Retroville: X-Men Infinity??

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:

Disney Infinity xmengroupshot-small-1024x569

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.

Stone Cold Steve Austin - Hell yeah!

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…
Sexual Harassment Panda

…And that makes me a sad panda.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little detour. Now….

On Vacation

…Back to vacation!

Talkin’ Nerdy: Beauty of the Beast

We saw X-Men: Apocalypse in the theater last week. First, let’s get the gripes out of the way:


“I’m in a mood!”

  • After re-aligning the timeline in Days of Future Past, the next movie should’ve been in the present day, with the current set of actors. I’m ready to move on from the Charles, Erik, Raven and Hank Show now.
  • OK, can we stop pretending that Mystique was ever an X-Man now? I know Jennifer Lawrence has since become Big Stuff at the box office, but why even have Mystique in the flick at all if she’s hardly ever going to be seen as the blue lady and she’s going to be completely out of character? I kind of puked in my mouth twice: when they had Storm saying that Mystique was her hero, and again when Mystique became the team’s drill sergeant. Can we go back to evil blue Mystique now?
  • No, movie. Storm did NOT get her trademark white hair from Apocalypse. She was BORN with white hair. Storm is a descendant of a line of African tribal priestesses and sorceresses who have white hair and blue eyes. I get that it’s a Hollywood adaptation, and no comic book movie is going to be 100% accurate to the comics, but kindly cut that shit out.
  • Quicksilver is fun, but the mansion scene in this flick was just a rehash of the prison scene in DoFP. Also, I know it’s likely an ownership thing, but I can’t stand that we keep getting Quicksilver without so much as a mention of Scarlet Witch. Pietro (I refuse to call him Peter) without Wanda is like Donny without Marie. And if this movie takes place 10 years after DoFP, then why is Quicksilver still a teenager?
  • If you’re going to put Jubilee in a movie, have her use her freaking powers already, dammit! But to the producers’ credit, at least this time they remembered that Jubilee is Chinese-American, not white. I’m looking at you, Generation X TV movie!

Good. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, on to what, or specifically who, this article is really about. One of my favorite X-Men, nee, one of my favorite Marvel characters or one of my favorite fictional characters of all time is and always has been Henry “Hank” P. McCoy, aka The Beast.

Beast W&TXM

Like many I presume, my first real exposure to X-Men was the FOX cartoon series (though I glanced at some of the original comics prior to that) and from the start, Beast was the character that I immediately latched on to. I enjoyed and related to him more than any of the others. Beast wasn’t an angst-filled, scene-chewing rage-a-holic badass like Wolverine, he wasn’t the super-serious, straight-arrow leader like Cyclops, he didn’t rock the sexy like Rogue and Storm, he wasn’t crazy-powerful like Jean Grey or Professor X or Magneto, his powers weren’t mega-cool and dazzling like Jean’s, Wolverine’s, Cyclops’ or Jubilee’s, but Beast was always my guy. Why?

From the start, Hank has had to deal with a unique appearance; at first, he just looked like an ape/human hybrid…

Original Beast

…Then later he was transformed into a true, blue-furred beast after an experimental serum gone wrong, a move which I both liked and disliked (more on that later)…


But throughout it all, he’s maintained his sharp intellect, an extensive vocabulary and good humor. His situation would occasionally get to him, but he rarely wore it on his chest. Even Wolverine once said of Beast: “Hank’s usually as steady as a rock”. He didn’t have the coolest set of powers or the biggest fanbase, but Beast was always the mutant I admired and related to the most. More of a thinker than a fighter and always around to keep spirits up and never letting things get to dark and murky. THAT’S the Beast that I’ve always admired.

I’ll confess something to you all: I think the X-Men prequel movies were OK (not great, I have yet to see my ideal X-Men movie), and many of the actors in them have played their parts well, but I’ve never been crazy about the movie’s version of Beast. I have nothing against Nicholas Hoult; he’s a decent actor and he’s done good work (he’s great in those Jaguar commercials), but his take on the Beast has never clicked with me. I actually felt that Kelsey Grammer did a better job as Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand (he was one of the few good things about that movie).

