Posts Tagged ‘Lionel Jeffries’

Jeffries Bros. in Age of X: Universe #1

May 20, 2011

Age of X: Universe #1
May 2011

Though not one of the numbered chapters in the Age of X storyline which had been weaving its way through X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants, this issue is included in the official checklist as the sixth issue. This issue and its sequel show what’s going on in the rest of the Marvel Universe while the Age of X alternate reality is playing out, with stories about the Avengers, Spider-Man and Dazzler. Madison Jeffries and his brother, Dr. Lionel Jeffries appear in a single panel cameo in flashback.

The Avengers in this reality are mutant hunters, some being darkly twisted versions of their 616 counterparts. One of the most twisted is the Iron Man character, who Captain America introduces by showing a flashback to ten years ago when he was first afflicted with a tech-virus implanted by our favorite mutant brothers, Madison and Lionel Jeffries. They are shown in a single panel in shaded blue flashback to that moment, leaving Tony Stark fused into the armor and slowly being digested by it ever since. Yuk!

Unfortunately, once the Age of X reality is unraveled and reader is aware of what’s really going on, it’s difficult to understand the framework of the plot of this book, who is experiencing the action and interactions with the characters on Utopia/Fortress X, which characters are illusory or memory implants or imaginative embellishments and in whose mind all of this is taking place in and who will remember it! Since the entirety of the reality of the Age of X is a construct, it’s a murky mess to try to tell a tale of what’s happening outside the Force Walls surrounding Fortress X. Before your brain explodes trying to understand whose memory is conjuring this false image, just sit back and enjoy the depiction of the two brothers as a gratuitious bonus from Simon Spurrier, who seems to be quite the Jeffries fan based on his previous work with the Second Coming and Curse of the Mutants X-Club spin-out books that featured Madison prominently.

The two characters are not identified by name but readers with a sharp eye will notice Lionel wearing the protective helmet and buckled straightjacket he wore while a patient at Montreal General Hospital in Alpha Flight #30. It’s the most iconic image of Lionel, made more so by Gus Vazquez who chose that as the “official” image in Lionel’s recent entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5. Note that Lionel only wore that outfit in that one issue, never to don it again, as he was no longer a mental patient after that issue, preferring more traditional medical provider garb such as white lab coats and scrubs. However, it was a great villain costume at the time and to this day, remains the classic costume for Scramble, The Mixed-Up Man.

Jeffries is shown in flashback without the greyed temples which first popped up when he joined the X-Men Science Team in Uncanny X-Men #505. He looks so young! This pairing of the two brothers ought to remind fans of another recent team-up, also in an alternate reality, in House of M: Masters of Evil #3. In the post for that issue, I commented on “how incredibly powerful the combination of techno- and organo-morph mutant powers could be” and from the looks of Tony Stark, this sentiment holds true.

Scramble gets an Official Handbook entry! Finger not included.

January 20, 2011

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5
Feb 2011 (see note)

Note: no month nor year of publication is indicated, with the exception of a copyright date of 2010. The issue was released on 12/15/10. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Feb 2011.

The final issue of this five-issue series completes the update to the massive fourteen-issue A-Z Hardcover series from 2008-2010, filling in gaps and adding entries that didn’t make it in the first time. The issues run alphabetically within themselves but not across the series, so the writers may intersperse entries as they like without disrupting the order of entries. Scramble has a 1pg entry, and Box (Bochs) can be seen partially in the entry as well.

Though Scramble was never a member of Alpha Flight, his close association with the team and relation to Madison Jeffries makes him eligible for the Alpha Flight Collector blog. In any case, Box (Bochs) appears in this issue, so the issue would have been included anyway.

The 1pg entry is a particularly interesting event in that it’s one of just a few new entries in this series. Scramble had never before had an entry of any kind in any other OHOTMU book of any kind, so this is a real treat. The entry itself is a full account of Lionel Jeffries’ appearances throughout Mantlo’s run and contains some interesting new information – the names of the three Derangers not already identified have been given! Since Bill Mantlo is unavailable to consult in this situation, the names were made up by the entry’s author, who posts on alphaflight.net under the name Loki. Here is an excerpt of a much longer thread over there:

AFC: How did you get this info? I thought they were a Mantlo creation… and he’s unavailable for this kind of thing.

