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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #325

Welcome to the three hundredth and twenty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn the story of the amazing Brave and the Bold hidden teasers! Plus, could there have been a Young Avengers…in 1990?!!? Also, was Xorn really supposed to be Magneto?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and twenty-four.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: The Brave and the Bold for a time had hints hidden in their issues revealing who the team-up would be in the following issue.

STATUS: True

Reader Chris G. wrote in about this remarkable series of “teasers” in The Brave and the Bold when Dick Giordano was editing the title. These series of “Easter Eggs” makes a perfect tie-in for our Month of Comic Book Easter Eggs, which ends this Sunday! Check out the archive of this monht’s Easter Eggs here.

As to the Brave and the Bold Easter Eggs, you see, from #177, when Giordano took over (it may have been even before him, although I don’t believe so – the hints were definitely artist Jim Aparo’s idea, so it could have predated Giordano) through I dunno when they stopped, honestly, the artists on the book would put in a hint toward who was the guest star in the next issue!

#177 shows the shadow of Creeper…

#178 shows a Legion cruiser…

#179 has Jim Corrigan show up (a letter writer wrote in to say that the reflection is intended to look like Corrigan, and the editors basically said “yes”, so I’m going with it)…


#180 has Hawk and Dove make an appearance…


#181 has Robin’s symbol appear…


#183 has Huntress’ symbol appear…


#184 has a green arrow…


#187 has a rose and a thorn…


Isn’t that awesome? Jim Aparo was the artist on most of the above issues.

I can’t find the hints in Brave and the Bold #185 or #186 (#182 accidentally didn’t have one). Can anyone share them with me? I stopped looking after #187 as it was taking up more time than it was worth as I already had a bunch of examples to demonstrate.

If you know of any other hints, let me know and I’ll add them to the piece!

Thanks to Chris for the great suggestion!

COMIC LEGEND: Rob Liefeld and Jim Valentino pitched a Young Avengers series before New Warriors debuted.

STATUS: True

Reader Stan wrote in to ask if it was true that Rob Liefeld and Jim Valentino did a pitch for a book like New Warriors back in the 1980s.

Amazingly enough, Stan, they DID do a pitch for a book like New Warriors, only it was INDEPENDENT of New Warriors! Tom Brevoort wrote about it on his blog here.

And yet, check out the similarities…

Isn’t that amazing?

That they came up with nearly the same cast by total coincidence is uncanny (and Valentino confirms in the comments section that it was, indeed, coincidence)!

Still, imagine Young Avengers nearly twenty years before we got the Young Avengers!

Valentino was going to write the book and Liefeld would draw it (and Liefeld would co-plot it with Valentino), but unbenown to them, Marvel had already greenlit New Warriors, so they passed on the project. Liefeld and Valentino ended up appropriating some of their ideas for Young Avengers into their own books (X-Force and Guardians of the Galaxy, respectively).

Liefeld shared two sketches he did of the possible Young Avengers, as well as his insights on the pitch here.

Thanks to Stan for the suggestion, thanks to Tom Brevoort for posting the pitch and thanks to Rob Liefeld for sharing the sketches. What a neat piece of comic book history!

NOTE: Amusingly enough, way back in the #20s, I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed about ANOTHER pitch for “Young Avengers” before the actual Young Avengers came about. You can check that out here.

COMIC LEGEND: Grant Morrison did not originally intend for Xorn to be Magneto.

STATUS: False

Commenter TNT138 said the other week, “xorn was a great character and I still find it hard to believe that xorn was initially intended to be magneto.”

This is something that I’ve found a lot around the internet (well, some of it I found after I specifically went looking for it, but still!) – the notion that Xorn being revealed as Magneto in disguise was an after-the-fact decision by Morrison that was different from what he had intended.

This is not the case.

We have Morrison’s actual “Manifesto” for his New X-Men run and it includes a basic plot line for how his run would go, and remarkably enough, while there are some changes here and there, Morrison followed the outline pretty darn well (and that’s especially impressive when you consider all the characters he couldn’t use). In any event, in the outline for his run, he makes it clear that Experiment X (his early name for Xorn) is not who he says he is and that that reveal will lead into the ultimate Magneto story ( “Who knows what lies beneath the mask of Experiment X? Will the self-styled MAN FROM ROOM X turn out to be hiding more than just his face?” )

The next pages in the manifesto were blacked out for readers when it was published with the E is for Extinction trade and this is because he expressly states that yeah, Experiment X/Xorn is Magneto.

Don’t get me wrong, you can poke some holes at Morrison’s set-up of Magneto as Xorn. Some things don’t make total sense. Like what are the X-Men seeing here?

But he clearly had the reveal planned from the get-go, especially since, you know, he had the pitch written before he did the series.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Legends Revealed, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

97 Comments

Xorn has been made a mess

My mind still is boggled by the fact that Morrison considered the ultimate Magento story to be one where he has him act like an idiot.

Xorn has been made a mess.

That’s what happens when you try and retcon Magneto’s death by on-panel beheading within the same fortnight you have it.

Morrison was presumably using the term in its traditional meaning:

last; furthest or farthest; ending a process or series:

And that is clearly what he did do with his Magneto story, heck, he even refers to that in the story about it being the ending of the process (while, of course, leaving open the fact that the process always starts up again, since we are talking about superhero comics here).