Kelsey Grammer as Beast

Kelsey’s Beast was much closer to the character I wanted to see than Hoult’s ever was. It helps that Grammer’s like that in real life. Kelsey’s Beast was scholarly, he was erudite, he was verbose, he was composed, he was renowned for his intellect and still able to hang upside down and kick some ass when action was called for. THAT was what I wanted to see: the scary-smart super-genius with the body of a big blue gorilla. (DC fans, basically imagine Gorilla Grodd, but as a good guy.) THAT’S Beast, not some awkward nerd who basically functions as a Nerfed Bruce Banner/Hulk who’s macking on Mystique, is dorky and the butt of everyone’s jokes and is only blue sometimes. The Beast I admired would never cling on to some serum to keep himself human all the time; Beast has his moments of being uncomfortable in his skin (who with his particular mutation wouldn’t?), but generally he’s come to accept what he is. I want to see that Beast on the big screen. When we got a brief glimpse of Kelsey’s Beast at the end of Days of Future Past, I smiled at the thought of what could have been.

Part of the reason it may be so hard to get a decent portrayal of Beast in live-action is may be because the part requires so much special effects and makeup. To which I offer 2 solutions:

  1. Make Beast a CGI character with a famous voice, or
  2. Not have him go blue and furry at all, just keep his original look, with the ape-like stance and big feet.
Human Beast Now

I admit, while I don’t mind the blue furry Beast, I have on occasion wondered what he’d look like if he had gotten to this stage in the franchise’s history without being transformed by the serum.

Again, this might require a lot of complicated costuming and animation, so this too might be better accomplished with CG. As long as we get Hank’s real character, his big brain, his big words, his cheerful, thoughtful demeanor, his quiet confidence, his unspoken nobility and his likable goofiness, I’m cool with any portrayal, really.

Beast Old and New

5 giant fingers on one hand, half of 10 giant digits on the other.

-Finally, anyone familiar with Wolverine’s female clone, X-23? This got me thinking about something recently….


What would a female Beast be like?

I imagine a female character with Beast’s particular mutation would be close in translation to Shalimar Fox from the syndicated series Mutant X (give yourself a bonus gold Geek Star if you’re one of the 5 people who remember that show).

Shalimar 1


She probably wouldn’t be blue or furry, since hairy chicks typically don’t test well with audiences (hence why there were no female Lycans in the Twilight or Underworld movies). I imagine that she would be basically like Shalimar: she’d have the heightened strength, speed, agility and senses, prone to the odd bit of animal-like behavior…

Shalimar 2

Some Matrix-like stunt work and FX would be required.

And since Marvel has recently given Hank a ‘secondary mutation’, making him a sort of gorilla/cat hybrid creature (though admittedly I’m not a big fan of the secondary mutations myself; 1 mutation should suffice), again like Shalimar she could physically display her mutation with the occasional flashes of cat-like eyes.

Shalimar 3

Again, just something to think about, Marvel.


Cartoon Country: SHS – “Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant High!”

Today’s Cartoon Country takes a look at one of my favorite episodes of Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Show: episode 18, “Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant High!”.

Mutant High 1

This episode’s title card is a parody of the comic book cover for X-Men Vol.2, issue #1, in case anyone’s interested.

Premise: Captain America sends Wolverine back to Xavier Academy to get his diploma and finish his remaining credits. Reptil, being the mutant fanboy that he is (I can relate), tags along to see what Xavier Academy is like and meet the X-Men. To make matters worse, Ringmaster shows up and hypnotizes the entire X-Men team in order to find an Infinity Fractal for Doctor Doom.

I’m not going to bother reviewing this episode or running down everything blow by blow; we don’t do reviews here, and most fans of SHS have already seen this episode a few times already by now (It’s floating around on the internet in various places, so if you haven’t already seen “Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant High!”, I’m sure you can find it somewhere in cyberspace). Instead, I’ll just be geeking out over the things I liked about this episode.

Firstly, it centers on the X-Men, one of my favorite Marvel franchises, and it takes place largely at the Xavier Academy, one of my favorite locations within Superhero City.


