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Thursday, April 7, 2016

X-amining X-Force #3

"Battlecry"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Siryn joins the team as they attack Black Tom & Juggernaut.

Words and Whining: Fabian Nicieza
Plot & Pictures: Rob Liefeld
Letters and Fluffy Hair: Chris Eliopoulos
Color Art and Sunshine: Joe Rosas
Edits and Kenny Rogers: Bob Harras
Bossing and Sit-Ups: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Siryn arrives at the World Trade Center, attempting to stop her uncle and Juggernaut, but Juggernaut punches her off the roof. She meets up with X-Force, arriving on the scene, and joins them to take down the villains together. As Warpath knocks Juggernaut off the roof to the ground below, the rest of the team takes out Black Tom's soldiers, while inside, Gideon and Sunspot make their move, attacking Black Tom. He overpowers them, but Cable intervenes, wounding Tom before he can kill Sunspot. However, Tom reveals that he's placed explosives on the upper floors of the building. Just as Spider-Man arrives, Tom presses the detonator, and the top of the tower explodes.

Firsts and Other Notables
Siryn, fresh off her appearance in "The Muir Island Saga", pops up in this issue, hoping to stop her uncle Black Tom and Juggernaut, a shrewd use of continuity (presumably Nicieza's doing) given their shared past together. She also more or less joins X-Force as of this issue (Cable offers their assistance against Tom and Juggernaut here, but she sticks around with the team even after this story), thus rounding out what is generally considered the team's "classic" roster (or at least the roster in place when I first started reading the book), with Siryn becoming one of the mainstay members of the group during its initial iteration. Her involvement in the book is another shrewd move (again, I credit Nicieza, since it seems like Liefeld doesn't care much about past events), as she didn't get taken by Peter David for X-Factor (or Nicieza called her first), and has never really had a recurring role anywhere despite her connection to one of the X-Men's most-storied members.


As a kid, I always thought it was weird that Siryn didn't join X-Force until issue #3 of their series, instead of immediately after "Muir Island Saga" concluded, not realizing that X-Force #1 was released before that story ended, so she does in effect join immediately after her minor role in X-Men comes to an end.

This issue kicks off a little mini crossover between X-Force and Spider-Man (Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man book whose first issue was the previous record holder for best-selling comic book of all time), that goes from this issue to Spider-Man #16 then back to X-Force #4 for the conclusion. To that end, Spider-Man pops up at the very end of this issue, setting up his chapter of the crossover.


A Work in Progress
Siryn notes that the police are keeping away from the World Trade Center at her request.

Boom-Boom doesn't appear in this issue, ordered by Cable to (off-panel) take over Domino's usual role and fly their ship. It's a weird thing that reads like something you'd see on a TV show where a given actor wasn't available for filming a particular episode. I guess Liefeld just didn't feel like drawing Boom-Boom this issue, and Nicieza scripted in some dialogue to explain it.

Shatterstar is able to count now.


The Cable Guy 
Cable wears a new set of silver armor for this story; it's not one of his better looks, mainly because it's so monochromatic.

The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Though it was of course a standard action trope at the time (most likely mimicking Die Hard, in fact), and there's no way the creators could have possibly anticipated events to come, there's also no denying that this story, featuring a a terrorist exploding part of the World Trade Center, takes on an entirely different and unintentional resonance now, post-9/11, and it's definitely not something we'd see presented this casually (as a plot point in a relatively minor, inconsequential story) nowadays.


501 Genes
Siryn's hair is enormous throughout the issue.


Juggernaut apparently teleports from the board room to the roof of the World Trade Center between pages at one point, appearing in one place than suddenly the other without explanation (or much indication of a passage of time,or motivation for the character to suddenly return to the roof).

To the EXTREME! 
This issue begins on the third day of the World Trade Center hostage situation and, like, way to be proactive there, X-Force.

Cable even specifically says X-Force is there to do what the Avengers are unwilling to do. I guess neither is willing to address hostage situations sooner rather than later?


Given the greater-than-usual media coverage of their exploits, Cable orders the team to not kill anyone, which is a perfectly viable reason for not doing so, except they haven't really done that at all that we've seen, so it seems a moot point.


