One More Friday In Westchester

In other words, the ongoing X-nerdification of my former student and occasional studio assistant, Rachel -- documented previously here and here -- is still in progress.

As regular readers of this column know, we just went through a move, so I've been getting rid of a lot of stuff. Additionally I had vowed to thin out the single issues in my comics collection, seeing if I couldn't convert them to trades -- or in some cases, not bother to replace them at all.

Rachel, X-Men superfan that she has become, was the obvious choice to bequeath the X-books to, especially since I needed her to model for my Monday evening portrait class again. I knew she'd enjoy getting a box of X-Men comics a lot more than she would getting thirty bucks for ninety minutes' worth of modeling, and I like my discards to go to a good home. So I dumped about five years' worth of Ultimate X-Men on her.

On top of that, my old friend and occasional CSBG commenter Perry Holley had been thinning out his collection as well, and he'd sent a gigantic crate of donated funnybooks for my students. In an e-mail he had inquired if it would be all right if he earmarked his discarded X-books for Rachel, and I assured him that it would be fine if he just shipped them to her directly. (It amuses me no end how so many fellow fans --and even some professionals!-- are conspiring to lead this innocent fifteen-year-old girl down the same path of comics-fan nerdity that so many of us spent our own adolescence denying, at least out in public.)

So Perry shipped her all his stuff too. It must have been quite a haul for her because the squeals of delight had to have been audible into the next county judging from her Facebook page update. ("Rachel T------- found a mysterious giant box from Georgia on her doorstep.....(wait for it)....FILLED WITH X-MEN COMICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AWESOME TO THE POWER OF A MILLION!! GREG HAS AWESOME FRIENDS!") Between that and the new Wolverine movie, Rachel's having the kind of summer most X-fans her age could only dream of.

Anyway, new books led to new questions, so here we are with round three.

Truthfully, she's now reached the limit of my expertise. Passed it, really. I'd appreciate it a great deal if any of you out there who know more about these things than I do could jump in with any further answers and clarifications, down in the comments section.


I feel so silly now...I was re-watching X-3, and I realized that when Warren's dad is talking about the cure, he is almost exactly quoting Kavita Rao from the Astonishing X-Men books. You weren't kidding about it tying in!

Would I kid you?

The interesting thing -- well, to me -- was how sharply divided fan opinion was over the third movie. Julie and I rather liked it, certainly better than we liked Spider-Man 3 for example, but the people that hated it, really hated it.

I do think I would have liked it better if they'd simply done a straight-up adaptation of the Phoenix story (leaving out the Shi'ar and the Watcher and the other comic-booky bits that would have looked too silly on screen...) because, among other things, they'd have had to give Cyclops a bigger role. Or so one would hope. But as it stands Cyclops really got punked in the movie trilogy. That's my only real gripe with it.

Ohmigosh, I'm SO addicted to Ultimate X-Men. I'm up to about #80, and it's definitely the best X-Men series I've read so far (although Astonishing X-Men and X-Men: First Class come pretty close).

Now I'm REALLY annoyed that it got canceled. And I'm really annoyed that I got to MEET Brian Michael Bendis at the ComiCon and I didn't even realize he'd written a really good few arcs of it!!

Honestly, I'm not sure if it's getting CANCELED-canceled or just paused-and-relaunched. I don't really keep up. I do hear that the Ultimatum crossover thing where all the Ultimate books are wrapping up is kind of a bloodbath as far as killing off characters is concerned.

On the other hand, it's comics, so when a character dies any more it's about on the level of a bad cold. I imagine they'll be back in some form. Look at it this way -- now you can get caught up. The series is available in trade paperbacks that you can pick up for peanuts on Amazon.

I was wondering...

I knew it! You are getting to be such a fangirl. Okay, here we go...

Have Emma Frost and Jean Grey ever actually been on the team at the same time?

Oh, yeah. That was something Grant Morrison brought to the party. When he did his X-Men run in the early part of this decade, he wanted to use Colossus -- or so the story goes -- and when he found out he couldn't, he brought in Emma Frost instead, and gave her the secondary mutation of being able to turn diamond-hard.

It actually worked out better in the long run, at least I thought so. Emma was such a bitch, it was fun having someone that nasty on the team. And having her flirt with Scott while Jean was right there just drove fans completely out of their minds. Morrison must have loved winding the readers up like that, and then to spring the double whammy of Scott actually being interested AND Emma actually falling in love with Scott.... that was way more interesting, at least to me, then Scott and Jean's Perfect Love. The X-Men have always been as much about the soap opera as about the adventure.

I really liked what Grant Morrison did -- his stuff was what got me to put the book back on my list after twenty years being away from it -- and it's all out in paperback as well. Again, you can find them on Amazon for next to nothing.

How many X-Men comics are still being published, currently?

Dear God, I don't know. What time is it? They sprout like mushrooms, any more.

The place to check is Marvel's web site, I suppose. Looking the June listings over, I see...

