Creating a credible kid sidekick isn’t an easy task. The basic concept is always to give the younger readers a character they can personally identify with. The problems there are legion. For starters, readers want to be Batman, not Robin. Furthermore, the sidekick has to have the correct amount of competence. Too much and the character can outshine the hero and readers don’t like that. Not enough and the sidekick will need too much constant rescuing. And then there’s the issue of older writers trying to write “hip” dialogue for a character much younger than themselves, as was the disastrous case of Snapper Carr when he first arrived on the scene as the Justice League’s sidekick.
Good sidekicks and younger characters can be done. But for every successful Robin, there’s probably three or four (at least) Danny Chases.
Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde is a middle of the pack Secret Wars tie-in. Currently ranked 22nd in our Power Rankings, it is not a bad read, but doesn’t do much to stand out. What does make this series a bit unique is that the Star-Lord featured here is the actual, genuine, 100% original Star-Lord from the 616 Marvel Universe. Outside of the main series, very few of the life raft survivors have appeared anywhere, let alone had their own series. I’ll take a spoiler-y look at this series after the cut.
Marvel has really gotten a lot out of a story line that was surprisingly only two issues of Uncanny X-Men back in 1981. The Chris Claremont/John Byrne classic has spawned numerous spinoffs and tie-ins and of course the best X-Men movie.
(On a side note, the “future” in the original story was 2013. Man I’m old.)
Unfortunately, we also got the Secret Wars tie-in/sequel Years of Future Past. I currently have it ranked as 47th out of 50 in our Secret Wars Power Rankings. Tom would place it last. As might Ryan if he hadn’t stopped reading it in disgust. I’ve already looked at issue 1 and after the break I will finish the series with Years of Future Past #2-#5.
As I’ve made my way through reading all the Secret Wars tie-ins, some titles naturally gravitated to the bottom of my “to read” pile for some reason or another. Upon agreeing to work on the Power Rankings, I had to catch up on those “bottom of the pile” reads, and quick. Some turned out to be true gems (Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos, Inhumans: Attilan Rising) while others turned out to be better than expected (M.O.D.O.K. Assassin, Master Of Kung-Fu). (Where Monsters Dwell was in that list too. While not a true gem, it is definitely better than expected and in the second tier of titles in the rankings.)
One of those titles has come to completion, and after the break we will look at the drunken adventures of Shang-Chi, the Master Of Kung-Fu.
In the late 80’s/early 90’s unless you were wearing a red and blue spider suit, nothing was as big as the X-Men for Marvel. With the collector boom in full swing, issues were selling millions of copies. Artists like Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri and (shudder) Rob Liefeld were making their mark and establishing the popularity that would allow them to later launch Image Comics. And an animated series was released that would become one of the most honored and celebrated this side of Batman: The Animated Series.
The writers, artists and editors of the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe also had the related title crossovers nailed. Whereas now we seem to wait for each company wide event, at that time is was more a question of what the next X-crossover would be? Inferno, X-Tinction Agenda, X-Cutioner’s Song, Age of Apocolypse to name a few. While some would crossover into other titles, these were X-Events to the core.
In this post we’ll look at a couple of books inspired by those crossovers (Inferno #1, X-Tinction Agenda #1), a continuation of that animated series (X-Men ’92 #1) and one outlierfrom the early 80’s that really set the stage for all X-crossovers to come (Years of Future Past #1).
I love a good X-Men cosplay, especially if it’s Kitty Pryde (my gamer tag just incase anyone wanted to know….actually it’s HelloKittyPryde, but who cares). Anyway – back to the cosplay. We love how TMC Illustrationcaptured one of Professor X’s top students – bonus – WITH DRAGON! (via: Comicbook Cosplay)
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.
Want to cause a dispute among comics fans? Ask them about big blockbuster crossovers. Most fans claim to hate the dang things, and yet they still shell out good money to read them. Many come out like clockwork, and storylines inbetween seem to be more the calm between storms. Publishers promise big changes. “Nothing will be the same!” they say. Rarely is this ever the case, and many changes are so minor the fans barely notice. Even if resurrection were not a distinct possibility in any case that doesn’t involve removing a tragic backstory, most fans know better than to assume many characters will actually stay dead. Usually its more like, “This character will remain dead until we figure out how to bring them back in at least a somewhat plausible manner.”
In the end, most crossovers don’t do much. DC has Convergence coming this summer, just in time for the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, probably the only crossover to actually make massive changes that really stuck for the longest time. Marvel is doing a new Secret Wars that is doing…something. Neither publisher is saying anything, and that just stokes the Jimmy Impossibles of the world to a frenzy until someone is left cleaning up an awful mess of drool and disappointment.
The X-Men were created for two primary reasons. One was because Stan Lee needed another superhero team and was feeling kind of lazy, so he threw up his hands and said, “You know what? They were just born that way!” The other was as a at-times heavy-handed anti-racism allegory. The year was 1963, and the Civil Rights Movement was heating things up across the country. Younger readers of comic books could be taught a lesson on tolerance, and comics were a good medium for that, so here were the X-Men, mutants who were feared and hated by non-mutants for the crime of being born different. But the X-Men were good and defended regular folks against the evil mutants of the world, in an attempt to prove that not all mutants were evil.
Even given the sliding scale of Marvel time, where everything outside Captain America and the Invaders’ exploits during World War II depicted in a Marvel Comic (barring the upcoming Secret Wars) has taken place over a roughly 12 year time period, the X-Men really suck at their task of promoting tolerance.