@Jeremy Wiggins- In Magneto’s defense, he was tripping balls so hard on Kick that he regressed to the Silver Age. Which, once “Here Comes Tomorrow” revealed that Kick was a sentient mutant bacteria named Sublime aerosolized, that could dominate you (that’s a Morrison twist, for sure)…

Well, it means that Magneto was acting out of character because he no longer was himself. He was Sublime driving him to all sorts of insanity to meet its goals.

I’m not sure I understand why Magneto would go through all of that trouble to masquerade as another individual, at least not to the lengths he did. I understood that he wanted to subvert the purpose of Xavier’s school but it really seems more trouble than its worth.

The whole Magneto as Xorn story was great… in a vacuum.

In a shared world where other writers just may want to use Magento again… not so much.

I remembered that Creeper silhouette from the Elongated Man issue of B&B but I missed most of the other clues. Aparo’s run on B&B was truly staggering. A 12-year run (pencils and inks (and letters for most of it) with only a handful of fill-ins.

The preview Easter Eggs in Brave and Bold were Jim Aparo’s idea, so they didn’t appear in some issues (the ones drawn by fill-in artists or, in some cases, issues Jim drew but were going to be followed by a fill-in artist–if he wasn’t going to draw the next issue, he didn’t always know who the next guest-star was going to be). The only case I can remember where one of the fill-in artists planted a hint was the Huntress clue you show here. The Jim Corrigan appearance isn’t really a clue, it’s supposed to be a distorted reflection of the character seen two panels earlier (I recall that this was confirmed in a lettercol in one issue that identified all the Easter Eggs up to that point; the same lettercol noted that Jim hadn’t included a clue to the issue co-starring the Riddler, but that the readers could consider every question mark in #182 to have been a hint!).

Aparo was amazing.

The Jim Corrigan appearance isn’t really a clue, it’s supposed to be a distorted reflection of the character seen two panels earlier (I recall that this was confirmed in a lettercol in one issue that identified all the Easter Eggs up to that point; the same lettercol noted that Jim hadn’t included a clue to the issue co-starring the Riddler, but that the readers could consider every question mark in #182 to have been a hint!).

In the letter column in question, the letter writer lists the teasers he found (by the way, it would have been nice had I read that letter column BEFORE I pored over all the issues) and he lists the Corrigan one and they don’t deny it, but DO deny his attempt at finding a Riddler one in #182, so that would certainly lead you to believe that they were confirming the Corrigan one, right?

Another great week.

Can someone please point out the Jim Corrigan clue in B&B 179? Unless it’s the character in the reflection in the third panel, I really can’t see it.

I remember seeing some of these images as a kid – especially the Hawk and Dove clue – but never put two and two together. Living in the UK we were lucky to get the comics, let alone in sequential order every month. This has brought back a flood of memories so thanks Brian.

Those Brave & the Bold easter eggs are awesome. What a fun little addition to an already ridiculously fun comic.

Anyway, yeah, it’s obvious Xorn was Magneto the whole time, though that last-minute fill-in Xorn-centric issue (#127, I think?) tripped a lot of people up.

The characterization of Magneto, however, was spot-on. He really is a crazy old Nazi, and Morrison was not afraid to make that explicit.

Ah. Thanks MWGallaher for the answer. Think you posted the answer while I was typing my question…

Anyway, yeah, it’s obvious Xorn was Magneto the whole time, though that last-minute fill-in Xorn-centric issue (#127, I think?) tripped a lot of people up.

Yeah, but that was intentionally misleading (since the whole issue is a fake story relayed in a letter from Xorn to Xavier). Earlier issues actually had some unintentionally misleading bits, like the Imperial Guard guy confirming that Xorn had the power of a star. I suppose he was confusing Magneto’s magnetic powers for gravitational powers, but still, that was pretty misleading.

If the Liefeld proposal for Young Avengers had gone forward, I guess it would mean that there would have been no gay members in that group?

The Brave & Bold teasers were very, very cool.

I remember the day the Magneto reveal was released. I was standing in line with a copy of the comic in hand (not knowing what the end of the book revealed) when this stupid ass pulls a copy of the book from the rack, thumbs to the end and says LOUDLY “Xorn is Magneto!?!?!”

Me and the other three people in line just glared at him. I believe one of them cursed him out. It might have been me. The owner of the store told the idiot to leave then apologized for him.

That day really pissed me off. I would have enjoyed that ending without the spoiler.

I still remember my jaw dropping and nearly dropping the book when I turned the page to discover Magneto beneath the mask of Xorn. One of the greatest reveals ever. And if you go back through Morrison’s entire run, there were clue’s everywhere that made perfect sense in hindsight. I believe that was the moment I became a Grant Morrison fan for life.

Now if only Marvel didn’t get cold feet about the entire New X-Men run and retcon much of out of existence. Aside from Whedon’s great run on Astonishing X-Men, the franchise has devolved back to the incomprehensible drivel that it was before Morrison got to it. What a shame.

I seem to recall the Riddler cue in the prior issue of B&B (which featured the Earth-2 Robin, Batwoman, and Hugo Strange) was that a spray of bullets hitting the ground took the (approximate) shape of a question mark. How I can remember THAT and not what I had for breakfast today is a riddle of a different sort….

TheCommander: I mostly agree with the current state, but Uncanny X-Force is fantastic. It’s what people used to enjoy about the X-men: small, defined team of members, strong character drama, awesome action, great artwork(‘cept for Billy Tan, but meh), and its very accessible. It builds on some ideas from Morrison’s run, too, and I recommend it to everybody who’s been off the X-men books for years.

