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Drawing Crazy Patterns – Fastball Specials Without Colossus OR Wolverine!

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today, based on a suggestion a lot of you had, here are five fastball specials executed without Colossus OR Wolverine!


Here’s one from Deadpool #10, as the Lightning Rods (the Great Lakes Avengers during a time when they thought that the Thunderbolts were good guys) use the maneuver (I love the caption!)…

In a crossover between Uncanny X-Men and Exiles (this is Exiles #30), Juggernaut and Nocturne pull it off…

In Marvel Team-Up #6, Spider-Man and x-23 perform it to perfection….

Squirrel Girl debuts the “fuzzball special” in the Great Lakes Avengers X-Mas Special #1…

And finally, Molly Hayes and Victor Mancha pull it off in Runaways (Volume 2) #24, in an adorable fashion in Brian K. Vaughan’s farewell to the characters….


This maneuver should only work with very small people. I’m glad you refer to these patterns as “stuff that happens frequently” instead of calling them “tropes,” like a certain other website does.

There was a version in JLA #160 (1978) where Wonder Woman chucked Superman…but that was more “spear-like”. Still, when I read it last week, all I could onk about was this column….

…er. THINK about…

Stupid iPad…..

In X-Men the End Polaris launches Kid Colossus magnetically with a Fastball Special that I think they call the Speedball Special.

Jake Earlewine

July 21, 2011 at 6:59 am

The artist always shows the “fastball special” AFTER being thrown (because, of course, that makes a more dynamic panel). But just once, I would like to see the moment BEFORE the person gets thrown. Because I want to know WHERE they are being held as they are thrown.

Do they grab them by the crotch and throw them? (That would make the most sense aerodynamically)
Do they hold the person up by the abdomen, balancing in air, before they are chucked like a football?
Do they grab them by the feet, and sling them?

The whole concept of the “fastball special” is such a tired cliche — if I was writing comics I would NEVER use that. Unless I could add something fresh to it — like having the “throwee” MISS the target and smash their head into a wall, or at least complain about being touched inappropriately, or having groin strain or something. But comic book writers don’t seem to think that deeply about it.


July 21, 2011 at 7:58 am

In Uncanny X-Men #325 drawn by Joe Mad, we get to see Colossus winding up for the Special. Wolverine is crouched with his feet in Colossus’ palm, IIRC.

But comic book writers don’t seem to think that deeply about it.

Ok, I’m going to go on a tangential rant now, but I personally have never felt that taking old-school tropes and conventions that were goofy and intended for kids, and then self-consciously pointing out in-story how goofy or cliched they are from the postmodern, deconstructionist and cynical eye of a 21st century adult, is ever a sign of deep thinking but rather of shallow cleverness. I prefer new writers, if they think an old-school cliche is goofy by modern standards, just not use it than use it just to poke fun at it. It just comes off smug and superior to you. I’m not meaning this as an attack on you, just that the type of thing you’re talking about is something I see new writers do a lot and it always sucks me out of the story.

The worse is when they point out how something old school is goofy, but then procced to still use the cliche or trope or element anyway. It’s like they get the double benefit of getting cool points by acting smug and superior to the original creators in mocking their work, yet they also get the benefit of using the same element they’re mocking. An example of this is the Fantasticar in Warren Ellis’s Ultimate Fantastic Four. Reed unveils the Fantasticar. Thing and Torch smirk and keep mocking the name. Reed says it’s corny and that he came up with the name when he was 7. The whole ride to Latveria Torch and Thing mock the Fantasticar name with “Fantasti”-puns, none of which are particularly funny or add to the story. For me, if Ellis finds Fantasticar too corny to play straight, if it sounds like something a kid would come up with and is embarassing and is worthy of mocking, just don’t use it. Put yourself out there and give the car a new name that you think is better. Put your own ass on the line and risk rejection and mockery. But instead, he mocks it and even worse, keeps using the name anyway.

If you do a google image search for “fastball special,” you can see various examples of how Colossus holds Wolverine. Sometimes he throws using the belt, sometimes he has Wolverine’s foot or both feet in his palm.

