Thursday, June 08, 2006

X-MEN #9 Marvel Comics, 1992

It had to happen! Wolverine vs. Ghost Rider! Holy shit, both of them are so hardcore and cool! And I thought last issue's Wolverine vs. Fonzie battle was cool...

I kid. Actually, the scene depicted on the cover never literally takes place inside the comic. Instead we get a crazy-ass story involving the alien Brood, who have transformed Ghost Rider into a kewl looking Brood/Ghost Rider hybrid that rampages through the huge tunnel labrynth under the city of New Orleans. Throw in a subplot involving Gambit's long lost love, and you have a recipe for Bad Comic Gumbo.

As I mentioned, Ghost Rider has been partially transformed by The Brood - which means that his head turns into a flaming, over-rendered Brood noggin. That might sound scary, but basically The X-Men knock Ghost Rider around the tunnels for about twenty pages. It's a little embarassing, really - he's kind of a chump in this issue. Even Jubilee gets a couple of shots in. When a thirteen-year old valley girl is kicking ass on Ghost Rider, something is wrong. I think he even says, "Wha-Huhh???" at one point, which is so sad. The Spirit of Vengeance shouldn't make dumb sounds like that.

Here's Cyclops using Easy Rider for target practice:

X-Men #9 also features the first appearance of a strange new power for The Beast. At one point, Ghost Rider is ineffectually menacing Jubilee and The Beast comes to her rescue. The blue-furred X-Men makes with some funny quips -

- and then punches the ground so hard it causes an earthquake!

Not just any earthquake - look carefully. Is that lava? Heat from the Earth's core perhaps? That's right, it's a frickin' volcano-earthquake. It's just like DragonBall Z!

The Brood-possessed Ghost Rider is caught off-guard by this new power, and can only manage a lame, "Wha--?!" If this comic were a movie, Ghost Rider would do a comedic triple-take, with sound effects.

I think it is an insane and inappropriate new power, but if that's how Marvel wants to roll, who am I to say otherwise? They updated The Beast's entry in the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, so I guess it's canon now:

While battling The Brood in the vastness of underground New Orleans, things get out of hand and the floor caves in, sending our heroes falling into an even more vast network of tunnels and chambers. I had no idea that New Orleans had such an extensive underground.

Not only do The X-Men tumble deep into the porous, cavern-riddled earth below New Orleans, but they are tidily separated into pairs by the collapsing floor. No, seriously. They all roll in different directions as the tunnel caves in.

I cannot wait to visit New Orleans and visit their extensive underground labrynth. I wonder if they do tours. You know, I have learned more about The Big Easy by reading X-Men #9 than I did by watching Hard Target repeatedly. For instance, I learned that New Orleans looks like this in cross-section:

I don't know what Bon Jovi is doing deep in the earth under Louisiana. As far as I know, he's from Jersey. But hey, if X-Men #9 says JBJ is down there, he's down there.

Back to the plot, such as it is. Gambit is conveniently paired off with Bella Donna, a woman he has loved since he was "a pup" who looks like a superhero version of Stevie Nicks. They have some relationship issues to work out - for like, five pages. Get some counseling, people. Now I know why Gambit's nickname for her was "Hella Drama."

Apparently they were engaged to be married, but Gambit ditched her, and now Bella Donna's pissed. Chicks, man. What are you going to do? Gambit gives her the LAMEST excuse for abandoning her ever:

"Don't you see, chere - leavin' you t'live your own life... was de only way I had a' making a choice dat was my own."

Wow. What a dick!

First of all - why does he have to talk like that? Can't he get a speech therapist or something? Second of all - what the hell kind of excuse is that? "Baby, I just had to do my thing. I didn't mean to hit you, baby. Come here, gimme some lovin'." He's like Ike Turner with a Cajun accent!

Further along the tunnels, we find Psylocke and Cyclops, who share a moment fraught with sexual tension. Back in the Nineties, Psylocke was the obligatory Other Telepathic Woman in Cyclops' life. Here, she flirts with the subtlety of a Girls Gone Wild video.

Psst! Cyclops - I think she's talking about sex. But Cyclops is all about the mission, so he blows her off.


In the end, Ghost Rider is cured via a time-honored X-Men tradition: psychic combat. Bella Donna gets gacked by some Brood, but returns in Gambit's solo series. Apparently getting impaled by a huge alien stinger is not as lethal as one would think.

X-Men #9 - discover the geography of New Orleans, marvel at The Beast's new powers, and learn how to talk to women The Gambit Way. And it's all in one comic!


Anonymous said...

What an awesome post to return on! I must have this COMIC!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the cover promises balls to the wall action, but the inside reads like one of those Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art panels ("I've loved Gambit since he was a pup, but now...")

And while the cover showed a scene that didn't appear in the comic (like that's never happened), I'm sure Marvel didn't go overboard and probably only put out seven different hololithografifragilistic variants of it that month instead of the usual 15.

Anonymous said...

Dave -- where's your x-men 3 review? inquiring minds want to know wtf you think, son.

Anonymous said...

I remember this one.

How, exactly, did the Brood infect Ghost Rider?

