X-Men Adventures , Volume 1
Writer: Ralph Macchio [not THAT Ralph Macchio]
Artists: Andrew Wildman & Robert Campanella
Published: Marvel, 1993
My last review about the latest X-Men film got me thinking about X-Men and how they were pretty much my first love when it comes to comics. As a child, one of my first exposures to X-Men was the animated series of those wild, heady 90s. Super powers! Explosions! Bright colours! However, this cartoon was not entirely true to the original comics. The first few episodes gave a new generation of fans a different take on the X-Men's [y'know, seeing as how the team is half females anyway, I shall henceforth refer to them in a more gender-neutral fashion] first meeting with the Sentinels and arch-nemesis Magneto. “Fair enough!” you say.
So, somewhere along the line, I acquired a comic adaptation of those first episodes, which itself is also not entirely true to the source material. “Interesting!” you say. With all these changes with each new edition, this shit is beginning to look like the Bible... and it's just as believable! [ba-dum tsh]
Anyway, the ever-helpful Watcher gives us the introduction, basically making this another “What If” tale. And, as Mr. Watcher states, the differences in this world are fairly subtle. Jubilation “Jubilee” Lee, a mutant teenage girl, is apprehended by Sentinels [giant, mutant-hunting robots], and taken to their leaders, Gyrich [head of the new Mutant Affairs Department and all-around mutant-hating guy] and Trask [the scientist who developed the Sentinels]. Professor X notices that mutants registered with the MAD [ha! Didn't even realize that was the acronym til now!] have been disappearing and sends his X-Team to break into the HQ of the MAD to erase their files. Many shenanigans ensue. The X-People destroy the Sentinel factory and save Li'l Jubes, who is promptly invited to join the team, albeit as a junior member. Trask and Gyrich manage to escape, with some foreshadowing of their plans to build harder, better, faster, stronger robots.
The next bit concerns Magneto and his plans for mutants to take their “proper” place as rulers of mankind. He attacks a missile silo, attempting to launch a bunch of nukes and trigger WWIII, and sends Sabertooth [who the X-Folk – save Wolverine – have not encountered at this point] to infiltrate the X-Mansion under the guise of a wounded mutant in need. The team stops the nukes, but they take in Sabertooth, ignoring Wolverine's protests [always ask yourself: what would Logan do?]. Next, Magneto attacks a chemical plant in order to distract the team so that Sabertooth can make his move, with only poor, naïve Jubilee to keep an eye on him! Oh no!
So, as stated above, there are some minor changes from the animated series. We have actual guns instead of lasers [a lot of cartoons use lasers, because... a flesh-burning weapon is less violent than a flesh-piercing weapon...?]. Also, innocent bystanders are clearly killed off by Magneto and we have blood, glorious blood which is largely absent from the cartoon [and the X-Movies, dammit]. It loses some of the goofiness that the cartoon possesses, which makes sense. It retains some of the clumsy dialogue of the cartoon, but we also get to know our characters a bit more thanks to longer exchanges and inner monologues. This is a strength of most non-screen versions.
The art is a little rough around the edges, with some weird angles and proportions here and a few colouring mistakes there. However, I did enjoy the fact that, although derived from a flashy cartoon, the art is rather subdued compared to a lot of stuff from the 90s that is super-over-the-top and EXTREME in the way that Doritos are extreme [Spawn, Ash, endless revamps of classic characters, etc.].
One problem is that they don't show any students! I guess it's for simplicity's sake, but Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters seems like it's populated by, what, nine people? Yeesh guys! Throw some background characters in there! The fact that the X-Mansion functions as a school and not simply any old superhero HQ is one of the things that has always set the X-Beings apart from teams like the Avengers or the Funtastic Four. They have their own society and are distinctly separate from the world which they defend. Mostly sad. But mostly noble.
Anyway, I liked this comic, but largely for nostalgic reasons, as it doesn't tie in to X-History as a whole and isn't particularly special enough to stand on its own. So, I would recommend it if you, like myself, were a big fan of the 90s animated series. I actually found ALL of the old episodes on Marvel.com during my research. ALL OF THEM. My next week is pretty much called for.