A Look Back at Fantastic Four #275

Back in the mid-1980s, the Marvel Comics universe had revisions as a result of the best-selling series Secret Wars. As a result of that series, Spider-Man went home with the alien costume or symbiote (read: Venom), Colossus’ feelings for Kitty Pryde weakened and the Thing decided not to go home yet with the Fantastic Four.

This resulted a temporary change in the lineup of the Fantastic Four. To make up for the loss (and strength) of the Thing, She-Hulk came in as the replacement. Reflecting this particular change, here is my retro review of Fantastic Four #275.

20190611_125812.jpg
The cover.

Released in 1985 with a story written and drawn by the legendary John Byrne, Fantastic Four #275 begins when a sun-bathing She-Hulk got photographed by a man riding a helicopter flying at the top of the Baxter Building in New York. The sheer force of air from the helicopter’s blades temporarily causes She-Hulk’s cover to loosen which exposes her body to the photographer.

“Here I was all braced for a super-baddie, and I end up getting photographed deshabillee by an airborne peeping-tom,” She-Hulk said during the encounter.

The green-skinned lady then decides to take a huge risk by leaping off the building and grab on to the helicopter.

While this is indeed a Fantastic Four comic book, it is very focused on She-Hulk. There is a short scene about Johnny Storm as well as an epilogue at the end of the comic book showing Reed and Sue Richards however.

In terms of storytelling, John Byrne did not tell the usual good-versus-evil story rather he focused more on how being a superhero can be challenging when it comes to personal privacy. This was emphasized through She-Hulk who became the object of a magazine whose editor-in-chief views her as a public figure and that puts her in the public domain along with other famous public figures whose faces and even their private lives got exposed to the masses.

20190611_125237.jpg
From page 11.

If you are looking for superhero action, you won’t find much. There are some incidental forms of action in the form of collateral damage as She-Hulk crashes through walls.

Overall, Fantastic Four #275 is a fun read and its focus on how the print media treats superheroes viewed as public figures is a nice break from the typical good-versus-evil type of story. No clear villain here. Just the She-Hulk dealing with a magazine that violated her privacy.

Fantastic Four #275 is recommended.

 

Advertisements

AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2019 event officially postponed!

Today here in the Philippines, the organizers of the annual AsiaPOP Comicon Manila pop culture convention announced officially that this year’s edition of their event at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City has been postponed! Everyone anticipating the next APCC event will have to wait for next year.

For transparency, I’m posting below the text of their entire announcement made through their Facebook page.

Dear APCC Partners and Fans,

It is with deep regret that we would like to inform you about the postponement of AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2019 to next year.

APCC Manila has always prided itself in bringing exclusive international content to the region that no other convention brings, but, unfortunately, our various content and strategic partners have not been able to commit completely due to their organizational restructuring and multiple conflicting events happening during the couple weeks before and at the same time as the original APCC Manila 2019 dates. The delay in this communication was purely in our intent to try our best to be able to secure the best of content for this year’s event, but the schedules of various partners did not match our dates.

We did not want to organize the event by diluting the quality of the show, as we are aware the benchmark has been set and APCC fans expect the best from us that we promise to deliver in our next year’s event.

We regret any inconvenience this has caused you and all exhibitors, including creative circle artists. All booth payments received will be refunded as a separate communication will be sent across to them.

We hope to continue to get the support from APCC fans for our future events, while we ensure to bring the best of pop-culture activations to Philippines.

Thank you for your kind understanding and unwavering support!

 

The APCC revealed that the postponement was not an easy decision to make. Firstly, their partners did not fully commit to their planned convention. Secondly, there are multiple events to be held before and on the same weekend as the APCC. Clearly each event’s organizers reached out to varied business and content/service providers to be part of their respective events. That trend complicated matters for the APCC organizers.

So instead of compromising on quality, they decided to postpone their 2019 event. That, incidentally, makes the 2019 Toycon the must-attend pop culture convention here in the Philippines and, like the APCC, the venue is at the SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia zone in Pasay City.

