Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading
Damn was The New Mutants was an awesome comic book of the 80’s and one of the things that adds immensely to it’s street cred were the amazing covers that Bill Sienkiewicz produced. Here picture is one of many stunning pieces of artwork that graced the series covers. Most of his artwork on The New Mutants was pretty intense, dreamlike and often frightening. New Mutants #18 is a prime example of how hard Bill was killing it back in the day. If you want a real treat check out his run on the series in 1983 starting with issue #18 and ending with #31. Perhaps I’ll compile all of the covers here in one post. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore…
I was such a big X-men fanatic back in the 1980’s! Lets face it they were the most unique super team ever way back then. The only problem was that the comic book was so hot at the time that all of the classic issues featuring the second team were expensive as hell! So as a kid I wasn’t able to afford all the cool Claremont / Byrne stuff. Well lucky for all of us they reprinted all those issues under the title of Classic X-Men! Yep not only did these issues feature incredible brand new back up stories of the our favorite characters in their more “normal” everyday lives but they included brand spankin’ new covers as well!! Here is one of my favorites Classic X-Men #45 drawn by Steve Lightie proving once again that often times keeping a cover simple is often the most effective way to paint an incredible picture!
This issue reprints issue #139, here’s what the original looked like also a great cover by John Byrne:
There was a time back in the 1980’s that the X-men were the coolest thing in the entire world! They were like mutant misfit punk rockers and and growing up they were the unique team that you felt you were part of. Today the X-men are fuckin’ corporate whores with like a dozen different titles, huge blockbuster movies and cartoons. They’re still swell guys but they don’t have that dangerous charm to them that they did back in the eighties. They didn’t fit in and because of that they were cool. It was an era of the team that simply can’t be recaptured. They weren’t the Avengers, they were a tight knit family with a lot of problems that you could relate to especially as a teen. The main reasons why they were so awesome during this era was direct result of Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr. Here’s an awesome cover Romita did during that very special time and this one still to this day remains iconic to me and my eleven year old self. This was back when wolverine wasn’t a pretty boy, he was mean and dangerous!
Just got done reading the Death of Wolverine #4, the final nail in the coffin for Logan! Now we all know that Wolverine will only be “dead” for maybe a year or two tops. Same cookie cutter superhero death formula as always, a big comic book hubub, news stories, a bunch of comic books that feature the effect of the characters death, funeral issues, blah blah blah..Yeah so Wolverine will be going MIA for a little while and hopefully people will miss him enough that Marvel can then again make some big money on his return as well.
So was the death of Wolverine worth all the media hype, shiny metallic variant covers, director’s cuts and a high cover price of five bucks a pop? I’m gonna say a firm no. This series should have been at least 6 issues better yet 8 to really tell a compelling unforgettable Wolverine story with some serious staying power. Aside from a strong first issue, the story in general while playing on nostalgia from Logan’s past felt incredibly rushed with not much real substance and not much new to offer to his complex story.
On a positive note at least it wasn’t Sabretooth who “killed” him, his final nemesis “Cornelius” was at least a surprise and the series art was pretty fantastic. Shocking? Nah…issue number four brought Logan’s legacy full circle back to the Weapon X program where Cornelius of course was creating super soldiers with adamantium laced bones and of course he needs Wolverine’s healing factor to ensure his test subjects can survive the procedure. Of course when he realizes he no longer possesses it, he’s got little use for Logan and orders a new nemesis Major Sharp to destroy him. Ultimately the ending is in many ways very predictable and I can already see the image of Wolverine literally bursting back into the realm of the living in a year or so.
My final thoughts, I’m glad Wolverine is “dead”. He’s been done to death literally. He’s been around every corner for the last two plus decades, he’s turned into a bit of softie too. Wolverine is not the mysterious anti-hero we came to fall in love with anymore. I think some time apart is healthy, he’s like a lover who you’ve spent every waking second with for far too long, you need some time to breath dammit! I also really hate these ‘Death’ of events. They’re NOT shocking in the least. If you really wanted to shock us have his death take place unannounced in his main core book! Have all this shit happen but don’t tell us he’s gonna die a year before it happens!! Imagine if Robert Kirkman announced every death in The Walking Dead and made a damn spectacle out of it every time someone kicked the bucket?! How shocking would that be?!
