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Five Goofiest Moments in Uncanny X-Men #98-102

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.

We continue our two-part look at the first ten issues featuring the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Today we’re looking at X-Men #98-102. The issues were written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Dave Cockrum (pencils on all the issues, inks on X-Men #100), Sam Grainger (inks on #98 and #102) and Frank Chiaramonte (inks on #99 and #101).

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

I just always chuckle at how Steven Lang’s outfit makes him look like a super-villain. I mean, the dude even has a giant A on his chest for “Armaggedon”…

Granted, him laughing maniacally with his fists in the air probably doesn’t help him much on the “looking like a supervillain” front, either…

In this scene from #102, do note that Professor X has been dealing with some disturbing dreams (as the Shi’ar try to contact him for help), so he is not in a very good place, mentally at the time. So he certainly wouldn’t NORMALLY react this way. Still, it is pretty odd for him to ever act quite like this…

Watch Xavier’s hand in the last panel. Is he getting ready to bitch slap Cyclops? By the way, also note that they forgot to correctly color Cyclops’ glasses.

Speaking of Cyclops….from issue #98, I’m pretty sure that’s not how his powers work….

He’d have to lift his sunglasses OFF, no?

I certainly understand what they’re going for here in #102, about how Wolverine is unprepared to deal with having friends…

But come on, the guy is shocked that other people are there to see her? Including her BOYFRIEND? That’s not “unaccustomed to the ways of friendship” that’s just plain dumb.

5. TMI, Chuck, TMI…

It’s bad enough that Xavier had a thing for his sixteen year old student, the fact that he apparently tells other people about it is even more out there…

Particularly an old girlfriend.

4. Her lady business is quite sensitive to these things…

Only in comics would a line from the middle panel from this #102 page seem not utterly bizarre.

“Sometimes I wonder where (say my name out loud for some reason), aspiring photo-journalist [I love the "aspiring" part] got the nerve to ask an African princess to marry him.”

But then Storm’s mother takes it to a whole other level of bizarre by noting that she knew Ororo was special since CONCEPTION. Ooookay….

3. It is simple for me to re-polarize this napkin into a sandwich…I cannot make mustard, though…

In #101, Storm debuts her “save time on having to write/draw her changing clothes” power, where her weather powers somehow allow her to change the molecules of her costume into any outfit she desires.

2. Somehow an even goofier new power!

That is a pretty goofy power, and if I was judging the powers strictly on “which one was goofier?” I would definitely go with Storm’s. However, Nightcrawler’s new “disappear into shadows” power from #102 is goofier because he never knew he had it until this point…

Really, Nightcrawler? You never noticed your body would disappear when you walked into shadow?

Oh, Cockrum, and your desire to make Nightcrawler a bigger deal…

1. Really? Really?

In #102, when the X-Men are at Banshee’s ancestral castle, Claremont decides that it would make sense to work leprechauns into the story…

Really? Lepre freakin’ chauns?

37 Comments

i recall that the leprechaun issue also seemed to imply that nightcrawler was not in fact a mutant but a leprechaun (which is bizzare, especially since we now know that he is indeed not a mutant but a half-demon, which makes a lot more sense…)

Azazel is not a demon, he’s an ancient mutant like Selene and Apocalypse.

I think people should talk in real life more like they were doing Claremont exposition. AS, an aspiring blog commentator, would be amused.

The coloring obscures it a bit, but I think Cyclops had flip-up sunglasses in that panel; those are the lens floating above like an awning over his eyes.

The coloring obscures it a bit, but I think Cyclops had flip-up sunglasses in that panel; those are the lens floating above like an awning over his eyes.

Yeah, that possibility is why I put it outside of the Top 5.

I think the ‘Storms new power’ bit was meant to imply her costume has an alternate form triggered by electricity.

Been a while since I’ve read up on the ‘unstable molecules’ though.

Yeah, but if the lens did flip up, then shouldn’t the pair of glasses fly off his face?