Austin's Analysis
This issue could easily be read as X-Force's coming out party: they get a new member in Siryn, they face off against a classic X-Men villain (and one who's had some pretty memorable encounters with the Marvel Universe at large) in Juggernaut, and get to team-up with Spider-Man (and Liefeld's buddy Todd McFarlane) in the process. Yet for all of Cable's tough talk in this issue about how X-Force does the job in a way those sissy Avengers won't, the team is still being distinctly reactive. Black Tom and Juggernaut have been holding these extremely high profiles hostages, amidst significant media coverage (as we see this issue) for THREE days before X-Force bothers to show up. And it's not like they've been busy - last issue cut back and forth between the hostage crisis and X-Force playing training in the woods around their base. So, way to be proactive there, X-Force. Ideally, they'd have stopped Black Tom before he even launched his attack. Certainly, it shouldn't have taken a team whose defining characteristic is that they're more proactive three days to get involved.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, a new team debuts in X-Factor #71. Next week, X-Men (vol. 2) #1 and Excalibur #42.

Collected Editions
 

39 comments:

  1. "...with Siryn becoming one of the mainstay members of the group during its initial iteration. Her involvement in the book is another shrewd move (again, I credit Nicieza, since it seems like Liefeld doesn't care much about past events), as she didn't get taken by Peter David for X-Factor (or Nicieza called her first)..."

    This is one of the things I liked about the reboot - Each team has their own unique characters and that's it. Wolfbane could've easily been both a part of X-Force and X-Factor, or Nightcrawler pulling double duty with Excalibur and the X-Men. If Peter David called Siryn then oh well, Siryn can't be in X-Force. This is how most comics operated for decades.

    But what's bugged me about most of the X-Men re-toolings in the past 10 years is that characters are on multiple teams and it's not only hard to keep track of who's on what, but the books end up losing their uniqueness. For a while there was a team of only Female X-Men where all the members pulled double duty in other books. Emma Frost and Cyclops seemed to be in every book, even if only in leadership roles. And don't get me started on Wolverine, who was in multiple solo series, multiple X-Men books, and in the Avengers (And probably a bunch of other teams I'm forgetting).

    At this point in time X-Men vol. 2 was the "cool" team, Uncanny was the "classic" team, X-Factor was the Island of Misfit Mutants, Excalibur was the European magical side, and X-Force was the X-TREEEEEEME bloodshed and guns side. Each book had its own voice and feel. Compare that to the 2004 Excalibur series which had absolutely no connection to the old series, it was Xavier and Magneto with a bunch of X-Men in cameos rebuilding Genosha. How is this any different than a regular X-Men title? Or when X-Force was lead by Cyclops and Wolverine with Psylocke, Archangel, Warpath, X-23, Fantomex, and Wolfsbane, who were all in other books at the time?

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    1. I do really like how each book has its own set lineup - even when, say, Cannonball later graduates to the X-Men, he starts appearing there and not in X-FORCE.

      I don't have a problem with "support staff" characters appearing in multiple books. Banshee and Forge were supposed to be that, but it never really works out that. Professor X does, and later, if they wanted Cyclops and Emma to pop up all over as the elder statesmen of the various groups, fine. But by then, the roster of every title was so fluid, it didn't even matter. Everyone was everywhere whenever they wanted.

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    2. Totally with you on the business of spreading characters around, Ian. Wolverine especially, but really everyone you mention is or has been a regular on multiple teams at once. Even X-MEN and UNCANNY in the nineties wasn't as bad as Marvel's been recently. Lobdell and Nicieza each had their pet characters and occasionally each used the other, but you could generally tell what was happening when and who really "belonged" where.

      Nowadays, not only does the spreading of characters among multiple teams rob the books of their uniqueness, as you said, it also leads to conflicts in characterization depending on who's writing a character in that particular issue. Not to mention headaches in figuring out a logical timeline for these appearances.

      And this isn't unique to the X-books, either! The Avengers family seems to suffer from the same issues nowadays, too.

