The ‘90s are back! In celebration of Marvel Studios’ X-Men ’97, a follow-up to the classic nineties X-Men: The Animated Series coming soon to Disney+, Marvel’s hottest artists are showing their love for the decade in Marvel ’97 Variant Covers.
On sale throughout February, these new covers capture the essence of this blockbuster era by depicting your favorite heroes in their iconic ‘90s looks, reuniting ‘90s lineups, and paying homage to memorable ‘90s covers. It’s an stellar journey through the decade that transformed the comic book industry and it’s just the start of a slew of upcoming X-Men ’97 related Marvel Comics announcements!
Check out 20 Marvel ’97 Variant Covers coming in February and stay tuned for more to be revealed.
AVENGERS #10 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY JAMIE MCKELVIE
CAPTAIN AMERICA #6 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY PETE WOODS
DOCTOR STRANGE #12 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY KAREN DARBOE
FANTASTIC FOUR #17 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY RON LIM
SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #5 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY MATTEO LOLLI
THANOS #3 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY DOALY
VENOM #30 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY MIKE HENDERSON
BLADE #8 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY LEINIL FRANCIS YU
NIGHT THRASHER #1 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT BY LUCIANO VECCHIO
SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER #1 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY PAULO SIQUEIRA
SPIDER-BOY #4 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY ETHAN YOUNG
THUNDERBOLTS #3 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY SCOTT GODLEWSKI
VENGEANCE OF THE MOON KNIGHT #2 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
CAPTAIN MARVEL #5 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY ANNIE WU
DAREDEVIL #6 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY BEN SU
EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #1 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY DAVID NAKAYAMA
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ANNUAL #1 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY PACO MEDINA
INCREDIBLE HULK #9 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY NICK BRADSHAW
SPIDER-WOMAN #4 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY TODD NAUCK
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #44 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY CARLOS GOMEZ
IMMORTAL THOR #7 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY DAVID BALDEÓN
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #15 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY PHIL NOTO
PUNISHER #4 MARVEL ‘97 VARIANT COVER BY DAN JURGENS
Felicia Hardy and Mary Jane Watson have always had more in common than they think, and this March, they’ll combine their wits, expertise, and superpowers to take down an emerging new threat in Jackpot and Black Cat! The four-issue limited series is written by Celeste Bronfman, who penned both Mary Jane’s first outing as Jackpot earlier this year in Amazing Spider-Man #925 and her first solo issue as Jackpot that hits stands in January. Bronfman will be joined by rising Marvel star Emilio Laiso, the acclaimed artist known for his recent work on Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men Unlimited. The series’ covers will come from renowned artist Adam Hughes.
After teaming up in Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa’s Eisner-nominated Black Cat & Mary Jane: Beyond one-shot as well as the Mary Jane & Black Cat “Dark Web” tie-in series, Mary Jane and Felicia Hardy have risen to be one of Marvel’s most dynamic duos. Now that Mary Jane is an up-and-coming super hero herself, they’ll take their bond to the next level on an action-packed adventure to take down a villain that’s blackmailing… EVERYONE, including Black Cat and Mary Jane. Tough choices and daring missions await as Mary Jane and Black Cat become entangled in a plot that’s brought the world to its knees.
LUCK BE THE LADIES! When someone blackmails Black Cat into a public and blatant crime spree, Jackpot comes to her aid! What classic Spider-Villain is behind the blackmail?! Someone with history with at least one of our titular heroines!
Check out the debut issue’s cover now and be there for Mary Jane and Black Cat’s next great caper when Jackpot and Black Cat #1 hits stands in March.
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.
This year, give that special fan or loved one a memorable gift that will continue to deliver hours of enjoyment throughout the coming year and beyond. With every Fanhome subscription, collectors will receive a monthly shipment of easy-to-assemble components to construct their very own Fanhome replica. Incredibly detailed and featuring a range of captivating features, ranging from full articulation and LED lights to remote controlled mobility and audio capabilities, these replicas are designed to be a focal point of a collection.
Each Fanhome subscription also includes extensively researched, full-color magazines that accompany every month’s shipment of parts and are jam-packed with articles and information as well as rarely seen artwork and photos taking the fan on an immersive journey into some of pop culture’s most legendary franchises.
