Archive for December, 2010

Northstar cameo and the J glyph in New Mutants #20

December 29, 2010

New Mutants #20
Feb 2011

The “Rise of the New Mutants” arc kicks off here, but don’t be fooled, since it’s really a continuation of the “Fall of the New Mutants” arc preceding it. A bit of the plot is given away with that “Rise of the New Mutants” tag on the cover – though most readers ought not be so surprised that there would be a turning point of some sort. The New Mutants, having traveled to Limbo in the infamous issue #17 (doling out some foul language in demonspeak along the way) have been captured by Project Purgatory and a new group of mutant super soldiers who easily take them out. Northstar appears in a quick cameo as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508.

New Mutants Magik and Karma return with X-Man Pixie to Utopia to enlist the aid of the X-Men in an apparent rescue mission. Cyclops gathers up some heavy hitters as an assault squad, and a team of X-Men is shown in a large panel, including Northstar, who can be seen behind Namor. Northstar’s hair is swept straight up, indicating that either he’s landing from flight in a rapid downward approach or he’s caught in a powerful gust of blustery leadership from Cyclops’ gaping maw. Either way, it’s just this little cameo. Later, when the assault team is shown in a few other panels, Northstar isn’t seen, as most of the characters are near the page margins.

Though Mister Jeffries, a member of the X-Men, does not appear in this book, two of his more preposterous creations do: one being Karma’s ridiculous prosthetic leg, and the other being David Haller’s brainwave/hair dampening helmet, not seen since Jeffries’ quick cameo in New Mutants #4. It’s a nice touch from writer Zeb Wells to have re-used that little piece of tech from so long back in the series.

Since many readers were first introduced to this blog from a previous post where demonic script translations turned out to be an Easter Egg of foul language, I took the time to translate the extensive remarks made by several Limbo denizens. For your reference:

Page 4 panel 2: (demon with axes) The humans bring a curse to our lands! they seek to wipe us out!

Page 4 panel 3: (demon in green hooded robe with yellow trim) There is no defense against this weapon!
Page 4 panel 3: (raven haired demonness with two earrings) Cowardly males! We fight or die!

Page 4 panel 4: (bow-wielding swashbuckler demon) Do you see now why we have slaughtered all humans on sight for these long centuries?
Page 4 panel 4: (sword-wielding demon with do-rag) Aye.

Page 10 panel 3: (severed head) Pink tongues reject our terms.
–note: this is the first appearance of the J glyph

Page 10 panel 4: (raven haired demonness with two earrings) Kill the humans!

Page 11 panel 2: (bow-wielding swashbuckler demon) Kill them all!

Page 11 panel 3: (ponytail and pointy ears) Die!

Page 15 panel 1: (reattached head) No!
Page 15 panel 1: (red demon with no neck) Stop here!
–which I believe is a typographical error and should be Stop her!

Page 15 panel 2: (noseless demon) This is our end.

It’s quite a bit of demonic script in this issue, and all of it’s straight up. Sorry to disappoint the ninety-nine percent of you who came to this page looking for more cursing. Hopefully the one percent of you looking for Alpha Flight information were more satisfied.

–I’ll also mention that this demonic script appeared recently in Namor: The First Mutant #4 as the language of the ancient Atlantean vampires but, unlike this issue, was fairly humorous in its content. That issue had no Alpha Flight members, so the translation is up to whoever maintains a Namor Collector blog instead.

Alphans appear in DK’s Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide

December 1, 2010

Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide
Sep 2010

This hardcover collection of 208 single page character bios from DK is a bit below the typical quality seen recently of other Marvel books coming out of their shop. Unfortunately riddled with minor errors and bizarre omissions, its usefulness even to the younger crowd as its intended market (DK’s website says ages 8 – 17 years) is questionable. Less than favorable reviews of this book have mentioned creepy duplicate entries and disturbing missing children, but this post finds an “acceptable-yet-strange” opinion of the book from the standpoint of its Alpha Flight related material. Marrina appears in a 1pg entry, presumably as an honorary member of the Avengers. Puck appears in her entry, and Talisman appears in Arachne’s entry.

The format of the entries are all single pages, with a standardized layout: a main illustration, two side-bar style insets, a smaller portrait illustration and two main blurbs of text, one being a short character summary and the other a Vital Stats listing. On the bottom of the pages are power rankings from 1 to 7.

Marrina’s entry doesn’t contain any glaringly wrong information but does have a few odd things, one being that it doesn’t actually say she was a member of the Avengers! For the record, she was an honorary member from issues #286 to #293. Another odd thing is that it refers to Tom Smallwood as Thomas Smallwood. Of the three illustrations, only one, a side-bar, is taken from an Avengers issue (that being a portion of the cover to Avengers #292, showing her in Leviathan form). The other three are Byrne images of her as an Alpha Flight member (the main illustration shows her in the spirally-arm costume from Alpha Flight #15, the other side-bar illustration is a portion of the cover of Alpha Flight #15 which also shows Puck, and her portrait is an image of Marrina wearing a turtleneck in a reversed panel from Alpha Flight #1), all likely chosen for their canonical imagery rather than out of any sense of association with the Avengers. For those of you who keep track of these things, her Power Ranks are Energy Projection (3), Strength (4), Durability (4), Fighting Skill (4), Intelligence (4) and Speed (5), dubiously wild as compared to her recent Avengers Assemble entry, where her ranks seemed more consistent with her actual character.

Most of the entries end chronologically around the time of the Siege storyline, but Marrina’s actual story ended earlier in Dark Reign when the Sub-Mariner killed her mercifully in Dark Reign: The List – X-Men #1, so there’s no out-of-date info. Unfortunately, author Alan Coswill (the creator of the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection and DC Super Hero Collection for Eaglemoss Publications), uses a bit too much discretion when describing that issue, declining to mention that she was killed by being crushed to death in the unimaginable pressure of the ocean deep, her head severed from her monstrous body and tossed into Norman Osborne’s office. Instead it just mentions that she attacked the Sub-Mariner. Well, it is supposed to be a kid’s book!

Note that this book pre-dated the release of the Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 issue by over two months, so no mention of Marrina’s re-appearance is expected.

The Arachne entry refers to events chronologically during or just after Omega Flight, as it incorrectly states, “Arachne is currently part of the Canadian Super Hero team known as Omega Flight.” In fact, each of the four illustrations are from that series, and boy is it nice to see that art again! One of the illustrations is part of the cover of issue #4, with the title block removed, featuring Talisman being tossed around by Piledriver. Omega Flight was disbanded quite some time before this book was published, so technically that info is outdated, but had the error not been made, it’s unlikely an image of Talisman would have been published!