OK, I know we’re both currently taking a break from superhero themed posts, but I recently came across something which I found kind of interesting. Namely, this:
What appears to be a set of 90’s era X-Men figurines a la Disney Infinity.
I don’t know what these were actually made for (they’re more than likely just fan art); it’s doubtful these are/were specifically made for Disney Infinity, seeing as how at present the media rights for X-Men are still being held by 20th Century Fox and as such Disney’s Marvel division isn’t trying to do anything with the mutants since Fox would reap the rewards, but these are still pretty cool looking. Just thought I’d share some of my rambling thoughts and observations on these:
The makers went with the 90’s team, wearing the outfits they wore in the 90’s FOX animated series. Cool. I, like a lot of folks I reckon, had my first major exposure to the X-Men via that show (my uncle had a couple of issues of the original 60’s X-Men comics and I glanced at them, but I was a kid then and then I was even less into capes than I am now; if it wasn’t a wacky comedy or a cartoon, I wasn’t interested), so I like these outfits the best. I know a lot of people rag on the all-black movie costumes, and while I didn’t hate those overall, I didn’t feel they were a good look for the X-Men; for one thing, at that time every other superhero was wearing black spandex, and for another, uniform costumes work with, say, the Fantastic Four, since they’re a family with basically the same origins and there’s only 4 of them, the X-Men, by contrast, are an organization with disparate members from all across the globe, so their costumes should be more varied and diverse, IMHO.
I’m glad they gave Cyclops the 90’s costume with no headgear (aside from his visor) rather than the thing he wore in previous decades with the cowl thing over his head. It made him look like he was wearing a SCUBA diving outfit. Sidebar: One of the many things the Bryan Singer movies got wrong was making it seem like Scott’s inability to control his optic blasts was a natural part of his mutation, which it isn’t: it’s only because his parents pushed him out of a crashing plane when he was a child and he landed on his head; were it not for the head trauma he suffered, he’d be able to control his eye beams. So if they can cure Rogue of her curse of sucking people’s energy and strength whenever she touches someone (which they did, it turns out her absorption power was just in its’ nascent stage and was being blocked from growing psychologically), then someone should be able to fix Cyclops’ condition. But then, the Marvel universe is crawling with gods, aliens, magicians and tech super-geniuses and none of them can cure the Hulk or the Thing, so…
They went with the yellow, black and blue costume for Wolverine, which I’ve always liked more than the orange-and-brown costume he wore previously. A lot of fans want to see this costume in live-action, and while I’m all for authenticity, I don’t know how imposing and badass Wolvie would look as a live-actor in yellow and black jammies; I feel he’d come off looking more like a bee than a wolverine.
They included Beast. Freaking Beast.
Beast is so frequently left out of X-Men merch and publicity, it’s great to see my favorite mutant included for once. I hope one day we can get an X-Men movie that gets Beast right in my lifetime.
Another rare inclusion: Jean Grey. When I was collecting action figures, it irked me that I could never find a Jean Grey figure; there were a couple of Phoenix action figures made, but not Jean as just Jean. I always found the whole Phoenix thing to be a double-edged sword; I get that it was needed to give the character a little spice, but on the other hand, I’ve always liked Jean more as just the telekinetic telepath rather than the ultra-cosmic destroyer of galaxies. There are other ways to improve Jean as a character than just having her get possessed by a fiery space bird and drastically altering her personality. If Jean Grey is/was boring, it’s because the writers chose to make her boring; you can’t blame that on someone else. Also, I like that Jean’s bodysuit is orange here, rather than flesh colored like it was in the FOX cartoon; admittedly before it looked like Jean was naked.
These are all great, but there’s no Jubilee…
…And that makes me a sad panda.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that little detour. Now….
Here’s an unpopular opinion for ya: I don’t think Jubilee (of the X-Men)’s mutant power is lame. Never have and never will.
Let the sparks fly!
Whenever some comic book or superhero site makes a list of the lamest X-Men and their powers, Jubilee invariably makes the list, and I’ve never gotten that. Yes, over the years the gang at Marvel have come up with some seriously dorky mutants….
…Like Jazz, the mutant whose only power was having blue skin, and nothing else. Oh yeah, and he was also possessed mediocre rapping skills. Cool?
