Was there a big push of Machine man in 1998 or something? Weird that a barely-used and mostly forgotten character should get co-billing in two annuals.
It was the late '90’s. Everyone was getting their own title. Silver Sable even got one with a chromium cover first issue.
I seem to remember he got his own title called X-51.
X-Men 74 - Kelly & Pacheco
With Callisto still fighting for her life in the Morlock tunnels, Marrow again tries to help her and becomes obsessed with Angel whom she sees as some kind of saviour.
Kelly does a nice job here and plays on Marrow’s struggle with almost wanting to please the ‘wind rider’ who she sees as a figure of normality in the upworld and yet at the same time still wanting to avenge losses she feels were inflicted by human kind. Warren ventures into the tunnels and is confronted by the Abomination which Marrow witnesses.
Elsewhere we learn that Maggot possesses super strength and that there is a killer on the loose in town and the signs point to his slug thingies. Logan investigates.
Back in the tunnels, Marrow’s fascination with Angel leads her into a scrap with Abomination.
It’s words rather than fists that end the confrontation as Warren and Abom vie for Marrow’s feelings/purpose. I thought this issue was pretty good from start to finish. Marrow is easily the most interesting of the new recruits and Kelly starts to give her more focus and depth. Pacheco’s art is top notch as well.
X-Men 75 - Kelly & Garcia
Rogue has a point here. Gambit, Wolvie and herself were all loose cannons/unknowns when the X-dudes took them in. Marrow deserves a chance at least. Although Storm has seen her at her worst trying to kill humans. Nice little difference of opinion between her and Sam.
Wolvie has discovered it wasn’t Maggot’s slugs that has been killing people in town but is instead the N’Garai. I don’t know who or what that is.
Ah, they look like this.
Some of the X-people get teleported to the Ukraine. No idea why.
Storm fills us in on how to beat them.
Wait a minute. There’s actually another entity called Pilgrim. At this point I was completely lost.
Quick bit of exposition to explain what’s going on.
After this there’s a big fight and everything works out fine in the end. This was a real muddle of an issue. Garcia is a good artist but lots of his pages are a bit too hectic. Story wise, Kelly lost me early on and I couldn’t get back any sense of caring about what was happening by the end.
In the mid-late nineties Marvel started to do “thematic” Annuals.
The “theme” of 1998 was to pair two characters together … usually a major one and a D-lister … so you had stuff like Hulk/Devil Dinosaur … and then the two Machine Man ones… I think the only reason they made it a two-parter was that they thought they could get away with selling an extra issue on the back of the recent X-men crossover.
Uncanny X-Men 356 - Seagle & Bachelo
I really like that cover. Simple but effective. Inside, Warren, Bobby and Hank have traveled north to visit Scott and Jean after Scott left a worrying message on the mansion answer machine. He chats to them about his concerns with Jean and the Phoenix force.
Meanwhile, Bobby keeps spying some weird dude creeping around.
Not much happens here as it’s mostly set up stuff for the next issue.
Uncanny X-Men 357 - Seagle & Norton
Dan Norton is on guest art duties and he does his best to ape J Scott Campbell.
Subplot one sees Dr Agee (who Rogue visited to cure her of her mutantness) revealed as the fruitcake we all suspected him to be.
Subplot two sees Bishop still the captive of the unbalanced Deathbird. Jeez, this has been going on for over a year now with no resolution or progression.
Back with our crew in Alaska, as the cover of the issue shows, there is a mass bird attack. Hank think she knows why.
X-Men 76 - Kelly & Broome
The origin of Maggot. Did anyone actually care?
For what it’s worth, Maggot was a sick kid living in South Africa with his parents and brothers and decided it was better to commit suicide than burden his family further. He drove into the desert to die but wouldn’t you know it, Magneto pops up out of nowhere and somehow activates Maggot’s mutant power.
He then returned Maggot and his brother, who had stowed along in the back of the truck, to their village only to find riots in progress. Magneto killed loads of people and became Maggot’s hero and saviour.