The Xorn reveal was one of the few genuinely surprising,”oh shit!” moments I’ve had while reading modern comics (that is, comics I read while old enough to see the man behind the curtain, so to speak).

I’ve never been a huge fan of what followed (I’ve always preferred Claremont’s more…measured Magneto), even with the Kick/Sublime explanation, though I was even less of a fan of the mess Austen made of the whole Xorn/Magneto deal (I may not have liked Morrison’s Magneto, but I would have preferred it, in the end, to have been Magneto).

Oh, neat. I didn’t know a couple of the Brave and the Bold “teasers.” I’m pretty sure some of those were never mentioned in the letter pages.

Yeah, they only mention up to the Huntress symbol in the letter pages.

I think the Magneto complaints are explained in the story itself though. Magneto was previously crippled by Wolverine, then presumed dead when the Sentinels destroyed Genosha. I have to imagine Magneto was severely weakened and resorted to Kick to make his return. Except Kick was not at all what he thought it was. It was, in fact, Sublime, the sentient bacteria, which clearly affected Magneto, if not outright controlled his actions entirely. Sublime was introduced very early in Morrison’s run, and then that arc came to a head in the “Here Comes Tomorrow” story.

Personally, I feel New X-Men is the one, truly great X-Men story. Claremont be damned. And the nonsense that followed be damned. Standing on its own, New X-Men is a masterwork.

I know. I know. Blasphemy. But that’s how I feel.

Agreed, I think Morrison definitely addresses any concerns about Magneto’s characterization. Sublime was clearly an intentional “out” for future writers who wanted to use Magneto in a different fashion (and Morrison clearly was under no delusions that future writers were not going to bring Magneto back).

Like Teebore, I think many of us who didn’t like Magneto’s characterization dislike it even in light of the subsequent Sublime/Kick explanation. Even with an in-story explanation for an anticlimactic, lame showdown, it doesn’t change the fact that it was anticlimactic and lame.

Mind you, that doesn’t change how awesome the revelation and everything preceding it was. That was all awesome and still is.

“Yeah, they only mention up to the Huntress symbol in the letter pages.”

I’m fairly sure there was an incomplete list of them SOMEWHERE published at the time of release – I figured it was in a letter collumn, but it might have been in Amazing World of DC Comics or somethin’. Except I don’t think AWoDCC was still being published….

I think I took notes on this somewhere. I’ll see if I can find ‘em.

The letters column for…I’m going to say #187 (maybe #188) has a list from #177-183.

Again, though, it would have been nice had I seen that before I pored through the previous issues finding the hints! :)

Those Aparo Easter Eggs are amazing. I was a faithful (even voracious) reader of Brave & the Bold at that time and never picked up on that. I probably noticed the Creeper’s shadow but just figured eh, it’s a shared world, and the Creeper’s always prowling around somewhere. I had no idea it was intended as a preview of coming attractions. I must not have been a voracious reader of the letter columns.

A human body is usually about 8 and a half heads long Mr. Liefeld, not 13.

Brian Cronin noted:

In the letter column in question, the letter writer lists the teasers he found (by the way, it would have been nice had I read that letter column BEFORE I pored over all the issues) and he lists the Corrigan one and they don’t deny it, but DO deny his attempt at finding a Riddler one in #182, so that would certainly lead you to believe that they were confirming the Corrigan one, right?

Apparently I was misremembering the letter column! That is indeed an implied confirmation of the Corrigan clue, but I really think they were just avoiding admitting that they’d forgotten to include a clue in that issue, too. Sort of, “He thinks we did that on purpose, might as well let the readers think that as well.” Because not only is it pretty obvious that the figure is supposed to be the character in the previous panel (he still has his right hand on his chin and a furrowed brow), the image doesn’t even have the one distinguishing visual characteristic of Jim Corrigan, the white streak in his hair. There’s nothing in that image to make a reader think it was Jim Corrigan, other than the “ghostly” distortion, which is plainly (to my eyes, anyway) intended to represent a reflection in a curved glass.
Maybe we could ask artist Ernie Colon?

@T:

A human body is usually about 8 and a half heads long Mr. Liefeld, not 13.

Pshaw, next you’ll be telling me everyone’s feet don’t come to a point.

Ragging on Liefeld just never gets old, does it? ;)

“Well, it means that Magneto was acting out of character because he no longer was himself. He was Sublime driving him to all sorts of insanity to meet its goals.”

It makes sense in the context of Sublime’s role, as an inherently static lifeform, rebelling against a force of change it couldn’t assimilate (the mutant gene). Sublime was behind most of the villains in Morrison’s run, and Morrison’s run was about how change and progress are necessary. Note also that all of the villains are repeating the same patterns as seen in countless previous X-Men comics; a Weapon X program creating anti-mutant super-soldiers, a bunch of young mutants rebelling against the man, a fallen hero conquering an alternate future, and a once-complex anti-hero returning to cartoonish super-villainy.

Well, it means that Magneto was acting out of character because he no longer was himself. He was Sublime driving him to all sorts of insanity to meet its goals.

Man, I had no idea one ’90s alternative rock band could cause so much damage. Well, OK, maybe I did.

