I have to say that it is a massive milestone for me in reaching one hundred blog posts. What started off as a project in writing based upon something I love, turned into one of the most important things I do with my free time. What has shocked me most is all of you. I never thought I could articulate my love for comics, but it appears I am making some kind of headway. I thank you all for the positive comments and reading of my inane ramblings, but of most importance, sharing my passions with me. So where do I go with the centenary post? I decided I would go back to my teenage years, when I first started to read comics; my evolution in the world of comic books. I must have started in 1995 when I was 16, because I remember vividly picking up Wolverine #90, and from then I became hooked. My pull list consisted of only five comics, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, Batman and Detective Comics. I loved those books and kept reading until I went to university. My local comic shop, actually called The American Comic shop, thought I had moved and stopped keeping them for me. I was devastated and I blamed my Mum. I asked her repeatedly to pick them up, but she never did, and I was not to start collecting again until 2004, at the advent of Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men. There were some iconic books in those days, well for me anyway, and this one completely blew my mind:
In 1996 Professor X turned on his X-Men and the dream was going to die. A sixteen year old me would have reviewed by saying something like,
“Oh my God! I cannot believe this has happened, it is the most epic event and Professor X has abandoned his X-Men. There must be some bad guy who has taken over his mind, because I find it hard to believe he could do this! Xavier becomes Onslaught and looks like a terrifying demon and attacks his students, without guilt. The scene where he sits there looking ahead, with his hands held at their fingertips, and his students looking expectantly at him, is just incredible. This is going to be big and I have no idea how they are going to stop him. What I do know is that there is no coming back from this: this is it! Professor X-Men is no more. There is only Onslaught!”
I was so obsessed with the event that I never appreciated the narrative. I didn’t even know what that word meant; I was a super science geek, with aspirations of becoming a doctor. I read that book now, and I still feel nothing but love for it. I can feel the shock and excitement that I once did, but I can also see the things that would irritate me now. There are an incredible amount of words on some of the pages. The Jean thought bubbles that occur during the massive Xavier diatribe, are distracting and a little confusing at times. It’s quite a complex story with many different sub plots coming into play, as there is a scene with the Avengers, X-Man, the Fantastic Four and Franklin. There are also flashback scenes and comments alluding to Magneto’s involvement. It’s all thrown in there in a relatively non-coherent fashion. It is hard to believe it was written by Mark Waid and Scott Lobdell! The artwork is fantastic in places, especially with the X-Men stand off sequences. They look ready for action and it is brilliant seeing the feral, dumbed down, bone clawed Wolverine, standing next to the strong and fearsome leader Scott. Adam Kubert and Dan Green are loving the angles. They seem to be drawing from all perspectives including, looking down at Xavier’s baldhead, at an oblique angle through a window, from below a flying Onslaught and, my favourite, looking up at a hole in the roof with the battle scarred X-Men ready for action. I do love them, but at times it is a little confusing and difficult to follow. The power sequences look dramatic and brightly coloured, and the comic means business.
Overall I will always love this book, as these were my X-Men. I will always remember Wolverine, Jean, Scott, Sam, Bishop, Storm, Bobby, (Dark) Beast and Gambit led by the wise and powerful Xavier. The story did confuse me and there were a lot of tie in issues. The ending of the Avengers meant nothing to me at the time as I was not reading them. But I can now appreciate how big an event it was, and it leading to the rebooting of many of the Marvel heroes. Obviously I have developed huge opinions on rebooting since! There is a poignant line on the third page of this book, and it bears significance to current times, and I will end on it soon. But before I do, thank you once again for your time and thoughts, and here is to another 100 posts!
“….die? On the contrary Jean-Grey Summers, the dream is dead”