A Look Back at X-Men #30 (1994)

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, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back at one of its most significant events it ever published – the wedding of Scott Summers/Cyclops and Jean Grey. By the time this particular comic book was published, the 30th anniversary celebration of the X-Men (note: Read my Fatal Attractions storyline retro reviews by clicking here and here) had just been concluded and that includes a major change of direction for the iconic X-Men member Wolverine. It is also notable that the X-Men had Sabretooth contained within Charles Xavier’s mansion (for retro reviews, click here, here and here).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #30, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside Xavier’s mansion. Jean Grey reads a handwritten letter from Logan/Wolverine, who left the household after getting traumatized from their last encounter with Magneto. Logan refers to her and Scott Summers as special. While reading, Jean is already in her fancy wedding dress being assisted by her mother and storm as Rachel Summers looks on. For Jean, the wedding is about her dedication on spending the rest of her life with Scott as well as possibly gaining Rachel (who comes from one possible future) as a daughter.

Professor X with four of his original team members plus Alex Summers.

Elsewhere in the mansion, the groom Scott spends quality time with his original teammates Bobbdy Drake/Ice Man, Warren Worthington/Archangel and Hank McCoy/Beast. With them also is his brother Alex Summers/Havok. Alex tells Scott that the day of his wedding is the first day of the rest of his life which causes Bobby to say something inappropriate.

Suddenly, Professor X comes in to join them…

Quality

Jean Grey in her wedding dress with her mother, Storm and Rachel Summers present.

To get straight to the point here, this comic book serves two purposes: highlighting Scott and Jean’s relationship to an all new level with the wedding as the main event, and offering long-time or die-hard X-Men fans a whole lot of stuff to chew on. Very clearly, Fabian Nicieza wrote the script with X-Men fans in mind while also making references to the past with some creative touches or shortcuts so that the comic book would not be bloated with excessive fan service.

The wedding itself was executed nicely by the Nicieza-Kubert team and was clearly conceptualized to not only be memorable for the fans but also creatively serve as a major pay-off to all those years of Scott and Jean Grey being together early as teammates, getting separated temporarily and getting together again (note: they were also the original X-Factor team). Right after the wedding was executed, the visuals and words elevated the emotions higher and any long-time X-Men fan will find the moment sentimental.

Opposite the wedding are several scenes showing the other X-Men characters plus those from X-Factor and X-Force (with a not-so-recognizable Cable present). The dialogue written ranged from sentimental to comedic. And then there were also a few lines that I felt were just thrown in as fillers.

As far as visuals go, Andy Kubert’s art here are pretty good to look at. While he did his best to really make the story visually appealing and memorable, there were a few panels of art that look rushed.

Conclusion

So many guests. Can you recognize many of them?

Since it highlights the wedding of Scott and Jean Grey with several other X-Men-related characters mixed in, X-Men #30 (1994) is clearly a commemorative story made with X-Men fans in mind. While a lot of work was done to make the story momentous on its own, readers who are unable to immerse themselves deeply into the X-Men mythos (plus X-Force, X-Factor and others) prior to reading this comic book won’t be able to relate to the wedding and the character moments very much. While it may not be significant to newcomers who find this comic book for the first time, it still marks a significant chapter in the history of X-Men within the Marvel Comics universe of the late 20th century. For the long-time fans who were able to read enough of Scott and Jean Grey’s times together from 1963 until the early 1990s, this is one X-Men tale that they can relate with deeply.

Overall, X-Men #30 (1994) 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 as well as making a donation to support my publishing.. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at X-Men #24 (1993)

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, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back into the one of the comic books that was released in 1993 which was the year Marvel celebrated the 30th anniversary of the X-Men franchise. To be more specific, the comic book in this retro review took place right after the death of Colossus’ sister and just before the big Fatal Attractions stories in Uncanny X-Men #304 (1993) and X-Men #25 (1993).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #24, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-end restaurant wherein Rogue and Gambit, both dressed in formal attire, have dinner and spend quality time together. Their private talk turns awkward when Rogue asks him about his silence about his wife (refer to X-Men #9). Gambit, in his attempt to change the subject, asks Rogue why other people do not know her real name. This leads them into staring at each other in silence.

Over the mansion, Dr. Moira McTaggert and Banshee are reunited while Charles Xavier and Beast are inside the laboratory working and analyzing as to how Illyana Rasputin died. Over at a local airport, Jean Grey and Cyclops are reunited…

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Psylocke and Revanche.

Have you heard about the expression “the calm before the storm”? That truly reflects what this comic book is all about. X-Men #24 (1993) was all about build-up of information and character developments, getting specific X-Men characters reunited, tying up some loose ends from the past while also building up tension for near-future events and more. There is no battle between good and evil here as this was written to set up the characters for specific storylines that were set to happen and Fatal Attractions was just a part of them. No superhero action here, just lots of dialogue plus romance, suspense and melodrama.

