Tag Archives: havok

The Most Popular X-Cards of August and All Time

1 Sep

Now that we’ve checked out all 99 normal cards (there’s just the checklist and the holograms left!), it’s time once again to look back at the most popular cards of the past month.

  1. Dazzler
  2. X-Men Blue Strike Force
  3. Dark Phoenix
  4. X-Men Gold Strike Force
  5. X-Factor
  6. Magik
  7. Excalibur
  8. Beast
  9. Wolverine

Meanwhile, as of the end of August 2011, here are the top-10 most viewed posts of all time. Relatively similar compared to last month, though Beast jumps Maverick for #3, Wolverine jumps from 8 to 5, Deadpool enters the list at #8, and Havok falls from #6 to #9.

  1. Banshee
  2. Psylocke
  3. Beast
  4. Maverick
  5. Wolverine
  6. Lockheed
  7. Gambit
  8. Deadpool
  9. Havok
  10. Professor X

Which post has been your favorite so far?

86 – STARJAMMERS

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.

73 – X-FACTOR

13 Jul

Subject: X-Factor
Roster: Havok (Team Leader), Polaris, Multiple Man, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy, Val Cooper (U.S. Government Liaison)
First Appearance: X-Factor #71, October 1991

Seems super weird to have X-Factor’s first appearance be in X-Factor #71, huh? Well, that’s because this X-Factor team is different from the original X-Factor team, made up of the original X-Men first class (the comics, not the movie). That team, made of Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel, and Jean Grey, had been a privately funded mutant advocacy group. When those guys returned to the X-Men, the government created a new federally-sanctioned X-Factor, starring those guys you see on the card.

The relaunch, written by Peter David and drawn by Larry Strohman, was beyond quirky and eccentric: it was strong on the satire, and really played up the clashing personalities of the various members, all of whom had huge chips on their shoulders. If you were really into the Image look/feel it was either a huge turnoff or a refreshing palate cleanser (in a different way from Excalibur‘s weird whimsy and dimension-hopping, which were often headache-inducing). As a kid it was definitely a little bit of both. I gravitated mostly on the stylized art and the team’s badass costumes, even if I couldn’t remember much of the actual plot.

Lee’s art here disappoints yet again. While it’s not the claustrophobic composition of the Blue Strike Force card, it’s far too distant and hasty, making it look like the generic 90’s Marvel look, and not the Jim Lee aesthetic. I’d say this was because of his unfamiliarity with the characters, but almost all these guys got competently drawn individual cards.

Finally, the team bio chooses to profile government liaison Valerie Cooper in the Team Leader photo, even though it clearly says that Havok is the team leader. It also forgoes an image of their base, which at the time if I recall correctly was the pentagon. As such the back of the card seems sparse and lacking of effort, which isn’t all that surprising really.