Look & Find X-Men (1992)
Script – Dwight Zimmerman
Illustrator – James Janes
Inks – Dave Simons
Colors – Janice Porter & Michele Marrero-DeCicco
Edits – HA!
Cover Price: ???
Publications International, Ltd.
So, what in Moira’s name is all this then?
Welp, I was walking around the ol’ used records store this weekend, while my wife was checking out their selection of Funko Pops — when I wandered over to the comics area. I’m always up for a dip into the junk bins… if you’ve been following along with me for all these years, that’s certainly no surprise. So anyway, I was digging around for some cheap issues of Classic X-Men/X-Men Classic (I did find issue #77, which I’d been missing), I saw this weird… tall, skinny book amid the trade paperbacks. All I could see from my angle was that it said “X-Men” in the middle of the spine.
Assuming that it was some sort of international compilation — or anthology sorta gimmick (it instantly reminded me of the few Dandy Annuals I’ve found), I nyoinked it off the shelf for a better look. And, well… the fake-ass comics historian and X-ephemerologist in me is really glad that I did!
It wasn’t a trade… it wasn’t a UK Annual… instead, it was a — Where’s Waldo?-alike? And, just LOOK at that cover — such an odd mixture of art styles and character reference to behold. It’s part X-Men: The Animated Series, it’s part X-Men: The Actual Comic… we’ve got Jim Lee art in the forefront… we’ve got characters that fans of the cartoon may’ve never seen before… it’s just wild!
It almost begs to be read… and, in fact… believe it or not, there IS a story inside!
So, howsabout I take whatever splintered shreds of X-Men Analyst “legitimacy” I might still have left and we take a look at it together, eh?
Our story opens… in the Danger Room, where Magneto has broken in with his Alphabet Pet… err, MindMaster Device to gum up the works. Hmm, maybe we might look at this as an unofficial sequel to the Uncanny X-Men Super Activity Book from 1983… you all know how much I adore my lore and continuity! Anyway, MindMaster Device engaged… and our Mutant Heroes very nearly mentally enslaved, Gateway appears! Yeah, Gateway! All the kids picking this up on RIF Day know who Gateway is… right?
Now, Gateway’s great and all… but, the X-Men aren’t going to be able to survive this without OUR help as well… can YOU find the parts of Magneto’s MindMaster Device? Serious question though… should the device be able to work when it’s in pieces? Well, if nothing else, we now all know HOW to build a MindMaster Device!
- Gyroscope: $9.99 at Hobby Lobby
- Radar Dishes vary in price, but are readily available all over the internet
- Tripod: $29.99 at Best Buy
- Control Panel… well, we might have to x-periment with these to find the right one… but, there’s a bunch of ’em waitin’ for ya
- Main Housing Unit… well, it just looks like a remote control and Zack Morris’ phone had a baby… should be able to find something THAT high tech at any Goodwill
- As for the Radar Screen – those usually come WITH the Radar Dishes… so, two birds, one stone
So, now that even WE could break into the X-Mansion and very nearly take out the entire team, let’s move on… well, a whole bunch of disparate locations! Now ya see, Professor X wasn’t quite sure he could trust Gateway… and, well, that kinda stands to reason — ya see, this weird activity book might actually be the first time their paths have crossed! When the X-Men met the Aboriginal Teleporter, they were playing dead in the Outback, and Xavier was off trying to make boring bird-babies in space!
And here’s where WE come back into the story. The Prof needs to get in contact with his charges… and, since it’s not like he’s some sort of telepath or anything, so he’s going to have to rely on some good old-fashioned means of communication… including a fax machine? I mean, where would he be sending that fax? Oh well, let’s help a brother out. Also, let’s take in some of the cameos here… Ka-Zar? Gladiator? Santa Claus?! Dang.
Okay, moving on. Our first stop to search for the “Time Keys” is… the Savage Land. Which, ya know, isn’t actually the X-Men traveling through time, despite what Wolverine says here. Oh well. We’ll just play along and admire the wacky artwork. I mean, it’s charmingly insane, is it not? Also, it looks as though Logan’s about to slaughter an entire tribe of “swamp men”, which is likely why this book didn’t come with the Comics Code Authority seal of approval.
I’m not sure if the “No Mutants Sign” that’s been posted in the Savage Land was part of Magneto’s plan… since, ya know, he’s kinda big on Mutant Supremacy and stuff. I’m also not sure how Genoshan soldiers, armor, and weaponry wound up here. Also (again), who the hell is “Pipeline”… and why are we looking for him? Only Pipeline I can find on the (always accurate and complete) Marvel Wiki is a group of folks who appeared in the 1992 Nomad series. I… don’t… think this is the same one. Maybe he’s some sort of Genoshan Soldier I’m supposed to recognize… but, heaven help me – it’s been a long while since I read any X-Tinction Agenda era X-Books.
Let’s assume that our heroes found what they were looking for in the Savage Land, because it’s time to move along to… Genosha. Couldja imagine x-plaining the concept of Genosha to some tot who grabbed this book to play a bit of “Where’s Wolvie?” I mean, it’s pretty heavy, innit?
So, anyway… we’re in Genosha… and, ya know somethin’… maybe we ARE actually time-traveling, because there is a Magneto Flag atop one of the buildings. Magneto would take over Genosha as a result of The Magneto War in… what was it… 1998? 1999? Maybe Look & Find X-Men was the catalyst to bring that about? I’m about 95% sure that it was. Anyway, our big-bad here is our good friend, Fabian Cortez… who isn’t so much “hidden” on the page, as he is just angrily posing atop a building.
