Tuesday, April 25

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 193



X-Men 192 was set up to be a special issue, as it had been 100 issues since the title was relaunched, bringing in Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, and Colossus. And there was one other, Thunderbird, an Apache mutant who died in their first mission. This issue sees his brother lure the team to the site of his death for revenge. He has his chance to kill Xavier but he can't do it. He's no killer. The team lets him go, and the issue ends with everyone where they were before. Eh.
But in a fight with armored soldiers, Colossus asks Rogue for a Fastball Special, where a strong person, usually him, throws someone, usually Wolverine, at the bad guys. Imagine someone throwing six angry Canadian knives at you. This is Rogue's first shot at it, and she launches the giant Russian into the response team. I love the Fastball Special. I love that the team has a move like that and a name for it.
This was also the first Rogue costume that had a green layer off the shoulder on a black leotard. Variations of that were THE Rogue look until she got the green and yellow bodysuit.
Also Kitty is wearing a Zorro mask for some reason. They didn't know what to do with her look for years. Or her hero name. Sprite. Ariel. And then in her mini with Wolverine, she became Shadowcat, which was picked up for a species in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones.

Monday, April 24

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 192


 In X-Men 192, we get our fourth new bad guy to just show up and exude villainy in about six months. This time it's Magus, the techno-organic father to the alien Warlock who is part of the New Mutants team. He arrives as new X-Men leader Nightcrawler puts Rogue and Colossus through their paces. For her, he tries to unlock the "Marvel sense" she stole from Carol Danvers. He chooses to tickle her into predicting his next move and, when she flies off angry, he realizes he took liberties with a person who can't touch anyone. Magus arrives, and Rogue uses her power on him to weaken him. He runs off. The others welcome back Kitty and Logan from their trip to Japan, and Kitty recognizes Rachel from her trip to the future. Xavier is mugged for being a mutant.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 190 and 191


So. X-Men 190 and 191 are full-on bonkers. Fonkers. Yes.

Kulan Gath, a dark wizard from Conan comics, is freed from a magic necklace and takes over Manhattan, transforming it into Dungeons and Dragons Land, changing the memories of everyone who enters the threshold. Some X-Men and Avengers are ensorceled to work for Gath. Others fight to dethrone him, again with no idea they are from a modern world. Spider-Man alone remembers, but he's the only one who speaks English so no one can understand him. Gath prevents the good magic users from working against him, so Strange and Selene cannot speak. Xavier and Caliban are smooshed into one creature to find Gath's enemies.
People die. Like DIE die. Spider-Man. Vision. Colossus. Rogue. Dead. But Strange and Illyana work together after Gath is defeated, to revert everyone back in time to right before the Gath spell began.
BUT they change history, allowing future Sentinel Nimrod to come into the new present and, by happenstance, killing the human vessel who allowed Gath to take power. And now he's rarin' to kill mutants.
Fonkers, I tell you.

Friday, April 21

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 189


X-Men 189 is an outing for newcomers Amara and Rachel. She is from a Roman outpost from South America that never progressed past the early first century, and Rachel is the alternate universe daughter of Scott and Jean. They have beefs with Selene, and they find her in the Hellfire Club, the stylized social sex club in New York.
So the comic goes all in as Chris Claremont's Kink Korral as we see Rachel's past as a leashed and spiked, leather-clad mutant bloodhound, and Selene applies to be the club's Black Queen, complete with corset and knee high boots. The girls infiltrate by wearing French maid outfits. They are captured (and leashed) before the X-Men bust in and save them. Subjugation! Body swapping! Wee little outfits! Almost a full Yahtzee in this one.
Amid these scenes looms the upcoming threat of Kulan Gath, an Old World sorcerer, and next issue, dear reader, the comic goes full-on bonkers (fonkers).

Thursday, April 20

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 188


Finally the Dire Wraiths are banished, thanks to Nightcrawler's honey, Amanda, and Illyana, both magic users. The X-Men, including brother Peter, find out the latter has sorcery and teleporting powers, and Peter says he doesn't care what she is, he still loves her.

Speaking of that sentiment, Nightcrawler calls a meeting because he wants out of the hero business. The government just removed Storm's powers, and anti-mutant legislation is coming. Why are they fighting to save the humans who hate them? But Rachel, the mutant from the dark future, says the team has to keep fighting to avoid the timeline she escaped where mutants are rounded up and killed. Nightcrawler agrees.
But he does accidentally suggest a proper focus for the Xavier school, which took them decades to follow up on: Not every mutant who learns to control their power has to become a superhero. Some want to go back to their lives. Some mutations don't lend themselves to heroing, and throwing them at Sabretooth is cruel and making them live with their classmates forever is isolation. What's the point of teaching people, both mutants and humans, that they can coexist if they remain forever separate?


Wednesday, April 19

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 187

So after losing her powers and learning the guy she's falling for made the weapon that depowered her, Storm leaves Forge's apartment. But here come the alien, invading, sorcerous Dire Wraiths to kill Forge. Storm and Naze, Forge's mentor, pull a Die Hard (four years before the movie) to get to the penthouse and save him. It's not a great issue; too much is happening here, but Rogue debuts a costume that is so bad it's good, and there are signs Storm's powers might not be gone after all.


