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Drawing Crazy Patterns – CLAREMONTISM: Wolverine and Colossus Execute the Fastball Special!

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). Here is an archive of all the patterns we’ve spotlighted so far.

Interestingly enough, I have done a piece on Fastball Specials with Wolverine and NOT Colossus and Fastball Specials without either Wolverine OR Colossus but I’ve never actually spotlighted the classic fastball special manuever between Wolverine and Colossus!


Since I know this is one that has a lot of examples, I’m including SEVEN examples. Feel free to mention other examples of Wolverine and Colossus doing the fastball special in the comments. Do note, of course, that I did not FORGET the other examples, I’m just not posting a ton of examples. I’m posting seven. Please do keep that in mind.

Let’s start with Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum in X-Men #100, the debut of the Fastball Special!

I like that it it is the first appearance of the move and it is already has a code name!

It next shows up in X-Men #103, by Chris Claremont, Cockrum and Sam Grainger, although it is not exactly a precise fastball special…

John Byrne and Dan Green join in on the action in Iron Fist #15 (written by Claremont) (once again it is not specifically labeled a fastball special)…

Terry Austin gets in on the action with Claremont and Byrne in X-Men #114…

John Romita Jr. and Dan Green do one in Uncanny X-Men #196 (written by Claremont)…

In Astonishing X-Men #6 (by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday), Wolverine and Colossus celebrate the latter’s return to life with a return of their move…

While awesome, it does speak a bit to Whedon’s nostalgia-influenced run on Astonishing X-Men that he doesn’t even have them say the words out loud.

Finally, in Dark Reign – The List: X-Men #1, Matt Fraction, Alan Davis and Mark Farmer put their own spin on it…

If YOU have a suggestion for a future installment of Drawing Crazy Patterns, let me know by e-mailing me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


Always wanted to see a compilation of this. Thanks.

Nightcrawler has weird logic in that last example. “Who ever just tossed Wolverine, the most competent close quarters fighter on our team, out the window just now could EASILY be Jean’s parents or the mailman.”

Or does he think Wolverine jumped out the window himself? “Oh no, Jean’s parents! Yoink! Wait, I forgot to kill them. Toss me back up Collosus.”

Third, not last.


The “parents or mailman” example was obviously hyperbole but Nightcrawler’s overall point had merit. Given Wolverine’s proclivity to snikt first and ask questions later (and given that, by his own admission, Wolverine had no idea who it was he’d encountered), it was just as likely that Wolverine started it and that whoever tossed him out of the window was defending themselves. Rather than tossing Logan back into a fight he maybe should have not been fighting in the first place, maybe the best course was to find out what, exactly, happened.

I was curious what you meant by “does speak a bit to Whedon’s nostalgia-influenced…” I didn’t get the implication. Thanks

Love this!! Fastball Special = classic.

How could you forget the best fastball special of all, from Days of Future past?

I’m surprised the variant on the fastball special from the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga didn’t make it here.

I like the parody in 103 of a move created three issues previously. It made me laugh along with the Dark Reign – The List: X-Men #1 narration. The Astonishing X-Men one just had ‘hell yeah’ flowing through my brain when I first read it.

Astonishing X-Men: GIfted was the first 616 X-Men I ever read. I had no idea what the “two words” were, just that the scene was incredibly cool.

I miss the good old days, when no problem couldn’t be solved by throwing a short hairy Canadian at it.

surprised to not see the one from days of future past as one of the featured fast ball specials not to mention think the one from dark phoenix saga

” I was curious what you meant by “does speak a bit to Whedon’s nostalgia-influenced…” I didn’t get the implication. Thanks ”

Most of Joss Whedon’s X-Men run was a modernized remix of the X-Men’s golden Claremont/Byrne years with Grant Morrison’s then-recent innovations. The main team was all characters who were prominent in that era, and the costumes designed by John Cassaday were fashion-forward reworkings of their iconic looks (barring Colossus, who wore pretty much the same thing he always does). The stories took the X-Men into space and used the close quarters for soap-operatic character conversations a la Chris Claremont’s many space epics. The storylines mostly involved old themes returning in a new light, such as Colossus coming back from the dead, Professor X’s dark secrets with the Danger Room, and Emma’s villainous past with the Hellfire Club. Even the characters Whedon created fit into familiar roles, such as Hisako (who took Kitty’s old spot as Wolverine’s teen ingenue sidekick, right down to wearing Kitty’s old uniform) and Danger (the Danger Room itself, in sentient and vengeful form).

And it was actually very good.

Every one of those artists is in my personal hall of fame for their work on the X-Men except Cassaday.

He rules on Planetary, though.

Here’s something I never got, where exactly does he grab wolverine to toss him, with just one arm?

Colossus totally palms Wolverine’s butt.

Ew. I’m ashamed I had the opportunity to type that sentence.

I’ve got this nagging feeling that two other Marvel characters did this somewhere, specifically referencing this move. Something like, “Well, Wolverine isn’t here, so we’ll improvise,” or something. What the heck am I thinking of?

Derrick and Travis bring up the problem that never occurred to me in all this time but leaps out when you see all these examples together. How does that maneuver actually work? How can Logan end up in that aerial position like an arrow? Peter has to grab Logan by the tuchis (technical baseball term) and toss him like a ball, or Logan stands rigid and Peter chucks him like a spear, or…? Can someone draw diagrams?

Adam, check the couple of links at the start of this post, they might have what you’re thinking of.