The Xavier School for Gifted Children. The giant X-shaped roof makes it look cool, although curiously, in this episode the roof of the Academy is gold, rather than the pale slate gray that it’s typically seen as in the establishing shots and opening title sequence.

Also, it’s a Reptil-heavy episode and Reptil’s one of my favorite characters on the show.

Mutant High 6

In Iron Man’s obligatory appearance, he admonishes Reptil for keeping his room like a wild animal (what do you expect from a kid whose power is morphing into dinosaurs?) and insists that Wolverine take the shrimp with him in the hopes that “maybe Xavier can pound some discipline into him.” Reptil’s one of the few ‘kid sidekick’ character who isn’t instantly annoying.

Curiously, the Xavier Academy has the semblance of a stereotypical American public high school rather than the austere private boarding school that it’s usually depicted as. Perhaps this was done intentionally to parody cliched high-school tropes. Given the farcial nature of The Super Hero Squad Show, that wouldn’t surprise me.

The X-Men characters here (Prof. X and his alumni, all, you know, 6 of them) are likewise reminiscent of typical high school archetypes: Iceman is the class clown, Colossus is the somewhat thick but genial jock, Storm (who like Wolvie is only there on a technicality–all of her foreign credits evidently didn’t make it over to the States) is the elegant foreign student, etc.

Mutant High 7

Cyclops is the preppy Class President type who’s “Darn glad to meet ya!” Any kids cartoon that can slip in a National Lampoon’s Animal House reference is A-OK in my book.

And then we come to Jean Grey, here depicted as vain, vapid cheerleader (voiced here by Hynden ‘Starfire/Princess Bubblegum’ Walch) wearing a skimpy cheerleader version of her comics uniform.

SHS Jean Grey


At one point, the Ringmaster (disguised as a lunch lady, don’t ask) hypnotizes Jean…

Mutant High 5

“BOINNGG! I. Am. Totally. Hypnotized.”

And before telekinetically tearing the hallway a new one, she busts out with the perfect cheer:

Mutant High 3

“Call me Phoenix/Call me Jean/Red-haired mutant prom night queen!/I’ll hit you with a mental/hurl/if you call me Marvel Girl!” GO MUTANTS!!”

Beavis & Butt-Head

“Ooh, baby! Huh-huh-huh! Come to Butt-Head!”

“Yeah! Heh-hehe-heh! And then come to me! Heh-heh-heh!”


“How’d you like a face full of laser?”

(Afterwards, Xavier attempted to telepathically erase their brains, but since their heads are already empty, nothing happened.)

Speaking of the Professor, I’ve got to call baloney on the scene where the Ringmaster puts the whammy on Xavier. Charles Xavier is supposed to be THE most powerful telepath on Earth; I get that this is a silly comedic take on the Marvel Universe, but there’s no way that Xavier should’ve been manipulated so easily, especially by a D-List super-villain who specializes in cheap parlor tricks.

Mutant High 2

“Your honuh, I wuz Hyp-Mo-Tized!”

Also, did you notice how Colossus was in his armored form throughout this entire episode? He was metallic in all of the scenes of the Deadpool trailer as well (still haven’t seen the movie yet, forgive me). So is Piotr strictly metallic now? Or were the animators just lazy?

Mutant High 9


The Super Hero Squad Show was basically killed after Disney acquired Marvel. I don’t need for there to be a 3rd season of the show (the Squaddies saved the flippin’ UNIVERSE in season 2, how could they possibly top that? Plus, I liked season 1 a little more since season 2 largely discarded Superhero City–one of my favorite elements of the show–as a backdrop), but one thing I do regret is that we never got another X-Men centered episode. It would have been cool to see some of the mutant characters who never appeared in SHS form on the show, like Angel…

SHS Angel

Or Rogue…

SHS Rogue

..Or Beast.

SHS Beast

Ms. Marvel mentioned Beast in the show’s pilot episode, titled appropriately “And Lo!…A Pilot Shall Come!”, but he never appeared on camera.

Plus, we never got to see Magneto and Xavier appear in an episode together. That might’ve been fun. Or maybe Reptil could’ve met Jubilee; the 2 of them could’ve competed for the role of Wolverine’s teen sidekick or something.

