Northstar and Jeffries in Origins of Marvel Comics: X-Men #1

Origins of Marvel Comics: X-Men #1
Nov 2010

Similar to other “Origins” style books, this is a collection of single-page illustrated origin stories. Written, drawn and colored by a wide variety of creators, thirty-six X-Men members (out of a much larger pool) have entries that cover the basics of their origin and backstory. Though it’s laughably impossible to write anything remotely comprehensive in a single illustrated page, the writers succeeded in telling a nice synopsis in the short space allowed, and in some cases include well-researched details that surprise even the sophisticated reader. Some of the material is directly reprinted from earlier books of this type, and some entries for characters previously included were re-written, notably Wolverine’s entry from Origins of Siege #1 (which had already been reprinted) to exclude Mac and Heather. Northstar gets a full page entry and Jeffries appears in the full page entry for the X-Club. Additionally, Vindicator (Mac), Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird and Aurora appear in Northstar’s entry.

The page layout of Northstar’s entry is divided into quadrants using the Beaubier’s signature starburst shape. The upper left quadrant shows a highly glared-out version of what Nightcrawler saw when Northstar and Aurora used their brilliant light power in Uncanny X-Men #120, their first appearance. Here are the panels from that book depicting the event from a different perspective:

Note that in that issue, the reader was shown only shadows of the twins (which are reversed left to right from what you would expect to see from the rear perspective), and it wouldn’t be until issue #121 that we would see a full appearance.

The second quadrant shows Alpha Flight standing on stage with Canadian Flags draped behind them at some unspecified time, but likely before they were disbanded by the Canadian government and before issue #1, since neither Puck nor Marrina are shown. The lower left quadrant shows a re-creation of Northstar’s absurdly arrogant portrayal in Uncanny X-Men #414 just prior to his failed rescue of the explosive mutant boy Peter, marking the first time he joined up with the X-Men. The final quadrant shows him kicking Skrull ass in San Francisco, in re-creation of what was otherwise an off-panel brawl in Secret Invasion: X-Men #2 (2008). Overall, a nice single page summary with accurate art elements from David Yardin, who got the pointy ears right (though it is sad that it needs to be mentioned since it’s a basic element of the character’s appearance). He put a circumscribed “X” on Northstar’s costume in the Secret Invasion portion of the page, which could be either an error, since he wasn’t wearing the X in that issue and wasn’t an official member back then, or just artistic license to show a canonical image of his current costume.

Mister Jeffries appears in a catch-all page for the X-Club (the X-Men Science Team), with individual panels for each current member, one panel showing Beast recruiting them, and a posed team image in a larger panel. A younger version of Jeffries is shown (before his temples grew in grey), working on his Box armor – a great choice made by writer Si Spurrier to show Madison’s super-heroic origins.

Note the “A” (for Alpha) on his jacket indicating again the image is from a time when he was still in Alpha Flight. Compare this to the erroneous Lambda symbol we saw on a similar or same jacket in X-Men Legacy Annual #1, now corrected very nicely by Phil Noto.

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A current (older) version of Jeffries is also shown, now with his signature greyed out temples, flannel shirt and absentminded floating bits of metal – another great canonical image!

Overall, a good showing for Jeffries for this type of book, but Alpha Flight Collector would have preferred Jeffries have his own page rather than share it with two other members.

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