Posts Tagged ‘Age of Apocalypse’

The most expensive dust jacket you’ll ever buy

January 5, 2015

AoAOmnibuscoverX-Men: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus
2012

Note: There is no month of publication indicated, but came out on 2/22/12. Other books that came out on that date carried a publication month of April.

Usually, collected editions aren’t covered on this blog, which you know from reading the F.A.Q. This is mainly because they don’t usually contain new material, but also because I generally don’t collect them, having already bought the floppies. But there are some exceptions.

The massive Age of Apocalypse storyline had already been collected in a four volume TPB, and collected further in a Prelude TPB containing introductory matter, which might or might not count, depending on how much of a completest you are. The “X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse Epic” published in 2006 and the Prelude TPB published in 2011 had its problems, including missing pages, missing dialogue, problems with the read order and particularly poor quality paper in the Prelude. The Ombnibus, an elephantine 1,047 page tome weighing in at 7.2 lbs (that’s 3.27 kg for you metric folks), corrected these errors and limited the contents to the relevant portions of the introductory matter. The remaining material, which numbered a measly 992 pages, would later be published in a second Omnibus in 2014.

So if it’s just a big hardcover of Age of Apocalypse (AoA) material, why does it warrant its own entry? The answer is that the cover art on the dust jacket is a new image by Billy Tan, featuring AoA Wild Child. Here’s the image, which had been floating around as a solicit for a while before the book came out:

AoAOmnibusb

The only way you could get this image in print was to shell out a whopping $125 cover price – essentially buying a really expensive dust jacket. Marvel did release this same image as a poster for a more reasonable $8.99 in November 2011, but posters don’t count. Your $125 dust jacket also has on the back a grid of miniaturized cover art of the issues contained within, including:

  • X-Men: Alpha wraparound cover with AoA Wild Child
  • Astonishing X-Men with AoA Wild Child
  • Factor X #1 with AoA Northstar and AoA Aurora
  • Astonishing X-Men #4 with AoA Wild Child
  • X-Men: Omega wraparound cover with AoA Wild Child
  • and the Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen wraparound cover with AoA Northstar, AoA Aurora and the very tips of AoA Wild Child’s claws.

AoAOmnibusa

Besides the dust jacket, you still get a lot of Alpha Flight in this Omnibus. The Alpha Flight related content includes the expected AoA appearances of AoA Wild child, AoA Box, AoA Northstar and AoA Aurora as well as some bonus intro and outro material:

  • a 2pg spread of the X-Men: Alpha wraparound cover with AoA Wild Child with most of the trade dress and background elements removed, replaced with clean white on the intro pages before the Table of Contents
  • the 2pg Dennis Calero pinup with AoA Wild Child (which can be found in the 2nd printings of the #1 issues)
  • the X-Facts page that preceded the event, with AoA Wild Child shown on the cover of X-Men: Alpha
  • the X-Facts page from Apr 1995 with AoA Wild Child in art taken from the cover of X-Men: Omega
  • the kinda hard to see, um, actually barely discernable Ultimate edition covers which are gold embossed and just didn’t reproduce well, but still you can see AoA Wild Child on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #1 as well as AoA Northstar and AoA Aurora on the cover of Factor X #1.
  • the Omnibus ends with a full page reproduction of the Billy Tan poster without trade dress.

For two interesting posts on the marvelmasterworksfansite by Jeph York about how and why this Omnibus came about and what’s in it and what’s not in it, and why:

http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/sreply/517332/Age-of-Apocalypse

http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/sreply/573586/Age-of-Apocalypse-what-collection

Note: this issue has a DM variant cover with art by Joe Madureira taken from the wraparound cover of X-Men: Alpha, also with AoA Wild Child, so he got onto both dust jackets. Since the variant also has the Billy Tan poster printed as outro material, it is required for Alpha Flight Collectors to own both.

AoAOmnibusDMvariantcover Age of Apocalypse Omnibus – DM variant
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Alpha Flight in History of the Marvel Universe #1

June 4, 2012

History of the Marvel Universe #1
Jan 2012

There’s just no way to condense the entire history of the Marvel Universe into a single 48pg book, but this attempt is actually a pretty good try. Narrated by The Watcher, events from the Golden Age (1940s) up to Spider Island (2011) are summarized into short descriptive paragraphs, approximately three per page, accompanied by iconic images to bring life to just about every corner of the Marvel Universe that can fit into a single volume. Despite the movie-centric characters depicted on the cover which hints at a fairly mainstream theme, the writers made some unusual choices in this book, as noted in this good review of the issue. The inside back cover of the book has an useful and extensive reference guide to link the narrative paragraphs to trade paperbacks and hardcover collections so readers can find the full story. In reprinted artwork from various issues, several Alpha Flight members appear.