Standing over 2 feet tall (25 inches) and depicted with lifelike realism, Fanhome’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial was designed with the guidance of the family of Carlo Rambaldi, the talented Italian designer who brought the original character to life for the film. The completed figure features articulated arms and an extendable neck, just like in the movie. LED capabilities include a light-up index finger and “heart light” that add to E.T.’s realistic appearance along with moveable eyes and facial expressions. The friendly face and big eyes are among the main attractions of E.T., and this replica retains the tender look that has delighted generations of fans. Audio features also recreate several of E.T.’s memorable quotes from the film, adding to the stunning realism of this replica. These functions may be activated using touchless sensors embedded in the model as well as with a remote control. The sensors are a technological advancement for Fanhome models and enhance the sensory experience when the model is completed.
A screen accurate, full-scale replica of the weapon that harnessed the unlimited power of the Infinity Stones as depicted in the blockbuster Avengers movies. Measuring 29 inches when completed, every aspect of the Infinity Gauntlet is reproduced in amazing detail, from the multicolored Infinity Stones, which feature individual LED light up effects, to the intricate Dwarven-made Uru glove that was designed to unite the six Stones’ unlimited power and was used by Thanos in his quest to rule the universe.
This authentic Marvel Studios’ Iron Man model is incredibly detailed and fully articulated as a large-scale reproduction of Tony Stark’s famous Mark III armor. A 24-inch, original model features full articulation and light-up effects for the reactor, hand repulsors, boot thrusters and mask visor. The build-up model’s intricate design and articulated pieces allow fans an inside view of the internal mechanisms powering the armor, making Fanhome’s Iron Man model an authentic masterpiece for collectors and modelers.
Several models of the Millennium Falcon were used to make the original Star Wars trilogy – but the most iconic version was built for the action sequences in the second movie, The Empire Strikes Back. The Fanhome version is an official replica and designed to the same scale. The molded die-cast metal and resin components make this ultimate Millennium Falcon replica extremely easy to construct, with an unprecedented level of realism. The sizeable, completed model measures 32-inches long by 23-inches wide. Hull parts are supplied pre-finished, but expert modelers can apply their own battle scars and weathering to add extra authenticity and personalize the model. The completed Falcon also has working LED effects, and can be wall- or table-mounted, with the landing legs and boarding ramp displayed in open or retracted positions.
An expansive collection of informative volumes that covers the chronology of the complete Star Wars saga from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace to Star Wars: The Rise ofSkywalker, as well as the stories told in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian, both streaming on Disney+. Each book helps fans discover the secrets of the galaxy by exploring beloved characters, lore, and mythology, which includes extensively detailing the various starships, weapons, planets, and creatures that inhabit them.
This is a stunning, screen accurate replica of the iconic Autobot leader as he first appeared in 2007’s TRANSFORMERS that kicked off the live-action film franchise. Standing nearly 2 feet tall and composed of meticulously detailed metal and ABS plastic parts, Optimus Prime will be the centerpiece of a collection and features LED light-up effects.
Originally aired with Universal Studios, Glen A. Larson’s Knight Rider set millions of fans glued to the TV screen in the 80’s, and now fans, collectors, and hobbyists alike can build a step-by-step exact replica at a 1:8 scale of the nostalgic gem. Fans can recreate both the build-up model’s interior and exterior down to the smallest detail. All doors and windows boast opening and closing mechanisms, as well as illuminated headlights, brake lights, and a dynamic red scanner, used by K.I.T.T. to sweep hypnotically across the front of the car to “see” and add to his sum of knowledge. Additionally, the car’s rotating mechanism allows subscribers to display three different license plates, including KNI 667 and the famed “KNIGHT.”
Enter the high-octane, play-for-keeps world of Fast & Furiousand learn every detail of the cars featured in the groundbreaking movies whose heart pounding action, intense street racing, and custom car culture sparked a worldwide phenomenon. Each car in the collection is depicted with exact reproductions of the paint, wheels, and custom body accessories of those featured in the films and presented in 1:43 scale, the preferred collector scale in the world of car modelling.
