X-Men: Odd Men Out #1 (New Mutants)
Issue(s): X-Men: Odd Men Out #1 (New Mutants story only)
I'm assuming the idea is that the Mad Thinker has located a base formerly used by Apocalypse. He's definitely found someone's base.
The New Mutants are currently out for some ice skating, and the Mad Thinker begins monitoring them for reasons that are not clear. He also locates and activates what he calls "my greatest creation" although it's clearly something he found in the base.
The robot immediately rebels against the Thinker.
It flies off, thinking to itself that the Thinker was just "a pawn in my true master's plan". It then goes after the New Mutants.
I've been assuming Apocalypse, but the robot also seems to be a lot like the Super-Adaptoid. Maybe it had already encountered Apocalypse, which is why it looks somewhat like him. Alternatively, the Mad Thinker's Awesome Android also had the ability to replicate powers, so maybe this is something the Thinker added to Apocalypse's robot.
What's weird is that the New Mutants don't seem to recognize the robot as looking like Apocalypse. Granted they never fought Apocalypse themselves but you'd think at least Rusty (who the Alliance of Evil tried to kidnap on Apocalypse's orders) would know enough about him to recognize a robot tricked out in his style.
As for Boom Boom and Wolfsbane, well, they're understandably preoccupied with shopping (Boom Boom is trying to help Wolfsbane attract Cannonball's attention).
But when Wolfsbane does join the fight, the robot describes her as being "among the weak". So definitely Apocalypse.
Rusty eventually convinces the team to attack the robot all at once, to overwhelm it.
And when that happens, it freezes up.
And then flies away, without us or the New Mutants learning what exactly has been going on.
It's an odd plot by Michael Higgins. It's weird to establish this mystery or whatever it is for what he had to know was a fill-in that he'd never get to follow up on. And it's also odd how the Mad Thinker is used, just knocked out a third of the way into the story and never seen again. It's actually kind of cool in the sense that from the New Mutants' perspective, it's a totally random event, closer to what might happen in real life than everything getting neatly wrapped up. But as a story, it's not very good. It almost feels like the script was scrubbed to remove references that may have caused (continuity?) problems, but it doesn't really make sense for Marvel to have done that. Certainly in 2008 that wasn't the sort of thing Marvel would have agonized over.
As for Cockrum, he is of course a very important figure in comics in general and the X-Men specifically. But it seems like his art got more retro looking as his career went on. His early work with the X-Men looks more modern than this, which at times feels more like Steve Ditko was drawing it than Cockrum. This could be partially due to the unforgiving modern production methods, but i don't think that's the only reason.
Basically, this story is very weird and it's understandable why it didn't initially see print. On the other hand, it's Dave Cockrum and i'm surprised it never got split up and put into an annual or across a few issues of Marvel Comics Presents or something. Weird for Marvel to have sat on it until 2008. Although, in 2011 Marvel will release a number of "From the Vault" comics that were all old inventory stories, so clearly they did still have some laying around.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Since X-Factor's wards are part of the group, this takes place after Inferno. And in the end, the group says that they need to check in with X-Factor, placing this after New Mutants #76 when X-Factor take them in. And so it has to take place between that issue and New Mutants #77, which begins the Asgard storyline that, among other things, results in Rusty and Skids being arrested (a development that ultimately ends with them getting kidnapped by the MLF, at which point there's no going back to this team configuration). The Mad Thinker is shown reviewing files that include pictures of X-Factor with human-looking Angel and Beast. It also shows Magik, Magma, and Mirage. Based on my placement, Magik and Magma aren't currently part of the team, but it seems like the files Mad Thinker is reviewing are out of date. But i think the records are just not meant to be up to date. Mirage is part of the team but i guess just isn't around for this outing.
Continuity Insert? Y - inventory story
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBoom Boom, Cannonball, Mad Thinker, Rictor, Rusty Collins, Skids, Sunspot, Wolfsbane
I like Skid's costume, but the rest...yikes.
The coloring for this story is nice!
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 3, 2016 2:26 PM
Now that I think about it, the art looks a little like Ron Frenz's work.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | June 3, 2016 4:36 PM
That's possibly because Joe Rubinstein used to ink Frenz on ASM, which is where Ron started to develop his style.
Posted by: Robert | June 3, 2016 5:01 PM
This is freaky. I didn't bother to read the credits before looking at the art and from the first page I thought "this looks like Dave Cockrum drew it. But that's impossible!"
