Tags Matching: Uncanny X-men

Rick Rolled

They got me. Funny joke, Marvel. I picked up Spider-Man 2099, a really poorly-conceived Elseworlds-style series that answered the question no one was asking, “What if Spider-Man was set in 2099?” And I picked it up because I love Spider-Man and I love Rick Leonardi. I was Rick rolled. Because this thing was near unreadable. On its own merits it might have been “ok”, but with the name Spider-Man attached, how could it ever hope to measure up? Everyone reading it is thinking, “ok, cool, I guess. But I want to read the REAL Spider-Man doing shit I can relate to on some level. Not this guy driving a hovercar.”

Still, look at the Leonardi art on this signed first issue. It’s so strong it makes you want to pick it up even now. Even knowing it’s near-unreadable, you want to touch it. That’s the power of Leonardi.

And check this one out just because I’m a freak for production art and maybe you are too.

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Rick and Dagger

Rick Leonardi. Is the man underrated? Well, he’s had a long career in comics and that’s something not everyone can claim. But he’s never really been placed among the best contemporary creators. People seem to file him under “working artist” instead of “visionary”. And that may be the case. But there has to be some area inbetween terms for those men and women who are in every way notable, but perhaps not “essential” in popular opinion. I’m going to say Leonardi is important. That’s the word I’ll use.

I thought with a new Cloak & Dagger oneshot floating around, now would be a good time to revisit important artist Rick Leonardi’s 1985 series of the same name. This is the complete mini-series. Leonard would return for the ongoing version, twice.

And in case you needed a non-Cloak & Dagger point of reference, here’s a beautiful Uncanny Issue from Leonardi. Hell, dude even made Spider-Man 2099 a viable purchase! More on that later.

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Lest We Forget

Yesterday Marvel announced their upcoming event Fear Itself to much (any?) fanfare. Details are hazy at this time as are general ideas and even the vaguest conception of it aside from “it will involve Marvel characters, likely facing a struggle of some kind, with conflicts of some sort sprinkled throughout.” But we can all be certain it will be super important to our understanding of the Marvel comics universe and our own.

While we’re on the events train, let’s look back at my favorite* Marvel event: Atlantis Attacks!

Don’t remember AA? Shame on you. Get caught up with the following auctions.

The books themselves. Don’t look like a fool when someone references these truly unforgettable books. You know, maybe they’d talk about that epic fight in… er… or the real human drama that took place in… hm … or the really significant impact of the events detailed in… nope. No one will reference these. Buy them because it’s a slice of comics history.

The very important promo poster that invites you to “take the plunge” and buy all the books. Crucial. Great design work.

And what would any irrelevant crossover be without an even less necessary What If? book to hypothesize on slight variations on the original outcome we can’t even remember?

*After The Infinity Gauntlet, Inferno, probably even the Mutant Massacre… I don’t know, maybe Secret Wars 2 even. Actually Atlantis Attacks really sucked.

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Man-Thing Has Many Friends

Man-Thing is a man about town. He likes to dip in on other heros and say what’s up. Over the next couple days I’m going to explore a nice smattering of Man-Thing cameos. I should preface this by saying most of the appearances my man makes are of the truly pointless variety. Often someone will stumble into his swamp, either through the Nexus of All Realities which sits in the center of it, or just by happenstance. They interact with Man-Thing, believing him to be bad, find out he’s good or indifferent, then move on.

A Man-Thing villain was the impetus for this pairing (I think). Stiff-ass Cyclops can never hope to understand a sensitive creature like Man-Thing.

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Dream Reaver, I Believe You Can Get Me Through The Night

So the Reavers are one of the greatest team of minions ever to grace the pages of a Marvel comic, right? No debate there. But what makes them so great exactly? The perfect amount of personality. They are distinct, but not really. They have personalities, but not overwhelming ones. The closest they have to a “face” on the team is a dude who was shot in the head and never talked about again. Because getting shot in the head is what a real minion does! He plays third-string and may be cut during training camp, but he still reports to work. This post is devoted to the Reavers. They played their positions. Best worthless characters ever.

First appearance. Silvestri looking good. Cyborgs and mutants.

This is where a shared universe pays off: “Neat” character appearances that don’t change much for either party. What? That’s not character driven storytelling? Go read Harry Potter, nerd. This is the Punisher, a man whose aims and ambitions are set in stone, and the Reavers, a team whose purpose is to shoot things they are told to shoot. Don’t get heavy on me.

And what’s this? The obligatory piece of crap licensing that everyone would be better off forgetting happened? Yes. It is.

And my favorite single issue of any comic ever? Yes! I goddamn love this book and have no idea why. Maybe it’s Forge, who I have a weird crush on. I’m 1/14th American Indian so maybe I’m distantly vibing with this dude on some ancient ley lines sort of trip. Or maybe that last statement was semi-racist and really I just love Freedom Force who also appear in this book.

