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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #147

"Rogue Storm!
July 1981

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men escape from Dr. Doom

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Two miles above Doom's castle, Nightcrawler suddenly appears, having teleported straight up as far as he could in the hopes of avoiding any obstacles. Using updrafts from the raging storm to slow down his velocity, he crashes into a lake. Back at the castle, Doom order his men to retrieve Nightcrawler while NORAD monitors the ever-growing storm. Nightcrawler arrives back at the castle and takes out two guards, sneaking inside. Colossus, Angel and Wolverine all manage to escape their respective prisons, and Wolverine tracks Storm to Doom. Sensing she's a fake, he quickly dispatches the Storm robot and engages Doom. Just then, Nightcrawler teleports into the room and the two overpower Doom, forcing him to restore Storm.


He releases her from her organic chrome shell, but an enraged and out-of-control Storm refuses to calm the hurricane she's created, and revels in her power. Colossus bursts into the room, and by reminding Storm of Phoenix, manages to get through to her.  She flies into the sky and manages to dispel the storm, but is exhausted by the effort and Angel must catch her before she falls. On the ground, the X-Men take Arcade into custody and force him to apologize to Doom, and the X-Men part with Doom as neither friends nor enemies. Meanwhile, with the storm abated, Cyclops and Lee Forrester awaken on their island in the Bermuda Triangle to discover a fantastic city on a nearby island that wasn't there the day before.

Firsts and Other Notables
Honestly, this is the first issue of the series in which I can come up with nothing notable to mention, which is a testament to its inherent mediocrity.

A Work in Progress
With Cockrum back on board, Nightcrawler gets the spotlight in the opening pages, a nifty sequence in which he teleports straight up, out of Doom's castle, then rides an updraft created by the storm to bleed off his velocity before landing in a lake.


In another neat detail Nightcrawler has to be careful not to let his teeth chatter, for fear that his fangs will cut up his lips and tongue.


Wolverine notes that his control over his berserker rages has been slipping lately.


We are once again told about Storm and Jean's deep friendship.


I Love the 80s
Emerging from the frigid lake at the beginning of the issue, Nightcrawler wonders how he got into the situation in the first place, prompting a one page spread depicting the events of the last two issues, offering any first time readers a chance to catch up with the story.



Dr. Doom's defeat is partially brought about by Nightcrawler wrapping him up in a curtain, a technique once used against so great a foe as Maha Yogi. Doom =/= Maha Yogi.


Claremontisms
Claremont once again references Phoenix, this time in comparison to the power-mad Storm that emerges from Doom's living statute, as it takes Colossus reminding her of Jean to snap Storm out of her fury.


He also dusts off that old metaphoric chestnut that so enraged John Byrne, comparing Storm's power to a song within her.


Claremont goes all out in this issue with technical explanations of various powers, first the extended Nightcrawler opening sequence in which we learn that teleports "north-south (along Earth’s magnetic lines of force) [are] easier than east-west (against them)." Later, Storm mentions that were she Thor, she could simply disperse the storm with a thought, but her power requires her to "work with the forces of nature, not ride roughshod over them". Finally, as Angel attempts to catch an exhausted, falling Storm, he is careful to match her terminal velocity and gradually break her descent.


Frankly, these little technical insights into various powers are the highlight of the issue. 

Young Love
Doom pretty much gets to walk away at the end because Storm has the hots for him. 


Cyclops and Lee awake in each others arms, but it's unclear if they did anything of a romantic nature. At any rate, Scott awkwardly calls her Jean (and repeats the "Hi/Hi yourself" didactic with "Morning/Morning yourself").


The Best There Is At What He Does
Dr. Doom's trap forces Wolverine to relive a memory in which he lost control and almost attacked James and Heather Hudson (interestingly, he's wearing what I assume is a Canadian Army uniform in the flashback, the first "present" day indication that he was in the army at one point, I believe).


For Sale
The second Superman/Spider-Man team-up book, which I've never read and honestly didn't know existed until I saw this ad, is promoted in this issue.  


Bullpen Bulletins
The Bullpen Bulletins page returns in this issue, and discusses Byrne's departure from X-Men.