I am long-time geek and I love comic books, movies, video games, superhero and photographing cosplayers. I attended the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in California, the United States in 2011 and it was a tremendously wonderful event for geeks like me. Fortunately for geeks here in the Philippines, the Toycon and the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila were held annually and just a few months apart from each other. For the past few years, both conventions heavily used the main exhibition hall of the SMX Convention Center. I proudly say that I attended both conventions since 2016.

Toycon and AsiaPOP Comicon Manila have their own styles of being fun to attendees but they share lots of similarities: cosplay contests, boxes of old comic books for sale, cosplayers expressing themselves and letting people photograph them, musical or dance performances by varied artists, local and international celebrities meeting the fans, gadgets being displayed, souvenirs displayed for sale, action figures and expensive models on display, comic book illustrators signing comic books or drawing art on the spot for the fans, etc.

10
Actress and model Ameera Johara posed for me in her Wonder Woman costume during the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila of 2016.

I also had my memorable moments with the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila. I am a long-time Macross fan and I can proudly say that because of the APCC in 2017, I got to meet with the anime legend Shoji Kawamori in person and had him sign the Macross Plus print-outs I brought to him. I managed to tell him personally I admired his work in the 1982 anime TV series of Macross.

MacrossPlusKawamori2017
There is nothing like witnessing the legendary Shoji Kawamori sign the Macross Plus print outs I brought to him during the 2017 edition of the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila!

From this point on, we can’t do anything but wait for the 2020 edition of the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila to happen. I am confident that the organizers will strive hard to do better in getting their partners to commit to their event.

Along the way, there is the 2019 Toycon set to begin on June 28 until June 30 and I already have a ticket! See you fans and geeks there. 🙂


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

A Look Back At Spider-Man 2099 #25

Released in late 1994 by Marvel Comics, Spider-Man 2099 #25 had a double-sized issue with an embossed cover that shined as it was laced with foil. The number 25 on the edge of the cover was stylized to capture people’s attention on the shelves of comic book specialty stores.

20190617_075338.jpg
The cover of Spider-Man 2099 #25.

Back in the 1990s, Marvel had a “tradition” of releasing comic books with gimmick covers with anniversaries in mind. Notably the 25th, the 50th, the 75th and 100th issue and more got released with covers that came with foil or chromium or hologram or simply a hard embossed material. In other times, the anniversaries of the featured superhero/superheroes were celebrated with gimmick covers on comic books marking the celebration.

With regards to Spider-Man 2099 #25, the 2099 universe of Marvel had reached its 2nd year. By that point of time, the Marvel’s 2099 line of comics was already at full publishing blast with several monthly series (Spider-Man 2099, Ravage 2099, Punisher 2099, Doom 2099, X-Men 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099) plus a quarterly comic book (Marvel 2099).

Written by Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi (with ink work by Al Williamson), the comic book begins with a short scene about Miguel O’Hara’s (Spider-Man 2099) mother moving on her way to meet someone. The spotlight then shifts into the heat of the rematch between Spider-Man and the cyborg Venture.

Later Miguel’s mother meets a certain tycoon at his mansion…

20190617_075448.jpg
Spider-Man of 2099 fights with Venture.

When it comes to quantity, this comic book has a Spider-Man story of 22 pages, a Hulk 2099 story with 8 pages (a prequel to Hulk 2099 #1 specifically) and a story called Net Loss with 10 pages. The first time I read this comic book back in 1994, I anticipated more Spider-Man 2099 content but got surprised with the other two being part of it. Marvel decided back then to use Spider-Man #25’s content to expand and emphasize the 2099 universe.

When it comes to quality, I find the Spider-Man 2099 story here a worthy read not simply because Peter David wrote it but because he crafted a story that connects and relates well with what happened in Spider-Man 2099 #1. When I reached the end of the story, I really felt compelled to go back to the very first issue to re-examine what happened.

As this was the 25th issue of the series, Peter David and Rick Leonardi were more proficient as a creative team. The aesthetics of Leonardi’s art (inked by Williamson) is pretty much the same but I noticed that the illustrator added more power on key moments of the action. Ultimately this story is worthy of the 25th issue anniversary treatment.