If there is anything notable here, it is the romantic time Rogue and Gambit have together. While their relationship got deeper, Fabian Nicieza also opened up the possibility that secrets between the two could still derail their romantic connection. Eventually, their relationship got strained as seen in X-Men #33 (1994).

This comic book also took time to explore further the mystery between Revanche and Psylocke, and also the negative impact Illyana’s death towards Jubilee. All throughout, Nicieza’s dialogue is solid and captured the personalities of each character.

To Andy Kubert…why did you draw Cyclops’ eyes like this?!

As for the art, I noticed there is a drop in the quality of Andy Kubert’s work in this comic book. The way I see it, his work looked rushed especially when compared to his more polished works in X-Men #20 to 23, X-Men #25 and others. As far as his X-Men works of 1993 are concerned, this is easily Kubert’s weakest work.

Conclusion

Banshee and Moira reunited.

X-Men #24 (1993) is easily the build-up comic book leading to the massive, highly dramatic events that took place in Uncanny X-Men #304, X-Men #25, the wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey, the Phalanx Covenant storyline, and more. As the 30th anniversary was the most dominant event of the X-Men in 1993, this comic book served its purpose in getting key characters together as well as giving something meaningful (as opposed to being entertaining) for dedicated X-Men fans to enjoy and relate with. That being said, this comic book won’t resonate with newcomers or readers who decide to read this as their personal introduction into the lore of the X-Men within the Marvel Comics shared universe of the time.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #24 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $40 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $120.

Overall, X-Men #24 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at X-Men #29 (1994)

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, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back at what happened after the ending of X-Men #28 (1994). For those who missed out on my previous X-Men retro review, issue #28 showed the X-Men being disturbed by the presence of Sabretooth living as a prisoner/patient in the mansion under the authority of Charles Xavier. Along the way, the wedding of Jean Grey and Cyclops is nearing.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #29, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by the Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the danger room wherein Psylocke and Sabretooth (wearing cybernetic restraints on his arms as well as a mask) engage in a sparring session while being monitored by Professor X, Warren Worthington/Archangel and Hank McCoy/Beast. Warren expresses concern about the session and Xavier replies by saying that they could not have Sabretooth develop the control he needs over his violent tendencies by having him contained in a cell every day.

After some struggle, Psylocke gains the upper hand and tells Sabretooth that she sparred without using her mutant abilities (solely out of deference to his reduced capabilities caused by the restraints) and insisted she still fought to win.

After the danger room session, Warren leaves and thinks a lot as he takes time out to watch Cyclops and Jean Grey leading the wedding preparations outdoors. Jubilee passes by with lots of mail, hands over to Warren an unusual looking envelope, then leaves. As he opens the envelope, Psylocke arrives hearing Warren talking to himself as he reads the letter. It turns out to be an invitation from the Hellfire Club…

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Expository dialogue and details laid down to help readers understand the Hellfire Club.

To put things in perspective, the Hellfire Club within the Marvel Comics universe is a fictional high-class society which became a formidable force of opposition for the X-Men. Their debut during the Dark Phoenix Saga is very memorable and since that time, varied comic books – specifically X-Men comics – revisited the club from time to time.

Within the pages of this particular comic book, the Hellfire Club itself went through some changes in terms of membership and organizational structure kind of similar to the X-Men themselves. In this case, the son of Sebastian Shaw – Shinobi – gains tremendous power and even went as far as revealing to Warren/Archangel his ambitious plan to re-establish the Inner Circle and have the mentioned X-Men member (one of the pioneering students of Charles Xavier) part of it as the White King.

A key element in this story is self-pity which Archangel and Shinobi Shaw both share. For these two, there are key parts of their past that are so hurtful they respectively question their existence and purpose. Quite symbolically, Archangel and Shinobi both have fathers involved with the Hellfire Club and Psylocke herself was familiar with the club’s presence in London. More on Archangel himself, his self-pity really puts him in a very awkward place among the X-Men, especially at a time when he is supposed to be happy for his long-time teammates Jean Grey and Cyclops about to get married.

In a way, X-Men #29 was an inspired attempt to reconnect the past with the contemporary times with the Hellfire Club as the enduring factor. In my opinion, Fabian Nicieza’s work here is solid.

Conclusion

Easily the best-looking images in the comic book. Andy Kubert really rocked with this!