That’s an odd panel.

What we’re seeing is Cyclops flip open his glasses, send force beams of light through the lenses without moving the glasses themselves (which aren’t being held), and then presumably hitting a Sentinel hard enough to damage/destroy it.

Not that I ever thought Cyclops wearing a simple pair of glasses to hold back light beams that can crush mountains made much sense anyway…

#2′s goofy nature is totally redeemed by the awesomeness of that panel. Seriously, his unconscious body only being half-visible is a cool as hell idea, and weirdly one that I can’t think of anyone duplicating recently.

Nightcrawler’s shadow power can indeed be pretty cool, though it is weird that such a thing would come up there for the first time…
Though, since Prof. Xavier is well known to be a jerk, I wonder if he did some secret experiments on the side on his “students” which could result on growing of earlier powers or sudden appearance of new ones…maybe that also explains the sudden disappearance of the cloth change power of Storm, that experiment didn’t work so well.

Professor X’s dialogue in the last panel of that scene with Scott if done by today’s writers would have read “Is Charles Xavier going to have to smack a bitch?”

Cyclop’s glasses have flip up lenses which is why he doesn’t have to lift up his glasses. Which I think makes it even goofier actually.

Storm has all sorts of secondary powers during the early Claremont years – for example, when the Brood impregnate the X-Men with their eggs, Storm can sense the parasite inside her, even though none of the other X-Men can. Also, Claremont seems to be implying that her power is not just about controlling the weather, but being in link with the planet itself. In the same Brood arc, Storm gets re-energized by just being close to some planets, even though she’s still in interplanetary space and nowhere close their atmosphere. Why she can’t use this “planetary sensitivity” to do some other things besides controlling the weather remains unclear.

Disappearing into the shadows is a pretty cool power. That Kurt never realized he had it is unbelieavable, though.

Disappearing into the shadows is a pretty cool power. That Kurt never realized he had it is unbelieavable, though.

Before that he had always tried to walk on the sunny side of the street, because he heard a song once that told him to.

The reason Scott’s eyebeams can blast through mountains, yet still be held back by simple lenses is because the beams are far more powerfull when they are in focus. Since Scott is somewhat farsighted, he can’t focus at extremely close range, so the lenses are stopping much weaker beams. It makes perfect sense.

I’ve always thought giving heroes instant costume-changing ability was just lazy writing (the same goes for teleportation technology). It’s acceptable for magickal characters, or those whose powers involve physical transformations, but that’s about it.

Brian, I had thought you missed possibly the goofiest thing of all time, but it takes place in #103, not #102. I fully expect it to be #1 when you cover the next five (or ten) issue of Uncanny X-Men.

I always thought that Nightcrawler never knew he had invisible-in-shadow-powers before because he didn’t have them before. Like getting zapped by Black Tom gave him new powers (or “unlocked’ them or something).

Either way, they were never mentioned again, though they were occasionally depicted in the art (that stopped after a while).

Last I heard, Marvel officially denies he ever had any such abilities.

Claremont knew how much of a misfire it was, since the leprechauns in Cassidy’s Keep were one of the few ideas of his he never revisited.

But I seem to remember that Scott Lobdell used the idea in Generation X, and it was a surprisingly fun story.

About seven or eight years ago, when I read Essential X-Men Vol 1 for the first time, I was quite surprised that the very first time we learn that Wolverine’s real name is Logan was when the leprechauns at Cassidy Keep call him by that name. At first I thought it very strange that such a key piece of information was revealed by Claremont in a moment of silliness. But then I realized that I’ve gotten so used to the X-Men books taking themselves so incredibly seriously that it seemed incongruous from a modern perspective. But when you look at it in the context of the time, when Claremont and Cockrum (and later Byrne) were attempting to do a revival of a third-tier book that few people cared about, throwing anything at the wall to see if it stuck and not taking themselves too seriously, it makes a lot more sense.

