Xavier.
So whether their first time is on a butte in New Mexico, or if they'd already "done it" earlier off-panel, what this means is that Cyclops, one of the most repressed people on the planet, lost his virginity to a god.
Scott Summers' first time was with the immortal universal force of life and passion, "the embodiment of the very passion of Creation – the spark that gave life to the Universe, the flame that will ultimately consume it". No wonder he's so messed up.
Well Byrne started the whole thing and who knows what he had planned for it. I thought the betrayal far more interesting that they were a couple. Marriage was unnecessary and far too quick IMO. In Marvel time I should have timed it out approximately but I bet they dated under a year. I maintain a marriage only happened because someone wanted to make a splash for #300.
Without it you could have had all kinds of soap opera with a Ben/Alicia/Johnny/Crystal/Sharon mash up all pining for each other to varying degrees secretly or openly at different times. But then who wants to read too much of that schmaltz? Shades of Padme and Anakin...AIEEE!!!
I can see how this trope got going. All of the Fantastic Four are capable of dramatic physical transformations, yet the Thing is the only one who is unable to return to his original form. Ergo, there is something specific to Ben Grimm, which is preventing this.
But when we are reaching the stage where he is consciously preventing this transformation because he fears Alicia won't love him anymore, then we are moving into the realm of the ridiculous. Being the Thing would be absolute hell. His sense of touch would be severely limited, his dexterity would be hampered by those fat fingers, he would not be able to have sex, even straightforward things like sitting in a chair would be difficult. That anyone would actively choose to live like that is bonkers. And where would this notion that Alicia prefers the Thing to Ben Grimm come from anyway? He has returned to human form on numerous occasions and Alicia has never rejected him. Not one of Byrne's best ideas and Mantlo's story should have been vetoed.
According to Brian Cronin, it WAS intended that Wolverine survived getting shot in X-Men 133 because of his healing factor, but Shooter edited the dialogue because he didn't want Wolverine's healing factor becoming too extreme.
Hulk #181 has Wolverine telling Hulk "I'll just keep moving, if you please-- --because moving is the thing i do best!"
Later, in his first solo issue, Wolverine will decide that "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice."
In #127 here we have something of a transitional phrase between the two, where he no longer seems to be most proud of his moving ability, but still hasn't worked it into a memorable catchphrase yet: "I'm just gonna do what I do best", which he doesn't provide any more detail of, but in this case appears to be "unsuccessfully attempt to decapitate Cyclops".
Byrne's love of Wolverine - Byrne described himself as "fiercely patriotic in those days" - here results in increased powers & Wolverine starting to be portrayed as a super-efficient badass killer, as opposed to before where he was more a psycho who could get out of his depth sometimes.
In #116 we get the first mention of him healing "real fast", hinted again a few times in Byrne's run though I think doesn't get called a "healing factor" until DoFP (#133 has Wolverine getting shot by Hellfire Club guards but despite the art showing him being hit directly, the script covers it up claiming he was only grazed).
In the same panel in #116 he also mentions "the beast ain't been born that can break my bones", the first hint that he doesn't just have adamantium claws but a whole adamantium skeleton. As Fnord notes, Claremont later added extra dialogue in #115 mentioning the adamantium skeleton, but in the original issues it is Cyclops who next refers to Wolverine's bones as "unbreakable" in #124, & finally in #126, Logan tells Proteus "I got a skeleton made of about three million bucks worth of adamantium".
Previously, when Hulk punched Wolverine, the narration claimed it was "probably" only his speed & stamina that saved his life from a glancing blow from Hulk, though there also were hints that Wolverine must have some extra durability - in Byrne's 1st issue Wolverine is knocked into orbit by a punch, which does knock him out but maybe needed explanation how he survived at all.
The thing about Spiral and Mystique having their memories of the future fade away because, as Spiral says, "you can't retain memories of the future," was a real head-scratcher to me. You can't remember the future? Since when? How do you explain Cable or Bishop or any number of other characters?
Everything about parts two and three of this story is weird.
Ben is honest with Rom because Rom is not directly involved in Ben's life. With his friends and significant other however his duplicity is self-serving. Hey I know it's only a Mantlo story, but just like DeFalco and Englehart's stories, it's effectively canon until a later story contradicts it or retcons it.
As a contrast, Rom uses his Neutraliser on various gamma beings in Hulk #295 and cures them, except for the Hulk which it has no real effect on. Rom believes this is due to Hulk having the highest energy level he'd ever encountered, & that the high level of radiation has permanently damaged Banner over the years and there can be no cure.
I guess it could be interpreted that Rom is wrong & Banner has his own mental blocks stopping him from being cured, though at least in Thing's case there is temporary success, while with Hulk there isn't.
It seems clear that Xavier being possessed by the Brood Queen spawn is set up here -- there's a panel that shows an "anomaly" in his body that's clearly a curled up, fetal Brood, and Xavier';s distorted memory when he awakens to see Lilandra works as the "implantation" scene.
Here's a story that clearly establishes that Ben Grimm consciously prefers to be the Thing, moreso than any other story that I've seen so far. Ben's will-power to be the Thing is so strong that he's able voluntarily force his own transformation back into the Thing, in spite of Rom's neutralizer having just then negated all of his cosmic energy. I think this is what Ben has been doing every time Reed Richards ever attempted to transform him permanently back into his unmutated form. Maybe he absorbs fresh cosmic rays directly from the cosmic microwave background radiation. Ben likes being the Thing, partly because he likes griping, and it gives him something good to gripe about, and to blame on Reed.:)
Yet Byrne continued to write the FF for another eight issues, #288-295, without Johnny ever popping the question. So if he really intended for them to get married, why all the pussy-footing around? And even if he did eventually propose after 10 or 20 more issues, and assuming that she accepted his proposal, being engaged is not the same thing as actually going through with a marriage. It's the road not taken and we'll never really know for sure.
Yes, Byrne writes two different scenes where Johnny is interrupted when he seems to be about to make a proposal. When Stern takes over he has Johnny propose. Stern & Byrne were close friends so if anyone knew where Byrne was going with that, I think it would be Stern, and I'm sure Stern could have come up with some other "important story" for #300 if not for the wedding.
Not sure where else Byrne could have been going with those scenes, either 1) "ha, you readers thought he was going to propose but he's going to ask her to a monster truck rally", 2) he proposes and she says no it's too soon (but presumably they continue to date), or 3) he proposes & they get married. I'm not sure what other options would be worth the apparent build-up of him getting interrupted.
YW. As for having things planned out.... There were plans and plans going on behind the scenes. X-Factor #70 essentially being his first issue, PAD probably wasn't aware of all them. For instance, with "14 X-Men" it would seem counter-intuitive that another X-Men would need to join in just a couple months, but, of course, this happened since Jubilee's status as a freeloading minor orphan kept her from being a full team member or leaving the cast and the Gold team needed another member. And Jubilee wouldn't have fit on the Gold team without Wolverine to mentor her. It was all a very tangled web, which is what happens when editors and writers don't agree, as was the case circa this era.
Incidentally, Fnord says that Doug dies by "jumping in front of a bullet from the Ani-mator that was actually meant for the Right goon that Wolfsbane is fighting", but it seems to me (including from his dialogue) that Ani-Mator is trying to kill Wolfsbane. She doesn't see Ani-Mator, & he would have either injured or killed her, so Doug does have something of a hero's death, even if Rahne doesn't realise what he was doing.
Whether the cute talk-AWK-ing animal story was the right moment for it is a different matter, though I think Blevins carries off a good blend of cuteness & darkness. (Also I think the scans might be in the wrong order or that some other scan was intended, as we see Doug die before he gets shot.)