I’m still not sure what his mutant powers are other than having his digestive system turn into slugs. Also, he seems to have skin than changes colour from brown to blue.
Marrow is easily the most annoying/rubbish of the new recruits and this does nothing to make him more appealing.
I loved that Seagle/ Kelly era on the X-books. Kelly was on fire on X-Men. And the Seagle/ Bachalo issues of Uncanny were great too, #353 onwards. You can tell they were building up to something cool with Jean and the rest of the original 5, but then you can almost see the moment that editorial got cold feet and mandated a change in direction.
I have a soft sport for that era but sales were in the doldrums and chapter 11 and all that though so they kept changing direction without anyone being given a run to prove themselves. Seagle and Kelly were ditched for Alan Davis and then Claremont back again and a brief return for Lobdell until Grant Morrison got given carte blanche in the new Marvel era.
X-Men 77 - Kelly & Garcia
Storm has received a package from her homeland that trouble is brewing. With fellow X-dudes in tow, off she jets! Some evil guy who’s name I already forgotten wants her as his bride.
Then after some fighting there’s a massive psychic energy discharge that seems to affect everyone on the planet.
The true villain revealed!
X-Men 78 - Kelly & Garcia
Psylocke thought she was helping the situation but she was in fact responsible for the Showdow Kings release.
He then explains this in Bond villain style.
He presents the X-Men with their true heart’s desires. Sam a renewed relationship with his father, Marrow a life without bone protrusions, Celia a successful practice and Maggot no more slugs. He says this can be made reality.
The gang don’t fall for it and Psylocke does some ninja/psychic/ebon dawn thing and in the end the Shadow King is vanquished.
This was an okay two-parter but nothing more. Garcia’s art is nicely detailed in places and confusing in others which doesn’t help. Story wise, Kelly writes some nice dialogue but the plot is just a bit boring.
Uncanny X-Men 358 - Seagle/Harris & Bachelo
Whoa, Bish is stacked.
Bishop and Deathbird are on an alien planet fighting an unknown enemy when a stranger appears.
One quick explanation later.
Back in Anchorage, Jean suffers the effects of the psychic discharge as seen in X-Men 78.
Our (anti?) heroes have a difference of opinion about what to do and it seems strange that Deathbird is willing to abandon Bishop seeing as how she has been keeping him captive for ages and seems hellbent on claiming him as her mate.
Oh no, she has a change of heart and sticks by her man.
What, I’ve got to get Team X 2000 to find out where this goes? I don’t have that issue, whatever it is, so I guess I’ll never know.
Uncanny X-men 359 - Seagle & Bachelo/Ryan
Jean sees Dr Twoyoungmen aka Alpha Flight’s Shaman and we discover that shes has lost her powers. I don’t remember that lasting long although I could be mistaken.
Rogue is determined to go through with Dr Agee’s de-mutanting operation.
Whoa, something is amiss here. Gun wielding maniac alert!
Turns out it is Mystique and she defo doesn’t want Rogue going through with it.
Rogue goes back to the operating room for a showdown with Agee.
The problem here is that Rogue flips flops throughout the issue and it just doesn’t feel genuine. Mystique cropping up seems forced and what the hell is Henry Gyrich doing there. I wasn’t a massive fan of Ryan’s art either.
BKV writing a What If? in 1998. Anyone read this?
And this comic wasn’t written by Claremont, you say?
#359 is the issue I was referring to above. Every ongoing plot thread wrapped up in the space of a single issue. Random events and characters appearing out of left field; rushed artwork, and guest scripting. Pretty obviously a rush job all round.
Why am I screaming?
The # at the beginning of a line makes it bold and increases the font size for a title. Put a space before it to fix the problem.
X-Men 79 - Kelly & Garcia
Garcia was supposed to be a fill in artist but ended up doing 4 or 5 issues. They must have liked him. I don’t remember him getting any other Marvel though although I think he did a cool Action Comics issue with Kelly about a future Supes and Wonder Woman.
