Issue(s): X-Factor #75
They work for Mr. Sinister, and seem to have a much more casual relationship with him than you'd expect, e.g. compared to the Marauders.
In the top scan, there's Slab, who we met, and Gorgeous George, whose power is that he's like a big blobby mass, and Hairbag, another feral character. Not seen in that panel because they're on a beer run is Ramrod and Ruckus (the ability to control wood and sound replication/amplification powers, respectively).
These aren't the most inspired villains, and they don't have a ton of additional appearances (i think this is issue is really Ramrod's only on-page appearance). I have a friend that complains that at some point all of Marvel's new mutants had powers that were gross, and he usually points to Generation X as examples, but the Nasty Boys are like that too. I don't have a problem with that, since it actually makes more sense to me that mutations would develop this way than giving people the ability to shoot force beams out of their eyes. But their kind of ambiguous powers mixed with Larry Stroman's art add to the messiness of the book. On the other hand, they were probably designed to mesh with Stroman's style.
The plot of this issue continues the (related) threads of the Multiple Man and Ricochet. X-Factor contact Moira MacTaggert and she confirms that Madrox has told her about "coconut grove" and the "Fallen Angels", which makes it seem like X-Factor were right in letting the other Madrox go last issue (since the one that they still have in custody doesn't remember it). With that, X-Factor let "Madrox" absorb his duplicate. And you can see by his sinister grin that that may have been a mistake.
This Madrox turns out to be working with the Nasty Boys. And so is Senator Steven Shaffran, aka Ricochet.
Meanwhile, Polaris tries to confront Wolfsbane about sneaking into Havok's bedroom "the other night" but the conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the rest of the team. And they begin searching for someone who they think might be behind the problems they've been having with their powers.
Back with the Nasty Boys, Madrox starts acting weird, and then the duplicate that he absorbed takes over. It turns out the one that X-Factor determined was fake was in fact the real one all along (you can see from a scan above that the supposedly pivotal Fallen Angels evidence turns out to be because the dupe was drugging the real one at the time).
Mr. Sinister lets him leave, with the expectation that Madrox has absorbed the knowledge from his duplication that Senator Shaffran is Ricochet, and he wants a confrontation. X-Factor spot Madrox while they're searching the city, and they join the fight against the Nasty Boys outside the Senate (i enjoy that "have to be" line).
The Nasty Boys are defeated, with Slab, Ramrod, and Hairbag getting captured. Senator Shaffran comes out to confront X-Factor. He demonstrates powers and then flies away.
Ricochet is then seen talking to Mr. Sinister, and it turns out that Mr. Sinister was trying to set him up all along (note again that he's aware of future events).
Sinister tells Ricochet to kill himself. Ricochet instead tries to use the gun on Sinister, but the bullet, well, ricochets and Shaffran dies.
X-Factor are aware that the Nasty Boys are working for a "Mr. S.", but have not yet figured out that it's Mr. Sinister. In last issue's entry's comments, Piotr raised the fact that Mr. Sinister's resurrection hadn't been addressed. That will actually come in a couple more issues, when X-Factor finally learn that it's Mr. Sinister that is behind the scenes. I suppose Madrox is aware of it now that he's absorbed his dupe's memory, but he doesn't understand the significance of Mr. Sinister's return the way Havok would.
These continue to be fun. Messy art add to Mr. Sinister's convoluted scheme and the confusion over which Madrox is real to make the story not the simplest to follow, but it's a rewarding read with lots of funny moments. Madrox and Strong Guy were practically blank slates when Peter David got a hold of them, and he's turned them into interesting characters, and i enjoy what he's doing with the rest of the team, too.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This begins not long after the end of last issue, with Strong Guy getting bailed out of jail (for destroying the Washington Monument) and the conclusion of decision making around which Madrox to release, including contacting Moira MacTaggert. Polaris says that Wolfsbane's intrusion into Havok's bedroom was "the other day". Regarding Moira, last issue it was thought that Moira was still living with the X-Men, and there's no indication that that's changed, so this probably takes place after X-Men #1-3 but before X-Men #4, when she leaves the X-Men (on the other hand, if necessary, we can assume the delay in contacting her is because she'd already left the X-Men and now she's back at Muir Island). At the end of this issue, in a press conference about "events today", Havok says that the team has to "leave immediately for the country of Trans-Sabal", which is a set-up for X-Factor's appearance in the Hulk's War & Pieces crossover beginning in Hulk #391.
