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Five Goofiest Moments in the First Five Issues Featuring the All-New, All-Different X-Men

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we begin a two-part look at the first ten issues featuring the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Today we’re looking at the first five issues featuring the All-New, All-Different X-Men, specifically Giant-Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94-97. The issues were written by Len Wein (sole writer of Giant-Size #1, plotter of X-Men #94-95), Chris Claremont (co-writer of X-Men #94-96, sole writer of #97) and Bill Mantlo (plot assist on #96) and drawn by Dave Cockrum (pencils on all the issues, inks on Giant-Size X-Men #1), Bob McLeod (inks on #94) and Sam Grainger (inks on #95-97).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

In #94, we get our very first Claremontian speech…

In Giant-Size X-Men #1, dig the casual racism of the X-Men…

I’m just glad we didn’t see Storm get out of ear shot…

Two extreme ends of the X-Men levels of studies…

On the one end, we see Havok and Polaris somehow pursuing DOCORATES out of nowhere…

on the other hand, Banshee is barely literate?

Yikes.

5. Dramatic delivery…

In Giant-Size X-Men #1, Sunfire agrees to help Xavier…

Note how Sunfire knows best how to deliver a dramatic line. I can just see him telling Xavier…”wait here while I get dressed then let’s go outside while I finish my thought”

4. Dude, that is a word balloon not a thought bubble!!!

In #96, Stephen Lang probably should either not say that stuff out loud or not say it when the guy he is talking about is still visible!

3. If that’s how his powers work, we’re all screwed…

In #95, Cyclops is being mind-controlled by a bad guy…

Huh? Opening his eyes wide makes the visor open? That’s not good for anybody, especially when he is on the same team with ladies as scantily clad as the X-Men!

2. Wow, you just love to lie for no reason, don’t you?

We all know that Professor X loves to lie, but lying that scientist (and ex-girlfriend) Moira MacTaggert was his housekeeper…just what was he hoping to gain from such a deception?

Just uncool, Xavier.

1. Speaking of uncool, Xavier…

Check out how Xavier recruited John Proudstar…

I don’t know what is goofier, Xavier’s strategy (which, you note, he used a variation with on Banshee above) or Proudstar just instantly going along with it. Clearly, no one has ever used reverse psychology on him before.

Finally, as an added bit of goofiness, I love Xavier’s thoughts at the end of the page. Carry the world down into ruin? Yikes.

37 Comments

The Banshee thing gets even goofier when you remember that only a few months later Claremont established Sean as a) the inheritor of an ancient castle, Cassidy Keep, making him of some kind of aristocratic lineage (Uncanny #102-3); and b) as a former Interpol man, not just a generic “ex-cop” (Spider-Woman #37-8, a sequel to Uncanny #102-3 that introduced Siryn).

Maybe that’s why Sean eventually hooked up with Moira; they both like pretending to be way less educated and less professionally accomplished than they actually are.

Excellent choices, but I am stunned that Nightcrawler’s image enhanced didn’t make the cut.

I don’t believe he used it yet in these issues.

Loved these issues, but even as a kid I was struck by the goofiness of issue 96, where Moira runs out of the school armoury (?) firing a machine gun. Bad enough to have a superhero HQ with a clearly labelled gun room but how much worse is a superhero HQ THAT’S POSING AS A SCHOOL with a clearly labelled gun room. Any chance of adding that as an honourable mention?

Met Claremont just recently at Supanova Brisbane and had him sign a “Best of Claremont” HC tradepaperback. I love the issues, but it’s somewhat painful reading through all the speeches and over-the-top dialogue. Never really noticed it back in the day though…

Eh… not that impressed by most of these. Many can be considered artistic license (like Cyclops speech, thought it WAS lame), publication errors (Lang’s word balloons were most likely intended to be thought balloons) the characters being intentionally secretive (Banshee, Moira) or just overreaction (was Jap still that bad a word when this was written?) Though overall not terribly well written, the only real WTH one was the one with Cyclops’ visor.

Banshee as “barely literate”…

Len Wein had different concepts in mind for many of the X-Men. But when Claremont came on board (in the second appearance of the all-new X-Men, if I remember correctly) he had his own ideas about the characters.

As revealed in an interview, Len’s original ideas were as such:

– Wolverine was supposed to be younger, and more of a jerkass Guy Gardner-ish character, less sympathetic, but also not really a killer. He also was supposed to have different powers (superstrength and superagility, claws part of costume).