I have to admit, the only reason I clicked on the story was to see if you’d include the Runaways one.

I was not disappointed.

Man, I really lose track of all the times Havok or an alternate version of him turns evil. I never even knew about this particular instance above. That cliche deserves an entry in this series.

Here’s another one I liked, cuz it was an aerial one going downward rather than one on the ground going skyward:


Ed (A Different One)

July 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

@ Jake Earlewine – “Unless I could add something fresh to it — like having the “throwee” MISS the target and smash their head into a wall, or at least complain about being touched inappropriately, or having groin strain or something. But comic book writers don’t seem to think that deeply about it.”

There’s a perfect example of the “inappropriate touching” angle in She-Hulk #16 which Brain featured in his July 11th installment. You can find it here:


It’s roughly the third entry in that installment. Pretty amusing stuff – “First rule about the fastball special . . . you don’t talk about the fastball special . . . “

Does Juggernaut not age because of his magic armor? He seems pretty young.

@TDK: Nothing can stop the Juggernaut. Not even old age. ;)

The “Fuzzball Special” looks like a two-for… did Moose make an appearance as well?

My favorite one that isn’t listed is Franken-Castle and Man-Thing!

@Jake: She-Hulk grabbed Wolverine by the butt when she threw him at Wendigo. It was hilarious. :D

There was also the line when Colossus through Kitty at the Sentinel in Whedon’s run “oooh, major weggie”

Marvel Team-Up 127(not sure about the number) has a scene where Kitty Pryde asked Spider-Man, “How’s your fastball?” When Spider-Man throws her, she recalls seeing Colossus and Wolverine do this in the Danger Room.

Marcio G. Silva

July 23, 2011 at 4:49 am

There is one fastball special that predates the X-Men. It’s on Sub-mariner #29 (1970), by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema. Namor throws Hercules. In even shows him raising the greek god by the abdomen.

Am I the only one who remembers that Maggot once threw Marrow in a Fastball Special? (Can’t remember which issue, it was Joe Kelly/Steve T. Seagle run)

I agree with Peter with the “Fastball” version done in the Runaways series. Interesting enough, I recall a version of the Fastball done by Power Pack within POWER PACK #43 (where Jack {then Counterweight/with Gravity powers} threw his brother Alex {then Destroyer/with Energy} at the demonized Carmody AKA the Bogeyman).

I did the Fastball Special playing D&D, back in the day. I played a big human fighter & a friend had a halfling/leprechaun thief. Perfect candidate.

Rockslide and Anole do a Fastball Special in X-Men: To Serve & Protect #1. It’s not much to look at–in fact, I had to reread the page a couple of times to figure out what was going on– but what makes it a cute moment is that Rockslide has a text caption saying he’s been wanting to do that ever since he met Anole.

Did they ever do the FS in Avengers Academy? I remember seeing a picture of Mettle throwing X-23, who knows if f they did it?

@Annihilus….No, No FS was done within [i]Avengers Academy #23[/i] from both Mettle & X-23, nor from any of the other AA Students within said Issue.

Disappointed the Fastbear Special with Ursa Major and Gorilla Man isn’t there.

I have no idea what the context is, but when something looking like THAT shouts “Spider-Man you suuuuuuck!”, I suppose it’s gotta sting more than just your usual abuse on the op/ed pages of the Daily Bugle.

I Love the Fastball special, but I feel it is sometimes abused. It seems like something that should only be able to be performed properly if the thrower is not only immensely strong, but also larger than the throwee. That it works well for Colossus and Wolverine because of C’s strength, and that his grip is large enough that he could either grab wolverine by the legs or Wolverine could actually stand in his hand (due to C’s size And W’s small stature). However there are situations like Luke Cage doing it with Iron Fist in the Spiderman cartoon, where Cage, though strong doesn’t seem to me to register in the same strength range to do it effectively, but also doesn’t have the larger grip to through someone who is roughly the same size as he is.

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