Skip to main content

Tryout: I Have Issues #1

I Have Issues (1)
            I have been a fan of comic books for 21 years and have amassed a pretty sizable collection. I have read every Issue I own once, and in most cases only once. A month ago I was laid off from work and of course money becomes an issue and I had to cut back from my 20 issues a month to my current three must buys. Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, and I switched from Uncanny X-Men to Avengers VS. X-Men because me loves a good fight! So I'm sitting around and thinking what the hell am I going to read? Duh, I have around 5,000 comics and close to 75 Graphic Novels. I could literally never buy another comic again and have plenty to read. So Why not go back and read all of these issues and give my personal take on them. I enjoy writing and I love the Blog of Doom, so what better way to add these three great tastes and make them taste great together! I hope everyone can laugh and have a good time with my work and if you like reading this half as much as I enjoyed writing it, I will be happy to write some more.

Giant-Size X-Men # 1 (1975)

First off when you start reading this comic you will see that it is not written by either Stan Lee or Chris Claremont. Those are probably the two biggest names associated with the X-Men, and neither wrote what is the most important comic in the X-Men mythos. Uncanny X-Men #1 that came out in 1963 was pretty much an expansion comic by Stan Lee. He was told he needed to create one more monthly comic to go along with his other comics, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, etc. He basically decided to come up with a comic that was a rip off of DC's Doom Patrol with the leader in a wheelchair and everything. He was also tired of coming up with origin stories and decided it would be much easier to just say, “Hey these weird people were just born this way!” So you have Uncanny X-Men #1, a rip off of a third rate DC comic with a lazy premise. Wow, how did this comic not break sales records and become the most popular comic for a time? Oh, they did you say? Yeah, but not at first. In fact, in 1970 the comic stopped featuring original material and merely consisted of reprints until 1975. This brings me back to Giant Size X-Men # 1 written by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. Giant Size #1 is the most important comic to the X-Men because it introduced seven new mutants, some of whom became main characters that even exist today, but we will get to that later.
We open the comic in Winzeldorf, Germany where Nightcrawler is running away from an angry mob armed with torches.  I checked Wikipedia and there is no Winzeldorf, there is, however, a Winseldorf Germany, but I'm not sure if it's the same place because they don’t mention that if you have blue skin the residents of this town will seriously fuck you up. Nightcrawler runs for a bit and then decides that he will “die like a man”, and dives into the crowd to fight back, the mob overpowers him and one of the mob yells for someone to get a stake. Thank God they thought he was a vampire, if they knew he was just a mutant they might just have shot him! Professor X shows up, freezes everyone with his mind, and makes Nightcrawler an offer he can't refuse. The new mutant accepts and we’re off to Canada. Next, Professor X makes an offer to Weapon X, better known as Wolverine, to join his team. Fun Fact: Len Wein wanted Wolverine to be an actual wolverine that was a mutant in that he mutated into a man. Imagine the conversation the next morning after Logan sleeps with a chick, “You know how you said you never tried bestiality before?”  Xavier tells Logan he could be a free agent instead of a secret one and Wolverine agrees to take his talents to South Beach ... er, Westchester and the school for gifted youngsters, even though Wolverine was in WWII. Ahem. A military official demands the Wolverine stay because they spent a lot of money on him. Wolverine slices up the man’s presumably expensive shirt and tells him that if he wants him, he knows where to find him. Yes, we all know where to find you Wolverine, in every fucking Marvel comic on the stands. Soon we’re in Nashville Tennessee at the (I shit you not) Grand Ol’ Opry to find Banshee. This is where you find an Irishman with a sonic powered voice. It's not like they had a budget here, it's a comic book. They couldn't find him in Ireland? The Professor could have swung by after leaving Germany. Next panel the Professor is talking to Banshee in what is described as his “shabby apartment”. So he wasn't just in Nashville on tour, he was living there? Something tells me there is more to this backstory that I care nothing about. Next were in Africa where a topless Storm is treated as a goddess and creates rain to help the crops of her worshipers. The Professor extends his offer to join his school, and he has a blanket over his lap in the panel so I'm guessing that's not all he was extending. Then we’re in Japan where Sunfire agrees to join, not because Xavier wants him to, but because he wants to show off how badass he is. Next were off to Siberia where Peter Rasputin toils in the fields when a runaway tractor is seen speeding towards a little girl. In one panel the little girl is right in front of the tractor and still playing with a smile on her face. If this kid lives they may need to check her hearing out. Spoiler alert: she does live thanks to Peter and his convenient metallic alter ego, Colossus who bashes the tractor to pieces. Professor shows up and with some plodding and Peter's parents blessing he decides yes he would like to go and punch more than just runaway tractors. Finally, our world tour brings us to Arizona where we meet John Proudstar who will be known as Thunderbird for those keeping score. The Apache warrior brings down a bison cause y'know why stop with stereotypes at this point in the comic. Xavier approaches Thunderbird and John wonders “How a cripple got way out here?” I'm kind of wondering this myself. I'm picturing him taking over people’s minds and having them carry his wheelchair all the way out to these locations. John tells Xavier “To stuff a cactus Custer!” It was his sterotypical way of basically telling whitey to beat it. Xavier insults the Apache tribe and then Thunderbird agrees to prove him wrong. So our new X-Men are assembled in New York where the Professor has used his considerable mutant abilities to basically train everyone to speak English so they can understand each other and gives them the uniforms that were made by Mr. Fantastic with unstable molecules that adjust to whoever wears them. We need to give major props to Mr. Cockrum here, his design for these X-Men have for the most part stood the test of time.
