Tag Archives: x-men

The X-Men that You Don’t Know
[Partner Content] 03 JAN 2016

The X-Men continue to be a major pop culture force.

With a ninth movie coming out later this year (that Comicbook.com reports will be different than the others), the X-Men remain a major draw at the box office. They also continue to be huge in the gaming industry. The X-Men have appeared in more than 20 different video games to date and have a number of highly popular online games, as Gambling.com explains. And they include everything from card collecting-esque mobile titles to simpler experiences like slot machines that make use of imagery and sounds from the X-Men franchise.

But the popularity of the X-Men really comes down to a few characters, like Wolverine, Cyclops and Professor X. More serious fans, of course, know the backstories of Storm, Rogue and Mystique. That, though, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these mutants.

Casual fans of the series—those who watch the movies and play the games, but might not have dived into the comics—probably don’t realize that 95 heroes at one point or another have been classified as a member of the X-Men. A number of them you already know, but there are a bunch that have been forgotten to time for the simple fact they were not memorable or remarkable. (For a full list, check out this ranking from BuzzFeed).

Some of the more fun ones:

Hepzibah: She’s an alien skunk that briefly joins the X-Men in the mid-2000s while stranded on Earth. She’s incredibly agile and a good athlete with her most notable power being the ability to emit “mood-altering pheromones” at will. Basically, she skunk sprays her enemies. No idea if tomato juice zapped them out of her spell.

Hepzibah and the Starjammers

Stacy X: She was a mutant prostitute that first appeared in the comics in 2001 and briefly joined the X-Men before going on to other, ahem, adventures. She was part of an effort to appeal the comic more to adults, but just left everyone feeling kind of weird. She would later go on to join the New Warriors at Ripcord. No one seemed to miss her.

Goldballs: Yes, that’s the guy’s name. As you can guess, his gimmick has something to do with balls of gold. When he gets in a fight, he can shoot the gold balls from any part of his body, making him a human tennis ball cannon.

Husk: She first appeared in 1984 and her power is the ability to shed her skin and turn into different things underneath, usually metal or stone (or corn, if she really wanted to). She first joined the X-Men junior team in the Generation X storyline and then joined the regular X-Men later on.

Doop: He looks like a floating booger—or Slimer from the “Ghostbusters” movies. He is hard to understand and has a complicated history. The character is there for comic relief, something fans actually tend to enjoy during his appearances.

The Stepford Cuckoos: It counts as one member, but the Stepford Cuckoos are a trio of identical girls who are part of a psychic hive mind. Think the pretty mean girls in high school. Their psychic powers make them incredibly dangerous as they’ve used them to start school riots and other chaos.

These are just a few of the X-Men members who you likely, probably didn’t know about. Sometimes the X-Men are reminiscent of professional wrestlers as each seem to has a gimmick, varying from awesome to cringe-inducing terrible. No matter what, though, they are always interesting.

Comic Book Update: Preacher: Dixie Fried | X-Men: FF | Iron Man: Extremis Comic Books | My Reviews 23 SEP 2013

Every now and then I’ll pick up a comic book to read, though I have to say that these days it is pretty few and far between. Anyway, here’s a quick roundup of some of the graphic novels I did in fact encounter over the last couple of months…

Preacher: Dixie Fried (Volume 5) (1998)

preacher volume 5 fried dixie comic coverAfter destroying the headquarters of the all-powerful Grail conspiracy and freeing his hard-drinking vampire pal Cassidy from its dungeons, the Reverend Jesse Custer is about to reunite with his straight-shooting girlfriend Tulip O’Hare and resume his hunt for answers from an elusive God – provided that Tulip forgives him for leaving her behind during his little rescue mission.

But getting those answers will mean delving into the hidden mind of Genesis, the angel/demon offspring that has fused itself to Jesse’s soul, and that will require some serious spiritual excavation – the kind that only real, down-home black magic can offer. Luckily, Cassidy happens to know a voodoo priest in New Orleans who can help unlock the Genesis memories in Jesse’s head. In the same breath, unluckily, Cassidy also has a cult of bloodthirsty vampire wannabes in New Orleans after his head!

Even after all of these years Preacher still holds up as a thoroughly entertaining ready, a seriously black comedy drama that doesn’t care what sacred religious cow it touches, or in most cases, bruises. Twists and turns a plenty, weird and generally terrifying characters and situations, both subtle and not so subtle bits of injected dark humour, and just all in all a very engaging and gripping story, from start to finish.

And needless to say, Volume 5 (Dixie Fried) in this saga by writer Garth Ennis doesn’t disappoint in any of the above regards.