– Nightcrawler was supposed to be darker, moodier, more aloof and cynical. It was Claremont that gave him a swashbuckling side.

– Storm was supposed to be a timeless, possibly immortal character, with a mysterious origin. She could be a teenager, or she could be a thounsand years old.

– Colossus was supposed to be the main hero, not just the moral center. He seemed to be Len Wein’s favorite of the new characters.

Mike Loughlin

May 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

A few issues later, doesn’t Banshee relax by reading James Joyce?

I’ve always thought the goofiest moment in the first few AN, AD X-Men was the call & response between Cyclops and the pretentious narration in the issue after Thunderbird’s death:

“Do you?”
“No.”
“Do you?”
“No!”
“DO YOU?”
“NNNNOOOOOO!!!!”

I never had the impression Banshee really meant it when he called himself “barely literate” – I can totally see one of my friends saying something like “you guys could all win on Jeopardy and I could barely spell my own name on the teleprompter!” and I’d never think he meant he literally had trouble spelling his name – but it does read really weird on the page, and the fact that he calls himself an “ex-cop” instead of an “ex-spy” or “ex-Interpol agent” makes me wonder if Claremont didn’t really mean for him to be more the stereotypical Irish cop than the character we know him as now. Does anyone know how established his background was at that point? Had it been revealed that he was with Interpol yet?

And while I second Sijo in thinking that “Jap” probably wasn’t considered (or at least intended as) offensive at the time (people don’t generally object to “Brit,” “Aussie,” or “Czech”; I can see someone in the pre-PC era assuming “Jap” would be just as acceptable) there is also the matter of referring to Thunderbird as “Geronimo” in the previous caption. That wasn’t cool even back then, was it?

Rene’s comment just made me think of something:

It’s been well established that Wolverine’s claws were supposed to be equipment when he debuted, and I seem to remember it being a while before they gave him the regeneration and super senses (I could be wrong about the senses, but I’m pretty sure that the healing factor wasn’t mentioned when he first showed up and was only hinted at when it did first turn up – he gets roughed up and says something like “it’s okay, I’m a fast healer” which is something every superhero has said a variation of at some point).

I could swear that Nightcrawler doesn’t teleport for the first time until after the team returns from Krakao – in fact, his introduction scene running from a torch-wielding mob doesn’t make much sense if you know he can teleport.

And it was actually a character trait for Thunderbird that he only had mildly enhanced strength and reflexes and couldn’t do anything the other X-Men couldn’t.

So how weird must it have been to read Giant-Size X-Men #1 and be presented with five new X-Men (I know Wolverine had appeared before, but only briefly and in the Hulk so X-Men fans could easily have missed him) and have three of their powers basically just be variations on “good in a fight”? Four if you include Colossus, though his powers were a bit more defined. They must have seemed like a trio of less-well-defined Beasts.

Although I guess it’s kind of reassuring to realize that the practive of dropping in a new character and not bothering to explain to the readers what they can actually do isn’t as recent a trend as I thought.

Mike Loughlin:

LOL; I thought for sure that would be number one; I’m amazed it didn’t make the list.

There’s another one I thought would be here: in the Nefaria issue, the X-Men’s plane is disintegrated; Cyclops tells Nightcrawler to teleport to the ground; Nightcrawler then proceeds to make a huge speech about why he can’t teleport to the ground due to the conservation of energy principle–all while plummeting at terminal velocity. Funny stuff.

Rene, Given what I’ve seen of his work, I would guess that the late, great Dave Cockrum was at *least* as responsible for making Nightcrawler a swashbuckler.

As for the “casual racism” example, I admit that I think part of this is looking back, what, almost 40 years now?, with PC-fueled hindsight, but it also seems that Thunderbird was being portrayed as the hot-headed troublemaker so I’m not sure that was “casual” at all. More likely, it was intended to show that Proudstar was an insensitive jerk.
Calling Thunderbird “Geronimo”? Not sure that’s an insult. Doesn’t seem much different than, say, the kinds of comments Sawyer would make on “Lost.”
I would also question the “lie” about Moira MacTaggert. You can’t blame a writer for not knowing yet how a character is going to be retconned … even if the writer in question is the one who’s going to be doing a lot of the retconning.

Travis Pelkie

May 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Yeah, Prof X just lies and lies, huh? That’s why, as much as I hate stories that reveal things that would really affect all the characters (see the whole of Identity Crisis, for example) but have never been mentioned before, when I hear about Xavier’s deceptions and retconned shadiness, it’s not surprising, because he’s done it all the time.

