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X-Men: The Mutants

One of the things I want to accomplish with this blog is to discuss the various characters within the X-Men universe as well.  As soon as I’ve compiled the various eras of X-Men into comprehensive blog posts, I’ll be turning my attention to spotlights on the mutants themselves and my opinions of all of them.

While I welcome comments on each and every blog post I make, this above all things is where I strongly encourage participation from you, my readers! Every character in the history of the X-Men, from the big names like Cyclops and Wolverine all the way down to Dr. Cecilia Reyes and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, have their fair share of fans and detractors.  Everyone’s opinion is welcome, and I will strongly advocate discussion within the threads regarding the characters you love and hate. The only enemy here is apathy…as long as you can stay civil toward your fellow posters, I welcome every opinion of every character under the sun!
In fact, I think we’ll start with this very post. I want everyone to answer me three questions:

1) Who is/are your favorite mutants in the X-Men franchise?

2) Who is your LEAST favorite?

3) Why them?

Post as long or as short a comment as you like.

Remember, I welcome interaction and discussion from everyone! (Just stay civil, ‘kay? Thanks! ^_^)

Hey again!

I expected to get to the X-Men in the 1970s today, but it’s an absolutely epic project. This and the 80s are probably the eras I’m most familiar with, so squishing the whole decade together into a single post is a VERY intensive effort.

So I didn’t get it done all at once today. However, to tide y’all over until I am done, I want to give a little teaser of something I’ve been working on the past few weeks.

~*~

X-MEN:
The Animated Series
Season 6 Opening Title

FADE IN

The familiar bass riff starts up as the Blackbird approaches the screen against a starlit background, flanked by Magneto, Rogue, and Storm in their old costumes from Seasons 1-5. The canopy crosses the camera’s field of vision, just like before, but instead of showing the interior, flashes of the other X-Men…Wolverine, Jubilee, Gambit, Beast, Morph, Jean Grey, and Cyclops…show up on-screen, all in their classic Seasons 1-5 costumes.

Zoom in on Cyclops’ visor at the last shot, and the X-MEN logo, and a bust of Professor X, show up just in time for the first guitar riff, then explode back into a bright red optic blast as the camera zooms out to show Cyclops in full costume. Cue the name ‘CYCLOPS’ in red background letters as the camera tracks the beam skyward…

…Where it morphs into an adamantium claw. Zoom out into three claws, then show the full figure of Wolverine in his new orange-and-brown outfit against a jungle backdrop, with the word “WOLVERINE” behind him. He lunges at the screen, smirking instead of snarling, and it flashes white.

When the light clears, Wolverine has been replaced by a winking Rogue, who takes off into the air against a sky-blue backdrop and the word ‘ROGUE’ in green and horseshoes off, stage left, at a 45-degree angle.

The angle is then matched by a lightning bolt that crosses the screen at the same angle, as the sky fills with storm clouds and Storm descends in her new black costume, her face full of anger and passion. The lightning bolts gather behind her and form the word ‘STORM’ as she flies at the camera, her expression a mask of cold rage…

…And then, just when the viewer’s about to flinch, Storm’s face transforms into Morph’s, and he gives the camera a playful, cheeky grin as he backflips onto a city street with the name ‘MORPH’ written in graffiti on the side of a building. Just as he lands and strikes a pose, a blue flash travels past…

…The camera tracks the flash of blue to a laboratory where Beast is seen, in lab coat, glasses, and trunks, pouring a green liquid from one beaker to another. The resulting smoke cloud contains the word ‘BEAST’ and then the beaker explodes, the fireball filling the screen…

…And turning into a glowing Ace of Hearts card, fanned out into a Four-Of-A-Kind poker hand (with the Jack of Hearts as the spare card), all glowing with energy and held in a fingerless-gloved hand, which zooms out to show Gambit in his new pink-and-black costume under the familiar brown duster, assuming a battle stance with his cards in one hand and staff in the other, in front of the word “GAMBIT” in red against a nighttime sky. Just like in TAS’ iconic opening sequence, he throws his cards at the camera, and they explode…

…Into a series of fireworks that come from the outstretched hands of Jubilee, in her new haircut and newly-updated costume. The word “JUBILEE” forms against the same nighttime sky, then bursts into a rainbow of colors…

…Which turn into the head of a screaming bird of fire. Pan out to show Phoenix, in full green-and-gold costume, hovering in the middle of the Phoenix Effect before the costume and effect shifts to Jean Grey’s regular costume (with her hair unbound as in “Graduation Day”) and more standard blue-light TK-effects in front of the words “JEAN GREY.” A bolt of blue light fires from her head towards the camera and fills the screen…

