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Thursday, January 22, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #82

"The Road to Hel..."
Mid November 1989

In a Nutshell
Boom-Boom & Warlock discover Odin is in the midst of the Odinsleep and unable to help, while the rest of the New Mutants are captured by Hela. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Trapped in the warp separating Valhalla from Asgard, Boom-Boom and the Wolf Prince try to free Warlock, drawing the attention of Hela's forces below. One of the possessed Valkyrie, Mist, uses the distraction to surreptiously tell Sam she can save them all if he trusts her, and Sam allows the New Mutants to be captured without a fight. Outside the warp, Boom-Boom manages to blast Warlock free, and the three of them race for Asgard. Meanwhile, the rest of the New Mutants are led past Garm, the wolf who guards Hela's realm, into Hel itself. Elsewhere, Boom-Boom, Warlock and the Wolf Prince reach Asgard but discover Odin in the throes of the Odinsleep and thus unable to help them or defend Asgard against Hela, and they are promptly captured by Odin's guards.


In Hel, Mist explains how her fairy blood is enabling her to fight Hela's control, and she takes the New Mutants on a shortcut to Hela's palace. In Asgard, Asgardian warrior Volstagg's children convince the captive New Mutants to break out and seek the help of a sorcerer named Tiwaz. Meanwhile, on Earth, an exhausted Skids collapses, dropping her force field and enabling Freedom Force to capture her and Rusty. In Hel, the New Mutants enter Hela's palace just as she orders Eitri to forge a magic sword for her. He refuses, but when Hela threatens his daughter, an enraged Sam blows the New Mutants' cover, leading to their recapture by Hela just as Boom-Boom, Warlock and the Wolf Prince, en route to Tiwaz, are captured by Frost Giants on orders from Hela. Eitri then agrees to forge her sword to spare his daughter and the New Mutants, and Hela declares that when the sword is complete, she'll send Dani to slay Odin with it, giving Hela control over his soul, and all of Asgard. 

Firsts and Other Notables
Something which Dr. Bitz and I frequently joke about, this issue represents my first encounter with the "Odinsleep", the plot-convenient slumber into which Asgardian ruler Odin must periodically slip in order to recharge his vast power. This certainly isn't the first time in comics Odin has been unable to help because of the Odinsleep, but it's the first time I ran into it, and thus is my default mental example whenever the subject comes up (which is, relatively speaking, more often than you'd expect).


Rusty and Skids, having been carried off by Freedom Force after cutting out the ground beneath Skids' forcefield in issue #80, are now in custody, and Skids finally collapses from exhaustion, dropping her forcefield in the process, enabling Freedom Force to grab the pair of them. 


The children of Volstagg (the Voluminous), of Warriors Three fame, appear in this issue. First appearing during Walt Simonson's run on Thor, they convince Boom-Boom, Warlock and Hrimharri to break out of Asgardian jail to seek help, and willingly take their place in jail as a show of good faith.


They also mention that their father is off on a mission with Thor, a reference, I believe, to Avengers #310, which was on sale at the same time as this issue and in which the Warriors Three appear along with Thor.


At this point, Rob Liefeld had already been announced as the new penciler of New Mutants (and the annual he drew had come out a couple months before this issue), and Marvel Age #81, on sale at the same time as this issue, ran two pages of character design sketches from him.


For the most part, the looks here for Sam, Roberto, Rahne and Rictor match what we eventually see, but Rusty and Skids are written out of the book before they ever get their own set of Liefeld's unified team costumes (given how often Rusty & Skids show up on Liefeld's early sketches relative to how little they actually get drawn by him, I'm not sure if Simonson was already planning on writing them out and just  hadn't told Liefeld, or if, once he realized the kind of pull he had with Harras, Liefeld pushed to write them out himself). We also see a bunch of designs that will eventually be used for members of Stryfe's Mutant Libertation Front, which will debut alongside Cable in issue #87.

A Work in Progress
We learn the Wolf Prince's name is Hrimhari in this issue. 

Sam gets all worked up when Hela threatens Eitri's daughter, whom Sam met during the New Mutants' previous Asgardian adventure in New Mutants Special Edition #1.

Young Love
Rahne realizes Rictor has feelings for Boom-Boom, but he insists she's not in the right place to reciprocate.


Teebore's Take
On a macro level, this issue moves the plot along a fair bit, revealing more about Hela's plan (to have Eitri forge her a mystical sword with which Dani, a mortal, will then slay Odin, giving Hela control of his soul) and establishing that Odin, awash in the Odinsleep, will not be able to step in and save Asgard as everyone had been hoping up to this point. But on the micro level, the plot of this thing is kind of a mess, with two different groups of characters going from freed to captured and back again about a half dozen times in the course of the issue. And for a storyline with three more issues of content left in it, the events of this issue are surprisingly dense, with Boom-Boom, Hrimharri and Warlock escaping Hel, discovering the sleeping Odin, getting captured, settling on a new course of action and escaping, then getting captured again all in the course of half an issue.