Chris Claremont on plotting with Dave Cockrum
"Dave is free to modify it as he wishes. I've preferred if he would call me if there's going to be any major change, and he does. We synthesize it. For example, in the third part of the Doom story [issue #147], the way the plot originally evolved, Storm had gone crazy, she's about to destroy everything, the X-Men are trying to talk her out of it. She's not crazy any more, shes trying to disperse the hurricane that she's created, but she's not strong enough, and Doom has this machine that will help her in his laboratory. So, the X-Men help him get to the laboratory and Doom picks up the machine and - zap - helps Storm, thereby proving he is not a cad and a bounder and giving the X-Men incentive not to punch his lights out at the end of the story. Well, we ran out of room, so we dumped the scene. That didn't really bother me, because I didn't like the idea of Storm being helped. If one is going to be heroic, one should go all the way. Storm should do this by herself. But, that's an example of what happens. Things get lost, things get changed. It's a mutable process from start to finish."

Sanderson, Peter. The X-Men Companion II. Stamford: Fantagraphics Books, 1982. p30-31

Teebore's Take
The Doom/Arcade trilogy mercifully comes to a close, as Claremont once again goes back to the "Dark Phoenix" well, with diminishing results (Storm flying off the handle at the end of a lackluster story featuring an uninspiring Dr. Doom/Arcade team-up barely compares to Dark Phoenix). In addition to the other problems with this story noted in previous posts, re-reading this issue pointed out another flaw. Most Claremont stories, even the more average ones, usually feature at least one or two moments of characterization or a cutaway to an intriguing subplot. This story, for the most part, does none of that, telling its A-narrative with little deviation for subplots or character moments. In that regard, this issue is probably the best of the three, giving us some nifty pseudo-science examinations of various characters' power, a brief Wolverine flashback (albeit covering similar ground to issue #140) and the Cyclops/Lee subplot (the one subplot to appear in each of three issues) finally gets interesting (on the last panel). But it's not enough to save the story as a whole. When a story is as good as "Dark Phoenix", "Days of Future Past" or "Proteus", it doesn't need a lot of subplots or cutaways setting up more interesting things, and the characterization is built into the action. When the story is this pedestrian, it leaves us with nothing else to take away from the issues beyond a straight-forward, by-the-numbers (and rather boring) super-hero adventure that ultimately fails to take advantage of one of Marvel's best villains. Thus, the first story of Claremont and Cockrum's second run must, ultimately, be deemed a disappointment, if not an outright failure.

Next Issue
Spider-Woman returns the favor and makes a guest-appearance in X-Men in an issue that also sees the return of the Disco Dazzler!

31 comments:

  1. I love how pissed off Wolverine looks about the fact that he can't stop getting pissed off.
    In Orbo's defense, he was wearing a blindfold... hmm, in fact, if ever I call my husband another man's name, I will immediately slam my eyes shut and say "It's too damn dark in here! I'm like a chicken and I get confused and sleepy when the lights go out suddenly! What day is it!?" and then I will promptly lay down and will myself into a light coma.
    My God, Nightcrawler must be terrified to sneeze with them teeth of his: A huge blood spray shoots out and he is all "Ughrah! Mrahgah!Waagaahh!" and little kids are running around screaming.

    Awful, just awful - who thinks of stuff like that?

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  2. The nightcrawler sky-diving sequence is still the best part of the issue for me. If I'm ever in a free-fall from thousands of feet up over a lake during a thunder storm I know from this comic to find an updraft.

    I'm not positive, having not been in the Canadian Armed forces, but that looks like an Air Force uniform on Logan. Dress blue like the USAF. Which doesn't make much since for the character, but Claremont seems to have a thing for air forces in general, and Cockrum drew some pretty accurate USAF uniforms in his first run.

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  3. "...the two overpower Doom, forcing him to restore Storm."

    That first panel of Wolverine looks super Byrne-ish. I said it before, but I really think that Cockrum (or Rubenstein) is trying to emulate Byrne in these early issues.

    "Claremont once again references Phoenix..."

    I recall seeing the cover to this issue before I read it somehow, and I was totally confused by the "We did it before, dare we do it again?" cover blurbs... I had read most of the prior issues and couldn't recall any story in which Storm had gone "rogue". It never once occurred to me that they were referencing the "Dark Phoenix Saga", probably because this story didn't seem important enough to be compared to "Dark Phoenix"! When I read the issue and saw all the references to Phoenix, I understood what the cover was getting at, but I really felt like they were reaching here.

