Colossus #1 was a one-shot comic written by Ben Raab and penciled by Bryan Hitch that seems to serve no purpose.
I mean, it’s an entertaining enough comic, but I can’t figure out why Marvel had such a burning urge to publish this book. It’s a pretty stock story that doesn’t change the status quo of the character or shed any new light on Colossus’s personality. With some minor changes, you could drop any X-Men character into this plot. Hell, you could drop my three-year old daughter into the plot and it would still work. Actually, no: there’s a dragon in the comic that would scare her.*
Call me skeptical, but I’m wondering if this isn’t one of those comics intended solely to preserve Marvel’s rights to the name “Colossus.” I don’t know a lot about copyright law and intellectual property rights, but this smells like a comic mandated more by Marvel’s legal team than by Marvel’s editorial team.
"I don't want to take the piss out of Colossus #1 too much... Oh, what the hell. Let's take the piss out of it."
The story is simple enough – the steel-skinned Russian mutant Colossus goes on a vacation to Paris with Captain Britain’s girlfriend Meggan, who we will discuss later. I guess Captain Britain is a really trusting guy. Anyway, the flamboyant funhouse assassin Arcade tries to kill both of them in one of his extravagant Murderworld death traps. He fails. Arcade promises to tell Colossus who hired him if the X-Man will fake his own death – it seems that Arcade’s employer’s aren’t the forgiving sort, and will kill him if he doesn’t fulfill his contract. Colossus agrees and everybody’s happy and friends at the end.
I don’t want to take the piss out of Colossus #1 too much, because it clearly doesn’t aspire to be anything but bubble gum adventure. Raab’s story bops along at a nice pace and he keeps it light, although some of the dialogue is physically painful to read and the characters do strange things that normal, sane people wouldn’t do. The art, by the stellar team of Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary, is great – no complaints here. It’s not like it’s an offensively bad comic…
Oh, what the hell, let’s take the piss out of it.
Check out that cover (above): a nice shot of Colossus looking huge, battling a dragon-thingy. That’s great, but check out the customary Marvel Comics floating-head-box in the upper left hand corner. What the hell is that? A picture of Meggan having a grand mal seizure? A weird alternate universe Elvis/Frankenstein version of Colossus? Some editor’s cousin must have drawn that – it’s the only explanation.
Before I get around to complaining about Meggan, the Worst Female Role Model in Comics, I want to digress and talk about when people in comics do weird shit that normal people wouldn’t do. Bear with me.
At the beginning of the comic, the un-armored Colossus and Meggan are enjoying the view of the romantic City of Lights from the balcony of their hotel. Colossus is drinking some champagne while Meggan lounges around in very little clothing. They’re just buddies, though. I’m sorry, but I gotta call bullshit on that. Paris + champagne + hotel room + hot woman in bikini = sex.
Meggan really wants to go to Dudleyworld, a Disneyland analog, because she is essentially a child in a woman’s body – a really stacked woman’s body. Because Colossus is such a fun loving guy, he grabs Meggan and away they go!
He jumps off the balcony to the crowded city street below. Check it:
Fortunately, right before they splatter on the street, Colossus transforms into his invulnerable organic-metal form, and they land safely. The impact sends waiters and patrons at streetside cafes flying, and cracks the pavement of the street. Remarkably, no one is hurt. Plus, we get a full-page shot of Meggan biting her lip and looking hot:
Now I ask you: If you were a member of a persecuted minority of super-powered freaks, would you purposely endanger the lives of pedestrians, destroy a city street, and scare the shit out of everybody just for laughs? That kind of makes Colossus a dick, doesn’t it? The scene is designed as a light-hearted way of introducing the reader to Colossus’s powers, but at the expense of logic and character continuity.
I also ask you: how would anyone be saved from injury in such circumstances? Sure, Colossus would be fine, but the person he's carrying has still dropped five-stories. Big deal, Colossus turned to steel - you'd go splat.
After terrorizing Paris for laughs, Colossus and Meggan head over to Dudleyworld, which is closed because Arcade has set up shop inside. No, I don’t know how one takes over a perfectly functional amusement park without anyone noticing either. Meggan is pissed that the park is closed.
