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X-Men Reborn in the 1970s: Storm and Nightcrawler Debut, plus Wolverine!
The All-New, All-Different X-Men: A Team Reborn in the 1970s!
Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 highlights the rebirth of the team in 1975-1976, reprinting Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 and X-Men No. 94-100. Promoted as the ``All-New, All-Different'' X-Men, the drab comic-book series was revitalized when writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum introduced four new heroes and added two characters that had debuted earlier.
Chris Claremont took over as writer with issue No. 96 and with Cockrum and later artist John Byrne turned X-Men into one of Marvel Comics most-popular titles. The franchise has stayed one of Marvel's biggest over the past three decades and has generated five movies!
Marvel Masterworks is a series of books from Marvel Comics that usually reprints eight to 10 issues in full color on high-quality paper. This edition of Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 (ISBN: 978-0-7851-3702-3) was published in 2009.
Giant-Size X-Men No. 1: the New Team is Recruited!
Bringing Together the Heroes To Fight an Island?
This volume of Marvel Masterworks begins, appropriately enough, with the issue that introduces the new X-Men roster. The story itself is pretty silly: After the original X-Men are captured on a remote island, Cyclops escapes and returns to Professor X. Professor X recruits a new team from around the world. With Cyclops leading, the new team returns to the island and frees the old X-Men only to find that the island itself is the enemy.
That's right. The island, calling itself Krakoa, has been mutated into a living thing by an atomic blast. The X-Men defeat Krakoa by canceling the earth's gravity, sending the island deep into space. OK, so that's pretty silly even by comic-book standards.
That's all right, because the main point of the story was to bring together the new roster. And what a roster it is! Len Wein and Dave Cockrum introduced four new heroes: Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird. And then added two established characters, Banshee and Wolverine.
The new team was more international and colorful, and much more powerful than the old team. Following is a bit more about each of the new X-Men before I critique the rest of the stories in the collection.
Colossus, Front and Center
In his introduction, the Russian Colossus turns into metal and stops a runaway tractor from running over a little girl -- a fine enough debut that showed his power immediately. I never understood how he was able to leave the Soviet Union so easily, but I guess Professor X used his mental powers to facilitate the move.
On Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 he is front and center on the cover, and I have read that his positioning was no accident. It was originally planned that he would have a leadership role on the X-Men, second only to Cyclops. But as the series progressed that idea never took hold and others stepped forward to become team leaders.
Nightcrawler: Hunted Like a Demon!
His Debut Pays Homage to Old Monster Movies
Nightcrawler is the first of the new X-Men to be introduced in the story, as he is chased by torch-bearing crowds through a small German village in the Bavarian Alps. Believing him a demon, the villagers are determined to ram a stake through his heart until Professor X intervenes.
It's an interesting debut, though I remember even as a young teen thinking that it was hard to believe in 1975 that there would be a mob carrying torches and stakes in Germany. Looking back, I see it as more of a homage to the old monster movies from the 1930s and 1940s.
It's also a funny introduction because while it highlights the fact that he is considered hideous, Nightcrawler was portrayed almost from the beginning as more of a fun, swashbuckling circus performer rather than a tragic outsider.
Storm Becomes the First Black Female Superhero
Majestic Master of the Weather!
Storm has perhaps the coolest of debuts in Giant-Size X-Men No. 1, where as a goddess she is called upon to end a drought by local Kenyan farmers.
Storm is considered the first black female superhero in U.S. comics, which I found surprising. I never gave it a thought when she first appeared. She was simply a very cool character with great powers. And I loved her original costume!
Interestingly, the character was originally going to be called Black Cat and have totally different powers. But Marvel had recently introduced a number of feline heroes so Black Cat was revamped into Storm!
Thunderbird, the Tragic X-Man
Thunderbird never really had a chance. Introduced as an angry outsider with superhuman strength, he wasn't really different enough from the other characters to stand out. I remember not liking him very much, but I was totally caught by surprise when he was killed in X-Men No. 95.
