Tag Archives: X-Men

To Me, My X-Men!

Do you know what the world needs? An all-ages, continuity-free X-Men title. A title where characters don’t die horribly (over and over again), where they don’t carry on lurid telepathic affairs, and where they don’t form blood-thirsty, baby-killing death squads.

To be honest, I’m kind of shocked Marvel doesn’t already have an X-Men title in their Marvel Adventures line. Good thing I’m around.

Time to fire up Cerebro and find us some mutants…

Cyclops (Scott Summers)

I know a lot of people don’t like Cyke because he’s all about rules and strategy and that’s just not “sexy.” But, y’know, every team needs this guy. Where would the Ninja Turtles be without Leonardo?

Marvel Girl (Jean Grey)

Can’t have Scott without Jean. Besides, I like Jean. Not a fan of the whole Phoenix identity…but I’m not sure that “Marvel Girl” is an appropriate name for Ms. Grey, either.

Beast (Hank McCoy)

No cats. Ever.

Wolverine (Logan)

I’d keep Wolverine the cranky, fly-in-the-ointment character he was meant to be. The title is X-Men…not Wolverine and Some Other Folks.

Storm (Ororo Munroe)

Despite the laughably horrible performance by Halle Berry, I do like Storm and always save a spot for her on any incarnation of the X-Men.

Rogue

I’ve always liked Rogue. It could be the accent. Personally, I like the original recipe Rogue, before she went and permanently absorbed Ms. Marvel’s powers.

Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)

Shut up!

Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner)

I refuse to live in a world where Kurt is dead. This way,  I wouldn’t have to.

Colossus (Piotr Rasputin)

I think Pete, here, has the same kind of “he’s not a bad boy so he ain’t cool” stigma that Scott has. Too bad being (or, at least, trying to be) a good person doesn’t get the same kind of respect that being a douche gets.

Iceman (Bobby Drake) and Angel (Warren Worthington, III)

This roster is kind of out of control…and, even though I like Bobby and Warren, I’m not sure they need to be on the team.  Of course, with 3/5 of the original team here, I’d feel bad leaving them out.

Professor Charles Xavier

And, behind it all, I’d have Professor Charles “Hope You Don’t Mind if I Live Vicariously Through My Teenage Students’ Hooking Up With Each Other” Xavier. 

Hello Kitty!

If you know me, then you know that one of my favorite characters in comics (well, in all fiction, really) is Kitty Pryde.  Even if you don’t know me that well, if you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, her name has popped up from time to time.  What I don’t know is whether Kitty being one of my favorite characters is the cause or effect of my general love for intelligent, spunky female characters.

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Anyways…knowing how much I like the character, Caroline and others suggested that I check out Marvel’s Wolverine: First Class.  So, as soon as I had a chance, I picked up The Rookie, which collects the first four issues of the series.

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This is actually Marvel’s second First Class series.  While X-Men: First Class focuses on “lost stories” of Xavier and his first five students, Wolverine: First Class is set after Xavier assembled the “All New, All Different” X-Men during the Krakoa incident.  Obviously, as the name suggests, Wolverine is the star of the book.  But, his co-star is none other than Katherine “Kitty” Pryde.

After reading the first trade, I think this might be my favorite book that Marvel is currently publishing.  First of all, I really like the idea of “lost stories”–they are a great way to provide fun stories without really worrying about the current state of affairs.  Also, I kind of miss the days when the X-Men were running around being real superheroes and not freedom fighters or activists, and that’s the time period we’re in with First Class.

These types of stories also allow a fun bit of foreshadowing, if done right.  Luckily, writer Fred Van Lente (with amazing art from Andrea Di Vito), does it right.  In the second issue (“Surprise!!”), not only do we get to see Sabretooth try to kill Wolverine on his birthday, like he does every year (presumably because he really liked the movie Donovan’s Reef), but Kitty refers to herself as being “totally a ninja.”  Why is that awesome?  Well, under Wolverine’s tutelage, Ms. Pryde does, eventually, totally become a ninja.  Then there’s Kitty’s crush on Peter Rasputin, which was there from her very first appearance and played out in full tear-jerking Whedon fashion in Astonishing X-Men.  Also, as a nod to the way things were back in the day, Kitty refers to Wolverine’s claws as being “implanted” (y’see, when Wolverine first showed up, everyone assumed his claws were bionic implants–we didn’t learn they were bone until after Magneto ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body in the early ’90s).

