Marvel Riot #1 (December, 1995)
“X-Men Alphalpha”, Page One
Plot – Scott Lobdell
Words/Art – Hilary Barta
Inks – Rurik Tyler
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors – Mike Worley
Edits – (Mariano) Nicieza, Potts
Just two days in, and already breaking the rules of this little project.
I mean, I know I’m calling this bizarre and pointless mess “One Page at a Time”, but I thought it’d be kind of a dick move to only cover half of a double-page spread today… so, we’ll bend the self-imposed rules a wee little bit. Hopefully I won’t still be writing this piece come dinner time. I tell y’all, that first page was a doozy.
So, last time out, Bishop climbed a stack of comic corpses trying to get… somewhere. We ended our chat with him begging us to turn the page, and so… here we are
Here, our hero runs into… the X-Men! Or, rather, the amalgamated Age of Apocalypse X-Men. Magneto welcomes him, and assures him that he is now safe. Gotta say, right off the bat how refreshing it is that they’re actually using the characters’ real names here. If you’re an X-Lapsed listener, which undoubtedly, one or two of you… uh, might be… you may remember the X-Men flavored issue of Not Brand Echh I covered not too long ago. In it, they… really tweaked the character names… and showed us all just how creative they can be. For x-ample, Cyclops became… Cyclomps! Hilarious, amirite? Anyway, all’s I’m sayin’ ova hea’ is that I’m happy they’re leavin’ the names be.
So, let’s meet our gang of characters, eh? Apologies for the shininess of the pics… this is that horrid mid-90’s “blister in the sun” paper, after all. Nothing like making your product look like crap by “classing it up” to the same type of paper that Good Housekeeping uses!
Real Name: Lucas Bishop – First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #282 (November, 1991)
Created by Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
Still a relatively new character in 1995. We first met Bishop when he was a member of the XSE (Xavier’s Security Enforcers) from the far-flung future. Flanked by fellow XSEers Malcolm and Randall, Bishop came to the 20th Century to chase down the time-traveling baddie, Trevor Fitzroy. He would be invited to join the X-Men, a team who he saw as legends during his youth.
Real Name: Kurt Wagner – First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May, 1975)
Created by Dave Cockrum & Len Wein
Joined the All-New, All-Different “International” X-Men who’d save the originals from Krakoa. Was originally conceived by Dave Cockrum as a member of DC’s Outsiders (not those Outsiders… or those other Outsiders), a team set to spin out from the Legion of Super-Heroes. DC Editor, Murray Boltinoff would pass on the character, finding him a bit too “funny looking”.
In the comics, Kurt would stick around with the X-Men until being knocked into a coma during the Mutant Massacre. As he was recuperating, the X-Men would “die” in Dallas, Texas. From here, he would hook up with Excalibur, where he’d remain up to (and past) the Age of Apocalypse story arc. Looks like Barta and Friends almost forgot to include him in this here page!
Real Name: Max Eisenhardt or Erik Lensherr… they go back and forth on this one – First Appearance: X-Men #1 (September, 1963)
Created by Stan and Jack
The X-Men’s original “big-bad”… and the Master of Magnetism. Magneto led the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and was just an all around pain-in-the-ass for the first 66 issues of Volume One.
Stan Lee would say in 2008 that he never saw Magneto as a villain, which… I dunno about y’all, but that sounds like a very “Stan Lee” thing to say, dunnit? Let’s let him tell it:
- “I did not think of Magneto as a bad guy. He just wanted to strike back at the people who were so bigoted and racist… he was trying to defend the mutants, and because society was not treating them fairly he was going to teach society a lesson. He was a danger, of course… but I never thought of him as a villain.”
Now, far be it from me to argue with The Man, but… c’maaaaaaaaahn.
It’d be Chris Claremont, some fifteen years later, who would use the Malcolm X/Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspiration for the Magneto/Professor X relationship.
As of the Age of Apocalypse, Magneto was believed to be Erik Lensherr, a Sinte gypsy and Holocaust Survivor. He would meet Charles Xavier in Israel… which is where our timeline drastically splits.
