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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

X-amining Marvel Fanfare #1-4

"Fast Descent into Hell!/To Sacrifice My Soul.../Into the Land of Death.../Lost Souls!"
March-September 1982 

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Sauron in the Savage Land.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Michael Golden (issues 1-2), Dave Cockrum (issue #3), Paul Smith (issue #4)
Inker: Michael Golden (issues 1-2), Bob McLeod (issue #3), Terry Austin (issue #4)
Letterer: Jim Novak (issues #1-3), Janice Chang (issue #4)
Colorist: Michael Golden (issues 1-2) Glynis Wein (issues #3-4)
Editor: Allen Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Issue #1: Tanya Anderssen visits Angel at his Aerie and asks him to help her journey to the Savage Land. Thanks to a recent article, she believes her lover, Karl Lykos, is still alive and living there. Though Angel worries that Lykos may be in the Savage Land to keep his villainous alter ego of Sauron in check, he agrees to help Tanya. When word of the expedition gets out, J. Jonah Jameson, sensing a story, sends Peter Parker along with Angel and Tanya. Reaching the Savage Land, their helicopter is destroyed by a Pterosaur. Reaching the ground safely, they are attacked by the Savage Land mutants created by Magneto. Tanya escapes, but Angel and Spider-Man are captured, taken to Garokk's destroyed citadel, and used to test a machine meant to devolve them.  
Issue #2: Tanya is found by Ka-Zar and is finally reunited with Karl, but the group is attacked by barbarians led by the horribly devolved Spider-Man and Angel, and Tanya is captured. At the citadel, the Savage Land mutants' leader, Brainchild, uses the devolution machine on Tanya. Ka-Zar and Karl attack the citadel, destroying the machine in the process, but Karl is able to drain the mutant energy from Spider-Man, Angel and Tanya, restoring them to normal. However, the influx of energy causes Karl to transform back into Sauron, who flies off, declaring war on the Savage Land. As Angel and Spider-Man leave the Savage Land, Tanya decides to stay, still hoping to help Karl, and Angel promises to ask the X-Men for help.


Issue #3: The X-Men meet Angel at an Antarctic UN base. They enter the Savage Land and are attacked by a group of Savage Land mutants, which they easily defeat. Their prisoners lead them to Garokk's citadel, now being used by Sauron and Garokk's former priestess, Zaladane. Unaware of a field surrounding the citadel which saps their willpower, the X-Men are easily captured by Sauron, except for Angel, who manages to escape before falling unconscious. Inside the citadel, Sauron uses the rebuilt devolution machine on the X-Men, intending to devolve/evolve them repeatedly in order to siphon off the excess energy, creating an unlimited source of energy on which he can feed. Meanwhile, Angel awakens to find he's been saved by someone. 
Issue #4: Angel discovers he's been saved by Ka-Zar, and together they plan to attack the citadel and free the X-Men. As Sauron devolves then evolves Storm, he sees Angel flying overhead, and takes off after him. Bringing Storm to his quarters to serve as his mistress, Brainchild is attacked by Ka-Zar, who infiltrated the citadel while Angel distracted Sauron. Together, Storm and Ka-Zar free the other X-Men. Together, the X-Men are able to force Sauron to expend enough energy that he reverts to Karl Lykos. He begs the X-Men to kill him, but they tell him Professor X is working on a cure for his condition. Back at the mansion a few weeks later, Xavier does successfully cure Lykos, seemingly ending the threat of Sauron, and allowing Karl and Tanya to be together at last.   

Firsts and Other Notables
Marvel Fanfare was the brainchild of Al Milgrom, a prolific writer/penciller/inker/editor for Marvel, who created the title to serve as a showcase for the industry's best talent. He edited the entire 60-issue run and contributed an illustrated column to each issue. Each bi-monthly issue was 36 pages long (usually containing a primary and back-up story) with no ads and printed on magazine quality paper, and thus usually cost twice as much as a regular comic book. The stories were a combination of solicited material and inventory material (stories commissioned by editors to serve as fill-ins when the regular creative teams of books needed a break) that was never used elsewhere.