    "...Storm mentions that were she Thor, she could simply disperse the storm with a thought..."

    The new X-Men hadn't yet met Thor, had they? It seems presumptive of Storm to just assume he could easily disperse the storm. Also, how does she know Thor "rides roughshod" over nature? Maybe he's really nice to nature! (I know he probably isn't, but still...)

    Would I be going too far here if I inferred from Storm's behavior and thoughts in this issue that this story takes place during her "time of the month"?

    "...he's wearing what I assume is a Canadian Army uniform in the flashback, the first "present" day indication that he was in the army at one point, I believe."

    I could've sworn Byrne drew the uniform first in the Alpha Flight/Wendigo 2-parter, but I could again be misremembering.

    "The second Superman/Spider-Man team-up book, which I've never read and honestly didn't know existed until I saw this ad, is promoted in this issue."

    I've never read it either (nor have I read the first one), but I've gathered that it's not that great. I believe it was written by Jim Shooter (creator of the Parasite) and drawn by John Buscema, so I assume it at least looks nice. It might be worth checking out just to see Buscema draw Superman! Anyway, Shooter did a behind-the-scenes blog post about it a while back.

    "Chris Claremont on plotting with Dave Cockrum..."

    That sounds like the Marvel Method in action. I really like that artists (used to) get so much freedom when working at Marvel. Obviously you wouldn't want to give just any artist the freedom to modify stories, but with the good, experienced guys like Cockrum (or Byrne, the Buscemas, the Romitas, etc.), I think it can only enhance the finished product.

    Also, I love that they "ran out of room" for the big final scene. I've heard about that happening once in a while over the years, and it always strikes me as really funny.

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  4. Claremont and his excess verbiage: that 2nd panel of Nightcrawler, with him bedraggled & crawling ashore - the final speech is completely superfluous. At most it needed: "Brrr, me & midwinter water don't mix!"

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  5. @Joan: I love how pissed off Wolverine looks about the fact that he can't stop getting pissed off.

    Ha! I never thought of it that way before, but that's great.

    Awful, just awful - who thinks of stuff like that?

    If you ever want a career change, I think you might have a future in the funny books. :)

    @Chris: Claremont seems to have a thing for air forces in general, and Cockrum drew some pretty accurate USAF uniforms in his first run.

    True on both counts. And now that you mention it, I think I recall hearing something about Wolverine being in the air force, though with his backstory, you never know.

    @Matt: I said it before, but I really think that Cockrum (or Rubenstein) is trying to emulate Byrne in these early issues.

    I'm no expert, but if I had to guess, I'd bet it's Rubinstein.

    I had read most of the prior issues and couldn't recall any story in which Storm had gone "rogue".

    I literally wondered the same thing until I re-read this issue for this post and realized it was a (weak) "Dark Phoenix" reference.

    The new X-Men hadn't yet met Thor, had they?

    I don't believe so (certainly not in anything we've covered), though presumably the X-Men have files on him, or Beast shared some info with them. Nevertheless, it probably is a bit presumptive on Storm's part (or the author displaying knowledge the character shouldn't have).

    I could've sworn Byrne drew the uniform first in the Alpha Flight/Wendigo 2-parter, but I could again be misremembering.

    I just double checked #140 (cuz I couldn't remember) and Byrne draws him in a blue suit in the flashback, but it's not a uniform.

    It might be worth checking out just to see Buscema draw Superman!

    That's what I was thinking.

    I've heard about that happening once in a while over the years, and it always strikes me as really funny.

    Yeah, that seems like something that shouldn't happen, but all too often does. I just hope that whenever it does, they make sure the stuff that squeezed it out was better than what they cut!

    @Pete: Claremont and his excess verbiage: that 2nd panel of Nightcrawler, with him bedraggled & crawling ashore - the final speech is completely superfluous.

    Yeah, you would think Nightcrawler would be a bit less verbose at that point...

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  6. "On the ground, the X-Men take Arcade into custody and force him to apologize to Doom, and the X-Men part with Doom as neither friends nor enemies."

    Should I be as confused by that statement as I am? I feel like I read it incorrectly (or missed a plot point). (I guess Claremont kind of clears it up in his statements later in the post.)

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  7. @Dr. Bitz: Should I be as confused by that statement as I am? I feel like I read it incorrectly (or missed a plot point).