“I always thought that Nightcrawler never knew he had invisible-in-shadow-powers before because he didn’t have them before. Like getting zapped by Black Tom gave him new powers (or “unlocked’ them or something).

Either way, they were never mentioned again, though they were occasionally depicted in the art (that stopped after a while).”

In the Arcade two-parter that follows around Uncanny #128, I think, he clearly acknowledges the power, hiding in the shadows in front of Arcade’s control room and thinking that he could hide there all day but that it would be more fun to play hero so he teleports into the room and gets blasted.

It was also used in Excalibur quite a bit early on, if memory serves, not only when taking on the Technet and warwolves, but I believe Jester-in-Nightcrawler’s body during the Crazy Gang arc also used the ability somehow (I think that may have been because at the time his teleporting power was out of commission…had to give him something).

“The reason Scott’s eyebeams can blast through mountains, yet still be held back by simple lenses is because the beams are far more powerfull when they are in focus. Since Scott is somewhat farsighted, he can’t focus at extremely close range, so the lenses are stopping much weaker beams. It makes perfect sense.”

But what we’re seeing here is the eye beams being let loose to forcefully destroy something, yet the glasses stay on his face with no help. The only way that would even begin to make sense is if the eye beams gained force the further they traveled, but that seems so totally out of the realm of possibility given everything we know about Cyke.

Now some help…I seem to remember a panel about Cyclops firing pool balls with his eye beams (I think…it could have been just him shooting pool) and sinking all of them while thinking how great he was at that…can’t remember what issue though. Now I want to go find that, but I can’t remember what issue it was…

Marvel spent some time claiming that Nightcrawler never had shadow-invisibility powers, but then Alan Davis did an issue of Excalibur that not only reinstated the ability, but explained it as a bizarre side effect of Nightcrawler’s interdimensional teleportation power.

I thought the leprechauns were a bit silly when I first saw them in a Classic X-Men, but they don’t bother me that much. Marvel has all sorts of fairy-folk and stuff like that. Most fans don’t seem bothered too much by Atlanteans or the Savage Land, so why should leprechauns be any different?
I was more bothered that Banshee had his own ancestral castle. It often seems like every single character from the British Isles is an aristocrat of some sort, and that really bugs me. It just feels so Mediaeval, as if to say that commoners are just not worth writing about. (I know that Marvel does have some lower-class British characters– it’s just that the mix is too far out of proportion.)

JC LEBOURDAIS

May 30, 2011 at 7:21 am

re: Wolverine
Obvioously poor Logan is lovestruck, as all teenagers are, right? lol
Love makes you do stupid things :)))

John Trumbull

May 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

I love how snarky the caption boxes get with Wolverine on his hospital visit: “Not THIS time, bub” and “We TOLD you so.” Along with the captions actually picking a fight with Cyclops after Thunderbird’s death, that’s probably my favorite goofy thing in these issues. I kind of wish that Claremont had kept that going. Mutants are so discriminated against that even their own CAPTION BOXES hate them!

@Omar- Thanks. I suffered severe X-fatigue in the late ’80s and actively avoided about 20 years worth of stories. I did read where Marvel tried to disavow Disappear-In-The-Shadows-Nightcrawler, but I should have known some beautifully anal retentive writer wouldn’t let them get away with it for long.

The thing that struck me on picking up X-books again was that Kurt’s eyes aren’t perpetually in shadow like they used to be (as he acknowledged himself above). When the heck did that happen, and have any of the aforementioned ARW’s made mention of it?

Oops, the panel I was referring to isn’t there. I was remembering the part where the leprechauns were telling Kurt he turned invisible in shadows, and he was all like, “No the hell I don’t. Just watch… Hey, wadda ya know, i do!”
Somehow I got it in my head that Brian had included that part.

That’s from #103, James.

I couldn’t help but still feature the powers thing, which is first revealed in #102 (#103 just makes it explicit, as well as showing that Kurt didn’t know he could do it).