Issue #4, pencilled by Paul Smith, is considered to be Smith's "audition" for X-Men. He gelled so well with Claremont, and Claremont was so impressed with his work, that Smith will eventually be asked to replace Cockrum as the regular penciller of X-Men when Cockrum leaves the book.  

Though Claremont will return to the Savage Land again during his run, this story marks Claremont's final use of Sauron. Seemingly cured at the end of issue #4, Sauron will not return until after Claremont has left the book. Claremont has mentioned that he originally intended for Karl Lykos to stay on as the school's physician and become a supporting character in the upcoming New Mutants spinoff, but never followed through on that plan (and, as Jason Powell notes, "curing" Sauron and taking him off the board is also a brilliant way for Claremont to prevent himself from falling into repetition).

The Savage Land Mutates, the mutants created by Magneto in X-Men 62-63, return, and like Sauron, they are presumably taken off the board at the end of issue #4, as they are reverted to their original Swamp Men forms (though they will appear again in Claremont's run, with little explanation).


Vertigo, one of the Savage Land mutates, appears in issue #1 for the first time. She will go on to be a member of the Marauders.


Zaladane, the high priestess of Garokk who last appeared in X-Men #114-116, also returns, and will also pop up again later in Claremont's run.


Cyclops doesn't travel with the team to the Savage Land in issue #3, as he is suffering from a cold, and Kitty is said to have stayed behind to look after him (though both appear in the final panel of issue #4), a bit of dialogue on Claremont's part most likely meant to cover for the fact that he wrote this story before Cyclops returned to the team in the issues of X-Men contemporaneous to when these issues were published.


A Work in Progress
Angel has returned to his blue and white costume since leaving the X-Men in issue #148, and is back at his Aerie in New Mexico alongside Candy Southern (whose last name is occasionally misspelled "Sothern").


In fact, Angel's short-lived tenure with the team post-"Dark Phoenix" seems largely glossed over: a narrative caption in issue #1 refers to him having left the team in issue #94 and having since formed the Champions, with no reference to his more recent stint on the team. The only allusion to it is a comment by Wolverine in issue #3, about how Angel doesn't like his methods (the reason Angel quit the team), and even that could be read as a more general statement.    

As the X-Men fly to the Savage Land, Storm gets up from her seat and is tossed around the cabin, which is eerily similar to a scene in issue #150 in which Wolverine is tossed around the cabin as the Blackbird is crashing.


When Sauron hypnotizes the X-Men, it is depicted in a manner similar to the effect used in issues #61 and #115.


Issue #3 references a series of international military bases in Antarctic scattered around the perimeter of the Savage Land, meant to discourage the pillaging of the Savage Land's natural resources. Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe the nations of the world wouldn't already be pillaging it...


I Love the 80s
It is said that both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are engaged in other missions, preventing them from assisting in the Savage Land, which is the usual excuse given for the absence of either team when a planetary crisis is afoot, back when Marvel was more concerned with maintaining the consistency of their universe.


Professor Xavier's curing of Lykos in issue #4 is rather abrupt and narratively-convenient, given the fast-approaching end of the story. "This may not work. Nevermind, it worked."


Claremontisms
Twice Claremont refers in narration to Colossus being "nigh-invulnerable" in his armored form, one of his favorite adjectives.


The Best There Is At What He Does
The aforementioned comment from Wolverine about Angel disliking his methods serves as another explanation of Wolverine's particular morals.


Teebore's Take
That Marvel turned to Chris Claremont and a story featuring Spider-Man and the X-Men (in part and then in whole) to launch a new title is a testament to the still-growing popularity of the X-Men in the early 80s. Claremont turned in a story that, especially in the final two chapters, would have felt right at home in the X-Men's regular book at the time: nothing groundbreaking or exceptional, but a nonetheless solid Savage Land story with the expected characterization beats that deals with, once and for all, Sauron (at least as far as Claremont is concerned). But the real star of this story is the art. Michael Golden, Dave Cockrum and Paul Smith, though all different in their own ways, each turn in stunning work for their individual contributions. Usually, my preference is to have consistent art across a story, but when each of the contributions are this good, the inconsistencies in style are made up for by the consistency of the quality. These issues aren't essential reading, but the solid story and the fantastic art combine to make them a fun read.