That's a lot of plot for one half of the story, and if this whole thing was ending next issue, it'd be more understandable why it was crammed in here. But with three more chapters looming, it seems like maybe some of that could have been expanded on or given room to breathe in a subsequent issue. Simonson does her best to ground things via character moments, with Sam subbing in for Roberto as the resident hothead while Hrimhari and Boom-Boom develop a grudging respect for each other, but most of that is lost in all the plot noise, as the issue somehow manages to do both too much and not enough at the same time.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Archangel takes a break from "Judgment War" in X-Factor #47. Next week, Uncanny X-Men #254 and Excalibur #15.

46 comments:

  1. So, sometime around 1991 I guess a local mail order company selling American comic books was advertising on the local X-book for a free-ish catalog and I ordered one and then from it ordered some fifteen or so current-ish issues of the most-interesting-to-me Marvel titles they were listing. And now we seem to have come to the point where finally one of them gets X-amined.

    Beforehand I would have been bonkers over New Mutants getting back to Asgard after their Special Edition, but after reading the/this issue... yeah, perhaps not so much. I recognized some familial concepts, but otherwise... yeah, what? I mean, what?

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  2. The Odinsleep is such an integral part of Thor's mythology that it even made it into the first THOR movie!

    I gotta say, while I recognize Rob Liefeld's obvious shortcomings, Cannonball and Sunspot as drawn in those character designs are pretty much the definitive visual representations of the characters for me (meaning those were their costumes when I first encountered them). To this day I think Cannonball looks plain wrong without some form of headgear or at least goggles, and I don't think Sunspot looks right either if he's not dressed in red.

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  3. @Teemu: Beforehand I would have been bonkers over New Mutants getting back to Asgard after their Special Edition, but after reading the/this issue... yeah, perhaps not so much.

    I will say, whatever value this story has going for it, it's all derived from its connection to that first Asgard story.

    @Matt: The Odinsleep is such an integral part of Thor's mythology that it even made it into the first THOR movie!

    Something which, I assure you, much amused both Dr. Bitz and I the first time we saw it. :)

    Cannonball and Sunspot as drawn in those character designs are pretty much the definitive visual representations of the characters for me

    Me too. It certainly helps they remained in variations of those Liefeld-designed looks (Cannonball in gray and headgear, Sunspot in black and red) pretty much all throughout the 90s.

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  4. Wow. Just when you thought the dramatis personae couldn't get any more expansively trivial: Volstagg's kids.

    I've always kind-of enjoyed how ridiculous the Odinsleep is.

    Does Boom-Boom have to count down out loud for her power to work? At the very least it seems like some kind of strange compulsion.

    // Rob Liefeld had already been announced as the new penciler of New Mutants ... and Marvel Age #81, on sale at the same time as this issue, ran two pages of character design sketches from him. //

    "Note the same basic design of the pants ..." Thanks so much, Dwight.

    Fairy-Blood On My Mother's Side is my new band name.

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  5. Blam: Wow. Just when you thought the dramatis personae couldn't get any more expansively trivial: Volstagg's kids.

    Oi! I have said it before and ain't afraid to repeat: Hildy vs. bridge toll troll is the second awesomest bridge scene in Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor! Not forgetting her having words with Odin just before that.

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  6. So, Strobe was a blonde then? And Tempo... that's the one look they considered too outrageous? Wanting to avoid questions in relation to Storm? Simon Williams' lawyer called with a cease&desist?

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  7. @Blam: Just when you thought the dramatis personae couldn't get any more expansively trivial: Volstagg's kids.

    And with nearly no introduction, either. I mean, the Wolf Prince got more of a "here's his deal" intro, and he at least appeared in a previous story involving these characters.

    I've always kind-of enjoyed how ridiculous the Odinsleep is.

    Me too. Me too.

    Does Boom-Boom have to count down out loud for her power to work?

    I don't think so. Certainly, she stops doing it soon. Maybe that's a marker of her developing her power, but I really just think it's a tic Simonson has given her that, thankfully, gets dropped.

    @Teemu: So, Strobe was a blonde then? And Tempo... that's the one look they considered too outrageous? Wanting to avoid questions in relation to Storm? Simon Williams' lawyer called with a cease&desist?