Since this series is set back when Wolverine first joined the X-Men, he’s still really rough around the edges.  Ol’ Logan became so popular over the years and popped up in pretty much every book Marvel publishes, that most folks probably forget what a cranky bastard he was in the beginning.  When Wolverine joined the X-Men, he was conceived as the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench.   It was Wolverine’s relationship with Kitty that showed us (and him) that he was more than just a beast pretending to be a man.  And, it was something that worked so well that Marvel did it again and again, first with Jubilee and now with Armor.  But, let’s get something straight, Kitty was there first (she’s actually called Wolverine’s “intern” more than once in the first few issues).

Yeah, so I guess the short version is “I really enjoyed Wolverine: First Class and will be reading it from now on.”

Four on the Floor #17: Not Your Typical Dashing Heroes

The Situation: Say the word hero and certain images immediately pop into your head. The square jaw. The broad shoulders. Deltoids of compassion. Abs of being kind. But hey, let’s be honest, the dashing good looking heroes are pretty much a dime a dozen. Superman, Captain America, James Bond, Luke Skywalker–I’m not casting doubt on whether or not they’re heroic, all I’m saying is that if you line them all up next to each other, they kind of start to blend together. I think that’s why I’ve always been more of a fan of the ugly or freakish hero.

The Criteria: With the exception of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I think the notion that a monstrous character could be a hero didn’t really take off until the early ’60s when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby cranked out characters like The Hulk and The Thing. Since then, pop culture has welcomed heroes who, on a good day, would make a baby cry just by looking at them. Some are more grotesque than others. I thought about including Hank “Beast” McCoy or Gar “Beast Boy” Logan, but I realized that they’re really just more or less regular dudes who happen to be a bit fuzzy (and blue and green, respectively). The four guys on this list will need more than an EPILADY to make People‘s Sexiest Man Alive issue.

1. Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing

Probably the first of the modern “monster heroes”, The Thing has spawned numerous imitators, impostors, homages, and satires. Sure, he’s a pretty big deal in the Marvel Universe, but he still feels the pangs of not being able to “fit in.” What’s more, he’s the only one on the team who can’t turn his powers off, a fact that Johnny rarely lets him forget.

2. Vlad

The hulking and disfigured Vlad serves as sidekick, bodyguard, and big brother to Slasher-hunter Cassie Hack. Despite his appearance, which he tries to hide behind a gas mask, Vlad has a big heart and an overall childlike and naive demeanor.

3. Kurt Wagner, a.k.a. Nightcrawler

When you’re born looking like a furry blue devil, there’s not much hope in fitting in. But, his childhood in the circus taught Kurt to be himself. He stopped using the hologram inducer that Professor Xavier gave him to “look normal” because he didn’t want to hide who he really is. Whether he’s a happy-go-lucky, sword-wielding swashbuckler or an ordained Roman Catholic priest, Kurt’s the moral and compassionate center of whatever team he’s on.

4. Hellboy

Come on. Look at the cards stacked against poor HB. He’s over six feet tall, weighs several hundred pounds, has bright red skin, cloven feet, horns, and a tail. And, as if all that didn’t make him stand out, do you see that right hand of his?

Four on the Floor #12: Radically Rambunctious Redheads

The Situation: Hey, who doesn’t love a redhead?  Of course, if science is right and the gene that’s responsible for red hair is dying out, there may come a day when gingers are no more.  If everyone is so fired up trying to save the manatee and the giant panda, why isn’t anyone trying to preserve the endangered redhead?

The Criteria: The criteria is…umm…they need to be redheads.  Does that work for you?  Of course, being me, they also happen to be superheroes, geeky witches, and secret agents.  I was tempted to include Ginny Weasley on the list, too…but somehow it just felt wrong.

1. Barbara Gordon

Babs was the original Batgirl and that should be enough for most people.  But, when she was crippled by the Joker and confined to a wheelchair, did our girl give up?  No.  She used her tech savvy and photographic memory to become the ace hacker/information broker known as Oracle.

2. Willow Rosenberg

Redhead.  Geek.  Witch.  Lesbian.  What’s not to love?  Mousy little Willow went from shy wallflower to red-hot magic mama right before our eyes.  Sure, she got addicted to dark magic and almost destroyed the world, but no one’s perfect.  Well…Willow might be.

3. Jean Grey

Not only is Jean a gorgeous redhead, but with her telepathy and telekinesis, she probably could kill you with her brain.  Sure, she got addicted to dark power and almost destroyed the universe…wait, umm…huh?

4. Scarlett

As lethal with a crossbow as she is with a roundhouse kick, Scarlett has no problem keeping up with the boys that make up the G.I. Joe team.  Scarlett’s trained in martial arts, acrobatics, and counter espionage–and that’s pretty hot.  And, not only is she a redhead, but she’s a southern redhead.