Chris Claremont, in the introduction to Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, writes that Thunderbird was destined to die. Len Wein, who had plotted the story, wanted to set a tone for the series that showed that the team was dealing with a deadlier reality than other superhero comics.
This shot of Thunderbird is from Giant-Size X-Men No. 1, with art by Dave Cockrum.
Wolverine, From the Pages of the Incredible Hulk!
Wolverine first appeared in The Incredible Hulk a year earlier, with a slightly different mask that played more on the idea of whiskers. Cover artist Gil Kane mistakenly drew the now-familiar mask when he did the cover of Giant-Size X-Men No. 1, and series artist Dave Cockrum liked the new mask so much he adopted it for good. Sometimes mistakes end up having good results, because I didn't like the original look all that much.
Writer Len Wein created Wolverine, and later added him to the X-Men. Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum thought about writing him out of the series, but then artist John Byrne replaced Cockrum. Byrne was a big fan of Wolverine's and lobbied for him staying in the X-Men, and now the character is one of Marvel's most popular!
Banshee, the Reformed Criminal
Banshee first appeared in X-Men No. 28 (January 1967) as a foe of the X-Men. He was a mutant coerced into villainy, and the X-Men fought him and then rescued him from his captors. It sounds funny to say this, but one of the things I liked about Banshee is that he wasn't pictured with movie-star looks.
He always seemed more realistic to me because he was average looking, and you can see in the first few issues of the revived X-Men series he appeared the same way. As time went by Dave Cockrum and John Byrne began to draw him as more handsome, but really that took away some of what made him different.
This image of Banshee was taken from Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 and originally appeared in X-Men No. 94.
Cyclops, the X-Men's Field Commander
Cyclops first appeared in X-Men No. 1 (September 1963) and pretty much as been a mainstay in the X-Men world ever since. As Professor X's first recruit, it made sense that he decided to stay with the new X-Men while the other old members left.
He was never my favorite X-Man, but I do think Chris Claremont did a good job during the series showing how Cyclops developed as a leader trying to mold the new heroes into a fighting team. His clashes with Professor X as Cyclops realizes that the new X-Men are more individual than the previous team added much-needed depth to the character.
Count Nefaria, Eric the Red and the Sentinels
Leading to a Confrontation With the Old X-Men!
The regular X-Men series had simply been reprinting old stories until Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 appeared, and Marvel decided that new stories should return to the regular series rather than continue in the giant-size version. So, oddly enough, the first regular issue of the new-roster X-Men is X-Men No. 94.
The seven regular issues of the X-Men series collected in this Marvel Masterworks includes the team taking on Count Nefaria, an old Avengers and X-Men foe, and the return of Eric the Red (in a tale that hints of mysteries to come).
The highlight of the collection is a three-issue fight against the Sentinels that climaxes with a battle between the new X-Men and old X-Men, and sets up Marvel Girl's transformation to Phoenix. One small gripe I have is that the last issue in this volume ends with a cliffhanger, as Marvel Girl pilots a shuttle into a solar flare. I would have preferred Marvel divided the collections in such a way that each volume was complete unto itself.
The stories remain as fresh today as when they were first published, with art that is lively and vibrant. What is most intriguing is that writer Chris Claremont began emphasizing characterization right from the start, so the X-Men really do come across as individuals right from the beginning. The stories seemed to have more depth, more vitality than other comics published at the time, which is probably why they have stood the test of time.
X-Men No. 96, the Weakest Story in the Collection
Chris Claremont's Solo Debut as Writer
The only real clunker in the collection is the story from X-Men No. 96, which is the first that Chris Claremont wrote without Len Wein helping with the plot.
The villain in the story is a demon called Kierrok. Cyclops accidentally destroys a cairn on the grounds of Professor X's school, unleashing the demon. Why there is an ancient cairn dedicated to a demon on the grounds of a school in Westchester County, New York, is never explained. Storm defeats the demon by sealing the cairn.
The entire fight seems rather pointless and beside the point. The issue does have some good moments with Cyclops, and introduces Moira MacTaggert, who becomes a long-recurring character. The issue also teases the upcoming battle with the sentinels, and hints at Storm's background.
