I decided to try and use my Marvel Unlimited Plus membership again for this column about an issue of New Mutants. I thought back to my (early) teenage years and the comics that I loved then. I already mentioned how important the mid-1980s were in comics, so I went to that era for this week's Review of Old Comics. Legion has gone from his first appearance to a minor supporting character in the X-Men titles, to the catalyst for a major X-Men event. From there he's gotten his own comic book series and a Fox television series now in its second season. Legion has become an important character, especially as an entry point for new readers drawn in by the television show. Legion first appeared in New Mutants #25, but his story first started in the very next issue. This is why we're reviewing New Mutants #26.
When I was a teenager, especially a young teenager, Uncanny X-Men was the most popular comic among my peers. From looking back at comics journalism, we were not unique. This was also the same year I've been covering in my run of the Legion. It turns out that 1984 is a very important year for comics. This saw DC Comics make an investment in the direct market with its Baxter series. It also saw an explosion of independent publishers, including Mirage Studios with the breakout phenomenom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Antarctic Press, NBM Publishing, and Continuity Studios also debuted in 1984. Alan Moore took over Saga of the Swamp Thing. Marvel debuted the event series with Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars. Fantastic comics were being produced in 1984. Uncanny X-Men was one of them, going in new directions, especially with this issue.
I bought myself a membership to Marvel Unlimited Plus, a neat service Marvel offers where you can catch up on the history of the Avengers, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the like. I like the idea of reading old comics whenever the urge hits me. Thus, I decided to use this gift to do a Review
Occasionally, I just trip across a cover while browsing the Internet, and I remember it vaguely from my childhood. Magik, the Storm and Illyana Rasputin mini-series from 1984, fills in the space between panels of Uncanny X-Men #160. In that issue, the X-Men, and Colossus's little sister Illyana are transported to the other-dimensional domain of Belasco, a one-armed sorcerer that had previously faced off against Ka-Zar and Shanna, the She-Devil. Near the end, as the X-Men are escaping, Belasco takes Illyana from their grasp. For a brief second, Kitty Pryde loses her grip on Illyana, but regains it, only to pull her through after she's been in Belasco's realm for several years. Later on, Illyana would exhibit mutant abilities to travel through space and time using "discs" similar to those that randomly appeared in Belasco's realm. She also began using magical abilities and summoning a "soul-sword" that went from looking like a lightsaber to a traditional, albeit glowing sword. This series explained what happened in that span of time.
It's Wolverine Month here at Needless Essentials Online, so I'm looking at one of the pivotal books for Wolverine, Uncanny X-Men #133. This issue spotlighted Wolverine in a way that featured him as quite possibly the only X-Man that could have rescued his teammates from a Hellfire Club that had corrupted and turned their most powerful member against them.
With Luke Cage now available on Netflix, I thought it would be nice to look at some of the character's comic book past. Instead of going with one of the issues that everyone refers to in looking at the character's past, such as his first appearance or the time that he to collect payment from Doctor Doom, I went with the first issue that Power Man officially shared with his long time partner, Iron Fist. For two issues, Iron Fist was a guest star, but this was the first time the cover logo changed to reflect a partnership. Legally, the title wouldn't officially change for a few issues thanks to way these things would happen in the 1970s, but this is the issue where the logo changed, making this the first issue of Power Man and Iron Fist.
It's time for another edition of me reviewing old comics, this time with the first appearance of the New Mutants. I know that the last Marvel comic I reviewed three weeks ago was another New Mutants comic, but I have a fondness for the concept that Xavier's School should have actual students at it. In 1982, Marvel felt the same way, introducing five new youngsters to become students of Charles Xavier, even wearing the original X-Men uniforms that Kitty Pryde had eschewed in the pages of Uncanny X-Men.
We're back with an new review of an old comic, Excalibur #1. This time we go back to the late 80s when Marvel started spinning off its popular Uncanny X-Men title. Wolverine's regular series came along about this same time. After the X-Men had apparently died in their own title, a few of the team members left behind joined with Captain Britain to form Excalibur, complete with a new series written by Chris Claremont and drawn by a fan favorite artist who just happened to have a history with Captain Britain, Alan Davis.