Next Issue: Uncanny X-Men #151
We return to the main title, as does the Hellfire Club.

26 comments:

Matt said...

PART 1 OF A TWO-PART COMMENT

One of the things I love about this story is that it features what is basically a "bonus" issue of vintage Cockrum X-Men. When I discovered it some time after reading both his original and second runs, it was like unearthing some lost treasure.

I'm less enchanted with the "bonus" Paul Smith issue, though it's not Smith's fault. As much as I love Terry Austin, his ultra-detailed inking style does not seem to gel well with Smith, at least to my eye. I much preferred Bob Wiacek's nice clean work on Smith while he was on the main title. And having recently purchased the newest Uncanny X-Men Masterworks volume featuring the start of Smith's run, I've learned that Smith felt the same way -- Louise Simonson's introduction indicates that Smith asked Wiacek to tone down the extra detail he'd been putting into his work with Cockrum, to make the resulting artwork look more like animation. I think Wiacek pulled it off spectacularly.

I like this story quite a bit. It's hard to go wrong with Spider-Man and the X-Men in the same story. My only real regret is that they never actually teamed up. Spidey's there for the first two issues, then the X-Men come in to take over for the subsequent chapters.

Also, Chris Claremont liked messing with Spider-Man! He devolves him into a sub-human monster in this story, and in the Kulan Gath story during his run with JR jr., he killed him!

And by the way, following this story, I'm pretty sure Angel must know Spidey's secret identity, right? There's no way he could have devolved back to normal and hidden his face from Angel as the scene was depicted in the story.

Matt said...

PART 2 OF A TWO-PART COMMENT

"Vertigo, one of the Savage Land mutates, appears in issue #1 for the first time. She will go on to be a member of the Marauders."

Has anyone ever done a story showing how exactly Mr. Sinister encountered Vertigo and grabbed her DNA to create the Marauder version? I'm not necessarily a fan of shoehorning "lost" stories in to account for every little detail, but it seems to me that an adventure of Mr. Sinister in the Savage Land could be a lot of fun.

"Angel has returned to his blue and white costume since leaving the X-Men in issue #148..."

I like the red costume better, myself. Anyway, this is set before he joined the Defenders, right? Because I recall that on that team, he's back in the red outfit again... though when he appears in the Morlock storyline, the cover of the first part, which is the only image of him in costume, has him in the blue one. Did that also predate his stint on the Defenders?

"In fact, Angel's short-lived tenure with the team post-"Dark Phoenix" seems largely glossed over..."

If this story really was written before Cockrum returned to the X-Men title, as he seemed to indicate in one of your previous quotes, then this could just be an artifact of that which wasn't updated. Though that would seem to imply Claremont wrote the story in full script format, which to my knowledge is not something he was known to do often (if at all).

"...a series of international military bases in Antarctic scattered around the perimeter of the Savage Land..."

The concept of civilization knowing about the Savage Land has always bugged me. It seems like it works a lot better as a secret location that only a handful of characters know about. But it was actually fairly early on (late 60's?) that its existence was revealed. I've always thought that when it was destroyed and then rebuilt in a couple of annuals from the late 80's, that would've been a good chance to make it a secret again, but that never happened.

Also, for your edification, in the late 90's Todd DeZago wrote a story in Sensational Spider-Man where Marvel's favorite shady corporation, Roxxon, tried to pillage the Savage Land.

"'This may not work. Nevermind, it worked.'"

Another case of "running out of room" as in the Dr. Doom trilogy? I've always thought the final page of this issue looked extremely cluttered. Also, going back to what I said previously, this would be a mark against Claremont writing the story full script, because if he sent Smith a plot and Smith paced it poorly, that could explain the seemingly rushed ending. I feel like a full script would not have resulted in the same situation.

