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The ’90s Revisited: X-Men Series 1, Cards 28-36

Looks like my "schedule" with covering this card set is slipping! As it’s been several months since I last touched on this, I’ll "lead" with the links to the previous posts in the series!


Cards 1-9  |  Cards 10-18  |  Cards 19-27


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This is another page of mostly characters I’m at least familiar with, if not entirely informed on. Jubilee, of course, catches my attention as having been one of the primary characters in the ’90s Fox animated series, as does Rogue! Forge I always remember from the same animated series, despite being placed in a different time for that.

On with the individual cards…

028a

I think I’m actually most aware of Boom Boom from Nextwave by Warren Ellis. Here she has the "typical" look, and I think I might slightly recognize her by the bubblegum-bubble, but overall would likely not have recognized her without the name prominent on the card!

028b

And right here on the card-back is more information than I could have told you myself off the top of my head. I’d’ve thought she was a character introduced at the end of New Mutants if not X-Force #1. And I knew she could blow stuff up, but would not have recalled the "time bomb" aspect.

029a

Jubilee was a "point of view" character in the ’90s X-Men cartoon series…she was the inexperienced one, the one who could ask the same questions the viewers would have, and have stuff explained without talking down to said viewers. My first introduction to her was the cartoon, and it wasn’t until later that I first "met" her in the comics. I was aware of her earliest-on in the comics in an issue of Wolverine as well as the Uncanny X-Men issue that saw a "death" of Illyana Rasputin (Colossus’ sister) at the time.

029b

Jubilee is another character that was still very new when I came in, despite now being close to 30 years old! Nothing much new for me information-wise on this card outside of the term "plasmoids"…perhaps a way of making something sound scientific regarding her powers? I always forget if her first appearance was #242 or #244 of Uncanny X-Men, so there’s a handy reference to have.

030a

Shatterstar is a character who epitomizes "the ’90s" for me, as a character, and as a part of X-Force, and the actual X-Force title as it stood in the early-’90s. I mainly only knew the character for awhile from the Spider-Man/X-Force crossover that was collected in a tiny 3-issue volume back in the day.

030b

Reading the back of this card gives me more information than I ever could have given specifically about the character off the top of my head. It’s interesting that there are so many time/dimensional refugees that multiple characters up and down the timestream of an alternate reality found their way into the "main" one. Part of the convoluted nature of ’90s X-stuff, I guess. Also interesting to consider how relatively cliché it is that a character travels back in time to get help and simply joins the group they went back to interact with…or even some other group! Readily-assimilating (-ish) into a time not their own seems relatively common (Shatterstar, Bishop, Cable, Rachel Summers, etc to name just several!).

031a

Strong Guy I’m most familiar with from the then-current iteration of X-Factor, around the 30th anniversary of the X-Men and the whole Fatal Attractions crossover; though he became more of a standout to me due to the cliffhanger leading into the original Age of Apocalypse saga.

031b

There’s not a lot of depth to my knowledge of Strong Guy, and this card doesn’t really change that. It’s handy to see the first appearance…that’s a factoid I did not know off the top of my head. I did know he used to be a bodyguard.

032a

Captain Britain is a character I feel like I’ve been "familiar with" in terms of the character existing much more than I am with the character himself. He’s got a distinct look, and I’ve long associated the character with Excalibur–at least early issues that I’d been aware of.

032b

I’ve known about (but forgotten til reminded here) that stuff with Captain Britain is where we got the "616" designation of the "main" Marvel Universe. I can’t say this card really tells me much, but it’s such a little block of text for a fairly complex character, even back in 1992!

033a

I first "met" Forge in the X-Men animated series; though in that he was a character whose present seemed to be "The Future." Not long after that I learned a bit more about him, at least in his existing in the present-day in the comics, and there having been something between him and Storm.

033b

…and there we go: another character I’ve learned more about from a card than I might’ve been able to easily convey myself off the top of my head. I did not remember (if I even knew) of the character’s involvement with the Vietnam war (something that dates the character a bit).

034a

I don’t remember for certain when I first became aware of Multiple Man (Jamie Madrox), though it was probably somewhere around X-Factor‘s 100th issue when the character had "died" at the time. I think I’d gotten the issue as part of one of those department-store 3-packs or "boxed set" of a couple issues leading into/including the 100th issue.

034b

The main thing I learn from this card in 2018 is the first appearance of the character…I would have assumed he first appeared in an X-book. But Giant-Size Fantastic Four? Ok.

This mutant power is one of my go-to "super-powers" in answer to the question "If you could have one character’s power, which would you want?" (and excluding the likes of Superman with multiple powers).

035a

I can’t remember when I first became aware of Quicksilver…it was probably around 1993’s X-Men #25 (part of the Fatal Attractions crossover). I recall a bit of ‘hype’ around "that" issue of X-Factor where Peter David left a huge mark on the character: giving a great analogy from the character’s point of view as to why he’s always seeming like a jerk. (Something about standing in line behind someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing, and to imagine being surrounded by people who don’t know what they’re doing, every moment of every day).

