Characters Appearing: Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Infectia, Mesmero, Opal Tanaka, Ship (Prosh), Vera Cantor
Issue(s): X-Factor #55
All of X-Factor (except Jean, who is on LOA) are currently searching for Archangel, who, as we saw last issue, went crazy due to poison in his system and fled X-Factor's ship. But the Beast keeps finding Vera instead of Angel, and each time she's in a different role. The first time as a prostitute.
Then as a cellist.
And so on. Eventually Mesmero reveals himself.
Mesmero escapes, but the Beast fights off the illusions and gets to talk with an de-mesmorized Vera.
It's not much, but at least she doesn't just disappear forever without a goodbye. This is her last appearance.
We find out at the very end that it was Infectia that hired Mesmero.
The story has some overly cutesy humor from Peter David and what i find to be wonky art from Terry Shoemaker, but it's decent enough.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place while Jean Grey is away with Forge and Banshee in Uncanny X-Men #262-263.
My Reprint: N/A
The guys Beast fights aren't illusions, they're Infectia's mutated goons. Hence their tendency to disintegrate.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 7, 2015 10:55 PM
The joke Beast makes "There's always room for cello!" is a play on the famous Bill Cosby Jello commercials' tag line, "There's always room for Jello!" It actually made me laugh out loud back when I got this issue off the newsstand. It still makes me chuckle.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 8, 2015 4:13 PM
I feel sorry that Vera had to be written out of the X-universe with this. She was there from early on and it just is nice to get a mousy nerdy girl for a superhero for once, especially someone like Hank. What happened in early X-Factor really just felt like it did too much to make her someone else and while she isn't how she was here in this final appearance, at least she gets to leave with her dignity.
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 19, 2017 6:29 AM
Colleen Doran co-penciled this issued, according to the splash page that's the first image on this page.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | June 23, 2017 6:23 AM
Yes, that last scan of Vera's face is very Colleen Doran. Agreed it's a shame if this is Vera's last appearance, but I guess this was the right time for her to go, there was little place for her in the flashy, soulless Image-ized X-Universe of most of the next decade.
Speaking as a UK reader of US comic books, the "There's always room for cello!" joke caused me no end of confusion at the time. We don't have jello over here, but "Ghostbusters 2" also had Bill Murray saying "There's always room for jello", so I knew they must both be making a reference to something. My best guess was it might be an old vaudeville joke about how cellos were a large instrument that there might not always be room for, and Bill Murray was making a pun on that old joke about cellos, right?
But then it didn't sound like a pun when Murray said it, and PAD loves his puns, so maybe the original phrase was "jello" & PAD had punningly changed it to cello, but I couldn't understand why anyone would need to point out that there was room for jelly, so that didn't seem to make sense either. I did eventually learn this was correct, but I've never seen the advert it refers to.
Just one of many US-specific references that confused me reading Marvel comics in those pre-internet days. See also: Spider-Man referring to "Burma Shave" & "Leonard, Part 6", some bystander referring to "stupid pet tricks" (pretty much everything I know about Letterman comes from references in '80s Marvel comics) etc etc...
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 1, 2018 7:16 AM
PAD would be a be a perfect writer for a Beast solo series, given the character's traits and David's authorial proclivities.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | June 1, 2018 5:08 PM
Added Colleen Doran to the credits. Thanks Brian and Jonathan.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 2, 2018 3:10 PM
Jonathan, son of Kevin, the tag line to the Jello commercials was that no matter how full of supper kids would claim they were, there was always room in their tummies if the parents brought out Jello, because it was that tasty and kids loved it so. Add the over the top comedy delivery and silly faces of Bill Cosby to that. Hence the humor of Bill Murray’s deadpan delivery in Ghostbuters 2 and my spontaneous guffaw at Beast’s quip to Vera, the earnest librarian who would never leave her cello behind... Oh dear, I feel like I’m explaining humour to Data from Star Trek... You can probably find those old Jello commercials from the ‘80s on YouTube if you’re curious.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | June 6, 2018 11:20 PM
I have now checked out some of these Jello commercials and see it was a long-running tagline used at least as far back as the '60s, though in my defence I was 12 when this comic came out, and it is fairly hard to appreciate jokes that are entirely based on the audience recognising the tagline to an advert that has never been shown in your country. I suspect if I toured the USA with a stand-up routine featuring puns based on popular UK advertising catchphrases that were a shared cultural touchstone to British people but completely unknown to Americans, then my material would not go down well.
I did enjoy PAD's cello joke even if I wasn't sure exactly what it referred to. I still think my theory that there must have been a vaudeville routine involving cellos being a large instrument that there wasn't always room for makes more sense. :-)
Anyway I only mentioned it because it made me think about how US comics writers were making US-specific references in comics that were read by children all over the world, I'm not sure whether it crossed their mind that non-US readers might not be familiar with some of the celebrities & products referenced that weren't well-known outside of the USA. Because most US culture is exported to the rest of the world, so US writers can safely assume their references will be understood, except they don't know the 5% of references that aren't (such as Gumby, Oreos, Babe Ruth etc... all things I first heard about from namechecks in superhero comics.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 8, 2018 11:36 AM
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing... I obsessively loved pretty much everything I was reading in these superhero comics and absorbed all the bizarre references to US cultural detritus. Just sayin' that as a weird young kid who was the only person in my school that read comics, it certainly doesn't help your weirdness if the cultural references and in-jokes you are obsessed with are things that no-one else you know has ever heard of. I did actually steal a few PAD jokes I thought were hilarious (not including this one) and I'm not sure anyone I said them to even got the joke, never mind found them funny. :-)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 8, 2018 11:51 AM
I am America, and I was certainly familiar with Jello, but it took me a while to get the "There's always room for cello" joke.
I now have more of an appreciation for this story then I did when it was first published, since in the intervening years I've had the opportunity to read older stories featuring Vera Cantor and her relationship with the Beast. In hindsight, I think it was a good thing that Vera was written out of the X-books at this point, and given a fairly upbeat exit. If she had stuck around for the rest of the 1990s she probably would have been turned into a villain and/or killed off.
Posted by: Ben Herman | June 8, 2018 12:11 PM
@ Jonathan, son of Kevin -
Now you know how Americans feel when the Doctor asks for twelve Jammie Dodgers. :)
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 8, 2018 3:19 PM
Ha, glad we returned the confusion sometimes :-)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | June 8, 2018 4:09 PM
Comments are now closed.
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