    The important thing is that Forearm and his...four...arms stuck around. :)

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  8. The Odinsleep is goofy, but it does sound more exciting that the Charlescoma that Professor X frequently lapses into.

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  9. Teebore: I will say, whatever value this story has going for it, it's all derived from its connection to that first Asgard story.

    You're being unfair.

    Louise has been fishing nearly as much at the fishing hole of her husband's Thor run as she has from Claremont/Adams. Hildy here, first of all, and remember how Hela in the Asgard saga finale was worried about Thor & the gang being at her Gates? Yeah they were pounding Garm over at Thor, simultaneously enough for Walt to draw Amara in her New Mutant uniform as an Easter egg climbing/hiding at the side of the road to Hel.

    On the other note, at least in Charlescoma the reader gets a classic story out of it. With danglers. That actually get picked up later on. In disturbing A.Strucker/A.Strucker or Gaby Haller/junior scenarios, yes, but still.

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  10. "The Road to Hel..."

    Is paved with frequent captures & escapes?

    I never saw those Liefeld sample designs. It's interesting to see that the editors had enough faith in him as a potential "breakout" artist that they were willing to show the readers before his debut. Not even Siekiewicz (sp?) & Blevins got that courtesy, and you'd think they would deserve it.

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  11. @Teemu: // You're being unfair. //

    My reaction upon their introduction to the story was "At least Darla and the gang didn't somehow pop up on Asgard," so... I don't think so.

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  12. @Teemu: Louise has been fishing nearly as much at the fishing hole of her husband's Thor run as she has from Claremont/Adams.

    Insert a "for me" after "whatever value this story has going for it", as I've actually read very little of Simonson's THOR, and thus Weezie cribbing from it for this story has no impact on me, personally (this is still the only story, in fact, in which I've ever encountered Volstagg's children).

    @Mela: Is paved with frequent captures & escapes?

    Ha! Apparently.

    Not even Siekiewicz (sp?) & Blevins got that courtesy, and you'd think they would deserve it.

    I'm not sure when MARVEL AGE started publication, but in Sienkiewicz's case, it may simply have been a case of their not being a good vehicle to show off that stuff for him like there was for Liefeld.



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  13. Blam: My reaction upon their introduction to the story was "At least Darla and the gang didn't somehow pop up on Asgard," so... I don't think so.

    I was intentionally going for a nasty joke there:

    - She like lifted everything of merit from the Claremont/Adams story.
    - You're being unfair. *beat* She lifted half of it from W. Simonson.

    Darla and the gang was more of Ann Nocenti, though? Well anyways, by the looks of it they'll have to install one of those revolving doors at the Gallerbru next. Luckily, the X-book folks likely have a good long-term deal on them.

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  14. Teebore: I've actually read very little of Simonson's THOR, and thus Weezie cribbing from it for this story has no impact on me, personally

    For SHAME! You know, had I not myself only read Watchmen the last year, I would have words with thee. So I'm just going to say that you'd perhaps have enjoyed not only this issue but the Thor movie and the sequels more, as that's where a lot of the concepts come from. Personally, I consider no one telling Lorelei in that one Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode that she "looks like Blondie" a massive fail.

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  15. Those character designs from Liefeld are interesting. When I read then-current issues growing up I never thought of fashion or modern cultural references in the books - They were so ubiquitous to everything around me that I just saw that as how the world was. And when I read back issues that came out before I was born I didn't have a sense memory of the culture, so they always took on a "timeless" feel to me.

    It wasn't until recently when I began re-reading X-Men from the early 80's that I realized how contemporary they really were for the time. In John Romita Jr.'s run there were so many references to punk culture and fashion (Amongst the Morlocks, especially) and with Rogue and Kitty's hair and a lot of the bright colors the characters wore.

    In a comic book sense seeing a character like Boom-Boom dressing like Madonna doesn't stand out to me because she's a character in a made-up world where people have powers and crazy stuff happens. But I suppose around 1990 she was standing out with her outdated style which was at that point played out and not old enough to be retro-chic. But sometimes these "dated" looks become such a part of the characters that anything other than that look becomes wrong to you (like commenter Matt said about Cannonball and Sunspot, and how I feel about Jubilee even though that Valley Girl style is WAY outdated).

    But then there are problems when a character is WAY modernized to a point where it's almost cartoony. Every once in a while a character will be pulled from comic book limbo after not being seen for a while and given a makeover, and the new look is even goofier than the outdated look. This seems to happen mostly with Spider-Man and Batman villains.

