Tag Archives: chris claremont

90 – ROMA

22 Aug

Subject: Roma
Real Name: Roma
Height: variable Weight: variable
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #225, January 1988

Power Ratings:

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

Sorry again for having this card published before I actually finished writing it; 90 cards into the series, you’d think I’d know better.

And finally, we get to the one single character in the series with all 7’s in their Power Ratings, whom many had assumed would be Dark Phoenix (from whose Intelligence and Fighting Ability ratings they docked points).

Having been created by Chris Claremont in the UK version of Captain Britain (Roma’s first appearance, listed here as Uncanny X-Men #225, refers to her first appearance in the United States), she was designated the guardian of the Omniverse*, and commander of the Captain Britain corps. As mentioned before, while the concept of multiple universes was not unique at the time (any expanded fictional universe with incidentally-crossing continuity is basically wrestling with this concept), Claremont somehow managed to organize the Marvel version, creating the now famous concept of (arbitrarily) numbering the various universes. I have no clue whether Claremont had any idea the impact of his own seemingly arbitrary decision.

Anyway, within the X-Continuity Roma was also responsible for nudging the X-Men through the Siege Perilous, a portal of sorts through which the X-Men saved their lives but also separated them through various parts of the globe (as part of the palate cleanser that eventually led to the relaunching of the X-Men books). She was also responsible for the formation of Excalibur.

Not bad for a character I don’t recall much at all. Also another character I don’t think Lee ever actually drew himself, and while the plain green background seems uninspired, the posing is pretty good, and she’s got that wavy ponytail thing that Lee loves to draw (see Gideon, Omega Red, and Shatterstar).

*There seems to be conflict over the use of Omniverse versus the more ubiquitous Multiverse, with a flame war nearly erupting in the Comic Vine forums over the issue. The contention is definitely arguable, especially when considering the hierarchies of the various omnipotent Marvel characters (Living Tribunal, Eternity, Galactus, etc). In general I’d think that the two terms were used interchangeably, with multiverse being the more accepted term now, but with Roma’s position as Omniversal Majestrix one would think she was the leader above all within Marvel.


17 Aug

Subject: Lilandra
Real Name: Lilandra Neramani
Height: 5’11” Weight: 110 lbs.
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #97, February 1976

Power Ratings:

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

For a stuffy old disabled guy, Professor X sure gets himself a lot of ass. Gabrielle Haller, Moira MacTaggart, and of course Ms. Shi’ar Empress here, Lilandra, whom I guess is considered his one true love (convenient that they hardly ever see each other).

Lilandra’s introduction was another one of those “I think the rest of the team is dead, so let’s not even bother looking for them and just go off on an interplanetary adventure” moments, which is weird because Professor X, the world’s most powerful telepath, with access to Cerebro, didn’t seem to try too hard to indeed confirm that his beloved students were definitely dead. So he went off to hook up with a mysterious alien chick, without bothering to notify his students’ next of kin.

Anyway, Lilandra looks pretty hot in her portrait; sexy pose, with that classic Jim Lee chrome accents that he does so well (and Liefeld not so much). The pose might be a little too sultry and not enough regality, but who am I to complain.

Lilandra gets a 2/7 Mental Powers rating that looks like simply a consequence of her bond with Charles. I don’t recall her ever manifesting psychic powers otherwise. Also, am I mistaken, but isn’t she more formidable of a warrior than a 1/7 Fighting Ability rating would lead one to believe? She certainly wears armor that would befit someone who wouldn’t shy away from combat.


12 Aug

Subject: Starjammers
Roster: Corsair (leader), Hepzibah, Raza, Sikorsky, Binary, Ch’od
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #107, October 1977

While waiting in line for X-Men: First Class some friends had started a trivia game of naming the roster of an X-team (or related). I won most rounds, but got especially far with Starjammers, of whom most people could only name one member (Corsair). I forgot Raza at the time, and Binary*, who joined the team years later.

Yet another one of the aspects of the X-Books that didn’t jive too well with the civil rights movement thesis, on account of its space opera leanings, the Starjammers are most notable for being led by the previously mentioned Corsair, aka Scott and Alex‘s long-lost dad.

In fact, let’s take a moment to just reflect on this disturbing motif within comics of more-often-than-not “assuming your friends and loved ones are dead and I shouldn’t even bother looking.” This happened a lot in the Claremont (and Byrne) era, during which various members of the team would get separated after some climactic disaster (underground cave-in, big explosion, etc), and the surviving members mourning for all of a few days and then accepting the deaths of their teammates, and without ever mounting an appropriate search and rescue.

Given the tenacity and hardiness of these mutants, one would assume they wouldn’t think twice about, I dunno, spending a few more days digging through the rubble? Meanwhile after the mourning oftentimes they don’t even bother notifying the “deceased” next of kin!

Anyway, Corsair (Christopher Summers) and his wife were abducted by aliens while flying his plane with Scott and Alex onboard. Scott and Alex parachuted off, and the parents were whisked away across the galaxy to become slaves, Corsair’s wife dying in the process. He meanwhile escapes and become a notorious space pirate with an extravagant ship, the Starjammer, going off on Flash Gordon-esque adventures with his teammates.

At no point during his Han Solo tenure did he ever actually return to Earth, despite having easy access back to the planet. His parents (Scott and Alex’s grandparents) were still alive, and he never thought to look his kids up, whom, if he had actually succeeded in his original plan, had parachuted to safety. But no, he decides to foresake the remnants of his dead wife’s memory only to run into Scott and the X-Men while Phoenix and the Shi’ar were harassing each other.

Sadly this manifests itself later on when Scott has few qualms about giving his sick son up to a mysterious woman who (correctly) claims to be from the future, taking this stranger’s word that she will save him. True, she kind of did, but the end result was still Cable and Stryfe. Like father and son (oh, Cable’s son also has daddy issues).

Once again, I digress. With a dynamic but so-so front image (with Lee’s trademark focal point yet again on the leader’s featureless crotch), the card’s back features a large and impressive rendering of Lee’s version of the Starjammer. The layout differs from other “team” cards in that it’s in portrait mode, allowing for a larger second image, but forsaking an X-tra fact (for the first time so far!) as a result.

*Binary being the cosmically-empowered post-Ms.-Marvel-post-Rogue-depowering Carol Danvers.