Check out the credits box. They surprisingly still left Tom DeFalco's name as EIC. And Joe Rosen hasn't really lettered anything since the late 80s. This story must have been created exactly when the New Mutants' look and lineup matched this, so say 1988-1989. Marvel sat on this inventory story for 20 years!!!!!
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | June 4, 2016 10:21 AM
Older comic stories look absolutely terrible with modern Photoshop effects and coloring. This isn't Cockrum at his best, but I bet it still looked a lot better with just inks.
I always get saddened when I see a collected edition of classic material come out and find out it's been "re-colored."
Posted by: Red Comet | June 5, 2016 12:00 PM
If you think this is bad, wait till Hollywood starts reissuing old movies 'enhanced' by the modern-day standards of 4K, HDR and orange & teal...
Posted by: Oliver_C | June 6, 2016 5:53 AM
Definitely agreed that the modern computer coloring does not do Cockrum's pencils any favors on either of these stories. I really think that many people don't realize that coloring is as much of an art form as drawing. You need to have a really good sense of aesthetics to color comic books, whether you are using a paintbrush or a mouse or whatever. The two stories in this special could have looked better with a more judicious coloring job.
This really makes me miss the work of Glynis Oliver aka Glynis Wein. She did great coloring on Uncanny X-Men in the late 1970s to early 80s.
Posted by: Ben Herman | June 6, 2016 4:14 PM
I think this is a call back to the original X-Men story where they are out ice skating only to be attacked by the Super-Adaptoid.
Posted by: FF3 | June 6, 2016 11:20 PM
The coloring renders this unreadable.
Posted by: Yogi deadhead | June 9, 2016 5:05 AM
Considering Higgins' other credits, this might be the best thing he ever wrote...
Posted by: AF | June 9, 2016 7:58 AM
They already have. If you watch the Blu-rays or some similarly uprezzed version of the original Star Wars you can see the matte background behind the ships thanks to modern high definition TV's much greater range and depth of color.
In a case like that I wouldn't mind a little CGI touch-up to make it look more like the original did on a movie screen or older TV.
Posted by: Red Comet | June 9, 2016 2:55 PM
The worst victim of the cheap photoshop coloring is The Mad Thinker. He looks like he's addicted to artificial tan.
I have to say, though, if I have to choose between poorly colored releases of unreleased work from the marvel vaults, or black and white releases, I'll choose poorly colored stuff.
Posted by: FF3 | June 10, 2016 12:29 PM
I wonder if this is Apocalypse's old base from X-Factor 5-6. I'm guessing the Thinker bought a fixer-upper with secret hidden lab? Lol!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 23, 2017 2:23 AM
Perfect example of good pencils buried under a sea of Photoshop effects.
Posted by: Bob | February 23, 2017 11:39 AM
I think the flappy shoulder bits are also meant to be a huge clue this is the Super-Adaptoid -
But then we still have a lot to contend with - why is Mad Thinker involved at all (especially the bits along the lines of it being his "greatest creation")? Why and when did Apocalypse capture him? Wasn't Super-Adaptoid then locked down as running A.I.M. incognito (that didn't stop some other appearances though)?
I've got some ideas and speculations - maybe there was or was meant to be a last minute switch out so that it'd be the Awesome Android (since Adaptoid was with A.I.M.) and maybe even Apocalypse was switched out for Mad Thinker? However, since he was adapting powers and something of a shapeshifter, they thought the art of Super-Adaptoid didn't need to be "updated" and that Thinker and dialogue would cover that - but ultimately the story didn't make much sense and the switch-out wasn't finished and ultimately it never saw print anyway so it didn't matter that it needed some fixing (maybe that's even the main reason why the story never saw print?). Then what we got in 2008; nobody cared, it was just to get a few dollars out of Cockrum's legacy. And even if they did, they couldn't exactly go back and change the art, it was counter to the selling point of it being unused Cockrum art.
Posted by: AF | November 14, 2017 9:46 AM
@AF- if this was intended to take place between Avengers 290 and Acts of Vengeance, then the Adaptoid was deactivated and in the custody of the Avengers, not running AIM. Which might be why it was changed.
Posted by: Michael | November 14, 2017 8:18 PM
Well, It's not the only placement issue though, this iteration of the team is problematic as they were never together in this fashion.
