In Remember to Forget, we spotlight comic book stories that I wish I could forget, but I can’t, so I instead share them with you all!
Reader Jed T. wrote in with one specific complaint about the Upstarts, but I figure that just set me off on them in general.
Now, the Upstarts began in X-Factor #67 by Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee, Chris Claremont and Scott Williams, and the concept really wasn't that bad when it was introduced. In that issue, we see Sebastian Shaw's son, Shinobi, who is specifically referred to as an "upstart," kill his own father...
The idea of the sons and daughters of the Hellfire Club or other older villains hunting down and killing their parents so that they could take over the Hellfire Club? That's a fine idea. No one would have a problem with that idea. The problem, you see, was the Upstarts themselves. They were so whiny and odd, but, like in a way that didn't even make any sense! That was Jed's specific critique that he wanted me to address.
Check out this bit from Uncanny X-Men #281 (by While Portacio, Jim Lee, John Byrne and Art Thibert), the issue that really kicked the Upstarts storyline into high gear. Shinobi Shaw is bragging to Trevor Fitzroy about being in the lead of their big contest.
Here is a direct link to the image in case you can't read it so well.
Okay, let's parse this nonsense as best as we can.
So the butler asks if Shinobi wants oysters or snails and Shinobi tells him that he's just going to have dinner now. He says, "A king must not allow his energy level to...diminish." It's probably some sort of innuendo about, like, he's having a ton of sex or something like that? So he needs to get his energy up?
But then Fitroy retorts with, "An odd statement, Shinobi, from one who has chosen such a - shall we say- decadent lifestyle." Which is weird, because he JUST said he needed to eat more BECAUSE he's having so much sex. By the way, huge props to Portacio for filling the room with dudes as well as women. That's pretty darn out there for a 1991 comic book, ya know?
Okay, so first off all, before I get to the next bit exactly, how lame is it that they keep talking to each other in....pauses? Can you imagine how irritating that conversation must be like to hear? It is like two stereotypical Bond villains talking to each other, only this was totally meant to be serious!
So here's Shinobi's next line, You would be the last to judge, I think, Fitzroy, are not you Englishmen well known for your...quirks?"
Is that a thing? But whatever, the dialogue is silly, but the main thing is just how lame the Upstarts are. Fitzroy's Sentinels then (seemingly) kill Emma Frost and the Hellions and then Fitzroy chops Shinobi Shaw's finger off to get the ring to be the king of the Upstarts.
So now, just to continue to show how lame they are, Shinobi TELLS ON FITZROY!!