Regarding the killing off of Doug, Simonson has said that she would never "kill off" a character she didn't know how to bring back, & since it had been established that Doug had the transmode virus, he "would just come back in some other form, a Warlockian form", so it seems she would have eventually brought him back as some sort of Douglock, as I think eventually happens anyway.
She also says that they received a lot of letters from readers saying he was boring & they hated him, so she decided to give them what they want (and presumably the death & its aftermath might have made his fans like him more).
I think really she did have to injure or kill someone here, the whole selling point of Fall Of The Mutants was something bad/dark happening to each of the mutant teams (same as the promotion for Mutant Massacre before it & Inferno after it... both fall Of The Mutants & Inferno had advertising art showing lots of seemingly dead or defeated heroes.) In reality, X-Factor end up with a net positive result (Angel alive again, he is temporarily evil but betrays Apocalypse, & the team become heroes of the city). X-Men appear to die as heroes to a wide TV audience but in reality no-one actually dies and they are now invisible to machines etc... so really someone had to die here in order to even partially live up to what the event had been sold as, & the team's reaction to Doug's death & the X-Men's apparent deaths does help steer the next year of the comic leading into Inferno.
It's definitely a muddle of conflicting intentions. I doubt if Byrne ever intended for Alicia and Johnny to actually get married, but the first thing the editors did with it once they got it out of his hands was to go and make the relationship permanent. It all reeks of a failed attempt to recapture the enthusiasm Marvel enjoyed over Fantastic Four Annual #3. DeFalco didn't like the marriage, but how to deal with it once it was done was really outside his usual creative sandbox. He not only didn't know how to handle it, but what's worse is that he also didn't know that he didn't know how to handle it. And he will never believe that he didn't know how to handle it, so he still doesn't know.
What happened was this- when FF 300 was written, the editors approved Johnny's and Alicia's marriage. By the time FF 304 came along, the editors had a mandate that Johnny's and Alicia's marriage had to be undone. Both DeFalco and Englehart submitted proposals to write the FF and Englehart's was approved. Later on, when DeFalco became editor-in-chief, he rejected the Franklin idea, which as fnord pointed out, would have left Franklin with some weird baggage. But the mandate to split up Johnny and Alicia remained in place, and when DeFalco became writer, he used the Lyja idea (which might or might not have been the original method he proposed).
There were two problems here- first, the editors approved Johnny's marriage and then different editors changed their minds a few months later. Second, Marvel apparently had a no-divorce policy, so if you wanted to split a marriage up, you had do something weird. This policy caused numerous problems- the most famous being Scott and Maddie and Peter and MJ- but if it was in place, you should think hard before getting a couple married and not change your mind a few months later.
This issue is Bob Layton’s last during this run, and subtly draws the era to a close. The Unicorn was last seen in Iron Man #115–the very first Romita Jr. issue (Layton and Michelinie would join an issue later)—where IM reviews the villain’s history to that point, culminating in his servitude to The Other (the still unrevealed Titanium Man). Issue r#154 brings back the Unicorn, who has been incapacitated and effectively missed the intervening 40-issue run. Occupying the exact midpoint, issues #134-135, is IM’s epic battle with Titanium Man, which reflects backwards and forwards on the two Unicorn appearances.
It’s a nice bit of symmetry, which brings the inaugural plot thread full circle, and symbolically acknowledges the end of this historic run through the end of Unicorn. I can’t imagine it wasn’t intentional on the part of the creators.
There’s a bittersweet quality to the ending; but at the time it marked Layton’s (and shortly, Michelinie’s and Romita’s) farewell to a character he had always dreamed of working on. All three creators would return to Iron Man later; but none knew that at the time.
Here's another good example of how badly I'm misremembering this book now. I may have alluded to Franklin's manipulation in a previous comment as one of the reasons for the Johnny/Alicia relationship. I just finished #'s 332-33 and know now it was just a "What If?". [Perhaps more of a "What The!?"]
I believe I picked back up on this by only reading the panel as I skimmed the "Great American Novel" mega FF review and completely missed the dream aspect.
I would be curious to know about the writer/editor/EiC dynamic going on at this time. Was this a storyline discussed then rejected? It isn't a secret or a surprise by now that DeFalco is intent on breaking them up. Put me down for supporting it in some manner 100%.
But did DeFalco have his Lyja storyline already in mind this far in advance? Possible I suppose though I haven't been able to find much of anything where he talks about it. It's probably more likely he wanted a change of some kind but that Franklin's meddling was not going to be the way. No story had been chosen yet.
(S'ym was also shown to be massively powerful in his first appearance, or at least so "magical" that he broke normal laws of physics, being responsible for the death of alternate Colossus, being unharmed by Wolverine's claws, & in fact able to easily snap off one of Wolverine's claws and use it as a toothpick. But he was never shown as quite that powerful again, and his infection with the techno-virus definitely is a power increase for him compared to how he'd been portrayed recently.)
Yeah to be fair, the Limbo demons have no problem possessing Earth technology (vacuum cleaners, subway trains, elevators) & warping it with their magic. But Magus' techno-virus is so far beyond any Earth technology (far beyond even beings like Ultron) that I don't have a problem with it being able to infect the demons.
Right from the start with Magus & Warlock, we have creatures that look like robots but are apparently living creatures that can shapeshift & sizeshift immediately, that have offspring, & that feed by transforming other living creatures into circuitry like themselves with a single touch, that they then drain the energy of. Also, Magus can fly through space without harm, appears to have some interdimensional travel ability to get to Limbo in the first place, & in his 1st appearance rips a star in half & throws it, seemingly without any effort. (I did at this point assume Magus was Galactus-level & couldn't see how they could possibly beat him, though he was never portrayed as quite that level again. But if not quite one of Marvel's pantheon, he does at least seem a cosmic brute like Terminus.)
Finally, the techno-organic beings can survive as long as even a molecule of themselves remain, & from that single molecule can rebuild their entire being with mind & memories completely intact. So this really isn't normal "technology" we are talking about, it's basically god-level living tech that (as ChrisW implies) is pretty much already indistinguishable from magic.
Okay, I know I'm overthinking a stupid story, but why should drinking a heroin user's blood cause withdrawal symptoms in Dracula? He's ingesting an already metabolized drug, which is then metabolized again as he absorbs it from his own vampire intestines, so he should only get a very weak high.
@Chris- some demons in the Marvel Universe have been portrayed as not affected by the normal laws of physics, while others can be hurt or killed by normal physical force. There's no reason the latter shouldn't be affected by the techno virus.
The comic was about as good as Wikipedia makes it sound. Joe Kelly wasn't happy with Hammerhead as a perfectly good B-list villain, wanted to make him scary, and I guess he thinks Russians are scarier than Italians.
It's surprising that no one's ever simply done "Harry is sane, not a Goblin, and knows Peter's secret" as a status quo for the character.
But yes, as iLegion notes, writers generally had a hard time giving Peter a male friend after Harry's death here. There's a little while int he early 2000s where Randy Robertson fills the role, but it doesn't last very long, and later writers have tended to push Peter back towards "angsty loner" or "wacky cavalcade of love interests" when trying to write his civilian life.
More generally, starting with Gerry Conway, the Spider-books have developed an accelerating habit of cannibalizing the supporting cast for costumed adventure stories and ill-advised spin-offs. We're long past the point where there's any character from the Lee-Ditko-Romita era who hasn't either become a costume/super-character, been killed off or driven off by one, or been revealed to have one as a relative. That makes it hard to write the "Peter Parker" stuff well; he doesn;'t have any normal friends, so how can he be "the hero who could be you?"
This has likely been noted elsewhere on the site, but the Grapplers are patterned in the Jack Kirby New Gods by New Gods characters the Female Furies, just as the Femme Fatales who later turn up in Erik Larsen Spider-Man stories.