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    3. "Lobdell and Nicieza each had their pet characters and occasionally each used the other, but you could generally tell what was happening when and who really "belonged" where."

      Yeah, the "outside" characters were usually given guest star billing or something like that, then would go back to their respective team/book.

      Let's also not forget the days where it a character was being used in one book one month then they couldn't be used in another. I was always disappointed that Iceman wasn't a part of the Dark Phoenix Saga, as that would've been a true reunion of the original team (Aside from crossovers like Inferno, the original 5 members weren't seen together in the X-books for 21 YEARS between X-Men #66 and Vol. 2 #1 - Beast was absent during Giant-Size #1). But Iceman was being used somewhere else in another book so he was out of bounds.

      Wolverine's solo series also side-stepped this issue by specifically making each story fit into continuity between X-Men storylines, making it perfectly believable that he could be in the Australian Outback in X-Men while in Madripoor in his own book the same month, since they don't necessarily take place at exactly the same time. Now Wolverine is fighting Skrulls with the Avengers, running a school in X-Men, attacking the Purifiers in X-Force, and fighting with Sabretooth in his solo series and we're supposed to believe he can do that all at once (A running gag during Secret Invasion was that there was a Skrull Wolverine running around that would partake in some of these storylines to explain how he could be in so many places at once).

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    4. "I was always disappointed that Iceman wasn't a part of the Dark Phoenix Saga, as that would've been a true reunion of the original team"

      But the Beast was an Avenger at the time he appeared in the Dark Phoenix Saga...and unless I'm mistaken, Iceman wasn't appearing in another team book at this time. Unless it was the Champions, except Angel was in that too and appeared in DPS.

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    5. @Ian: Wolverine's solo series also side-stepped this issue by specifically making each story fit into continuity between X-Men storylines, making it perfectly believable that he could be in the Australian Outback in X-Men while in Madripoor in his own book the same month, since they don't necessarily take place at exactly the same time.

      Though they're already getting sloppy about that around this time - you *can* fit the issues of his series in and around issues of the X-Men titles, but it's getting increasingly harder to do so, compared to the early days of his series and the Outback Era.

      @wwk5d: But the Beast was an Avenger at the time he appeared in the Dark Phoenix Saga...and unless I'm mistaken, Iceman wasn't appearing in another team book at this time.

      He wasn't, but I believe someone had "claimed" Iceman for a miniseries around the time of DPS, so Claremont & Byrne couldn't use him. I think it was just a case of that writer not wanting to have to worry about it and declining to let them use Iceman, and editorial backed up, saying he dibs at the time. Whereas the AVENGERS writer (Michelinie?) didn't mind them using Beast. Or something like that.

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    6. I seem to recall Beast was the only Avenger in New York during the DPS, the rest of the team was off on a mission at the time, which is why he was available. Was Icemans's solo series out at that time?

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    7. @Ian: I don't think so - I believe whatever project it was that got Iceman held out of DPS, ultimately never came to be (which makes the whole situation even sadder).

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    8. The rest of the Avengers were in the city, I believe. The Beast was just on monitor duty.

      There was an Iceman miniseries, but it came out in 1984, long after the DPS.

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  2. Siryn was such a mainstay of X-FORCE throughout the nineties that I simply assumed she had been a major NEW MUTANTS character too. It wasn't until relatively recently, mostly due to comments at this very blog, that I learned she was a nonentity pretty much straight up to this point. It's kind of cool in a way, though -- Nicieza now has an established character to write who's basically a blank slate in many ways.

    I've never actually read this issue; I've read very little X-FORCE in general. But I'm kind of appalled by Liefeld's and Nicieza's utter disregard for Juggernaut's and Black Tom's previous characterizations. They aren't usually killers, and they're certainly not mass murderers!

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    1. Growing up I assumed that every character in X-Men was created specifically for the X-Men. Then I began reading up on a lot of them and I realized that so many characters we associate with the X-Men were created elsewhere. Many times they were Claremont creations in other books that he brought into the X-Men world.

