Archive for March, 2011

Northstar in X-Men: Legacy #245, Age of X Chapter 1

March 16, 2011

X-Men: Legacy #245
Apr 2011

The Age of X, a multi-title alternate reality crossover, officially starts in X-Men: Legacy #245 with Chapter One. Technically, the series started already in the Age of X: Alpha one-shot (not an Alpha Flight appearance), which is helpful to read but not required. Even more technical than that, the series really started with a series of cleverly marketed teaser images that contained plot elements – Historical Logs whose URLs were coded as QR tags embedded in Age of X solicit ads. We also saw an enigmatic closing panel in issue #244 suggesting reality was changing, but Rogue’s boobs distracted us from understanding its significance at the time. Northstar appears as a member of the X-Men in this alternate reality.

Patterned similarly to the epic Age of Apocalypse from 1995, the Age of X abruptly takes over a few X-books in a Xavier-less dystopia filled with “almost the same” characters. In this reality, a scenario similar to Days of Future Past has played out – mutants are hunted, rounded up and killed – with the exception of a few mutant survivors massed at a giant fortress surrounded by telekinetic force walls. Hints are being dropped that the inhabitants of this bubble world are not aware that it is inconsistent with reality, a similar scenario to the early House of M issues before the true nature of that warped reality became known.

After a typical brutal battle with an invading military force, a mysterious intruder who turns out to be this universe’s Kitty Pryde shows up. An emergency strike team is sent in to investigate by “X”, a machine intelligence (or is it?) with telepathic powers. Thankfully, writer Mike Carey has the sense to put a speedster onto an emergency strike team, and Northstar quickly takes out the intruder. Poor Kitty. Interestingly, two of Northstar’s teammates on the strike team are Angel and Dazzler, who are also his teammates in the de facto X-Men team in contemporaneous issues of Uncanny X-Men.

It’s not clear exactly how the Northstar from this reality (which, for those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, is Earth-TRN016) differs from his 616 version, but a few elements are apparent, most notably the red contrails from his wrists that in at least one panel seem to be rope-like additions tied onto his costume, but may be just luminescent bands that appear to streak in an afterimage effect so as to give the impression of extreme speed. Additionally, his eyes are colored red, but he’s drawn so small and in so few panels (on just one page and in one other panel very tiny) that it’s not clear if they are minigoggles or a bioluminescent glow.

Similarities are easier to spot: this universe’s Vertigo calls him, “Jean-Paul” in one panel. Also, this Northstar shows forlorn love for his dear sister (presumably Aurora), who unfortunately has been killed off-panel by a Cpl. Sejanus-423, one of the countless little green army men constantly attacking the fortress.

Note: this issue has two variant covers – a “50 years of Fantastic Four” variant by Paolo Rivera which wraps around to a low contrast reprint of the cover to Fantastic Four #4 by Jack Kirby, an incentive variant cover by this issue’s artist, Clay Mann, taken from a portion of a promotional poster for the story arc and a second printing variant with interior art by Clay Mann.

X-Men: Legacy #245 – Fantastic Four variant obverse
X-Men: Legacy #245 – Fantastic Four variant back cover
X-Men: Legacy #245 – Clay Mann variant
X-Men: Legacy #245 – second printing variant

Northstar cameo in X-Men: To Serve and Protect #4

March 8, 2011

X-Men: To Serve and Protect #4
Apr 2011

The anthology format is a favorite of Alpha Flight Collector for featuring artists, stories and characters not usually seen much in the main titles. Last time the X-Men had an anthology series, both Jeffries and Northstar had their own 8pp stories in Nation X #2 and Nation X #3, but we weren’t so lucky this time. After Northstar’s brief cameo on the cover of the first issue of this four issue series, Northstar appears in just one panel.

He appears in the first story, “X-Dudes!”, which ran through all four issues. The unlikely team-up of Rockslide and Anole comes to an abrupt end when a group of grownup X-Men teleport in to winkingly scold the two young X-Men for their vigilante crime-fighting in San Francisco. Likely, writer Christ Yost (who is still officially in the Alpha Flight Collector doghouse for the unceremonious killing of Diamond Lil in X-Force #23) chose Northstar to be among the group because Anole was one of Northstar’s students when he headed up the Alpha Squadron back in the good old days of Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis’ New X-Men run.

Artist Derec Donovan gets the pointy ears right but unfortunately, either he or the colorist put a white sparkly effect right over Northstar’s left eyebrow. Overall, I would have more praise for this story (and I do have plenty for the other very enjoyable and lighthearted stories in this book), but both Rockslide’s inscrutable answer to Cyclops, “I thought Jean Grey was totally hot” and Cyclops’ non-response of an ellipsis to this brazen and disrespectful line are so bizarrely inappropriate that it made me think this entire four-part story were a throw-away dream sequence.