Titania = Big Barda, with her blaster rod device; Thundra gets Barda's plot of being interested int he book's hero and being treated as the sympathetic one
Letha = Lashina what with all the straps and stuff
Poundcakes = Stompa, who also had "seismo-boots"
Screaming Mimi = visually patterned on Mad Harriet
More broadly, Project: PEGASUS is a very loose counterpart to Kirby's Cadmus Project at DC. But the homages thankfully stop there, and these characters go in quite different directions in this arc and later on.
Yeah, I was no fan of the idea of HarryGoblin but DeMatteis did it well here in his Spectacular run. And it was inevitable really, Conway had Harry's mental instabilities return during Inferno & also he returned as the Goblin to fight Hobgoblin, then Conway had Harry trying to be a hero Goblin & in Web #67, Harry had remembered that Spider-Man was Peter. So DeMatteis was just continuing what Conway had set up.
The only problem was that DeMatteis was allowed to kill off Harry, which made a good dramatic end for the story itself, but no sense at all for the future of Peter's social circle. To this day I'm still surprised that editorial allowed him to do that, and they would try to resurrect Harry near the end of the Clone Saga mess before his eventual return after Spidey's deal with Mephisto.
As cliche as it would have been, they should have just made DeMatteis find a way that Harry loses his Goblin powers & memories at the end of the storyline. I'm sure someone else would have then brought HarryGoblin back after that but it's better than killing off one of Spidey's two best friends (following which I think Steven Grant does a story with his other friend Flash telling Peter they have nothing in common, so Peter ends up with no best friends).
(Re: Flash: I think the symbiote's knowledge of Peter's identity is wiped the same time as everyone else's, so it can't tell Flash. No spoilers but there were some developments with Flash & the symbiote in the recent ASM #800.)
Indeed, @Chris. IMO Claremont introduced a lot of concepts and characters that did not really fit his own favored character ecosystem and ended up shuffling them in the hope that some natural outlet would present itself. It happened with the Shiar and the Starjammers, with Illyanna's demonic limbo, with Warlock, with Madelynne Pryor and Mr. Sinister. It arguably happened even with the Hellfire Club.
One of the reasons why "Inferno" is such a dark story is because it served mainly as a resolution bin for many of those dangling plots. Although the many problems of that crossover go further than just that.
I got that it was a call-back to Giant-Size #1, and I know Guido and Polaris don't count as X-Men... but if you add Jubilee, the team they did come up with for the relaunch does number 14 (Wolverine, Psylocke, Gambit, Rogue, Cyclops, Beast, Jubilee, Banshee, Forge, Storm, Iceman, Archangel, Colossus, Jean Grey). So that's why I just assumed it was planned out. Thanks for clarifying though.
While we're on the subject of ideas that don't work... Flash Thompson Venom isn't necessarily a bad idea. It could've been sold to me. But I just read the first collection of that series and find in 2011, somebody's secret identity is still causing them problems with Betty Brant. Who of course gets kidnapped on top of said problems. That was cute in a 1964 comic, but undermines any attempt at maturity today.
(There's also the obvious question of the symbiote telling Flash about Peter being Spidey but I haven't read any further.)
It might be a shame that Harry went bad but DeMatteis and Buscema pull it off nicely here.
I actually disagree. While Claremont obviously liked to mix genres, for the most part I don't think they worked well. In a superhero universe, there is obviously a mix of genres, and many superheroes can cross between them without disrupting things. But at least for my tastes, I think Claremont would go too much to an extreme when he made an excursion into a different genre, and then when he combined them, it too often became a hot mess than something that was compelling.
The idea of demons becoming infected with a techno-virus does not make sense to me. The demons of the realm of Limbo should operate in a different enough physics that something like that cannot happen.
Crossing genres successfully and blending them is something that takes a lot of skill, and for all of Claremont's strengths as a writer he was very bad at killing his darlings. He could become easily self-indulged.
I didn't know about that one... I mean, it was never known what his identity had been before, other than that he was someone who liked gangster movies, but what with his general schtick & association with the Maggia, I'd generally figured he was Italian-American.
Hammerhead's never been a favourite of mine so I'm not that invested in it, but I really don't know whether I think it's a good idea that they made him something other than the obvious stereotype, or a bad idea because he's never been anything other than an obvious stereotype & never seemed any more Russian than Rhino had. (And Wikipedia says he was a Russian who pretended to be Italian so he could become a made man in the Maggia, which doesn't sound like a good idea to me but I haven't read the comic.)
I kind of feel Hammerhead being Russian is like they suddenly revealed Batroc has never been French, or Shamrock isn't really Irish. If they felt they needed to de-emphasise him being essentially a Mafia boss, they could have done that, but to say he was not ever Italian seemss peculiar to me. At least Rhino already was working with what were surely intended to be Cold War spies.
One of Claremont's unrecognized strengths was mashing genres together and making them work. We'll never know if Magus taking over Limbo was one of his long-running plans or if it was a neat idea he had as he was writing these particular issues. I think he was trying to make a point about the similarities and differences of magic and science. Safe to say, it wasn't something the editor was pushing on him.
I haven't read these issues and can't comment on their quality, but I am disappointed that Harry is back to being a villain. I didn't think it worked the first time he became the Green Goblin. I didn't like it when they tried to use Harry as a "good" Green Goblin. And I certainly don't like this.
I think Harry works best as Peter's best friend. Two people who have had enough tragedy in their lives that they're there to support each other.
And I think it rarely works if a villain knows the secret identity of the superhero. It creates the obvious problem of why he doesn't reveal it, or use it to his constant advantage. It can be done, but it is hard to pull off. Which is why such characters always end up being crazy amnesiacs or lobotomized so they can be neutralized until a writer brings them back out to fight the hero. It gets old very quick.
Something like this works better for a Batman villain. I think DeMatteis is a skilled writer, but he has a major problem of having a story idea and forcing it into whatever title he is working on that moment instead of letting things happen organically.
I liked the hairstyle but they're hard to maintain, so I can see why she might not want to wear it anymore.
The Kent Dorfman 1962 ''quote'' on the pin-up page is a reference to the 1978 movie "Animal House."
Kveto's point about Monica lacking a "tragic flaw" is salient. As I recall Monica's early character development lacked a defining or "cornerstone" moment as they say on Westworld. Or at least one that was really memorable for me. I can't quite put my finger on why that's so important to us in our fiction, but it is. Characters who have seemingly perfect lives and overall good circumstances seem unrealistic. 'Tho wouldn't it be nice?:)
PAD used that line about 14 X-Men to call back to to the end of Giant Size X-Men #1 for a joke. Plus, people like Polaris and Guido obviously didn't end up X-Men as they had once intended to be at the time. If you google promotional art for that era, you can see there were at least two other team configurations being considered prior to publication, one team before there was going to be a new X-Men #1 and a two team config with X-Factor and X-Men split along very different lines. Most of that art was by Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio....
"Spider-Man can prepare himself for a fight with another Osborn in about 15 years."
Marvel are stealing your story ideas, Fnord. Normie obviously couldn't wait that long as he became the Goblin Child in ASM #799-800. It took longer than 15 years in real time, but in Marvel Time I think he's barely aged at all.
Just checked my '80s Official Handbook of Marvel Universe which lists Rhino as being a US citizen, at that point they hadn't established a real name or place of birth. So at that point, I think he probably was being written as a Brooklyn cab-driver (full disclosure: I have never been to Brooklyn and don't actually know what the cab-drivers talk like).