      - Siryn was created as a Spider-Woman villain
      - Multiple Man was a Fantastic Four villain
      - Psylocke was in Marvel UK's Captain Britain comics
      - Longshot and the Mojoverse had nothing to do with mutants
      - Dazzler was a corporate creation originally intended to be the "face" of a series of records
      - And most famously, Sabretooth was originally just a serial killer in the pages of Iron First who barely appeared in anything from the late 70's till the Fall of the Mutants. Then he fought Wolverine the first time and they suddenly became archenemies and an elaborate backstory linking the two was created

      And I'm sure there are tons of others I'm forgetting

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    2. Siryn may have technically premiered as a Spider-Woman villain, but it was obvious from the get-go she'd become a peripheral X-character and the story in SPIDER-WOMAN (where the X-Men were featuring) continued directly and instantly to UNCANNY for her.

      Ditto with Jamie Madrox's premiere there was Prof X claiming responsibility for him (curiously 8 months before his first co-writer credit in UXM #95!). Which reminds me, Karma on Claremont/Miller MARVEL TEAM-UP #100. On which note btw Jessica Drew seem to have been using the caption boxes for her thinking in the aforementioned SPIDER-WOMAN issue long before Wolverine did.

      Your point naturally stands, but in many cases it looks like Claremont created them (elsewhere) with obvious intent of subsequent incorporation into X-Men world in mind. Seems to have happened so often that one finds oneself questioning if there was a bonus or something for the characters a writer created outside of "his" book. Or then it's a trick of getting the origin story done somewhere else so it doesn't disrupt the flow in the main books.

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    3. Don't forget Rogue, either! Claremont debuted her fighting the Avengers, she became a Dazzler villain under other writers, then Claremont reclaimed her as a member of the X-Men.

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    4. "Your point naturally stands, but in many cases it looks like Claremont created them (elsewhere) with obvious intent of subsequent incorporation into X-Men world in mind. Seems to have happened so often that one finds oneself questioning if there was a bonus or something for the characters a writer created outside of "his" book. Or then it's a trick of getting the origin story done somewhere else so it doesn't disrupt the flow in the main books."

      That's very possible. But wouldn't it be less complicated to introduce an X-character in an X-book? Maybe it was editorial mandates or, like you said, a way to keep from disrupting the a storyline.

      If it's the latter, then it makes sense with how some of the characters were introduced into the X-books. I believe Psylocke and Longshot joined the team in Annual issues, so they could be a part of the team without disrupting the narrative in the main books. As far as editorial mandate, Claremont was forced to include Dazzler in the X-Men....Which happened to be right in the middle of the Dark Phoenix saga. He made it work, but I feel it was definitely shoehorned in because there was so much other, more important stuff going on (Jean going nuts and the introduction of the Hellfire Club and Kitty Pryde).

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    5. Well, CC was forced to include Dazzler as a guest star during the Dark Phoenix Saga (and it was during the first third, not the middle). I think when she joins the team after the Mutant Massacre, it was his own choice, no?

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    6. @wwk5d: I think when she joins the team after the Mutant Massacre, it was his own choice, no?

      I believe so, yes

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    7. To comment on Matt's original point, it is massively beautiful that Siryn gets this gig now with her having only the premiering story, Fallen Angels and a part in Muir Island Saga under her belt so far. It's especially fine that neither Black Tom Cassidy has been up to nothing too much since the SPIDER-WOMAN appearance, and now that he does it's Siryn who pops up to foil his plans. She's actually up to pretty much her first actual superheroics here.

      It's also kind of awesome that of all possible characters the one Marvel Universe gets to have as double is Banshee*.

      *Yes, Banshee.

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    8. Don’t forget Wolverine, either, introduced when X-Men wasn’t even publishing new stories — although plans were already foot for the revival with an international team and he was created with that in mind.

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    9. Good call, Blam! I don't tend to think of Wolverine in that category of character, but he definitely is.

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  3. It took me awhile to realize just how little Siryn had been used up to this point as well. Hunting down NEW MUTANTS back issues as a kid, it became pretty obvious early on that she wasn't part of that series, but I just figured she was being used somewhere else (maybe even issues of X-MEN I hadn't read). Eventually, I gained a better knowledge of the larger picture, and even then, it didn't really click how non-essential she was until I started paying attention to her chronology around the time I was getting ready to review her first appearance.