Or Longneck, who had a six-foot neck.
He’s the hero to call should Geoffrey the Giraffe ever decide to knock over a bank.
Or Forget-Me-Not, with the power to be forgotten. And this is useful because…?
What was I talking about? I forget.
But why is Jubilee always placed in this category? Jube’s original powers were cool. Who wouldn’t want to be able to fire multicolored hot electric destruction from your finger tips?
Often I hear folks say, “Hur-hur. Jubilee’s powers are stupid. They’re just fireworks. She can’t do anything.” Ah, no. Jubilee’s projectiles are not mere fireworks, they are globules of plasma fired in varying degrees of intensity. Do you not know what plasma is? Allow me to elucidate:
Plasma is the 4th state of matter, after solids, liquids and gases. It is an ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons in proportions resulting in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (as in the upper atmosphere and in fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (as in stars and nuclear fusion reactors). One possessing this power could easily short out electrical devices or destroy a house with this power. Jubilee’s powers were actually nerfed on the FOX TV show because a) she was just a kid and her powers hadn’t reached their full potential yet and b) in the comics, anyway, she chose not to use her ability to its’ maximum out of concern for seriously injuring or killing someone. One’s power is not weak just because one chooses to hold back on it. The potential for serious damage is still there.
Jubilee is similar to DC’s Wonder Twins, who are similarly lambasted by fans, critics and comedians for being lame-ohs when in fact their abilities are actually potentially formidable and were more extensive in the comics than they were in their TV incarnation.
-Speaking of which, let me side track for just a second here. Recently I had a bit of back-and-forth with the same horndog jackass with the Blackfire fetish on the DC Superhero Girls comments section on YouTube. When I casually mentioned that I’d like to see Zan and Jayna on DCSHG, this smug piece of talking moose excrement quipped:
“I dunno, man. You come off like a weirdo.”
Says the guy who’s obsessed with a D-List villain character. You wanna see a weirdo, douche? Look in the mirror!
-There, I said it. I feel better. Now back to Jubilee.
Now with the level of respect and enthusiasm that I have for Jubilation Lee, you may be wondering what I think of Marvel’s new incarnation of the Generation X comic book series, with Jubilee at the forefront? My answer is…
Yeah, I haven’t read the new Generation X, and I have no plans to. Why? Because it looks dumb and not like anything I’d be interested in. I have no problem with the cast being basically misfits who don’t fit in with any of the other more serious X-Factions; that could be fun if they decide to do it as a comedy, you know, wacky roommate antics, but the characters they chosen for it are unflatteringly lame. Eye-Boy? A kid with eyeballs all over his body? Disgusting! Nature Girl? A girl with deer antlers who can communicate with animals and plants? What the actual what? It’s like someone at Marvel saw that Robot Chicken sketch about Kid Venison and said, “We should do that for real!” Bling!? The daughter of rappers who’s made of living bling-bling? Seriously?? Yeah, these ideas are too ridiculous, even for comics. (Though I do think that Bling! is a cool name.)
You’re probably asking:
“But Damon, you should be looking forward to the new Generation X. Jubilee’s back, and she’s the leader this time!”
-Yeah, but it’s Jubilee NOW. Not the Jubilee that’s cool. The current Jubilee has been depowered and without her plasma fireworks for nearly a decade; now Jubes is a vampire who was bitten by the son of Dracula and has a baby?!?
Pardon my French, but….
“EFF THAT ESS!”
Nah, folks can check that out if it tickles their collective fancy, but I’ll stick with my memories of the Jubilee that I liked, thanks.
Today’s Player Two Start looks at Marvel VS Capcom.
LET’S GO CRAZY!
For those who don’t know, Marvel VS Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes is a crossover fighting game developed and published by Capcom. It is the third installment in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, which features characters from Capcom’s video game franchises and comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The game debuted in Japanese arcades in January 1998. It was ported to the Dreamcast and PlayStation, which were released from 1999 through 2000. The game was re-released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as part of the Marvel vs. Capcom Origins collection.
Players select a team of characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes to engage in combat and attempt to knock out their opponents. In contrast to the series’ previous entry, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, the game features characters from numerous Capcom video game franchises, rather than strictly Street Fighter characters. While the gameplay is largely identical to its predecessor, Clash of Super Heroes features two distinct changes: the removal of the traditional character assist system and the introduction of the “Variable Cross” attack.