I always thought Spider-Man & Dr Strange probably encountered less "Communist" villains than other Marvel heroes of the '60s, but Kraven, Chameleon & Rhino all at least end up being established as Russian, which is a decent chunk of his early villains. (Kraven & Chameleon are both depicted as foreigners who are deported in their early appearances, though not necessarily from the same country despite their being "old friends" - later retconned as being half-brothers.)
Rhino is at some point established as being Russian, though I'm not sure when. In his Spider-Man appearances so far he had worked as the hired muscle for a group of spies, but I don't think Stan intended Rhino to be Russian himself, probably he was just meant to be the average New York hood.
His dumb speech pattern in most of his appearances is sort-of backed up in ASM #43 where a spy tells Rhino that some of them think Rhino is too dumb to be trusted, but he believes Rhino is so dumb to betray them, and Rhino responds that he doesn't care what he's asked to do as long as he gets paid, though the experiment ends up slightly increasing his intelligence and he does end up betraying them. After that, Rhino makes more than one reference to the possibility of other countries paying him for his work, so he doesn't seem to see himself as working for the USSR or have any specific country in mind, just whatever enemy of the USA is the highest bidder.
But yes, the identikit "dumb villain" dialogue does seem an issue with depictions of the Abomination who is a KGB spy, and would be expected to be more intelligent/articulate than Rhino who is just hired muscle, whether Russian or American.
I didn't even realize that she was supposed to be getting demoted from the team there. I mean, I did realize that's what Wolverine told her, because context clues, but I didn't think it actually happened. She threw a fit about it, then she was still in the group picture at the end when Xavier asks what he's going to do with 14 X-Men, which is a number that seems to include her.
Also, why in the world does this series switch out Gambit for Iceman? Otherwise, the X-Men here are the Blue team. What special reason do they have for needing Bobby to come along? It would make sense if, say, they were using the Gold team and wanted to switch out a character for Psylocke, since she is the lone British X-Man. but I don't see any reason to switch Gambit for Iceman, other than maybe Iceman being more well-known at the time. But if that's the reason, why not pick Jean or Storm? I doubt using Iceman was a UK editorial mandate, because the Death's Head II issues used Gambit, and even included Jubilee to boot.
Ugh. I hate this series. It reads like something out of the silver age gone bad: lots of unnecessary exposition, practically no character development, and a nonsensical plot - actually, I can't really decide how nonsensical the plot is because it's so convoluted. The other UK series' I have checked out (Warheads and Death's Head II) are fine, but getting through each of these Dark Angel issues is such a slog. I'm only reading them because I decided to read every X-Men story, and they keep showing up here, even though so far they are almost entirely irrelevant to the story. Why couldn't they have just helped Shevaun test her powers in issue one and then been done with her? (I know the answer is that the X-Men were supposed to help the book sell, but man, if a book that is not remotely related to the X-Men needs to feature the X-Men in 9 of the first 12 issues (and then Excalibur in another) to get people to buy it, maybe it just isn't that good in the first place.
The idea behind the series isn't bad, as fnord and several commenters have noted, but the execution is positively awful. Even the lowest quality stories appearing in the X-books around this time didn't feel like so much work to read through.
Sal's credited as the "embellisher" here, which back then was Marvel shorthand for someone who worked over loose pencils (as opposed to the "inker" credit for working over tight/complete pencils)...so yes, there's a lot of Sal in the result. Different pay rates too, since embellishing required more work/time than inking.
Re-reading my comment nearly two years later (and Andrew's response to it), it really is an artist's trope and possibly stems from the understandable thought process that "every issue is someone's first" to have the size-changing member always AT that size, even though that makes no logical sense. It was done when George Perez was doing the Avengers in the late 90s', it's done whenever there's an introductory scene and it's simply to re-establish "hey, this guy's power is that he's really BIG (or really LITTLE)". I know it stems from being escapist fare for young readers, but even The Atom was given a miniature chair at Justice League meetings in the Silver Age. This, and how underwater realms are portrayed, and using the fedora/trenchcoat method of disguise, are always the charming but illogical things in comics that I love seeing.
Brian, you're absolutely right and I should have clarified that in my remarks. There are other examples of Sal doing a great job (and indeed, John specified that Sal was his favorite inker in more than one interview), but this one, it just seems so empty and weightless so we can safely presume John was rushed and doing a lot of other jobs.
I've seen Sal ink John's full pencils beautifully. Although the credits don't specify, I'd bet these are less than John's full pencils and it's true. The more Sal there is, the more the overall job suffers and Sal's embellishing doesn't work as well. I'd imagine this is why Sal applied his considerable talents to penciling until the 90's when pencilers did full pencils as a rule. As a strict inker of full pencils, Sal did nonpareil work on virtually any job given to him.
If anything, I think these issues and the rest of the FF run clearly show beyond a shadow of a doubt that, while collaborative, Stan only succeeds as a passive collaborator and not a proactive one. Without Jack to channel his talents with Jack's new ideas, Stan is not very good at all. No one can be hard on Kirby- what he was going through had been demoralizing and problematic for a long time. After all he contributed, to not be offered benefits or job security? People are lucky they got *these*.
Does anyone know where the once-common trope of hiding out in a trenchcoat and fedora comes from? Meaning, I think it must precede comics and stem from some old 30s' movie or something? In the Marvel Universe, we've seen everyone from DD here to the Hulk to a de-sized Godzilla walking around in a trenchcoat and fedora and, granted, fedoras were much more common place in the Sixties but I would think such a get-up would make someone MORE noticeable. And, uh, especially with those bright boots sticking out!
Ben says "Bah!" ten times in this book. I don't recall him doing that so much in the early days. Did he? Is this a swipe at Lee? Mayhaps the Silver Age Thing did say it occasionally and Engleharkness is satirizing even more what fnord discusses above.
By this time all these books are a blur. I bought all the major titles until the end of Onslaught but can remember next to nothing about any of them. I'm hoping that it's because it's so many books and so long ago (20-30 years) that it's just too much to recall and not a failing memory!
Curious to see how quickly if at all Alicia figures out this is not her Johnny. Despite having the original's body of a 22-year old (or so, my personal estimate) he claims in one panel to be sixteen! Does this clone even know he's married?
Again, note I'm treating my "Great FF Re-read" as if I'm reading them for the first time. So as far as I'm concerned Alicia is not yet a Skrull. That story I remember!
I really don't like Sal on inks, as much as I absolutely adore Sal Buscema on every other thing he ever did. Also, that last panel of the Surfer waxing poetic is a great example of how I believe acclaim affected Stan's natural evolution and whatever above-average talents/potential he had as a writer. At this point, all of his writing is superficial. Besides being pressed for time, I get the impression that Stan was now "aware" that he was being expected to write such things, so the flowery pose is just more an arrangement of words and phrases than, you know, actual substance. I don't think this series was very good and I don't think it did anything for the character of the Surfer, who, for a very brief time, was the most interesting and original character in comics.
I think Drake is an interesting writer and maybe I just notice minor things but when Cap says stuff like "Camelot alone could equal it and nothing can compare to it's permanence" I start wondering if an alien on our planet presumably for about a year would be citing Camelot as a reference so casually. But obviously, they were throwing every idea up against the wall, trying to make this title catch on.
I was under the impression (and please correct me if I'm wrong) the Rhino is a Russian, but- much like Emil Blonsky as the Abomination- he's often been written as speaking like a Brooklyn cab driver from the 40s' or something.
In regards to Roy's introduction that you cite, and his passive-aggressive comments, I have to point out this is a subtle but regular habit of Roy's and I'm not sure he even is aware of it or is aware of how it can come off. He does seem to be kind of passive-aggressive bitchy about things, I can remember reading more than one interview where he talks about right before Ditko quits and Ditko comes in and says "tell Stan I'll drop off the next one when I come back" or something, and Roy goes "Oh, so there's going to BE a next one?" And I just hear that and think... you know, if you know Ditko, why would you say something like that?