Tuesday, April 18

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 186


X-Men 186 is a special issue for a few reasons. It's 40 pages when most comics are less than 25. It's pencilled by Barry Windsor-Smith, a legend of line work, a real fine artist among cartoonists. It's a story mostly between two people: the recently depowered Storm and Forge, the mutant engineer who made the weapon that took her powers, but she doesn't know that. It reads like a one-act play, and it has time to work the corners when most comics are fastballs across the plate. Something horrible has happened to a character already in turmoil, and we get to see her process it in a pace rarely seen in monthly comics.

Meanwhile Rogue is pursuing the feds who tried to use the weapon on her so they can point the way to Storm. ALSO the alien Dire Wraiths wants those same feds to point the way to Forge to destroy the weapon that could also foil their invasion plans.
I drew my take on the panel where Storm watches a thunderstorm she can no longer feel in her bones or bend to her whims.


Wednesday, April 5

X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 185

In X-Men 185, the government and SHIELD are after Rogue for freeing Carol's friend. Rogue has run from the team in the wake of her instability as Carol's personality fights for dominance. Storm finds her and tries to prove her support by voluntarily giving Rogue her power and world view. Rogue tries to learn how to use the weather powers, but, while Storm is unconscious, the feds attack, armed with Forge's power neutralizer to make Rogue harmless. But they hit Storm, and she is seeming left powerless forever.



Monday, April 3

X-men Daily Art: X-Men 184


In X-Men 184, that ancient vampire from last issue, Selene, stumbles upon Rachel Summers, the time-traveling daughter of Scott and Jean from a dark future where mutants are hunted. Rachel had been taken in by a kindly nightclub owner whom Selene kills right quick and then tries to do the same with Rachel. She telepathically yells for help, and the X-Men fend off Selene, but Rachel realizes she had gone to the wrong past and collapses.

BUT this issue also features the debut of Forge, the mutant engineer, and his first panel look is drop-dead ICONIC.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 183


X-Men 183 is the culmination of Peter's choices. He felt dismissed by Kitty befriending Doug and sulked, and that exaggerated his infatuation for an alien healer during the Secret Wars. She died, and he felt he couldn't go back to Kitty, so he broke up with her, crushing a 14-year-old who also just went through a lot, including almost marrying a subterranean mutant to save Peter's life.

So Logan decides Peter needs a come-to-Jesus meeting in a bar. Kurt tags along. Logan tells Peter to grow up, and Peter, a little drunk, says he doesn't need any of Logan's help. But then he literally bumps into Juggernaut, ruining the latter's date, and a bar fight ensues. Kurt says they should help, but Logan says Peter considers himself a big adult man who doesn't need help. So they watch. Peter loses, and Logan tells Peter he deserves it, especially since he never even thanked Kitty for almost marrying someone else and forsaking her life and the very sun to save him. And then we find out Juggernaut's date is an ancient vampire who was this close to killing him.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 182

X-Men 182 is a sad issue. Rogue went to Xavier about ten issues earlier because she permanently absorbed the powers and memories of Carol Danvers, and she was losing her sense of self. In this issue, her memories mix with Carol's when a Danvers friend needs rescuing, and she again bounces between personalities while the Danvers friend, a SHIELD agent, tries to make sense of it and eventually says he wishes he could kill Rogue for the damage done to Carol. Rogue, exhausted and despondent, wishes he could too.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 181

In X-Men 181, the team returns from the Secret Wars but arrives mysteriously in Japan along with a giant dragon. They fight to save Kanagawa Prefecture alongside native hero Sunfire.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 180

In 1984, Storm went punk after a number of traumatic battles. Kitty didn't like that, and with her new relationship with Doug Ramsey, and boyfriend Peter Rasputin feeling insecure about Doug, and almost marrying an underground mutant to repay a debt to save her teammates, things were chaotic in her life, and she took it out on Storm. Storm decided they needed a chat and swooped Kitty miles into the air. They made up, agreeing that they can help each other roll with punches literal and figurative. I love these comics.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 177

In X-Men 177, Mystique fights robots of the heroes in a giant supervillain training center. At the time, Wolverine's healing factor was not as strong as it is now, so she thought she could make him bleed out.


X-Men Daily Art: X-Men 166

 X-Men 166, when the team fought the alien Brood and Cyclops was infected.


The 80s X-Men Daily Art Project: X-Men 163

Technically I joined the X-Men right after Rogue. The first X-Men book I bought off the shelf was 173, the issue where Rogue and Wolverine stand between Silver Samurai and the poisoned X-Men. Also Storm goes Punk. Also, Maddy meets the X-Men. A lot happens in those issues. Here's my post where I recreated the cover.

As I pursued daily art for the year, I was inspired to look back at those issues, and I rediscovered how packed to the gills they are with action, heartbreak, and oh that delicious internal angst. I decided to draw material from those issues for my daily art -- reliving my childhood love of the franchise and making love-letters to them.

It really starts here, with X-Men 163. Loyal readers know how devoted I am to Carol Danvers.

Binary (later Captain Marvel in Marvel) debuts and arrives to help Kitty in X-Men.

 And we'll go from there.