At the same time, artist Steve Dillon produces some fantastically detailed and emotive visuals to back up this great read, making Preacher: Dixie Fried a good recommendation to any of your not easily offended comic book reading friends.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preacher_(comics)

X-Men: FF (2012)

x-men ff trade paperback comic book coverWhen the Future Foundation discovers a distress beacon from another dimension, they turn to the heroes best suited to help: the X-Men! But these are strange times for both teams: the X-Men are aligned with their arch-nemesis Magneto, while the FF has forged an uneasy alliance with their own eternal enemy, Dr. Doom. When the two teams hop dimensions to rescue Cyclops’ ex-girlfriend, sea captain Lee Forrester, they encounter dinosaurs, alien invaders and an old friend in Skull the Slayer. But what is the greatest threat? The dinosaurs? The aliens? Or Doom and Magneto?

Plus: the mutant super heroes meet the new Ghost Rider!

Collecting X-MEN (2010) #15.1 and #16-19, the X-Men: FF trade paperback is written by Victor Gischler and illustrated by Jorge Molina, Mirco Pierfederici and Will Conrad.

The Ghost Rider meet-up aside (which feels like a forced exercise in padding to be quite honest), the X-Men: FF story arc turns out to be a hugely entertaining one, delivering a solid story that has all the hallmarks of action, adventure, humour and big fight scenes that you have come to expect from a great X-men comic book tale. There is plenty of “screen time” for all the involved cast members (both X-men and Future Foundation) and as per usual the interactions between the various team members, not mention the teams themselves, make for an engaging read.

(And besides, who doesn’t like a story set in a dinosaur-filled, lost Savage Land type setting anyway?)

Visually I have to say that I enjoyed the pages from all the artists involved, with all three art teams delivering work that is stylistically fairly similar, thus making the story feel a little less disjointed than what it could have (a problem often encountered with multi-artist story arcs). The colouring throughout is gorgeous, as expected from one of these top shelf franchises, and overall I have to say this is an enjoyable read to pick up if you have some spare time on your hands.

Obviously not a very deep, dramatic or seminal story being told here, but pretty damn good entertainment nevertheless!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Men

Iron Man: Extremis (2005)

iron man extremis trade paperback coverA landscape of terrifying new technologies threatens to overwhelm fragile mankind! What is Extremis, who has unleashed it, and what does its emergence portend for the world?

Extremis is a 2005 six part story arc from writer Warren Ellis and artist Adi Granov that sought to redefine the character into a more modern day setting. It’s an extremely popular Iron Man story and indeed, elements from the arc were lifted to form the basis of the excellent Iron Man 3 movie.

Whilst this story of a virus capable of creating incredibly powerful superhuman subjects which after sabotage is set on a direct collision course with a greatly outmatched Iron Man is certainly entertaining and makes for a great tale, I have to say, I don’t quite get why it is such a highly regarded Iron Man arc. I do get the fact that it serves the purpose of redefining a more modern Iron Man quite well, but I have to say that for me it felt like more of a throw away story arc than anything else – and the often forced dialogue didn’t really help its case either.

On the art front Adi Granov’s visuals are amazingly detailed and gorgeous to look at, but in the same breath suffers from the problem most photo realistic artists suffer from – panels appear very static and it is difficult for a reader to get much in terms of action and movement out of it.

Still, it was a good read and on the whole the art IS gorgeous, making it a certainly recommendable read, particularly for those already heavily invested in the Iron Man universe.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremis

Danni Shinya Luo: X-23 #1 Cover (2010) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 13 DEC 2012

After the events of Second Coming and the stunning conclusion to X-Force, X-23 strikes out on her own in this 2010 ongoing series from Marvel Comics, written by best-selling author Majorie Liu, spinning out of the events of Wolverine #1! X-23 has never had an easy relationship with the rest of the X-Men, but when she learns someone has taken down Wolverine, she must step up to fill his shoes.

While the interior art chores on X-23 fell to artist Will Conrad, artist Danni Shinya Luo, known for her gorgeous watercolor depictions of fantasy girls, was tasked with coming up with what ended up being a pretty awesome cover for the latest book featuring everyone’s favourite girl with claws!

X-23-01-cover-Danni-Shinya-Luo

Comic Book Art: Colossus by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend Comic Book Art | Comic Books 25 JUN 2012

I’ve always been a huge fan of American comic book artist Chris Bachalo’s darkly emotive (and often quite cartoony) artwork, and this particular piece of artwork featuring the hulking figure of Colossus of the X-Men against a brilliant yellow background (with the aid of inker supremo Tim Townsend), ended up being the cover for issue 3 of the X-Men: Colossus Bloodline 5-part mini-series from Marvel that ran back in 2005.