…To turn into a pink butterfly made entirely of light. This butterfly effect is revealed to be a “mask” of energy over Psylocke’s face, and the camera zooms out as if pushed away by her awesome telepathic might, to reveal her in her new, dark blue cheongsam-esque costume, a katana in one hand, with the word “PSYLOCKE” in bright magenta letters above her. The butterfly aura fades from her face as her psychic knife erupts from her fist and she lunges toward the camera, stabbing the screen with the psi-blade…

…Then the camera zooms out into a blue circle of electricity, revealed to be held in the purple-gloved hand of Magneto. As the camera continues to zoom and show his full body, he magnetically levitates his helmet onto his head and forms the signature energy bubble around his body in front of the word “MAGNETO.” Concentric circles of magnetic energy launch at the camera, accompanied by metallic objects of all sorts…

And as the song goes into the second repetition of the bridge, the camera zooms out into a massive display of X-Men villains. Apocalypse, Master Mold, and the Shadow King dominate the background, while in the foreground are Mojo and Spiral, Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Omega Red, the Brotherhood of Mutants (Mystique, Pyro, Avalanche, Destiny, and the Blob), Mr. Sinister and Madelyne Pryor (though we won’t know who she is yet), the Brood (redesigned to look more like their comic-book selves), Bastion and a pair of Prime Sentinels, and the Hellfire Club (minus Emma Frost, but plus Selene).

Cut to the second half of the bridge, and a second large group of characters…the X-Men’s allies this time. In addition to past guest-stars Cable, Bishop & Shard, Dazzler & Longshot, Archangel, and Sunfire, Excalibur is there (Colossus, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Meggan, Captain Britain, and Chamber), and so are X-Factor (Havok, Polaris, Forge, Strong Guy, a few Multiple Men, Wolfsbane, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch) and the New Mutants (Mirage, Cannonball, Proteus, Magik, M, Synch, Siryn, Prodigy, Sunspot), and in the foreground are Moira MacTaggert and the new teachers: Iceman, Emma Frost, Amelia Voght, and Banshee.

At the last few bars of the bridge, we see Professor Xavier lying in an alien hospital bed, with Lilandra watching by his side. The overall feel, in contrast with the bombastic, colorful feel of the rest of the opening, is one of sorrow, regret, and loss.

The camera zooms out, and the final riff of the opening theme takes place against a starfield as Lilandra’s Shi’Ar ship warps off, stage right. Out of the warp trail forms the X-MEN logo, which gives off a subtle metallic glint just in time for the final two bars of the X-Men theme song.

FADE OUT

~*~

It’s a big project that’s very close to my heart…I’m not really even done with the pilot yet. Still, if you want to see more, let me know!

Till next time!

‘Yama

The reason I started this blog is because I am a huge X-Men nerd, and have been for 17 years now. So over the next few days I’m going to try and compress the franchise itself, as seen through my eyes, into a nutshell. After that, I’ll move on to individual characters.

The X-Men started in 1963 as a way for Stan Lee to get out of writing origin stories. He’d done Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four by now, and was starting to wonder how many gamma bombs, freak space accidents or radioactive spider bites he could use before people called him on it. So he came up with the answer: “They were born this way!”

Cue the term “Mutants.” Because mutations actually existed in nature, it was logical  for Stan to come up with the idea that humans could mutate, their bodies changing in weird and wonderful ways to give them superpowers.

With the origin set, he created the first six mutants: Professor X, Cyclops, the Beast, Iceman, Angel, and Marvel Girl. However, the company at the time didn’t like the term “The Mutants” as a title to a comic book. Their rationale was, “Who’s gonna know what a mutant is?” So Stan, in his infinite wisdom, changed the title to name it after Professor X, and called them “X-Men” (in the 60s he could get away with saying “For X-Tra Power!”, though most of us think that’s funny as hell nowadays).

Jack Kirby's classic blue-and-gold costumes. Who's the artist? If you know, I'd like to!

The characters came next, with obvious Fantastic Four influences. Iceman was a Human Torch with the dial set to ‘cold,’ so he was the smart-alecky youngest member. The Angel was the rich, handsome one, and at the time was the only character who could fly, so he fulfilled a unique niche in the group as it existed then.  The Beast started off as a Thing without rocks, speaking with the same “tough kid from Yancy Street” twist to his speech, but that changed quickly into being well-spoken and verbose, hardly ever using one syllable where five or ten would do, and thus became 1/2 of two “Reed Richards” archetypes…the intellectual. Cyclops was the social half of the archetype; at the same time as he was the leader, he was also the awkward, nerdy one who would be off by himself while the rest of the team went and had fun. And finally came Marvel Girl, the pretty redhead who could move things with her mind, and already came off as a lot stronger-willed than the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl. (I’m going to go into the individual characters themselves in future blogs)

The original X-Men were pretty standard superhero fare…fighting Evil Mutants as a counter-revolutionary force while working their best to coexist with normal humanity…from their private, upstate-New-York mansion-cum-academy. Yeeeah…Though to be fair, in the early days the team had plenty of nights on the town and periods where they were out-and-about. It read like a combination of superhero story and college book.