Whilst out in town, Marrow takes offence to some ‘norms’ giving her grief for being a mutant.
Callisto and Storm lead a search party for her.
A mystery fiend attempts to do Callisto some harm but finds her not at home. Who is he?
Some nice back and forth about Marrow’s future.
Sam ends up finding Marrow first.
He poses a good question.
I liked this issue. Marrow can seem like just an angry young woman at times and I guess she is but there is more too it than that. Some characters obviously care for her and some think she has run out of chances which creates some good tension. Ultimately Marrow wants to be accepted but refuses to let her guard down.
Uncanny X-Men & Fantastic Four Annual 1998 - Casey & Pelletier/Fernandez
If these '98 annuals were supposed to pair a big franchise with a c-lister, which is which here? Reed had developed some new gadget and fellow scientist feels like his idea has been stolen.
Beast flirting with Celia? Where did that subplot come from? Last I knew he was with Trish.
Now our small time scientist dude is being accused of robbing Reed! He also has a mechanical buddy that frequently spouts off and it’s all very Booster Gold/Skeets.
He finds a crazy machine and subjects all the people in the theatre (that’s where Reed and Sue are) to a big dose of fear.
To cut this overly long story short, The Psycho Man shows up and there’s a big beat down. It’s pretty poor all round and disappointing as I was hoping for more from Casey and Pelletier.
X-Men Unlimited 21 - Dezago & Smith
This is a real stinker. Look at the size of String Guy! Anyway, Guido tries on new outfits and that’s about it for the issue. Pointless junk.
It does seem that the run of X-Men you’ve been posting about had the most consistently ugly art of any run in the history of comics. And the ugliness holds up regardless of the artist, so I assume the look was an editorial decision.
How did people consider the art at the time? Was the response generally favourable?
This might be the best Superman anniversary issue DC has ever published.
In fact, it might be the best Superman comic DC has ever published.
In fact, it might be one of the best comics DC has ever published, full stop.
Elliot S! Maggin writes this special celebratory issue from 1984, which examines Superman from a mythological perspective, journeying into the increasingly far-flung future with a series of linked short stories under the banner of “The living legends of Superman”, that delve into different aspects of the Superman legend, and show how he continues to inspire people as the years, decades and centuries roll on.
It’s loads of fun, with a format that lends itself to lots of different takes on a common subject, and which illustrates the inspirational and aspirational qualities of the character, despite featuring very little of him at all.
I won’t ruin the vignettes for anyone who’s interested in reading it and hasn’t done so yet, but my personal favourites involved a homeless man seeking shelter in a library, and another story in which historians of the DCU try to work out who Superman really was by examining cultural artefacts from Earth-Prime (ie. the Superman TV shows, movies and comics of our world).
As well as some outstanding art on the stories themselves and the great cover by Chaykin, you also get a slew of pin-ups by a roster of artists whose names you might recognise:
Oh, and the back cover is by some guy called Frank Miller, who also contributes art to one of the interior chapters:
And Steranko does a big climactic story at the end, which you can read in full here:
Also, Ray Bradbury writes the introduction.
Was there anyone around in 1984 who didn’t contribute to this issue?
It’s a great read anyway, and if you get a chance to check out a copy you should snap it up.
Probably not, the era Bobby is covering now is around or led to Marvel’s bankruptcy.
That’s Mark’s favorite issue of all time. I picked it up last year and enjoyed it. I think my review is even here in this thread.
Ah here it is. It’s not as in depth as yours but I did enjoy it.
Bobby just pinpointed the moment where I gave up on Marvel. X-men 79 was my last issue.
It took Mark Millar and about a decade to get me back on board.
I don’t remember exactly when I got out. It had to be sometime shortly after Fatal Attractions. After that, I was out of comics for a while.
Kevin Smith’s Daredevil got me back into comics and Mark’s Ultimate X-Men kept me. I need to go back and reread his issues. They were some stellar stuff. The scene below is still one of my favorites in any comic.