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  16. Cool pointers by Ian about the "civilian" clothing worn by the characters. The one single thing preventing me from totally buying the sliding timescale thingy is the remembrance of what pre-DPS X-men wore when not in uniforms drawn by Byrne... who apparently has stated later on that as fashion goes he was actively going for the latest contemporary looks. Not the outdated tech, cars, aircrafts, those you can mentally write off as a bit-off artistic portrayal, nope, but the clothes are forgiving.

    Whereas for the super hero costumes, the REAL thing of outrage regarding Spider-Woman should not be the alternative Manara cover but the decision of switching her iconic ensemble for some stupid generic 2010's superheroine look.

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  17. Argh, clothes are UNforgiving, that is.

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  18. Well. As luck would have it, I found myself in the vicinity of my comic book collection tonight and gave the issue a read. It's... not that bad really. The interactions between the cast, relations and characterizations are kind of nice. Bonus points have to go to Odin's guard calling Warlock a "mechanical manthing".

    One of the other issues I ordered back then was Avengers West Coast #60, with cackling Magneto, evil Scarlet Witch and Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards for 1989 ballot form with a humorous message from Howard Mackie asking people to not vote Bob Harras, his best friend, best man and his kid's godfather, for the best editor: "Bob is slime. He doesn't deserve the top spot. I should know, I'm closer to him than most people are. I've seen him claw his way to the top with no regard for any innocent hapless individuals who might be in his way." "Let's make the 1990's the anti-Harras decade." Presented without commentary.

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  19. "(Cannonball in gray and headgear, Sunspot in black and red) pretty much all throughout the 90s."

    A bit of some nostalgia glasses there, Teebore...Cannonball ditches the grey around the time of X-cutuioner's Song for this blue and yellow combo (http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/costume/cannonball-bigcostume7.jpg) even though he does keep the goggles. He then wears a variation of Cyclop's costume after Age of Apocalypse (http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/costume/cannonball-bigcostume8.jpg). If anything, he spends more time in the 90s wearing blue and gold/yellow than anything else.

    Sunspot, like Cannonball, ditches the Liefeld design post X-cutioners Song, but at least keeps the red (http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/costume/sunspot-bigcostume5.jpg) before going all Reignfire on us. And like Cannonball, he also gets a post AOA look that carries him throughout the rest of the 90s (http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/costume/sunspot-bigcostume7.jpg).

    It's interesting that even though they were only worn for a couple of years, people still associate the Liefeld costumes for the characters as their 90s look.

    The inclusion of Rusty and Skids is interesting. Have you seen the Liefeld sketch of X-force before it came out? The one that includes Shatterstar alongside Wolfsbane, Magik, and another blond who could be either Skids or Magma?

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  20. Teemu -- I had no idea Mackie and Harras were so close! I guess this would explain why Mackie kept getting relatively high-profile work at Marvel throughout the nineties.

    wwk5d -- "It's interesting that even though they were only worn for a couple of years, people still associate the Liefeld costumes for the characters as their 90s look."

    I can't speak for everyone, but for me, at least, a large part of the reason I consider those costumes to be the characters' definitive looks are these Cannonball and Sunspot action figures from Toy Biz. Though I actually like Cannonball's blue and yellow costume better than the purple and gray one aesthetically. I kind of like his post-AoA X-Men uniform, though it's a bit too plain. It needed some more personal touches, like, I dunno... goggles, maybe.

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  21. As far as definitive looks for characters go, I suppose most of it has to do with subjective criteria. It's easy to associate Cannonball and Sunspot with those first Liefeld costumes because: 1) They were their first uniforms that weren't the black and yellow school costumes or those bright multi-colored monstrosities designed by Brett Blevins (Sorry, Brett, but they're just too wacky for me) and 2) Early X-Force was easily when the characters were at their peak popularity, so that's how they've been ingrained into a lot of people's brains.

    However, many characters' "real" costume are those that they wore when a reader came onto a book from a subjective standpoint. I first discovered X-Men around 1992, and Cyclops to me has and will always be Jim Lee's redesign, no exceptions. But someone who began reading in the 70's or 80's might associate him with a mask covering his hair and buccaneer boots. Hell, someone who first discovered him in X-Factor might think any Cyclops costume without a giant yellow X across his entire body is wrong.

    I remember when I was a kid and first discovered superheroes could have other costumes thinking that Cyclops's 70's and 80's costume was "wrong" because it wasn't "my" costume. There's nothing bad about it from a design sense, but it was too plain compared to Lee's design - Lee basically took the 70's look, removed the head cap, and then added some pouches to his torso and belt and added some rings to the gloves and boots. It's basically the same costume, but I liked it more since it had more stuff on it, and to this day when I see his classic 70's/80's look I can't help but feel there's something missing from it since I'm so used to pouches and rings all over it.