    Should you be confused by the fact that the X-Men just let Dr. Doom go, despite the fact that he imprisoned them and threatened their lives? Yes. It is but one more failing of the story.

    Should you be confused by the way I wrote that sentence? No. My prose is perfect. Perfect!

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  8. And why are the X-Men forcing Arcade to "apologize" to Doom?

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  9. @Dr. Bitz: And why are the X-Men forcing Arcade to "apologize" to Doom?

    Because the X-Men were essentially caught up in a feud between Arcade and Doom. Arcade impugned Doom's honor, or something, but Doom will, at the insistence of the X-Men, settle for an apology from Arcade. That way, the X-Men can leave with Arcade, which this team of X-Men still believes is necessary to keep their kidnapped loved ones safe from Miss Locke.

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  10. Needless to say, it's not the most brilliant of plots on the part of anyone (characters or creators).

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  11. Am I wrong in assuming it would have been better just to have the X-Men walk out with Arcade because Doom doesn't give two shits about what happens to him?

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  12. @Dr. Bitz: Am I wrong in assuming it would have been better just to have the X-Men walk out with Arcade because Doom doesn't give two shits about what happens to him?

    You'd only be wrong in that letting Arcade walk out with the X-Men would suggest that Doom didn't just blast Arcade in the first place since he doesn't give two shits about what happens to him.

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  13. I think it should have ended with Doom and Arcade professing their love for each other and then making out.

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  14. @Dr. Bitz: Yeah, but you think most things should end with making out...

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  15. So, duh... it occurs to me that if I had simply clicked to enlarge your picture of the Superman/Spider-Man ad, I would have seen that it was produced by Shooter and Buscema, and I wouldn't have needed to dredge my memory to recall who drew it!

    Speaking of inter-company crossovers, do you have any plans to review X-Men/Teen Titans? It was written by Claremont, though I've never read it since I don't really believe it "counts".

    Teebore -- "...it probably is a bit presumptive on Storm's part (or the author displaying knowledge the character shouldn't have)."

    Yeah, I think that's what I was trying to get at. Though you wouldn't know it from reading what I said!

    Teebore -- "...Byrne draws him in a blue suit in the flashback, but it's not a uniform."

    Okay, that's what I was thinking of, then. Thanks!

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  16. Speaking of inter-company crossovers, do you have any plans to review X-Men/Teen Titans? It was written by Claremont, though I've never read it since I don't really believe it "counts".

    I am planning on reviewing it. I've only read it once, and also never really considered that it "counted", but it is written by Claremont, is referenced in the Marvel Index, makes for an interesting 80s time capsule, and is a fun little story.

    I'll have to double check my schedule, but I'm pretty sure it falls right after the end of the first part of the Brood saga (in fact, I think Claremont references in the issue the damage done to New York in the Brood story).

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  17. I can't bring to mind the exact source material, but the cover looks like a Steranko homage to me.

    Why does Nightcrawler look like he's steadily plummetting while "the ultimate storm" rages around him instead of getting knocked every which way by the very incredible wind gusts his thought balloons suggest?

    I didn't think that Colossus was noticeably bigger in his armored form — which is key to his escaping his trap. He's certainly not usually drawn that way.

    Logan has a real Ditko look in that flashback, which is something that I associate more with early Byrne than with Cockrum.

    Can't Doom throw up a force field around his armor, or electrify it, with a thought before Wolverine could slash through his facemask?

    The end of the story leaves me totally confused about how Arcade got together with Doom and at what point he either went from being Doom's prisoner to his potential partner of convenience or went from the latter to being Doom's prisoner as he seems to be at the end when Storm asks Doom to let the X-Men take Arcade with Doom's promise not to exact vengeance on him at that moment.

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  18. Nightcrawler wonders how he got into the situation in the first place, prompting a one page spread depicting the events of the last two issues, offering any first time readers a chance to catch up with the story.

    I actually enjoy that kind of thing.

    as Angel attempts to catch an exhausted, falling Storm, he is careful to match her terminal velocity and gradually break her descent.

    Something that is historically ignored in superhero comics, which brings up the dilemma of whether you prefer to have it referenced from time to time, which risks piercing the veil and begging the question of why it usually isn't addressed, or you prefer to have it ignored so that attention isn't brought to it — and, if you like, assume that we're just not shown the sort of thing that Angel goes through here but that it still happens regardless of what the art depicts.