X-Men #29 (1994) is symbolically a quick and yet inspired way of updating readers about the state of the Hellfire Club and hint what potential conflicts they could have with the X-Men of the 1990s. Psylocke and Archangel are the most prominent X-Men members to follow here and they both have past connections with the Hellfire Club which itself is changing as Shinobi Shaw gained power. Its story is pretty intriguing and there is a descent amount of spectacle to be enjoyed. The selling point here is the story concept itself backed with solid writing by Nicieza who seem to have researched the Hellfire Club carefully. Given the legacy behind the X-Men and the fictional club, this comic book will appeal more to long-time fans of the X-Men. Reading this as a first-time discovery of the club will surely challenge newcomers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #29 (1994) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, X-Men #29 (1994) 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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at Wolverine #75 (1993)

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 collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of the X-Men! We go back to the year 1993 when the 30th anniversary of the X-Men was celebrated with the 6-part Fatal Attractions storyline. Already I reviewed Uncanny X-Men #304 (Part 3) which was not worthy of the X-Men’s 30th anniversary celebration. X-Men #25 (Part 4) meanwhile was not only great but also shocking and had a years-long impact on X-Men comics.

So now the focus is on the 5th chapter of the Fatal Attractions storyline handled by the Larry Hama-Adam Kubert team on the Wolverine monthly series of the time. With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wolverine #75, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Larry Hama and drawn by Adam Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in outer space. Carrying Charles Xavier, Wolverine, Gambit, Jean Grey, Rogue and Quicksilver (who participated in the dangerous mission in X-Men #25), the X-Men’s jet (piloted by Bishop) struggles mechanically as it was not designed for space travel. Worse, Wolverine is under very serious condition and the medical unit has been operating in full capacity dealing with his intense trauma.

In an attempt to alleviate Wolverine’s psychic trauma, Charles Xavier and Jean Grey enter his mind and discover that there is a world full of pain and horror. They see visions of a restrained Wolverine (from his Weapon X days) being attacked by Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike. Xavier explains that they are at the epicenter of Logan’s most suppressed cataclysmic memories which were clearly triggered by the physical damage Magneto inflicted on him (see X-Men #25).

As the X-Men’s jet attempts to enter Earth’s atmosphere, its exteriors heat up dramatically shaking everyone inside. This complicates the situation on stabilizing Wolverine…

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The other X-Men team members at their headquarters expressing worry and concern about the situation of their teammates struggling to come back home from space.

To be clear, this story continues the events of Fatal Attractions but with a bit more focus on Wolverine (compared to the earlier chapters of the storyline that is). There is no real battle between good and evil at all. It’s really all about Wolverine struggling to survive just as his teammates struggle to arrive home.

Before the stories of this comic book and X-Men #25 happened, Wolverine has often been portrayed to be very tough, brave and a walking machine of violence which has been reflected in other X-Men stories told in video games and movies. In this very comic book, Wolverine has been presented to coming close to death. This means Logan, at this particular stage of the history of the literary X-Men, was at his most vulnerable state. In my experience, this was both alienating and shocking to see.

With regards to the writing, Larry Hama did an excellent job with pacing the story from start to finish. Right from the beginning, the story pulls you into the X-Men’s tough situation and as each page gets turned, the tension as well as the suspense builds up until the execution the climax. Along the way, the comic book not only portrays Wolverine struggling on the edge, it also works to make you care more or be more concerned of him. Oh yes, the shocking moment near the end of this comic book remains very shocking and you who read this should read and see it for yourselves.

Conclusion

Wolverine at his most vulnerable state.

By today’s standards, Wolverine #75 (1993) is still a very great comic book to read. In fact, I can say it is not only one of most defining chapters of the Fatal Attractions storyline as well as one of the most significant X-Men comic books of the 1990s, it is indeed a true illustrated literature classic ever published by Marvel Comics. In retrospect, this comic book marks a major turning point in the life of Wolverine who is still one of the most iconic characters in all of superhero literature. All of these were achieved thanks to the creative team of Larry Hama and Adam Kubert (whose are here was great and stylized at the same time). Hama succeeded in writing the continuation of the Fatal Attractions storyline while balancing all of the exposition and still putting Wolverine in the center. That itself is a very great work of writing.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wolverine #75 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $60 while the near-mint copies of the signed-and-numbered edition and the newsstand edition cost $300 and $180 respectively.

Overall, Wolverine #75 (1993) 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. 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 What If #46 (1993)

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, X-Men fans, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! It’s time to revisit the What If monthly series of comic books of Marvel Comics that lasted from 1989 until 1998. The old comic book I’m about to review involves the X-Men, Cable and more.

Before starting with this newest retro comic book review, I should state that I was never a fan of Cable even though I read lots of X-Men-related comic books that included him. When I think of Cable, I immediately think of the New Mutants and X-Force comic book series.

You must be wondering what has Cable and the X-Men have to do with the old What If issue I’m focusing on. We can all find out in this look back at What If #46, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Tod Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a tavern in New York’s famous Central Park. Inside, Charles Xavier, Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey have a discussion about mutant matters until a small saucer-shaped device flies inside and disrupts everything with its sonic frequency. Suddenly a second flying saucer comes in, touches Scott’s shoe and explodes powerfully killing him, Jean and Xavier. Others got injured by the explosion and the tavern ends up burning.