035b

I’d forgotten Quicksilver started as part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with his sister, the Scarlet Witch. I also forgot (or hadn’t realized) that he had a stint as an Avenger. Same for how early he first appeared in the X-Men series…

036a

Ah…Rogue. One of my favorite X-characters, largely thanks to her depiction in the X-Men animated series. It’s safe to say that as fictional characters go, she was a definite "crush" as a kid. This is my favorite design of the character (matching the cartoon series); and though I don’t mind some of her other costumes, this one’s the one I most think of for her.

036b

I learned of Rogue’s backstory from the animated series, as well as elements from the mini-series in the earlier ’90s. I’m pretty sure I "discovered" Ms. Marvel from the animated series before any appearances in the comics. It’s interesting to see that a major part of Rogue’s character is basically non-existent in the present; same for the impact on Ms. Marvel (now Captain Marvel). While one of my "grail" comics is Uncanny X-Men #266 (the only issue I’m missing from having a run from #240ish to 500 or so), I’d also be quite interested in getting Avengers Annual #10 for Rogue’s first appearance.

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Age of Apocalypse Revisited: X-Man #4

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xman004The Art of War

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Steve Skroce
Inks: Bud LaRosa
Colors: Mike Thomas, Digital Chameleon
Letters: Richard Starkings, Comicraft
Cover: Skroce, LaRosa
Editors: Lisa Patrick, Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: June 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

Clearly, Apocalypse has no problem "shooting the messenger," and thus–it’s safe to say no one should look forward to being the bearer of bad news. Fortunately, the Shadow King is capable of surviving this particular wrath of the mutant master, who delivers the news that Domino has failed to remove the telepath she was sent to deal with. We then cut back to Nate battling Sinister over the death of Forge. Sinister killed Forge to remove what he saw as a detrimental attachment, and now faces the rage of his most powerful creation. Talking Nate down, Sinister reveals the young mutant’s origins, though still finds himself subject to Nate’s wrath. After bidding his remaining friends farewell, Nate heads to Apocalypse’s stronghold, where he bumps into would-be allies…faces from Sinister’s revelation. However, he keeps to himself, determined to chart his own course, to take out Apocalypse himself.

The cover is rather generic yet spoiler-y…showing an enraged Nate victorious over Sinister. It’s also relatively patriotic (to the US) with a general white background, red 3-D to the white and blue-ish logo, as well as the blues of Nate’s getup and Sinister’s blue and red. Generic as the image is, I do like it…enough that I’m talking about it here where I’ve not made a point of discussing EVERY cover of this Age of Apocalypse event.

The interiors work quite well, also. There’s something that seems a bit simplistic about the way Nate looks in certain panels, but aside from simply noticing and thinking that, the art team does a very good job with this issue. Nothing jumped out at me as atrocious or distractingly weird, and I never had to pause to ask myself what exactly just happened or try to piece it together contextually. As such, the art certainly did its job at the minimum, and since I enjoyed it overall, I must say that the art exceeded expectations.

This is a good "next chapter" to Nate’s story, following the events of #3…but there’s not much sense of things being tied up here outside of Sinister’s apparent fate. The wording there was a bit awkward…obviously going for the dramatic effect. But, being a nitpicker in wording, I found myself a bit distracted by the phrasing on Sinister’s final page. While the other Age of Apocalypse series are functionally mini-series…Nate’s four issues are more functionally a single arc. The X-Man title actually carried on after the Age of Apocalypse business, and ran about 75 issues if I recall correctly. So this "final issue" within the event is fairly well suited as simply a "next chapter" rather than having a conclusion…just that from issue 4 to 5 one pretty much has to read X-Men: Omega.

All in all, this is another good issue that gets Nate to where his story can converge with the others into a single, epic issue in X-Men: Omega.

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: X-Man #2

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xman002Choosing Sides

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Steve Skroce
Inkers: Mike Sellers, LaRosa, Conrad, Hanna
Colors: Mike Thomas, Digital Chameleon
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Steve Skroce
Edits: Lisa Patrick, Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: April 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

We pick up a bit after the last issue–Forge’s group has continued their usual, but there’s a growing rift where Nate is gravitating toward the newcomer–Essex. Essex is pushing Nate to use his powers to their fullest, while Forge wants him to keep restrained and not draw attention. Theresa with her newfound powers has adopted the name Sonique and is closer to Nate than the others. Essex leads the group to a factory–if they take it out, they’ll be hitting Apocalypse where it hurts. On seeing the facility, Nate leaps into action, seeing too much of his own past here and refusing to allow it to happen to anyone else. Though the group emerges intact, things seem to be getting out of hand. Meanwhile, Nate takes Sonique with him on a psychic journey to investigate the mansion he’d seen, and she recognizes the figure as Magneto…just before their presence is detected and she breaks their psi-link. Brute pieces things together and finally recognizes Essex, and things kick into gear for the back half of this 4-part arc.