Astonishing Tales #5, featuring Wolverine and the Punisher

Exiles #3, featuring alternate-universe X-Men

New Mutants #2, a revival of the old title featuring the junior X-team

Ultimatum #4, the big crossover featuring all the Ultimate gang -- I guess we'll count that since it features Magneto as the villain and a lot of the Ultimate X-guys are players in that story

Wolverine: Revolver #1, a solo Wolverine mini-series

Cable #14, about the fellow you asked about last time, in his own book

GeNext: United #2, about the X-Men's sons and daughters twenty years from now

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #5

Uncanny X-Men #511 - this is the one that started it all, still chugging along

Uncanny X-Men First Class: Giant-Size Special #1

Wolverine #74

X-Factor #44

X-Men Forever #1 -- this is an interesting experiment, it's Chris Claremont picking up right where he left off in the early 1990s. So this book disregards everything that's been published since then, it's kind of a 'do-over.' We'll see if it sells. I rather like the idea of letting Claremont have a do-over, but I'd have started earlier, before that whole screwed-up Inferno business.

Wolverine: Origins #37

X-Men Legacy #225

X-Men Origins: Gambit #1 - Gambit's been out of favor for a while, but with the new movie I guess he's cool again.

Astonishing X-Men #30 - this is actually the only one of the lot I'm kind of interested in, but I'll wait and get it in paperback. Warren Ellis is writing it now and he's good. Plus he's British and snarky, so he does a great Emma.

Dark Wolverine #1 - no, I don't think it's anything to do with Dark Phoenix. This is some sort of tie-in to the current "Dark Reign" crossover.

Wolverine Noir #3 - this is a stunt where Marvel is doing their characters like they would have been in an old black-and-white movie in the 1940s.

It sounds kind of silly but I hear some of the books are quite good. There's also a Daredevil Noir and a Spider-Man Noir.

Wolverine: First Class #16

Wolverine: Weapon X #3 - for a guy whose schtick was being a loner with a mysterious past, there's really no area of Wolverine's fictional history that Marvel has left unexplored.

X-Force #16 - this is some kind of offshoot team book from the main X-Men, but Wolverine and Cable are both in it. I mention this because I know you were worried there might not be enough Wolverine comics out there.

...okay. Now those are just the regular comics for June. That doesn't count all the different paperback collections reprinting older comics like Essential X-Men volumes one through nine, or Excalibur Classic, or the Ultimate X-Men Omnibus collections, or any of that stuff-- all of which is still in print, and there are more paperback collections coming out every month as well.

And even counting those, that doesn't take into account older series that have yet to be reprinted that you can find in back-issue bins-- like the first run of Cable or the Rogue mini-series or any one of a dozen others.

Let's just say that when you decided you were 'obsessed' with the X-Men, you were embarking on a lifetime project if you hope to get caught up with all this.

Is Wolverine ever really in a long-term relationship with anybody in any of the comics?

Nah, not really, He had kind of an on-and-off thing with Mariko of Clan Yashida for a while, but it never really took.

But really, in the X-Men, there is no romance that isn't fair game to get screwed up. Remember, it's a soap opera.

Do any main characters ever die from the Legacy Virus thing?

Colossus. But he got better.

When Angel gets metallic-y wings from Apocalypse (I think from Apocalypse, anyway..), does he leave the team or become evil? He LOOKS evil.

I think he might have for a little while, but it was mostly an excuse to try and raise his power levels a bit. Just having wings didn't seem like much of a power. And it was a time in superhero comics when it was kind of trendy. Everyone was getting all grim and bad-ass.

Later he went back to his regular feathered self, but still blue, and then he lost the blue skin as well. But I gather the blue bad-ass metal-wing version of Angel recently got a revival.

You know, you are really testing the limits of my knowledge. I am having to look up all sorts of stuff this time. You're the one with the X-Men Encyclopedia. Aren't some of these things listed in there?

Do Blink/Magnus (okay...Magneto x Rogue...EW), and the rest of the time-jumper people ever interact with the X-Men? Or are they just behind the scenes, sort of?

Annnnd this is where I have to just give up. I hope someone out there reading the column knows this one. I tried to read the Exiles entry on Wikipedia and I swear my eyes just glazed over. I gotta plead ignorance here. You have, at last, stumped the columnist.

But hopefully not the legions of readers out there who see this. Or at least Perry, because this has to be from one of the books he sent you.

Was Wolverine BORN with bone claws that Weapon X later coated with adamantium, OR was he born with a healing factor but no claws and was given them by Weapon X?

I'm going to say born with bone claws, but I could be wrong. Readers? Again I defer to you.

Sorry I asked so many questions...You probably thought you wore me out, but thanks to my X-Encyclopedia, now I know MORE, and have more questions based on my new knowledge. :)

Oh, I don't really mind. Honestly I was kind of stumped for a column this week and I think the readers enjoy seeing you get nerdier and nerdier as you progress down the path of X-knowledge. Although I suspect this is my last time out as X-sensei because at this point, I'm pretty sure you know more than I do.

And I made another picture!! I thought it would be cool if the movie-verse X-Men were ever in a battle, for Rogue to absorb Wolvy's powers while he was down, to keep fighting.

And it's movie-verse, because I have no clue (YET), how to draw the X-Men's costumes from any of the comics.

You know how I know you are passing the nerd point of no return? Because you are using expressions like "movie-verse."

Anyway, I'll leave it to the rest of the readers out there to fill in. I think if past experience is any guide, there's all kinds of folks out there happy to tell you all the things that I missed,

As for me, I'll be back next week.

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