Outside the tavern, Cable is seen running away and someone points at him as someone who must be responsible for the bombing. As it turns out, the deliberate killing of Xavier, Cyclops and Jean Grey was the result of a division between Cable’s New Mutants and the X-Men in connection to the recent return of Xavier from deep space.

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A brawl between the mutants.

I’ll start with the story Kurt Busiek came up with. This one explores an alternate time in which Charles Xavier returned to Earth (after escaping from the Skrulls in deep space) only to find the X-Men in disarray which compelled him to restore things the way they were. This is not to be confused with his return in the canon storyline of the Muir Island Saga.  

That being said, Busiek explored what would it be like had Xavier tried to resolve mutant matters not only with the team of mutants he founded but also with other teams such as the New Mutants (already led by Cable), X-Factor (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Archangel) plus several other mutants. I really liked the way the mutants reacted to Xavier given his long absence from Earth, how his dream matters and turned out irrelevant to them as individual mutants, and if he still has what it takes to lead them. In some ways, Xavier looked like a politician trying to convince his constituents that his vision is still the best for them and their interests.

What really made the story running was the start of the division between the mutants when Cable rejects Xavier and points out that the X-Men founder’s devotion to appeasement is dooming mutants. All of these led to the shock opening scene and in terms of writing quality, it was all justified.

The scenes that happened AFTER the burial of Xavier, Cyclops and Jean Grey literally raised the stakes for the rest of the comic book. I don’t want to spoil further plot details but I can assure you all that Kurt Busiek’s script is very sold and there is so much to enjoy here especially if you are knowledgeable enough about the X-Men and the other parts of the Marvel Comics universe (note: the Avengers, Stryfe, Freedom Force and Fantastic Four also appeared).

Visually, the work of Tod Smith looks a bit rushed. His art here is not bad but I felt it could have been better had there been more time to polish his work. In fairness to Smith, his drawings on most of the characters still made them recognizable and he showed pacing with regards to the panels and angles used. I should say he does a decent job showing multiple characters fighting each other simultaneously.

Conclusion

If you were a mutant, would you follow Charles Xavier or Cable?

If you ask me, What If #46 (1993) is pretty entertaining and engaging to read thanks to the strong writing as well as the daring exploration of how the comic’s main story impacts others within the Marvel Comics universe. It has drama, action, intrigue and most notably it explores a new concept about how the X-Men would turn out after the death of their founder. It also raises questions on whether or not the X-Men are doomed without Charles Xavier’s presence.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of What If #46 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $40 while the near-mint newsstand edition costs $120.

Overall, What If #46 (1993) 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. 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 X-Men #5 (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, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Marvel Comics! Today we revisit the adjective-less X-Men monthly series (Volume 2) that started in 1991 with the combined talents of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. For those who are unaware, Chris Claremont had his conflict behind the scenes with then X-Men comics editor Bob Harras which led to him departing the X-Men series with issue #3.

Previously I reviewed X-Men #4 which by today’s standards is highly significant and very expensive to acquire as it marked the literary debut of Omega Red who made quite an impact with X-Men fans. It should be noted that Wolverine and Omega Red had encountered each other far back in time and issue #4 marked the renewal of their rivalry.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #5, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Jim Lee (plot) and John Byrne (script), The art was done by Lee with ink work done by Scott Williams, Art Thibert, Bob Wiacek and Joe Rubinstein.

The cover.

Early story

This for me is the money shot of the comic book. Although Wolverine is absent, you get to see the entire Blue and Gold teams with Charles Xavier as drawn by Jim Lee.

The story begins with Cerebro detecting an unidentified mutant signature in the presence of X-Men members who were out of the mansion. Forge tells Cyclops about the disturbance happening less than five miles away from their mansion. Colossus and Psylocke join in and quickly they leave the mansion with Cyclops using the Blackbird.

Not too far away, Gambit, Rogue, Jubilee and Beast are held captive inside a vehicle with an armed man in their presence. Gambit starts the effort to free his teammates using one of his charged cards.

Elsewhere in a snowy place, Wolverine is seen struggling thinking he defeated his old rival Omega Red. Suddenly the Russian mutant jumped at him and the two resumed fighting. Their fight is being monitored from a distance…

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The Wolverine-Omega Red rivalry is a must-see.

When it comes to storytelling, it is obvious that the writing duo of Jim Lee and John Byrne did their best to push the envelope and break new ground as far as telling an X-Men story goes. For one thing, there is the presence of paramilitary elements which are common with Jim Lee’s creations. There are even flashbacks into the past in which Wolverine (then called Logan) actually took part in a special forces operation with a few notable others. These flashbacks expands further the personal history of Wolverine in a really intriguing way. With the way the story was presented, it is clear that the new creative team pulled off serious moves in modernizing the way X-Men stories were told in comparison to the way Chris Claremont told all those many such stories during his long run.