    Me, I usually can't help but think about the issue anyway, especially when we get a scene that implies that a civilian falling from the top of a 20-story building would be road pizza if they hit the sidewalk but is perfectly fine if what stops their terminal velocity is a big musclebound man instead. [Spoiler alert: They'd still break every bone in their body.]

    You also kind-of have the John Byrne's Superman "psionics" rationalization, and similar explanations in TOHOTMU if I recall right stating that, like, the same extradimensional portal through which Cyclops is channeling his optic blasts dampens the recoil effect that would snap his neck or, in a panel from last week's #146, knock him clear across the beach that he was stranded on when his blindfold came off and his beams shot out suddenly. That only works with superpowers, though, whereas Angel catching Storm here or Spider-Man attempting to save Gwen Stacy — a debate long raged over whether the fall killed her or his catch did — is purely a matter of physics, since the flight afforded by Angel's wings and Spider-Man's web-swinging are not inherently supernatural forces.

    Wow... I didn't mean to go off like that.

    Doom pretty much gets to walk away at the end because Storm has the hots for him. 

    Ha!

    The second Superman/Spider-Man team-up book, which I've never read and honestly didn't know existed until I saw this ad, is promoted in this issue.

    You didn't? It's not as fun as the first, and John Buscema drawing Superman just doesn't compute to me, but it has guest appearances from Wonder Woman and The Hulk. Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk (technically a tabloid/treasury-sized issue of DC Special Series) came out later that year.

    The Bullpen Bulletins page returns in this issue, and discusses Byrne's departure from X-Men.

    After which Jim Shooter basically takes credit for introducing Byrne and his (now former) wife Andrea Braun. I wonder how much Byrne was grudgingly grateful to, and then resented, Shooter for that if true (not that everyone entirely wishes away his or her time spent in an ex-relationship).

    Claremont: "Dave is free to modify it as he wishes. I've preferred if he would call me if there's going to be any major change, and he does. We synthesize it.

    "He got us these really cool voice modulators that we use on the phone. You know the vocals on 'Funkytown'? It kind-of sounds like that."

    Sorry... The choice of words just sounded funny to me.

    Claremont: "It's a mutable process from start to finish."

    "Get it? 'Mutable'? X-Men? I'll be here all evening, folks."

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  19. Joan: In Orbo's defense

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was just rereading the post of mine where you actually said "Justice League" (and then admitted that you cut/pasted it).

    Matt: The new X-Men hadn't yet met Thor, had they?

    I thought that he had a cameo in Annual #3, with Arkon, in some scene with the X-Men and him comparing notes, but it turned out to just be a flashback panel. You have to figure that Storm and Thor have talked weather manipulation over tea at Hank McCoy's urging or something, although during this period the X-Men were still sort-of viewed with suspicion even in the superhero community (which makes no sense once Beast was an Avenger, Iceman and Angel were Champions alongside ex-Avengers, etc.).

    Teebore: If you ever want a career change, I think you might have a future in the funny books.

    Whoa there... Does anyone have a future in the funny books?

    Teebore: And now that you mention it, I think I recall hearing something about Wolverine being in the air force, though with his backstory, you never know.

    Neither does he. Rimshot!

    I've been checking back on the last couple of weeks' worth of X-Men and TV posts, by the way, to see if there were any replies to my belated comments, when I started to wonder how many extra hits everyone's blogs were getting in the wake of the loss of comment subscriptions. 8^)

    Matt: It might be worth checking out just to see Buscema draw Superman!

    Teebore: That's what I was thinking.!

    Eh... Like I said above, it's a curiosity, but more weird than anything. Unlike Pérez and later Byrne and even Neal Adams before that, not to mention Kirby many times throughout his career, Buscema is one of those artists who really never went from Marvel to DC at all, so it just kind-of looks wrong.

    Matt: I've never read [X-Men/Titans] since I don't really believe it "counts".

    Wow! Really? I couldn't have been a bigger geek for both groups when it came out, so that's part of it, but also the creative team is Claremont / Walt Simonson / Austin / Glynis Wein / Orz. The art is pretty great if you ignore the fact that every woman on the wraparound cover has thighs twice the width of her head. And of course like all of these crossovers you have to buy into the fact that in this story the teams have always existed on the same Earth but have never met.