The Hulk 2099 short story by Gerard Jones and Malcolm Davis meanwhile serves only to build up the mean green monster for its monthly series. Hulk 2099 was never an interesting character to me and this one did not change my view of him.

The final short story Net Loss was rather weird. Even though I read a lot of 2099 comic books, the story by Peter David and Tom Grindberg just did not captivate me.

Overall, I find Spider-Man 2099 #25 a worthy comic book to add to your collection and Spidey’s story alone is worth it.

Spider-Man 2099 #25 is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Spider-Man #24 (1992)

Back in 1992, Marvel Comics published the Infinity War limited series which dealt with a new conflict that brought the superheroes together. It was the sequel to 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet.

To emphasize the scope of Infinity War, several comic books from other regular series published by Marvel had specific issues serving as tie-ins. In this retro review, we take a look back at Spider-Man #24.

20190611_125743.jpg
The cover with art by Mark Bagley.

Spider-Man #24 begins with Peter Parker waking up from a nightmare. Careful not to wake up his wife Mary Jane, he decides to go out in the middle of the night.

“Who ever said super heroes are supposed to sleep? At least I didn’t wake Mary Jane up this time. Got to get out to clear my head,” Peter Parker thought. “Sheesh! I’m Spider-Man and I love being me!”

As Spider-Man swings during the night, Jason Philip Macendale (the Hobgoblin) wakes up too from a nightmare. This makes him decide to work out a bit and then go out disguised as the Hobgoblin flying with a glider. He also happened to be training himself with the handgun.

Eventually the two will encounter each other but not head-to-head. Rather they get into conflict with the Demogoblin (a more demonic version of the Green Goblin) and, more notably, the Spider-Man Doppelganger (a biologically monstrous version of the superhero with eight arms, sharp teeth and animal instinct).

20190611_125101.jpg
Spider-Man meets his monster match.

With regards to its quality, the story sheds light on Spider-Man’s uneasy connection with Hobgoblin. As for its connection with Infinity War, the Spider-Man Doppelganger’s presence linked the Spider-Man monthly series in a serviceable fashion, specifically what happened near the end of this comic book was reflected in one of the pages of Infinity War #1.

Still I felt that this comic book was a missed opportunity to truly emphasize the Spider-Man Doppelganger as a new menace in Spider-Man’s part of the Marvel universe. There is not enough spotlight on the monster (whose first appearance was in Infinity War #1 by the way) nor was its battle with the superhero proved to be satisfying when it comes to emphasizing spectacle for the readers.

Quite notably, the narrative and action had to be shared with the Hobgoblin who is technically the 2nd lead character in this comic book. Sure he got to fight the Demogoblin and the Doppelganger providing comic book action but I preferred to see more of Spider-Man versus the Doppelganger as this was their first encounter.

When it comes to visuals, penciller Larry Alexander did a satisfactory job overall. While the faces and hairstyles of Peter Parker and Jason Macendale don’t look different enough from each other, Alexander clearly put more effort to make a few key moments of the action scenes stand out.

Overall, Spider-Man #24 is a satisfying read. It marked Spidey’s first-ever encounter with the Doppelganger but was bogged down by the way the story was crafted. If you plan to buy this old comic book at all, don’t pay a full dollar for it.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

A Look Back At The Night Man #1

“I’m not who I was any more! I’m not who I’m going to be! I am the Night Man.”

The above words were from the vigilante called the Night Man, a character co-created by comic industry veteran Steve Englehart (Avengers) and Darick Robertson for Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse franchise. Those words formally opened The Night Man #1 which I’m reviewing here.

To put things in perspective, a vigilante is described as a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate) according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. To put it broadly, the vigilante is a self-appointed doer of justice.

 

20190609_123613.jpg
The Night Man #1 cover.

Published in 1993 by Malibu Comics, The Night Man #1 tells the story of Johnny Domingo, a jazz player whose life changed in the pages of The Strangers #1 (also written by Englehart) in which he (while driving a vehicle) got by a cable car (that was just hit by an energy burst from the sky) resulting a piece of shrapnel embedding into his head.