Join Marvel’s Mightiest Mutts in their very own Friday Funnies Infinity Comic! “Meet Cute.” When Ms. Marvel and Kraven the Hunter crash through the Best Buds animal shelter, Kamala discovers an adorable alley and new best friend. Marvel Mutts #1 launches today on Marvel Unlimited in the exclusive Infinity Comic format.
Marvel Mutts is a six issue series written by MacKenzie Cadenhead with art by Takeshi Miyazawa, colors by Raúl Angulo, and edited by Mark Paniccia.
Marvel Unlimited is a one-stop destination for over 30,000 comics spanning the entire Marvel Universe. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, Android devices and on web.
(W) Ben Percy (A) Ken Lashley, Various (CA) Marco Checchetto Rated T+ In Shops: Nov 29, 2023 SRP: $5.99
TIME TO BLEED! The most gruesome chapter yet! Years after his first encounter with the Yautja, Wolverine’s gone feral – just the way the Weapon X program likes him! If the Predator thought the mutant was hard to kill before…now he’ll meet the real beast. But the prize this time isn’t just the kill. Now Wolverine carries something precious within him, something a Predator’s never encountered. An indestructible metal that would give the hunter the edge over prey on any world…
(W) Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada (A) Carlos E. Gomez (CA) Sara Pichelli Rated T+ In Shops: Nov 29, 2023 SRP: $3.99
WELCOME TO THE X-MEN, KAMALA KHAN! With Orchis hot on her heels, Ms. Marvel is faced with the reality of what it means to be a mutant… Is being an X-Man a dream come true…or a nightmare come to life? Find out as the newest mutant’s inaugural X-series comes to a close!
(W) Charles Soule (A) Madibek Musabekov (C) Rachelle Rosenberg (L) Clayton Cowles (CA) Stephen Segovia (VCA) Lee Garbett, John Tyler Christopher, Rod Reis Rated T In Shops: Dec 06, 2023 SRP: $4.99
LANDO LOST! – A DARK DROIDS TIE-IN! With the final mission to rescue LOBOT from the terrors of THE SCOURGE underway, galactic ne’er-do-well LANDO CALRISSIAN must finally reckon with the sins of his past. Will he be the SCOUNDREL he’s always been or the HERO he could be?
If you’ve been a long-time X-Men reader, or you’re a listener of Jay & Miles or Cerebrocast or any number of other LGBT+ X-Men podcasts, you probably know the story about how Chris Claremont wrote Mystique and Destiny as a lesbian couple, but had to use obscure verbiage and subtextual coding to get past Jim Shooter’s blanket ban on LGBT+ characters in the Marvel Universe.
Likewise, you’re probably also familiar with the story that, when Chris Claremont came up with the idea that Raven Darkholme and Kurt Wagner were related (a plot point set up all the way back in Uncanny X-Men #142), he intended that Mystique was Nightcrawler’s father, having used her shapeshifting powers to take on a male body and impregnate (her one true love) Irene. This would have moved far beyond subtext – but it proved to be a bridge too far for Marvel editorial, and Claremont was never able to get it past S&P.
This lacuna in the backstories of Kurt and Raven – who was Kurt’s father? – would remain one of the enduring mysteries of the X-Men mythos…and if there’s one thing that comic writers like, it’s filling in these gaps with a retcon.
Enter the Draco
Before I get into the most infamous story in all of X-Men history, I want to talk about retcons a bit. As I’ve written before:
For a good example of an additive retcon, I would point to Chris Claremont re-writing Magneto’s entire personality by revealing that he was a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. As I have argued at some length, this transformed Magneto from a Doctor Doom knockoff into a complex and sympathetic character who could now work as a villain, anti-villain, anti-hero, or hero depending on the needs of the story.
For a good example of a subtractive retcon, I would point to…the Draco. If you’re not familiar with this story, the TLDR is that it was revealed that Kurt’s father was Azazel – an evil ancient mutant with the same powers and the same appearance (albeit color-shifted) as Kurt, who claims to be the devil and is part of a tribe of demonic-looking mutants who were banished to the Brimstone Dimension, and who fathered Nightcrawler as part of a plot to end this banishment.
I don’t want to belabor Chuck Austen, because I think that Connor Goldsmith is right about his run actually being a camp cult classic in retrospect. However, I think we both agree that the Draco was a misfire, because of how the retcon undermined Kurt’s entire thematic purpose as established in Giant-Size X-Men that Nightcrawler was actually a noble and arguably saintly man who suffered from unjust prejudice due to the random accident that his mutation made him appear to be a demon, and because of how the retcon undermined the centrality of Mystique and Destiny’s relationship.