When it comes to the visuals, Jim Lee did another great job as each page looks great and he proved to be clever with the way he visualized the script. As this comic book was inked by more than one inker, there were subtle differences with regards to contrast as well as ink intensity.

Conclusion

Cyclops and his teammates move out.

X-Men #5 (1992) is another great comic book that involved Jim Lee’s art. Apart from the modernizing of the storytelling, this comic book further expanded the past of Wolverine while successfully giving readers more of Omega Red who is now a major supervillain of Marvel’s.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #5 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $27 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $79.

Overall, X-Men #5 (1992) 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. 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 X-Men Unlimited #1 (1993)

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.

As mentioned before (refer to my reviews of X-Men 2099 #1 and X-Men #25), 1993 was the year when the 30th anniversary of the X-Men was celebrated. Back then, Internet connection was not very accessible to the public, social media had not been invented and streaming movies and TV shows was not yet the norm. How did Marvel Comic organize the celebration for X-Men fans? By publishing a lot of comic books and selling merchandise.

In the first quarter of 1993, Marvel Comics went on to feed the perceived high demand of X-Men fans by launching X-Men Unlimited which was an all-new comic book series with a schedule of quarterly releases per new comic book (initially with 64 pages of content using glossy paper). They released X-Men Unlimited #1 in March 1993 and I bought a copy for a hefty $3.95.

So what exactly did the said comic book feature? Was it good? We can all find out in this look back at X-Men Unlimited #1 published by Marvel Comics with a story written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Chris Bachalo.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the snowy surface of Antarctica where the Blackbird (the X-Men’s jet) has crashed. Cyclops is outside the crashed jet already suffering from internal bleeding and other injuries. As his ruby quartz visor has been lost, he desperately keeps his eyes shut to avoid firing any optic blast. Even with tremendous odds against him, Cyclops concentrates very hard to reach out to Charles Xavier and successfully makes contact. Xavier is surprised.

With telepathic assistance provided by Xavier, Cyclops successfully reaches him and carries him. After some searching, they spot Storm alone on the snow. Elsewhere, a lady gets up from the snow and walks towards a facility. Upon entering, there are scientists working with computers and they called her Ms. Blaze. She asked them if she succeeded in killing Cyclops, Storm and Xavier…

Quality

Artist Chris Bachalo failed to pace his art properly on this page.

To get to the point, I should state that the main lesson of this X-Men story written by Lobdell is about leadership mixed with responsibility and survival. Symbolically, the three leaders of the X-Men (Xavier the head with Blue Team leader Cyclops and Gold Team leader Storm) were placed in a situation of great odds and their respective powers cannot just help solve their problems nor help them get away easily. Here we get to see Cyclops, Storm and Xavier really struggling and having no choice but to use their wits as well as skills learned from the past in order to survive and progress. This is easily the comic book’s most unique feature and it is very rare to see Xavier and the two team leaders spend a lot of time together and work with each other. As far as emphasizing the leadership dynamics of the X-Men is concerned, Lobdell succeeded. I should also state that Lobdell really dramatized the respective personalities of the three.

Still there are some notable flaws. I should say the story had lots of dragging moments in between and the overall pace is between slow and medium. The dialogue is quite wordy and ultimately a lot of it felt like fillers than actual attempts to develop personalities and explain things. There were attempts to make the dialogue more philosophical but end up dragging the narrative. I should state that verbal descriptions or narrations in certain pages were quite excessive. If you are looking for superhero spectacle, there is actually little to enjoy here and by the time the final conflict is over, you will end up unsatisfied. Of course, there are also scenes of incidental moments (examples: explosions, the environment causing damage, etc.) that were emphasized as if to make up for the lack of superhero spectacle.  

The antagonist Sienna Blaze is not a compelling villainess. There is no justification as to why she tried to kill the X-Men. The way she is presented, Blaze is more like a reckless and impulsive teenager than a real opposing force against Xavier and his mutants.

Psylocke and Bishop were the other X-Men members who appeared.

Lastly, there is the art by Chris Bachalo which has always been sub-par and disappointing to look at. While Bachalo did a decent job drawing disaster-related moments, his art on drawing the X-Men really sucked. There were many times when Charles Xavier LOOKED LIKE A DUMMY (think mannequin) than a living person as drawn by Bachalo. The art of this comic book was disappointing in 1993, and it has aged badly by today’s standards.

Apart from the main story, this comic book has a gallery of artworks highlighting the X-Men (including members who did not appear in the said story) done by varied illustrators. The quality of the art, unsurprisingly, is a mixed bag. Ultimately the art gallery served as convenient filler made to satisfy the cravings of X-Men fans.