Because there’s so much information to fit in to such little space, the writers just didn’t have the luxury of including everything. The most notable omission is that which was so notably included in Marvel Saga #1 (Dec 1985) – the origin of Alpha Flight as an idea germinated in Mac’s head after reading about the Fantastic Four in the newspaper. It really would have been nice to include that but Alpha Flight Collector can’t complain – we got a full reproduction of the first on-panel appearance of Alpha Flight in Uncanny X-Men #121!

Founded by the Canadian government’s Department H and led by Vindicator (later Guardian), Alpha Flight included the massive Sasquatch, mystic Shaman, Inuit goddess Snowbird, and super-speedster twins Aurora and Northstar. The team’s first contact with the X-Men occurred when Alpha Flight was ordered to bring Wolverine back to Canada; after hostilities ended, the two squads became allies. Despite soon being disbanded, Alpha Flight continued as an independent group and became allies of other worldwide heroes.

Other appearances in this book include:

  • A splash page from Contest of Champions #1 featuring Sasquatch as a member of The Grandmaster’s team
  • A cropped version of the trifold cover of Infinity War #4, featuring Sasquatch’s doppelgänger and Sasquatch, who is unfortunately obscured by an overlapping semi-transparent text box
  • A splash page from Infinity Crusade #1 featuring Windshear, Sasquatch, Puck and Talisman answering The Goddess’ call to service, without the word “YES!”, a bizarre omission
  • Art taken from the cover of X-Men: Alpha (Note: the original cover for X-Men: Alpha is foil stamped; the artwork reproduced in this issue is flat like the 2nd printing cover) featuring Age of Apocalypse Wild Child
  • A panel taken from Avengers Forever #12 featuring Sasquatch from an alternate timeline in which he was a member of the Avengers

Overall, a fairly good showing for Alpha Flight and just about what was expected, but for fans who really want to learn about the history of the Marvel Universe, consider the Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1 handbook instead, which has full pages of extensively detailed text instead of quick blurby descriptions.

Age of Apocalypse Wild Child killed by Archangel in Uncanny X-Force #17

June 2, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #17
Jan 2012

Well, the title of the post already spoiled what this comic is about, and regular readers of this site would probably expect some blathering rant which usually accompanies an Alpha Flight death where I go on and on whining about disrespecting the characters and how the writer is a stupid jerk and I hate him, etc.

But, to paraphrase Rocky Balboa, if you were to ask me if I had anything derogatory to say about this issue, I’d say it’s great. One of the best comics in the Alpha Flight collection actually, despite the unfortunate outcome for Age of Apocalypse (AoA) Wild Child, who appears as a regular member of the Amazing X-Men.

Chapter 7 of the Dark Angel Saga brings the return of the Age of Apocalypse characters re-introduced to us in issue #11 of this title as AoA Wild Child, Sabretooth, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Sunfire teleport in to save Wolverine. Some time must have passed since we saw them last, since Wild Child’s right arm has grown back, but with all the interdimensional hopping, it’s hard to say how much time exactly. Wait, what? Yeah, his right arm was pulled off by the Blob in issue #13 but apparently he got better.

A close up shows his right arm back where it belongs:

The chain that Sabretooth had been using as a leash was notably absent in previous issues in this series, but it returns here. Maybe because, you know, they’re out for a walk in another dimension. Wild Child can be seen in several panels chained up and crouching low next to his master, in very typical imagery for the character.

Various scenes showing Wild Child chained to Sabretooth, crouching beneath him in subservience

While attempting to stop Archangel from destroying the entire world, the Amazing X-Men along with Wolverine attack him in the Akkaba stronghold in the metropolis deep under the North Pole. Just like every character and every battle in this issue, it’s a big and bold and powerful scene. Archangel lowers his left wing and pivots a horizontal slice through Wolverine’s chest, Sabretooth’s chest and straight through Wild Child’s entire body, severing him in half with a “Grgaghh–” (and severing the chain, which is a nice touch despite it being a bloody and goopy mess).