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Space X-Men in Spacesuits

During the later period of Scott Lobdell’s epic run on the ’90s Uncanny X-Men, things got a little weird. An amnesiac Magneto joined the team, dubbing himself Joseph. The X-Men for some reason or another were in space, and instead of like every other time they’ve been there, they decided to get some fancy-dancy spacesuits. This screams of either Joe Madureira boredom or “we need some space variant action figures!” I’ve never seen this promo poster for this storyline.

This all led up to, of course, Uncanny X-Men #350, where it’s revealed that Gambit was involved with the Marauders and had basically aided and abetted the Mutant Massacre. This, as I believe I’ve alluded to before, was effectively the last relevant Gambit story. The issue came out in December, 1999 – what if he had just been left in the ’90s? His character has only gone through painful and terrible development since this time, and it would have been poetic for his last story to be at the very end of the decade he helped define.

Instead, we’ve been saddled with a character who’s been so embarrassing for the past ten years that there’s almost no imaginable way to revitalize him as a valuable property. To think, he was once seen as a potential contender for Wolverine / Punisher / Daredevil levels of popularity. Ooof.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #2

While searching for this cover image, I came across a site I was unaware of, and plan to investigate further. Jean-Grey dot com. Interesting.

I have some big fall plans for recurring posts, but one I am dwelling on is “no one drew it better”, a series on artists large and small, who I feel deserve mention for illustrating a definitive version of iconic or at least notable characters. I can’t think of anyone that Whilce Portacio drew that falls into that category, but his work on this issue makes me wonder “what if” on more than a handful of X-Men.
#2 – Uncanny X-Men 281

Consider this the flipside of the X-Men coin – while Jim Lee was launching X-MEN #1 towards 8 million copies sold, Whilce Portacio was over on Uncanny putting down some of my favorite pencils ever. Raw, gutteral almost, style that had a lot of emotion. Some of his facial definition lacked the detail that would have put him over the top, but while the market was moving towards a clean, post Lee smooth, Portacio’s grit and thin lines attracted me to his work. I think his work on this issue, along with a great, fast paced story that introduced about 5 different plot lines that would all reach conclusion within the next few years makes this a standalone “great” single issue.

Want to get into the x-books of the ’90s? Buy X-Men #1. Then buy this issue next.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #14

I’ve mentioned Acts of Vengeance enough on here that really, I need to recommend you check it out. Marvel is putting out an omnibus so I’ll get that up at some point. But this corner of the meta-crossover was so good I often forget it was even consider a part of it.

#14 – Uncanny X-Men 256

This is by far the coolest the Mandarin has ever been. Claremont and this newbie artist by the name of JIM LEE just upped the ante on the whole game with this 3 issue jaunt. Psylocke returns as a crazy ninja assassin and Wolverine is trying to get her back, despite looking like a Jersey Shore cast member trying to wake up at 7 am. Not pretty.

The best part about all this? Not surprisingly, Lee’s pencils were absolutely on point. The tone and imaging of the book resonates so well that the story was leaping off the pages. A great story that was just taken another step by the visual – perfect example of the validity and value of comic books in the literary marketplace.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #38

Simply put, this is a gamechanger. Claremont and Byrne nailed it. Every x-men related book pays homage to this two issue storyline, and really, every modern marvel comic owes this issue a little bit of credit.

#38 – Uncanny X-Men 141

A dystopian future that was spelled out on a beyond-iconic cover, everybody’s dead. Wolverine’s popularity was only grown by his heroic ends that comes in this story, and I honestly can’t think of two better issues of comic books, period. Unbelievable. If you have not read this story, I don’t think you can consider yourself a fan. Canonical.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #50

I wanted to do a special issue for #50 of this. Instead, an issue that has all the components of a special issue, but doesn’t quite hit the spot.

#50 – Uncanny X-Men 325

There was a great and highly underrated writer, Scott Lobdell, who wrote 60 or so straight issues of Uncanny, and at the same time threw down a 20 issue run on X-Men on top. If anyone has been forgotten unjustly, it’s Lobdell.

There was the young, trendsetting artist Joe Madureira. Mad was firing on all cylinders with this issue.

There’s an X-Men baseball game – an homage to the olden days, a Claremont era tradition. There’s Morlocks, a whole new batch (I went with the Gremlins reference intentionally).

But for some reason, this one is just real good. Not classic. I think that the problem is there lacks a tension in the issue, that the conflict just isn’t hitting the audience. No major plots were dangling or resolved, and the nu-Morlocks were just half rate. Still, a fun read. I just read it again and continue to scratch my head as to why no collections exist of this era.
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