In the “prime” Marvel Universe, Magnus and Xavier would debate philosophy and come to the conclusion that their points of view on society were incompatible. Magneto would swipe a cache of Nazi gold in order to finance his endeavors. He’d first run into the X-Men during an attack on Cape Citadel. After suffering a defeat, he’d assemble the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He’d wind up getting captured by the Cosmic Being known as The Stranger, and after a few comebacks, wind up tossed into the Savage Land. He’d tangle with the Avengers, the X-Men, the Defenders — like I said, he’s a real pain-in-the-ass… and, despite what Stan sez in 2008, a “villain”.
During a run-in with the Defenders, Magneto is reduced to infanthood by Alpha the Ultimate Mutant. He’s eventually restored to adulthood, and captures the “new” X-Men under the guise of Shi’ar Agent, Eric the Red. Later, he’d begin to “soften” after nearly killing Kitty “Don’t call me Kate… yet” Pryde. He sees that she’s wearing a Star of David, and stops himself before going too far.
Magneto learns (or reveals) that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are his children (Vision and the Scarlet Witch #4 – February, 1983). He’s swept away to Battleworld with the X-Men for Secret Wars, where it’s notable that he was left on the “heroes” side when the Beyonder split up his castaways into good/evil “teams”. Upon return, Magneto would be put on trial for his crimes against humanity/the world (Uncanny X-Men #200). The charges would be dismissed.
Magneto would take over as the Headmaster of the Xavier School while Charles went off-planet to engage in some bird-person lovemaking. Magneto would guide the New Mutants. He’d also join the Hellfire Club as its White King, eventually giving the Black King, Sebastian Shaw, the boot. He kinda flips the script here, claiming that his time as one of the good guys was a ruse, and he was only using the X-Men and New Mutants as pawns to further his cause to take over the world.
During the Acts of Vengeance event, Magneto would (very briefly) team with Red Skull… which is, ya know, awkward.
He’d work with the X-Men and Nick Fury during a Savage Land adventure (Uncanny X-Men #275), during which he’d grow to be quite fond of, and chummy with, Rogue. Following the Muir Island Saga, Magneto was officially back as a bad guy… he’d command his team of Acolytes to do some pretty nasty stuff. He was assumed to be dead after this bit, and would lay low until the Fatal Attractions crossovent. Here he’d go from “complex villain” to… full-on foaming at the mouth lunatic.
Magneto would interrupt the funeral of Illyana Rasputin (who was the first fatality of the Legacy Virus). He’d sway longtime loyal X-Man, Colossus, to his cause… and, of course, this is the story where he nyoinks Wolverine’s Adamantium out of his hairy li’l body. Fatal Attractions ended with Professor X psychically lobotomizing Magneto… which, probably won’t lead to anywhere or anything at all, right? Anyway, that gets us to the here-and-now.
Real Name: Anna Marie (LeBeau, as of “current year”) – First Appearance: Avengers Annual #10 (October, 1981)
Created by Chris Claremont & Michael Golden
Rogue was a runaway who left home after her mutant power of “absorption via touch” kicked in just as she was making out with her boyfriend, Cody. Her powers were uncontrollable, leading to her having to wear gloves to avoid any and all skin-to-skin contact with others. She’d be picked up by Mystique and Destiny, and wound up joining their Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. During this time, she’d wind up “permanently” absorbing the powers of Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers.
She’d eventually see the error of her ways and join the X-Men. She’s been romantically linked to Gambit since around as long as I’ve been reading the stuff. Here, though, in the AoA, she’s hooked up with Magneto. Speaking of Gambit…
Real Name: Remy LeBeau – First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #266 (August, 1990) — or, Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (July, 1990) if you wanna look like a real “in the know” social media savage — or, just happen to have a few copies of it you’re trying to move…
Created by Chris Claremont & Jim Lee
A thief (and, if this page is to be believed, sewer-dwelling foot-fetishist), who was prophesized to unite the Thieves and Assassins Guilds. Y’all bored yet? Man, I hated those stories. Anyway, though it hadn’t yet been revealed, Gambit was the one who led the Marauders into the Morlock Tunnels for the Mutant Massacre. Those beans wouldn’t be spilled until Uncanny X-Men #350… though, by then, it was kinda the worst kept secret in comics.