Knowing he had an accelerated healing factor that was capable of growing back an arm in just a few issues, it wasn’t clear to readers at the time if Wild Child had actually been killed or not, even though he had been chopped in half. Many of the other characters had taken an insane amount of abuse in these issues from Archangel and it seemed inconceivable that all of them had been killed, especially since there had been solicits out for future Age of Apocalypse-related issues featuring Sabretooth (sliced to bits in a bloody smear), Jean Grey (burnt by her own Phoenix blast) and Nightcrawler (stabbed doubly in the back the points of Archangel’s razor-sharp wingtips). Unfortunately, in issue #19 of this series, AoA Sabretooth confirmed that Wild Child had in fact been killed. It should be noted that in that issue, Rick Remender duly honors his loyalty to Sabretooth with the solemnity and respect deserving of the character.

So nope, no angry rant. The guy got killed ON PANEL by someone more powerful in a fair fight while heroically trying to save the entire world – a world not even his own! Combine that with the tasteful nod that came later and the overall awesomeness of this issue (and the Dark Angel Saga in general) and you get an Alpha Flight death done right.

Note: Wild Child had previously been killed off twice; his 616 version in Wolverine Origins #39 by Omega Red and once in the Mutant X universe (which is designated Earth-1298 for those of you who keep track of those sorts of things) when Sabretooth killed him while rescuing Wolverine’s daughter in Mutant X #29 (March 2001). With the death of the AoA version, all versions of Kyle Gibney are finally put to rest.

Tastes like chicken Part II

April 11, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #13
Oct 2011

Rick Remender’s amazing Dark Angel Saga, which began in Uncanny X-Force #11 continues with Chapter 3 as the title returns to a regular production schedule. Not completely regular though, as Mark Brooks’ stunning pencils only made it into half of the book, with Scot Eaton taking up the slack. The Uncanny X-Force team and the Amazing X-Men from the Age of Apocalypse (AoA) team up in the AoA world to obtain a “Life Seed” in the hope Angel can be turned to good. In the portion of the book drawn by Mark Brooks, AoA Wild Child appears a regular member of the Amazing X-Men as the loyal companion of AoA Sabretooth.

In this chapter, the action starts out immediately where we left off in Uncanny X-Force #12 with 616 Wolverine holding the completely blasted corpse of his AoA daughter, Kirika, and good riddance. She’s no favorite of Alpha Flight fans, who saw her mutilate and then kill AoA Northstar and Aurora back in the 2005 X-Men: Age of Apocalypse series. As much as a treat as it is to see her charred remains, there still is a battle raging in the prison known as “The Sky” with the Black Legion, a mishmashed group of baddies.

The Black Legion’s leader, The Blob, tries to rip off AoA Wild Child’s right arm with his teeth in one of the most grotesque images you’ll ever see. A bunch of blood and arm guts spew out of Wild Child’s biceps. There’s something just so innately disturbing about defeating someone by eating one of their limbs. Not really biting… no, The Blob is trying to EAT his opponent. Sabretooth makes an attempt to rescue Wild Child, but in the next scene, Blob tosses him away as the severed arm drops down. Gross.

Tis but a scratch!

Bizarrely, Wild Child isn’t the only Alpha Flight AoA counterpart to lose a right arm. In X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #2 (2005), the now-crispy Kirika sliced off AoA Aurora’s arm and it’s just as gross now as it was then.

It's just a flesh wound!

After Weapon X, the AoA counterpart to Wolverine and the current Apocalypse, teleports away with AoA Jean Grey, the teams pause in the battle with the surrounding Black Legion and Wild Child can be seen on the ground sitting, holding his bloody stump. Unfortunately, he’s drawn with his left arm chopped off instead of his right arm; a minor error that I won’t let take away from the otherwise amazing job Mark Brooks did in his portion of the book.

Later, Gateway teleports the heroes to where Weapon X is holding Jean Grey, and Wild Child can be seen dropping down from the teleportation lightning storm. It’s a little hard to see him but he can be found just to the left of Psylocke’s boobs. I’d be happy to report that this time the bloody stump is drawn on the correct side (right side) except I’m so disquieted by the sight of any bloody stump on the guy that I’ll hold back on the merriment except to say that he apparently survived the brutal attack. The nature of his accelerated healing factor was confirmed explicitly in his Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (OHOTMU): X-Men – Age of Apocalypse 2005 entry so we can assume he would survive a severed limb, no worries about blood loss, etc. But still, it’s gross.

