Tag Archives: mutants

XH1-XH5 – HOLOGRAMS

5 Sep

With the checklist card I feel like we’d already reached some form of closure so I figured I would just review all the holograms together.

WOLVERINE

As I mentioned in the Danger Room collage, I always loved Lee’s rendering of Wolverine outside the costume… it was just the perfect depiction of a man wrestling with his animal side, and he always just looked badass. And Wolvie was always getting in the nastiest of scraps which gave ample opportunity to see him in tattered rags (I’ll switch topics now lest this get too homoerotic).

The hologram effect for this card especially is disappointing because Lee’s drawing has a lot of depth, and adding the 3d effect for a 2D drawing will inevitably neuter the 3d effect. You can’t tell in that screenshot, but while the 3d effect IS there, it seems more like tiny slivers of art stacked on top of each other no deeper than a few millimeters between them. Wolverine’s hand and claws as rendered on the same plane which actually RUINS the illusion of depth the original 2D drawing establishes.

Meanwhile, the bio on this card is almost exactly the same as bio in his individual card, except the original card refers to his savagery as that of a “wild beast” where his hologram refers to a “jungle beast.” Wonder where the distinction comes from. At least the Danger Room card makes an effort to convey unique information.

CABLE

This is a terrible drawing of Cable, which is to say it looks the most like Liefeld’s rendering. Cable’s aforementioned bulging thighs are in full effect here, and his crouching pose looks absolutely ridiculous in both 2D and 3D versions. Also the color aberrations of the hologram mean that Cable’s trademark white hair looks purple.

Unlike the Wolverine card, Cable’s Hologram card bio is word-for-word the same as his individual card. Minus the X-Tra fact, of course.

GAMBIT

Finally we get an action shot of Gambit throwing his cards. It’s a pretty good, standard pose, too, and if you were into Gambit you could imagine that frontmost card was ejected from his crotch. The strong negative space in the background also gives the hologram a more pronounced 3d effect, even if Gambit and the throwing cards themselves all look like they’re on the same plane.

Gambit’s hologram bio rephrases the last line of the bio in his individual card… The original says “he uses his phenomenal power to protect people in need– both mutant and nonmutant!” while the hologram says “he uses his phenomenal power to protect man- and mutantkind alike!”

MAGNETO

This image of Magneto plays almost like a more action-packed version of his individual card. This might seem cool, but as I’d mentioned in my review of the first card, I vastly preferred the regal, almost defensive Magneto poses to the action pose. I’m also not crazy about having his eyes shrouded in darkness; as my favorite villain of all time, his greatness comes from his humanity and dignity; he does not need to have a darkened face to seem badass, and doing so almost reduces him down to the level of the forgettable psycho killers of the 90s.

Like Cable’s Hologram card, Magneto’s bio is an exact copy of the bio in his individual card.

X-MEN

I apologize for the different look of this scan compared to the others; ComicCovers.com is missing this final card, and I could only find a scan of the front online, so I had to scan my own card from inside its sealed bag. Really I should just open the seal and scan them each myself. If I wasn’t ready to close the books on this blog with this entry (which has already taken up much of my free time :) ), I might still go about doing this.

The card actually depicts the Blue Strike Force, despite the card name not making such a distinction. This makes sense since Lee’s art duties focused on said team, but it would’ve been a fitting end to see both strike forces together in one card. The comics certainly had no problem mingling teammates even after the separation was made, and the separation didn’t last long anyway. Too bad, cause the art in this card is pretty decent, except for the weird business of Beast‘s legs.


OVERALL

It’s hard not to be mesmerized by holograms as a kid; hell, it’s 20 years later and we’re still immaturely obsessed with the 3D gimmick. The fact that 3D actually hasn’t evolved much from these 20 year old cards makes the cards themselves hold up better than they deserve to. Hell, I still don’t know how they make holograms.

That said, I vastly prefer the holograms that look more like actual 3d models, laser scans of sculpted versions of the cards. They’ve done this before on other card sets (and the hologram comics), and it would’ve kicked ass to see someone sculpt Lee’s drawings.

Anyway, that does it for all the cards. Stick around for one more entry that wraps up the entire experience one last time, and then we can all finally move on!

DANGER ROOM TEST SEQUENCE COLLAGE

30 Aug

(I’ve been using the term panorama for this piece, but I have a nagging feeling that’s the wrong term… collage maybe?)

Here in its entirety, courtesy of Demon Geek, is the whole Danger Room Test Seqeuence composition that had been comprised of cards 91-99:

To read the capsule reviews of these cards, check out the previous 3 entries:

Looking at all 9 cards together actually looks much better, now that you can see how the various details spill over into each card, making them feel less like individual half-assed cards. For example I never noticed how Wolverine, Cyclops, and Gambit were all attacking the same robot (which Colossus may have thrown at them from the bottom right).

The top three cards are a little more disparate, with Nightcrawler and Archangel not doing much of anything at all. It would’ve been great if Nightcrawler had teleported into his current spot from a previous spot (between Wolverine and Cable, for example), and we saw the bamf explosion from where he disappeared; Meanwhile, Archangel could’ve been unleashing his feather blades, which would’ve nicely crossed over into several cards.

And finally, it’s hard to not notice Storm being the only woman of the nine characters, since Lee seemed to relish drawing women. I wouldn’t even necessarily count Storm as being the most popular female character at the time (Rogue, Jean Grey, and Psylocke could all be in the running), though she can definitely hold her own.

Trivia 1: there are 26 individual female character cards (counting Jean and Dark Phoenix as separate cards), compared to 50 male cards (counting the robots as anthropomorphically male, including Widget, but not counting the Brood), which means proportionally three of these nine cards should’ve been occupied by women.

Trivia 2: If someone were to ask you how many characters are in this composition, the correct answer is ten: Professor X can be seen in the window behind Gambit.

 

97,98,99 – DANGER ROOM: Cyclops, Cable, Colossus

29 Aug

Subject: Cyclops

I’d kind of noticed it before but never really thought about it too much, but man what is with Lee and drawing Cyclops (and other similar characters) with such a huge crotch? I understand it’s kind of a foreshortening that makes the character look taller, but when the focal point is a huge yellow Speedo, it’s just a little too damn distracting.

 

Subject: Cable

Where Lee drew Cyclops with a huge groin, Cable suffers (chronically) from gigantic thighs. Liefeld did it, and unfortunately Lee does it in this instance, though a little more subdued. It’s a kind of messiness that was nicely absent from his individual card, which was tightly rendered and posed. And since when does Cable have a spiked gauntlet? Who is he, Spawn?

 

Subject: Colossus

And to round out the panorama, we get Colossus. Lee is always pretty good when it comes to Peter, and it’s not like this pose is bad, but it’s a little muddled and honestly he looks no bigger than any of the other characters, when clearly he should be the largest out there (especially Wolverine). The posing in his side-b portrait is a more stock Colossus pose, the stoic face with the outstretched hand reaching out, giving Lee opportunity to show off the contours of Colossus’ muscles. In hindsight, he looks more like a creepy stalker (or Frankenstein) reaching out to his victim.