A Look Back at X-Men #4 (1992)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and X-Men fans! Previously, I reviewed X-Men #3 (1991) which, at the time of its release, marked the end of the era of Chris Claremont who spearheaded the development and storytelling of the X-Men since the mid-1970s. Along the way, he clashed with X-Men books editor Bob Harras behind the scenes at the headquarters of Marvel Comics which was a factor to his departure. It is notable that Claremont returned to Marvel in 1997 as editorial director.

Going back to 1991, Marvel had Jim Lee as their top-notch talent to sell loads of X-Men comic books to buyers. Inevitably as Claremont departed, Marvel bet big on Lee and supported his move to set a new creative direction for the X-Men.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #4, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story by Jim Lee and John Byrne. Lee drew the comic book with Scott Williams as the inker.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a secret facility in the South Pacific. A sleeping figure wakes up and the men wearing protective suits near him carefully observe his moves. Suddenly, the men died horribly. The figure, with white-colored skin and long blond hair, says, “Who has brought me back from the dark domain of death? Who has summoned Omega Red?”

Behind a protective window, a man starts talking to Omega Red and he shows him a picture of Wolverine (in his civilian identity). Omega Red recognizes Logan…

Quality

Gambit and Rogue in the heat of action.

Being one of the first X-Men comic books published in the so-called post-Claremont era, this comic book has a solid story and a lively presentation of the X-Men’s Blue Team members. I figured that John Byrne delivered the solid dialogue given his previous experience of working on X-Men comics (as an illustrator) as well as being the writer and artist of the memorable The Man of Steel mini-series (with DC Comics, rebooting Superman in the post-Crisis era).

While the basketball scene had true-to-character portrayals of Wolverine, Gambit, Psylocke and Jubilee complete with stylish dialogue per character, there is consistency on the portrayal of Moira MacTaggert who is understandably struggling to recover given the events of X-Men #1 to #3. The same goes with Charles Xavier. The way the script was written with strong focus on the established characters, it’s almost as if Chris Claremont never left.

The biggest feature of this comic book is the debut of the deadly mutant Omega Red who is of Russian heritage and Russia’s own parallel to the United States’ own super soldier Captain America. In pop culture, Omega Red is one of the top villains in comic books ever and this comic book sets up his sudden rise to prominence. Symbolically, Omega Red is a co-creation of Jim Lee and John Byrne and it is pretty fitting for this comic book of the post-Claremont era to feature him.

Conclusion

You love basketball?

There is no doubt that even by today’s standards, X-Men #4 (1992) is a great read and a landmark issue in X-Men comic book history. Given its content, this one will always be remembered as the start of Omega Red who later on proved to be one of the deadliest villains Marvel’s mutants ever encountered. The villain went on to appear in the video games X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #4 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $125 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $375.

Overall, X-Men #4 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

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