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  20. @Blam: I didn't think that Colossus was noticeably bigger in his armored form — which is key to his escaping his trap. He's certainly not usually drawn that way.

    He's really not, ever, but Claremont (and, I think, other writers) will occasionally reference the fact that Colossus is larger in armored form (there's an unintentionally funny moment in a later issue in which Colossus can't fit through a door frame because he's stuck in armored form). I don't think it's supposed to be a big difference, just a couple extra inches all around.

    Can't Doom throw up a force field around his armor, or electrify it, with a thought before Wolverine could slash through his facemask?

    Yeah, I'm fairly certain Doom could do any number of things to prevent Wolverine from doing him any harm.

    The end of the story leaves me totally confused about how Arcade got together with Doom...

    You and me both.

    The idea, I think, is that Arcade offended Doom somehow, so Doom kidnapped him, causing Miss Locke to do the whole "use hostages to get the X-Men to rescue him" bit, except that Doom wasn't treating Arcade like a typical prisoner, and he was fine letting Arcade go with the X-Men so long as he apologized for his initial offense.

    But it's a testament to the quality of the story that none of that is terribly clear, and I could be totally wrong.

    I actually enjoy that kind of thing.

    For the most part, I do too, though I don't necessarily mind that it's been replaced, at least in modern Marvel books, with the one page text recap at the beginning of the book. So long as there's SOME kind of recap, be it text or in story, something that modern DC hasn't always been the best at.

    especially when we get a scene that implies that a civilian falling from the top of a 20-story building would be road pizza if they hit the sidewalk but is perfectly fine if what stops their terminal velocity is a big musclebound man instead. [Spoiler alert: They'd still break every bone in their body.]

    Or conversely, when Batman dives off a building and starts swinging around on his bat rope, it doesn't matter if the rope is strong enough, because the force would probably tear his arms from his shoulders.

    Generally, I try not to think about stuff like that, cuz it's takes the fun out of comics, but at the same time, I have a hard time NOT thinking about it, so I usually end up in this weird limbo where I'm somehow both thinking about it and not thinking about it at the same time.

    In other words, I can enjoy reading about Cyclops blasting a dude without wondering why his neck isn't snapping, but at the same time, I enjoy reading the goofy pseudo-science explanation for why it doesn't.

    (And I know he's gotten flack for it over the years, and it is a very easy disbelief to suspend, but I've always rather enjoyed the little technical explanations for Superman's abilities that Byrne worked into his revamp, like the psionics bit you mentioned).

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  21. Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk (technically a tabloid/treasury-sized issue of DC Special Series) came out later that year.

    That one I've read, as well as the first Superman/Spider-Man book, and a lot of the later ones, but for whatever reason, this one slipped by.

    After which Jim Shooter basically takes credit for introducing Byrne and his (now former) wife Andrea Braun.

    Yeah, I almost posted that snippet instead, but decided to stick with the "Byrne leaving the X-Men" comment.

    "He got us these really cool voice modulators that we use on the phone.

    Ha!

    "Get it? 'Mutable'? X-Men? I'll be here all evening, folks."

    "Don't forget to tip your servers!"

    although during this period the X-Men were still sort-of viewed with suspicion even in the superhero community (which makes no sense once Beast was an Avenger, Iceman and Angel were Champions alongside ex-Avengers, etc.).

    Agreed that it doesn't make a lick of sense, for all the reasons you mentioned at this point, yet sadly, that whole "even other super-heroes distust the X-Men" bit seems to go on forever.

    Whoa there... Does anyone have a future in the funny books?

    Haha, touche. :)

    I've been checking back on the last couple of weeks' worth of X-Men and TV posts, by the way, to see if there were any replies to my belated comments

    Which is just ANOTHER annoyance with the whole situation: it's difficult enough for people to check back on the comments pages of current posts, let alone older ones.

    I have read and enjoyed your comments on older posts, and have every intention of responding to them soon. I just try to keep up with the current posts first, and this week it's been particularly had to keep up with any comments, but I will get to them.

    Of course, now *you* have to put in even more effort to check for my responses, because Blogger is stupid, and that's just not right. Maybe I'll just start emailing people when I respond to their comments in older posts...