I also don’t like all these tie in books, I for a second considered buying “The Logan Legacy” #1 today until I saw how terribly drawn and stupid every panel of it all looked. I for one look forward to a good loooong ass break from Logan. When they do bring him back, and they will,I hope Marvel learns from their mistakes. Give him a spot in the X-men(One title), give him one solo book of his own, get his hairy ass out of The Avengers and make him more like the guy who we used to all wanna hang out with! Make him pissed, mean and most of all a loner like he was meant to be. I look forward to the day I miss me some Wolverine!!! ‘Nuff said…..
I was beginning to lose hope this year for the summer blockbusters, after two big duds being The Amazing Spider-man 2 & Godzilla I was quite certain things weren’t going to shape up to much of anything memorable for the rest of the season. However, I was proven quite wrong as I’ve come to believe that X-men Days of Future Past is not only the best X-Flick but quite possibly the best superhero movie of all time. Yeah, it was that good! It finally brings things back full circle with the X-men franchise and is a superior sequel to the fine X-men: First Class. It rights many of the wrongs of “The Last Stand” & “X-men Origins: Wolverine” and brings us back to the fresh start that we all wished for. We’ve got an incredible X-movie headed by but not over powered by Wolverine, played excellently once again by Hugh Jackman.
The movie loosely follows the classic 1981 comic book story line of the same name but adds it’s own flare as it keeps up with the continuity of the movie universe that has been set up. What we ultimately get is a incredibly engaging time travel adventure back to the early 1970’s (which alone in itself is a great deal of fun) filled with wonderful set pieces, groovy clothes and ultra impressive cast. It really shows here how important a cast full of great actors, who clearly care about the characters they’re playing can really make a movie. Plus having director Bryan Singer back, despite all of the controversy surrounding him at the moment, turned out to be a great thing. It makes me even more upset though that he flaked on “The Last Stand”, however if this was his way of redeeming himself to all the X-fans then so be it!
Now I feel I have to say something here about one of my favorite moments in the movie that involve….Quicksilver. Yes, I ripped on his movie look and ridiculous clothing here many times. Somehow though, his all too short role in the movie was one of the best sequences I’ve ever seen in a superhero flick! It’s the same feeling I got during the opening Nightcrawler sequence in X2. Yeah, crazy as it is Quicksilver kinda stole the show! Don’t get me wrong, he still desperately needs a full on makeover! He looked incredibly out of place in his lame ass late 1990’s hot topic attire!
Lastly I wanted to state that the movie looked great, the special effects were wonderful. CG was used tastefully here and the outcome made for an incredibly believable adventure visually. It’s final after credits sequence gives us a good glimpse of what’s next to come in Age of Apocalypse which is planned to be set in the 1980’s. I hope the whole crew will somehow be back for it, and Hugh Jackman better be back for at least one more X-men movie! Go check this out if you want to know what a true summer blockbuster should look like!!
I however still do NOT condone this Carl’s JR Quicksilver bullshit!
I just had to give my two cents worth on this weekend’s big hit “The Wolverine” since I totally trashed, heavily here, many times, the god damn awful X-men Origins: Wolverine any chance I could get in the past! So “The Wolverine” was something I was completely ready to hate, however before the movie started I decided I would forget that last venture as hard as it could be. I’ve got to say though, once The Wolverine started rolling I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It was clear from the first five minutes we were getting a completely different type of film. One that was ready to let Jackman finally shine as everybody’s favorite feral mutant. This was NOT a hokey dumbed down cartoon Wolverine movie, like it’s predecessor. Nope, this one was straight up Wolverine from the comic books!
Here Wolverine is done far better that any of his previous onscreen appearances. Jackman proves and practically erases those past movies except for the referencing of the third and worst X-men film of the franchise. Still though I give it props for sticking with the continuity- So no problems there. Wolverine in this one is a mean bastard, ready to kill, drink, swear and thoroughly fuck up anyone who pisses him off-FINALLY!
Jackman not only proves he loves Wolverine, but actually makes you feel something real for the character. It makes you root for the poor soul, hoping that maybe he’ll get some peace of mind for once in his life and maybe, just maybe find real love, if anything so he can stop having weird ass fantasies about a kinda creepy looking Famke Janssen every ten minutes. However weird these dream sequences were with her popping up all over the film, it still made sense as we all know Wolverine’s past obsession with Jean Grey, that made for a great love triangle in the comic books. Yet I couldn’t help but want to yell out at the screen to Logan to “get the fuck over it already dude!!!” But in a way I felt strangely sorry for the guy.
So this movie finally gets it right, almost and I’ll get to that. Continue reading