The selectable Capcom characters were Ryu (with the ability to switch to ‘Ken Mode’ and ‘Akuma Mode’ to make up for those characters not being chosen for the game…)
It DIDN’T make up for it!”
…Chun-Li, Captain Commando, Strider Hiryu, Rockman/Mega Man (freakin’ MEGA MAN! This was back when Marvel still gave a crap about Rockman), Jin Saotome, Morrigan and Zangief, while on the Marvel side we had Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Gambit, Venom and War Machine. There were also a bevvy of Strikers who could be chosen to run across the screen lending a hand temporarily, including Thor, Juggernaut, Jubilee, Psylocke, Arthur (from Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts), Michelle Heart (from Legendary Wings), Devilot & Dr. Stein, Pure & Fur and others, making for a total of 52 characters in all. The final boss of the game was Onslaught, who was the combined negative energy of Prof. and Magneto or a manifestation of their combined ids or the result of a bad plate of ribs they ate or something; it tied into some multi-issue event Marvel was doing at the time, comics are weird.
Now that we’ve gone sufficiently crazy, the Versus games sported too many characters for each one to have their own specific stage, so they typically just had a finite set of interesting ones. MvC in particular had 9 stages in all (10 counting the Final Boss stage), each of them unique in their own way. Today Videots takes a look at each of them. NOTE: These won’t be in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them.
NEO ST. PETERSBURG
This is Strider Hiryu’s home stage, taking place in the first stage from his first game, St. Petersburg.
The stage is set in the red platforms from the initial area, overlooking the capital city and their various mosque buildings while several searchlights waves around in the background, much like in the original game. Original for this game is the inclusion of a zeppelin floating up in the center of the stage, bearing the Kazakh Federation’s half-star symbol, which is also present in three buildings.
Two laser signs can be seen at times in the sky: the first writes “Казахскар CCP” a misspelling of “Казахская CCP” (Russian for “Kazakh SSR”), while the second writes intermittently “A.D. 2048” and “Санкций” (Russian for “sanctions”). The first two are direct references to the intro scroll that opens up the Arcade’s first stage, while the third word is original for this game. The Third Moon can also be spotted high up in the sky, in front of the real moon.
“In Neo St. Petersburg, ninja throwing stars impale YOU!”
LIVE HOUSE OF THE DARK REALM
It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky…
The stage takes place inside a worn-out live house, with the zombie Lord Raptor (aka Zabel Zarock) playing guitar on the stage while two punk skeletons are headbanging to his music and two skulls in the table are opening and closing their mouths while watching. (Also I just now noticed that freaky neon face above the door. Eeeehhh…) In the last round, ghosts approach the defeated fighter. This is considered Morrigan’s home stage. Morrigan’s and Gambit’s endings take place in this stage. (I know Gambit’s been known to hang out in some seedy dives, but I’ve never figured he’d be the type to rock out with spooks. Well, he is from Voodoo country, after all.)
“Hey, you reek of blood and defeat. Tasty! Feeding time, boys!”
ROOFTOP OF THE DAILY BUGLE
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, fights wherever a spider can…
This stage takes place in New York City, between the rooftops of the Daily Bugle (with the first three letters from its name visible) and a neighbor building, webs connecting the two to avoid the fighters from falling. The background has several buildings, the most notable being the Baxter Building. This is considered the home stage of Spider-Man and Venom. My favorite part of this stage is the Baxter Building/Four Freedoms Plaza, the HQ of the Fantastic Four, in the background.
“Greetings. Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic here. I just wanted to pop in here and mention to any prospective filmmakers out there that my team, the Fantastic Four, is still available should anyone be interested in making a Hollywood blockbuster movie about us, just as long as 20th Century Fox stays as far away from it as humanly possible!”
Some Assembling Required
This stage takes place inside the Avengers Mansion, with the Avengers Support Crew monitoring several screens. Psylocke, Magneto, Storm and Wolverine appear in some of the screens. (All X-Men, as it happens.)
“I’m keeping an eye on those super-freaks! Oooooh, I hate mutants! I hate all metahumans!”
“We super-freaks aren’t crazy about you either!”