    I started to wonder how many extra hits everyone's blogs were getting in the wake of the loss of comment subscriptions. 8^)

    Or, if hits have been down because commenters no longer know when a new comment is posted and, if they don't take the time to manually check a post, won't ever go back to an older post to participate in the discussion.

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  22. Where the hell did my last comment go? I'm so glad I save these things. (Of course if Blogger is just screwing up and it's there but no longer showing up for me for some reason — or if you deleted it for some reason — please feel free to delete this remark and my reposting of the comment.)

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  23. Okay, I see that the comment didn't show up again. If you were deleting it, you'd have let me know why by E-mail. I suppose it's conceivable that Blogger somehow can flag and hold back comments that criticize it by its software recognizing certain keywords (Blogger is, after all, owned by Google), but it's also really scary and nothing we've ever been notified about.

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  24. @Blam: . I suppose it's conceivable that Blogger somehow can flag and hold back comments that criticize it by its software recognizing certain keywords (Blogger is, after all, owned by Google), but it's also really scary and nothing we've ever been notified about.

    That is indeed quite frightening. Needless to say, I'm not deleting anything, nor received any notification of Blogger deleting anything, yet sure enough, your comment isn't appearing. Let's see if Blogger deletes it when I post it.

    Blam said:

    Teebore: I have read and enjoyed your comments on older posts, and have every intention of responding to them soon.

    As much as I love the conversation, I really wasn't hinting; promise. 8^)

    Teebore: Of course, now *you* have to put in even more effort to check for my responses, because Blogger is stupid, and that's just not right. Maybe I'll just start emailing people when I respond to their comments in older posts...

    I actually thought of doing that myself. Blogger just moved the comment window down to the bottom of the page, which is not a/the "fix" that I was expecting, but perhaps it bodes well for (at the very least) the return of comment subscriptions soon.

    I've tried to use the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) link on your posts, by the way, and instead of opening up an RSS feed in my mail — what should happen based on past experience — I just had a page of HTML pop up.

    Teebore: Or, if hits have been down because commenters no longer know when a new comment is posted and, if they don't take the time to manually check a post, won't ever go back to an older post to participate in the discussion.

    Yeah, I actually think that it's a wash if anything. I've had an uptick in traffic lately but that mostly seems to be from Google Image searches since I've gotten better about adding tags to my graphics. More recent posts have been more popular in general, too, but not immediately, so it's not due to people checking in; after certain posts have been around a while, they just move up in Google's algorithm or whatever as more searches naturally hit them, blah blah blah.

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  25. I've said far "worse" things about Blogger in various comments and on my own blog, so it doesn't make a lot of sense that Google/Blogger would be deleting the comment even if one were inclined to attribute such malicious oversight to the company; on the other hand, if something isn't making sense Blogger is certainly a prime suspect. 8^)

    So... Yeah, I don't know what's going on and thanks for posting that.

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  26. @Blam: on the other hand, if something isn't making sense Blogger is certainly a prime suspect. 8^)

    Or, when in doubt, blame Blogger. :)

    Weird stuff. I'm glad your comment is at least sticking around in some format...

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  27. Blam -- "And of course like all of these crossovers you have to buy into the fact that in this story the teams have always existed on the same Earth but have never met."

    That's my biggest problem with the story. I hate when they do that. I cannot, and will never be able to, accept any story that uses such a premise as "canon". If there had just been a little universe-hopping involved, then I would have no problem viewing this as something that "actually" happened to the characters, in the way I view Busiek's Avengers/JLA.

    Teebore -- "...Claremont ... will occasionally reference the fact that Colossus is larger in armored form..."

    I think that really started during the "Outback" era, when Marc Silverstri drew him way bigger than he'd ever been drawn before. In the Byrne/Cockrum/Smith/Romita days, you might think he grew a few inches, if at all. In the Silverstri/Lee era (and continued by most subsequent artists, including JR jr. in his second run), it really seemed like he grew about a foot in height!

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  28. Matt: I cannot, and will never be able to, accept any story that uses such a premise as "canon".

    Oh, I don't take them as canon; I look at them as Imaginary Stories. And I still think that it would've made more sense, if they're gonna take place on a shared Earth (which is kinda fun) rather than be the result of dimension-hopping, for there to be more little mentions of past interrelation that don't affect the characters' known, separate continuity (so that they can still be the, in this case, Teen Titans and X-Men that we know, which is the whole point). I must say that my biggest bugaboo about the characters never meeting before, even more so than, say, the Justice League and the Avengers never having teamed up during a world-threatening crisis, is how convenient it is that the Teen Titans is only made up of Justice Leaguers' sidekicks and so forth, i.e. the way DC and Marvel characters' histories would have to be so church-and-state.