Even so, it's definitely pretty weak.
X-Men Comics for Sale - Own the Originals!
If you are one of those comic book fans who absolutely needs to collect each individual X-Men issue then eBay probably is your best bet at getting the best price. As always, please check the shipping & handling charges as well as the condition of the item before you bid so you won't be surprised! Good luck!
Marvel Masterworks Extras - Costume Designs, Original Art
Marvel Masterworks: the Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 contains 14 pages of extras, many of which are worth checking out. The highlight of the extras are the unused costume designs, but here is a full list.
- Cover to Giant-Size X-Men No. 2, which reprints X-Men No. 57 to 59.
- A promo page for a superhero group called the Outsiders, which Dave Cockrum unsuccessfully pitched to DC Comics before moving to the X-Men. Among the Outsiders was an early version of Nightcrawler.
- Original design for Black Cat, a proposed member of the X-Men who didn't make the cut. She was revamped into Storm.
- Character design for Vampyre, who didn't make the X-Men roster, and an early costume for Thunderbird.
- Unused costume redesign for Marvel Girl.
- Model sheet for Phoenix, which Dave Cockrum made up for other artists to use as a guideline if they needed to draw the character.
- Model sheet for Colossus and Storm, which Dave Cockrum made up for other artists to use as a guideline if they needed to draw the characters.
- Model sheet for Nightcrawler, which Dave Cockrum made up for other artists to use as a guideline if they needed to draw the character.
- Cover of F.O.O.M. No. 10, which previewed the new X-Men. F.O.O.M. was a Marvel Comics' fan club in the 1970s, and I was a proud member of it.
- A Marie Severin cartoon of the X-Men's creators from F.O.O.M. No. 10, as well as an ad that appeared in other comics touting the new X-Men.
- The original Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 cover layout and art.
- The original Dave Cockrum art for pages 18 and 22 from Giant-Size X-Men No. 1.
Dave Cockrum Art - First the Legion, then the X-Men
Before helping to revive the X-Men, Dave Cockrum was the artist on the Legion of Superheroes back-up series in DC Comics' Superboy. I remember that his new costume designs made the Legion a much cooler series, and I was disappointed when he left that comic. When he resurfaced with the X-Men I was thrilled.
Sadly, Cockrum died in 2006 due to complications from diabetes.
When he was drawing the X-Men in the 1970s it was very hard for the average comic-book fan to buy his original art. Now, thanks to eBay, pieces of artwork are available regularly.
As always, before you bid please check the shipping & handling charges as well as the condition of the item so you won't be surprised! Good luck!
Who Was the Coolest Member of the New X-Men? - Storm? Wolverine? Or Maybe Cyclops?
Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 introduced four new superheroes: Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Thunderbird. Thunderbird was short-lived, but Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler all went on to become some of the most popular X-Men.
Rounding out the new X-Men team in 1975 were Banshee, a reformed bad guy, and Wolverine, who had been introduced in The Incredible Hulk comic a year earlier. The only original member of the X-Men who stayed on the new team was Cyclops, who acted as the new team's leader.
Who was Your Favorite Member of the New X-Men?
Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 for Sale - Get Your Copy Today!
I vividly remember the day I bought Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 in 1975 at the local convenience store. I had a stack of comics that day, and when we got home I didn't go into the part of the house where we lived because I didn't want my older brother grabbing them. Instead, I snuck into my grandmother's part of the house and sat at her dining room table and feasted on the new X-Men and the other comics in peace!
Today, the easiest way to get Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 is probably on eBay, though it will cost you far more than the 50 cents I paid at Krauszer's way back when!
Our X-Men Reviews
Neal Adams, Phoenix and the X-Men in Black and White!
I first picked up a few X-Men comics during the years when the series was in reprints (issues No. 67-93).
I remember when Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 appeared, and how cool the new team was. Nightcrawler was my favorite, and I loved Phoenix's costume!
I'm still so fond of the X-Men that I have written several reviews of books that collect the series. You can find them here:
Marvel Masterworks X-Men Comic Book Review: Enter the Phoenix! Plus Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler!
