Uncanny X-Men #244

Uncanny X-Men #244 is the debut of everyone’s favorite firework/firecracker thrower Jubilee into the X-Universe! The story is by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri.

Jubilee has been causing a ruckus at the local mall with her mutant powers (this is so late 1980s it makes me sick!), causing the local mall security to call in the M Squad. Basically they are a private mutant hunting group that you call in. Instead of being pest control for mice, they hunt super humans.

Back at the X-Men’s temporary headquarters in the Australian outback, things are getting difficult for the X-Women. Mostly they just hate it there.

So Dazzler winds up convincing them that they need a day at the shopping mall to cheer them up. Things get weird with her, Storm, Psylocke and Rogue shopping and eventually going to a male revue. You read that right. What kind of shopping mall is this?

Eventually the M-Squad finds the X-Women and there’s a bit of a light scuffle between the two groups. The M-Squad are more like the Keystone Cops, and it’s up to the mutants to save everyone in the mall! As they teleport back home, Jubilee decides to join them and runs into the portal just in time.

Uncanny X-Men #273

Uncanny X-Men #273 has the incredibly fitting tagline “Too Many Mutants! or Whose House is This Anyway?”. This issue has the three battle weary X-teams–X-Men, X-Factor and New Mutants–recovering from the events of the X-Tinction Agenda storyline at a battle ravaged X-Mansion.

Remember when there were ONLY three X-books?

Anyway, this is pretty much a Storm issue with her deciding what the future of the X-Men will be. Cable urges her to take a more proactive stance and preemptively strike threats to mutant and mankind. Jean Grey and Cyclops disagree with his plan. The conversation ends with Cable pretty much saying that he’s claiming the X-Mansion as his base of operation and that Storm has to decide whether she stays and shares his vision, or moves the X-Men in with X-Factor. Storm mulls the decision for the rest of the issue, only for the X-Men to be teleported out to the Shi’ Ar empire to save the long missing Professor X!

Along the way, there’s some fun scenes like the pictured Gambit/Wolverine battle in the Danger Room (where our favorite Cajun mutant wins by some awesome cheating), and Iceman and Boom Boom constantly bickering for comic relief.

Chris Claremont wrote this issue like it was a season premiere of a television show. It covers everything that had just happened previously in the X-books, but also sets up a whole year’s worth of stories like:

  • Cable’s more militant views of how they should operate, which leads to him taking the New Mutants out of the mansion and operating on their own as X-Force
  • Banshee receiving a distress signal from Moira Mactaggert and Jean Grey encountering the Shadow King on the Astral Plane, which sets up that summer’s Muir Isle Saga
  • Where Rogue was (which gets revealed soon after) and the whereabouts of Dazzler and Longshot (which gets told in the Shattershot storyline in the following summer’s X-book annuals).

Getting back to the creative side, inker Scott Hanna is the book’s MVP as he manages to tie the pages by John Byrne, Michael Golden, Klaus Janson, Jim Lee
Rick Leonardi, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Larry Stroman together. You read that right; this book had eight different pencillers.

Kicking It Old School With The X-Men Arcade Game

I remember seeing the X-Men arcade game in the movie theater as a kid and never got to play it. Nineteen years later, I now own it.

Well, not the original cabinet version of the downloadable one for X-Box . So how does this arcade game from 1992 hold up in the modern era? It’s a standard side scroller and the graphics are pretty much what you would expect from a game of that era, but it’s still a lot of fun.

The plot is simple and loosely based on the 1989 cartoon pilot X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men. Magneto has captured Kitty Pryde and Professor X, and it’s up to the X-Men to save them.  You get to pick from Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, and Dazzler to play with.

That’s right, Dazzler.

We all know that Dazzler is one of my favorite characters, but it is kind of alarming that she was included in the game. Dazzler was featured prominently in her post-disco duds in Uncanny X-Men in the late 1980s, but I’m surprised that she was in the game. By this point in the comics, she was largely forgotten. Craziness aside, I can accept this, since this is probably the only time that she will be featured prominently in a video game.

You lead the X-Men through several levels, beating up thousands of monsters, robots and Sentinels (a plot point that wasn’t resolved in this was how the mutant hunting robots fell under control of Magneto), and even the half man, half hank hybrid Bonebreaker from the Reavers! At the end of each level, you get to fight more distinguished X-villains like White Queen and Juggernaut, who inexplicably is firing a bazooka at you. Apparently he’s tired of being only taken as a super strong monster and wants to show off his marksmanship.

At the end of the game you rescue Kitty and Professor X and defeat Magneto, leaving him in Asteroid M to seemingly die as it explodes. I thought they were supposed to be the good guys!

The best part of this game is that you can play it with five of your friends, whether they are over at your place or you join an online session.  This game, like many arcade classics, is much more fun when playing with a group.

Download this game now. It’s a lot of fun, and the perfect way to start an evening of Big Bang Theory styled debauchery with your friends.

30 Things I Like About Comics—#18 Spider-Man Ride @ Universal Studios Florida

Sorry this is so late, but I enjoyed my holiday weekend and got a little behind in this blog business. Today’s adventures are actually blog-worthy, so you’ll find out what I was up to.

Today’s thing is the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. The whole section is themed like a city straight out of a comic book, with giant graphics of your favorite Marvel characters.

The highlight of this section of the park is the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which is probably the closest any of us will ever get to being a super hero. The ride starts with you walking through the Daily Bugle building, which is filled with hidden referenced to Marvel’s history. After J. Jonah Jameson assigns you to get a Spidey story, your loaded into a vehicle and given 3D glasses.

Then things get real. Spidey’s worst villains have teamed up to make things dangerous, and its up to our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler to save the day.

The ride is a lot like Disney World’s Star Tours simulator, except the vehicle is open and moves on a track through various scenes projecting 3D images, combined with special effects like lasers, flame throwers and fog machines. Remember the tram vehicle? Well it shakes and spins to add to the effect, as well as an intense soundtrack.

This video does a better job describing everything that goes into this ride then I can. The visuals and effects are just amazing. Spidey also has his trademark sense of humor, which adds to the fun.

And at the end of the ride, make sure you look for the movie theater’s phone number. Make sure you give it a call after you get off the ride for some fun and chuckles.

In the Marvel section, there are some more standard low-tech theme park rides, like the Incredible Hulk Rollercoaster.(which is pretty crazy) and Storm’s Force Accelatron, a Mad Tea Party liked spinning ride themed after the X-Men.

Oh, then there was this thing–Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall. After walking through his lab and seeing Doombots, it is revealed that Dr. Doom is harvesting fear and terror from park attendees for his diabolical needs. After being strapped to a chair, this ride shoots you up 150 feet into the air and you bounce around for a good minute, going up and down. I was literally scared to death, screaming a string of obscenities that would make even Lobo blush.

And I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but all the ride attendants were from Latvia. How could I tell? All the theme park workers have their home town shown on their name tags. If they weren’t, then kudos to Universal’s costuming department for adding this extra bit of authenticity.

The Marvel section also features an Avengers decorated food court, and a gift shop filled with TPBs, toys, shirts and more.