Perceived by others to be doomed, Domino strangely survived and was well enough to resume his normal life. The difference is that the incident made his eyes dilated permanently which forces him to shield them from bright light.

Just as Johnny walks down the street, he learned he gained an uncanny ability when he hears, for the first time, the evil thoughts of a man (wearing a coat and a hat) planning to kill a lady on Saturday night.

20190609_123520.jpg
The Night Man in action!

Knowing what heard, Johnny wondered if he was crazy and what if some woman would truly be in danger. He then decides to follow the man with evil thoughts and watch his moves. Eventually Johnny followed the man to a restaurant by the beach and saw him talk with a pretty waitress named Ginger who agreed to a Saturday night date.

Carelessly Johnny approached the man too closely and got noticed, forcing him to run away and got chased until he got into a taxi that drove him away.

A short time later, Johnny starts his new career as a vigilante as the Night Man.

20190609_123544.jpg

In terms of storytelling, The Night Man #1 was nicely paced and never felt dragging. Within its twenty-eight pages of story, the comic book took gradual steps on introducing Johnny, how the incident with the cable car impacted him, how he became a vigilante for the first time and what went on in his mind as he became the Night Man. Given his rich experience as a writer, it is no surprise that Steve Englehart delivered a solid script.

It was also engaging to see Night Man being a determined yet very vulnerable vigilante. During his first mission in costume, he managed to beat a few bad guys but ended up getting hurt. This kinda reminds me of the vulnerability seen in the cinematic icon John McClane in 1988’s Die Hard.

The art by Darick Robertson, with ink work done by Andrew Pepoy, was nicely crafted. The civilian and vigilante looks of Night Man were well defined. The visualization of action nice and when Night Man gets hurt, he really looks in pain.

Going beyond Night Man, this comic book has a short preview (five pages, including credits) of Rune, a character created by Barry Windsor-Smith. Rune is described to be a voracious killer whose prey is all humanity and he is an alien leech who despoils the flesh of victims, culling their lifeblood into the essence of power. Rune is also a dying creature fighting for survival against the malignant disease burning inside of him.

Overall, The Night Man #1 is a worthy addition to your comic collection if you are interested in the Ultraverse (which is still kept in limbo by Marvel which acquired Malibu Comics in the mid-1990s) or are interested in vigilante-type superheroes. If you are obsessed with whatever Barry Windsor-Smith created, then the Rune stuff is a must-get.

The Night Man #1 is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

Carlo Carrasco’s Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix

I’ll get straight to the point here. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (or Dark Phoenix in North America) is a better superhero film than I expected (and at the same time I never expected a faithful adaptation of the classic comic book storyline the Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Byrne) and Simon Kinberg‘s feature film directorial debut turned out to be a surprisingly solid effort. I really enjoyed this.

FB_IMG_1557407601427.jpg

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the 2nd attempt by 20th Century Fox to adapt the Dark Phoenix saga for the big screen and I can say it is a brave effort. While it never attempted to fully and faithfully adapt all the elements of the classic storyline (note: that would require hundreds of millions of dollars more budget, more production time and at least two whole films to produce), the new movie is absolutely a better adaptation than X-Men: The Last Stand (which is an even worse movie by today’s standards).

As far as the current X-Men Cinematic Universe (starting with 2011’s X-Men: First Class), Dark Phoenix is very character-driven even though it has a huge cast. There was tremendous pressure behind the scenes on the part of Sophie Turner to portray Jean Grey struggling with her added powers and the good news is that she delivered very nicely! This new movie is clearly focused on Jean Grey whose emotions, struggles and acts of power are magnificently pulled off by Turner each time the screenplay requires her to act.

Turner is clearly more comfortable with playing as Jean Grey and it seems she paid close attention to the Dark Phoenix comics. Unlike Famke Jansen’s Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand, Turner cinematic act is more believable, more emotional and even more terrifying. There were moments to feel sorry for Jean Grey as her life turns upside-down plus there were times that she would be better off going far away into the deep void of the galaxy so that nobody else would get harmed by her. If you pay very close attention to Turner’s act, you will feel varied emotions along the way.