Meggan destroys the dragon-motif information station in a fit of rage. She’s a superhero, so she solves problems with violence. But let’s get crazy and employ real world rational thought for a minute. If you had a friend that say, took an axe to an ATM that was out of cash, wouldn’t you think that was strange? Wouldn’t you stop returning that person’s phone calls?
Colossus thinks “Bozhe moi!” when he witnesses this act of mindless destruction, which I believe is Russian for, “Holy shit, what a psycho!”
Anyway, they both get kidnapped by Arcade and are forced to run a virtual reality gauntlet in his Murderworld. Arcade has no mutant powers, except for the ability to inflate one of his eyeballs, as seen below.
Despite the name, Murderworld doesn’t seem like that deadly a place. I can’t think of a single superhero who has actually died in one of Arcade’s lethal amusement parks, which makes one wonder why people keep hiring Arcade in the first place. Plus, what is the overhead on a place like that? It’s gotta be expensive to create elaborate yet whimsical death traps every six months or so. How does Arcade make a profit? Does he pass the operating expenses on to his employers? If I needed a mutant dead, I’d just hire a sniper with vibranium bullets and call it good.
But perhaps I’m overthinking the whole thing.
For some reason, Colossus agrees to fake their deaths at the hands of Arcade in order to learn who hired him. It turns out that the British criminal organization Black Air (insert fart joke here) has a grudge against Colossus and Co., and will also kill Arcade if he fails to assassinate the Russian mutant. Colossus and Meggan stage a big fight against a power-armored Arcade in Dudleyworld. A giant robotic Dudley the Dragon joins the fray, which pisses off the volatile Meggan.
In the end, Colossus and Meggan board the QE2 cruise ship for a trip back to England in “disguise,” where they meet Arcade and his robotic assistant Ms. Locke, also in “disguise.” They all hang out together and everybody’s happy and Colossus and Meggan forgive and forget the multiple attempts on their lives and ha ha ha, what a lark!
I know what you’re thinking: who takes the QE2 across the English Channel? There are flights leaving for Heathrow every ten minutes from Paris. Or they could take a channel ferry. Or The Chunnel. Or charter a plane. Or Meggan could fly them. But no, if logic were employed it would ruin the cute ending, so board the cruise ship they must. Sigh.
Okay, so let’s talk about Meggan, the Worst Female Role Model in Comics. I challenge any female reading this to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and explain why Meggan is their favorite character. Is she anybody’s favorite character? Probably. If the Night Ranger Factor
holds true, there is some skulking, masturbating young man in Baltimore who is Earth’s #1 Meggan fan.
But do any women like Meggan?
Some background: Meggan is a shapely shapeshifter with empathic and elemental powers who hangs on Captain Britain’s elbow. She is extremely sensitive to other people’s emotions, and often subconsciously alters her appearance to match the desires/moods of others. She is innocent and naïve to the point of nausea. Meggan acts like a child, yet she has the body of a centerfold model.
The only time I’ve ever even remotely liked Meggan was during Alan Davis’s tenure as writer and artist of Excalibur. He alone seemed to um, nail Meggan. The rest of the time she’s just an infantilized, sexed-up Barbie who jiggles around, pouting and crying and giggling and chasing butterflies and shit like that.
The sexual politics of the character are a little creepy, if you ask me. I submit to you, fair reader, that no self-respecting woman would ever create such a weird character, and that no woman on the planet adores Meggan above all characters. Prove me wrong!
Again, perhaps I am over-analyzing things. But when you have two daughters and went to a hippy college like me, you start to question shit like Meggan and Barbie and those evil Bratz dolls and the message they send to girls. More positive superhero women, please, and less submissive sex dolls like Meggan.
And that’s the end of my Meggan rant.
As a last bit of evidence, I present the splash page of Colossus #1 for your enjoyment:
Holy crap, that was an unreasonably long post for such a light comic book! Next: a 100,000 word treatise on the comic Avengyline.**
*My three-year old is strangely fascinated/scared by monsters lately, particularly Godzilla. She recently said, “We’d never see Godzilla walking down the street, because he lives in Make-Believe Land with the leprechauns. I live in Reality, so we’ll never see Godzilla. Is Godzilla outside?” Tell me that isn’t cute as hell.
**I kid. I wouldn’t do that to you.