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  22. @ Matt

    Ah, but as I pointed out, that Sunspot costume wasn't the Liefeld costume, that came after he left :)

    @ Ian

    True, I understand much of that. But, I just think it's interesting that even people who read comic books, instead of those who bailed once the boom ended, tend to associate the early 90s Image era as encompassing the ENTIRE 90s for the X-books, when really, it was just a coupe of years. Again, it's not about the definitive look. I'm sure, for example, quite a few people who consider Mohawk Storm to be the definitive look of the character would think Storm wore the Jim Lee redesign she got throughout the 90s...even though she too stopped wearing it in the mid-90s.

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  23. Ian Miller: Lee basically took the 70's look, removed the head cap, and then added some pouches to his torso and belt and added some rings to the gloves and boots. It's basically the same costume, but I liked it more since it had more stuff on it, and to this day when I see his classic 70's/80's look I can't help but feel there's something missing from it since I'm so used to pouches and rings all over it.

    When X-amining Doug's death issue Mike Loughlin commented on X-Men Annual 10 (Claremont/Adams with Mojo) being the veritable Rosetta stone for X-Men for the 90's. True enough, we start now as we see Cannonball in purple, Wolfsbane in orange, Doug with a vest of pouches and, and hilariously enough, we also get Nocenti's bratback and frogs from Simonson's THOR.

    So the pouches, was it MacFarlane, Lee, Liefeld first or who who started overdoing them?

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  24. "So the pouches, was it MacFarlane, Lee, Liefeld first or who who started overdoing them?"

    The "graduation costumes" the New Mutants had were designed by Art Adams, right? I'd say he started it, then the Image guys picked up on it (Liefeld being the most notorious).

    In fact, I've found that most 90's tropes from the Image guys can be directly traced back to Art Adams. After all, Adams was the hot superstar artist in the mid-80's so it makes sense that he'd have copycats. In fact, I used to think the cover to Classic X-Men #1 was drawn by Jim Lee since it reminded me of his style so much, and Liefeld and Larsen's early style borrowed heavily from Adams. Throw in some Michael Golden, John Byrne, and Barry Windsor-Smith and you have what the early Image style was trying to imitate.

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  25. wwk5d -- Oops, you're right about Sunspot. I think it's more that I associate him with the color red than with any particular costume.

    "...those who bailed once the boom ended, tend to associate the early 90s Image era as encompassing the ENTIRE 90s for the X-books, when really, it was just a coupe of years."

    As for the others, you make an interesting point. Of the X-Men redesigned by Jim Lee starting with X-MEN #1, only who, Cyclops, maybe, kept that look for the entirety of the nineties? Psylocke retained her Lee look as well for the full decade, but it had debuted prior to X-MEN #1. Same with Gambit.


    Ian -- "Lee basically took the 70's look, removed the head cap, and then added some pouches to his torso and belt and added some rings to the gloves and boots."

    You're absolutely right, and it's completely evident in the original Omega Red storyline (X-MEN #4 - 6), where Cyclops is captured and all the straps and pouches are removed from his costume. He's shown bound by some hi-tech device and, with his head obscured, he's basically just wearing the Cockrum uniform. He even apparently wears his plain old red belt under the yellow pouch belt!

    I think I noted it once before, but my mind was figuratively blown one day when I was flipping through the second X-MEN BY CLAREMONT & LEE OMNIBUS and I saw Lee's thumbnail sketch for the X-MEN #1 extend-o-cover. It's basically the same image that eventually saw print, except Lee drew Cyclops in the complete Cockrum costume. Ever since then I've wondered if that was Lee's original intention but Marvel encouraged him to redesign the costume, or of he just drew that outfit as a placeholder while he developed the redesign. Lee is a big fan of the Neal Adams X-Men, after all, and Cyclops wore that costume, albeit with the original slim visor, for Adams' issues.

    I actually like a lot of Cyclops's costumes. I think I first saw him in the Cockrum uniform, but when I read the series regularly off the racks, he was in the Lee outfit. I also have a soft spot for the second X-Factor uniform (white on blue) thanks to the original Toy Biz Cyclops action figure (I even have a Bowen statue of this version of Cyclops). In more recent years I liked his Cassaday ASTONISHING outfit, though I've never understood why the visor was silver. There was an early issue of CABLE AND DEADPOOL in which the X-Men guest-starred, and Cyclops's visor was miscolored gold there. It looked so much better!

    But I had to choose a favorite, definitive look for the character, it would be the Cockrum costume. Lee would be a close second by mere millimeters, though.

    That hideous thing he wears nowadays, with the huge red "X" on his face, is a monstrosity. I can't believe it's lasted this long.