So Sunfire is being a dipshit as usual and demanding to know why they were brought together and Xavier introduces the newbies to Cyclops the only remaining original member of the team. He then regales the group with a story of the original X-Men plus reserve members Havoc and Polaris minus the Beast (I believe the Beast was in the Avengers at this point). Xavier detected a powerful mutant on the Island of Krakoa – you know, the third most hostile island after Cuba and that one on Lost. They land in the Strato Jet - a precursor to the blackbird - and Iceman says, “I think we took a wrong bus gang. This place doesen't look like Cleveland. All the insect in the air-- the overgrown jungle--! On second thought maybe this is Cleveland.” Oh that Iceman, what a card. Cyclops the funsucker yelled at Iceman to shelve the snappy banter, proving that Scott has no clue what snappy banter is or that we have made big advancements in banter since 1975.The original team was attacked by something Cyclops did not see and he woke up in the jet not sure what happened to the other X-Men. The jet was on automatic pilot back to Westchester and Cyclops couldn’t steer it back to the island. Also his powers were not working so he could open his eyes without blowing  holes in everyone and everything he looked at. I call bullshit on this story. He wakes up on the plane and could not stop an automatic pilot, whatever Scott!. When Cyclops got back to the mansion and is talking to the Professor his powers miraculously came back and he secured that shit with a spare visor. This brings us back to the present with the new X-Men that need to go back to Krakoa and find out what the hell happened to the original team. Sunfire being a dipshit as usual says he will not join the team and the rest leave in the jet. Then Sunfire is seen following them and Thunderbird tells Cyclops that he see's someone. Cyclops responds, “I see it Geronimo it's-- the Jap!” Damn! White people are pricks! So Sunfire rejoins the team citing that he has his own reasons. They reach the island and, Scott ,revealing that he has never watched a horror movie, splits the team up in twos to look for the missing X-Men. Cyclops keeps the jet, you know, in case he needs to accidentally wake up in it with an autopilot that can't stop until it takes him home where he can get another group of newbies to try this again if need be. Scott and Thunderbird exit the jet where the island swallows it up. Guess you’re not gonna be able to pussy out this time huh Scotty? The two see a temple in the distance and as they start to travel to it, they are attacked by vines. They make short work of the attack because they have powers and they are fighting vines after all and then make it to the temple. Next we see Wolverine and Banshee taking down a giant lobster and mention they are making their way to the temple as well. Storm and Colossus double team a landslide that seems to have a mind of its own. Sunfire and Nightcrawler fight off birds that attack them, Sunfire just burns the shit out of them, sending flaming birds to the ground like kamikaze-- oh sorry all the rampant racism in this comic has compelled me to take part as well. The team meets up at the temple where they blow the door away and find the captured X-Men with green tubes feeding them to something. They free the X-Men and the island begins to shake like crazy and Angel tells the group that it was the island’s plan to get more X-Men to come to it, because the island is the mutant they were searching for. Krakoa shows its ugly ass and puts the images in the X-Men's minds of his whole plan. Like a James Bond villain of the highest order, Krokoa shows them that he was bombarded by radiation from an atomic blast that fused every living and nonliving thing on the island into one organism. Now it's hungry and it needs X-Men to feed its hunger, and that's why it freed Cyclops to bring more X-Men to its maw. Really Scott? Now you have an island lying for you? So now the shit is on as Wolverine starts a knife party all over Krakoa. All thirteen X-Men go apeshit with their abilities and it's all to zero effect on Krakoa. Professor X finally decides to help and attacks the collective minds of the living lsland. Storm uses lightning to strike Polaris who in turn uses that to amplify her magnetic powers. Krakoa knocks Xavier out with its minds as the rest of the X-Men continue the assault. Cyclops and Havoc focus their energy powers onto Polaris and with all of this power she fires a magnetic pulse into the earth’s molten core. This act makes Krakoa lose its form and the island begins to shake. Polaris is knocked out from the amount of power that she channeled through her body. Havoc mentions that Polaris (his long-time girlfriend) can't run and is surprised to find Iceman carrying her. Iceman says, “The lady doesn't need your help hotshot she's in good hands for a change!” All this happens while the island is destroying itself and every one of his friends and teammates are about to die. Oh that Iceman, what a card. Iceman then creates an ice platform for all of the X-Men to stand on while Havoc and Cyclops use their powers to propel them on the ocean away from the island. Krakoa then severs from the earth and flies into the sky as it is revealed that Polaris cut the gravity holding the island in its place and launches it into space. I'm 99% sure that this has no backing in any kind of real science. But for comic book science, that's kind of cool actually. Krakoa free from gravity takes off into space, but the land mass disappearing from the ocean creates a vortex - think the end of Titanic in reverse. Iceman creates an ice dome around everyone and the dome is pulled to the bottom of the ocean. It bobs back to the surface and Cyclops blasts a hole to free everyone. They come out right next to the Strato Jet which is floating in the ocean. What amazing luck! They paddle the ice float over to the jet and fly away wondering what are they going to do with thirteen X-Men. And that is the end of the most important X-Men comic ever. After this issue Giant Size X-Men was canceled so they could continue the story in the regular Uncanny X-Men title. From there Chris Claremont would take this team from a generic Stan Lee idea into a comic about mutants fighting for equality in a world that hates and fears them. Under his guidance the comic would transition from standard bad guy shows up and gets beaten up, to stories that would examine social issues with equal parts action and soap opera. But those are stories from issues for another time.
J. Ryan (Lostscribe)