Conclusion

This is how Wolverine and Colossus look as drawn by Mark Bagley who was the Amazing Spider-Man artist of the time.

Apart from being made to sell a bunch of copies and take advantage of the comic book collector craze of the time, X-Men Unlimited #1 (1993) was an effort to keep defining the X-Men for fans and comic readers of the 1990s by adding depth to the bond between Xavier, Storm and Cyclops. The problem is with the execution as the story dragged a lot, and a whole lot of dialogue and text descriptions were made as if to ensure that enough content would fit the 64-pages of content of the comic book. As far as 1993 X-Men comic books go, this one has one of the worst looking artworks used in storytelling. When it comes to its connection with the 30th anniversary of the X-Men, what happened to Xavier in this comic book is connected to the events of Uncanny X-Men #304 and #310.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men Unlimited #1 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $10 while the near-mint copies of the signed edition (without certificate), the newsstand edition and the signed edition (with certificate of authenticity) cost $105, $32 and $105 respectively.

Overall, X-Men Unlimited #1 (1993) is unsatisfying. If I were you, I would avoid spending any money above its cover price. Considering its quality, the near-mint copy of this comic book is really worth only $1.

+++++

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. 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 X-Men #3 (1991)

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, X-Men fans, superhero enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today I’m about to review another Chris Claremont-Jim Lee comic book of the X-Men from 1991.

Before getting to the retro comic book review, let’s take a look back at history. Marvel Comics started publishing comic book of the X-Men in 1963 which involved the combined talents of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The original X-Men members were Cyclops, Beast, Marvel Girl, Angel and Iceman all under the mentorship of Charles Xavier (AKA Professor X). That monthly series was not a strong seller and was weak compared to the other monthly titles of Marvel. Although Roy Thomas and Neal Adams were brought in to reinvigorate the X-Men series with new characters, success in sales did not materialize and eventually the series was turned into a reprint series (from issues #67 to #93).

In 1975, Len Wein and Dave Cockrum made Giant-Size X-Men #1 which introduced a new team. Along the way, Wein (who was also the editor-in-chief of Marvel at the time) hired Chris Claremont to become the lead writer of the X-Men series starting issue #94 which was released that same year. Claremont redefined the X-Men by developing the characters deep inside and emphasized their respective personalities. As the years passed by, Claremont wrote notable X-Men storylines such as The Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, Mutant Massacre, and Fall of the Mutants to name some. Not only did Claremont write The New Mutants, he also co-created many other characters that became part of the X-Men franchise.

Then came the year 1991. The launch of the new X-Men monthly series (focused on the Blue Team led by Cyclops) saw sales tremendous success with issue #1 and by that time Jim Lee was established as one hot new creators under Marvel. Behind the scenes, however, Claremont clashed with then X-Men books editor Bob Harras. Eventually, issue #3 of the 2nd X-Men monthly series marked the end of the X-Men era of 1975-1991.

I should say that I enjoyed reading issue #2 in which Claremont wrote a story that not only raised the stakes but also pushed the entire group of mutants to the edge. We will find out soon enough if Claremont’s X-Men era of 1975-1991 will end strongly in this retro review of X-Men #3, published in 1991 by Marvel Comics with a story by Claremont and Jim Lee (who also illustrated).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in outer space. Members of X-Men’s Gold Team (composed of Archangel, Storm, Jean Grey, Forge, Iceman, Colossus and Banshee) fly stealthily towards Asteroid M where Magneto and his Acolytes are with Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert held captive. With the exception of a few, members of the X-Men Blue Team were brainwashed by MacTaggert to follow Magneto.

On Earth, the plasma cannon is being prepared to destroy Asteroid M. Nick Fury warns his colleagues about the possibility of tremendous damage if ever Asteroid M hits the surface of the planet. Valerie Cooper tells him that the firing trajectory has been calculated to blast the target away and into deep space. An exchange of words follows over diplomacy and following orders issued by the leaders.

Over at Asteroid M, Charles Xavier is alone in a room with a wide view of the Earth and space. Behind the scenes, Fabian Cortez points to Xavier as Magneto’s deadliest enemy. He asked his master why not use Moira MacTaggert’s procedure (to brainwash and turn) on Xavier. Magneto, already suffering physically, does not want Xavier turned but be broken…

Quality

X-Men Blue Team members relaxing at Asteroid M in the presence of the Acolytes.

Like in issue #2, the story here is very engaging and highly dramatic. While it paid close attention to Magneto’s ruthlessness as well as his rage towards Moira who committed something unethical to him in the past, the story managed to focus enough on the X-Men which involves both the Blue Team and Gold Team mixed up. While this comic book’s cover shows a battle royale between the Blue and Gold teams, there is a lot of substance beyond the action. I’m talking about moments spent on the mutants of Xavier which was done in a satisfying manner (never felt crammed nor forced) considering the page limits of this comic book. Not only were the X-Men moments executed smoothly, there were pulled off efficiently and orderly.

