A Look Back at X-Men 2099 #1

1993 was a special year for X-Men fans. It was the year Marvel Comics celebrated what was back then the 30th anniversary of the X-Men which explains why they released not only a lot of X-Men-related comic books but also issues with hologram cards on the covers of specific issues of X-Force, X-Factor, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Excalibur. While superhero movies were not that many at the time, fans had the X-Men animated series to enjoy on TV.

Along the way, the comic book speculator boom continued and Marvel Comics exploited the trend as its creators worked to expand what was back then their still-young 2099 lineup of comic books. This led to the release of X-Men 2099 #1 in the 2nd half of 1993, the comic book of which I bought on a weekday during a short visit to the comic book store in BF Homes, Parañaque.

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Cover of X-Men 2099 #1.

Before exploring a bit of the story, let me share that in my personal analysis, releasing X-Men 2099 #1 the same year as the 30th anniversary celebration of X-Men made sense even though the contemporary X comic books made no real story reference to the mutants of 2099. Back in 1993, an undisclosed amount of money was spent to promote, distribute and sell comics and merchandise in relation to the anniversary celebration. I’m confident someone behind the scenes at Marvel thought it was a smart idea to debut the X-Men 2099 series at a time when the X-Men brand was very strong among collectors.

Now on to the comic book.

Written by John Francis Moore and drawn by Ron Lim (with ink work by Adam Kubert), X-Men 2099 #1 opens with Timothy Fitzgerald/Skullfire alone and uncertain visiting a large, abandoned facility in the Nevada desert called Nuevo Sol. He stands in front of a large gate with an X marking. After a bumpy introduction with Junkpile, Tim enters and, to his surprise, there he finds a large gathering of people partying despite the deteriorating conditions of the place. He meets Tina/Serpentina who tells him that he is welcome and their gathering attracted mutants, and “nomads and fringers.”

“In Nuevo Sol, you’re not just some corporate bar code, sorted and filed like a product. Here, everyone has a name. Everyone’s equal–no matter where they’ve come from,” Tina tells him.

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As Tim discovers Metalhead, so do the readers.

After the subsequent for-the-readers introductions of Eddie/Metalhead and Shakti/Cerebra, the narrative moves to Las Vegas where a horse-riding Noah Synge (an old man who “ruthlessly controls the greater Nevada syndicate”) gets confronted by Xi’an/Desert Ghost who tells him that his men (of Synge) continue to kidnap members of the nomad tribes for his decadent amusements. In other words, it’s an accusation about human trafficking.

After a harsh exchange of words, Xi’an shows to him his left, creepy looking fist telling him that the red market will fall, that the Synge empire will crumble and that if Synge seeks to hurt the affected people, he (Xi’an) will make him suffer.

Xi’an touches a short stone wall with his left hand which makes it crumble within seconds (as he walks away). This is all I have to share about the plot and if you want to know more, you better get and read this comic book.

So you must be wondering what I think about the quality of this 1993 comic book. When it comes to storytelling, it is well written, entertaining and engaging. John Francis Moore’s script really is good even by today’s standards. Moore managed to carefully introduce not only the X-Men of 2099 but also the supporting characters and the bad guys properly all within 23 story-and-art pages which is a very hard thing to achieve. While the writing was challenging, Moore managed to us symbolism to show “good versus evil”, especially with the conflict between Xi’an (representing the oppressed and the powerless) and Noah Synge (who, by today’s standards, is a caricature of the cruel and rich person).

Tim meanwhile symbolizes the reader’s perception. As he discovers Nuevo Sol, readers feel and see what he perceives. His discovery of the place, the culture and people serves as the eyes of us readers.

When it comes to the art work, this one shows that Ron Lim exerted a lot of effort to give the X-Men of 2099 a unique look of their own without taking any visual inspiration from the contemporary, mainstream X-Men of the 1990s. While it is easy to criticize Lim for the quality of art, we must remember that he worked on a whole lot of other comic book for Marvel back in 1993. During that year, he illustrated The Infinity Crusade which featured a whole bunch of Marvel’s superheroes and many other characters in each comic book. Could you imagine the headaches and stress an illustrator has to go through drawing so many characters in a comic book limited series?

Ron Lim also helped visualize what Nevada looks like in 2099 which is a nice change from the super futuristic, towers-filled New York City. In terms of society, the X-Men 2099 series further showed that America’s wilderness or the abandoned places are filled with outlaws and living there can be even more dangerous for people to do when compared with living in New York under the watch of Alchemax.

This old comic book, which has a solid cover with foil and a price of $1.75, also has a 15-page Marvel 2099 promo which includes a 2-page X-Men 2099 “coming at you” portrait by Lim. The promo includes short previews of the other 2099 feature characters and it also serves as a reminder that X-Men 2099 is part of the same universe with them.

Overall, I declare X-Men 2099 #1 is still a good, old comic book worthy of being added to your collection. Its financial value is not that high right now and the X-Men 2099 themselves pale in comparison to Spider-Man 2099 (easily the most popular 2099 feature character of them all) when it comes to today’s comic book environment.

