Monday, March 20, 2006

COLOSSUS #1 Marvel Comics, 1997

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 ( 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.


Anonymous said...

That's the Bruce Campbell version of Colossus in the face box, Dave.

Anonymous said...

First of all...
WHAT kind of whacked-out comic-book physics is needed for Colossus' PANTS to stay on in that splash-page shot?

NO...I'm not saying "with Meggan tugging at his loins and cooing french "DO ME" cutsy-isms, while pouting at the camera (where her ASS is also aimed) what woudn't get the "steel-hard" Mutie to 'drop trou'?"

That's not what I'm saying at all.
Get your minds outta the gutter!

I'm saying, those are cut from the hip to the ankle on the outside of each leg and yet, they still conform to his inner legs no matter what movement he makes.

I HATE dumb costume design.
SURE it might look good on paper, but it is even REMOTELY FEASABLE?

What? It's a comic book?
They have "unstable molecules??"
Oh. Right.
All's right with the world. I'll get onto Meggan.
(heh heh...whoops! Didn't quite mean in THAT way. heh heh.
Get MY mind outta the gutter!)

SURE, she's vapid and annoyingly "naive".
THAT is the ONLY reason that I can even remotely believe the "just friends" angle to the story.

Colossus was portrayed as being similarly naive for over a decade.
(Until he destroyed Proteus, thus learning "terminal violence"...and lusted after a little girl named "Kitty", thus learning about the lure of "kitty porn". ugh...sorry.)

He "grew up" over time, and maybe...JUST maybe...can look upon this veluptuous, coy, seductress (who will transform into whatEVER your inner desires wish her to be) as a "little sister" because she's sooooooo "innocent".


But, on the flip-side..we KNOW CAPTAIN BRITAIN has been "planting his flagpole" therein for YEARS!
Taking NO account for her being an emotionally stunted, fairy girl.

All's fair in love and war...and needy, coy & cloying fairy booty.

There should be a comic scene with Captain Britain, Meggan & Captain America where OUR Cap looks at BRIT CAP.

Then looks at 6year old girl in hot-bod and bakini panties cooing all over BRIT CAP.

Then looks back at BRIT CAP and just shakes his head in distain.

no words.

Just "the look".

Oh, Dave.
Your daughter said ALL that?
Make-believe-land with the leprichauns?

That is:

a) VERY cool and advanced thought processing about what's real and not.

b) a sign that you are feeding her strange halucinatory-inducing drugs mixed with her 'Lucky Charms'.

CAP is giving YOU "the look" now too.


Be well.
Give her a hug!

(and please, don't let her fall into the "someday my prince will come" trap. That has killed the mind and souls of too many young girls.)


word verification:


"Fictional" comic book "mid-east" country where little girls aren't allowed to be all they can be.

BigSleep666 said...

That's the Morrissey version of Colossus in the face box, Dave.

Jon said...

I just tried to work out how the Hell a vibranium bullet would work. All I could figure is that the bullet would absorb the energy from the exploding gunpowder and sit, unmoved, in the barrel. This, of course, means that I clearly need a freaking day job.

David C said...

So... what would happen if a leprechaun agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. fought Marvel's Godzilla?

Word verification:
"ethnsic" - short for expressing the concept of "ethnic language (sic)."

e.g., And then Vibe replied "Chu know it's the truth, meng! (ethnsic)"

Marc Burkhardt said...

The Godzilla quote is indeed cute. My 7-year old loves Gigan, of all monsters...

Anonymous said...

When my 2 year old nephew (he'll be 3 in September) was once asked why he wasn't scared of monsters like his cousin was he replied: "Cause Byoom (his word for Ultraman at the time) kicks 'em!"

And I submit that Colossus being the big fan of Fatal Attraction that he is and knowing just how nuts Meggan can be is what prevented him from going any further in said Paris Hotel room.

Mark W. Hale said...

Tch. You should know that women have the right to be giggling, simple-minded sexpots these days, David.

call me jack... said...

1) as a female, Meggan is not one of my favorite characters. I never really thought about her at all.

1) I think Meggan is invulnerable to an extent, so she would survive the fall. doesn't excuse "Colossus's" irresponsibily, but there you go.

2) you are absolutly right, Meggan
is a very sexist character. a gorgeous woman who is completely submissive, even willing to shapeshift into whatever form you find most attractive? she'd fit in just right with early female superheroes.

3) for some reason this post wouldn't load at first, so I was stuck with the sentence "Meggan want". I thought this was amusing.

4) Chris Claremount recently killed her off, and as she is not a very popular character except as Captain Britian's girlfriend, I do not see her coming back anytime soon.

call me jack... said...

oh, but no picking on Arcade. gotta have the occassional bat-shit crazy character for superheroes to fight.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Is covewest posting under "SanctumSanctorumComix" now? That's a long, long post....

Ummmmm, Arcade sucks. Suck-tacular suckage of suck-lossal proprotions. I know you're saying "Why, Arcade's not stupid, he's British and you just don't understand." You know, I dug the Prisoner. I dug the Avengers. I dug Red Dwarf. I know British Cool and, baby, Arcade is not it.