Richard, I think the diagrams you want are in the Kama Sutra. ;)

I just always assumed that somehow Wolverine somehow gets both feet into Colossus’ palm and is catapulted up.

If there’s one thing I’m getting very tired of in comics, it’s snarky opening captions for each character. Fraction seems to use them every issue, no matter what kind of mood the scene is.

I can’t believe I am going to reference this…

The Fastball Special is shown from beginning to end (even showing how Colossus does it) in… the movie X-Men: The Last Stand.

Is the fastball special really a ‘pattern’?
It’s basically like a wrestling tag-team move, a part of their repertoire, something they do in every damn fight!

Maybe next time show all the instances of a fastball special where one or both of the characters doing it is neither Wolverine or Colossus.

Do they do it in Ultimate X-Men too?
Might be a bit more awkward since Ultimate Colossus is gay.

Yeah Brian, show us a fastball special with neither Wolvey or Colossus.

Like in that link at the start of the post….

(just bustin’ on ya, IAM Fear!)

” Do they do it in Ultimate X-Men too?
Might be a bit more awkward since Ultimate Colossus is gay. ”

Ultimate Colossus said something along the lines of “Then I suppose I shouldn’t bring up my idea of a Fastball Special” when Wolverine shot him down.

He stands on Colossus’ open hand and then Colossus throws him. I don’t think the one in Last Stand is that, and I think it’s just one more thing that’s wrong with the movie. I have an issue where Rogue throws Colossus, which is pretty cool. I imagine Wolverine would/could use it throw Puck around if the need called for it. Other match-ups for the Fastball Special would be something they probably trained for in the Danger Room.

Isn’t there an image somewhere of She-Hulk holding Wolverine up by the butt, preparing for a Fastball Special, and commenting on Logan’s tush?

Stephane: Conveniently shown in the first link at the top of the article. Man, those two are just the links that keep on giving, huh?

Going back to the Sixties, I wonder if DC ever had Night Girl of the Legion of Substitute Heroes throw Stone Boy. It would have actually made him useful.

Cronin amusement: “I like that it it is the first appearance of the move and it is already has a code name!”

Which comes, of course, right below the panel in which Wolverine has said, “Okay, then, just like WE DID IT IN THE DANGER ROOM….” Why shouldn’t there be a code name if they’d done the routine before?

” I was curious what you meant by “does speak a bit to Whedon’s nostalgia-influenced…” I didn’t get the implication. Thanks ”

in addition to Neil Kapit’s great explanation of Astonishing X-Men’s nostalgic sensibility, the fact that Whedon doesn’t have them say the two words also suggests an assumption on Whedon’s part that the readers have a certain familiarity with the characters’ history, and share his sense of nostalgia. In my case that assumption totally worked, but I can definitely see how the run would be full of awesomeness for anyone; Whedon’s nostalgia is probably infectious even if you don’t have actual memories of growing up reading X-Men. In fact I generally find comics’ allusions to the rich history of characters more fun than off putting or intimidating.. just makes me want to read more until I can appreciate all the references! Anyway.. sorry for the rambling and drifting!

Will M., I share the same attitude. To bad so many others feel differently (and kind of strange, given the internet can catch one up in about ten minutes).

In Uncanny 196 JR Jr drew Colossus throwing with is left while all the others are with his right…a one time abberation or is Colossus ambidextrous?!

MOCK!: Kinda makes me wonder if Romita is left-handed. Generally we tend to think of people doing things with the same hand we do.

Hey, this might be crazy, but is there any instances that DC or any other creators outside of MARVEL has utilized the fastball special? I mean that move is famous, so it wouldn’t be hard for creators outside of MARVEL not to make fun or have fun with it. :)

In an issue of _Avengers_ Clint (who was Goliath at the time, rather than Hawkeye) shot an unconscious Hyperion (the other-dimensional one) at the bad guy like an arrow, using battle debris to make a giant bow.

Amazing leap in quality for the Byrne art from that Iron Fist issue to his X-Men run. I’m sure Terry Austin had a lot to do with that, but I wouldn’t have even recognized that first set as Byrne unless you labeled it.

What the heck was Wolverine wearing in Iron Fist #15?

What the heck was Wolverine wearing in Iron Fist #15?

It was a short-lived outfit he wore when Cockrum was considering changing his costume. He took it from a member of the Imperial Guard. When Byrne took over X-Men, he made sure that Wolverine went back to the original costume (until Byrne himself designed a new costume for Wolverine later on).

[…] of character that one hopes will not be carried over to Supergirl, as the Ravagers never managed to fastball special itself out from the threat of cancellation and we don’t want Supergirl to loiter in […]

Byrne played with the fastball specials. Wolverine tossed Colossus when they were on the blue area of the Moon and in the Days of the Future Past Colossus tossed Wolverine with surprising results.

Chrome Aardvark

May 24, 2014 at 7:56 pm

PJ said: “Amazing leap in quality for the Byrne art from that Iron Fist issue to his X-Men run. I’m sure Terry Austin had a lot to do with that, but I wouldn’t have even recognized that first set as Byrne unless you labeled it.”

Most of the X-Men’s faces in that issue were redrawn by Dave Cockrum, which is why it doesn’t look like Byrne. Apparently Byrne’s style wasn’t “on-model” enough for Cockrum. The same thing happened when they appeared briefly in Marvel Team-Up #53, also drawn by Byrne.

In the Whedon/Cassaday scene, I think Wolverine did say the words, but between panels, so the way he said it is left for readers (well, at least those who get the reference) to imagine. Which is pretty cool.

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