It also goes to show what desperately gritty badasses the Amazing X-Men are. The guy has half an arm and he still leaps into battle, undeterred by what is otherwise a massively traumatic injury. It should be mentioned that Fantomex had created a misdirection field around this area, so it’s possible that Wild Child (well, what was left of him, I mean) wasn’t actually present for this battle, but there’s no way of knowing if what we saw in the panel were an illusion or real.

Note: there is a variant cover for this issue by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend featuring a a majorly obscured AoA Wild Child in the lower right corner getting attacked by Zombie Sentry (one of the Black Legion), a battle not depicted in the book which, if it did occur, must have taken place before he got his arm ripped off because you can see both of his arms. Here is an inset from that cover showing the very unfortunately placed bar code:

There is also a Second Printing variant featuring interior art by Scot Eaton and Mark Brooks.

Uncanny X-Force #13 – Bachalo variant
Uncanny X-Force #13 – Second Printing variant

Age of Apocalypse Wild Child in Uncanny X-Force #12

March 22, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #12
Sep 2011

Note: the cover date hints at a regular monthly release but this issue was actually published a full eight weeks after issue #11.

The Dark Angel Saga, which began in Uncanny X-Force #11 re-introduced readers to the Age of Apocalypse (AoA) world where bad mutants hunt good mutants and humans, and everyone who you thought was good turned bad and everyone you thought was bad turned even worse. Chapter Two of the Saga brings the Uncanny X-Force Team together with the AoA X-Men to obtain a “Life Seed” in the hope Angel can be turned to good. AoA Wild Child appears in a few panels as a member of the AoA X-Men.

We saw him in various issues of the original series just the same way we see him in this one – as Sabretooth’s silent pet, so this appearance, though minor, should feel very familiar and proper. In a meeting of the combined teams, he can be seen sitting casually on the back of Sabretooth’s chair. Mark Brooks continues to round off Wild Child’s ears, a minor criticism of what is otherwise one of the most impressive and intricately detailed comic books in Alpha Flight Collector’s collection. Congratulations to the art team on this one – they really put together a beautiful book. But for the record, Wild Child has pointy ears. He can be seen from behind in reverse angle to the same scene in another panel.

It should be noted that the character of Kirika, one of the AoA X-Men, is formally introduced to the readers as Mariko Yashida’s and (presumably) AoA Wolverine’s daughter. But just as the touching little scene where 616 Wolverine meets her and he realizes she’s the daughter he never had, and she meets who is essentially her father again, and he’s a decent guy, and the whole thing just starts to tug on your heartstrings – well, remember that this is the same little girl who chopped off AoA Aurora’s hand at the wrist in a bloody mid-air battle before running Jeanne-Marie through with her claws in X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #2 (May 2005), ultimately killing both her and AoA Northstar with Weapon X’s assistance. Don’t start getting all choked up, please.

Don't start getting all choked up, please. Panel from X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #2 (May 2005) showing Kirika chopping off AoA Aurora's hand. Gross!

The team of AoA X-Men and Uncanny X-Force commandeer a Sentinel to pick up Gateway from a prison known as “The Sky”, and Wild Child can be seen in a few more panels on the way inside the prison, all very tiny appearances. They come across the Black Legion, a villainous team too silly to take seriously. The Blob, leader of the Black Legion, jumps down to attack and knocks Wild Child off-balance, sending everyone running away. He can be seen again scampering on all fours, very tiny. The teams then meet up with Weapon X, who we all thought was dead but is actually now the new Apocalypse. Fortunately, he blasts the hell out of his quondam partner Kirika, killing her, and I say good riddance!

Note: Wild Child had gained the power of speech as of last issue, but has no lines in this issue.

Note: this issue has a variant cover by Adam Kubert (shown with apologies for the nearly X-Rated costume he drew on Jean Grey) and an “I am Captain America” variant by Chris Stevens, part of a series of variants released in the summer of 2011 to coincide with the Captain America: The First Avenger movie released 7/22/11, just a few days before this issue was published. Also, there’s a Second Printing variant in the same style as the Second Printing variant to issue #11, featuring interior art by Mark Brooks and once again, Wild Child made it onto the cover, not having appeared on any of the other covers!

Uncanny X-Force #12 – Kubert Variant
Uncanny X-Force #12 – I am Captain America variant
Uncanny X-Force #12 – Second Printing variant

Age of Apocalypse Wild Child returns in Uncanny X-Force #11

June 17, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #11
Aug 2011

Cyclops disbanded the secret X-Force team in X-Men: Second Coming #2, an act which prompted Wolverine to immediately organize an even more secreter team, of course. The new X-Force debuted one page later with a new line-up; a few months later they got a new series with a new writer, new artists, and a new adjective! The Uncanny X-Force team travels to the Age of Apocalypse (AoA) world in this issue, where AoA Wild Child appears as a member of the AoA X-Men.