Magneto don’t practice Santeria. He ain’t got no crystal ball…

Ed (A Different One)

July 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

@Jeremy – “TheCommander: I mostly agree with the current state, but Uncanny X-Force is fantastic. It’s what people used to enjoy about the X-men: small, defined team of members, strong character drama, awesome action, great artwork(‘cept for Billy Tan, but meh), and its very accessible. It builds on some ideas from Morrison’s run, too, and I recommend it to everybody who’s been off the X-men books for years.”

I agree whole-heartedly. Not to co-opt this thread into an Uncanny X-Force discourse, but I had been turned off by the X-books for years and years and years and tried Uncanny X-Force about 3 issues in after hearing a lot of good feedback from commenters on this site and a few others. It definitely gives you that old UXM feel, for all the reasons you articulate. it also represents the first time to my knowledge that another writer has messed around with some of the old toys that GM left in the X-men sandbox and really done them justice. I just wish they would get Opena back on the book and make him the regular artist. That first arc he drew has a lot to do with why I became hooked on the book.

And Remender has got to be one of the best, if not the best, writer of “character” in comics today. What he’s done with Uncanny X-Force is a great example in and of itself, but also look at what he’s done with Venom. He took Flash Thompson, who has been a 2-dimensional jock character for nigh on 4 decades now and turned him into a fascinatingly complex character. And he does it by mixing him with that god-awful symbiote to boot (yes, you guessed it, I’m not a fan of the classic Venom) – to pull that off takes no small amount of talent. I look forward to Remender getting more and more involved with the X-books and the Marvel universe as a whole in the future.

Oh, yeah, and I’m looking forward to that last Fear Agent story arc. For anyone who is just getting into Remender – go back and check out the old issues of this series with Dark Horse. Good stuff.

No I can’t take pity on evil muties of his kind, even though he now takes it in the behind….

(God I love that band…)

“Even with an in-story explanation for an anticlimactic, lame showdown, it doesn’t change the fact that it was anticlimactic and lame.”

One of Grant Morrison’s signatures is the anti-climax. Personally, I thought the climax was brilliant. The entire point of his New X-Men run was that the old definition of the X-Men and mutants in general was outdated and dead. Now it was time for something new. So when Magneto tries to impose the old ways of villainy/victory, his followers reject him and his ideas as old and antiquated. It’s the literal interpretation of the entire point of New X-Men.

I guess fans just wanted some manner of fisticuffs or something. I don’t know.

“. . . special emphasis will be placed on the fashions, foibles, triumphs & insecurities associated with adolesence”

So Archie with superpowers?

“I guess fans just wanted some manner of fisticuffs or something. I don’t know.”

That’s pretty much correct. A fan, by definition, wants what they’ve seen before, that to which they are emotionally attached. Many fans are flexible enough to accept change, and some even seek it. The loudest ones are just seeking the same experience they had as children, even though they’re now adults.

I certainly can’t speak for all “fans”, but I would have preferred something in which the character would be more consistent (not exactly the same as, but consistent) with how he’d been portrayed before, and where the motivations and actions of that character in that story had explanations within the context of the story itself, not just explanations that came from the auteur’s metatextual treatise on the state of superhero comics.

My problem with the Magneto reveal is that it doesn’t play fair with the audience.

He presents himself as somebody with healing powers, demonstrated on Xavier. Apparently, he never healed anybody else. And true enough, when you look back, he doesn’t, on-panel…

but more happens in the X-verse than exists on panel. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that Xorn would not only have his powers deliberately tested by the X-Men (it’s part of what they do, as a school designed in part to help mutants cope with their abilities), but that, considering all the danger that strikes the team, not to mention accidental injuries for the student body, and for that matter public relations, that he would have been asked to heal many times. And once you realize that, it becomes impossible to accept that he found an excuse out of that every time and nobody noticed. That’s not to mention things, pretty obvious things like checking his fingerprints/DNA, Wolverine being able to smell him, etc.

I didn’t read that much of Morrison’s X-Men run, but it doesn’t seem to fit. It doesn’t seem like Magneto. It doesn’t look like Beast, either. But aftewards Marvel force-fed everything major.

Liefeld’s art looks pretty neat there. I think he had a special charm back then.

Actually I do think ragging on Leifeld gets a bit old. At least in my opinion. Sure there are problems with his art but really, these are comics. Are Rob Leifelds characters really any more distorted than Sam Keiths? Yet I never heard much about Sam Keiths poorly proportioned people. I just don’t see why people get all fired up over certain artists while giving others a free pass. Again I am not a huge Leifeld fan but at least his work seems fun and upbeat if not particularly realistic. Having said that, I am so glad that New Warriors got Mark Bagley instead of Rob Leifeld and that that version of Vance Astro never saw the light of day.

Tin got married? Okay that blows my mind! Where is Mrs Tin? Bring back Mrs Tin!!!

Peter, he was asked to heal Xavier and he did, albeit with nano-sentinels. That was probably enough to gain the trust of Xavier & Co. and threw them off his scent.

Lex, best not comment since you didn’t read it. All was explained in the story.

Earlier issues actually had some unintentionally misleading bits, like the Imperial Guard guy confirming that Xorn had the power of a star. I suppose he was confusing Magneto’s magnetic powers for gravitational powers, but still, that was pretty misleading.

Indeed, but I think that was intentional. G-Type said there was an “unknown” gravitational force messing around with his core, meaning he was affected by something he wasn’t expecting. Which, as it turned out, wasn’t a gravitational force at all. There were other clues in that story too, like when Xorn hears the “dying, electromagnetic alarms” of the Shi’ar superdestroyer.