In Captain Commando’s ending, an Avengers Crew contacts the Avengers to tell them that Onslaught was defeated. Captain Commando appears in the screen and says that he and his team took care of him. Similar to the ending from his game, the Avengers Crew asks who he is, and he says “I am Captain Commando”.
In Captain America’s ending, he is in the HQ with the Capcom characters and explains that Onslaught was the embodiment of the dark emotions of Professor X and Magneto, and his conscience summoned heroes to stop him. With Onslaught’s demise, the Capcom heroes return to their world and Captain America salutes them.
DR. WILY’S MILITARY BASE
This stage takes place inside one of Dr. Wily’s many secret bases, with the mad, mad, mad scientist walking around and angrily yelling to the fighters with a megaphone. In the background there is a Metall Potton with several Mettaurs, giant Killer Bullets, Baccones, Mad Grinder, and Dark Man 1 moving back and forth carrying a damaged sack. This is considered the home stage of Mega Man and Roll. Speaking of Megs, one little touch I always liked is when Mega Man delivers the final blow, you’ll hear the signature “You Got a New Weapon” tune from his games instead of the usual Victory music.
“Geez, how many of of this guy’s robot masters do I have to take out before this nut-cake gets the point? Shade Man? Wood Man? Search Man? Clown Man? I think Wily’s running out of ideas at this point!”
“Seriously bro, when are you gonna let me borrow your Mega Buster? For once I’d like to clean house figuratively instead of literally! I’ve gotta talk to Dr. Light about an upgrade!”
BLUE AREA OF THE MOON
This stage takes place in the Blue Area of the Moon, an artificial, Earth-like environment in the Moon containing the ruins of the Inhuman city of Attilan and the citadel of Uatu the Watcher. The background contains some alien ruins and an old American flag. The blue planet Earth is visible far away. Ryu’s ending takes place in this stage, where he starts training Sean.
Hey, Dark Side of the Moon. You knew someone was going to say it!
HEADQUARTERS OF EVIL
This stage takes place in the headquarters of an unknown evil group. In the background, the Forgotten Worlds bosses Whodin and Laidin are holding an Earth and a Moon, and in the top center in a gigantic version of the evil god Bios.
The stage also has many other unknown characters that were apparently created for this game.
Chun-Li’s ending takes place in this stage, where she tries to face M. Bison but is defeated by him, and he plans to make her a member of Shadaloo (This stage presumably having links with the organization). Fortunately, Shadow appears and saves her.
“Say, I like that design. I’m going to start holding our Legion of Doom meetings via Skype from now on. Solomon Grundy’s got a weird odor, and when Gorilla Grodd isn’t crossing his legs, I can see his junk!”
THE CLIFF OF DESOLATION
This stage takes place in a cliff at an unknown location. As the rounds pass, the stage changes from day to sunset and to night with lightning.
This stage takes place in E. Honda’s bathhouse in Japan, his stage from Street Fighter II. This stage has 2 parts: the guy’s bathhouse, which you see here, and if you scroll to the right and manage to break the wall…
…You get to see inside the ladies’ bathhouse. Rowr-rowr!
“Don’t give me that look! The bathhouse is a respected piece of my country’s culture! We don’t just use it as an excuse to get naked and ogle hot bods…well, not entirely.”
So there you have it. My little tribute to Marvel VS Capcom‘s stages.
We’re familiar with Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Show, correct?
The titular Squad on that show was comprised of superheroes who each possessed a specific factor to make an ideal team. They were:
As you’ve undoubtedly noticed from my recent entries, I’ve been on kind of an animal kick lately, and that beastly train is still a-chuggin’ along. Today’s Nerdvana spotlights one of my favorite factors, The Animal Factor.
We’re totally gettin’ zoological up in here!
As its’ name implies (in case you haven’t figured it out by now), Animal Factor heroes employ the abilities, strengths and characteristics of animals and bestial ferocity into their power sets.
It’s time to get WILD!
Since I have nothing better to do, I’ve classified Animal Factor heroes into 3 distinct types: Ferals (animal/human hybrids who possess physical and mental characteristics of various creatures), Animorphs (beings able to shapeshift and/or assume the abilities of animals at will) and Power Animals (animals with super powers). Today I’ll be listing some of my favorite Animal Factor heroes. As with many of our lists, these won’t be in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them. That said, on with the time-wasting fun.