If we stop to admire some cameos here… we’ve got Alice and the White Rabbit, Dorothy and Toto, and a Leprechaun. Also, this marks the second page in a row where Gambit is just playing cards with some locals. Wonder if we’ll be seeing more of that?
Moving on to Asteroid M, which… not gonna lie, seems like a pretty neat place to hang-out! Just look at all the amenities! I also love how we’re getting the old “Baxter Building in a Fantastic Four Annual” cross-section here!
Now, if we were to stop admiring the batspit insanity of this page for a moment (we will get back to it), I feel like I gotta do some “achshully-ing”. Ya see, we’re at Asteroid M, yes? Home of Magneto and the Acolytes, yes? Magneto, as mentioned, is a champion of Mutant Supremacy. We’re all on the same page, right? So… why in all frigs does he have a Sentinel Plant on board his base?! I mean, for real… he’s got a
Master Sentinel Mold here!
I think I might be able to No-Prize this… but, it’s going to take some doing… and, to be honest, some legal wrangling. If you were to peruse this page, you’d see that Rogue is fighting alongside Uncle Sam… so, we might posit that this scene is actually playing out on DC’s Earth-X… that, ya know, problematic Earth – that half of social media thinks we’re actually living in in real life. So, let’s say we’re on Earth-X, where World War II ended differently… and, how that might’ve affected Magneto. I… okay, I can’t even pretend to make that work anymore. We’ll just… hell, I dunno what “we’ll just” do.
Let’s just change the subject… and look at the Three Little Pigs who just happened across that fridge full’a pork! Let’s not think about the fact that Magneto has a fridge dedicated to pork and pork products… nor the fact that he has a Witch guarding it. Let’s… okay… let’s just move on.
To more Sentinels?! Ya kidding me? Okay then.
Before I write something horribly unfunny about this spread, I do wanna point out that… Gambit’s playing cards here! Not only that, but he’s playing WITH a Sentinel, a Caveman, and Santa Claus. Ya ever think of that question “If you could have dinner with three people from anywhere and anytime, who would they be?” Well I now have my answer: I’d share a meal with a Sentinel, a Caveman, and Santa Claus.
Okay, on to the unfunny analysis! Here we’ve got… quite the crowded mishigas. We’ve got a Sentinel wedding scene… which, we don’t get a look at the bride, so I can’t assume this is some sort of unholy union of flesh and machine… nor could I posit what might result of it. Speaking of unholy unions, we’ve got Storm and Dracula in very close proximity. Wolverine’s here too… and we current-yearers know that he’s not a fan of Vampires. We’ve got Uncle Sam… hurling a soccer ball at a Sentinel, which… c’mon… Uncle Sam ain’t ever gonna touch a soccer ball, right?
Okay, next stop… Shi’ar Space… which might be the only X-Men locale more boring than the Savage Land. Speaking of boring… howsabout we throw a gaggle of Brood into the mix?
If we look toward the bottom of the left-hand page, and like really squint — we might think that we’re seeing the first appearance of Broo! Lookithim in that cute li’l “Newsy” hat! If that IS Broo… I might have to see about getting this sucker slabbed. Before we move on, because I can’t think of even unfunny things to say about this page — I didn’t know that the Brood could drive little rockets. I mean, I never knew they couldn’t either.
Anyway, our last stop before heading home is… the Mall! Like fer sher! We’re apparently in the future… which, I mean… I dunno if any of y’all have been to a mall of late, but they’re not exactly the most “hoppin'” of places. Must be the Earth-X effect? Anyway, Jubilee is our POV character here… which makes sense. Sadly, they’re so far in the future that all of her credit cards are expired. Gotta ask… who gave her a credit card in the first place?
Lookit Wolverine standin’ there lookin’ like a Mutant McConnehy… MacGonahee… (hold on a sec)… lookin’ like a Mutant *McConaughey*. Also, you’ll NEVER in a MILLION YEARS guess what Gambit’s doing. Anyway, we’re supposed to look for a Danger Room Robot here… which, take that Joss Whedon – you didn’t create nothin‘! You just ripped off the Look & Find X-Men book when you brought in Danger.
Okay, I’ve been at this for like two hours at this point… so, let’s just take it home. Literally and figuratively — we’re back at the Mansion, looking for… hypodermic needles? Furreal? Okay.
And, well — fans of the Uncanny X-Men Super Activity Book (1983) will be familiar with this sensation… because, this… like that… doesn’t have an ending! Rather, it just stops. Maybe there’ll be yet another ridiculous Activity book that I’ll happen across where we might continue the “lore” of this tale?
It might be worth noting that this final page is rather star-studded! In addition to all of our weird and oddball cameos, this page introduces the Juggernaut and Apocalypse to the mix! I’m guessing all the reference our artist had for this book was the back of the package for an X-Men Action Figure. We’ve also got a
Master Sentinel Mold right… uh, across the water from the Xavier School… as well as the Statue of Liberty? Oh well, I mean – we’re in New York… and we all know that, when you’re anywhere in New York, all’s ya gotta do is turn yer head to see Lady Liberty.
Oh well, that’s where we leave it!
(Not the) Letters Page: