Tag Archives: siryn

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.

61 – BLACK TOM CASSIDY

15 Jun

Subject: Black Tom Cassidy
Real Name: Tom Cassidy
Height: 5’11” Weight: 155 lbs
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #101, October 1976

Power Ratings:

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

Since Black Tom and Banshee’s characterization were much owed to British Chris Claremont, it wasn’t surprising that Tom (and Banshee, as had been noted) didn’t get much play during the Jim Lee era (though he was a supporting player in the first few issues of X-Force).

He’s a villain that’s been around basically forever and has that recognizability cachet, though most would have a hard time identifying his super powers (he could channel energy blasts through any piece of wood, usually his shillelagh, though at some point he also actually BECAME part plant matter). He’s got one of the more unique names in supervillainry (maybe its cheesiness lends to that), and he sets himself up even more by having a close working relationship with Juggernaut.

The art is pretty decent here, though the scruffy muttonchop look makes him look too Wolverine-ish (it was a favorite look of Lee’s as you can see). Half the time they make me think of Bruce Springsteen. Black Tom wasn’t too prone to using his powers much, preferring to be a behind-the-scenes kinda guy, so the posing works for me, and hey we see his wood stick right there too. Not bad.

The Power Ratings are sufficient, I wouldn’t have minded a higher Energy Projection rating to make him less boring, but I guess I have to keep perspective.

21 – BANSHEE

14 Mar

Subject: Banshee
Real Name: Sean Cassidy
Height: 6′ Weight: 170 lbs.
Group Affiliation: X-Men
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #28, 1967

Power Ratings:

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

Not that he was ever given much to do ever since he went from bad to good in his first appearances in the 60’s (see above), but I always thought Banshee was an interesting enough character who repeatedly got shortchanged… delegated to being a Kato-Kaelin-style permanent houseguest in the X-Mansion. At least, I guess, by not being a particularly active member of the team, he wasn’t subject to too many expressions of indignity.

Moreover, Banshee wears the X-Costume variety I liked the most; it was a modern take on the original X-Men yellow and blue tights, and silly legstraps aside, they looked both badass and unified. The rest of the team only got to wear these costumes briefly in the early 90’s at the tail end of X-Tinction Agenda, when the disparate fragments of the X-Family reunited. I was disappointed to see them ditch the threads soon after.

Jim Lee’s art gives Bansee more action in his card than he was getting at the time, though if you didn’t know what his powers were before seeing his card (and I guess if you didn’t know what a Banshee was), you’d think all he could do was fly… which, by this point in mutant history, was no great shakes.
His power ratings seem decent enough, though a 4 for Fighting Ability seems high, especially for someone who’d been out of commission for so long… I guess in hindsight I remember him being some sort of Interpol Agent, so he probably had decent combat training. I mean, look at the headshot in the back of the card… that’s the Irish James Bond, right there.