Is Moira’s “You wanna make something of it, then?” bit the first time that phrase was used in the X books? (they did use that phrase or a variation a lot, right?)

So Banshee was the first in a line of dullards on the XMen, huh? Did he ever have a bonding moment with Rogue?

I read the Cyclops eyes thing not as “his eyes go wide and boom they go”, but that there’s a missing comma in there. “His eyes so blank and open wide” just seems to indicate that he’s been hymp-mo-tized, and then I think it should be “his eyes motion, automatically raising…”. (Actually, I don’t know that the comma is NECESSARY, but it might make it clearer.) So he’s under the influence, and being out of control, his eyes make what’s probably a natural motion that opens up the visor and lets the beams out.

Although the idea that his visor is that advanced, it can read where his eyes are and let the beams out that way is kinda goofy.

Something I always thought was goofy is how the whole idea that Cyclops’ optic blast is constantly “on” yet wearing sunglasses is all it takes to stop it is just utterly ridiculous, ruby quartz or not. After returning from Krakoa, Cyclops is powerless, but when his power comes back it is so strong that it sends him crashing thru a wall, so Xavier makes him a better visor, yet Scott can still wear simple sunglasses when dressed as a civilian and they are enough to stop the blast.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

May 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I have a sneaky feeling by showing us these “goofy”moments, Brian is actually trying to remind us that comics used to be fun. I get all set to make snarky comments about how goofy comics were, but I’m overcome with nostalgia for when I was young and reading these stories for the first time. Remember, the Comics Code was still in effect,and comics were “for kids”. I’m not ashamed to say that I learned about patriotism from Captain America, responsibility from Spiderman, tolerance from the X-Men. If some of these stories seem corny and heavyhanded now, they still influenced me then.

Scott Steubing

May 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm

ZZZ, Nightcrawler does teleport on Krakoa. Back then his range wasn’t that great, and from what I remember of his intro page, he was tired of running and decided to fight his chasers.

John Trumbull

May 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

A thing I found goofy on rereading the story from Giant-Size X-Men #1 is the order in which Professor Xavier recruits the new X-Men. If the opening scenes occur in the order they’re shown, Xavier travels from Winzaeldorf, Germany to Quebec, Canada to Nashville, Tennessee to Kenya, Africa to Osaka, Japan to Lake Baikal, Siberia to Camp Verde, Arizona… somehow that doesn’t seem like the world’s most efficient travel plan.

can not believe the first appearance of the second xmen team had some of the characters use racist terms . plus seems nightcrawler and sunfire did not like each other. not to mention since when does cyclops eye beams control the visor . plus sunfire seemed to say okay wait while i get my gaudy red costume on. this just proves even the x-men were not immune to goofiness

Pack, that may well be true.

It’s been a long time ago since I’ve read the interviews. Claremont criticizes Len Wein’s original conception for Nightcrawler, saying that Kurt must have at least some way to cope with his self-loathing, or something. It’s interesting, as Claremont is usually considered the master of angst.

Was “jap” a strong derrogatory term in the 1970s?

“Jap” was certainly a term that was still in use in some areas more than others, but yes, it was considered derogatory even then.

I like how Banshee and Xavier are having a casual stroll through the Danger Room during Storm’s training session.

I’m presuming they fixed that defect in Scott’s visor soon after, since he’s never zonked anybody just by being surprised. Although that raises the question of why the visor does that in the first place.

“Jap” was definitely not cool in 1975. It wasn’t ever cool, really, but by then, people knew it wasn’t cool.

Rene, my recollection of which creator brought what to the interpretation of the characters is pretty dim but I remember Cockrum having more than one pirate-type character.
As for the term “Jap,” I agree that it did seem derogatory even in the 1970s but I’m not entirely sure why. It’s just a shortened version of “Japanese” and no one seems offended by terms like “Brit,” “Swede” or “Aussie.” My *guess* would be that the term is considered ugly because it was usually said with contempt during WWII which was a bit more in living memory at that time (the 70s) than it is now. Also, it’s hard not to note that people who be called Brit, Swede or Aussie are likely going to be white and that any less-than-respectful term can be – and has been – made ugly by the white majority at times.

Cyclops’ eyes speech is pure brilliance. I just want to run into the street shouting it, that’s how nutty it is.

It’s derogatory because it’s used exclusively by racists to denigrate and insult an entire nationality.

Jesus H. Christ, people. Interact with the world outside of comic books once in a while.

You mean, derogatory like, “Jesus H. Christ, people. Interact with the world outside of comic books once in a while.”
Maybe you’re an expert because you know how people use a word “exclusively”…?