Story-wise, this is a fairly "compressed" issue without being dense. I like that there’s been some passage of time since the first issue–that’s allowed for more development and we get to skip nuanced details and such (like Nate actually meeting Essex and whatever awkwardness may have been there). It allows us to get further into the story and what’s going on, bypassing that and seeing contextually that much has transpired. Yet we still get reference back to the previous issue, tying things together and keeping this from being adrift in a limbo of continuity.

The art’s not bad, though doesn’t really do much for me positive or negative here: it just "is," and keeps the look/feel I associate with the characters here FOR this title. It may not be my favorite, but it definitely does its job, and a good one at that, overall. And though there are multiple inkers…I only notice that specifically from looking at the credits; I don’t think I even picked up on that otherwise.

I find myself considering that this title carried over beyond the Age of Apocalypse, which in a "meta" sense affects my (re)reading of this chapter of what is essentially just an opening arc for the character, introducing him and setting up motivation/context that would be fleshed out later.

While this is paced well for a 4-issue arc, it’s still "interesting" to consider that "only" two chapters in, this series is already HALF done…given the contemporary state of things where a 6-issue arc is the norm/expectation.

Despite the cliffhanger, I don’t feel all that "eager" to get to the next issue…though I’m not dissuaded, either. As a second issue, this lacks the newness of a first issue, the anticipation brought by a third/penultimate issue, as well as being far from a finale. That’s sort of a tough spot for all second issues of four-issue arcs/series.

But for all it may not be structurally, it’s a strong issue in and of itself and an enjoyable read within the ongoing whole of the Age of Apocalypse.

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: X-Man #1

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xman001_thumb[5]Breaking Away

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Steve Skroce
Inks: Sellers, Smith, Larosa, Conrad
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Cover: Steve Skroce, Cam Smith
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

Well. That was a surprisingly fun re-read. X-Man #1…an issue I knew was–for purposes of this Age of Apocalypse Revisited project–at the head of the list, something I’d have to read pretty much first thing…but was thankful Astonishing X-Men was in that first bit as well. Though the cover is distinctive, I had it in my head to somewhat dread reading this issue.

The cover is rather simple yet quite iconic. I like the bold red (plain as it is) of the background, with a powered-out Nate Grey (the X-Man) standing there over what is either simply rubble or rubble and an Infinite that he’s taken down. It’s bright, it grabs the attention, and is (based on the editions I have) the only one of these first issues to not carry the "badge" of ENTER NOW: THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE. This issue’s cover simply proclaims THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE BEGINS NOW! And as such, with no other fancy logo-ing, the typical (for the time) X-Men corner-box and such, this appears simply to be a premiere issue for something new and long-lasting…little did I know at the time I first read it 20 years ago.

The issue’s story picks up with what appears to be a flashback (turns out to be a memory) as we get a glimpse of Nate’s escape, as well as his "discovery" of the Xavier mansion as Magneto’s mission-setting wraps up. His walk on the astral plane or psychic projection or such is cut short by Forge, as we see Nate has unleashed an incredible amount of energy, causing plenty of destruction and possibly jeopardizing his friends. With apologies he resumes his usual role, and the group makes their way to another town for the night’s performance–they’re rather effectively masquerading as a simple traveling theater company. Of course, this being a first issue of the last days of the AoA, things are bound to "happen" and the group is attacked and Nate leaps into action to defend those he can…and as he does, a young mutant discovers she IS a mutant as she leaps to warn him of an attack from behind.

I really dug the art on this issue. Skroce‘s work really stood out to me. I particularly liked the look of Cyclops and Magneto…and all the other characters are quite well-done as well. There’s a look both familiar yet distinctive about them, and I consider myself quite impressed–to my surprise–at the visual feel of the issue.

As indicated above–this was quite a surprise to me as a whole, that I really enjoyed this issue. While I know what comes down the road, in and of itself this issue hooked me. As a start to the Age of Apocalypse proper–the "extended universe" of sorts, beyond Magneto’s group, I think this did a great job.

X-Men Series 1 Revisited, Part 4

028_036

Jubilee was the first of the X-Men I was really introduced to–as the focal character for the audience in the 1990s cartoon. I was also introduced to Rogue in that same first episode, and Rogue at least has remained one of my favorite characters since.

I’ve more recently gotten to know more about several of these other characters–Captain Britain and Forge in particular. I’ve enjoyed Multiple Man and Quicksilver thanks to PAD‘s X-Factor.

In recent years, I’ve found that when I think about the age-old question of “what super-power would you want if you could have any power?” I have tended toward the idea of Multiple Man’s. That perhaps comes from the most recent (pre-All-New Marvel Now) X-Factor run…and moreso, the Madrox mini that immediately preceded it.

Boom Boom was used quite well in Nextwave several years back, and I can’t say I’ve ever cared much for Shatterstar…though the earliest memory I have of Shatterstar is the X-Force/Spider-Man crossover–one of my first-ever collected volumes..

This bunch of cards is fairly mediocre to me…nothing all that special and I didn’t learn anything new, really…

 

Click below to see the cards themselves.

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