Health Incognito said...

How, exactly, did the Brood infect Ghost Rider?

I'm not certain, but I think it had something to do with...your mom!

Ahhh. Good to be back.

Anonymous said...

Bon Jovi is doing underneath New Orleans what he always does anywhere he is, rocking out. I'm guessing he was rocking so hard he had to be buried so to contain that high a level of rocking.

Matt Chaput said...

I must know... when Stevie Nicks got an alien stinger through the gut, did she get the word balloon with the empty star shape that means "I was totally unprepared for this, and am therefore shocked into silence as represented by this star?"

Dave, I think you could do a whole post on that star.

Bill, I think you may be confused about the meaning of the phrase "I remember this" :)

Verification word: eufco, for all your euf needs.

Anonymous said...

Lord, how I hate the f*%#ing X-Men. There. I said it.

Welcome back Dave. It was like you were never gone . . . oh, wait . . .

Anonymous said...

Scott was probably too freaked out by Psylocke's enormously large thighs to think about sleeping with her. Her right thing is bigger that her torso, and it's not at all clear from that picture how her left one is connected to her body. No doubt the artist has lapsed into well deserved obscurity by now.

CalvinPitt said...

I'll actually defend Cyclops (a first for me). He's involved with a woman who seems to be borrowing power from an ancient and unstable force that eats suns. Or the force is pretending to be his girlfriend but he can't tell the difference. Or it is his girlfriend, and she's not drawing power from that ancient force, she just seems like she is. Christ, that's confusing, where was I?

Oh yeah, the point is his lady is not someone that you should sleep around on. Though, since he ended up doing that anyway, he would have been better off with a non-evil ninja than Emma Frost.

Hmm, I'm not sure I did a good job defending Cyke.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you my man are back with a vengeance. Three cheers.

As for the X-Men, by the time this series had started, the shark had already been thoroughly jumped.

Anonymous said...

Anyone wanna bet this was going to be in another city entirely, but then a genius editor said "Hey! We gotta have Gambit! Move the setting to New Orleans!"

I mean, hell, they don't even dig in New Orleans to bury the dead.

- Jon

PS: That diagram of New Orlean's subterranean structure is lacking something.... Oh, yeah: Alpha Flight kicking ass.

N. J. Pozner said...

I discovered this brilliant blog today, and have accomplished literally nothing, since I've spent all day reading the archives.

Angry Android said...

I have that comic, and I loved how Psylocke talking to Cyclops in the tunnels made my bathing suit area feel funny...

BTW John, The artist is Jim Lee. Granted, he did have help from his inker Art Thibert.

Finally, I now realize from current events that Scott Lobdell a hack writer and a crappy geologist. How can you have dry underground caverns in New Orleans when the city is BELOW SEA LEVEL!?!

Enough ranting. I too am going to watch that Jean-Claude Van Damme movie where he teams up with the Quaker Oatmeal guy to fight Bishop & High Priest Imhotep.

Anonymous said...

You know what really sucks? When Bella Donna calls Gambit, who is presumably male, "chere" instead of "cher". That's just bad grammar. Then again, maybe she knows something we don't...

Bully said...

I thought that cover said "Death 'Neath New Organs!"

I wanna read astory called "Death 'Neath New Organs!"

Anonymous said...

Dave. What can I say?

You go on hiatus week for a month or so then snap right back into total blog sensei action without any spinning up at all.

All the key stuff is there - N'Orlins caverns, inexplicable thights, badly transliterated dialogue: This post is pure Gambit Gold

And I'm going to keep calling him 'The Cajun Croupier' until it catches on. or New Orleans sinks, whichever is the sooner.

S Bates said...

I mean, hell, they don't even dig in New Orleans to bury the dead.

Well, obviously they can't because of all the X-Men, Brood and Thieves guild members running around the caverns underneath the surface. Oh and Bon Jovi.

They just say the place is below sea level to cover up all these goings-on.

Hmmm, Jim Lee. Whatever happened to him? ;-) Of course, the art is so much better nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! And you picked a great comic to return on. Every time I think, "Aw, the X-Men didn't get THAT bad," stories like this remind me that indeed they did. Sort of like "Beverly Hills 90210" after all the main characters departed and all we had left were Steve Sanders and the chick from "Million Dollar Baby."

I just discovered this blog a day or two before Hiatus Week began. I was beginning to fear that I had somehow jinxed this site. Glad to see that wasn't the case.

Anonymous said...

In that panel where Cyclops blasts Ghost Rider, how is Ghost Rider saying all that crap while being knocked backwards like that? Whoa!

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice that this x-men grouping is almost exactly the one in the old cartoon?

Anonymous said...

There's this great X-Men game on the Sega Genesis called X-Men 2: Clone Wars (I still play it from time to time) where one of Beast's moves is pounding on the ground to create shockwaves.

I always thought it was because Beast needing something cool to do in the game, but I guess this is where it came from.

Anonymous said...

Hey, quoted the Richard Gere Factor:

Anonymous said...

I will also try to defend Cyclops.