Finally, a word about Angelica Jones, aka Firestar.


Firestar didn’t appear until a season later, in “Too Many Wolverines!”, attending the same class as Reptil and getting paired with him for a science project. Personally, I think it would’ve made more sense for Angelica to have been a student at the Xavier Academy, given that she’s a mutant, but Firestar had to have been in the same class as Reptil, otherwise they wouldn’t have had a story. If only the circumstances had allowed for them to have been classmates at the Academy.

Wolverine & His Amazing Friends

The mind boggles.



Cartoon Country: X-Men Evolution – “Walk on the Wild Side”

Today’s Cartoon Country looks at the second season episode of X-Men Evolution titled “Walk on the Wild Side”, in which the female X-Men (specifically Jean Grey, Amara Aquilla aka Magma and Tabitha Smith aka Boom-Boom) get fed up with playing second fiddle to the guys, and form an all-female vigilante crime-fighting group called the Bayville Sirens. Shortly after our heroines form their new gang, this happens:




-Not only did the story just randomly jump to Radio Disney for a second, but this sequence boasted a puzzling occurrence which was never addressed. The 3 characters who formed the Bayville Sirens were Jean, Amara and Tabitha, who did so out of frustration (and some unintentionally sexist comments from Cyclops). OK, got that, however, about a third of the way through that little dance party video thing, Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) and Rogue just show up, and for the remainder of the story the 2 of them are just there, as if they’d been Sirens all along, despite them having no stake in any of this and no participation in the story up to that point. There’s really no reason for Rogue and Kitty to be in this story at all, other than a) they’re girls and b) they’re main characters. OK, we’re not going to offer a logical, canonical reason for these 2 to just arbitrarily join the story? No explanation at all? Just not gonna address that at all, huh? Not even a throwaway line somewhere? Nothin’? M’kay.

Speaking of strange occurrences,



What is it about this episode that makes so many aspiring authors on the internet want to write fan fiction about it? The last time I ventured onto, there were literally dozens of fanfics based on or inspired by “Walk on the Wild Side”. In one of them, in retaliation the male X-Men decide to start their own all-boys’ splinter faction called the Bayville Strikers.


Far be it for me to pass judgement on another author’s vision, but I gotta say, naw, that idea’s not working for me, bruh. We don’t need an all-guys’ X-team for the same reason TV doesn’t need a White Entertainment Television. Boys don’t need special representation in what’s already a male-dominated genre. We don’t have to imagine what a superhero team consisting of just boys would be like; we’ve already seen that, several times: that’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That’s Street Sharks. That’s Battletoads. That’s Ronin Warriors. That’s Centurions. That’s Super Hero Squad. I could go on, stop me before I sub-reference again. All-male teams are a dime a dozen, so that wouldn’t be anything special. If they were really going to have a girls’ vigilante team AND a boys’ vigilante team existing alongside of it, then you should just make one team and make it co-ed, which would just be the X-Men.

But that’s just my opinion. If “Walk on the Wild Side” revs your engine, then by all means enjoy the ride. Myself, if I want a Girl Power superhero team, I’ll stick with these ladies:

Powerpuff Girls

They have better costumes, anyway.

Talkin’ Nerdy: Six Ridiculous Super Powers

One of the main things that defines a super hero are his/her super powers. Of course, at the top of the super hero food chain you have the likes of Superman, who basically set the standards which other Capes are based on. Supes is basically a Swiss Army Knife of super powers. He has super strength, super speed, heat vision, invulnerability, ice breath. Pretty much all the hits.


“Don’t mess with the ‘S’!”

…And then there are some super heroes whose powers, shall we say, come up a little short?  I know that every super hero can’t be Superman, Wolverine, Batman or Silver Surfer, but there are some super heroes who clearly showed up late to the party and were forced to get the leftover powers. Today, I’m going to look at some of my picks for Most Ridiculous Super Powers. Before we start, let me say that I’m not limiting my choices to only one studio, and also, these choices aren’t in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them. That said…


“Here we go!”

Let’s start with this guy, Evan Daniels, aka, Spyke from X-Men: Evolution (I agree with what Eric Rodriguez, aka, The Blockbuster Buster said: XME was an OK show, if you can get pass all of the high school BS). His mutant power is the ability to produce bony spikes from his body and then toss said spikes as projectiles.