Gambit would join the X-Men shortly before the Original Five made their return to the fold. He’d be romantically linked to the woman who’s foot he’s licking, and prior to the AoA, was on the X-Men’s Blue Strike Force… even though, by then the lines were kinda blurred.
Real Name: Kyle Gibney – First Appearance: Alpha Flight #1 (August, 1983)
Created by John Byrne
Tossed out by his parents due to his odd appearance, Kyle found himself taken captive by the Secret Empire, where he was experimented on. He’d eventually be found by some Canadian Agents and handed over to Department H — ya know, doze people wit’ the Alpha Flights. Wild Child would join Gamma Flight, and eventually become Weapon Omega — a less animalistic version of himself. Here, he’s basically Sabretooth’s dog. Speakin’ a whom…
Real Name: Victor Creed – First Appearance: Iron Fist #14 (August, 1977)
Created by Chris Claremont & John Byrne
A member of the CIA Covert-Ops unit Team X, a Mercenary Killer, member of the Marauders… a very busy boy, indeed. What’s more, he was also intended by Chris Claremont to eventually be revealed as being Wolverine’s father.
Claremont sez: “Father and Son. That’s why Sabretooth always considered Logan ‘sloppy seconds’ to his ‘original/real deal’.” His point is well taken, though… I’m not sure “sloppy seconds” means what you think it does there, CC.
Claremont continues: “The other critical element in my presentation of their relationship was that, in their whole life, Logan has never defeated Sabretooth in a knock-down, drag-out, kill-or-be-killed berserker fight. By the same token, on every one of his birthdays, Sabretooth has always managed to find him, no matter where Logan was or what he was doing, and come within an inch of killing him. For no other reason than to remind him that he could.”
Perhaps it’s worth noting that just as the M’Kraan crystal was doin’ its thang prior to the AoA setting in, Wolverine did manage to run a claw thru Vic’s brain. Also, the “Sabretooth is Wolverine’s daddy” bit was debunked in Wolverine (vol.2) #42 (July, 1991).
Vic was a member of the Marauders during the Mutant Massacre which wiped out a whole bunch’a Morlocks. As we approached the AoA, Sabretooth had just spent some time as a captive in the X-Mansion, and wound up actually helping the good guys in their battle against the Phalanx.
Real Name: Jubilation Lee – First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #244 (May, 1989)
Created by Chris Claremont & Marc Silvestri
Jubilee was an orphan in Beverly Hills… her parents having been murdered by a pair of hitmen. She would escape the orphanage and move into the Hollywood Mall, where she’d use her fireworks paffin’ powers to entertain the patrons. One day she’d run into Storm, Rogue, Dazzler, and Psylocke in the midst of one of their rare “girls day out”. This was during the Outback Era, and the X-Ladies were able to visit the mall via one of Gateway’s portals. Jubilee secrets her way back with them.
While Down Unduh, Jubilee hides out in the X-Men’s base. While sneaking around, she happens across Wolverine being tortured by the Reavers. This is that semi-iconic scene of the crucified Wolverine on the giant “X”. She helps him, and together they escape to Madripoor… and it becomes a whole big thing.
For lack of a better term, she becomes Wolverine’s sorta-kinda sidekick, and winds up officially joining the X-Men. Following the Muir Island Saga and the “shakeup”, she joins the Blue Strike Force. Following the Phalanx Covenant, she’s demoted (and de-aged), joining Generation X. I don’t think she called Professor Xavier a jerk though, which, in hindsight is kind of a missed opportunity. I guess Scott Lobdell wasn’t trying to prove he’s a bigger X-Fan than the actual readership…
Real Name: Ororo Munroe – First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May, 1975)
Created by Dave Cockrum & Len Wein
Part of the All-New, All-Different X-Men who rescued the originals from Krakoa. Storm was originally conceived as a shape-shifting catlike woman by Dave Cockrum, which we’ve already talked about a couple’a times here on the blog.