Two things will make me not buy a comic under any circumstances: one of them is Arcade.

David Campbell said...

...and the other thing is man-boobs.

Anonymous said...

All else aside, I gotta say, in the first panel of the first smattering of panels, Meggan and Piotr look like deeply crazy people, regardless of context. Yow.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the reworked Captain Britain comic possibility. Heck, Piotr's bigger than The Captain, so that could easily work.

Also, Captain Britain doesn't need your Captain America's approval! He just needs this scotch! It's a better friend to him than you could ever be!

God, I hates me the Claremont.

Ken said...

Well, Colossus could have said "yob tvoyu mat" instead of "bozhe moi." That would have been all edgy and stuff, but somebody would have complained.

Anonymous said...

"Bozhe Moi" = "I am SO turned on right now." Go back into old X-Men comics, substitue said phrase, tell me I'm wrong. See also: "Ach du Lieber!" "By the Goddess," "No quarter asked, none given," "focused totality," "I'm the best there is at what I do," etc.

Anonymous said...

Ben Raab: I don't like to harsh on anyone, but his run of Excalibur, with this issue of Colossus for good measure, sucks. Suckity suckity sucks. It was after Warren Ellis finished his run, so why not cleanse the palate with a writer who thought it was a good idea to bring back Shamrock.
sw: Arcade's American, I think, so he can't be blamed on England.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, for calling foul on the "a character can survive a fall from any height as long as they land in someone's arms" law of comic book physics. It's weird; I'm fine with the "a trenchcoat and hat will disguise anyone" law, I'm good with the "objects made out of solid sound" power, but this one just bugs me.

I remember a long-ago interview with an artist who'd done an Iron Fist/X-Men crossover laughing about how the first version of the script had called for Wolverine to get knocked out of a helicopter, fall 100 feet, and get caught by Colossus in his steel-form. He sent it back with the memo "Do you want me to show his adamantium skeleton getting shoved out through his skin by the impact, or leave it off-panel?"

joncormier said...

I want the sneakers that he wears. A two ton metal man just fell five storeys and they didn't break. I bet jogging wouldn't wear them down either.

gorjus said...

As far as Colossus jumping out the window--Meggan can FLY, as well! I mean . . . come on. Why would she even care?

I'm more surprised at the lengthy conversation they managed to have as they fell only about forty feet. "Here we go . . . one story . . . two story . . . three . . . ." I mean, COME ON. They have a lengthy conversation!

It's also tremendously out of character for the Colossus I grew up with. Fun-loving? Jumping out of windows? Stupid.

Eh, I was always semi-okay with Meggan, mainly because it seemed early on that Claremont and Davis MEANT for it to be a little creepy that she molded to certain perceptions. She started out as a werewolfy-lookin' thing, who of course was dismissed by Capt. Britain, but then when she went all "moth" and transformed into a stereotypical supermodel, Braddock totally freaked out and started hitting on her.

She seemed, then, to be a sort of conscious stand-in/mockery of the willing female that, through self-transformation, actually effected control over those around her (in other words, something like Camille Paglia would argue, Meggan isn't being controlled by the men around her--she's controlling them via her ability to become their fantasty object).

Long story short, I'm not sure I buy that, though. There's a thin line between objectification and "controlling" said objectification.

Anonymous said...

Gorjus: That reminds me of the issue of Cyberforce where Ripclaw leaps out of a tree... and in mid-leap, he offers this entire monologue to Velocity about her place on the team. The scene was so absurd they even reprinted the page in the Wizard letters column, mocking the hell out of it.

Arcade is simply lame. Even Claremont seemed to admit this in the first The New Age trade, where Viper uses a Muderworld she BOUGHT ON EBAY. Of course, Sage outflanks it, as she always does.

Gregory said...

The Angry Meggan Joke -- she discovers the park is closed and decks the mechanical talking mascot -- is stolen outright from National Lampoon's Vacation.

Anonymous said...

But, except for Wolverine, don't all X-Men solo books suck?

zjzutksq -What Captain Marvel from the 17th dimension shouts Zjzutksq!

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Paris + champagne + hotel room + hot woman in bikini = sex.

This equation has been tested by Harvey Jerkwater. Math is fun.

Harvey Jerkwater declares the equation to be the Gospel Truth. He also refers to himself in the third person.

Meggan as a commentary? She falls under the David Spade Rule: If you are an "ironic commentary" on something long enough, the ironic commentary is eventually lost and you become the thing you used to mock.

Spade started out as an ironic commentary on smug tools. Over the years, he became one, straight up. Meggan began as an ironic commentary on male fantasy figures. Over the years, yep...

Bully said...

"Chris Claremount recently killed her off, and as she is not a very popular character except as Captain Britian's girlfriend, I do not see her coming back anytime soon."

Are you kidding? The afterlife of the Marvel Universe has a freaking revolving door on it. I didn't knwo she was dead, so I don't even know the details of her death, yet I tell you this (aka these are my words): as soon as someone wants her back for a story, she'll be back with some lame explanation of how she survived death due to fairy dust or something.