(Of course I could be mistaken and maybe the story was meant to end abruptly!)

Sarah Ahiers said...

"I find it hard to believe the nations of the world wouldn't already be pillaging it...



This. That's exactly what i was thinking

Teebore said...

@Matt: As much as I love Terry Austin, his ultra-detailed inking style does not seem to gel well with Smith, at least to my eye

I thought Smith's art looked a little off in issue #4 compared to his later work, but I never even thought to contribute it to different inkers. I still like it, but definitely not as much as in his later run.

There's no way he could have devolved back to normal and hidden his face from Angel as the scene was depicted in the story.

Good point. I hadn't considered it, but you're right, there's really no way for Angel to not know, unless Peter can somehow sell Angel on the idea that his mutation into a spider creature was totally random.

Has anyone ever done a story showing how exactly Mr. Sinister encountered Vertigo and grabbed her DNA to create the Marauder version?

Not to my knowledge, but I was wondering the same thing (or if there's a story to why Claremont decided to use her in the Marauders).

Did that also predate his stint on the Defenders?

A quick check of the Marvel Chronology Project shows that Angel's first appearance in the revamped Defenders title occurred right after his appearances in X-Men #169-170. Between this issue and those, though, he made several appearances in Dazzler (as well as some one-off Avengers, Hulk issues and Contest of Champions), but I have no idea which costume he wore in those issues.

Also, for your edification, in the late 90's Todd DeZago wrote a story in Sensational Spider-Man where Marvel's favorite shady corporation, Roxxon, tried to pillage the Savage Land.

I'm also pretty sure it was revealed that a Skrull-infiltrated faction of SHIELD was pillaging it for vibranium in Bendis' New Avengers kickoff story.

Teebore said...

@Matt: Though that would seem to imply Claremont wrote the story in full script format, which to my knowledge is not something he was known to do often (if at all).

Forget to mention that yeah, it would seem odd for Claremont to do a full script, even if he wrote this as an inventory story with no definitive idea of when it would be published or who would draw it. As far as I know, he just never wrote full script.

@Sarah: This. That's exactly what i was thinking

Yeah, I just find it hard to believe the UN would even try to protect it, and wouldn't just divvy it up for themselves. But again, maybe I'm just being overly cynical.

Matt said...

"...even if he wrote this as an inventory story..."

I meant to mention this the first time around, but I forgot -- I've always suspected that this story, or at least the first two parts, were probably originally written for Marvel Team-Up. Claremont had a couple years' run writing that series (with John Byrne on pencils for several issues!), and it all occurred simultaneously with his X-Men run.

In fact, a bit more research reveals that Claremont's final issue of MTU was published in January of 1980, just a couple months before his list from the letters page of UXM issue #131 of things to look forward to (as recapped in your review) -- which included a mention of the "last Sauron story". So perhaps he came up with the story for MTU but left that title and held onto it with the intention of using it in X-Men, but put it off for so long that it eventually showed up in Marvel Fanfare?

I love idle rambling...

Teebore -- "...unless Peter can somehow sell Angel on the idea that his mutation into a spider creature was totally random."

Wasn't the spider creature wearing Spider-Man's costume, though? Or had it been completely destroyed by the time he returned to normal? If that's the case, I could see that being Claremont's way of "protecting" Spider-Man's secret ID, I guess.

Teebore said...

@Matt: perhaps he came up with the story for MTU but left that title and held onto it with the intention of using it in X-Men, but put it off for so long that it eventually showed up in Marvel Fanfare?

Good thinking! I could definitely see this originating as a Team-Up story, especially in the way the characters are handed off issue-by-issue even while the main narrative continues.

Wasn't the spider creature wearing Spider-Man's costume, though?

Yeah, it was. I went back and looked, and while Peter changes into Spider-Man off panel and away from Angel and Tanya, he's captured as Spider-Man, strapped down next to Angel as Spider-Man, wears the costume as the spider creature, and then reverts to Peter when Sauron sucks out the energy.