    But I'm kind of appalled by Liefeld's and Nicieza's utter disregard for Juggernaut's and Black Tom's previous characterizations. They aren't usually killers, and they're certainly not mass murderers!

    Especially such callous ones - the explosion here is basically Tom saying "welp, you got me. Here's an explosion!" I do think the next couple issues might downplay the number of apparent deaths - Gideon and Sunspot are certainly still alive, but it's still pretty shameless.

    Also bad (and I'll probably bring this up in a future post) is the fact that we have no idea what they want at this point. Last issue, we found out Tom hatched this whole hostage scheme as part of a deal with Jankos, in order to get Juggernaut back.

    Well, Juggernaut's back. Why are they still hanging around? How long does Jankos expect Tom to hold everyone hostage to fulfill his side of their bargain? What's the end game here?

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  4. Are we sure that's actually Siryn? From the first embedded picture it looks like it's probably the creature from John Carpenter's The Thing. Holy Liefeld Spine!

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  5. A thought just occurred to me - Since Liefeld plotted these issues, he probably drew them and then had Nicieza dialog them afterwards Marvel-style. If that's the case, do you think Nicieza was in on the Liefeld "joke" and Liefeld was completely oblivious to it? Nicieza is way too smart for some of the cheesy dialog, so it seems to me that he's hamming it up, making the characters self-aware of how dopey the art and stories are, while Liefeld is being completely sincere with his art.

    The line "You're learning to count, Shatterstar. Good" stands out to me. It's completely out of place in the heat of battle, but it's almost pointing out how ridiculous Shatterstar is. Maybe it's filtered through the lens of how I view the series, but it seems like the dialog is purposely meant to be bad in a self-aware ironic way, while the art is just bad, period. It's like Eric Clapton playing a solo over a Shaggs song.

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  6. // I guess Liefeld just didn't feel like drawing Boom-Boom this issue, and Nicieza scripted in some dialogue to explain it. //

    Yeah. Just the most laughably blatant example of Nicieza scripting around Liefeld’s carelessness, too. I was going to point out some others and try to articulate some feelings about the art but it just isn’t worth the effort.

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  7. If there's one thing Liefeld proved with this crossover, it's that he's terrible at drawing Spider-Man. Yes, there are lots of things that Liefeld can't draw very well, but I haven't got all day. His take on Spidey was a huge misfire. I mean, just look at that cover...he's got the hind legs of a dog.

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  8. "as she didn't get taken by Peter David for X-Factor"

    Well, not this decade, anyway ;) Still, I liked her addition to X-factor. Even if, as with most characters, nothing really gets done with her till after Liefeld leaves.

    "Shatterstar is able to count now."

    You'd think someone growing up in a society where each successive dictator is know by their sequel number would have a better grasp at counting, but ok, we'll go with it.

    "featuring a a terrorist exploding part of the World Trade Center, takes on an entirely different and unintentional resonance now, post-9/11, and it's definitely not something we'd see presented this casually"

    Also, Dr. Doom didn't show up and shed any tears.

    "Cable even specifically says X-Force is there to do what the Avengers are unwilling to do. I guess neither is willing to address hostage situations sooner rather than later?"

    Well, to be fair, X-force waited till the third day. Those sissy Avengers would have waited till the fifth day.

    "Given the greater-than-usual media coverage of their exploits, Cable orders the team to not kill anyone, which is a perfectly viable reason for not doing so, except they haven't really done that at all that we've seen, so it seems a moot point."

    Cable has peculiar rules about killing, doesn't he? You can kill in self-defense, not for sport, and only if their are no TV cameras watching.

    The dialogue tries to sell how EXTREME X-force is, even Domino makes a comment about how hard it would be for this group to 1) limit killing and 2) limit collateral damage even though, as you say, we haven't seen anything yet from this group to suggest they are that EXTREME! Except for Feral, maybe.