Trevor Hairsine: X-Men: Deadly Genesis Cover (2006) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 24 MAR 2012

From writer Ed Brubaker arose 2006’s X-Men: Deadly Genesis, which pitted the team against a mysterious and deadly enemy who originated out of the team’s very own history and had returned to take them on from outer space, following the events of the epic House of M storyline. (Hint, it was Vulcan).

Artist Trevor Hairsine handled the interior pencils on the book, and although his was not the official cover to the first issue of the series, he did get to produce one of the two variant covers in which the book was also published, with his focusing on everyone’s favourite hairy and quite stocky X-man, Wolverine.

Looking at the one they went with as the official cover compared to his Wolverine depiction, well let us just say that this is one of those silly editorial decisions that I just don’t get!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadly_Genesis

Adi Granov: X-Men: Legacy #232 Cover (2010) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 18 FEB 2012

The synopsis for Mike Carey’s second chapter of the Necrosha storyline reads: A classic X-Villain hitched a ride on Destiny’s body when Selene brought her back from the dead. But this villain doesn’t want to be part of the Black Queen’s master plan – He’s got his own agenda!

While penciller Clay Mann was responsible for the interior pencils, cover artist supreme Adi Granov was approached to provide the cover art, and as per usual he whipped up a stunningly beautiful piece of work, featuring a very detailed Rogue and Magneto getting all clingy with one another.

Because of course, who doesn’t want to see characters getting clingy with one another? :P

Mike Mignola: X-Men Classic #58 Cover (1991) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 04 FEB 2012

Always eager to make some money off their huge back issue archive, Marvel at one stage had a dig through their old X-Men archives, pulled a couple of great story arcs from the vault and commissioned some new cover art to wrap it in before making a further $1.25 off old material. Certainly not the worst business plan ever, and actually something I quite appreciated because it meant access to classic story lines I would otherwise never be exposed to!

For issue 58 which was a reprint of 1982’s Uncanny X-Men #154 featuring the X-Men and Corsair taking on a horde of Sidrian Hunters, Hellboy superstar creator Mike Mignola got assigned the job of producing a new cover for the reprint, and so he whipped up this particularly dynamic piece in his classic heavily shadowed style, depicting a stressed group of Storm, Cyclops and Corsair, as they huddle together against a seemingly endless barrage of insidious Sidrian Hunters!

First Impressions… Marvel Anime: X-Men (2011) Anime | My Reviews 18 JAN 2012

Admittedly, I quite enjoyed this entry in the Marvel Anime outing, which in total consists of a 12-part Iron Man, 12-part Wolverine, 12-part X-Men and 12-part Blade (in that order) run. The story is quite engaging, and sees a core X-Men group of Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast and Storm travel to Japan to try and solve an absorbing mystery, one which entails the disappearance of mutants, secondary mutation in mutants, U-Men, the Inner Circle, Emma Frost, and a complete jamming of mutant signatures in the affected area!

As the story unfolds and mysteries revealed, we find that there is even more at play here than originally thought, including a secret from Charles’ past that not even Professor X himself was aware of!

The plot and storytelling is solid, the characters are all faithful to their comic book counterparts, and the clever use of Armor/Hisako Ichiki makes grounding this story in the unfamiliar territory of Japan feel quite valid and thus everything just works.

There’s not much in terms of humour or heavy, heavy drama here, but plenty of pulse quickening action and loads of intrigue and mysteries to be resolved, making for a delightful watch which you can easily lose yourself in as you race through all 12 episodes in what will probably be one sitting!

The animation is particularly strong (no surprises there, it is after all from Madhouse!), featuring some fantastic character designs and detail, plus a host of beautifully rendered backgrounds. The fight sequences are slick, well thought out and co-ordinated, and in the end Marvel Anime: X-Men is simply put, a great looking television show.

Similarly, the music score and voice actors employed are all well suited to the task at hand, leading to a polished final product.

Final verdict? Highly recommended for all anime and X-men fans then! :)

(Complete Viewing)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Men_Anime

Comic Book Art: Emma Frost (White Queen) by Aly Fell Comic Book Art | Comic Books 07 NOV 2011

Aly Fell (Alastair Fell to his mum) is a Manchester, England based illustrator and concept artist with well over 20 years of experience in both the animation and games industry, having previously worked as an animator at Cosgrove Hall Films. Currently a freelance illustrator and seemingly doing quite well for himself, Aly is best known for his female form art, more of which can be found on his blog here.

Today’s featured piece of comic art depicts a fantastically rendered Emma Frost, a.k.a The White Queen, a mutant from the X-Men franchise commanding powerful psychic abilities and who more often than not finds herself siding with the villains rather than the heroes, though with her you never quite know where she really stands!