So yeah. Angel totally knows Spider-Man's secret identity.

Chris said...

I didn't know about the Marvel Fanfare stories until the late 80's or early 90's when it came out in a trade, which I've misplaced. I wasn't quite sure of it's chronological placement, I always figured it was later to coincide with Paul Smith's actual run. Nice to know it was earlier. Anyone know if the trade cut out anything?

I'm also pretty sure it was revealed that a Skrull-infiltrated faction of SHIELD was pillaging it for vibranium in Bendis' New Avengers kickoff story.

I don't know if this predates Byrne's Namor story arc where the Super-Skrull and Roxxon(?), having hypnotised Ka-zar, have a mining operation down in the Savage Land?

Joan Crawford said...

I really like how the title of this issue sounds like the ravings of a Schizophrenic Uncle!

I once knew a girl who had Schizophrenic Uncle. He looked a lot like Billy Ray Cyrus (circa 1991), suspiciously so, actually. I remember him coming over to her house and telling her dad all about how Jesus called him on a payphone and how blue light started to shoot out of his hands and feet while Jesus told him the future. Her dad made him leave and then turned to us and said "And that's why drugs are bad". But secretly I was like "I dunno... you get phone calls from Jesus, get to shoot blue lazer beams and you get to look like Billy Ray..."
I also once had a Homeless Schizophrenic insinuate that I was a prostitute: "You're a prostitute - lady of the night! With her secret world in her pockets! Don't you all tell me what I don't know!" and that my car was a Magic Pumpkin. He was wearing tiger print pajama pants that were a few sizes too small. And I was like "Grandpa, honestly, I can't take you anywhere".

Jason said...

"Candy Southern (whose last name is occasionally misspelled "Sothern")."

In her first appearance back in the 60s, it was spelled "Sothern." So it could be argued that every time you see it as "Southern," THAT is the misspelling.

Pedantry!

Jason said...

"A quick check of the Marvel Chronology Project shows that "Angel's first appearance in the revamped Defenders title occurred right after his appearances in X-Men #169-170. Between this issue and those, though, he made several appearances in Dazzler ... but I have no idea which costume he wore in those issues. "

Don't know about the others, but in the Dazzler appearances, Angel was wearing the red costume. (Don't judge me! I bought those issues because Rogue is in them.)

Joan Crawford said...

(Don't judge me! I bought those issues because Rogue is in them.)

Says the guy who pays special attention to costumes.

I kid, I kid! :D

VW: Mendman - Marvel's latest and lamest Super Hero! "Here, I think I have some duct tape I can patch that with!" he bellows from the basement.

Jason said...

Curse you, Crawford!

Blam said...


What are your panels scanned from? The colors are more vibrant and in some cases a bit different from my Fanfare issues.

Angel's short-lived tenure with the team post-"Dark Phoenix" seems largely glossed over

Yeah. I suspect — in reply to this, Matt's later comments, and my own wonderings — that it went like this:

#1 and #2 were done as a two-part Marvel Team-Up inventory fill-in. The big white space in #1's splash page where the log-line and logo(s) usually go was pretty glaring, somewhat rectified in #2. I thought that this much, at least, was fairly common knowledge.

When Marvel Fanfare became a thing, or perhaps just prior to that with an eye towards publication in some special project (or even as an X-Men fill-in), Claremont decided to pick up from that as-yet-unpublished story; Cockrum has said that it was while working on what ended up in Fanfare #3 that he told Chris that he'd be interested in coming back to the regular series if/when Byrne ever left, and perhaps it was because that scenario became a reality so soon that he couldn't draw the conclusion in #4 — by which time Fanfare was on the schedule if not already launched and Milgrom and/or Claremont suggested Paul Smith based on his earlier work on the Daredevil back-up in #1.