What you have to keep in mind, however, is that X-Men 2099 #1 just might gain a boost in its financial value if ever the mutants of the future make a big comeback as part of Marvel’s official announcement that it will revive the 2099 line of comic books this November! Granted, X-Men of 2099 had appeared in X-Men comic books in the past few years but the revival of the 2099 line will be a more suitable place for readers to discover them in this age of social media and smartphones.

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The X-Men of 2099.

Financial value aside, X-Men 2099 #1 is engaging and entertaining, and it has that 1990s charm to it.

X-Men 2099 #1 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

A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #1

It’s funny how time moves. The year we live in now is twenty-nineteen (2019). That means eighty years from now, the year will be twenty ninety-nine (2099). As a long time geek, the year 2099 reminds me a lot about the short-lived lineup of superhero comics published by Marvel Comics popularly referred to as Marvel 2099 which had a far future, sci-fi setting.

Back in 1992, the comic book industry was riding high on the spending of collectors who seek profit through the trading of comic books. During those days, Marvel released several comic books with special covers (foil, hologram, etc.) which looked so pretty, a lot of people bought those (normally double the prices of regular comic books) believing it would make a collector’s item (instead of reading and enjoying the comic book).

Marvel added more to the comic book speculation frenzy by launching their 2099 series starting with Spider-Man 2099 #1. Shortly after that, they launched the Ravage 2099 monthly series highlighting a protagonist that was original and co-created by the legendary Stan Lee with artist Paul Ryan. There was also hype accompanying Ravage 2099 #1 as it marked Stan Lee’s return as a regular writer. Here is my review of the comic book Ravage 2099 #1.

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Ravage 2099 #1 and a few other comic books beside my mug of coffee.

The story opens with a man chased by local authorities. Labeled a polluter, the armed personnel killed him instead of taking him in alive. This bothers Paul-Phillip Ravage who is the head of ECO Central (under mega corporation Alchemax). His assistant Tiana warned him that there is greater danger and Alchemax can bring down anyone. Of course, Ravage dismisses her concern as he believed in the system he is part of.

Ravage said to her, “If we can’t trust the system, if we can’t trust Alchemax, then we revert back to anarchy!”

Shortly after, Ravage encounters three young guys who approached him with weapons. After scaring away two of them, the last guy – a teenage boy – said words that made Ravage think. It turns out the young guy is the son of the man who got killed in the beginning.

Even though no compelling evidence was presented to him, Ravage had the teenager come with him to go high at Alchemax. There they meet with Anderthorp Henton, the director general of the corporation. After listening to their concerns, Henton reacts to investigate.

“That’s the most shocking thing I’ve heard! If there’s the slightest shred of truth to your accusation, I’ll move heaven and earth to punish the one’s responsible. You have my word on that, commander and you too, young man!”

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Ravage, the teenager and Henton.

After separating from the teenager, Ravage decides to go back to his office. Tiana warned him that Henton has targeted him for elimination. Suddenly a mutroid (creature brought in from a forbidden place) appears in front of them starting Alchemax’s move to frame and kill Ravage.

Ravage 2099 #1 was released on October 1992 (cover dated December 1992) for $1.75 with a gold-colored foil cover and it sold well for Marvel that month arguably due to the collector craze as well as die hard fans of Stan Lee. In terms of art, Paul Ryan did a good job visualizing the sci-fi, distant future of 2099 laced with futuristic technology (example: vehicles hovering above ground). He clearly made Ravage look mature while Tiana looked too erotic to be in the office. Ryan’s art on Henton, meanwhile, lacked subtlety and right from the start, he obviously looked evil. When it comes to action, Ryan did a decent job.

As for the writing, I can honestly say that Stan Lee’s style lacked precision and engagement. Clearly his style of writing ended up being outdated by the time this comic book got published. Had Ravage 2099 #1 been released in, let’s say in 1975, then the comic book would have felt more engaging and even futuristic. The dialogue is somewhat lousy as well.

I also noticed how Ravage and the villain Henton looked idiotic with their respective acts. While the culture of impunity in 2099 is undeniable, it still does not justify Henton’s knee-jerk decision to order the elimination of Ravage who in turn failed to notice anything suspicious as head of his department. Tiana ends up being the informer for him.

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Ravage starts fighting back at his company’s security personnel.

Another sign of Ravage being not too smart (or at least the lack of precision and intelligence on the script written by Stan Lee) is how unrealistically easy it was for the teenager to convince him that his father was killed WITHOUT PRESENTING ANY COMPELLING EVIDENCE of the incident at all! The teenager only had words…no video, no photos, nothing as evidence!

For a mature man, Ravage was pretty foolish. He never asked the teenager to present any evidence to prove his claims. Instead, he went ahead going to Henton at Alchemax even bringing the young guy with him.

More on Ravage, it was clear that he was doomed as a comic book character even though Stan Lee was involved in creating him. Considering the fact that there were many Hollywood action movies released throughout the 1980s often having a macho guy armed with guns (or capable of doing hard action) as the hero, Ravage ended up looking generic.

 

It is no surprise that even though Marvel Comics revived somewhat the 2099 universe with new comic books over the past few years, Ravage was not revived. There was simply nothing special with the character nor was his part of the 2099 universe deemed important.

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Ultimately, Ravage 2099 #1 is a comic book worth getting way below its cover price. In my view, it is worth fifty cents at best. Ravage is truly a failed hero of Stan Lee’s.


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