But, the Adaptoid is a bit more troublesome than just being in Avengers Mansion... last we see of him in Avengers custody is in Captain America #354 (14 issues before Acts of Vengeance) - and by Acts of Vengeance he's over in Fantastic Four posing as Doctor Doom (and his machinations as "Doom" would begin to take place before Avengers Island sank), so Adaptoid presumably escaped sometime before then. And then after Acts of Vengeance, he's running A.I.M. by Quasar #8 - so you've got to give him leeway to get there too. (Mad Thinker is another problem because he is in prison by the time of Acts of Vengeance.)
Okay, here's my fix - when Avengers Island was being constructed (circa Cap #354), Apocalypse teleported in one night to plant monitoring devices or to gain information on his potential enemies and took the Super-Adaptoid for himself - with the idea of using him somehow as a weapon or experiment. When Apocalypse got busy with other things or because the Adaptoid was never a high priority or not succeeding as well as he hoped, he got left at another lesser base which led to Mad Thinker freeing him. Then when Adaptoid was returning to his "master" Apocalypse, Loki kidnapped him and decided to utilize him in the Acts of Vengeance. The Apocalypse programming was removed or simply forgotten between adaptations.
Posted by: AF | November 15, 2017 6:58 AM
No, wait, got that slightly wrong, the Super-Adaptoid wasn't posing as Doom - it was a Doombot who had the Super-Adaptoid as a weapon (which I suppose could've been liberated from Avengers Mansion when Doom's robots sank it - but that still causes the same problems for placing him in this). But it does mean that there doesn't need to be any space before the appearance in FF to fill.
Posted by: AF | November 15, 2017 7:34 AM
Is there a reason that it needs to be the Super-Adaptoid? It's ability to copy powers isn't wholly unique, even for an android/robot, so that doesn't preclude it from being another robot. There isn't a whole lot of script context that necessitates or even hints that it be the Super-Adaptoid. From a continuity perspective, it's easier to just chalk it up to a throwaway android/robot/creation that may or may not have connections to Apocalypse which makes way more sense for this era of the X-books and for the few contextual clues we are given.
Posted by: Mark Black | November 15, 2017 2:45 PM
Why do you say this team was never together in this fashion AF? Mirage was beginning to get headaches from Hela’s spell on the Valkyries at this point and Brightwind was being affected as well. Maybe Warlock stayed with her which is why they’re not in this story.
If you are referring to the files Thinker is looking at, the New Mutants entries are from the same time as the X-Factor pictures which shows Angel with his original wings. Which makes me believe this is the same house Apocalypse was using in X-Factor #5-6 and the files were from that time (pre-Mutant Massacre) and doesn’t reflect the lineup of the current team of New Mutants shown here.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 16, 2017 2:19 AM
Well, I saw the lack of Moonstar as a denotation that it was post-Asgard saga but also because it makes sense that this story could have been commissioned as another of those "just incase" inventory fill-in issues to sub for Rob Liefeld's slowness (like New Mutants #92). Mind you, I hadn't even clocked the lack of Warlock (he's also missing from New Mutants #92... maybe nobody liked writing him?).
As for Super-Adaptoid... Regardless if it is Super-Adaptoid or not, it's clear this is at the very least modeled on him - the power-set, those Super-Adaptoid "flappy shoulder bits", the blatant homage/cribbing from Uncanny X-Men #29... personally, I like it as Adaptoid - We already have a loose-end of how Super-Adaptoid got from Avengers Island to Fantastic Four #336, so it's not like his appearance here would be "and then he was captured again by the Avengers so he could appear on their Island a month later". Of course, we'll never know and are the only people who care, but I like it as it adds a little bit of meat and mystery to a otherwise weak fill-in by teasing a possible untold story we never saw as opposed to this whole story just being waste of time with a nobody robot that remains a random loose-end.
In conclusion, Michael Higgins was not a good writer, nor was he a good editor, so I wouldn't really bother expecting much sense or continuity from one of his stories anyway.
Posted by: AF | November 16, 2017 12:35 PM
But the story makes reference to X-Factor- there's not much time between the team reuniting with X-Factor in New Mutants 88 and joining up with Cable in New Mutants 89- and by that point Rusty and Skids are already with the MLF.
Posted by: Michael | November 16, 2017 7:58 PM
Well, there you go.
As for the team, lacking Moonstar made me just think it was blatantly post-Asgard and a similar case of ill-fitting continuity like this: http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/new_mutants_annual_5.shtml
Posted by: AF | November 17, 2017 6:12 AM
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