The Beast (X-Men)
I’ve already gushed about Hank McCoy in an earlier article, so I’ll keep it brief: the Beast is one of my favorite X-Men. He’s an erudite genius in the body of a big blue gorilla. Despite his appearance, he doesn’t speak in “Unga-Munga” dialogue, nor does he wallow in self-pity and angst over his mutation; he takes it all in stride with a big brain, a literary quote for any occasion and a good, cheery sense of humor. More recently, Marvel gave Hank a secondary mutation, making him more cat-like…
…And while I’m not completely against this idea, I don’t consider it all that necessary either. Beast was fine the way he was.
Sometimes I wish Marvel hadn’t opted to make Beast blue and furry at all; I actually liked OG Beast, but again, you already know that.
Shalimar Fox (Mutant X)
I know Mutant X was just a poor man’s X-Men clone, and the show was rated LB (for Low Budget), but I did like some things about it, one of the main ones being the Feral class and its’ representative, Feline Feral Shalimar Fox. Yeah, the fact that the Ferals didn’t look any different was mainly because the show didn’t have the coin for fancy makeup and costumes, but I liked the idea of possessing the animalistic ferocity while keeping your matinee idol looks. Shalimar was my favorite character on the show: sleek, agile, acrobatic, limber, prone to fits of savagery but with a soft vulnerable side, plus she lived up her last name.
Cheetah (DC Super Hero Girls)
I’ll be honest, I never really cared or thought much about Cheetah before, but I like the DC Super Hero Girls version, though not at first. Initially, I thought Cheetah was just a one-dimensional bee-yotch who screwed with the others (most notably Wonder Woman) while never suffering any consequences, but in later shorts and in the hour-long TV special we get to see that there’s more to her than that, she actually possesses some humanity underneath her obnoxiousness and can even be friendly on occasion. Plus, I really like her design and costume here; I prefer Cheetah a cat/human hybrid that some rich snoot in kitty pajamas.
She’s fast, like a…well, like a cheetah!
She’s lazy, but show me a cat who isn’t lazy.
Just don’t step on her tail. Ever.
Jayna (The Wonder Twins)
I like the Wonder Twins. Deal with it, nerds. Jayna can transform into any animal, whether real, mythological, indigenous to Earth or to some other planet. Since she must vocalize her choice of form to assume, she must know the common name. Naming the wrong animal will cause her to assume the wrong animal’s form. She has been known to take the form of anything from an ant to a whale.
In the Super Friends comic book, Jayna’s powers were shown to be more extensive. By transforming into an animal of Kryptonian origin, for instance, Jayna could gain both the creature’s natural abilities and the super-powers that all Kryptonians possess under Earth-like conditions; she was even capable of overpowering Superman in the form of a Kryptonian animal. She could also morph into creatures like griffins or werewolves.
Plus she and her twin brother Zan enjoyed snacking on Wonder Girl’s CDs. Give ’em a break, they’re aliens. Spacey, real spacey!
Beast Boy (DC Super Hero Girls version)
Another character I was usually just “eh” about, though the DC Super Hero Girls take on him is one of my favorites. His costume here is cool, he’s not as exaggeratedly skinny here and here he manages to be the funny guy without being portrayed as a brain-dead moron.
Honorable mention goes to the Young Justice version, where the character was voiced by Logan Grove, the original voice of Gumball Watterson.
I was OK with Gumball Beast Boy, I just didn’t like the show’s take on the origin of his powers. I didn’t mind the connection to Miss Martian, but I did mind the explanation that his receiving a blood transfusion for M’Gann is how he got his powers. If that were the case, he should be able to morph into more than just animals. Decent costume, though, and I actually like the half-monkey look he chose to stay in most of the time.
Mari McCabe can’t technically shapeshift, but she can magically assume the abilities of the animal kingdom. Vixen possesses the innate ability to make direct contact with the Earth’s morphogenetic field, which is sometimes known as the “Red”. This contact with the “Red” allows to draw upon the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on the planet. By simply focusing on a specific animal, she can draw its talent directly from the morphogenetic field and mimic its abilities, thus giving herself a variety of superhuman powers.