You’ll want this kid around if you ever get a piece of food stuck in your teeth.

I didn’t have a problem with the character. I didn’t mind that he was changed from being a Morolck (like he was in the comics) to being Storm’s nephew (I don’t know how an orphan from Cairo somehow got an American born sister, but whatever). I didn’t even mind his blond flattop hair style, even if it made him look like Sisqo, but let’s be real here; Spyke’s mutant power is stupid. I used to think that Shadowcat’s power was bad, but a colleague showed me that her phasing power was indeed useful, and I saw the light. I’ll even give Legion of Super Heroes’ Bouncing Boy a pass, but Spyke’s power? No, just no.  Even Malcolm Ray’s super power of turning everything into a video game sprite in the Nostalgia Critic’s Fan4stic review was better than Spyke’s power and that was intentionally silly. Of all the mutant powers the shows’ producers could have given him, why did the shows’ only African American teen mutant have to be saddled with the stupidest power on the whole bleeping show!? And have him be forced to spout out lines like this:


“Dude! I almost toothpicked ya!”

Listen, XME writers. I know that you really wanted that line to be cool, and it probably sounded cool in your collective heads, but it was lame. And then to add insult to injury, in XME’s third season, Spyke’s power mutated even further by extending to most of his body, forcing him to live underground along with the Morlocks.


Great. Now he looks like an armadillo, and it’s still stupid!

Spyke’s power is just dumb. The firing spikes is lame. It’s always been lame, and it’s always going to be be lame. Sorry, XME writers, but it just isn’t possible to make Spyke’s mutant power cool. It’s like trying to make Plaid Lad cool; it can’t be done.


“I WILL make your sport jacket tacky!”

Interestingly, Spyke’s role within the main cast was originally going to be occupied by Bobby Drake, aka, Iceman, but he was replaced by Spyke at the last minute because XME’s producers didn’t want all of the main X-Teens on the show to be white. (Technically, Nightcrawler was blue, but you get my meaning.) That’s a reasonable request, but if the producers wanted an African-American on the team and they didn’t want to make Storm into a teenager, why didn’t they just make Bobby black? There’s no part in Iceman’s backstory and mythos that states that he has to be a Caucasian. No, Bobby wasn’t black in the original  comics, but neither was Nick Fury. If Nick Fury can go from being Caucasian to African American without anybody going nuts, I’m sure that fans would be OK with an African American Iceman. And the kids the show was aimed at have never read the original comics, so they wouldn’t have cared.

Next we come to this guy. Another X-Men character known as Forearm. See if you can guess what his super power is.


Let’s give him a hand!

Forearm is called that because (wait for it!) he has FOUR ARMS! Woo! Unless you’re Goro from Mortal Kombat, just having extra appendages isn’t a cool power. For one thing, it’s impossible to do jumping jacks.

Speaking of arms, we now come to Arm Fall Off Boy from DC’s Legion of Super Heroes.


This guy’s power is that he can detach his arms and toss them as projectiles. One thing that I’ve always wondered is after he takes off one of his arms, how does he remove the other one? And how does he get his detached arms back on?

Next, we come to another Legion of Super Heroes member: Matter Eater Lad, who has the power to eat through any and every substance.


“Watch out, evil doers! I skipped lunch and I’m hungry for justice!”

Guys, there’s just no way to make eating seem like a cool power. Let’s face it. Unless you’re Pac Man, it just doesn’t cut it.

Finally,  we come to a somewhat obscure choice; Ethan from Disney’s 2005 movie Sky High (played by DJ Daniels).


Now I realize that all of the sidekicks in Sky High were intentionally given lame super powers, hence their underdog status, but Ethan’s super power somehow managed to be even more of a joke than those of the other sidekicks. His one power was being able to transform into a puddle of goo. Aside from having the bad guy slip on you and break his back, this power is completely useless. a little advice: if your looking for inspiration for a cool, unique super power, you might not want to draw inspiration from the Action League Now! character Meltman…


…with the power to….MELT!!!