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  26. Teemu -- "So the pouches, was it MacFarlane, Lee, Liefeld first or who who started overdoing them?"

    Liefeld, easy. His X-Force members were rife with pouches. McFarlane is best known for Spider-Man and Spawn, neither of whom wears so much as a single pouch. And if you look at Lee's designs, there are very few pouches to be found. They're almost all pretty basic skintight superhero suits, with the exceptions of Bishop, whose "costume" is a police uniform and whose pouches therefore make some sense, and Cyclops. I suspect it's the fact that Cyclops wears all those pouches, which for him make absolutely no practical sense, that gets Lee a bum rap for the trend.

    I do, however, think Lee gets the blame (or credit, depending on your opinion as I know Teebore, at least, is a fan) for the "team bomber jacket" concept, as he gave us Cyclops in a leather jacket in those early X-MENs. Personally I think this idea has some merit. Xavier's is a school; why wouldn't they have branded apparel? But I think it makes more sense for the characters when they're "off duty" as opposed to when they're out fighting Magneto. Same with the Avengers. As cool as the Black Knight looks with his stubble, lightsaber, and leather jacket, it's an odd choice for a superhero. I do think the Avengers-branded bomber jacket went great with Black Widow's gray costume, though. But Crystal, Sersi, etc. really didn't need them.

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  27. Matt: " Ever since then I've wondered if that was Lee's original intention but Marvel encouraged him to redesign the costume, or of he just drew that outfit as a placeholder while he developed the redesign. "

    I'm certainly going to be unfair, but remembering how artists not getting royalties from the merc was a big reason behind the Image exodus, I'd hazard to guess the guys didn't need much encouragement for redesigning everyone's looks.

    Jim Lee once told he called John Byrne to tell he gave Wolverine back his classic blue&yellow look of Claremont/Byrne era and scrapped the dirty tan&ochre one and it got awkward when Byrne told that yeah, that one was his.

    Them pouches, A. Adams didn't really do those, did he, outside the Doug one-timer? Also, pouches, yeah Liefeld. McFarlane was more about massive guns, esp. in SPAWN, but I think Liefeld takes that one too.

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  28. @Teemu: For SHAME! You know, had I not myself only read Watchmen the last year, I would have words with thee. So I'm just going to say that you'd perhaps have enjoyed not only this issue but the Thor movie and the sequels more, as that's where a lot of the concepts come from.

    Yeah, that's one of my not-so-secret shames. Everyone has gaps in their comics reading, and that's one of mine. Though I did enjoy both of Thor's movies a fair bit. The nice thing about Simonson's Thor being so iconic and revered is that a lot of the characters and ideas he worked with hung around and made their way into other creators' Thor material, which I have read, so I'm mostly familiar at least with the broadstrokes of a lot of what he did on the title.

    Bonus points have to go to Odin's guard calling Warlock a "mechanical manthing".

    I did enjoy that as well.

    Jim Lee once told he called John Byrne to tell he gave Wolverine back his classic blue&yellow look of Claremont/Byrne era and scrapped the dirty tan&ochre one and it got awkward when Byrne told that yeah, that one was his.

    I've always loved that little anecdote. :)

    @Ian Miller: They were so ubiquitous to everything around me that I just saw that as how the world was. And when I read back issues that came out before I was born I didn't have a sense memory of the culture, so they always took on a "timeless" feel to me.

    I'm right there with you. A lot of people decrying the 90s looks of certain characters were lost on me until I went back years later and actually looked at some of the designs.

    After all, Adams was the hot superstar artist in the mid-80's so it makes sense that he'd have copycats.

    Indeed. And most (all?) of the Image Founders have cited him as an influence at one point or another (along with a lot of the other guys you listed). I also wonder if that's where they got their penchant for avoiding regular pencilling gigs and only churning out a few issues of art a year? ;)

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  29. @wwk5d: It's interesting that even though they were only worn for a couple of years, people still associate the Liefeld costumes for the characters as their 90s look.

    Fair point; I'd forgotten about those post-AoA looks the whole team got. But I have always liked the post-Liefeld Capullo designed looks, so I'm not sure why I forgot about those.

    Like Matt, some of my associations with the characters and their looks definitely comes from the Toy Biz action figures. I haven't figured out how, exactly, yet, but I do want to devote some space to those figures when the time comes.

    I just think it's interesting that even people who read comic books, instead of those who bailed once the boom ended, tend to associate the early 90s Image era as encompassing the ENTIRE 90s for the X-books, when really, it was just a coupe of years.

