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Month of Cool Avengers/X-Men Comic Book Moments – All-New, All-Different X-Men in Freefall!

All month long we will feature brand-new Cool Avengers and X-Men Comic Book Moments in celebration of their fiftieth anniversaries this month. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

Today we look at X-Men #95 and how the X-Men dealt with a tough cliffhanger…

X-Men #94, Chris Claremont’s first issue of X-Men as the writer (he scripted the issue over Len Wein’s plot) ended with the X-Men’s ship being shot down by Count Nefaria. We pick up, then, with the X-Men all in a freefall…

Very cool sequence. Claremont and Cockrum were in fine form here, as was inker Sam Grainger. Although it is kind of funny if you read Banshee’s lines as him trying to hit on Cyclops.

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The original method of characterization for Wolverine; write him as a total jerkass 90% of the time, then give him some bits of unique depth and knowledge that come out of left field (such as how here, he’s fluent in Russian, or how a Leprechaun revealed to us that his name was Logan, or how his claws were actually a part of him).

I love how Wolverine used to respond whenever the X-Men learned something new about him…

“Wolverine, you speak Japanese?”
“Yup.”
“You never told us.”
“You never asked.”

“Wolverine, she called you Logan.”
“Yup.”
“Is that your name?”
“Yup.”
“You never told us.”
“You never asked.”

Cockrum really was killing it on his initial run.

I remember when Ultimate Deadpool threw the Ultimate X-Men out of a plane over Ultimate Krakoa, UIltimate Cyclops used his optic blasts as a kind of brake, by firing it off repeatedly to slow himself down. Sorta like the move A-Team firing the tank’s cannon to slow their descent…

I like this sequence (and issue) as well.

It’s funny they were very technical about Nightcrawler’s teleporting power with regard to his freefall velocity, but if I recall, they gloss over a more commonly known technicality in his power later in the story, by having him casually teleport blind into Valhalla Mountain. I believe Claremont had to insert a scene in the Classic X-Men reprint of this story showing Banshee using sonar to guide Nightcrawler to a safe space to teleport to in the mountain.

On a different note, I think Thunderbird was fun to have around while he lasted.

I loved this story, but even as a kid the fact they were just casually having an extended, relatively calm conversation where they could hear each other clealrly during a freefall really bugged me. As a lifelong superhero comic reader I was accustomed to suspending disbelief, but even for me that seemed like a bit much.

I’m relieved Thunderbird survived that fall. He seems like a fun character; I look forward to seeing what adventures he’ll have after this one.

On a different note, I think Thunderbird was fun to have around while he lasted.

I felt Thunderbird was a big loss. I especially like how his brash, jerky persona was so different than the usual native american character stereotypes (wise, noble, mystic, stoic, serene, in touch with nature). I know one reason he was killed was because Claremont found him redundant to Wolverine’s brash jerkiness, but I thought the redundancy could have led to interesting stories where two brash jerky alpha males had to coexist on a same team.

I’ve read plenty of team books with a brash jerk (Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Guy Garnder), but never a book that had two of those characters on a team at once.

What I never got, even as a kid, is why they couldn’t have left Nightcrawler for last and have him just teleport straight up to buy himself more time.

Keith, If I am correct, the way it’s explained is that Nightcrawler retains his momentum when he teleports, so he would still be falling even if he teleported upward……If that makes any sense……If he teleported to the ground from the free fall, he would still carry the velocity with him and slam into the ground when he appeared. I think it was explained by Claremont in #146 when he teleported out of the cell Doctor Doom had him in and the went straight up as far as he could muster, but was still burdened with the fall when he emerged in the air a long way up. Now I’m confused……

Skip:

Maybe Nightcrawler should have instead teleported so that he would reappear upside down. That way, when he reappeared he would now be falling UPWARD, going against gravity. Then, at the exact moment when his upward momentum and gravity cancelled each other out, right before he started falling downward again, THEN he could teleport down.

“the redundancy could have led to interesting stories where two brash jerky alpha males had to coexist on a same team”

It could have been even better since, on top of Wolverine and Thunderbird, Xavier also recruited Sunfire to the team! But he was so much of a jerk that he just quit right away!

T: You know, that’s not a bad explanation! I like it! Well played, sir!

Sure, Nightcrawler would still be falling if he teleported upward– but he’d stop *accelerating* once he hit terminal velocity, and he could just keep doing it over and over again until Storm or Banshee had time to fly back up. He should be able to avoid splatting for as long as his teleportation stamina holds out (which, when he’s only teleporting himself, is a long time).

Of course, in later years one would just have let Wolverine fall. It’d hurt, but, in case you haven’t heard, he has an adamantium skeleton and a healing factor.

(Count me among those who always thought the conversational tone was a little off for people in free fall…)

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