Vixen’s connection to the “Red” is so deep that she can use the abilities of multiple animals, once holding onto the morphogenetic traits of an entire forest. Her abilities have allowed her to channel the powers of extinct animals (such as the saber-toothed tiger and the Triceratops), domesticated animals (like the Doberman Pinscher), and even mystical beasts (like dragons). Her powers even allow her to twist some animal abilities, like when she used the bio-luminescence of a Marine hatchet fish and an Angler fish to produce light from her hand and to create a laser-like beam from her head.
Vixen wears a mystic artifact called the Tantu Totem, a fox-head shaped talisman given to her ancestors by the African trickster god Anansi. It was previously thought that the totem was the source of her powers but later stories, have shown that it merely prevents the morphogenetic field from overwhelming her mind. It was once assumed that the totem increased her range for mimicking animals as she has been seen taking on the traits of animals from across the world. However this limit has been removed since The New 52. The full capability of the totem is unknown but Vixen once used the magic of the totem to heal bruises and wounds within seconds by simply touching it. The totem is thus far absent from her uniform and she has been seen taking on the traits of animals that were not within her vicinity.
On top of all that, she’s a freakin; supermodel!
No offense to Bumblebee, but I still wish DC had chosen her as the African-American representative to DC Super Hero Girls.
Astria (The Young/Space Sentinels)
A relatively obscure choice, Astria was a character from The Space Sentinels (originally titled The Young Sentinels and renamed midway through its only season), a Saturday morning animated series produced by Filmation which debuted on the American NBC network on September 10, 1977 and ran for thirteen half-hour episodes. She could morph into any living animal (duh! Why else would she be on this list?), plus she was one of the few African-American superheroes on TV at the time. Nice. Plus, she managed to give the team’s resident robot mascot, MO, a case of Jungle Fever hardware, since he was hot for her.
Reptil (The Super Hero Squad Show)
Again, I’ve praised Reptil in previous entries, so I’ll to abridge my thoughts here. I first learned about Humberto Lopez, aka Reptil, via The Super Hero Squad Show and he quickly became a favorite of mine. Despite the funky tights and no shoes which make him look like he’s wearing a wet suit, Reptil’s spunky, cute in a rambunctious boyish way and possesses one of the more unique powers on record: his Sun Stone amulet allows him to transform into various dinosaur forms…
Either partially, such as sprouting pterodactyl wings…
Or full-on dinosaur or humanoid dino forms. Also, he manages to make red and scaly look kind of cool.
Krypto the Superdog
C’mon. He’s a dog with all the powers of Superman. Do I really need to explain why he’s on the list? He can save you from an active volcano, and then fetch you the paper. He’s the ultimate pet: a cross between Superman and Jeeves.
Plus we get adorable fan art like this!
Brainy Barker (Krypto the Superdog)
My favorite member of the Dog Stars. She’s a purple Afghan in a cape with telekinetic/telepathic powers. ‘Nuff said.
Monkey (Dexter’s Laboratory/Dial ‘M’ for Monkey)
A super-powered lab monkey given amazing powers via weird scientific experiments by boy genius Dexter himself. Monkey can fly, manipulate energy, fire laser beams from his eyes, move objects telekinetically, change into and out of his costume with a thought and his costume is really cool looking. Not bad for a lower primate. Hmmm, maybe I should’ve put him on my roster for Build Your Own Fantastic Four.
Bolt (Disney’s Bolt)
On his TV show, Bolt possessed such dazzling powers as super speed and a ‘sonic bark’. They were just fictional of course, but still pretty cool. Also, I like the bolt mark on his fur.
-So there you have it. Some of my favorite Animal Factor heroes.
“So am I an Animal Factor or a Tech Factor? I’m not sure…
“…But if you don’t wanna get chomped by a robot dog and avoid a Robotic Uprising, I’d advise you to make friends with both!”
Think the current 20th Century Fox X-Men movieverse is the most messed up, convoluted clusterf*ck representation of the popular comic book franchise?
Yes, believe it or not (see what I did there?), before there was the First Class Trilogy or even the 2000 X-Men trilogy, there was an X-Men film which somehow managed to be an even bigger train-wreck than any of those films combined. It’s the subject of today’s TV Special Showdown: a made-for-TV movie based on Marvel’s Generation X.