This batch, I can overlook some of the goofiness because Claremont inherited a bunch of characters from Len Wein and had to make it up as he went along, until he could figure out what he wanted to do with the characters and their backstories…

Michael, not all of us are American.

We got a similar word here in Brazil (“Japa”) and it isn’t considered derogatory at all. It can even be affectionate.

Yes, I knew it was derogatory in the US, mainly on account of US propaganda in WW2. But I wasn’t sure how strong the word was considered in the 70s. That’s why I asked.

wwk5d, I think it’s also fair to acknowledge that Claremont was a young scripter getting one of his earliest breaks. He would go on to much better things with experience before sadly, in my opinion, going on to become a parody of himself after the success and adulation went to his head.

In 1978 a student in my fifth grade class almost got a detention (but talked his way out of it) for using the term “Jap” in a report about WWII. Archie Bunker might have used it but most people knew it wasn’t the same as “Brit.”

Just noticed in item #2 how Banshee and Prof. X just casually walk under some deadly lasers in the first panel. Shouldn’t they keep that Danger Room more secure, especially when barely literate ex-cops are wandering around?

Yeah, I also love how goofy that panel is, with how calm Xavier and Banshee look with lasers over their heads.

The X-Men really are a strange bunch.

The point we are trying to make here is that, in the 70s, “Jap” was (overall) no longer as big a deal as it had been in previous decades, or is now. I definitely don’t remember any outcry over its use when this comic came out.

Words change meaning over time as the culture changes, folks. The dreaded “N” word was actually in common use even by Black people in the early days of America. “Gay” used to mean “joyful” and not “homosexual”. I’m certain many terms we use casually today will be regarded with shock in the future (it’s already happening with the term ‘retarded’ for example.)

Who in the world ever said the Apache are “frightened selfish children”? No one that I know of. That’s the goofiest moment in your choice of goofiest scene.

But I would’ve said something about Thunderbird’s pointless suicide in #95. Maybe it was tragic goofy, but it was still goofy.

@ZZZ “I never had the impression Banshee really meant it when he called himself “barely literate” ”

Yes, absolutely – he is just being typically self-depracating. And Xavier doesn’t buy it for a second, telling Sean “Your brain’s a fraction keener [than mine]”.

@Pack

my recollection of which creator brought what to the interpretation of the characters is pretty dim but I remember Cockrum having more than one pirate-type character.

My understanding has always been that Cockrum contributed a lot to Nightcrawler’s characterization, turning him from dour to swashbuckler, just as Byrne later did a lot to make Wolverine the character he is today (for most of the new X-Men run prior to Byrne, Wolverine was the character who ran into a fight first only to get taken out easily in order to establish the villain’s power; after Byrne showed up determined to make Marvel’s one Canadian character cool, Wolverine slowly morphed into a cooler, more competent character).

I would also question the “lie” about Moira MacTaggert. You can’t blame a writer for not knowing yet how a character is going to be retconned

Yeah, I think Claremont original intention for her was just to be a housekeeper with whom Xavier had a romantic past, and the whole “accredited geneticist” angle came up later.

And I, for one, love that panel of Moira blasting away with a machine gun out of the armory just off the X-Men’s living room. :)

I always assumed that Xavier was using subtle application of his powers on Thunderbird to convince him to stay, and the same with Banshee. Nothing overt, just a wide-band “do what I say” command. Xavier did that sort of thing quite willingly at the time.

“If anyone hears it, they give no sign.” Or a crap. Number of craps given: 0, for “the one X-man who can’t hide what he is”. By the stinky blue demon, the chrome-skinned pituitary nightmare, the token black living in rural Connecticut, and especially not by the lovesick bald man stuck in a wheelchair. Scott’s lucky that every single issue of X-Men doesn’t consist of his teammates beating the living crap out of his whiny white-boy ass. They’ll just have to content themselves with calling him “one-eye” to his face. “Oh, is that a euphemism for a dick? I didn’t mean to call you a dick, Scott. Really, I didn’t.”

Isn’t Sunfire’s shirt the Japanese war flag? Why not just call him Sushi Banzai Go! Sport? Or Butterfly Face, whatever.

I’m almost curious why a dragonfly-themed villain talks like Cobra Commander. Actually, I just suspect the writers couldn’t come up with anything except “Dragonflies, uh, they make a buzzing sound, don’t they? Oh, and they hypnotize people if I remember correctly. Let’s go with that.”

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