Shortly after Dark Beast and X-Force enter the Age of Apocalypse universe, two figures track them from the shadows. They are easily identifiable as Wild Child and his master Sabretooth, who later ambush and brutally attack Wolverine outside of Dark Beast’s lab. Wild Child does a heck of a job raking his claws across Wolverine, who reveals in a caption, “Wild Child’s shreddin’ muscle faster than I can heal it.” Despite the intensity of the raging attack, Wolverine takes him out with an sharp elbow to the face. Then, they realize they’re all friends and take a submarine to Atlantis.

A promotional image by Mark Brooks featuring AoA Wild Child first released online in February of 2011 had been advertising this return to the Age of Apocalypse, so fans weren’t so surprised to see him in this issue. The promotional image would later be printed as a 2pg spread in several comics dated June 2011 specifically advertising this issue and also appeared as a background image for the table of contents of the 2011 X-Men Spotlight. Ultimately, this image would be used as a variant cover for this issue as well (see below).

We last saw AoA Wild Child in the one-shot Exiles: Days of Then and Now #1, where he was plucked out of the Age of Apocalypse world by a version of Quentin Quire (Kid Omega) to form a new team of Exiles. For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, the Age of Apocalypse world is designated Earth-295 and the world where Quentin Quire’s Exiles were brought is designated Earth-91172. How AoA Wild Child was able to return isn’t clear, but it was fairly common for Exiles to jump across universes and back to their own without much fuss.

Less clear is the time period of this issue. A sentry outside Dark Beast’s lab indicates that five thousand and six days have passed since he last entered, which was at the end of the original series in 1995. For those of you who were reading Alpha Flight comics instead of paying attention when they taught the calendar in school, 5006 days is about thirteen and a half years, corresponding to some time in early 2009, if reckoned from the end of X-Men Omega, the last book of the original AoA series (where this reality was supposed to have ceased to exist, but let’s not mention that). In a C2E2 interview, writer Mark Remender placed the events of this issue ten years after the 2005 X-Men Age of Apocalypse series. Both methods of reckoning are plausible, as AoA Wild Child ought to have had time to finish his mission on Earth-91172 and return to his own world under either scheme.

Besides the rounded ear, this version of AoA Wild Child differs somewhat from how we’ve seen him. Notably absent is the chain that Sabretooth had been using as a leash. Notably present is his ability to speak! He’s now able to bang out a few sentences, albeit in broken English, but still a significant improvement over the grunting from the original series, where he was so mute that he had to come into physical contact with Rogue by licking her to communicate. By the way, “McCoy’s Devil” refers to the assumption that Wolverine is a clone of the AoA Weapon X created by Dark Beast (Hank McCoy).

His costume is slightly modified as well, though it does retain the elements of his standard AoA costume and still copies Sabretooth’s costume. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Mark Brooks has drawn Wild Child. In 2005, artist Mark Brooks drew what was supposed to be the wraparound cover of the X-Men: Age of Apocalypse – One-shot, in which Wild Child and Sabretooth had an 8pp feature and were therefore prominently featured. An inset from this unused cover was reprinted as a head shot for Wild Child in the entry for the AoA X-Men in the OHOTMU: Age of Apocalypse one-shot, leaving fans confused as to the source of this image for a few months until the 2005 X-Men Age of Apocalypse series was collected in trade paperback and the unused cover was finally printed in its entirety as a pin-up, ending the mystery.

Click on the image for the full pin-up

This very clear version of Mark Brook’s character design from 2005 reveals a few costume changes from that version to the 2011 version. The brown collar is now colored red, the rounded rivets on the collar are now slotted, and the white wrappings and wrist pads shown on Sabretooth’s wrists in that image are now copied correctly onto Wild Child’s wrists.

Note: this issue has a wraparound variant cover by interior artist Mark Brooks, taken from a promotional image for this issue. When folded, Wild Child appears mostly on the back, but part of his left arm and part of his face appear just over the stapled edge on the obverse half. It also has a Second Printing variant, which shows various images from inside the book, one of which is taken from the “Die, Pig, Die!” panel above, but unfortunately Wild Child’s head is cropped out.

Uncanny X-Force #11 – Mark Brooks variant
Uncanny X-Force #11 – Second Printing variant