It was revealed that she was a pickpocket growing up in Kenya, and she just so happened to try and pick the pocket of Professor X. Shortly into her time with the X-Men, she’d become something of a mentor to Kitty Pryde… ya know, before scaring the bejeezus out of her by getting a mohawk. Worth noting, the Storm we see here complains that she has the worst hairstyle outta anyone in the book. Gotta say, she’s probably not in the top ten of worst looks here! Anyway, back to the mohawk… Kitty’s reaction was apparently based on Walter Simonson’s daughter’s reaction upon seeing her father beardless for the first time. So, that’s pretty cute — too bad the current-year X-Books can’t stop referencing it.
Forge would create a mutant power nullifier, and was planning to zap Rogue with it in attempt to get her powers under control. He’d hit Storm instead, leaving her powerless for awhile. We mustn’t forget that, even without powers, Storm was able to best Cyclops in a one-on-one fight to take over leadership of the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #201) — sending Scott into retirement… which lasted less than a month. Also, it would later be hinted at (or just plain said) that Storm only won the fight due to Madelyne Pryor’s interference. Whether or not that’s true is often left to whatever current-year writer is referencing it… and how much of a badass they wanna portray Storm as.
During her depowered days, Storm spent some time in another dimension with Forge (Lifedeath). Her powers would return. Following the Fall of the Mutants, Storm would be part of the Outback Team. She’d be regressed into a child state by Nanny… be rescued by Gambit… be later brainwashed into a Genoshan Magistrate (X-Tinction Agenda)… but, she’d recover from all’a that before the big “shake up”. Following the Muir Island Saga, Storm would serve as the leader of the X-Men’s Gold Strike Force.
Real Name: Wanda Maximoff – First Appearance: X-Men #4 (March, 1964)
Created by Stan ‘n Jack
Here comes a mea culpa… back when Reggie and I covered the Age of Apocalypse (Cosmic Treadmill, Episodes 100-105), we mistakenly assumed that the singer “Scarlet McKenzie”, who performed at Angel’s “Heaven” Nightclub in Manhattan was the Scarlet Witch. She was not. Sorry ’bout that!
Wanda would debut alongside her brother (and not-father) as a member of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Following Magneto’s capture by The Stranger, she and Pietro would join up with the Avengers, as part of “Cap’s Kooky Quartet”. She’d be eventually romantically linked with the Vision… and Android. They’d even have some kids together… sorta. During her time with the West Coast Avengers, Wanda would briefly be corrupted by Magneto. This was following the VisionQuest story – a divisive little ditty, wherein the Vision lost his humanity (and red n green pigment), so she wasn’t exactly in all that good of a place to begin with. She’d eventually get over it though — sorta. We readers have been paying the price for this story for the past few decades. Here, Marvel had the good sense to just put her out of our misery.
Real Name: Kevin Sydney – First Appearance: X-Men #35 (August, 1967)
Created by Roy Thomas & Werner Roth
Back in the long ago, this brick was a baddie who went by the name Changeling. We discussed him quite a bit during the interminable Factor Three storyline. After that (spoiler alert for the one-and-a-half listeners of The Essential X-Lapsed), he would take on the form of Professor X, so Charles could fake his own death. Changeling would remain dead… forevermore (well, they kinda mistakenly shoved him into a panel during the post-HoXPoX stuff, but whatever)
Morph would be brought back for X-Men: The Animated Series… and he’s back again for the Age of Apocalypse, though he looks nothing like the Changeling or the TAS Morph. Though, in fairness… he is a shape-shifter, eh? We’re going to see him take many shapes during Marvel Riot.
Real Name: Clarice Ferguson – First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #317 (October, 1994)
Created by Scott Lobdell & Joe Madureira
By the time of the AoA, we’d only very briefly met Blink. This was during the Generation X lead-in, The Phalanx Covenant, where she was among the new-new mutants. She sacrificed herself to save the rest of the eventual X-Kids. Since this was literally four-months before the Age of Apocalypse, I suppose it’s safe to assume she was still on Scott Lobdell’s mind? Not sure why she’s carrying golf clubs here — maybe it’ll make more sense later? She does ask a pretty interesting question though…
Real Name: Bobby Drake – First Appearance: X-Men #1 (September, 1963)
Created by Stan ‘n Jack
This poor puddle of a man was one of the Original Five — the first of the O5 we’re seeing to this point! He was created by Stan Lee, essentially as “a copy of the Human Torch”. Following the “first sixty-six”, Bobby would join the Champions alongside fellow X-Pat, Angel. Champions writer, Tony Isabella hoped to write a “buddy series” with the two, but Marvel insisted that it be a team-book. He’d join the Defenders when the Champions went kaput, he’d also become one of Spider-Man’s televised Amazing Friends!