I remember also- and this is exceedingly minor, but I remember it standing out to me- in an introduction to Alter Ego, he was talking about the 80s' DC book he did, Captain Carrot, and the artist, Scott Shaw!, I believe- and he was like, "let Scott get some credit- it's certainly a bigger part of HIS legacy than MINE-" which, while factually true, just sounds kinda shitty to say. But I don't think it's intentional, I just think Roy Thomas is like that and seeing what he said about Steranko made me think of these things.
Images of the physical issue #16 that I see online show the cover touting Hawk and Widow discovering “The Sinister Secret of SODAM.” But check out what the version of the cover in the Marvel app says...
I wonder if there were physical misprints that were caught and destroyed or whether some kind of OCR autocorrect oversealously changed that “A” to an “O”...
Sturky and Bereet both first appeared and were both created by Doug Moench and Walter Simonson for the Rampaging Hulk black and white magazine, which might not be obvious to everyone here, since those magazines are now considered to be out of continuity, and therefore have not been reviewed for this site.
Gideon's Bible as a Beatle's homage might also be unclear to all readers of this site, since the name of the Beatle's song being referenced is "Rocky Raccoon" rather than "Rocket Raccoon."
Yes, she was in Wolverine as well. Which kind of makes Wolverine off-screen lecture to Jubliee in X-Factor #70 less about breaking up their partnership and more about "You can't be in X-Men #1-3." Maybe she just had a long nap in one of the mansion's bedrooms during those issues? :)
We already had various mutants being able to possess or control your mind, the Brood impregnating you, Masque being able to warp your body, now we have a machine virus, and Mojo creating cyborgs (& also Psylocke’s eyes). Later we’ll have the sadistic Worm of the Savage Land mutates being able to control your body in a way your mind is aware of what he is making you do. (And on the subject of control & transformations, we maybe also have Demon Bear & Mojo both changing characters’ ethnicity, though I don’t know what Claremont intended with either of those, they were never really explored.)
But definitely from the mid-80s, it feels like the increasing darkness of the X-universe is mirrored by some sort of rise of body horror & "unstoppable living circuitry” as an enemy. I'm not familiar enough with cyberpunk to know if there were particular works he was influenced by in all this.
Anyway, I think it’s interesting here how he changes the sword & sorcery concept into living circuitry. I wonder where he would have gone with it if he’d stayed on the book, I doubt he would have wrapped it up quickly if Inferno hadn’t been mandated. With another writer, I might just assume they changed Limbo to keep things moving so it didn't get too samey, but with Claremont I do wonder if there was something psychological there, like his tastes had changed, & he'd moved on from the interest in sword & sorcery. I don't know what it means, exactly, but I feel there's something else going on.
As much as general pop culture sees the X-books as being a civil rights metaphor battle between Professor X & Magneto, Claremont often seemed much more interested in fantasy genres, with space opera/sci-fi (spacewhales and Starjammers, stargates & Dyson spheres) & sword & sorcery (Arkon, Kulan Gath, Magik & Limbo) all being important parts of the Claremont mythos.
Contrasting to the sword & sorcery stuff, he also seemed to have a liking for cyberpunk, but what started off with cyborgs like Wolverine & Donald Pierce became increasingly darker as the stories continued, perhaps influenced by Sienkiewicz & Windsor-Smith's art. We have other mutant cyborgs like Forge, Jetstream & Scalphunter, but also Magik's armour increasingly covering her body. Then the "tech" aspect darkened with the Magus' living technology, plus Nimrod & later Master Mold being unstoppable self-replicating circuitry, plus Lady Deathstrike & the Reavers looking increasingly dark & weird (particularly when drawn by Windsor-Smith).
And here Limbo & tech gets combined with a "body horror" transformation trope of his - suddenly these Limbo demonsm that Magik could keep under control with a sword, were now indestructible, unstoppable living machines who could turn you into a machine too with a touch, and you would lose your life & humanity. And as well as the Limbo demons, the "machine virus" concept also has Claremont hinting that Doug merging with Warlock has already infected Doug without them realising it.
Here Illyana explains to the rest of the team all about Limbo, & Rahne in particular seems completely unaware of how Illyana got to Limbo in the first place & what Belasco's plans for Illyana were. The whole team only now seem to realise, on seeing a young Illyana with their own eyes, that she might not have started off evil when she arrived in Limbo aged 6 or 7. (Though they had previously seen a younger-but-not-this-young Illyana in their visit to Limbo in issue #14.)
Some of this lack of awareness is obviously for exposition purposes, though it does seem to make them bad friends for how unaware they are of Illyana's circumstances. I appreciate it might be something that Illyana didn't want to talk about too much, but Limbo is a place they've visited several times & has become more & more of a threat over the past 20 issues or so, you'd think they'd at least know more of the basic story.
One thing I'm not sure about is they're also unaware of the alternate X-Men who died in Limbo, though some of that shock will be due to Illyana claiming to have murdered them. Warlock has already seen the dead alternate Colossus in issue #34, though perhaps he didn't tell the others? I feel like Magik had previously mentioned the dead alternate Kitty & Kurt to the rest of the team, & perhaps had blamed herself for their deaths before (though less bluntly), though perhaps that's me misremembering. Can anyone with a better memory than me can recall how much she'd previously told them?
In regards to the early characterization of the Silver Surfer; Kirby envisioned him as a creation of Galactus, not a being that had been transformed.
That said, Kirby’s version of the Surfer rebelling carries a bit more gravitas as it’s not the story of a being rediscovering their own inner nobility, but rather being moved by the goodness in Alica Masters, and developing morality.
Out of scope for this issue, but I know Kirby not landing the Surfer book, and Lee reenvisioning the character contributed to the move to D.C.
Longshot reminds me of them. Great art (Liefeld notwithstanding) alongside mind numbing stories were my remembrances of Image. All I have left are the first ten unread except for #1 Spawn and I'm not really why I kept those either.
Yes, I got sucked into the hype back then to my shame.
Because of all the different story lines that had been rejected resulting in Claremont leaving the titles, Jubliee's role in the titles were adjusted. While she may have been more of an X-Man in at least one rejected pitch, under the Jim Lee era and later, she was more of a supporting character and wasn't used in these first issues because it would have meant clarifying all the issues about a minor working with no longer teen-aged X-Men against Magneto who exploded a nuclear device in X-Men #1. So instead of getting into that, she was back-burnered in these issues and then was used on a case by case basis. Which was most of X-Men #4-11 as it turned out. Plus Uncanny #288.
Personally I'm more than half-convinced that Doug Moench's Rampaging Hulk stories about Bereet and her awesome Banshee mask were the really real stories, and these Johnny-come-lately Bill Mantlo stories were the really fictional ones. The nerve of these guys. Just say "No" to Jim Shooter's meddlesome editorial tweakings.
Mark Drummond and I discussed this in the comments of Bizarre Adventures 27 (Iceman). Apparently, this story was supposed to appear in Bizarre Adventures 27. However, as Mark pointed out, it was supposed to be taken from inventory, not created for Bizarre Adventures, which raises the question where this story was originally supposed to come from. That explains the continuity problems- it was produced while the Inhumans were still in the Himalayas.
Unfortunately for AF's theory, this probably wasn't written in 1976, since Mary Jo Duffy didn't start working at Marvel until 1978.
I for one can see the usefulness of the roller skates for Iron Man in situations where flying wasn't necessary, since running in an iron suit would be difficult for anyone. However, that's not to say the sight of Shellhead on wheels doesn't deserve a few chuckles, like he's taking the premise of the film "Rollerball" (I'm thinking the original with James Caan and John Houseman, FYI) to its logical extreme.
The way Roth draws the Banshee's face makes him look like a Dick Tracy villain. From what I've seen here, he looks vaguely simian or like a ventriloquist's dummy. Hell, shave off those red locks and he could pass for the Puppet Master's twin!
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL, PETER MILLIGAN & TOM DEFALCO Penciled by GENE HA, JOHN PAUL LEON & KYLE HOTZ Cover by JOHN PAUL LEON ON SALE OCTOBER 2018 Join Scott Summers and Jean Grey on a pair of wild adventures in time! First, the newly married couple faces a honeymoon like no other when they’re pulled 2,000 years into the future! There, Cyclops and Phoenix must raise Scott’s son, Nathan, in the shadow of Apocalypse! Can this post-nuclear family overthrow the ancient tyrant and his sadistic protege, the boy called Stryfe? Witness the story that sets Nathan on the path to becoming Cable! Then, Cyclops and Phoenix are thrown back in time to Victorian England to witness the rise of another mutant menace! Meet scientist Nathaniel Essex, and learn for the first time how his obsession with evolution and his own encounter with Apocalypse transform him into…Mister Sinister! Collecting ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX #1-4, FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX #1-4 and material from MARVEL VALENTINE SPECIAL. 248 PGS./Rated T+ …$29.99 ISBN: 978-1-302-91379-3
And here are some titles from the September solicitations that should raise a few eyebrows: CONAN THE BARBARIAN OMNIBUS VOL. 1, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: TOMORROW’S HEROES OMNIBUS, MUTANT X: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 1, DARKHOLD: PAGES FROM THE BOOK OF SINS — THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, (to be continued)
From Marvel Masterworks Avengers Vol. 18: "Marvel Premiere #49's Falcon solo adventure, set during his tenure with the Avengers, was originally created as a fill-in/inventory story to spell the creative team on Captain America".
"In 1976, Marvel commissioned a series of five-to-six page backup stories to break in rookie talent and relieve deadline pressure when creative teams ran late. The initiative was short lived and many of the stories only saw print years later."
This is in Marvel Masterworks Avengers Vol. 18 describing a back-up that was featured in Marvel Tales #100 - it might be applicable here.
There aren't many back-ups in annuals around this time, but there are some. The Vision has one in Avengers Annual #6, and Doc Samson has one in Hulk Annual #11. Tellingly, the latter is written by Mary Jo Duffy, and is apparently an inventory story itself - it's Frank Miller's first Marvel work, but was published at least three years after his first credit. Maybe there were plans for some Annuals to have back-ups in the late 70s that never quite came to fruition? If that's the case, this could have been intended for an Avengers Annual.
I would argue very much no because Image was all about the artists also being the writers and creating what they were drawing. This is all so very Nocenti and this was much more a collaboration between artist and writer, no matter your view on the art or writing.
I found the first half of the series pretty entertaining, read over a period of several days, but I can imagine the frustration of even the most devoted Eternals readers of the 70s reading those same stories for nearly a year with barely any development taking place despite some great concepts and art on display.
Was this really an inventory story? If so, from where? It doesn't feature any characters who had their own title circa 1981. And the annuals at the time weren't doing back-up stories. The writer, Mary Jo Duffy, did write two back-up feature for Marvel Treasury Editions in 1980, but this piece doesn't seem like it's something Marvel would put in a Treasury Edition. I'd be interested in knowing what this was originally written for. God forbid it was written for Marvel Fanfare...
Here's a case of something that bugs me far more than the characters involved. Sure Ben is happier with She-Thing Shary on the rebound but my goodness now we have to have Alicia rehash about how her and Johnny "just happened". A great line to have been inserted would have Ben interrupt her with something along the lines of: "Awright already...I get it!"
It's how I feel anyway.
I enjoyed the Silver Surfer comic and I got to read it on a monthly basis after a fashion. In 1979 a reprint title appeared called Fantasy Masterpieces starring the Silver Surfer. It lasted 14 issues and also included a poorly reproduced Starlin Warlock/Magus run in #'s 7-14 which was a revelation to me at the time. Still one of the best Bronze Age stories ever written.
Note that Stan would later reverse his opinion & consider it their best work together. If Buscema had indeed ditched the Kirby layouts for this issue, presumably Stan's poor reaction was due to his thinking that Kirby's way was the "right" way to do comics, & so his immediate reaction to Buscema deviating from that was negative, though in time he adjusted to appreciating Buscema doing things differently.
(Stan was similarly prescriptive on the "right" way to do dialogue - I think some of the early writers who followed Stan have said it took a while for Stan to trust that they knew what they were doing. Roy Thomas has said Stan would "go over every single page" rewriting his dialogue and that "I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said and I still think there are other ways to do certain things" but that he accepted Stan was his boss & so followed Stan's instructions.)
It can't help the Thor/Loki rivalry when Odin literally calls Thor "my favorite son" with Loki *right there,* and then Odin asks Loki;s advice on how to deal with Thor's disobedience. More evidence that Odin is knowingly manipulating everything here?
Alan Stewart of Attack of the 50 Year Old Comic Books has an interesting blog post about Silver Surfer #1. He explains the impact it had on him as a kid reading it when it first came out in 1968, and how years later as an adult he had to reappraise his view of it due to learning the background of the Silver Surfer's creation, how t character was basically conceived solely by Jack Kirby, and how Stan Lee soon became proprietary towards the character, giving him an origin that was very different from what Kirby had in mind...
Reading these issues, and the next one, in the Essential Silver Surfer Volume 1, I loudly cried foul. The Surfer has to send Shalla-Bal back to Zenn-La to save her life after she's been shot, but later on his Power Cosmic is nevertheless effective enough to save the life of a jerk-@$$ wannabe demon worshiper who literally got pulverized by the Abomination?
Stan Lee really was jumping through hoops to A) keep the Silver Surfer trapped on Earth and B) separated from Shalla-Bal. I mean, the time travel trick that the Surfer used *should* have enabled him to escape Earth, but it didn't because, um, reasons.
When I was a newer comic book fan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a lot of older readers would constantly rave about how incredible this series was. Of course, back issues for this series were really expensive, so I never had an opportunity to find out for myself. When the Essential collection was finally publish, oy vey, was I disappointed!
Lee was obviously earnest about writing a socially relevant series, but his execution leaves something to be desired. I think the reason why these issues were well regarded for so long was due to the pencil work by John Buscema, which was very good. It's probably also due to Buscema that Shalla-Bal became an iconic figure, because Big John draws her as stunningly beautiful. Lee, however, really does a poor job of scripting her as anything other than a one-dimensional damsel in distress who endlessly pines for the Surfer.
I think jULES is saying Madelyne would smell the same as Jean, not different. Though if she looked exactly the same, I don't think smelling the same would be that surprising, comparatively. (And if twenty-year-older time-travelling Kitty Pryde smelled the same as her pubescent self, you have to figure Madelyne would also smell the same as Jean to Wolverine.) Although, why the X-Men wouldn't think to do a DNA analysis, or at least a fingerprint comparison, is beyond me. I don't remember a scene where Wolverine first encountered Madelyne; he was too wrapped up in the Mariko meshugas at the time.
Some nice touches with the obvious and realistic IMO sexual tension between Johnny and Crystal. Just when I was painfully getting accustomed to Johnny and Alicia in a it happened/it's done sort of way I have to be subjected to yet another of their over-the-top reunions. I'm going to expect this mawkish behavior out of them every time they spend a day or two apart from here on in my "Great FF Re-Read".
I've always thought Dr. Doom was more interesting a villain when the citizens of Latveria sincerely loved him, as opposed to faking it because they live in fear. It adds a very interesting layer to a villain character.
The story was fine in and of itself, but two things made it pretty annoying for me to read.
1) The humor DOES often feel inappropriate. The jokes are funny, but they should really pump the breaks a bit when the situation doesn't call for jokes. It's like the plot calls for a mixed tone, but then PAD drives a joke steamroller right over the whole thing.
2) The character development that Jamie is undergoing really does feel like a giant retread. PAD is clearly aware of the basics of Fallen Angels - if he didn't read it, I wish he would have, because some of the things he is having Jamie "discover" about himself - like the idea that his dupes can have separate feelings from him and be their own people - are things he ALREADY KNOWS because it was covered in Fallen Angels. It would be one thing if PAD was trying to reboot that aspect of Jamie, but having it happen again as if it hasn't already been established in the ONE OTHER significant Multiple Man story is just annoying.
You could handwave the issue of Wolfsbane not raising hell about the location of the Inferno babies to her being recently mindraped by Hodge (having been put in a mindless, amnesia state and being mindraped into loving Havok).
Also, the issue of Maddrox having rogue duplicates living lives in secret would be revisited in the 00s X-Factor series with Maddrox hunting down said dupes to forcibly absorb them. Sadly the arc never mentioned the Fallen Angels Maddrox, nor did PAD ever bring back up the issue with Siryn and Maddrox at all in the 00s X-Factor series.
That said, there could be some editorial reason for divorcing Maddrox from Fallen Angels. I do recall that Marvel purposely spiked productions on the follow-up mini (even though a couple of issues were finished) and had, prior to production, embargoed write Jo Duffy from using any of X-Men characters (meaning no Warlock, Sunspot, Siryn, Boom Boom, Maddrox, or Vanisher). The sequel would have revolved around Ariel, Gommi, Chance, Moon Boy, and a couple of new characters and would have been drawn by Colleen Doran.
Not sure how this affects your timeline (if at all), but the editor's note citing the death of Marlene's brother refers to MK #23, rather than MK #28. (The lettering or printing of the issue was just a bit messy in that one spot, making the "23" *look like* a "28"!)
Given the later Exemplars story, it's likely that the ringed icon on the temple wall is, for current continuity purposes, an emblem of the Ringed Ruby of Raggador. Part of the premise of the Exemplars stuff is that the bombardment of the Temple of Cyttorak screwed up "mystic designs" that would have caused the other hidden icons of power to attract humans to become the other Exemplars.
I'm not exactly sure but if there is some politics, I think him having a change of heart is interesting but obviously wasn't intentional. That he was either ultimately quite integrity-less or was what Michael said - a nod to real-life people who changed their stances like that.
I don't necessarily see the politics of it. That he formed a union? I fail to see how that is necessarily against any stance, their motivation doesn't have any political bent - they were a means to an end and/or his own safety - and if it's that he considers himself a villain alongside others then that isn't necessarily his choice of identification; it would however be how Scourge sees him.
Man was the reveal of "they" a total let down to me!
After years of wondering who "they" were, "they" turn out to be 2 unknowns (to me) and a daff old Roman, who I didn't even rate when he wasn't old.
This was maybe the first time I felt Marvel let me down in the sense that the cool/awesome story/history factor hinted at, no promised!, in those ubiqitous footnotes, didn't pan out at all. "They" totally didn't live up to that 'promise'. "They" were wack.
Not coincidentally, Neal Adams is a big hollow earth enthusiast. To this day, he's an advocate of the modernized (though obviously still fringe) belief of Expanding Earth theory, and wrote and drew in 2012 Batman: Odyssey, that has the Caped Crusader exploring a prehistoric interior earth.
This was actually Neal using existing DC canon; DC has a hollowed out huge chunk of the earth that was a sword and sorcery meet dinosaur realm called Skartaris that was the setting for Mike Grell's Warlord series.
As for Living Pharoh/Summers Family connection, during the abysmal Twelve storyline it was established that Living Pharoh is actually a normie who had his DNA altered by Mr Sinister. Sinister modified Pharoh's DNA to make him a proper mutant via injecting him with Havok's DNA; granted with the side effect that it created an unintentional symbiosis effect where Pharoh's power only could manifest if Havok was rendered powerless.
There is one line in Firebrand's very first appearance in Iron Man v.1 #27 that could kinda-sorta-if-you-squint justify this turn: "The end justifies the means! I even use the system itself if it helps me...how else do you think I got the know-how to build this outfit? By attending the training programs your ever-lovin' boss Tony Stark offers at all his plants!"
But that's quite tenuous, and still it's very hard to see how this character is congruent with the Gary Gilbert of past stories.
I thought Franklin was about 4 or 5 here (I think he wears a jokey FF T-shirt saying "4 and a half" during Byrne's FF) but he says he hasn't learned how to read... I guess those "world's smartest man" genes may not have been passed down from his father & grandfather. You kind of expect Reed had already mastered several disciplines by the time he was Franklin's age.
I had also thought it to be a generic goon until it was just pointed out, but on looking it does seem intended to be Kingsley. To me it looks like when he's relaxing on the sofa with the girl, he has his shirt sleeves rolled up & his waistcoat undone, and then when he's with The Rose he's done up the waistcoat and the shirt sleeves are no longer rolled up, because now he's "on duty". (Fnord already has that panel scanned, I don't know if he wants to scan the other panel so people can see for themselves?)
Both Kingsley & the "goon/Kingsley" have white hair, a tie, white shirt, blue trousers and some sort of black waistcoat or sleeveless jacket (with the blue tinges that black normally has in comics in the 2nd panel) so it does seem to me they were intended to be the same person. It could be a colourist error though.
@KevinA- no, Quicksilver didn't get killed in Axis 7- it was retconned that he and Wanda were not Magneto's children. Except they didn't stop there and in the Avengers storyline that followed it up, it was retconned that he and Wanda weren't really mutants- the High Evolutionary altered them so they show up as mutants on scanners because, um, reasons.
I have to apologize for my Mary Jo Duffy comment whose work I now admit to not being all that familiar with. In my haste and after being PO'd about Quicksilver after re-reading FF Annual 21 I made the error of attributing her work to that of Ann Nocenti. Just realized it now and there's no 'edit' feature.
I don't remember this issue being anything but a pointless muddle - and at this point X-Factor's problems should barely be including Power Pack, much less the Inhumans - but I always liked the little peck on the cheek Jean gives Scott at the end.
Nothing has been resolved between them, except in maybe the most overwrought types of superhero comics, but it's a sweet human gesture rarely seen in the superhero genre. Jean even says she's not making promises for tomorrow, but right now it makes sense to her.
After this, I took it as a given that sooner or later Scott and Jean would be back together and from there it was just a matter of how long until they got married and the issue with Madelyne was cleared up.
I never thought the guy in the panel with Rose was supposed to be Kingsley. I assumed it was just a generic goon. The hairstyle on Kingsley looks different, the jacket looks different and Kingsley seems to have shorter sleeves than they guy with Rose.
As someone points out on Wikipedia, the idea that Osborn pretends that his secret identity is JJJ doesn't seem to work with ASM #26, where Crime-Master is threatening to release his secret identity, & Goblin thinks "If I should accidentally kill him, my secret will be made public!"
So either he did reveal his true identity later, or his secret is that he's been telling everyone he's JJJ and is concerned he won't be able to do that anymore.
Good point. Kingsley appears here with a girl who calls him Roderick, watching the "creep & coward" bit on TV, he tells the girl to take off & 4 panels later, after a "sometime later" caption, he's dressed the same, watching the same bit with The Rose.