Turner is not the only standout. Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Tye Sheridan each played their respective roles (Beast, Charles Xavier and Cyclops) with more heart, more drama and more intensity. Through Hoult and McAvoy, you will relate more with them as the film makes gentle connections back to X-Men: First Class (why the time was formed, who was supposed to remain or go away, etc.). The conflict between Beast and Xavier that happened later (combined with the revelations from the past) dramatically blurs away the boundary that separates good and evil. As for Tye Sheridan, I see a lot more of the literary Cyclops in him this time and thanks to the script, he exceeds James Marsden’s Cyclops by a hundred a miles. Sheridan and Turner also have better on-screen chemistry as Cyclops and Jean Grey.

James McAvoy’s Xavier deserves everyone’s attention. He not only looks and feels like his comic book counterpart, he also clearly displayed how much the character has matured. McAvoy also successfully captured the on-screen aura of authority Patrick Stewart had in the first X-Men movies.

Michael Fassbender’s Magneto appears rather late into the film but that does not make him any less significant. As before, Fassbender is intense with playing his character and, more importantly, he contributed nicely into the story. Jennifer Lawrence portrayal of Mystique is the shortest one yet but before leaving the film, she delivered some nice lines (with some reconnecting to X-Men: First Class) and acted nicely. Fans of Nightcrawler and Storm will be happy to know that their roles become more significant in the late stage of the film. Lastly, Jessica Chastain‘s addition as Vuk was a nice addition. While others put her down as one-dimensional, which is true, it does not detract from the film at all. Even with lacking variety of character, Vuk still makes a strong villainess and she really acts alien. Vuk would stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

Screenshot_20190605-185631_YouTube.jpg
This is one of many great looking visual effects of the Cerebro scenes.

When it comes to storytelling, this movie did not try to make an in-depth adaptation of all the elements of the Dark Phoenix Saga of comics. Instead, the filmmakers adapted a few elements of the literary classic (and even a few selected elements from X-Men: The Last Stand), focused on the present day X-Men (story is set in 1992), looked back occasionally at X-Men: First Class and made the most with what they have.

The result is a cinematic story about the X-Men now publicly recognized as legitimate mutants (and youths) with Charles Xavier having fully established a direct link with the President of the United States. After the rescue mission in space involving the solar flare, a race of shape-shifting aliens arrive on Earth with a secret agenda of their own. As mentioned earlier, Simon Kinberg surprised me with his directing. The storytelling, even with the slowest moments played, never felt dragging to me at all. The pace, in my experience, was between medium to fast. As this movie was written by Kinberg, Dark Phoenix is clearly his vision for the X-Men Cinematic Universe and he stamped his mark on it despite the fact that reshoots and story revising had to be done. If you are looking for humor, you really won’t find much as the story’s tone is intensely dramatic.

You want fun? X-Men: Dark Phoenix delivered solidly! This movie has more than enough spectacular content (action scenes, stunts, visual effects, etc.) that any moviegoer can enjoy! Very clearly the filmmakers consciously worked hard to deliver entertaining stuff to bounce back from the heavy drama. There was a lot of physical damage caused by Phoenix in her conflict with her teammates which is a solid start of her causing trouble to others. Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Xavier, Beast and Magneto used their respective abilities VERY EXTENSIVELY combined with high-octane stunt coordination which results several minutes of on-screen fun leading into the finale! The spectacle of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which was extensively done with a blistering pace, easily exceeds what was showcased in First Class, Apocalypse and even that of Days of Future Past!

As for those blink-and-you-will-miss-it visual moments, there were times that images shown on the big screen reminded me of Jim Lee’s X-Men. I won’t point out where they are or when they will come out but anyone who extensively read the X-Men comic books drawn by Jim Lee (who co-founded Image Comics and now works as DC Comics’ co-Publisher) will spot the technical fan service.

Last but not least is the music provided by the great Hans Zimmer and this film marks his return to the superhero movie genre. While the music he and his team provided here is nowhere as energetic nor as intense as that of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the music is still steps above that of X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: The Last Stand and even the popular X2: X-Men United. The highlight of Zimmer’s music is the tune played during the moments when Jean Grey’s tremendous power as Dark Phoenix was realized in that day-time encounter with the X-Men. That particular music really emphasized the danger she poses to others.