    For me, at least, I sometimes mix and match "the 90s" (the decade comprising the years 1990-1999 and maybe a few months on either end) with "the 90s" (the era of comics encompassing the rise and fall of the speculator market characterized by lots of characters with big guns, numerous pouches and kewl names and lots of comics with #1 issues and variant die-cut foil-embossed hologram covers). It's a bit like the difference between "the 60s" (the years 1960-1969) and the Silver Age (comics with a certain style and sensibility from a certain era, which happened to coincide at least in part with the decade of the 60s).

    Of course, no one has anyway of knowing which "the 90s" I'm referring to when using the term, so your point still stands. I just think for some fans, "the 90s" is a reference to a certain style/sensibility in comics, even if said style/sensibility didn't last the full decade and had mostly run its course by 1995 or so.

    Have you seen the Liefeld sketch of X-force before it came out? The one that includes Shatterstar alongside Wolfsbane, Magik, and another blond who could be either Skids or Magma?

    I don't seem to recall it, but I might see it and go "oh yeah."

    @Matt: Of the X-Men redesigned by Jim Lee starting with X-MEN #1, only who, Cyclops, maybe, kept that look for the entirety of the nineties? Psylocke retained her Lee look as well for the full decade, but it had debuted prior to X-MEN #1. Same with Gambit.

    I think Rogue stuck with her Lee look for a good long while. She was back in a variation of her original green look for the short-lived Seagle/Kelly run, but that was towards the end of the decade.

    Ditto Jean Grey. She was in Lee's original redesign pretty much until Seagle and Bachalo put her back in the original green Phoenix outfit, and that was towards the end of the decade as well (certainly past "Onslaught", at least).

    I do, however, think Lee gets the blame (or credit, depending on your opinion as I know Teebore, at least, is a fan) for the "team bomber jacket" concept

    I do love those bomber jackets. :)

    For the X-Men, I think they make sense, as you say, as branded school gear not unlike what you could buy at an actual college or university. For the Avengers, I think they make sense as the branded gear of what is, essentially, a superhero franchise (even within the context of the Marvel Universe and not just the real world). I didn't mind the jackets on Crystal or Sersi, but I am glad they never put, say Vision (or the Eric Masterson pre-THunderstrike Thor) in one.

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  30. Matt: " Cyclops wears all those pouches, which for him make absolutely no practical sense "

    I think he keeps little paper notes in them that remind which maneuver was assigned to which number.

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  31. (was going to make joke about "Mambo nr. 5" by Lou Bega being his and Jean's wedding dance but then I remembered what it actually was :D )

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  32. Well, here you go, Teebore. There is so much Liefeldanatomy to laugh at in this one...


    http://www.comiccrusaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TheNewMutantsAnnual06-060-061.jpg

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  33. Matt: "I think I noted it once before, but my mind was figuratively blown one day when I was flipping through the second X-MEN BY CLAREMONT & LEE OMNIBUS and I saw Lee's thumbnail sketch for the X-MEN #1 extend-o-cover. It's basically the same image that eventually saw print, except Lee drew Cyclops in the complete Cockrum costume."

    Holy crap, do you have a scan of this? I'm really interested to see what might have been.

    There's tons of Jim Lee concept art for X-Men #1 floating around out there, as well. The team was undergoing such a dramatic change that everything was in flux, so it's cool to see promotional art with Storm and Jean in costumes that they'd never actually wear in the books, or the Blue and Gold teams with different members.

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  34. Ian -- "Holy crap, do you have a scan of this? I'm really interested to see what might have been."

    Well I didn’t, but now I do. Here you go! What might have been...

    Those Claremont/Lee Omnibuses are exhaustively comprehensive archives of Jim Lee's contributions to the X-Men. Marvel's collected editions guy hunted down every last scrap of artwork he could find for bonus material. The extras section in volume 1 is 54 pages long and in volume 2 there's 83 more pages. That includes MARVEL AGE articles, concept art, posters, house ads, fanzine covers, and the entire set of X-Men Series 1 trading cards drawn by Lee! Much, if not all, of the artwork you mentioned is there, I'm sure. I think they even used some of that promo art with the alternate costumes and lineups for the covers to volume 1 (Cover A | Cover B).

    I've reviewed some more recent collected editions over at my blog. Maybe I'll jump back in time and review those two at some point in the near future. They really are amazing books.

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  35. Man, Matt, that's an interesting cover sketch. And those two covers you linked are some of the pieces I mentioned - Is Cover B just a mish-mash of characters from the Muir Island story, or is that concept art for what one of the color teams might've been?

    I might have to check the omnibus out. I saw a video on Youtube of a guy flipping through it and I nostalgia'd so hard. Like I was saying before about subjective tastes, this is MY X-Men right here.