    Well, the issue overall...ugh. The art is a mess, and ugly and inconsistent as ever. In addition to that horrible pic of Siryn that Jeff pointed out, the non-cover picture of Spiderman that is posted is just as horrible (is his right thigh protruding from his stomach? Wha?).

    And the story, well, Nicieza does his best to cover up many of the shortcomings, but even that doesn't always work. Siryn told the cops to hold back, but for how long? Were they waiting the whole 3 days just based on her word till she decided to get involved? And why would they even listen to her?

    And as Teebore points out...what was Black Tom and Juggernaut's plan with Jankos? The people were hold hostage in order to stop Jankos's company being bought out, by...holding everyone hostage? What? Poor Nicieza. There is only so much damage control he can do.

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    1. Siryn told the cops to hold back, but for how long? Were they waiting the whole 3 days just based on her word till she decided to get involved? And why would they even listen to her?

      Cos she said it kind of loudly. EXTREEEEME!

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    2. You'd think someone growing up in a society where each successive dictator is know by their sequel number would have a better grasp at counting, but ok, we'll go with it.

      I guess you could say that Shatterstar knows how to count in his language, but is working on counting Earth numbers and why am I even bothering to try and rationalize this?

      Also, Dr. Doom didn't show up and shed any tears.

      Hahaha! Don't even get me started on that.

      even though, as you say, we haven't seen anything yet from this group to suggest they are that EXTREME! Except for Feral, maybe.

      Yeah, and at this point, Feral still falls into the Wolverine category of being that one loose canon with questionable ethics that the rest of the team is never entirely sure what they're going to do.

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    3. Except of course that Wolverine at this point isn't the team loose cannon anymore but rather the team heart, soul & adamantium backbone who sets out to put the scattered team back together. Cue to editorial correction in three, two, one...

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    4. No, obviously, at this point in time, Wolverine had evolved past his initial role as the angry outsider who was danger to his own team as much as their enemies, but that's still, archetypally, a Wolverine-role.

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    5. What I was subtly trying to suggest there was that X-Force gets a Wolverine character, X-Factor gets a Wolverine character, EVERYONE gets a Wolverine character, and hey kids, guess who is going to be it for the X-Men! (evenifitmeansrollingback tenyearsworthofsound characterdevelopment).

      Well okay I was venting really. I wonder if the 90's creators find it totes cheating that nowadays you get to just put Wolverine on every team, and if someone wants to go and pick the early 80's one by a time machine for his team it too is kind of okay?

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    6. I wonder if the 90's creators find it totes cheating that nowadays you get to just put Wolverine on every team, and if someone wants to go and pick the early 80's one by a time machine for his team it too is kind of okay?

      Ha! I bet nowadays 90s creators (or 90s editors, or 90s sales guys) are just mad that they could have had Wolverine in ALL the books, instead of just keeping him "sheltered" in one or two team books, a solo series, and countless one-shots and guest appearances.

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    7. But did they roll back Wolverine's character development? I thought Nicieza and Lobdell, and certainly Hama, kept him as the seasoned elders statesman Claremont into which Claremont had evolved him. Am I forgetting something? I know he eventually goes feral after losing his adamantium, but that's an intentional plot-point, not a regression for regression's sake (and even then, it doesn't take all that long to get him back to his established persona).

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    8. Well, factually in the end it didn't amount to much more than post-relaunch on-panel lip service (in your named gents' work too, mind you) that nowadays reads like it likely was editorially mandated but otherwise ignored. But if you read it for its face value then and without the benefit of hindsight you could be forgiven for thinking that you'll now be in for all-new all-old Logan from now on.

      Not that there hasn't been a Logan discrepancy going on for some time, what with Claremont and Deathbird commenting on the full-of-vitality Lee-Wolverine being a but shade on his last legs compared to the past.

      But honestly, reading the earliest All-New, All-Different now, Wolverine's initial savageness reads to an extent like a retcon in the first place. Young leprechaun-talking hotshot and suspected animal-evoluteé got his ferality visibly amped later on in Claremont/Miller LS and that one Brood issue (and by the famous Shooter mandate for the Kitty vs. N'Garai). There have been glimpses mayhap of being a bit feral, but Feral he wasn't.

