Tag Archives: shi’ar

91,92,93 – DANGER ROOM: Nightcrawler, Archangel, Storm

24 Aug

Note: I had debated whether or not to do full entries for each of these cards, or whether I should just do the following nine cards as one post, since they’re all repeats of previous characters, and the nine cards come together to form one big image of various characters in the Danger Room. I decided to split the difference and do three cards at a time.

Subject: Nightcrawler

Immediately with this image you can see that the entire 9-part drawing won’t be a masterful effort; When I met Lee at a signing early this year, before the blog premiered, he had said he’d drawn the cards on 6×8-ish postcards; with this 9-parter, I’d almost accuse him of also just drawing the one image on a 6×8 card… it looks action packed and not cramped, but I’m seeing little detail so far.

The side-B text alternates between talking about the character’s skills as well as the purpose and aspects of the Danger Room; funny cause at this point in time Nightcrawler’s across the ocean from the X-Mansion, so he can’t really do too much Danger Room practice, no?

Subject: Archangel

Archangel fares a little worse than Nightcrawler in the drawing detail portion here; given the perspective of the overall shot you just can’t let Archangel really spread out, so instead he looks like he’s cramped up (I mean, he IS in an enclosed room, I guess that’s normal to feel when you just wanna fly). His side-b portrait fares much better, finally giving us that stoic and brooding Archangel look that typified his tormented state at the time.

The X-Tra Fact talks about Shi’ar technology augmenting the original Danger Room capabilities, presumably its holodeck-abilities of projecting any environment or situation. Before that it just manifested obstacle courses and robots. Its actual capabilities and operations continue to baffle me (if the holograms are tangible, why do they fight robots at all? Seems like Wolverine would shred through a baker’s dozen of expensive robots every session).

Subject: Storm

Storm fares the best of the first three cards as far as art goes, with posing that’s both dynamic and regal. Even her side-B portrait is alluring. Her side-B bio however takes up a mere two sentences, just reiterating what her powers are, which everyone must know by now.

The X-Tra Fact refers to the Danger Room’s aforementioned holodeck abilities.

88 – LILANDRA

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.

87 – IMPERIAL GUARD

15 Aug

Subject: Imperial Guard
Roster: Gladiator (leader), Starbolt, Smasher, Titan, Oracle, Tempest, Earthquake
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #107, October 1977

Whereas I took pride in being able to recall the majority of the Starjammers, I don’t know if I would ever remember the members of the Imperial Guard. Hell, I have trouble remembering Gladiator (I  get him mixed up with Guardian and Vindicator, of Alpha Flight* fame).

A running theme on this blog is clearly my bias against the space opera storylines. I give Claremont credit for being able to juggle such a large cast of characters, but many of the stories play derivative (Brood of Ridley Scott’s Alien, and apparently the Imperial Guard of DC’s Legion of Superheroes).

Lee’s posing and composition of the card is relatively strong, though Titan (the big one on the top right, apparently) looks more like Lee hadn’t thought out the scale quite right. Also Gladiator looks like a vampire and there’s a lot of that arbitrary cross-hatching especially on his abs.

The card’s side B features a pretty cool drawing of the Imperial Guard’s ship. I’m of two minds on Lee’s spaceship art. His perspective and sense of scale is cool, and in general I like his sense of style. That said, I also like my technical art to be clean, and Lee just can’t keep his cross-hatching and squiggle shading off of them, and it mucks up the design.

By the way, the card says “the Imperial Guard has come into contact with the X-Men on numerous occasions, sometimes as allies, but often as deadly adversaries!” I dunno about you, but that sounds almost more appropriate a description for a villain (or anti-villain, Magneto-style), not an ally!

*speaking of which, where is Alpha Flight on this card set? Given Lee’s history drawing Alpha Flight and the X-Men’s history with them, especially with goldenboy Wolverine, it’s weird they would spotlight, say, the Imperial Guard, and not Alpha Flight, several of whose members are mutants as well.