Those still skeptical would do well to check out Paul O’Brien’s round-up of Xorn clues:
https://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/msg/1323852c822d0868?hl=en

Morrison generally describes the Magneto of “Planet X” as a distillation of the character, but it’s also an example of him turning accepted X-Men conventions (e.g. “Magneto’s a good man gone astray”) on their head and making them work. Which was pretty much what the whole run was about, right down to the logo (heck, Magneto’s master plan was to flip Earth’s magnetic poles, wasn’t it?).

the whole XORN thing was actually discussed on the CBR article about plots not tied up. A commenter linked 2 links that discuss the Xorn thing.

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/07/09/comic-theme-time-unresolved-comic-book-plot-threads/comment-page-1/#comment-848905

Man, I missed all those clues in TB&TB. But then, I was only a kid back then, and most of the comics I read a the time were in Spanish, which had no letters page (and the art was shrunk down to fit the Mexican comic book standard size, making it harder to spot such things.) I didn’t know most of those characters at the time so I probably would not have recognized them anyway (which was one reason I read TB&TB, to discover more DC characters.)

The idea of Xorn being Magneto seem pretty pointless to me. ah ha ha I was Magneto all along! Response: dude you’re Magneto you can pretty much show up when you want. Magnus could have showed anywhere at anytime at the start, the middle and ending of the run and do your thing. It felt like the worst wrestling booker pulling something of his ass to shock people.

Furthermore, the moment the character went from Experiment X to Xorn the idea was dead on the arrival because Xorn turned out to be a pretty interesting character and he was too good for him to go in limbo and be discarded outright. You knew at that point that Magneto being revealed as Xorn would make people mad as they liked Xorn. And those that liked him would never accept the reveal. From that moment on, Morrison was screwed. Because he created a too good character.

At the end of the day I feel like Morrison would have been better off to come up with his own ideas and start from a virgin World like the Ultimate Universe wheras Millar who’s more straight forward and rock n roll would have been the guy to write New X-Men taking the characters were they were at that point.

I’m going to take issue with the reasons given for Magneto being Xorn because:

1. Magneto should not be able to fool a telepath. Emma should not have been able to read Xorn’s mind if Xavier who has much more TP skill than Emma could not.
2. Wolverine should have been able to get Magneto’s scent. He could smell Jean Grey’s scent in the area during the Mutant Massacre. His ability is that sophisticated.
3. There are two mentions of gravitational force. Gravitational force has absolutely nothing to do with electromagnetic force; in fact, they are two separate fundamental interactions. You could say it’s a diversion by Morrison but it is factually wrong.

Morrison obviously tried to be crafty with some of his clues but he wasn’t crafty enough. I hated most of the changes made to the X-men during this time by Morrison, including the death of Jean so I find Morrison’s run to be over-rated.

“That they came up with nearly the same cast by total coincidence is uncanny (and Valentino confirms in the comments section that it was, indeed, coincidence)!”

Not so uncanny as that, Brian.

It’s the late 1980s or early 1990s, and you’re asked to assemble a team of teenage Marvel heroes that have no strong ties with other franchises (such as the X-teams). You will inevitably end with the roster of the New Warriors.

Cloak and Dagger, I think, are the only teen heroes ignored by both pitches. Not surprising when you consider that they’re loners, only really interested in each other, and (I think) had their own title by the time of the pitches.

@marvelboy74:

1. Emma never read Xorn’s mind, as I recall. She just gleaned information about him from a key. Rachel Summers would later perform a similar trick with an engagement ring in an issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man.
2. You’re right about that one. Wolverine even says something along the lines of “I can’t believe I didn’t notice his scent until now” in Planet X, but it’s never explained WHY he couldn’t smell Erik. I mean, Magneto probably figured out a way to hide it, given his technological prowess, but a line explaining just how Magnus did it wouldn’t have hurt.
3. Indeed. It’s possible Morrison got confused (he has gotten his science wrong sometimes), but perhaps G-Type was the one who got mixed up.

“Even with an in-story explanation for an anticlimactic, lame showdown, it doesn’t change the fact that it was anticlimactic and lame”

It doesn’t seem as anticlimactic if you read the stories in the 3-volume set instead of the 7, because it doesn’t seem like the “climax”, it just leads right into the next arc, which some people mistakenly thought of as a denouement, but is actually a perfect climax of all the ideas Morrison wrote about in his entire run.

My problem with the Xorn reveal is that, yes, there are clues all throughout it, but there are also so many cheats that don’t make sense. You have to pay attention to the clues and then say No-prize away the cheats. I don’t think that it’s inconsistent with Marvel’s general style, but I also think people are way too easy on “No, it all makes total perfect sense!” It really doesn’t. But it’s worth going with it.

Not to be another Liefeld basher, but man it looks like Vance’s arms were hit with a shrinking ray.

1. As mentioned, no one read Xorn’s mind. It’s said early on that Xorn’s star-brain somehow blocks this. (Obviously, Magneto using telepathic blocking devices.)
2. This was a pure cock-up, and needed at least a passing explanation.
3. Magneto’s been able to use his powers to generate anti-gravity effects since at least his first Claremont/Byrne story in Uncanny #112-13, where he levitates a wooden carnival wagon at supersonic speeds to reach his Antarctic redoubt and magnetically lowers Mesmero to Earth. Magneto can indirectly affect other fundamental forces using his powers, as has been shown in many, many stories. The Marvel Handbooks of the 1980s suggested that he was therefore living proof of the Unified Field Theory.