More on the story, what adds intrigue is the group of Acolytes whose field leader Fabian Cortez has not only gotten very close with Magneto but also does something significant to him along the way. By this issue, the Acolytes led by the master of magnetism have gotten more established as a worthy opposition against Xavier’s mutants. This story also showed that the Acolytes were here to stay, and Fabian Cortez himself is very led by wickedness and ambition. Cortez is also an example about the distortion of righteousness

When it comes to defining the characters, Xavier and Magneto clashing together about their respective dreams about mutants is unsurprisingly epic to read. In this particular conflict, both Marvel icons were portrayed very dramatically and their respective expressions were indeed intense. Adding further intrigue to their clash is Moira’s long-past act of manipulating the very genetics of Magneto which itself raises serious questions about her perception, decision-making and ethics. In some ways, Moira looked more villain-like.

As expected, the art of Jim Lee is great to look at. There were some signs, however, that the very wordy script resulted an increased numbers of panels per page. Fortunately, the art did not look rushed and maintained a clear narrative. Also the action scenes are great to look at which is not surprising.

Conclusion

The Gold Team of the X-Men travel towards Asteroid M in a cloaked vehicle.

To put it straight, X-Men #3 (1991) is an epic read highlighting the very conflict between Magneto and Xavier over the course of mutants and their place in the world of humans. This comic book, which has a very powerful ending, was indeed a very satisfying way to conclude the Xavier-Magneto conflict as well as Chris Claremont’s long-term stint with the X-Men comic book franchise. Back in 1991, this one really looked like the end of an era both in-story and in real life. Of course, what this comic book achieved ultimately became temporary because Magneto was revived for the Fatal Attractions storyline in 1993 (celebrating X-Men’s 30th anniversary) and Chris Claremont himself returned to Marvel Comics some years later. Still, on its own, this comic book is worth reading and adding to your collection, even if you are not an X-Men fan. It is significant enough as a piece of X-Men history from the time when Jim Lee was with Marvel.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #3 (1991), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $9 while the near-mint copies of the Chris Claremont-signed edition, the signed newsstand edition, the newsstand edition and the Toy Biz edition cost $16, $26, $16 and $21 respectively.

Overall, X-Men #3 (1991) 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. 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 X-Men #2 (1991)

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.

There is so much said about X-Men #1 of 1991 which was launched to major success by Marvel Comics selling at least eight million copies worldwide. That launch issue, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee, had multiple covers and a version with gatefold covers and high-quality paper which made it an instant hit with collectors chasing profit. In 2011, Marvel even released the so-called 20th anniversary edition of X-Men #1 which was digitally recolored.

In terms of substance, X-Men #1 marked the new era of the X-Men. Charles Xavier returned to his mansion to lead the X-Men which was so large as a group, it had to be divided into two team with Cyclops leading the Blue Team and Storm heading the Gold Team. In terms of publishing, Marvel published tales of the Gold Team in the Uncanny X-Men monthly series while the Blue Team’s stories were published in the adjective-less X-Men monthly series.

With all the attention paid to X-Men #1, I noticed that not too many people cared to talk about what happened after the end of that comic book. Without spoiling plot details, the massive seller of 1991 had its story end in a cliffhanger. To find out what followed and determine the quality of the creative team’s work, here is a look back at X-Men #2 published in 1991 by Marvel Comics with a story co-written by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee (who illustrated).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fictional island nation of Genosha which has a legacy of mutant slavery. Having fought with the Acolytes (led by Fabian Cortez), the X-Men now face Magneto who arrived and tells them that he will not abandon the Acolytes.

“They acted in an excess of zeal. If so…I..and I alone..shall determine their appropriate punishment,” Magneto tells the team of Cyclops, Gambit, Beast, Wolverine, Psylocke and Rogue. Near them are other Acolytes members down on the ground.

After words spoken by Gambit, Rogue and Cyclops, Magneto referred to the devastation of the city hospital as fitting for punishing a state (Genosha) whose prosperity was built on the backs of mutant slaves. Beast answered back saying that the Genoshans have accepted responsibility for what they have done and resolved to make amends.

While Magneto replies to Beast, a military Genoshan helicopter gunship fires missiles at them from above which the X-Men’s archvillain intercepts. Using his magnetic power, Magneto lifts steal beams and destroys the helicopter with them. He then turns against the X-Men restarting the chaos in the city…

Quality

Magneto, Psylocke and Rogue in the middle of the chaos.