Obviously the guy is not a strong personality . . . he has been portrayed as a putz most of the time . . . and he is constantly is being surrounded by Supermodel-type women in thong swimsuits and lingerie who are throwing themselves at him. You do the math!

Anonymous said...

"My hand, Cyclops? Wouldn't you prefer my cooter?"

Tom the Dog said...

So all his life he wants to marry this girl, then when the marriage is set, he has to bail on her because getting exactly what he wants mean he's not making his own choice? What a douche.

I wonder if he does that with every single decision he makes.

SCENE: Italian Restaurant. Gambit is having dinner with a blind date. The waiter brings their food.

GAMBIT: All de day long I been wantin' chicken piccata. Now dat de chicken piccata has been prepared and served to me, de only way I can make my own choice is not t' eat de chicken piccata. Instead, I will burn myself in de eyeball wit' de candle, because dat is de only way I have a' making a choice dat is my own.

(Gambit burns himself in the eyeball with the candle. He screams in agony.)

BLIND DATE: Check, please!

Anonymous said...

Huh--if New Orleans had that many caves underneath it, the city never would have flooded.

Unless...the combined power of Beast's earthquake hands and Jon Bon Jovi's rockin' guitar riffs created a shockwave that repelled the water straight back to the surface.

I see now--it all makes perfect sense.
Or as much sense as a Gambit train of thought.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

The Brood-possessed Ghost Rider is caught off-guard by this new power, and can only manage a lame, "Wha--?!" If this comic were a movie, Ghost Rider would do a comedic triple-take, with sound effects.

If the movie were a great movie, Ghost Rider's voice would sound exactly like Moe Syzlak. "G'wan! I got vengeance for allaya! Whaaa--?!"

The upcoming Hollywood Ghost Rider movie won't give him Moe's voice. You just know it. This will be proof that the filmmakers don't understand the character, and therefore, the movie will suck.

Anonymous said...

Wow, man, what a flashback for me. It was during this time I started to actually read comics for the first time. It's amazing I've been able to stick it out. But, regardless, I just love that cover.

Anonymous said...

You know, that "caverns under New Orleans" thing never would have happened with Claremont. One thing he always seemed to have a firm grasp on, despite the ever-growing self-parody, was setting. He was always sending the X-Men to realistic locations and making it seem like the X-Men were really there, not just generic cities called "San Francisco" or rural countries called "Australia." Claremont would have had the X-Men fall into Lake Ponchartrain, where Rogue would lose her powers and wrestle an alligator naked while Gambit used his charm powers to romance a salmon and Psylocke would pontificate on the focused totality of her wet ninja-knickers.

"I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do is...float. Jub'lation, darlin', bring me a beer an' my snorkels. Ghost Rider ain't got nuthin' on Ghost Diver, the Spirit o' Bouyance."

Anonymous said...

Thank you, angry android, but I can recognize Jim Lee art when I see it.. It was something by way of being a joke.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for yet another reminder as to why I stopped reading comics. I never stopped reading about them however, more please.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Cyclops is just SO classy that he refuses to sleep with anybody who uses such a pathetic come-on.

I mean, jesus, this is like when Gypsy seduced Mike Nelson with, "It isn't broccoli I want, it's... YOU!" and that was a parody of overwrought dialogue.

call me jack... said...

sometimes I honestly wonder if my blind love for the x-men amounts to masochism.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was Jim Lee drawing the book, but by then it was obvious that Art Thibert was doing more and more work on the pages. By the time Lee officially left the book, it looked more like Thibert's art than Lee's, even though Lee was still getting penciller credit, as I recall.

And I think I had a letter printed in that issue. Maybe I shouldn't admit to that, though. It's one of my earlier ones, so it's likely very embarrassing.

Chris Arndt said...

I know it's too late to comment so's that your readers actually read my comment, Dave but...

Beast's new power here? It's an old one. He did it in an issue of X-Factor that popped out in the eighties. Actually, in the first issue that he consistently and permanently became blue and furry again we discovered that he was helluva strong, much more than before, and could punch the ground like that.

So the power is old, not new, at the point of this comic. However... the light thing effect from the ground was just bad drawing. no worries.

Ghost Rider became possessed because he has a human form.

The Beast actually gets some good whuppin' on GR in this issue and I hate any comic that suggests that Hank McCoy CAN'T wup on people as good or better as Wolverine can.

The only thing I actually think is really stupid about this comic.... aside from the tunnels and guild stuff.... is that here is yet another issue where the X-Men think that a good idea is to bring along a 13-year-old amateur.

Now, when you're fighting Hydra or the Hellions there is nothing wrong with bringing about a burgeoning super-hero-in-training.

When you deliberately go up againt the Brood... and you're in confined areas.... bringing in a junior hero is just stupid... and uncomfortable for reading purposes. Do the heroes cut loose? No! They have to protect Jubilee!

The Brood are supposed to be uber-danger X-villains! Who's on the team to fight the Brood? The Junior X-Girl!

Do we hear child service calling?

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Anonymous said...

is wolverine vs ghostrider x-men # 9 even worth holding on too i mean whats it worth $1.25

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