Tag Archives: weapon x

60 – OMEGA RED

13 Jun

Subject: Omega Red
Real Name: Arkady Rossovich
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 300lbs.
First Appearance: X-Men #4, January 1992

Power Ratings:

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

Omega Red was just about THE COOLEST villain to me at the height of my X-mania (you can see why from when he debuted). The problem with Wolverine as he got more and more popular was he kept getting softer… yes, he still slashed and disembowled enemies, but more often he was just the scrappy rascal. In fact,  even good ol’ Sabretooth would start getting the treatment. It was time for a new villain that took us back to those roots. Omega Red was that villain (for the year or so when he actually appeared on the books).

I’ve mentioned many times how much I loved X-Men #5 as a kid (for the record, I didn’t love it any more than the other issues I had, it was more like it was the only comic I had at the time that had Wolvie on the cover). I still have the issue, and it is worn to shreds. Great articles have been written since then that highlighted how ridiculous and nonsensical the storyline actually was, but it was all catnip to me as a young’un.

I’m a little disappointed by the art on the card because the circle-ish silhouette makes Omega Red seem less of a badass. I’d’ve loved to have seen a shot of him attacking, maybe strangling some law-enforcement officers with his tendrils. I like the side-b portrait more in concept, I love the shadowing and the brooding look, but it’s a little too messy and Omega Red looks far too… thick? in it.

His Power Ratings I guess make enough sense, though I don’t know if his mutant “death factor” (which allows him to drain the life force of his enemies using… pheromones for some reason) should really account for a 3/7 in Energy Projection and certainly not Mental Powers. Otherwise, his ratings match him pretty evenly with Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Maverick, his contemporaneous cohorts.

Btw, his X-Tra fact says that Omega Red’s tendrils are “flexible like graphite but fused with adamantium” is completely contrary to the source material, which reveals that his body was implanted with carbonadium, which is essentially Russia’s flexible but less durable version of adamantium. For christ’s sakes, the entire X-Men arc in which he debuted revolved around the quest for carbonadium… were the actual scripts really developed so late into the game!?

52 – SABRETOOTH

25 May

Subject: Sabretooth
Real Name: Victor Creed
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 275 lbs.
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: Iron Fist #14, August 1977

Power Ratings:

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

I really loved Sabretooth’s 90’s redesign. Whereas Wolverine was almost de-evolving into more and more of a feral state, Sabretooth’s mane was upgraded into an almost pimp-like boa. Giving him a little bit more class makes him seem even more like a psycho, more than capable of turning Wolverine’s screws.

Again, sadly, Sabretooth didn’t actually have TOO much to do during Lee’s tenure, until the X-Men vol. 2 run involving Maverick and Omega Red (see the Maverick entry for more of my history with this particular storyline). And Sabretooth was only a side character in that one. For more substantial Wolverine and Sabretooth stories, I suggest picking up the enigmatic but mindbending (and drawn with overflowing machismo by Mark Texeira) Wolverine #61-69. Again, a shame, since Lee draws Logan and Victor with such savage vigor.

Speaking of which, the art on the front of the card is good, though the pose isn’t necessarily my kind of dynamic (I like Wolverine in a similar crouching pose, but I prefer a Sabretooth that shows off how much larger he is than Wolverine). The portrait in side-b fares better; I just really like Victor with that hat.

And of course, appropriately, Sabretooth’s Power Ratings are exactly identical to Wolverine’s.

50 – SHIVA

20 May

Subject: Shiva
Real Name: Shiva
Height: 7’6″ Weight: 500 lbs
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: Wolverine #50, January 1992

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 5/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 6/7
  • Fighting Ability: 6/7
  • Intelligence: 4/7

I have a sinking suspicion that Shiva got the (not really) coveted card #50 spot because he was featured villain of the (not really) anticipated Wolverine #50 , which was published almost simultaneously with this trading card set. Too bad Shiva, who was really nothing more than a guard dog for the Weapon X program, smacked of 90’s fad synergy: the face and body of Apocalypse in Stryfe‘s armor, and said armor made of adamantium.

Not surprisingly, Shiva was dispatched relatively quickly (though being an artificial intelligence, Shiva’s not  too hard to resurrect), appearing only twice more since 1992, and both instances were essentially rehashes. Wolverine just really works best against psychotic, outgoing villains full of personality (Sabretooth being the best). Even connecting Shiva to Wolvie’s past doesn’t amount to much, since his history has been retconned to a point where every mutant had encountered Logan somewhere in the past anyway.

The art suffers again for being too loose, especially for a character that’s supposed to look super sharp, a cold calculating robot. The pose is uninspired and Shiva’s outstretched fist looks really weird (instead of a fist with sharp knuckles, it looks more like an open hand with really stubby fingers.

The high Power Ratings are clearly the result of wanting to create a super x-treme villain, which makes it even more pathetic when Wolverine just went and cut the sucker in half with a samurai sword.