X-Men Blue Origins
This brings us to the Krakoan era. In HOXPOX and X-Men and Inferno, Jonathan Hickman had made Mystique and Destiny a crucial part of the story in a way that they hadn’t been in decades: they were the great nemeses of Moira X, they were the force that threatened to burn Krakoa to the ground by revealing the devil’s bargain that Xavier had struck with SInister (and Moira), they were the lens through which the potential futures of Krakoa were explored, and they ultimately reshaped the Quiet Council and the Five in incredibly consequential ways.
This throughline was furthered after Hickman’s departure, with Kieron Gillen exploring the backstories of Mystique and Destiny in Immortal X-Men and Sins of Sinister, and both Gillen and Si Spurrier exploring their relationship with Nightcrawler in AXE Judgement Day, Sins of Sinister, Way of X, Legion of X, Nightcrawlers, and Sons of X. One of the threads that wove through the interconnected fabric of these books was an increasing closeness between Kurt and Irene that needed an explanation. Many long-time readers began to anticipate that a retcon about Kurt’s parentage was coming – and then we got X-Men Blue: Origins.
In this one issue, Si Spurrier had the difficult assignment of figuring out a way to “fix” the Draco and restore Claremont’s intended backstory in a way that was surgical and elegant, that served the character arcs of Kurt, Raven, and Irene, and that dealt with complicated issues of trans and nonbinary representation, lesbian representation, disability representation, and the protean nature of the mutant metaphor. Thanks to help from Charlie Jane Anders and Steve Foxe, I think Spurrier succeeded tremendously.
I don’t want to go through the issue beat-by-beat, because you should all read it, but the major retcon is that Mystique turns out to be a near-Omega level shapeshifter, who can rewrite themselves on a molecular level. Raven transformed into a male body and impregnated Irene, using bits of Azazel and many other men’s DNA as her “pigments.” In addition to being a deeply felt desire on both their parts to have a family together, this was part of Irene’s plan to save them both (and the entire world) from Azazel’s schemes, a plan that required them to abandon Kurt as a scapegoat-savior (a la Robert Graves’ King Jesus), and to have Xavier wipe both their memories.
Now, I’m not the right person to write about what this story means on a representational level; I’ll leave it to my LGBT+ colleagues on the Cerebrocast discord and elsewhere to discuss the personal resonances the story had for them.
What I will say, however, is that I thought this issue threaded the needle of all of these competing imperatives very deftly. It “fixed” the Draco without completely negating it, it really deepened and complicated the characters and relationships of both Raven and Irene (by showing that, in a lot of ways, Destiny is the more ruthless and manipulative of the two), and it honored Kurt’s core identity as a man of hope and compassion (even if it did put him in a rather thankless ingénue role for much of the book).
It is the very acme of an additive retcon; nothing was lost, everything was gained.
I still think the baby Nightcrawler is just a bad bit, but then again I don’t really vibe with Spurrier’s comedic stylings.
In Marvel‘s Iron Man 2, Iron Man debuted the Mark VI suit, a powerfully upgraded armor. The suit featured an improved arc reactor with a higher energy output from a new element synthesized by Tony Stark. The Mark VI holds a special place in Iron Man history as it was the first suit to sport the iconic triangular chest piece.
Inspired by Iron Man 2, the Iron Man Mark VI 1/4 Scale Collectible Figure by Hot Toys features a hand-painted headsculpt with a detailed likeness of Robert Downey Jr. in the role, and utilizes Hot Toys’ amazing rolling eyeball system, which allows collectors to adjust the figure’s gaze. The figure stands at an impressive 19 inches tall and is extremely poseable with over 40 points of articulation plus layered armor to provide enhanced movement at the waist. The Mark VI also comes with a meticulously crafted helmet and interchangeable, battle-damaged parts. LED light-up functions are featured on the helmet, reactor, and repulsors. Articulated sections of the armor reveal the intricate interior mechanisms. Accessories include a realistic, attachable laser effect and a specially designed battlefield diorama base with drones for an immersive display.
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