As I like to say about superhero comics: "There is no story that cannot be undone."

Bully said...


That's the Jay Leno version of Colossus in the face box, Dave.

call me jack... said...

"Bully said...

"Chris Claremount recently killed her off, and as she is not a very popular character except as Captain Britian's girlfriend, I do not see her coming back anytime soon."

Are you kidding? The afterlife of the Marvel Universe has a freaking revolving door on it. I didn't knwo she was dead, so I don't even know the details of her death, yet I tell you this (aka these are my words): as soon as someone wants her back for a story, she'll be back with some lame explanation of how she survived death due to fairy dust or something."

but I don't see any reason why an author would want her back. she contracted obscurity, the one disease that is fatal in Marvel. we may see a sibling or a wierd cross between her and another character, but Meggan will not be back.

Anonymous said...

Always thought Meggan was there so Betsy (and, later, Kitty) could look smart and independent regardless of what they did or suffered. Kind of like the guy across the aisle from Roger Ebert.


Anonymous said...

If someone wants Meggan back from the dead all they have to do is get te kids to clap.

Anyone who knows anything about pixies and fairies knows that they can come back from the dead thru a child's applause (ala Tinkerbell).

...or...a convoluted and contrived plot retcon.

Either / or.



word verification:


the "God of the Underworld" in Fairey mythology.

Meggan's hot bod is rotting in the realm of Fvihvjw; the Fairy Lord of Death.

Anonymous said...

Ok, gotta way in. I'm with Dave 100% on the weirdness of this issue, but you guys NEED to stop whining about timing in comics. That's what makes comics cool,and why I largely now only but Marvel Essentials collections and anything by Joss Whedon or Geoff Johns (not that they are perfect, just better odds). I listen to music for lyrics, watch movies for scripts and read comic books for stories. If watching Beast jump fences and climb walls to break into a genetics lab (Astonishing X-Men)explains what's going on, that's peachy, but just "watching" artists give me panels that bleed all over each other and give me close ups of eyes and fists and fists hitting eyes, and Everyone down to Aunt May cursing like a sailor I close the book and watch Predator 2. It's as well written and makes as much sense. Seriously... Marvel's obsession with making everyone as mean and dirty as possible is boring and an insult to their own history. The whole point of characters like the Punisher was their contrast to superheroes. Wolverine's team-mates used to turn their powers on him to stop him from killing, now it's like, Spiderman is all "Die! Mo' Fo'!"

I'm sorry... what was I ranting about again???? Something about being old.....

Anonymous said...

I meant "weigh in"

gorjus said...

Harvey, as usual, nails it: ironic commentary consumed dear, pathetic Meggan.

Anonymous said...

Just for educational purposes: "bozhe moi" (боже мой if I remember how to spell at all) means "my god!"

Marionette said...

I was going to stand up for Meggan but Harvey is right. The Meggan I liked was the original Meggan created by Alan Moore and refined by Jamie Delano.

But then any version of Betsy Braddock from the point Claremont unblinded her makes me ill.

Anonymous said...

I'll answer that challenge! Yes, I am female and Meggan is one of my favorite characters. I got into comics by reading the original
Excalibur books and I loved the whole line-up (including Meggan).

What people seem to be missing is that Meggan is a tragic character. She's childlike and naive because she was isolated as a child and as a result,is socially retarded. And then people who could have helped her chose to use her instead.

Meggan became a vacuous playmate to please Captain Britain - that she felt she had to do this in the first place and that she failed to break away from an abusive relationship where she was unappreciated is what is pathetic about her story.

She started out compelling as the moth/beast-girl, insecure and needing to make up for lost time maturity wise and also desperately needing confidence. Nightcrawler, on the Excalibur team, was a great confidante for helping her with that. (And for helping her learn to read, because she was illiterate)

If the writer's had allowed her to have that kind of arc - she might have ended up at least as interesting as she started out. Instead it was a case of arrested development - she never gets to achieve the kind of independence that Kitty and Rachel started out with.

And her mutation was really interesting too - and symbolic. No, she's not a role model because she's only beginning to discover who she is, what she wants, and how to say no! She gains strength when her natural strength is nurtured in her by her friends.

Making her all ultra-powerful and her true form otherworldly was the wrong way to go in my opinion. They should have let her choose.

Anyway, Meggan? Could have been a great character - but the potential was wasted. Although, depite that, I really was sorry to hear she's been killed off/exiled to Limbo.

Poor Meggan :(


(Oh, and those issues written and drawn by Davis were my favorites! The scene where Meggan leaves the fortune teller was the one where I finally decided that I liked that character)

(Also, your little girl is adorable!)

David Campbell said...

What a heartfelt and articulate defense of Meggan - it almost made me change my mind about her, and that's saying something.

Kirsten wins!

Anonymous said...

A really good read. Thanks Dave!

Mister Sinister said...

Meggan is the British Pam An who was created to piss off anyone who loved Excalibur. Colossus is insanely large. The picture at the top is the one of the Flock of Seagulls guy.

Meggan is a slut.



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