X Marks the Shlock
For those who don’t know, Generation X was a made-for-TV film directed by Jack Sholder, which aired on FOX on February 20, 1996. It was based on the Marvel Comics comic-book series of the same name, a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, in which X-Men characters Banshee and newly reformed Emma Frost (the artist formerly known as the White Queen) starting a new Xavier School for Gifted Children in upstate Massachusetts. The TV special was produced by New World Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment, and it imitated the comic it was based on the same way that a castrato imitates a man. X-Kuteer Droll Call:
The first thing you’ll notice about this TV movie is that half the cast of the comic were nowhere to be found, and the other half were barely recognizable. Gone from the get-go were the characters of
Chamber (Jonothan Starsmore) is a crazy powerful psionic whose immense psionic energy powers have already blasted a huge gaping hole from his jaw to his upper chest, with free-floating energy oozing around inside it.
Say, would you mind facing the other way?
“Are you kiddin’? Do you know how much special FX that would cost?!?”
So bang goes his application. Next was Husk (Paige Guthrie, younger sister of Sam Guthrie, X-Force‘s Cannonball), whose mutant power was the ability to rip away her skin, revealing a new form underneath (either animal or mineral) each time.
Take it off. Take it all off.
“DUDE! We can’t do anything like that! It’s not in the budget! We can barely afford the muffin cart!”
I’m sensing a pattern here. Also absent was Penance, a Yugoslavian mutant (originally, anyway, but more on that later) whose entire body was diamond hard and razor sharp.
And I honestly didn’t give 2 candy-coated squats that she wasn’t used, since I always thought Penance was lame anyway. Moving on…
The final character not to make the cut was Synch (Everett Thomas) who possessed a bio-genetic aura which allowed him to synchronize with and duplicate the powers of other mutants as long as he was in their proximity.
I guess this character isn’t within the budget either, right?
“Nah, we’re just lazy. We could audition another character, but I’ve got me a hankering for Firehouse Subs!”
-Now let’s move on to the characters “lucky” enough to make it into the film.
First up, fan favorite Jubilee, who actually was featured in the Generation X comics and was already a popular character on the X-Men cartoon series which was enjoying success on Fox Kids at the time.
THIS is the movie’s version of Jubilee.
Looks just like her, huh? They sure captured the character there.
“That is the whitest Jubilee I’ve ever seen!”
Word. FOX freakin’ whitewashed Jubilee. A fan favorite character, and one of the few Asian characters in popular fiction who isn’t a stereotypical computer nerd or a martial artist, and they give the part to a white girl with neon yellow lipstick that makes her look like she just French kissed a lemon!
I can understand altering the character’s back story so as not to include Wolverine, but changing Jubilee’s race was unforgivable. Jubilee is Chinese-American, not Caucasian. If you’re trying to honor the character and/or please fans of the comic, casting a white actress in the role is not going to do that. Not only is Jubilee the wrong race (as these executive geniuses probably didn’t know, the character’s code name is merely a portmanteau of her actual name, Jubilation Lee, and her mutant power is a nod to Chinese fireworks, so being Chinese-American is part of the freaking character, ya morons! You DON’T change that!), but the rendering of her power is also totally wrong. Cheap yellow sparks that look like they were done in Mario Paint.
Hey movie producers, you may not have been aware of this, but Jubes’ fireworks are MULTICOLORED. They’re not all just yellow.
“But different colored filters cost money!”
The First Class trilogy at least got Jubilee’s look down,
Of course, the one scene in X-Men: Apocalypse where she uses her powers ended up on the cutting room floor.
OK, rant over. Back to discussing this joke of a movie.
We also got M (Monet St. Croix), who was about as necessary to this film as an 11th finger.
In the comics, M’s powers were basically being superstrong, a genius, psionically powerful, invulnerable and able to fly, but all of these abilities were merely offshoots of her true power*, which I’ll get to in a minute…
Here, we get this chick, who basically fell into the ‘high school bitch’ stereotype and did literally nothing other than the occasional display of super-strength.
“Hi, I’m Monet. I have several amazing powers, but you’re not going to see any of them in this movie because the producers blew the budget on a Happy Meal!”