  1. I have so many back issues and trades as well.  Thankfully I discovered a record/comic shop near me that buys used trades so at least I have an option to get rid of some stuff I don't read anymore.

    However I have just made the transition to digital format and holy shit that was a BAD idea for my wallet.

  2. That was difficult to read. We're talking here about one of the most important issues of ANY comic series, and an essential read.

    But instead of actually focusing on some of the critical changes to the series, you spend most of the article in a cynic stream-of-consciousness. For instance, this was the most interesting sentence in your post: "We
    need to give major props to Mr. Cockrum here, his design for these X-Men have
    for the most part stood the test of time." Maybe you should have expanded on that instead of using it as a throwaway aside.But I've got to ask: what audience are you going for here and what are you trying to give them? If the reader is an uberfan, then this comes off as an extremely shallow analysis. And if a casual fan hasn't picked this up, then you don't really give them a reason to be interested in what you have to say at all.In short, I think this is a mess. Thumbs down.

  3. Comics are supposed to be fun. There are plenty of places you can go on the internet to read very serious factual accounts and anything completely serious I write is going to be a cut and paste of what they have said. I'm merely trying to give a synopsis of a comic with a goofy-fun look at it and if I can give someone a few nuggets of information along the way then great! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. 

  4. For someone that only occasionally reads comics I thought it was a great synopsis. I enjoyed your tone and you can tell you know a lot about the subject.

  5. If I wanted an academic analysis of the X-Men series I'd go to JSTOR or '', though, now that I think about, that's probably a different kind of website. 

  6. Yeah, I punched out of this about halfway through. Just all over the place trying to be schticky. Don't know if you ever got around to mentioning that wolverine, banshee and sunfire were actually already existing characters. After you spent like five sentences trying to be funny about banshee being in Nashville, my eyes glazed over and I just skimmed.

  7. Kristopher PurzyckiApril 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    As someone else who doesn't have a lot of $$ to spend on funny books, I appreciate the cynicism and wish there was a bit less fanboy-dom. I hope that you'll continue this project when you return to work and start picking up books again. Have you been reading Animal Man as well? With the Swamp Thing crossover coming, you might want to check it out – art is phenomenal. 

    Looking forward to future posts!

  8. Love Animal Man! Definitely going to be picking it up again once the money is straight. 

  9. Looks like reactions are 50/50. I appreciate the support, and what I am getting from the criticism is you want more information. Keep giving it to me, tell me what you like and what you hate. I'm not going to completely change how I write but there is definitely room for alterations on my part. You want more information, sure no problem, but your getting fun to go along with that damnit!

  10. Quick question: why is AvX such a big deal?  Isn't it just another parade of crossovers in Marvel's contribution to the disease that is never ending oversaturation of the market?

  11. The art is what's really drawing me in as well as the actual promise of real fights and not your standard "we had a misunderstanding now let's team up!" Yes you are correct Marvel especially is overproducing titles that don't need to exist. We don't need Wolverine and Spiderman on so many teams and we don't need as many X-Books as are being made. But they make money, people eat them up and so why not release them?


Post a Comment