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    9. Well okay, I wish to retract my initial statement: upon looking up the earliest A-N, A-D issues, I note in #96 Wolverine lets go in Kierrok commenting on his anger management issues, and that's of course a context where his general showing from therewith on needs to be put and thus it's not a retcon.

      There certainly are death threats thrown left and right by him, but as they don't really ever actualise, a modern reader can't but chuckle a bit when Cyclops spouts "I've just about had it with your "mad killer" act, pal!" in #106 upon such an instance. So when a 90's extreme-kewl goes on to make someone shish-kebab on-panel, he/she is in fact quite out-wolverining Wolverine.

      Unless you want to factor in the 15 years' worth of change in the editorial take on what the characters are actually allowed to do. I think the new kids took Pierce out intentionally so he can't just cyborg up all the intended dead victims of their 90's superheroes.

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  9. People are giving Nicieza a lot of credit in these comments. :) I never really saw these issues as the noble Nicieza doing god's work with his scripting and trying to cover up the sins of the Great Satan Liefeld. To me, it's just a pair of hacks doing hackwork. It's not as if Nicieza's scripts for the Liefeld-less X-Factor 69 and Uncanny 280 were brilliant, nor do the scripts improve (at least not dramatically) when Liefeld departs X-Force.

    Do they? Maybe I'm being too harsh. I just don't see how all the flaws can be laid at Rob's feet. "Why did X-Force wait until day three of the hostage situation to get involved?" Well, who said it was day three? Nicieza did, in the dialogue that he alone scripted. Right? Couldn't Nicieza have just said it was "Hour 17" instead of Day Three, and thereby sidestepped that flaw entirely?

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    1. Interesting, I've never considered Nicieza a hack. I never really read X-FORCE, but I loved his X-MEN in the nineties. He was my preferred X-writer over Scott Lobdell (though I really have nothing against Lobdell either). Later on, Nicieza's THUNDERBOLTS was a must-read for me every month, and I loved CABLE AND DEADPOOL.

      I do believe his stories get a little overly convoluted for the sake of convolution sometimes (thinking of Revanche, and later on, the "Wellspring" storyline in NEW THUNDERBOLTS), but in general I like most of the stuff I've read from him.

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    2. Like Matt, I don't consider Nicieza a hack, and I do think X-FORCE improves quite a bit once Liefeld is gone from both pencilling and plotting, in part because Nicieza seems to focus more on characterization while embracing the book's connection to New Mutants, bringing back Sunspot and Rictor (and eventually Dani) and wrapping up the Upstarts plot by via the old New Mutants' connections to the New Warriors by way of the Hellions - which is probably why I credit continuity-type stuff, especially as it pertains to the New Mutants, in these early issues to Nicieza as opposed to Liefeld. Liefeld seems very dismissive of the series' past, while Nicieza eventually shows, if not a specific love for the New Mutants, at least a desire to adhere to established continuity when possible, something that I like about his writing (he shows it also on THUNDERBOLTS and CABLE & DEADPOOL, the latter at a time when "continuity" was the dirtiest word you could utter at Marvel).

      It also of course helps that Nicieza gets to work with Greg Capullo regularly after Liefeld.

      All that said, I probably AM giving Nicieza too much credit for the good and Liefeld too much blame for the bad - something I cop to in the post. As wwk5d said, the "three days later" line could have been specified by Liefeld. Then again, it could have been Nicieza as well, and/or he could have chosen to change it.

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  10. "Well, who said it was day three?"

    I'm guessing Liefeld in his plot outline to Nicieza?

    In any case, yes the writing does improve quite a bit after Liefeld leaves. I'd say Niceiza's best work on the title happens post-Fatal Attractions. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the best artists working with him by that point.

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  11. Fair enough. I may well be being too hard on the guy. Sorry, Fabian! (Though we can agree to disagree as far as the writing quality on X-Force post-Liefeld. I only read up through X-Cutioner's song ... but I did hate all the non-PAD chapters of that crossover, so ....)

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