*Incidentally, comics writer Scott Lobdell, M’s creator, didn’t originally plan for there to be an actual Monet at all, but rather the character known as ‘M/Monet’ was in reality prepubescent twin girls, Nicole and Claudette St. Croix, ‘Monet”s younger sisters, assuming the form of the originally made-up Monet.
…This explained many facets of the character: the reason for her childlike mannerisms and habits, such as enjoying climbing trees and having the handwriting of a 1st grader despite being a genius, was because ‘she’ was in fact a pair of little girls, and the characters period bouts of catatonia were due to one of the twins, Claudette, possessing a bit of autism. But Marvel later retconned all that away, and I think that sucks, as that was much more interesting than the whole “the twins were just posing as Monet while the ‘real’ Monet was revealed to be Penance trapped in that form by their brother, the evil empathic vampire known as Mplate” BS they changed it into later.
-Where were we? Oh yeah, this crappy movie…
We also got Skin (Angelo Espinoza), a kid from the LA ‘hood who possessed several extra layers of skin which we could stretch and contort (Angelo couldn’t stretch his bones like Reed Richards, so the extra skin was always there), but unfortunately this made him look like a Chinese Shar Pei.
You know, in retrospect, this might have been why the comic lasted such a short time: it wasn’t very marketable since so many of the characters were grotesques.
“That’s right. I went there.”
Of course, this movie didn’t have the budget for anything like that, so instead we get…This guy.
Some wimpy dude with a Geri curl, who’s basically a sawed off Mr. Fantastic and only uses his powers like twice in the whole movie. Yawn.
The final member of the comics’ hit parade was Mondo, who in the comics was a fat, easy going Samoan who could assume the physical properties of whatever organic object he touched…
…But here was a cocky, loudmouthed douche-nozzle played by an African-American actor, Bumper Robinson (presumably because no suitable Samoan actor could be found, though that doesn’t explain why they gave Mondo Skin’s personality)…
And whose sole scene using his powers was so limp that he literally had to inform everyone that he did it (“Hey I picked up a rock and absorbed it”), otherwise we would have missed it entirely.
As an added bonus, we got 2 other X-Teens who didn’t even exist before, but were stand-ins for Chamber and Husk, whose powers were too expensive to portray on screen. On the boys’ side we had Kurt “Refrax” Pastorius, some dude with a Billy Idol hairdo who possessed controllable eye beams and X-Ray vision.
To be fair, Refrax’s power was kind of cool: X-Ray vision and heat vision…
…Even if he looked like Vyvyan from The Young Ones with his hair dyed blond.
For the girls, we had Arlee “Buff” Hicks, who possessed super-accelerated musculature, giving her amazing strength and an incredible physique, as well as body issues up the wazoo.
Despite possessing an awesome physical form (which we only got to see once, and then it was an obvious body double), Buff is super-insecure about her muscled-up bod, so she hides it by wearing sweats most of time so nobody can see it.
Not to mention how since M here was so Nerfed that the only power we saw her do in this movie was super-strength, so M and Buff were more or less interchangeable power-wise. Given how extraneous M actually was to the “story”, they could’ve written Monet out and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference.
Trivia Time:Generation X was the first FOX X-Men movie to use the Hatley School for the exterior shots of the X-Mansion.
So this flick did one thing right.
I know I haven’t said much about the plot of this movie, that’s because there isn’t much to say about the plot, other than it was gobbledeygook. Instead of Mplate or Bastian or any actual villains from the comics, we got Matt Frewer as some psycho named Russel Trech…
A sociopathic, psychopathic borderline pedophile whose mugging, spasms and contortions would later be emulating by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever.
There was some nonsense regarding virtual reality and jumping in and out of people’s minds and invading their wet dreams…
WE ARE VR!
And I hope you like this shot…
…Since it’s at the very end of the movie and the ONLY time we see any trace of the team’s costumes. And Buff is covered up again. Surprise, surprise.
Generation X wasn’t just a bad TV movie, it was also a bad pilot for what was planned to be a bad TV series, but alas, the movie earned dismal ratings and the proposed series never happened.
And we’re all the better for it. This team of super zeroes was so lackluster, I’d have rather gotten a TV movie starring these guys.
You must be logged in to post a comment.