” Actually I do think ragging on Leifeld gets a bit old. At least in my opinion. Sure there are problems with his art but really, these are comics. Are Rob Leifelds characters really any more distorted than Sam Keiths? Yet I never heard much about Sam Keiths poorly proportioned people. I just don’t see why people get all fired up over certain artists while giving others a free pass. Again I am not a huge Leifeld fan but at least his work seems fun and upbeat if not particularly realistic. Having said that, I am so glad that New Warriors got Mark Bagley instead of Rob Leifeld and that that version of Vance Astro never saw the light of day. ”

Artists like Sam Kieth distort anatomy as a conscious choice; they know how to draw, but they choose to favor expression over realism. Rob Liefeld, on the other hand, cuts corners. There’s no stylistic reason for him to draw tiny baby feet, to draw women with giraffe-length legs, or running punches that look like the foe is being hit with the hero’s groin.

To see what Liefeld’s style would look like if actual craft were employed, just check out any Jim Lee comic.

” I certainly can’t speak for all “fans”, but I would have preferred something in which the character would be more consistent (not exactly the same as, but consistent) with how he’d been portrayed before, and where the motivations and actions of that character in that story had explanations within the context of the story itself, not just explanations that came from the auteur’s metatextual treatise on the state of superhero comics. ”

Of course, the X-Men don’t exist in a vacuum, and a lot of the way audiences relate to the books IS based on extratextual knowledge. Even if you held true to the character’s chronology and tracked at what points he’d been evil and what points he’d been good, the character’s importance comes from how audiences interpret him, not the cumulative total of his history.

Magneto is a strong example of the “Draco in Leather Pants” trope. He’s also a terrorist mastermind, and especially in the early part of the twenty-first century, romanticizing that type of character was deeply troubling. Morrison plays off of the character not living up to the legend via comparing his likeness to Che Guevara, another figure who’s become a cultural martyr (even though his actual record is more questionable).

“The letters column for…I’m going to say #187 (maybe #188) has a list from #177-183.

Again, though, it would have been nice had I seen that before I pored through the previous issues finding the hints! ”

Sorry, I misread you. I thought you said it ONLY mentioned the Huntress hint, not up ’till. Yeah, that sound right.

Mike Loughlin

July 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I loved the Planet X story until the very end; killing Jean & Magneto didn’t work as well as Morrison wanted it to. That said, Magneto as an ineffective terrorist was a unique take on the character that worked for the one story.

I have a theory about Magneto and Xorn: Magneto realized his ways didn’t work. He remembered how fulfilling it was being a teacher and mentor. After the events of Eve of Destriction, he knew the X-Men wouldn’t trust him, so he cooked up the Xorn identity. Unfortunately, the kick drug warped his intentions, damaged his mind, and screwed up his plans. Xorn was who Magneto wanted to be on some level. The Magneto of Planet X is what he became instead.

My problem with the Xorn reveal is that, yes, there are clues all throughout it, but there are also so many cheats that don’t make sense. You have to pay attention to the clues and then say No-prize away the cheats. I don’t think that it’s inconsistent with Marvel’s general style, but I also think people are way too easy on “No, it all makes total perfect sense!” It really doesn’t. But it’s worth going with it.

Yeah, like I mentioned in the piece, there are plenty of places where Morrison slipped up with the clues. None after #125, I believe, but still, in those early Xorn appearances there are a lot of “wait, that doesn’t really fit so well” moments. I don’t think it is a big deal, but it IS there.

That might be a good idea for a future column Brian, a list of the “Wha??” moments from Xorn clues given by Morrison.

I can buy into certain elements of abilities of the Master and Mistress of Magnetism. Flying on magnetic fields is merely their creating a magnetic repulsion to the earth’s magnetic field. Magneto using Storm’s lightning against her is certainly plausible as electricity generates a magnetic field that he can then manipulate. However, using magnetic fields to manipulate non-ferrous items seems implausible. I would have to look at the art for the wagon but most wooden wagons are held together with metal nails and possibly other metal parts, so he can control that portion of the wagon and therefore the entire wagon. I don’t recall the Mesmero incident to explain it. Magnetic shields is a stretch for anything like Havok’s plasma blasts (which Polaris once deflected) . I don’t like the idea of the Master of Magnetism manipulating photons and ionized particles. Making Magneto the human unified field theory is a fun thing to say, but really isn’t something that should ever be considered. For one, he would be too powerful. Two, there really is no way his brain could comprehend that power to bend the space time continuum. Having him and Polaris make a wormhole in X-Men: The End was deus ex machina in my opinion.

Also that New X-men run has to win the award for most jarring change of artist in the history of comics, especially when reading it in TPB.

I frankly (no pun intended) thought the Artist who replaced/assisted? Quitely for those issues was very very poor.

Cool theory, Mike. Xorn does almost seem like an admission of failure by Magneto.

Off the top of my head I remember Superboy’s S was in a church window in B&B 191 towards the end of the story.

Superhero comics feature exaggerated anatomies pretty much no matter who draws ‘em, it’s part of the style. Some people do suck at it, though.

Even John Romita and Stan Lee point out the difference in proportional number of heads between a “normal” character and a “Marvel Superhero” character in the still excellent book “How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way”.