There were some additions and subtractions over the years under various writers. Mimic went down in history as the first case of “Marty Stu” in X-Men history (to my mind anyway), Havok and Lorna Dane (the future Polaris) signed up, Beast took off, and the pre-Mystique shapeshifter Changeling went from bad to good and died impersonating Professor X, becoming the first mutant to ever give his life for Xavier’s dream, even if he wasn’t an official X-Man.

Havok and Polaris by Darryl Banks

The book was entertaining for its time, and some creative teams, like Neal Adams and Roy Thomas, really stood out, but it never achieved quite the level of popularity as Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four at the time. A subsequent team book, The Avengers, was much better-received thanks to the use of many pre-existing characters, such as Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. However, there was a cult following for the book even then, which kept the book just above water, even if only in reprinted stories, long enough for the 1970s to hit…

…More on that next time.

MY VIEWS:

Probably the era I have the least experience with. I’ve read maybe a dozen stories from the time. And while it’s awesome to see the building blocks of what would later become supremely important character traits, especially in Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Professor X, I have to say this era largely struck me as “by-the-book.” Though it did have some compelling stuff, like the first Sentinels story, the various backstories of the X-Men themselves, and the whole “is-Lorna-isn’t-Lorna Magneto’s daughter?” thing, a goodly portion of it seemed to be strictly formula. That said, it was a solid formula that worked, and there was even a bit of envelope-pushing here and there.

Even despite my relative inexperience with the era, I celebrate the fact that it happened, and that the groundwork was laid for what would become a worldwide phenomenon. This was the age that inspired some of the finest comic creators in the world, and if not for this shaky start, the book would never have found the footing it had that would cause such an explosion in later years.

Next time, I’ll tackle the 1970s, and the creative teams that turned the book into something to be noticed.
Thanks for reading!

Before I start in with the geekery, I want to take some time out to say thank you to the friends I’ve made who supported me in this endeavor. I can honestly say that without some of these people, I would never have thought to do this.

These are the people to thank (or blame) for me getting the ball rolling on this:

First and foremost, the wonderful boyfriends with whom I share my life. I am polyamorous, and as such have been blessed to have met no less than 3 incredible men who have helped and supported me over the years in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I love you all; you know who you are.

Secondly, my fellow opinionated geek and friend, who shall be referred to as “TMS.” Over the past year and a half (or so; I’m fuzzy on the time), I’ve had some wonderful conversations and debates with him, and he’s inspired my work (read: fanfic) in ways I never would have thought of on my own.

Thirdly, and this one I can talk about more openly: STORM and Ken Kneisel, the truly awesome bloggers at http://www.stormantic.com/ .  The views on that blog are fascinating, insightful, and provocative, and I spent many a happy hour leaving comments that were probably far too long and preachy, and plan to do so in the future. 🙂 Believe it or not, they’re just as cool IRL as they come off on the blog.

Lastly, I want to thank you at the computer for taking the time to read these little ramblings of mine as they come up. You’re awesome. 🙂

More as it happens!

Hi! I’m Ingonyama. My friends call me ‘Yama. I live in San Francisco, and I am a HUGE X-Men nerd.

Welcome to “Triple Nerd Score,” my little corner of the Web. Here, I’m going to indulge in unabashed geekery about my favorite things in the world. Mostly X-Men, though other things will crop up as I think of them.

Over the next few days (or whenever I recover from WonderCon), I’ll be writing blog entries about individual X-Men, starting with the organization as a whole: namely, my own spins on the question: “Who the hell are these people?” “What do they do?” “Why should we care?” Yes, I’m aware that most of my prospective readers have not been living under a rock and know who the hell these people are and what they do. But I’m a sharer, and opinionated as hell to boot, so I’m gonna be throwing my own spin on things. So hopefully that’ll go over well. ^_^

I welcome comments and feedback of almost any stripe, and welcome the use of my comments pages to engage in lengthy debates. I am well aware that my opinion is only one of MANY out there, and I invite everyone to make their voices heard here. So if I say something you disagree with, TELL ME ABOUT IT IN DETAIL! 🙂 Bear in mind, though, that there’s a fine line between criticism and flaming. I welcome one, but not the other.

Also: I am brand new to WordPress, so I’m figuring things out as I go. But hopefully with enough patience and effort, I, and anyone who wants to share their opinions, can turn this blog into something spiffy. 🙂

Wish me luck!