Being the middle of a 3-part story, this comic book pushes the entire X-Men group to the edge thanks to strong writing by Chris Claremont. I’m not simply referring to the traditional good-versus-evil formula of superhero storytelling as the story here emphasized themes about sanity, loyalty, legacy, idolatry and even diplomacy. It just so happens that there is a lot of superhero spectacle to enjoy here and there.

The stakes have been raised significantly in this story as Magneto is shown leading the Acolytes who in turn went ahead with their first mission which explains the chaos in Genosha. Magneto’s condition also deteriorates and gets himself healed by Fabian Cortez who is more sinister than what he seems. For his part, Charles Xavier of the X-Men gets to interact with his long-time friend Dr. Moira MacTaggert who is struggling with guilt from something she committed in the past. Through Magneto, Xavier and MacTaggert, there is this solid build-up of tension that led to a very powerful revelation in the 2nd half of the story which, ironically, put the X-Men on the sideline temporarily. There is high drama, deep tension and high intensity involving Magneto and MacTaggert, and their scene together is the highlight of the story.  

Conclusion

The face-off!

To put it straight, as much as I loved X-Men #1 (1991), I find X-Men #2 (1991) more compelling to read. For one thing, it rewards X-Men fans who dedicatedly followed the events of not only the X-Men but also of that of the life of Magneto. It’s really great that Chris Claremont literally dug up the past for details that proved to be useful in this comic book. It also nicely sets up anticipation of the next issue by involving the X-Men’s Gold Team. Unsurprisingly, with the combined talents of Claremont and Jim Lee, this is an excellent read that really looks great.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #2 (1991), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copies of the Chris Claremont-signed regular edition, the Chris Claremont-signed newsstand edition and the newsstand edition cost $9, $19 and $13 respectively.

Overall, X-Men #2 (1991) 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. 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 X-Men #8 (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.

Do you remember the X-Men animated TV series episode – an adaptation of Days of Future Past – wherein Bishop (who came from the dark future) claimed that Gambit would betray the X-Men and lead them all to darkness? You will see Bishop and Gambit in conflict in this retro review of a Jim Lee-drawn X-Men comic book from the 1990s.

To put things in perspective, back in 1991 Bishop was formally introduced in the Uncanny X-Men monthly series. By that time, Gambit was already wildly popular with X-Men fans. It made sense back then to have the two conflict each other in comic book format as it would add variety and some freshness with the X-Men franchise of the time.

With the short history lesson over, here is a look back at X-Men #8, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story done by Jim Lee and Scott Lobdell. The art was handled by Lee and Art Thibert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the X-Men’s headquarters with Wolverine using the computer to gain access into something until he got interrupted by Jubilee who is accompanied by Cyclops. She tells him that Charles Xavier is about to introduce Bishop to their teammates. Wolverine tells them to go away.

At the mansion, Storm welcomes Bishop in the presence of Xavier who explains to her that the newcomer is from the far future. Slowly Xavier and Storm guide Bishop around the mansion and introduce him to their members. Bishop, who still remembers the legends of the X-Men from his time in the far future, referred to Forge as Genesis. Moments later, Bishop meets Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Rogue, Psylocke, Jubilee and Gambit.

After expressing that there was little know about Gambit, Bishop then claims that a certain someone was the last person to see the X-Men alive before they got betrayed by one of their own. Bishop then tells Xavier to scan Gambit’s thoughts…

Quality

The interaction between Storm and Bishop is great!

What really defines this comic book apart from having art by Jim Lee and the lack of villains are the storytelling and characterization. The good news is that the respective qualities of the plotting (by Lee) and scripting (by Lobdell) were very solid. While there is a lack of a good-versus-evil plot element, characterization alone made this an engaging comic book to read. Without spoiling the plot, the story has a lot more than the promised Bishop-Gambit conflict (I’ll describe it as a short yet sweet part of the story). I also love the big twist that happened in the 2nd half of the story.

More on characterization, I love the fact that Gambit got more developed here complete with a few threads from his past that got visualized efficiently. I also enjoyed the interactions between Gold Team leader Storm and Bishop. Bishop comes from a future filled with violence and desperation which explains why he is always on the edge often thinking of action whenever something happens. Storm meanwhile tried hard to explain to Bishop that their present day society is more peaceful and that he could take things a bit easier, be more reasonable and try to level with others as he became a new part of the X-Men.

As for Jim Lee’s art, his work here is really beautiful to look at which is not surprising at all. As expected, he made the action scenes look dynamic and managed to draw some emotions from certain characters in key scenes.

Conclusion

Bishop meeting the X-Men.

X-Men #8 (1992) is a pretty good comic book to read. At the time of its publication, the integration of Bishop into the X-Men was done months after Chris Claremont’s departure and was clearly an effort by the X-Men creators to modernize the superhero team and keep it fresh. This comic book is not exactly a landmark read but it is pretty entertaining and engaging.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #8 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $50 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $150.

Overall, X-Men #8 (1992) 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. 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