Pity that their own artists and editors stopped taking a lot of the advice of that book long ago!

Gasp. I can’t believe Marvel turned down a ten-line proposal from a writer who didn’t know the difference between “it’s” and “its”.

that replacement artist was TERRIBLE!!!!!!

Ah, Brave and the Bold (I miss Jim Aparo).

Mike Loughlin

July 30, 2011 at 5:37 am

It’s been said before, but it’s always worth repeating: Igor Kordey, the artist who drew much of the Shi’Ar arc, had to draw complete comics in a matter of days. The art wasn’t good, but no artist would have put forth his or her best work under those conditions. Kordey is a very good artist under normal circumstances. Smoke, a mini-series he drew, looked great. I’ve heard his Cable issues were also well-done, and his pin-up in the Heroes 9-11 comic is exceptional.

Wow, I didn’t expect to see my name used in a CBLR column, but there it is! I’m so glad it’s one about Magneto. Magneto has always been my favorite X-Character and I did like Morrison’s run on X-Men. I think he botched things a little as you have already pointed out, but now at least I know for sure that this was his intention all along. Thanks for the great column! It’s one of the best things on this site and always keeps me coming back!

While reading the Young Avengers legend, I kept thinking “I’ve seen this before”… so I followed your link, Brian, but CB(U)LR #27 didn’t have anything about that. I did a quick search of the archives too, but couldn’t find anything. Is it somewhere else I overlooked?

Not much to say on the Xorn/Magneto thing – Morrison is awesome, the reveal was cool, some of the clues didn’t work, and the Planet X arc was a good idea that I think didn’t quite come off.

Personally, Uncanny X-Force does nothing for me, but I’m loving Mike Carey’s X-Men: Legacy. Lots of ideas, lots of characterization.

“that replacement artist was TERRIBLE!!!!!!”
You mean Igor Kordey? He’s rather better when not being asked to draw things on last-minute deadlines.

Is it somewhere else I overlooked?

Tom Brevoort’s blog? :)

Otherwise, no, it hasn’t been featured here before. Maybe the bit on Liefeld’s Teen Titans pitch (that eventually became Youngblood)?

Travis Pelkie

July 31, 2011 at 1:48 am

That B&B easter egg thing is pretty cool.

Another thing about the Valentino/Liefeld pitch is that at the time, neither of them were really a “name”, right? So even if there hadn’t been the New Warriors in the wings, they might not have gotten a nod yet. Liefeld was on Hawk and Dove, right? And Valentino had done normalman, but hadn’t yet done any Marvel stuff, iirc.

Xorn/Magneto — I gotta say that even though I had seen the reveal before I read any of the Morrison run, I still didn’t see how it quite “worked”. But as I’ve said, it’s been a while since I’ve read the run and I need to take another look.

In the Morrison doc “Talking With Gods”, which is on the Hulu for free in the US, GM mentions in one part that he likes to see what his artists do for him, even the mistakes they make. So maybe that Xorn bit above is a “mistake” that he liked? (There’s also the Tony Daniel bit in RIP or just before where Bruce is injured but turned away from Alfred, who asks him if he should help Bruce get fixed up. This led to some speculation that Alfred was the Black Glove, when to me, it seemed just that Alfred saw the injury before Bruce was turned away from him.)

I’ll have to check out the links above for the Xorn clues.

Laurence J Sinclair

July 31, 2011 at 4:27 am

Magneto went to the trouble of learning fluent Chinese (and then not explaining away how he could speak perfect English while being held captive by the Shi’ar) and constructing a fake underground prison facility staffed by fake Chinese military just so he could trick the X-Men into recruiting him.

Xorn healed a dead bird in front of Cyclops while he was in Tibet; how could Magneto achieve that?

I wonder who Valentino & Liefeld’s Torpedo was going to be? Brock Jones was dead. Maybe his oldest son?

i read some where that the guy who made archie also did a bunch of adult cartoons is that true

Xorn healed a dead bird in front of Cyclops while he was in Tibet; how could Magneto achieve that?

That one’s actually not very hard. The “monk” with Xorn could have very well have been lying. Or perhaps Magneto stopped the bird’s blood circulation (a trick he’s done before) to make it appear it had died, then just let it flow again to sell Scott and co. on his “healing” power. Or perhaps the bird had indeed died, so Magneto used his powers to make blood flow through the bird’s body again (he probably took up the bird very quickly after its death, since the longer something is dead, the more difficult it is to revive).

Or maybe he used Nano-Sentinels. Point is, there are plenty of “sleight of hand” tricks Magneto could have used to resurrect or make it look like he resurrected a bird.

Mrs. Tin was “Nameless,” a tin robot Tin built himself back in the Silver Age out of a DIY kit and some of Doc’s responsometer technology. The MM invited readers to submit names but never picked one.
When DC revived the MM in the seventies, Nameless was gone, without in comics explanation (I think she’d stopped showing up at the end of the Silver Age run, no explanation); the creators’ explanation was, they didn’t like her much.
The story in B&B explains what happened to her and why Tin forgot the woman he loved. Plus pits them against lots of their old enemies. It’s a great read.

You know you’ve gone through the looking glass when people are arguing about how a comic book character could not possibly do something because the science is wrong, or a character couldn’t possibly look like an artist draws him because the size is wrong. IT’S A COMIC BOOK. The whole idea is to suspend your disbelief for ten minutes and enjoy the escapism therein, not to pick each panel to pieces finding flaws. If that’s what you do, why?