Angel does reference not approving of Wolverine in #3, which might've been a last-minute scripting adjustment that would mesh with his return to the X-Men if not outright acknowledge it — although given how verbose most of the pages are I wonder if Claremont just didn't write more about that because he didn't want to contradict the first part of the story in #1, allowing readers to surmise that this took place before Angel's return to the team (which then doesn't mesh with Scott being at the mansion, but whatever; at least Wolverine isn't leading the X-Men, out with the Avengers, and jaunting around Madripoor all at the same time).

I don't think that Claremont wrote any of it full script, and the abrupt ending does confound me too.

As the X-Men fly to the Savage Land, Storm gets up from her seat and is tossed around the cabin

Is it just me or is Colossus a bit skeevy in catching and holding Storm? You could take his expression either way, but the dialogue seems to reinforce the inappropriateness. [No scan here, sorry...]

Issue #3 references a series of international military bases in Antarctic scattered around the perimeter of the Savage Land, meant to discourage the pillaging of the Savage Land's natural resources. Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe the nations of the world wouldn't already be pillaging it...

Ditto. That and the fact that the military was cool with the X-Men are hard to swallow, given that this is well after Fred Duncan and in the wake of all the Hellfire Club stuff and the Senate / Brotherhood melee in "Days of Future Past".

"This may not work. Nevermind, it worked."

Exactly!

That Marvel turned to Chris Claremont and a story featuring Spider-Man and the X-Men (in part and then in whole) to launch a new title is a testament to the still-growing popularity of the X-Men

Chris Claremont's popularity, garrulousness, and "ego" are the basis of a running gag in Milgrom's Editori-Al pages, which first reference X-Men as the best-selling title at Marvel if not the whole industry and later mention that Daredevil has just overtaken it as Marvel's biggest title.

Blam said...



Some dialogue reaction and other quick bits...

Angel: "Tanya! She's got no 'chute!"

... Because you always fly over a mountain range into the mists above a hidden prehistoric land in a helicopter without a parachute.

Tanya: "It's strangely... beautiful. And so-- huge!"

Well, shucks, miss... Now, really, check out those city ruins...

Nightcrawler: "I need a medikit. I can 'port back there with it and play 'doctor'."

I do not think that phrase means what you think it means, Herr Wagner.

The Cockrum/McLeod art in #3 is just great, clean old-school stuff that looks really nice on the slick white paper.

On the other hand, #3's cover is a little underwhelming. Colossus is very dynamic, but the big Sauron head is washed-out due the light hues and color hold. I'm not sure that Amphibius is the most exciting thing to put at the center of the cover, either, and anyway you lose him in green against the background of Sauron.

And then we get our first real taste of Smith in #3, after the much less polished Daredevil back-up in #1. I agree that Smith/Austin isn't as appealing as Smith/Wiacek, and indeed Austin's hand is pretty heavy in some places, but you can still tell that greatness was breaking. We'll talk much more about it when Smith comes onto X-Men proper, I'm sure, but his style influenced my own drawing at the time as much as Byrne and even more so PĂ©rez did.

Blam said...


@Matt: PART 1 OF A TWO-PART COMMENT

I'm not being snide when I say I really love that you keep doing this.

@Matt: And by the way, following this story, I'm pretty sure Angel must know Spidey's secret identity, right?

Ka-Zar certainly does, as he recognizes Spider-Man's costume on the man-spider devo/mutate and in fact gets ahold of the insignia, but it's possible that Angel didn't register the scraps of the costume that were left by the time Lykos turned Peter back to normal. In fact the way he cavalierly mentions that he turned into a bird-thing and that Parker kid turned into a spider-thing makes me doubt he does know; he'd probably have been more discreet if he felt a secret identity was involved.

@Teebore: I have no idea which costume he wore in those issues.

He wore the red in Contest of Champions, at least; I can tell you that from memory.

@Joan: I really like how the title of this issue sounds like the ravings of a Schizophrenic Uncle!

First of all, I don't expect you to know this, but it was the title of four parts of a story all put together by Teebore. Second of all, I thought that it came across more like odd free-verse poetry, but you're clearly the expert on schizophrenic ravings here.

@Jason: Curse you, Crawford!

Too late.

Blam said...

