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Underrated: Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown.


I don’t remember the first time I read this story, but it was likely in the UK reprint magazine Wolverine Unleashed in the mid to late 90’s. That was also the last time I read it, so when I saw the collected edition at my LCS for $15 I couldn’t pass it up – now because Wolverine is a little bit more marketable than Havok, the trade was just called Wolverine: Meltdown.

Originally published in the late 80’s, Meltdown was written by Walter and Louise Simonson, with illustrations by John J. Muth and Kent Williams. The story is set around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of the mid 80’s, and finds Havok and Wolverine caught up in the midst of a plot to end the world in nuclear war from the shadows. The art has a wonderful painted look to it at times, but the artists aren’t afraid to experiment with multiple forms of media throughout the book. It’s a choice that is divisive to some – I’ll freely admit when I was younger the art did nothing for me, but I enjoyed the story a fair bit, whereas now I find myself absorbed in the art more than the writing which is a strange twist on how I usually find myself feeling when coming back to stories I haven’t read in 20 some years.

It’s easy to imagine the way this story would have felt when initially released as it presents another possibility behind the Chernobyl disaster as an intentional act to snare the X-Men. Looking back now, it’s a great premise to a story, and one that still holds up despite the very specific time setting. Admittedly, I’ve no idea or memory as to how in continuity/canon this story is within the X-Universe but the story is entertaining enough to allow you to just enjoy it as is, and seeing Wolverine and Havok team up together is still a relatively rare event even today – and while I’m probably in the minority here, I’d love to see more chances for these two mutants to come together on the page.

The main reason I wanted to talk about this book today is solely because it’s a story that I’d completely forgotten about. This isn’t one of the classic Wolverine or X-Men stories that people will talk about, and honestly nor should it be, but it’s still an enjoyable tale that still stands the test of time; admittedly it’s the artwork that will pull you in more than the story, because this is a book that just looks utterly fantastic. The art is at times risky and pushes the envelope of what comics would typically feature 30 years ago (and yet is far more common today). Do yourself a favour and check this story out if you can – it’s a four issue mini series that shouldn’t break the bank if you hunt the individual issues.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Havok & Polaris 2-Pack

Hey, we’re back! After a bit of an overlong holiday break, I return! Before we get to the main event, I’m going to drop one picture of . . .

Marvel Legends Dani Moonstar: Okay, campers. I’ve found ONE so far. I think the base figure looks great, but I resolve to not do a full review until I find TWO MORE and can build Karma and Wolfsbane. This is my quest! (And if you’re in area that’s abundant, let me know.)

That said . . .

Marvel Legends Havok and Polaris 2-pack: First shown at cons over the summer and announced as a fan-channel exclusive, this two-pack captures Havok and Polaris in their 1991 X-Factor (originally written by Peter David with art by Larry Stroman) looks from the “Mutant Genesis” relaunch. I ordered mine as soon as they went up on Entertainment Earth in July; I got mine a couple of days ago. It’s worth the wait. Interestingly, the package is stylized after the much loved Jim Lee X-Men trading card set, with the cards replicated on the back.

As for the figures?

Hey, these are great. I’ve always liked Havok’s various black costumes, but I also thought that this was a cool take. The jacket is nicely sculpted, almost like it could be a separate removeable piece. The head sculpt is terrific, honestly. There’s also something about the general stance of the figure that’s pretty cool. I had no problem with posing or limb-movement, and it’s well-balanced for standing. The figure comes with a fair of the familiar energy blast accessories; these happen to be yellow.

When it comes to Polaris, the hair really stands out. I know it’s probably almost a running joke at this point, but I’ve been really paying attention to the fine detail in the hair sculpting that Hasbro has gotten into with the Legends. Lorna’s hair was definitely a huge part of her character and depiction in Stroman’s art (and later, when the book was drawn by some guy named Joe Quesada). What’s kind of impressive is that the well-rendered mass of curls doesn’t imbalance the figure in any way. That’s kind of a feat of structural engineering. In fact, the overall look of the figure is really strong. Unlike Havok, Polaris comes with two sets of hands: fists and gesturing. I prefer the gesturing look, and they work with the green energy blasts that also accompany the figure.

I found the costume paint and details to be strong on both. These are good looks. They also arrive at an opportune time; with recent releases of Multiple Man and an updated Quicksilver, and a Strong Guy BAF on the way, we only need a Wolfsbane in the X-Factor costume to complete that particular iteration of the group.

Bottom line: This is a really good two-pack that gives us two solid versions of characters sporting their looks from a time when literally millions of people were reading the X-titles. This release was an easy call for Hasbro to make and they did a really nice job with it. The great thing about X-figures is that you can continue to go up and down the time continuum and make figures from various eras, and you’ll always find a group of fans that vocally supports their release. Now if we could just get Storm in her Giant-Size X-Men #1 outfit . . .

Havok Makes His Way Into the Contest of Champions

Fight to restore balance to the Battlerealm or team up with Minister Sinister to pursue mayhem as Havok officially makes his way to Kabam’s Marvel Contest of Champions.

Alexander Summers aka Havok, is the younger brother of Scott Summers. Much like his brother Havok has the ability to project blasts of plasma energy, though his blasts are released as concentric waves of energy, and Havok must use significant effort to focus them into directed blasts. Havok can be overwhelmed by his power which can make him nearly as dangerous to his friends as his enemies, and leads him to wear a specialized containment suit.

The Champion’s spotlight is here if you’d like to know about this character’s abilities and stats.

Entertainment Earth Spotlight: X-Men Marvel Legends Wave 1 & Deadpool

The X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 1 brings your mutant favorites to life in a stunning 6-inch scale action figure form. Each figure includes awesome accessories and amazing detail, plus a build-a-figure piece. Ages 4 and up.Case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including:

A case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including, Wolverine, Deadpool, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Cable, Havok, and Phoenix, plus the build-a-figure Juggernaut!

The figures are hard to find so you can get the entire wave through Entertainment Earth! Or, if you want a specific character, you can do that too!

x-men-marvel-legends-6-inch-action-figures-wave-1

 

 

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Review: Inferno #1

inferno001In the history of the comic book medium, and especially the part that focuses on superheroes, there has certainly never been a period with as much hero vs. hero action as the past three months at DC and Marvel.  DC got things started with Convergence and Marvel followed with Secret Wars.  The concept between the two companies has been strikingly similar almost as though the two companies are trying to compete with each other directly for the same exact market with the exact same concept.  The Convergence world At DC created by Brainiac has obvious parallels to the Battleworld at Marvel created by Doctor Doom.

Inferno finds itself in the middle of this mess, but as opposed to so many others of the past few months, this one at least makes an effort to weave a more inspired story into the hero vs. hero concept.  This one involves many of the X-Men trapped inside a hellish version of New York City.  Overrun by demons, the X-Men have established themselves as something closer to police, save for one specific instance.  Once per year Colossus is allowed to lead a strike team to try to rescue his sister Illyana (also known as Magik) from the clutches of the demons, although his actions have not come without a heavy price.  This issue focuses on two subsequent missions and what they meant to the fabric of the team, and the price that one man will pay to rescue a loved one.

The issue is not as gripping as might be hoped for, but there is nonetheless still something here which is better than what has been seen elsewhere in the past few months.  The X-Men generally rely on science for their stories in one way or another, so the supernatural element feels a little bit out of place, but equally so too does the entire Battleworld, so this still comes off feeling logical enough of a story.  It does so by mostly avoiding the focus on the specific aspects of the Battleworld setting, which incidentally serve the story better overall.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Javier Garron
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.1 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read

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