The challenge is this: X-Factor #71, which has the formation of the new team, through this issue all take place in relatively short succession, with a day or so between issues. During War & Pieces, the Hulk will make a comment about Operation: Galactic Storm. It was meant as a kind of fourth wall breaking joke, but the Hulk isn't She-Hulk or Deadpool and i'd like to think that the Hulk is aware of the Avengers operation through Rick Jones, who is involved in the early part of Galactic Storm. So War & Pieces should take place after Galactic Storm, or at least concurrent with the latter half of it. But since Storm is a story that begins with a Mar 92 cover date, and X-Factor #71 is Oct 91, that is a long stretch to sync up. One possibility is that i just push all of X-Factor #71-75 forward in publication time. But that could lead to cascading problems. For example, it's said in X-Force #5 that it's been determined that X-Factor is "not yet ready" to go after X-Force; now maybe "not yet ready" means "not even recruited yet" but it seems less likely. There's also the fact that Quicksilver and Crystal have a video phone conversation in the Avengers arc preceding Galactic Storm. Quicksilver claims that he's busy, but that is to avoid a meeting with Crystal; he does seem to have time to take custody of Luna for the weekend. That suggests that it isn't taking place in the short spans between issues of X-Factor #71-75 (as with Moira, though, it's something circumstantial enough that we could come up with an explanation if need be). X-Factor also appear in Alpha Flight #107, which i pushed back in publication time to line up with Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #32. I could possibly push those issues after Galactic Storm. But altogether you have at least three issues that take place after X-Factor should be formed (X-Force #5, Avengers #343, and Alpha Flight #107), at least one of which definitely has to take place before Galactic Storm (Avengers #343) and one with a Dec 91 cover date and its own dependencies (X-Force #5, which takes place not long after X-Force #4 which is a crossover with Spider-Man #16).
So how to line things up? Well, my thought is that after Havok's press conference, the decision to send X-Factor to Trans-Sabal gets delayed. We'll see in in Hulk #391, that X-Factor was sent to Trans-Sabal specifically to deal with the fact that Pantheon is bringing in the Hulk. But Pantheon forces were in Trans-Sabal prior to that. Maybe initially the US government was going to send X-Factor to Trans-Sabal just to deal with the Pantheon. Maybe Havok blurting out on television that the US was going to deploy their government super-team to put down a rebellion in another country didn't go over well with the public, and so the government cancelled their plans until the Hulk himself was sent in. There's also the fact that the Pantheon was talking about sending in the Hulk in Hulk #388, in a "couple of days" but the next thing we see, in Hulk #389, he's instead being deployed to deal with the Man-Thing and the Glob. Maybe the US government has a plant in the Pantheon, and they delayed their plans to send in X-Factor when the Hulk's deployment was delayed.
I'll note that this is a problem of my own making based on a joke that Peter David has the Hulk make. I could just ignore it. And if we actually saw X-Factor being deployed, or if there was a reference in War & Pieces to the events of this issue having just happened recently, i might have. Or i might have tried to shuffle things around differently. But if it's just Havok announcing that X-Factor is being deployed, it seems easy enough to assume that those plans were delayed. I am pushing Hulk #388 back in publication time a bit to fit the "plant" possibility.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showGorgeous George, Hairbag, Havok, Madrox the Multiple Man, Moira MacTaggert, Mr. Sinister, Polaris, Quicksilver, Ramrod (Nasty Boy), Ricochet, Ruckus, Slab, Strong Guy, Valerie Cooper, Vic Chalker, Wolfsbane
The Nasty Boys got a lot higher profile than they probably deserved because they were prominent recurring villains on the 90s Fox X-men cartoon.
I watched that show growing up and was surprised that the Nasty Boys didn't show up much when I eventually started collecting back issues.
Posted by: Red Comet | January 27, 2016 5:58 PM
The Nasty Boys! I remember them from the '90s X-Men cartoon, where they and not the Marauders were Sinister's main flunkies.
Gorgeous George is the only one I recall in any detail, though. Probably either because of his slightly less generic appearance, or wrasslin' name.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 27, 2016 6:00 PM
Fnord, that wasn't Ricochet in the Senate- it was a disguised Mr. Sinister.
Posted by: Michael | January 27, 2016 8:10 PM
Thanks Michael. As i said, some of the ins and outs of Sinister's plot got a little confusing. :-)
Posted by: fnord12 | January 27, 2016 9:03 PM
I don't recall this being the greatest climax of a storyline ever, but unless Fnord left out a lot of subplots [not likely] this story makes no sense. Madrox coming back was a good 'hero restoring himself' climax. One assumes that's what the story was intended to build to, and it worked. Building Jamie up to the level of Alex and Lorna and Rhane. Ok. Fine. But this is it?
Posted by: ChrisW | January 27, 2016 10:24 PM
When the Nasty Boys started appearing in the X-Men cartoon, my reaction was "Who the heck are these guys?"
Posted by: Erik Robbins | January 27, 2016 11:57 PM
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