Stern had told DeFalco about the lookalike brother idea, & DeFalco I think thought it would be seen as a bit of a cheat if the Hobgoblin mystery was revealed that way, so decided to use Fisk instead. DeFalco says he didn't originally think of The Rose's identity as a "mystery" for the fans, he just intended The Rose to be a "second-tier" crimelord (presumably his version of the Crime-Master) & only came up with an identity for him when the fans started wondering.
So here we have a "Roderick" together with The Rose, which must either mean he had not yet decided Kingsley was The Rose, or maybe he thought the lookalike brother reveal was ok for a minor character like The Rose but not as the big Hobgoblin secret the fans had been teased about for years? Hobgoblin has been shown a few times with his face shadowed so the fans can't tell who he is, while I don't recall the same "mystery" with The Rose. & Stern had shown a Kingsley mentioning his brother so DeFalco may have thought Chekov's Gun meant the brother should be used somehow.
A "Kingsley" had already been shown on panel with Hobgoblin, so if Priest/PAD etc saw this scene & didn't know about the brother idea, this eliminated him from being either.
Was DeFalco still planning to use that Roderick Kingsley had a lookalike brother that posed as him? Based on that scene where we see Kingsley with the Rose knowing DeFalco wanted to make Kingsley the Rose and Richard Fisk the Hobgoblin, I would say “ yes”. So why object to making Kingsley the Hobgoblin then?
You can't blame Maximus for Quicksilver being a miserable SOB to begin with. In the emerging era of retcons here's one I have to dislike. Comic characters have to stand back and think "Well, He's a dick but not a CRIMINAL dick because it's ALL Maximus's fault. What a cop-out and a new lease on life for a character undeserving of it. And I don't even own this comic! The equally dreadful FF Annual 21 led me here.
Not a surprise from the pen of Mary Jo Duffy, one of the biggest frauds who was ever allowed near a comic book.
Axis #7? Quicksilver gets killed finally? I'll have to seek this one out.
Ben's reaction to Peter/Venom's truce was also bit of meta from the Spider-Man writers who didn't like the editorial mandated move to make Venom a hero. There was a lot of resistance to the idea and this section of the Clone Saga was them working through that bit of anger with fans/editorial for liking Venom.
I get the feeling had Stern stayed on ASM, he would’ve introduced Roderick Kingsley’s twin brother, Daniel on his own 2-3 issues prior to the Hobgoblin’s reveal just like Norman Osborn is introduced here just 2-3 issues prior to the Green Goblin’s unmasking. That’s essentially what happened in Hobgoblin Lives, disputing those who say Stern would’ve introduced Daniel earlier had he stayed on the title.
Done right as a Silver screen sizzler this team of misfitted mystics with otherworldly tech and brute force could compete for Avenger market share and Valkyrie becomes Marvels Wonder Woman. All mammals love The Valkyrie
A Billy Batson teen character like “Rage”/Elvin Halliday introduction into the Marvel cinematic universe has massive appeal and would bring storytelling from a teenager Dealing with the complications of being a superhero through the lense of the inner city
Not only is #42 the first appearance of MJ, it's also the first appearance of Gwen's hairband, which will be handed to all of her clones along with purple skirt & go-go boots.
Clearly this started off as Romita trying to make a more "modern" version of Ditko's Gwen with the hair pinned away from her face, as at the start the hairband is being used to pin back the front of her hair in the same way.
It will appear in each of Gwen's appearances from #42-47 (I'm not sure if Fnord wants to start tracking it?) before Romita makes a rare mistake of trying to give her a different swept-to-the-left hairstyle which doesn't work as well as MJ's simple fringe. Still experimenting with exactly what he needs to do with her hair, Romita gives her a cute pink hat in #53, which one of her clones should definitely bring back.
In #55 we get a prototype of the classic Gwen look, with the fringe now in place & the hair band only only being used for the back of her hair, however it's some sort of hippie version of the hairband with a long black feather on the right side.
Finally, in #59 we get the classic black Alice band, and also Peter & Gwen's first kiss. Coincidence? I don't think so. Maybe if she'd got her hair sorted out earlier, he wouldn't have been flirting with MJ all this time.
The Sorcerer Supreme of this universe. A creature with unlimited strength, rage and near-invulnerability. The fast-flying hybrid with a warrior's determination. The former herald of Galactus, armed with a fraction of the Power Cosmic. They're indeed an insanely powerful team. No wonder there's always some contrived reason to keep them separated. It'd be interesting, though, to see them travelling around the universe and/or other dimensions to fight Dormammu-level villains who can actually challenge them. They'd be kept for cosmic adventures, and a main Defenders team with "weaker" heroes could still exist on Earth. But this title clearly wasn't popular enough to get a spinoff about the world's mightiest non-team.
I appreciate fnord occasionally posting excerpts from letters pages in his issue overviews, such as he does here with the reaction to the character of Al Harper. Items like this are an important reminder that comic books have always been political, and that unfortunately there have always been small-but-vocal groups of fans who have complained that comic books should not be political. It's just that in those pre-internet days the only forums for their criticisms were lettercols and fanzines, as opposed to the 21st century, where any angry person with an axe to grind can loudly go off on social media.
To embellish on earlier comments about Dragonfly's escape, later resolved in Quasar, here's Cockrum on his plans: "Wolverine notices that the Insect Girl - from Count Nefaria's Ani-Men - had escaped from confinement, and that was because I had worked up an idea for a spin-off book that I was going to call The Furies, It was going to feature the Insect Girl, Storm, Clea from Doctor Strange, Tigra, Namorita, Dragonfly and an alien girl that I had come up with called Moon Fang, who rode a giant bat. I had gotten a tentative okay to do the book, but I just never got around to finishing the first plot, so it never happened. That escape was left hanging. They never cleared it up."
Not sure why he seems to refer to Dragonfly both as Insect Girl and Dragonfly in the same list. The "tentative okay" doesn't seem that positive, perhaps they were concerned about Cockrum's slow workrate on the X-Men comic he already had.
Cockrum had also intended the Starjammers as a "stand-alone space pirate series - swashbucklers in space" he had unsuccessfully tried to get Roy Thomas interested in letting him do, so "I wound up donating it to X-Men" and "that's how Corsair became Cyclops' father". I wonder if he regretted the donation when he left the book quickly after. Interesting that Thomas arranged the Marvel franchise of Star Wars, first becoming keen when Lucas showed him some space opera concept art for the film, but Thomas was apparently not interested in Cockrum's space opera idea.
Yes I think you're right - Rictor has dated both men & women, and I think they said Shatterstar is bi though I'm not sure they've had him involved with anyone other than Rictor?
Still, I kind of think they wanted a relatively "big name" like Iceman to come out, as otherwise their best-known gay hero would be Northstar, who like Rictor and Shatterstar may have been well-known to us 80s/90s comics readers but then spent some years in the comics graveyard before starting to appear again in the past 10 years or so. (I'm not sure the latter's brief appearance in Deadpool 2 will have helped his profile much either.)
They should have just made Iceman bisexual, possibly with a preference to men. That way you don't have to rewrite any old Iceman stories away from their original intent (I mean, when Moondragon was making Iceman fancy her in the Defenders, was he not a bit suspicious about why he was suddenly attracted to a woman who mind-controls people?) while also putting the "Iceman is gay" fan-theory into print.
Also rather than the strangeness of the older Iceman being in denial of himself all along while the younger Iceman doesn't have the same problems with denial, you could add in extra information about male lovers he'd kept secret from the rest of the team while still keeping his female relationships as "real" for anyone who is invested in them.
It's not like having one of the original X-Men come out as bisexual wouldn't have been just as beneficial as having one of them be gay. While Marvel have had a few bisexual female characters, I'm not sure I can think of any male heroes they've had be bisexual, with the exception of Hercules who is bisexual in the original legends. So it could have been good to have a major hero be bi without having to be from Ancient Greece.