Over on our Facebook Page, We've been sharing the covers of the original What If? comic series, and among those was What If? #27, which is What If Phoenix had not died? within the comics, we get one story, but another unfolded in Phoenix: The Untold Story. The reason for the change is the role that Dark Phoenix played as a genocidal villain. In feeding her hunger, she consumed the star for the D'Bari causing it to go nova and destroy the planet. Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter recounts that when he saw that scene he asked to see the ending and demanded that it change. Chris Claremont and John Byrne then changed the ending to the one that was published with Jean Grey committing suicide rather than kill billions again.
New Mutants #18 August 1984 New Mutants #18 was the beginning of a new artist on the Mutant books, Bill Sienkiewicz, who had made a mark on Moon Knight and a few other books. This was a real turn, as Marvel's style was far from artsy, and the comics industry was still recovering from the heavy influence of Neal Adams. Sienkiewicz had developed a style that was based on Illustration and it showed in page layouts that, looking back, set the stage for the modern age manner of irregular panel shapes, overlapping images, and borderless panels. I remember as a twelve-thirteen year-old young artist being blown away by this new style to my comics, and was instantly drawn to it. For Christmas of 1984, I actually copied a panel from this comic and used mixed media to make a Christmas present. SYNOPSIS: We open on New Mutant team leader Dani Moonstar having a terrible nightmare of the Demon Bear that killed her parents. We then see the X-Mansion under attack by the military as a young, red-haired girl uses her powers to shield herself as she makes her way to Professor X trying to reason with the troops telepathically only to be killed. It's revealed that these are the memories of a young woman from the future, the girl from the before, just older, and looking much more ragged. The New Mutants, except Dani and Illyana Rasputin training in the Danger Room, and proving successful, even with some difficulty. Illyana answers the front door to find the red-haired young woman who runs off in tears since she remembers seeing Illyana die.
AVENGERS ANNUAL #10 August 1981 I've had a habit of reviewing overlooked comics, but when I came across this one, I just had to include it. It's also one of the most expensive back issues that I've ever reviewed. The fact that it's a key issue also makes for a unique experience. This comic is the first appearance of Rogue, the X-Men character that has become a fan favorite over the thirty years she's been with the team, being one of the first members to join the second X-Men team that stuck around, almost becoming synonymous with the franchise, to the point of being in the first three films and the upcoming film that's supposed to tie together the franchise. SYNOPSIS: Spider-Woman catches an unconscious woman falling from the Golden Gate Bridge. At the hospital it's discovered that she's Carol Danvers, but her mind is completely gone. She also completely vanished six months earlier. Needing someone who can get inside her mind to find out what happened, Spider-Woman calls Professor X of the X-Men, who comes to San Fransisco as quick as he can. The police have also uncovered a connection Carol Danvers has with the Avengers and the super-hero known as Ms. Marvel. Professor X telepathically lets Spider-Woman know that Carol's mind was wiped clean by an assailant named Rogue.
UNCANNY X-MEN #152 December 1981 This is one of the first X-Men comics that I can remember buying, although not the first. That honor goes to the issue before this one which sports a classic "Kitty leaving Xavier's school crying" cover. I remember buying this and taking with me to read while my mom did the laundry at the laundromat. I got other comics as well, including an issue of Adventure Comics, but to save the life of me, I don't recall anything else. SYNOPSIS: Storm is chasing a red sports car driven by the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost, throwing lightning at it, unable to stop it from going off the curvy mountain road. Inside the car, Kitty wakes up and phases out the car door, as Emma tries to grab her, she loses control and goes off the edge of a cliff, crashing and erupting into flames. Storm panics and flies away haphazardly on a gust of wind. Kitty is fine from the crash, and remembers being taken by Storm to Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy by Storm until she was kidnapped by a panicked Emma Frost. She sees that Emma was thrown clear of the crash and against her baser instincts, decides to rescue her.