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  29. @Matt: In the Silverstri/Lee era (and continued by most subsequent artists, including JR jr. in his second run), it really seemed like he grew about a foot in height!

    Yeah, I think you're right; I was specifically thinking of some Silvestri stories where a point was made about him being bigger in armored form. I think he always got a little bigger when he transformed, but starting with Silvestri, the increase was more drastic.

    @Blam: ...is how convenient it is that the Teen Titans is only made up of Justice Leaguers' sidekicks and so forth

    I also found it humorous how the team-up is ostensibly one of peers, yet that peerage comes more from the fact that the books had similar styles/were growing to become the most popular titles of their respective companies, rather than from the characters themselves, considering that at this point, the X-Men are, age and experience-wise, more akin to the Justice Leaguers themselves than the team comprised of their sidekicks.

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  30. So, I know I'm years late to the party at this point, but I was digging through the archives and figured I'd offer a semi-defense of the Arcade/Doom issues, since they were the ones that got me hooked on X-Men.

    I picked up this issue (as a Classic X-Men reprint) from the spinner rack when I was 9 or 10, along with the previous one. (They didn't have the first issue in the arc, but it wasn't hard to figure out what was going on.)

    And while I get that this story looks a little silly from the perspective of an adult who knows the series well, they were a really perfect entry point for a kid who had no idea what he was getting into,

    What they have going for them, I think, is the way they really succinctly encapsulate a lot of what was appealing about the series. Each the heroes gets introduced individually in a way that tells you exactly what they're all about, and the inclusion of the B team (not to mention the kidnapped supporting characters) makes the universe of the series feel rich and interesting. And there's enough angst and backstory that you get a sense of Claremont's signature: that this is a character driven soap opera.

    Along the same lines, the stuff where Storm seems ready to go all Dark Phoenix seems annoying when you've read enough of the series to realize how often Claremont goes to this well, but without knowing that, it does a lot to add to the sense that this is a big, long, ongoing story, and one in which terrible (but exciting!) things happen.

    I didn't really have much experience with superhero comics before I picked these up, but I'd sort of had the sense that they were as shallow as the cartoons I was used to watching, which were really self-contained from episode to episode and felt shallow in comparison.These issues really blew my expectations away.

    Of course, it's sort of ironic because-- all things considered-- this arc IS pretty shallow and self-contained in comparison to much of the rest of Claremont's run. But all the above mentioned stuff made it feel much more textured for a newcomer.

    (The gaping inconsistencies and holes in the plot didn't bother me because -- whether because of my age or my lack knowledge of all the finer points of the mythos -- I didn't notice them.)

    Anyway, these issues got me obsessed pretty fast, and I went back to the same spinner rack a few days later for more. They also had New Mutants #87, and a couple of Uncanny X-Men issues-- I'm almost positive it was #267 and maybe #266. That doesn't make total sense because I don't think those came out the same month as NM #87, but who knows. I flipped through them and thought they seemed unappealingly dark and weird, and I was put off that the "real" X-Men seemed nowhere to be found. (Storm as a little kid was not cutting it for me.) Anyway, I didn't bother buying them. A few years later I would curse myself for this, imagining the collector's jackpot I had stumbled upon and passed over. (First appearances of Cable AND Gambit!)

    So yeah, all that's to say that these issues do kind of suck, but if I was going to try to introduce a kid to X-Men, I would probably give them the Doom/Arcade arc.

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  31. I actually found this to be a pretty terrific issue. Character bias will do that to you, I suppose, since Storm is my favorite fictional character of all time.

    Her "Rogue Storm" persona does not seem to make any other appearances after this, which is unfortunate, as the Phoenix-like aesthetic, the sunburst hair, and the descriptions of her as a near-literal goddess took weather control from a 'meh, pretty useful' power and ramped it up to one of the strongest, most dangerous abilities the team had in their arsenal.

    Storm loses control a few more times in the books' run -- particularly in the issues leading up to her Mohawk phase -- but I don't think she attains this kind of near-godlike power again until sometime in the 2000s.

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