Tag Archives: cannonball

74 – X-FORCE

15 Jul

Subject: X-Force
Roster: Cable, Cannonball, Feral, Boom Boom, Warpath, Shatterstar, Siryn
First Appearance: New Mutants #100, April 1991

One thing you can say about Liefeld and X-Force, they desperately demanded your attention, even when in the end, that’s about all they were good for. Hell, I fell for it pretty hard as a kid, though clearly my artistic allegiance lay elsewhere.

Speaking of which, this is a terrible team picture, with a third of the card taken up by a miniature Cable carrying a HUGE gun. The weird proportions and unimaginative composition almost seems like an homage or fuck-you to Liefeld himself. Everyone’s individual cards are expressive masterpieces by comparison.

The card’s back again forgoes a picture of the team’s base, even though it specifically states in the X-Tra Card that they were operating “out of an abandoned Sentinel base in the Adirondack mountains.”

I have two copies of X-Force #1. One is one I’ve had for years (since read and reread), and another still sealed in its polybag with the trading card inside. I got that one in a huge box of comics selling for a dollar each at a Goodwill store (I also picked up two copies of the deluxe X-Men #1 in that same box). Earlier this year I attended a signing with the original Image founders celebrating Spawn #200. I brought my X-Force, but there on the counter the store had another pile of X-Force #1’s, still sealed, selling for a dollar each, and they didn’t seem to be running out.

God knows how many of those they printed (this link claims around 1.75 million, dwarfed by X-Men #1’s 8 million!), and with a 1991 cover price of $1.50, it just goes to show how much of a bubble the 90’s speculator market really was.


16 May

Subject: Gideon
Real Name: Gideon
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 220 lbs
Group Affiliation: The Profit$ (WHAT THE?)
First Appearance: New Mutants #98, February 1991

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 2/7
  • Strength: 4/7
  • Fighting Ability: 5/7
  • Intelligence: 4/7

Like Omega Red, Gideon came about because, among other things, top-knot ponytails were cool back in the early 90’s. Otherwise, Gideon’s creation was probably one of the biggest busts in the history of 90’s X-Men, setting up a brand new mythology of the Externals, coincidentally immortal mutants of whom Cannonball is a disputed member. Not Sunspot, mind you, to whom Gideon was pouring all his attention at the time, for some storyline involving Gideon murdering Sunspot’s father. I read this all once as a kid, and then again as an adult, and it still continues to be an unforgettable mess. No wonder Gideon was unceremoniously dropped soon after and, amazingly, has yet to be resurrected in the X-Books. He’s just that uninteresting.

Jim Lee’s art for Gideon actually, remarkably, doesn’t suck, it’s got solid anatomy (in that the character feels 3 dimensional with mass, not that the anatomy itself is accurate). He looks regal and menacing, in a way that having him in an action pose might make him look silly, like a new-age douche who does pilates and listens to Yanni.

His Power Ratings are unremarkable, and again do nothing to show his otherwise formidable power: being able to copy the powers of others (Wikipedia and other sources aren’t particularly clear to what extent this power works; I don’t recall him being able to say, shoot optic blasts and control metals). In fact I don’t recall him manifesting this power much at all; mostly he just bossed people around and did some martial arts, no?

Just as a quick PS, I don’t recall his Group Affiliation “The Profit$” ever being mentioned in the comics, though my mental defenses might have just glossed over something so stupid.


9 Feb

Subject: Cannonball
Real Name: Sam Guthrie
Height: 6′ Weight: 150 lbs.
Group Affiliation: X-Force
First Appearance: New Mutants Graphic Novel 1982

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 2/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 3/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

This was the Cannonball that I was introduced to, daredevil-ish with a mop of blond hair, full muscles, and a gaudy costume complete with old flying goggles, so imagine my surprise when I saw his first appearance in New Mutants #1, where he was nothing but a lanky hick. Only then did I realize that Cannonball was simply one of the many victims of Rob Liefeld’s sense of style and anatomy. How else would you explain someone with triceps that big, being six feet tall and only 150 pounds?

Lee’s art does this modern take on Cannonball well enough, with a youthful smile on his face, except nothing about his look would inform you that he was something like a decade younger than most of the other X-Men, being a founding member of the New Mutants. His back portrait looks more appropriate, but then doesn’t match the hulking physique of the guy in the front of the card.

Power-Ratings-wise, his explosive powers are hardly represented in his nearly flatline statistics, which either shows an inaccuracy in his Energy Projection rating (which I would think his power counted as), or a textbook example of how inadequate these ratings are in highlighting the uniqueness of certain characters like Sam here.