Loki: They are Mantlo creations, and yes, he is unavailable. We always prefer to go back to the original creators, but, in cases where that’s not an option, editorial can approve new information.

AFC: So you just made them up and editorial approved it? I don’t see where you go the names from or what compelled you to generate names in this situation.

Loki: Where creators are contactable, we try to always go to them to see if they’d like to fill in any missing details, or if they are okay with us doing so, or if they’d prefer to leave the details unrevealed for now. When that’s not an option, then the decision whether to provide names gets influenced by various factors, one of the biggest being whether there’s anyone else using the same codename – when two or more share a codename, having a real name for clarification purposes is helpful. There’s at least two other Breakdowns, and no less than five other Januses. And since that prompted the decision to name those two Derangers, we decided to identify Freakout too – while no one else shares that exact codename as of yet, it’s not such an unusual name that it’s unlikely to happen in the future.

Where we got the names? That varies depending on who names them. In this case, I did, and I like to have a reason for the names I assign, rather than just randomly picking something that might not fit. I don’t normally explain those reasons, but since you asked: Janus is a disturbed artist, and his name is derived from an artist with mental issues (AFC: Willem Vincent is given) ; housewife Breakdown’s first name comes from a well-known fictional housewife and her surname from that housewife’s fictional husband (AFC: Esme Fernando); Heavy Metal rocker Freakout’s three part name is inspired by real world heavy metal rocker(s) (AFC: Arthur Amadeus Van Krijg). I’ll leave figuring out the exact inspirations to those who want to try.

This is a fascinating look into some behind-the-scenes action with the OHOTMU writers and much thanks to Loki for divulging this info!

The main illustration is a brand new image of Scramble drawn by Gus Vazquez, who has been busy cranking out new illustrations for the OHOTMU series books for a while now. The upper inset shows Omega, Scramble’s final form in an image taken from Alpha Flight #49, and the lower inset is a modified image of Lionel Jeffries. Note that in the original image, the opening splash page from Alpha Flight #46, Lionel is pondering how to transform Wanda back into Walter and has his thinking finger firmly planted on his mouth. The finger is completely removed from the new illustration! Note also that the figure behind Lionel is Box (Bochs), but only a portion of his chest and right shoulder can be seen.

Original image from Alpha Flight #46 used for the inset above

Though Alpha Flight Collector is thrilled to have the new entry (and a full page one at that!), and is fascinated by the new info about the Derangers, this is not what was expected. This issue closes out the modern run of OHOTMU issues that have been cranking out steadily since 2006 and a few Alpha Flight members and related characters STILL haven’t had an entry, nor an updated one for the modern format! Most notably:

  • Feedback, who never had an entry in any OHOTMU.
  • Stitch and Groundhog, the final two members of First Flight who strangely did not get entries despite the fact that St. Elmo did.
  • Ghost Girl, another notable omission, since all of her v2 teammates Flex, Radius, Murmur and Manbot all got entries.
  • Auric never had an entry, though his sister Silver did in the ’89 Update.
  • Mar, Ouija and Flinch, minor characters who also never got entries in any issue.

Other non-powered characters such as Gary Cody, relatives of Alpha Flight members, and other associates could make this list even longer.

For those of you keeping track of these sorts of things, the following characters have had entries in previous OHOTMU but not a modern-style entry, with their last entry indicated:

  • Box (Bochs) OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #2
  • Flashback OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #9
  • Pathway (as Laura Dean) OHOTMU ’89 Update #2
  • Goblyn OHOTMU ’89 Update #3
  • Manikin OHOTMU ’89 Update #4
  • Persuasion OHOTMU ’89 Update #5
  • Silver OHOTMU ’89 Update #7

So the official count is that Alpha Flight fans are owed eight new entries and seven updated entries. Unfortunately, no new handbooks that would include these are expected in the near term, so the omission of any of these fifteen entries from this issue was rather disappointing. To be fair, it should be mentioned that all fifteen of these missing characters did appear in the montage illustrations for the large Alpha Flight team entry in the first issue of the OHOTMU A-Z Hardcover series.