Anyway, great column as always.

Because there’s good doesn’t-look-like-a-real-person art and bad doesn’t-look-like-a-real-person art. And there’s a line between bending/breaking the rules of science and having a character pull a super-stunt out of his butt. The real question (and dispute) is where the line gets drawn.

“I didn’t read that much of Morrison’s X-Men run, but it doesn’t seem to fit. It doesn’t seem like Magneto. It doesn’t look like Beast, either. But aftewards Marvel force-fed everything major.

Liefeld’s art looks pretty neat there. I think he had a special charm back then.”

That explains your first statement.

Fraser, it’s a comic book. The only line is what the artist or writer decides to put on paper. The characters do not live in our world, and are not subject to our laws of science and appearance. If you want to complain, ok, but it’s still a comic book.

Laurence J Sinclair

August 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

Did Morrison ever explain how Magneto survived the attack that killed most of the other 16 million mutants on Genosha?

I can’t do the Grant Morrison X-Men. Don’t get me wrong, I love his work. I just finished “Seven Soldiers” this weekend and I thought it was one of the best things I’ve ever read, but that’s the thing… that story was characters that had been unused for decades, underutilized characters, and original creations based on existing characters. With the exception of “JLA”, it seems like Morrison does whatever he wants to whether it fits with the existing characters or not.

Hence, his weird, uncharacteristic portrayal of Magneto, and his childish, nonsensical “second mutation” of Emma Frost. “You guys won’t let me use Colossus? Fine, I’ll just give this other character his powers even though it completely ruins her entire concept.”

Plus, Frank Quitely was in full “fat baby” mode in a lot of those issues. Ugghhh.

Poe, “It’s a comic book” doesn’t excuse the writer from being inconsistent. That’s called bad writing in any genre. Stories have to make sense. If they don’t then they are boring, trite and will not bring you in. Suspension of belief is not a license to be careless.

Magneto went to the trouble of learning fluent Chinese (and then not explaining away how he could speak perfect English while being held captive by the Shi’ar) and constructing a fake underground prison facility staffed by fake Chinese military just so he could trick the X-Men into recruiting him.

Xorn healed a dead bird in front of Cyclops while he was in Tibet; how could Magneto achieve that?

We don’t know that Magneto built Feng Tu just to trick the X-Men into recruiting him. It seems more likely that he did it a) to recuperate and plan his next move after Genosha and b) as bait to lure the U-Men there.

How do we know Xorn speaks fluent Chinese? I don’t recall him ever using Chinese. In the annual, he responds to Cyclops in English. Why didn’t Xorn explain how he knew English? You ARE aware that English instruction is compulsory in China, right?

And as for the bird, that’s not hard to explain at all — how do we know the bird was dead to begin with? How do we know it was even a real bird and not a tiny robot or something used to help sell the idea that Xorn is a healer?

Hence, his weird, uncharacteristic portrayal of Magneto, and his childish, nonsensical “second mutation” of Emma Frost. “You guys won’t let me use Colossus? Fine, I’ll just give this other character his powers even though it completely ruins her entire concept.”

There was nothing uncharacteristic about Morrison’s Magneto. The guy was being controlled. Look back at Planet X, particularly the part when Magneto hears a voice in his head. We know it’s not Xavier because his telepathy is being blocked. We know it’s not Phoenix because the word balloon style is different. It’s Magneto’s consciousness, trying to fight Sublime’s control. And how does having Emma transform into diamond “completely ruin her entire concept”? Her entire concept, originally, was a telepathic villain for the X-Men, so her concept was already ruined almost a decade before Morrison showed up.

Wow, Gokitalo’s link certainly brought back memories. I scrolled through 8 pages of posts to see if I was one of them. While there’s a lot more content and places to go on the Net now, it’s kinda a shame that everything is so spread out and there isn’t more centralization, and lasting links. But this is pretty OT, so I’ll leave it at that.

“The characters do not live in our world, and are not subject to our laws of science and appearance.”

No, they are subject to narrative laws (there is some overlap of course). Otherwise every story is just crazy dream-logic and there are no stakes to anything. In that case what’s the point in having a story told to me?

And as Percival alludes to, complaining about Magneto’s characterization is moot as he is being controlled by Sublime.

In response to the hidden hints in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD :

I only have a spanish black and white edition of the comics so I don´t know if there are any hints there that involve colors ( the one with the Green Arrow I only guessed ). Also the edition only has the issues drawn by Jim Aparo, so I don´t know what the hints are in the missing issues or if they have any hints at all. And for some of the issues that came after omitted issues I had to check the internet to know who was the guest star in the next issue.

Now, besides the examples mentioned here ( I could have saved myself a great deal of searching if I found this post sooner ) I found :

no hint in issue 188 – probably because Rose and the Thorn is also in the next issue

no hint in issue 189 – probably because Jim Aparo didn´t draw the next issue

issue 190 is not included in my edition

issue 191 – on page 14 in the last panel there is a glass window in the church with a stylized ” s ” maybe for Superboy

issue 192 – on page 11 panel 4 there is a statue of Lady Justice, the scales are the symbol Nemesis wears

issues 193 – 194 are not included in my edition

issue 195 – on page 19 panel 3 there is a painting of Ragman on the wall

I couldn´t find any others.

Oh, I forgot : issue 193 is included, on page 6 panel 2 there is the Flash symbol

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