...Annnd I forgot to subscribe.

Teebore said...

@Chris: Anyone know if the trade cut out anything?

I have a more recent trade that seems to include everything, including the back up stories and the "Editor-Al" columns. I'm not sure if earlier trades included that stuff.

I don't know if this predates Byrne's Namor story arc where the Super-Skrull and Roxxon(?), having hypnotised Ka-zar, have a mining operation down in the Savage Land?

Yeah, Byrne's Namor stuff definitely predates Bendis'.

@Joan: But secretly I was like "I dunno... you get phone calls from Jesus, get to shoot blue lazer beams and you get to look like Billy Ray..."

This is why anti-drug messages have to walk a fine line.

And I was like "Grandpa, honestly, I can't take you anywhere".

Well done, milady, well done.

@Jason: Pedantry!

Where would the internet be without it? :)

Don't judge me! I bought those issues because Rogue is in them.

I can't judge. I own both the Essential Dazzler trades for pretty much the same reason. And those are B&W, so I couldn't even tell you the color of Angel's costume.

Teebore said...

@Blam: What are your panels scanned from? The colors are more vibrant and in some cases a bit different from my Fanfare issues.

The most recent (I think) edition of a Marvel Fanfare trade that collects the first 8 issues of that series. It's new enough that it has the red Marvel trade dress on the spine. I picked it up cheap at a con last year in anticipation of this post, since it was much nicer than my old Spider-Man/X-Men trade that collected issues #1-4.

I suspect — in reply to this, Matt's later comments, and my own wonderings — that it went like this

I think the way you laid that out makes a lot of sense.

Is it just me or is Colossus a bit skeevy in catching and holding Storm?

Not just you. I meant to comment on that.

That and the fact that the military was cool with the X-Men are hard to swallow, given that this is well after Fred Duncan and in the wake of all the Hellfire Club stuff and the Senate / Brotherhood melee in "Days of Future Past".

Man, I didn't even *think* of that. There's no way at this point in their history the military should be so chummy with the X-Men, regardless of how much help the Savage Land needs.

Well, shucks, miss...

Heh. :)

The Cockrum/McLeod art in #3 is just great, clean old-school stuff that looks really nice on the slick white paper.

Agreed. I've never been a huge fan of McLeod's New Mutants run, but I've really liked his inking on the stuff we've covered here recently (enough so that now I'm even more looking forward to re-visiting his NM issues to see if my opinion improves).

On the other hand, #3's cover is a little underwhelming.

Indeed. In fact, I only used it for the cover shot of the post because it was the one that featured the most X-Men.

Blam said...


@Teebore: I've never been a huge fan of McLeod's New Mutants run, but I've really liked his inking on the stuff we've covered here recently

I liked his stuff then, although I've not read it in a long time either and I look forward to revisiting it too.

What's strange is that in my hazy memory it's McLeod doing full art from the graphic novel almost straight on through Sienkiewicz's arrival, but when I was looking things up while commenting on the Sienkiewicz debate from a couple of posts back I found that it was McLeod inked by Mike Gustovich for a few issues, followed mostly by McLeod at least "only" finishing if not "just" inking over Sal Buscema pencils, then Sal inked by Tom Mandrake.

I'm not a particular fan of Sal B.'s or Mandrake's work, which is likely one more reason why Sienkiewicz was so welcome to my eyes. Also, I do remember seeing the June Brigman cover inked by Sienkiewicz (another odd pairing that works) before Sienkiewicz turned everything weird the next issue and thinking, "Let's have more of that!"

VW: dingdoc — Popular subgenre in Australian cinema of nature films featuring wild dogs.

Billy Superstar said...

marvel fanfare was the jam! i wish they'd bring it back. i've had a good time hunting down a few choice nuggets from the run, like mazzuchelli's angel story and marc hempel's spider-man. i guess the problem with series' like that is that they can never keep up the quality...

also, i wonder if paul smith isn't the best x-artist ever. he's certainly up there. this got me thinking of other x-artists and made me wonder how you, teebore, felt about quitely's work on new x-men. morrison's new x-men is probably the most divisive run on the entire series and i'm curious how you feel about it. regardless of how you liked the story, you must admit that quitely is a master!