This volume reprints Uncanny X-Men No. 101-110 in full color, a collection of 10 comics during a run that really established the new X-Men as a major franchi...
Marvel Essential X-Men Comic Book Review: Wolverine, Storm and a Return to Greatness!
Marvel Essential X-Men collects Giant-Size X-Men 1 and X-Men 94-119. Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 introduced the new team of superheroes, reviving the X-Men comic....
X-Men's Dark Phoenix Saga: A Marvel Comic Book Review
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga collects issues No. 129-137 of the original X-Men comic-book series, a series of tales that ends with the final battle over Jean...
The X-Men in the Early 1970s: Neal Adams' Dynamic Art
Marvel Essential Classic X-Men volume 3 is a real hodge-podge of stories that shows just how far below the radar screen the original X-Men had fallen in the ...
The Original X-Men in the 1960s: Marvel Essential Classic X-Men Volume 2
Marvel Essential Classic X-Men Volume 2 includes issues No. 25-53, along with Avengers No. 53 in which the X-Men guest star. The highlights of this collecti...
Marvel Masterworks - Reprints in Full Color
The Marvel Masterworks series began in 1987, with the publication in hardcover of volumes dedicated to the early issues of the Amazing Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Over the years Marvel has come out with more than 170 volumes.
The company also has reprinted many of the volumes in paperback, and sometimes changed the contents of the volume when doing so. So be sure you check exactly what you are getting when you buy a Marvel Masterworks volume!
Marvel Masterworks vs. Marvel Essentials - Full Color vs. More Stories!
Marvel Comics has two reprint series, Marvel Masterworks and Marvel Essentials. The Marvel Masterworks series has fewer stories in each book, but they are published in wonderful full color that presents the tales in all their original glory. The Marvel Essentials series of books publish the stories in black and white, on lesser quality paper, but each collection contains more than twice as many stories.
The stories in this Marvel Masterworks X-Men volume of Marvel Masterworks also appear in Marvel Essential X-Men volume 1, which collects Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 and X-Men No. 94-119.
Which Series do You Prefer?
Before the X-Men, There was Iron Fist!
Chris Claremont's Earlier Series
Before Chris Claremont took over as sole writer of the X-Men with No. 96, he began writing the Iron Fist series in Marvel Premiere with issue No. 23. After two more issues of Marvel Premiere, Iron Fist was given his own series, with Claremont still doing the scripting.
Claremont cross-pollinated the two series, with the X-Men's Jean Grey becoming the roommate of Misty Knight, a character in Iron Fist. This lead to a pretty funny fight between Iron Fist and the X-Men in Iron Fist issue No. 15. Alas, that was the last issue of the Iron Fist Series.
Iron Fist's early adventures, including the Claremont-scripted stories, were collected in a Marvel Essential volume that I have reviewed on Squidoo. You can check it out here.
Essential Iron Fist: A Marvel Comic Book Review!
Essential Iron Fist Volume 1 collects the first four years' worth of Marvel comics starring the character, who debuted in 1974 during a martial arts craze. T...
New York Comic Con 2011!
Chris Claremont was There!
My daughter and I were able to attend the New York Comic Convention in New York City in October, 2011, and wrote a review of our day there. We saw Chris Claremont at one point, but weren't able to talk to him as there were too many people surrounding him (He's the guy seated to the right of the fellow in the hat). The convention was a blast, and we highly recommend a visit to the con next year for any true comic book fan!
New York Comic Con + Anime Festival: A Comic Book Fan's Review!
The New York Comic Book Convention occurred Oct. 13-16, 2011, and coupled with the New York Anime Festival, drew more than 100,000 comic-book fans, video game enthusiasts and anime cosplayers.
X-Men Movies: A Blockbuster Series - Buy Them on Amazon!
The five X-Men movies have generated more than $1.8 billion in ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
The series began with X-Men in 2000, followed by X2: X-Men United in 2003 and X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006.
After the initial trilogy, two prequels were filmed and released. The first was X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009 and the second was X-Men: First Class in 2011.