The launch of X-Factor brought the O5 back together, and, well, Bobby… being one’a the O5 was a part of it. During his time with X-Factor, his ice powers were supercharged by Loki, requiring him to wear an inhibitor belt to keep himself under control. Following the Muir Island Saga, he’d return to the X-Men proper, serving as a member of the Gold Strike Force. Ever since then (up to today), writers seem to forget that Iceman is even there, until they write the bi-annual story where he learns he’s not living up to his potential!
Real Name: Pietro Maximoff – First Appearance: X-Men #4 (March, 1964)
Created by Stan ‘n Jack
See the first couple’a paragraphs of the Scarlet Witch’s bio. Instead of falling in love with an Android… Pietro falls in love with something far more perverse… a friggin’ Inhuman! Quicksilver would marry and procreate with Crystal the Inhuman. She would give birth to Luna. What’s worse — she’d wind up cheating on him. Wow, imagine a boring-ass Inhuman cheating on you!
Pietro would be mind-controlled and forced to go bad by Maximus, leading an android version of the Zodiac organization against the good guys. Once his mind cleared, he’d rejoin the Avengers (West Coast)… and eventually wind up with (the government-run) X-Factor… which, I’m pretty sure he was still a part of (at least tangentially) when the AoA kicked off.
Those are out X-Men… but, we’re not done yet!
Real Name: I’m Kidding.
X-Ray Specs were a novelty item sold in comic books for… like ever, right? We’ve all seen them… with varying, and often perverse promises being made to the buyer. The pervert pictured here is actually the one on the “X-Ray Spex” package. Anybody reading this actually own a pair of these things? Reggie and I were trying to find ’em for a Weird Comics History piece we were working on. We probably should’a just pulled the trigger and ordered off Amazon. Oh well. Regrets pile high. Anyway, this creep is getting a better look at Blink… who, is probably the youngest person on the page.
Here’s a look at the X-Ray Spex packaging:
So, how these suckers work? Do they work? Can you actually check out how well your broken bones are mending after you tell a pretty young thing that you can see under their clothes?
Well, I hate to break any hearts or minds, but it’s all an illusion. I know… I don’t wanna believe it myself. The gimmick in play here is that the lenses of yer spex are made of a couple of layers of cardboard. There’s a small hole in each one, for which to, ya know – see through. In between each of the cardboard lenses is a feather. The feather causes a light-diffracting effect, which slightly offsets what you’re seeing. This gives the effect that you’re seeing both the inside and outside of a particular thing — where, all you’re actually seeing is one darker glob of item inside a slightly less dark glob of an item. There, I saved ya a 1965’s worth of a dollar!
Is this supposed to be Bob Harras? I dunno… he’s usually depicted as having an incurable case of five o’clock shadow. For Bob’s sake, I hope it isn’t him… because he’s here getting perhaps a little too bit comfy with Blink… who, again, probably the youngest person on this page. Izzit Scott Lobdell? Joe Mad? Roger Cruz? I really dunno — usually these cameos are a bit easier to identify.
Finally, there’s… this li’l critter hidden in the top left-hand corner of our spread…
I’m not sure who or what this is… but, I’m very interested in finding out. This li’l bugger has captivated me… I really wanna know more about it! I was never much of a What The–?! reader… is this some sorta Easter Egg?
Whatever it is… I wanna see more of it!
Anyway… there ya have it — another day that I assumed would be a “gimme”, that took me the better part of five hours to compose. What’s wrong with me? We don’t get a whole lot of “story” here — but, we’ll rectify that soon enough. For now, we’re busy laying the (unnecessary) foundation. What’s important is — Bishop’s found the X-Men.
As with Part One – here’s a side-by-side of the Riot Page with the one (I assume) it’s evoking from X-Men Alpha #1:
Next time out — five panels of headaches, soliloquy, and my lecture on Legion Quest! Please come back anyway!