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  36. Wait. When did Rogue actually get that green/black uniform in those promo covers and how long did she wear it? Because that's pretty much the definite look for her for me, but now I'm questioning myself if she did actually get to wear it at all, with Siege Perilous and Savage Land time and whatnot. Jim Lee brought the green/yellow with jacket look in the first adjectiveless, right?

    So did she get to wear that one outside of a copious amount of promo posters? Or is it only because of her habit of getting her costume all torn up in the page four usually?

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  37. She did wear it for one chapter during The Muir Island Saga. Then again, she wore a different costume during every chapter...

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  38. Teemu - Rogue had that costume in the actual comics for a while. You can see it on the cover of #236, which was a couple years before the Muir Island Saga.

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  39. Ian Miller: " Rogue had that costume in the actual comics for a while. You can see it on the cover of #236, which was a couple years before the Muir Island Saga. "

    Yeah... and uncannyxmen.net spotlight feature on Rogue gives it a #229 starting point. It was just that outside of covers and posters and being her "official" look, it didn't get much wear in the actual comics stories which confused me. It's in the Harry Palmer saga, gets dropped for most of the Genosha debacle, gets some wear during Inferno and in Annual #12 and that's about it. She did pick up a red dress with the usual black overall that resembles it a lot, though, during the girls shopping trip/M-patrol fight.

    Now I wonder if her not settling with any look was an intentional reflection of her identity crisis that kind of kicked in #18x (the one with Michael Rossi).

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  40. "Now I wonder if her not settling with any look was an intentional reflection of her identity crisis"

    During the John Romita Jr era, she didn't have a settled look either. So her not having one during the Outback Era isn't that strange or out of character.

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  41. wwk5d: During the John Romita Jr era, she didn't have a settled look either. So her not having one during the Outback Era isn't that strange or out of character.

    That's exactly what I was going after really. She did have pretty much her original green look up to Secret Wars and came back with the orange one and the first thing after that was the Rossi adventure in #182 that brought Carol up the first time, and the she won't settle up with anything mostly wearing some green-on-black regular clothes combo for the longest time until during the green bath suite time she came to an agreement with Carol.

    Of course it's easily argued that #182 was arbitrarily picked by me for to back up my foundationless scenario and she has had short-lived actual uniforms during that time and that it's generally just her thing. It's not like she settled with the bath suite thing either, though it could be said there are external reasons for that, Siege Perilous and whatnot.

    Yea, thinking it over I guess I was chasing shadows with that one.

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  42. Teemu -- Your theory might've held some water if so many of the X-Men weren't changing costumes alongside her. From Romita to Silvestri, Colossus went through four looks, Psylocke two, Storm two, Rogue three, etc.

    Wolverine, Dazzler, and Longshot stayed consistent, though.

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  43. The difference, once the others changed costumes, they usually wouldn't go back (except for 1 example).

    Rogue would alternate between the tunic look, a jumpsuit, and a body suit (and even the body suit itself would have different pieces and accessories worn with it at various times).

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  44. Matt, they did change their costumes, yes, but the others went from one definite uniform to other, whereas Rogue's was all over the place since the green overall-y one she wore in #192: sometimes her body-stocking is just black, sometimes dark green, and the green top piece keeps changing from a jacket-y one to a loose shirt and sometimes there are the white belts and sometimes not and she keeps switching back and forth and once she even goes to buy a new one in Bloomindales! in #210. It's not due artistic interpretation, she clearly keeps rotating her wardrobe with the theme of green.

    But mebbe that's just her thing. The clothes are up for a stitching anyway after each adventure.

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  45. Oh... it's possible to say the same thing with half the rows then. Damn the decompressed comic blog commenting of the 2010's!

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  46. @wwk5d: Well, here you go, Teebore. There is so much Liefeldanatomy to laugh at in this one...

    Heh. Indeed.

    I do remember seeing that now. It's from the "Days of Future Present" annual, right?

    @Matt: Those Claremont/Lee Omnibuses are exhaustively comprehensive archives of Jim Lee's contributions to the X-Men. Marvel's collected editions guy hunted down every last scrap of artwork he could find for bonus material. The extras section in volume 1 is 54 pages long and in volume 2 there's 83 more pages. That includes MARVEL AGE articles, concept art, posters, house ads, fanzine covers, and the entire set of X-Men Series 1 trading cards drawn by Lee!

    Wow. I'm pretty sure it's not worth the price of an omnibus collecting material I already own in several different formats just for that backmatter, but man oh man, is it tempting. That sounds fantastic.

    Hopefully the Epic collections will make it that far someday, and when they do, they'll include some or all of that, especially since they already have scans of it.

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