The whole thing of caption boxes talking to the characters seemed to be a big thing in this era. I noticed it a lot in Roy Thomas books of the 60s and 70s too. They’re really terrible.

Smokescreen: that is in #144 IIRC. The issue with D’spayre and Man-Thing.

@T: Claremont and Tony Isabella may be the kings of that, though, since the Iron Fist series they both worked on always had running narrative captions in the second person. “You are Daniel Rand, the Iron Fist” and so forth. Isabella seems to have established the convention, but Claremont really ran with it and it seems to have influenced his use of caption narrative elsewhere.

Waitasec…. does Nightcrawler NOT have the “invisible in shadows” power any more?

In my experience, they usually just say that Nightcrawler can hide in shadows easily because he’s covered in indigo fur (glossing over the fact that he almost always has sizable white portions of his costume).

I remember the Excalibur issue Omar mentioned, and when it came out I thought it was a new power they were adding; after reading every issue of X-Men from somewhere in the 140s on, I’d never seen it mentioned, and I’ve never seen it mentioned since, so I thought it was just a powerup that didn’t stick (the same plotline had Nightcrawler singlehandedly fighting his way through a roomful of enemies without teleporting with British agents watching him making a comment like “his martial prowess is greater than our files indicate,” so it seemed like Davis was powering Kurt up in general in that plotline). This is the first time I’ve seen those panels from the leprechaun issue (which I only knew about before this because they revisited it in an issue of Uncanny X-Men First Class).

On the Cyclops-firing-through-his-glasses image, I’ve always understood that Scott’s optic blasts didn’t knock his glasses off his face because ruby quartz actually absorbed the energy (presumably converting it into some kind of invisible, harmless radiation if you’re big on Newtonian physics). I think in the picture above, he’s supposed to be firing his optic blasts through the empty frames of his glasses with the lenses flipped up (presumably by some palm trigger like he sometimes uses with his visor, or by hand, having lowered his hand after flipping them up at the point the frame depicts.) I think it’s a coloring error that makes it look like he’s firing through red lenses instead of empty frames.

I LOVE that we learn the name Logan from a leprechaun, but I suppose that’s not til the next issue…

Issue #101 (from which several of these moments come) is a really crazy issue. It’s very modern, in that the X-Men never battle a super-villain and it’s almost all about developing subplots and characters, but at the same time, it’s one of the most Silver Age-y issues of Claremont’s run, with tons of goofy stuff like Xavier bringing up (for the first time since issue #3) his creepy crush on Jean and almost backhanding Cyclops.

@Ben Herman

when Claremont and Cockrum (and later Byrne) were attempting to do a revival of a third-tier book that few people cared about, throwing anything at the wall to see if it stuck and not taking themselves too seriously, it makes a lot more sense.

Definitely. Claremont’s even been quoted saying pretty much that exact same thing (that when the leprechauns showed up, it was another example of “throwing stuff out and seeing what sticks).

@ZZZ

I think it’s a coloring error that makes it look like he’s firing through red lenses instead of empty frames.

That’s always been my take on it as well.

#5, I wish I had a geneticist ex-girlfriend that I could ask to come across the globe to take a job washing my dishes and doing my laundry and then tell her about my 16 year old student I have the hots for…..

“Professor X’s dialogue in the last panel of that scene with Scott if done by today’s writers would have read “Is Charles Xavier going to have to smack a bitch?””

Even better in Patrick Stewarts voice.

[...] blonde hair. So where did Claremont get that idea from? Is this the same Claremont that did this: Five Goofiest Moments in Uncanny X-Men #98-102 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources So Storm can do who-da-what-now? Yeah, all this shows that Claremont and numerous others [...]

I think we’re missing the forest for the trees in this whole sunglasses debate. Clearly the important takeaway lesson from this panel is that Scott Summers is the kind of d-bag who wears flip-up sunglasses with a suit and tie.

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