Last week, I covered a character that was mostly used by one creator during a comic run for a team book. That was DC’s Faith. It seems only fair to do that again this week for Marvel. Only this time, the creator in question was writing that team for a very, very long time.
This may also just be a retcon gone wrong. This week, we’re looking at Sage.
Many of the Secret Wars tie-ins have familiar names like Infinity Gauntlet, Planet Hulk and Civil War. For most of the series with names you have heard of before, reading the original series is not usually required. I found E Is For Extinction to be the opposite of that.
While I guess I cannot really say because I haven’t read the original run by Grant Morrison, I really felt like I was missing something with this series. Not that I couldn’t understand it, but for 4 issues I felt like there was an inside joke that I was missing out on. Tom Kelly has also made some comments about them nailing the tone and feel of the run.
After the cut I’ll take a spoilery look at E Is For Extinction #1 thru #4. For those that have read Morrison’s run, feel free to jump in and let me know what I’m missing, or what would help me understand this series better.
For many years, the X-Men had the backstory that the original team, minus Beast as he was with the Avengers at the time, went on a mission to the mysterious island of Krakoa and disappeared. Cyclops escaped and he and Professor Xavier put together a new team of mutants who went back to Krakoa and rescued the captured X-Men, making a new team that would go on to become Marvel’s biggest book.
More recently, a retcon came in. There had been for years talk of a third Summers brother after Cyclops and Havoc, and finally, that story was coming out. The third went by the codename of Vulcan, and he was part of a brief X-team that attempted a rescue of the original X-Men from Krakoa. That team appeared to die, and the distraught Cyclops was so upset that Professor X wiped his memory of this second X-Men team before sending out the familiar team that included Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, and Nightcrawler. Vulcan had managed to survive and came back much later very powerful and evil, but how?
Much like they did with superhero movies in 2000, X-Men: The Animated Series showed that you could tell relevant and interesting stories without it being a camp fest. (Ok, in fairness, Batman: The Animated Series began airing a month before X-Men to much critical acclaim, but that doesn’t help my intro.)
The series featured an X-Team similar in roster and look to the work Jim Lee and Chris Claremont were doing in the X-books at the time. Namely Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey and Professor X. It featured mostly original stories, but did adapt some popular comic storylines such as “Days of Future Past” and “The Dark Phoenix Saga”. X-Men and the also excellent Spider-Man animated series even crossed over for their own version of the original Secret Wars.
I previously looked at X-Men ’92 #1 in Part Seven of this series, and after the break I’ll continue with X-Men ’92 #2, X-Men ’92 #3,X-Men ’92 #4 and X-Men ’92 #5. These are all the Infinite Comics versions of these books as the print editions are much slower to come out.
Also, if you are like me and haven’t read all of Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers run leading up to Secret Wars, be sure to take Tom’s Road To Secret Wars course at gabbinggeekuniversity.com. The reading materials are online here: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7.
And that course is a prerequisite to the other parts of this series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Do you love X-Men? Do you love Peanuts? Well then feast your eyes on this awesome Peanuts/X-Men mashup. There is so much cute going on in this photo I don’t know where to start! How about playing a game of “Find the Woodstock Gambit?” Or how about giving props to artist Amelia Davis – Ms. David – we thank you! And for the rest of you, head over to Etsy to get your own print here.
Concluding my recount of the events from Jonathan Hickman’s epic story from his Avengers/New Avengers runs that lead directly into the new Secret Wars if so at least Jimmy Impossible knows what’s going on.
As always, potentially massive SPOILERS after the cut.
Most big comics crossovers and story lines generally promise a death. Most of the time, the death is someone nobody really cares about. The death could be someone who rejoined the group after a sufficiently long absence, or some minor character, or someone no one really got around to liking anyway. Sometimes readers can even eliminate a few contenders by looking to see which characters have solo books that aren’t being canceled anytime soon. And sometimes the death is something even readers know won’t last very long, since the story itself seems to have set up a return somewhere along the line.
Then, occasionally, there’s a death that seems to come out of nowhere to a character people largely love, and in a way that just seems really cheap, with no clear path to return the character to the land of the living. One such death would be when Colossus was killed off in the pages of Uncanny X-Men.
Grant Morrison was, at best, a crazy fit for the X-Men. He came onboard at a time when X-Men continuity was extremely tight and tried to make some interesting changes that long term didn’t stick too well. To be fair, at least one of his changes didn’t really make a lot of sense. Having Magneto working undercover in the Xavier School as the mutant Xorn, claiming to be a Chinese mutant healer with a star for a brain, wasn’t a bad idea, and even the helmet blocking the psychic scans of Professor Xavier, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost works, but it never explained how he fooled Wolverine’s advanced senses. Likewise, Morrison’s take on Magneto as some sort of flaky cult leader who had trouble taking out a single NYPD officer with a handgun was rather embarrassing for the longtime friend and foe of the X-Men. No wonder Chris Claremont reversed that whole thing the minute he got back and declared Magneto was never Xorn. Other ideas of Morrison’s, like secondary mutations, the U-Men, and Cassandra Nova had lasting effects to one degree or another, but the final image of his run was Cyclops and Emma Frost making out on top of Jean Grey’s grave…with her approval from some point in the distant future. Yeah, it was a screwy run in many ways, and Morrison’s style of storytelling may not fit too well with Marvel Comics, while DC’s emphasis on spectacle and wonder over personality seems to work out for him fine.
That said, Morrison gave the world Beak during his time on the X-Men, and that alone was a stroke of masterful storytelling.
Marvel’s big Secret Wars mega-storyarc is coming soon, and if you’ve been following Jimmy Impossible’s posts, you’ve probably gotten a lot of information on what worlds and zones are going to exist and a few of the more recent steps leading to the start of this epic storyline. But Jimmy hasn’t been reading Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers work from the beginning. I have. Jimmy actually goes out sometimes.
Secret Wars looks to be an epic story in the making, and Hickman’s been setting this thing up for the past couple years. People who skipped those steps and jump right into Secret Wars might feel a little lost since they missed the preliminaries.
So, as a public service, here’s what you need to know from the build-up to Secret Wars. SPOILERS behind the cut.