Jeffries brothers killed in House of M: Masters of Evil #3

October 14, 2009

hommoe3coverHouse of M: Masters of Evil #3
Dec 2009

Set in the alternate reality of the House of M storyline where Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) warped reality into a mutant-centric world in which her family ruled, the Masters of Evil spin-off series features a nasty bunch of human baddies. Led by the mysterious Hood, this crew of criminals seeks to liberate the fictional country of Santo Rico where none other than Mister Madison and Doctor Lionel Jeffries share power.  The two brothers appear extensively in this issue as enemies of the Masters of Evil and are ultimately defeated.

In the mainstream universe, we knew that Lionel Jeffries suffered from a sort of traumatic stress brought on by his inability to re-animate fallen comrades in battle (as described in Alpha Flight #30).  Cured of this disorder by his own organic shaping abilities combined with his brother’s sheer will in that same issue, he remained an associate of Alpha Flight but was unable to maintain a healthy mental state and was eventually killed mercifully by his brother Madison after fusing with Roger Bochs into Omega (Alpha Flight #49).  It’s a moving story of healing, redemption and sacrifice, poignant sentiments that could not possibly be more removed from the plot of this issue.

hommoe3aIn this reality, the brothers were exposed to highly stressful conditions during the human/mutant war when they were forced to use their mutant powers against other mutants.  Similar to the mainstream reality, the extreme conditions of their captivity induced a psychotic state in Lionel, and to some degree in Madison as well.  It also causes Lionel to want to look more like Romulus’ multiple earring version of Wild Child. Installed to power by Magneto in Santo Rico, the Jeffries brothers’ seemingly unstoppable combination of powers bring upon the citizens of the tiny country, a majority of which are human, a reign of terror marked by horrific abuses and atrocities.

The Masters of Evil swoop in and quickly take over the country, ostensibly for financial gain, but not before an epic battle with the Jeffries brothers.  Madison fights in his armor, but is not shown physically merged with the armor, but rather, enclosed by it in old-school Iron Man fashion.  This is completely different than how we are used to see Jeffries, but still consistent with his power set and quite a step up from the coiled tentacle scene from Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1.

hommoe3c

Madison fights with completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts and absorbs metal from his enemies’ costumes and nearby cars into his bulk.   Lionel takes on a similar tactic, absorbing nearby bad guys into a grotesque blob of face-studded flesh.  They defeat Bulldozer and Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew this way.  Lionel then absorbs the Hood.

Completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts

Completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts

Unfortunately, the Hood shoots through Lionel’s organic bulk and causes a failure mode in Lionel’s power due to the fact that the Hood isn’t 100% human.  Lionel rejects the Hood’s body and reverts to a non-blobby state.  After pleading for his life by offering to fix the scars beneath Madame Masque’s mask, the Hood shoots him in the face and kills him.

Meanwhile, Madison has risen to an enormous size as he directly engages an unmanageably large group of Masters of Evil, at one point getting attacked simultaneously  by Absorbing Man,  Blizzard, Chemistro,  Sandman, Thunderball and Wrecker and maybe some more bad guys who I (and I suspect the artist as well) can’t identify or lost count of.  The combined attack is too much even for him and he is taken down, demoralized further by his brother’s death and fatally stabbed in the back by the Wrecker’s magic crowbar.

hommoe3d

Following in the tradition of resurrected characters we haven’t seen for a long time, only to have them warped into a state of complete insanity and quickly killed (see Dark Reign: The List – X-Men #1 for Marrina’s similar fate), we see Lionel in the worst possible psychological condition and brutally executed with little remorse.  His brother fares no better, as the battle is fought between very bad guys and otherwise heroic characters who are portrayed as gleefully sinister, mentally unstable and psychotically cruel.  This morally bankrupt issue lacks anything resembling heroic action on anyone’s part, denying readers the chance to re-live what was a closed chapter of pathos in Alpha Flight history.   The issue does bring up the notion of how incredibly powerful the combination of techno- and organo-morph mutant powers could be, a notion ruined by the juxtaposition of overly simplistic versions of post-traumatic stress disorders and a complete disregard for any dignity and respect that the mentally ill deserve.  Fortunately, it all took place in an alternate reality that has since winked out of existence.