Teebore said...

@Blam: I'm not a particular fan of Sal B.'s or Mandrake's work, which is likely one more reason why Sienkiewicz was so welcome to my eyes.

Me neither, though I've slowly developed a greater appreciation for Sal B's art as I've gotten older (some of his Spidery stuff more than anything). I still don't love it on New Mutants though, especially compared to Sienkiewicz.

@Billy Superstar: i guess the problem with series' like that is that they can never keep up the quality...

Indeed. I'm frankly surprised they were able to keep it up as long as they did. I know Marvel Fanfare came back for a brief run in the mid 90s, but I think it only last six issues or so, and while I haven't read them, I've heard they're not so great.

i wonder if paul smith isn't the best x-artist ever.

He's definitely one of my favorites, and I think you could make a case for it (though it'd be tough to beat Byrne, especially if you count things like overall contributions to the series and not just how the art looks).

morrison's new x-men is probably the most divisive run on the entire series and i'm curious how you feel about it.

I am the rare X-Men fan who has a hard time getting riled about Morrison's run one way or the other. He did some things I liked (outing Xavier, making the school an actual school with noticeable students beyond the X-Men, hooking up Scott & Emma, and the Xorn reveal was genuinely surprising and masterfully done) and some things I didn't like (bringing back raving Silver Age lunatic Magneto, regardless of whatever commentary on the state of comics it was meant to represent, John Sublime, and I'm not gonna lie: I barely followed the vast majority of "Here Comes Tomorrow"). I even have a hard time getting worked up about the costumes. I didn't hate the uniformed black leather look, but at the same time, I was excited when Whedon brought back the superhero costumes in Astonishing.

In the end, I liked more than I disliked, but I understand why a lot of people don't like it. Morrison can rub some people the wrong way, and it definitely wasn't traditional super-heroics.

As for Quietly, for the most part, I do really enjoy his artwork. I know he has his detractors, and I don't begrudge them (I recognize some his flaws, I'm just not bothered by them). I'd never call him a personal favorite, but he was definitely my favorite of the various New X-Men artists, and I loved his work on All Star Superman.

Nathan Adler said...

Claremont continued to refer to Ororo’s feline attributes even after she was established as an “weather witch”, not only giving her exceptional night vision, not just shown when her body was switched with Emma Frost's, but when she and the X-Men went to Japan for the first time to help Sunfire against Moses Magnum, Storm could see through the thick, dark and heavy smoke of a massive blazing inferno.

In addition, she also stated that her hearing was nearly on par with Wolverine's, being able to deduced Cyclop's voice when he was attacked by Jean at the Hellfire Club.

I think Claremont definitely wanted to keep with Storm having some exceptional physical abilities that were catlike in nature.

He further followed this up in the X-Treme X-Men story arc where Brainchild devolved Storm back 1,000 in her genetic make-up. She was a primal slayer with very feline-esque features (from her eyes to claws to fangs).

Storm's family bloodline and genetic make-up give her some impressive developmental potential.

Given the additional cat conception for Ororo, I wonder if the Goddess/ Merciful Bright Lady Claremont intended to link her to was Tefnut, the rain goddess with the head of a cat?

Teebore said...

@Nathan: I think Claremont definitely wanted to keep with Storm having some exceptional physical abilities that were catlike in nature.

Agreed. Claremont definitely sees Storm as special beyond just her "basic" mutant power. She has all the feline/warrior attributes you mentioned, plus a mystical side too, as evidenced by her connection to the Acanti in the Brood story, and in "LifeDeath II". And of course, Claremont eventually strips away her powers and keeps her on as a significant member of the team.

Nathan Adler said...

To what overall purpose though is the big question!?

Teebore said...

@Nathan: To what overall purpose though is the big question!?

Other than "he likes the character", I'm hoping to find an answer somewhere along the way. I'll keep you posted.