There were some issues about the movie that might be problematic or annoying to moviegoers, particularly superhero movie fans. For one thing, Simon Kinberg re-used certain elements from X-Men: The Last Stand for this new movie and that includes Jean Grey having a childhood problem and Charles Xavier getting involved to solve it only to be blamed for it many years later. There were even a few lines from the 2006 movie repeated.

Also questionable was the lack of an explanation regarding Jean Grey’s Phoenix Power in this film and the one we saw in X-Men: Apocalypse. If what she unleashed in the final battle with Apocalypse was not the Phoenix force, then that’s a major blunder by the creators in relation to this movie. Perhaps an extended cut of X-Men: Dark Phoenix will solve that.

Lastly there was the use of shaky camera photography during some moments with the action sequences. While they were temporary, they prevented the film’s strong spectacle from achieving perfection.

FB_IMG_1551243291900~2.jpg

Overall, X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a thrilling, heavily dramatic and very solid superhero movie worthy of being the conclusion of the X-Men Cinematic Universe that 20th Century Fox first launched in 2000. From this point on, there is no guarantee we will see McAvoy and the gang return as the cinematic X-Men now that 20th Century Fox is fully controlled by the Walt Disney Company through Marvel Studios. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is not perfect but it strongly resonates with me as I am a long-time X-Men comic book reader. While others out there would bash this movie for not having the common elements of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, X-Men: DP has its own flavor and the filmmakers utilized what they had established in the X-Men Cinematic Universe since 2011. The reported reshoots may have prevented Kinberg and team from fully realizing their original vision of the Dark Phoenix story but still they succeeded in making a better Dark Phoenix adaptation captured on film.

If Marvel Studios would launch the X-Men through the Marvel Cinematic Universe and attempt a new and more ambitious Dark Phoenix adaptation of their own, it will take much longer and will cost them more time and money to do so. That’s something we may not see in the next decade. All the more reason to enjoy X-Men: Dark Phoenix now.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is highly recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more X-Men insight, check out my retro comic book review of X-Men #1 of 1991, my retro movie review of 2000’s X-Men, my retro review of X2: X-Men United and my review of Logan.

 

 

A Look Back At X-Men #1 (1991)

When I was in high school, Marvel Comics launched the comic book X-Men #1 (Volume 2, 1991) which sold an estimated eight million copies worldwide. The times back then were very exciting as the comic book had great art by Jim Lee (inked by Scott Williams and colored by Joe Rosas) combined with the writing of Chris Claremont.

For this retro review, I have the gatefold cover edition of X-Men #1 which has the complete set of covers and a cover price of $3.95. The comic book used high-quality paper (or glossy paper) for its content. To put things in perspective, X-Men #1 was released with multiple editions. The comic books carrying cover prices of $1.50 had individual covers and lower quality paper.

SCN_0039
The front cover.
SCN_0040
The back cover.

So what was X-Men #1 all about? Was it deserving of the tremendous sales success it achieved for Marvel? Did the combined talents of Claremont and Lee create something super special?

To begin with, X-Men #1 marked the beginning of a new chapter of the X-Men. In the events that happened prior to this comic book, the X-Men founder Charles Xavier had been away for many years and along the way the team went through several changes with its members. At one point, the classic villain Magneto even became the head of the X-Men. The pioneering X-Men members of Jean Grey, Cyclops, Iceman and Beast meanwhile found their temporary place outside by forming X-Factor. Eventually the Muir Island saga which incidentally reunited Xavier with his mutants.

So in this comic book, the X-Men got reformed and Xavier returned to his mansion for the first time in many years. The stakes are much higher this time because Xavier needs to adjust to the dynamics of the X-Men whose membership has grown so much two teams (Gold and Blue) had to be used. As if that was not challenging enough, the world, as Xavier noticed, is more hostile towards mutants than ever before.