All of the films are available on DVD at Amazon.
Wolverine's Debut in the Incredible Hulk - Buy his Comics on eBay!
Wolverine debuted in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk No. 180 in October 1974, but the next issue is when we really got to see him in action for the first time. I thought he was pretty cool, though Herb Trimpe's art really didn't do him justice. Trimpe had a fairly blockish style at the time, which was OK with a big brute like the Hulk. But with someone who was supposed to have animal-like quickness it didn't really work.
I was glad when he was added to the all-new X-Men the next year, and he has since become one of Marvel Comics' most-popular characters. In addition to the X-Men, he has starred in several of his own series and has appeared in just about every comic series Marvel has published in the last 20 years.
Our Comic Book Reviews
Spider-Man, Captain America and the Avengers!
I have been posting reviews of various comic-book collections, so if you enjoy this lens please check them out!
Captain America in the 1960s: A Marvel Comic Book Review
Marvel Essential Captain America Volume 1 reprints Captain America's stories from Tales of Suspense No. 59-99 as well as the first three issues of the newly-...
The Avengers in the Late 1960s: A Marvel Comics Review!
Marvel Essential: Avengers Vol. 3 contains issues 47 to 68 of the comic's original series, as well as Avengers Annual No. 2. For the most part this collectio...
The Amazing Spider-Man Debuts! A Marvel Masterworks Comic Book Review
Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987 with The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, among others. Since then the company has come out wi...
Spider-Man in the 1970s! A Marvel Comics Book Review
The Essential Spider-Man Vol. 8 contains issues No. 161-185 of the Amazing Spider-Man series, plus Nova issue No. 12 and the Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 11...
Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Comic Book Review: Dr. Doom and Daredevil Guest Star as the Legend Grows!
The Fantastic Four rocked the comic-book world when it debuted in 1961, with writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby introducing more characterization and real...
The Rampaging Hulk Marvel Essential Comic Book Review
Marvel Essential: The Rampaging Hulk 1 is a collection of Hulk stories from his short-lived late 1970s magazine. This volume includes the tales from issues 1...
Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier Comic Book Review
DC: The New Frontier was a series of six comic book issues in 2004 that focused on the 1950s, when many of the major superheroes that populate the modern DC ...
The Ghost Rider Debuts! A Marvel Comic Book Review
The Marvel Essential series contains four volumes devoted to the Ghost Rider superhero, who first appeared in 1972 in a comic book called Marvel Spotlight. H...
Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller A Marvel Comic Book Review of The Complete Elektra Saga!
Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Vol. 2 collects issues 168-182 of the original Daredevil series. Issue 168 was the first comic of the series that Miller ...
The Avengers Debut! A Comic Book Review of the Marvel Masterworks Collection!
The Avengers Volume 1 was one of the first four collections when Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987. Since then the company...
Captain America's 1960s Adventures in Color: A Marvel Comics Review
Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume 1 reprints the superhero's adventures in Tales of Suspense No. 59-81 in full color. This was Captain America's fir...
Spider-Man's Earliest Adventures: A Review of Marvel Comics' Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1
Marvel Essential Spider-Man Volume 1 contains the debut story of Marvel Comics' most-popular character, who first appeared 50 years ago in the summer of 1962...
The Mighty Thor Debuts: Highlights of His First Marvel Masterworks Collection
Thor, one of Marvel Comics' mightiest heroes, debuted 50 years ago in a comic book called Journey into Mystery. One of the Marvel Universe's earliest charact...
Marvel Essential Fantastic Four: Galactus, Silver Surfer and the Black Panther Debut!
Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 3 contains perhaps the most-sustained run of great comic book stories of the 1960s. This collection of Fantastic Four No...
We are a father-daughter team who have been posting to Squidoo for more than three years. To find out more about us and what we write about please see this:
Of Comic Books and Family Vacations: Who is GoldenRuleComics?
Who is GoldenRuleComics? Actually, the better question is who ARE GoldenRuleComics! I am the father of a teenage daughter, and we live in New Jersey. I hand...
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