In out space, two groups of people engaged in a spaceships chase which triggered Magneto (now living in a new headquarters orbiting Earth) to take action. He tells them he is no longer interested in their cause and simply wanted to be left alone.

SCN_0041
Magneto’s presence and energy signature alerts authorities on Earth.
SCN_0042
Charles Xavier shares to Jean Grey his observations as he tries to adjust with his return to his mansion. He was away for so many years and so was Jean Grey and her pioneering teammates.

Because he made his presence felt (his energy signature was detected and so was his floating headquarters), authorities on Earth had no choice but to launch the first stage of the Magneto Protocols.

In Washington DC, Col. Nick Fury meets with the President of the United States who expressed his concern about the incident in outer space which involved American shuttles that got destroyed.

US President: It’s my understanding, in fact, that the terrorists who hijacked our vehicle look to him (Magneto) as their inspiration. Suppose he makes their cause his own?

Nick Fury: If the Soviets act like hotheads, Mister President, they could make things worse.

US President: You have an alternative?

Meanwhile at the Xavier mansion, the X-Men participate in an training session with Cyclops (blue team leader) and Storm (gold team leader) watching and coordinating from the control room. Charles Xavier, who is still adjusting upon returning, closely watches the large team.

SCN_0043
Sarcasm by Cyclops annoyed Xavier who preferred him to keep focus on the exercise.

Of course, with the team so large, conflicting personalities and problems with bonding with each other was inevitable. Clearly the newly revamped X-Men had a long way to go before achieving true solidarity.

And then Nick Fury contacted the X-Men with the Magneto situation…

For a comic book released in 1991, this one was quite a grand product. Sure it did not have a gimmick cover of foil nor hologram nor chromium but having a gatefold cover with art of the X-Men and Magneto drawn by the great Jim Lee was itself a big luxury at the time.

Very clearly, Jim Lee and Scott Williams did their best ensuring great art for the comic book. The X-Men all look very fit (as if they all regularly spent time in the gym), their redesigned costumes were meant to look cool (although the many pouches and “suspender” of Cyclops’ costume look really silly), Magneto looks ageless and the Acolytes were designed to be the new nemesis of the X-Men.

And then there was the action…..

SCN_0045
Action between the X-Men and Magneto.

Jim Lee has a great vision for high-octane action designed to show impact while at the same time give readers something great to look at. In my view, Lee was influenced by action movies and he developed ways to not only make comic book action flow nicely but also deliver impact.

This comic book has a lot of action and Jim Lee cleverly visualized the capabilities of the X-Men with striking visuals. The way Wolverine looked striking at an enemy was pretty intense. Cyclops’ use of his Optic Blast to separate Magneto from Wolverine showed a lot of power. Psylocke’s physical strike against Magneto reminds me hard action scenes from Hollywood flicks.

With regards to the writing, Chris Claremont managed to redefine the X-Men for the new age while at the same time did his best to balance the story, establish the threat and build up the tension for the inevitable conflict with Magneto. In this particular comic book, it is the blue team taking on the classic villain.

Apart from the main story, X-Men #1 also came with extra stuff like behind-the-scenes sketches by Jim Lee, a preview of things to come (notably the post-Claremont concepts), a 2-page image of the X-Men enjoying the pool side of the mansion, and a villains gallery! All these extras were drawn by Jim Lee!

Overall, X-Men #1 is still a compelling comic book to read even by today’s standards. The comic book speculator boom has long been over but if you are looking for the modernizing of the X-Men for the 1990s, this one really is a milestone. Clearly, X-Men #1 was made to start the new age of the mutants with the 1990s in mind while at the same time it took the bold move of gathering Xavier and the pioneering X-Men members and putting them back into Xavier’s mansion forming a much larger team than ever. This move of mixing classic X-Men members with newer ones resulted a nice variety of personalities.

When it comes to getting this for your collection focused on Marvel’s mutants, X-Men #1 is highly recommended. Remember, you should look at this comic book as a piece of X-Men history and don’t focus on making a profit with it. Just enjoy it for what it is.

By the way, X-Men: Dark Phoenix is opening very soon in cinemas. You bought a ticket already?


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com