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Aug 17

X-Men/Iron Man/Nova: “No End In Sight”

Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Paul in Uncategorized

A relatively obscure story this week – this is a three-parter running through Uncanny X-Men Special #1, Iron Man Special #1, and Nova Special #1, a similar format to last year’s “Arms of the Octopus”.  These stories are pretty much incidental so far as the wider continuity is concerned, but rather than treat them as complete filler, Marvel seem to regard them as a good venue to try out new creators.

So we have here a complete story by Sean Ryan, who has a number of scattered writing credits to his name, but is probably best known in these parts as a former X-books assistant editor from a while back.  On art, we have three pencillers and six inkers, but since all involved are going for a relatively straightforward Marvel style (and colourist Ruth Redmond is able to impose a degree of consistency), the result reads quite smoothly.

The pencillers in question are Ron Ackins, who seems to be principally a commercial illustrator working in sports merchandise; Rahmat Handoko, who has done things like DC Universe Online cards; and John Timms, who appears to be a storyboard artist from Costa Rica.  So an unusual group to commission, but they all seem comfortably up to scratch for this sort of project.

As for the story, it’s mostly a straightforward romp, until it winds up taking a metatextual turn towards the end.  The basic plot has a down-on-his-luck Monark Starstalker – a fairly obscure Howard Chaykin creation from the 1970s – trying to claim a bounty on Havok’s head, dating from his stint in the Starjammers.  Monark hires Death’s Head to kidnap Havok, but messes up the instructions, which leads to Death’s Head kidnapping Cyclops, dumping him on the confused Monark, and swanning off.  The Uncanny X-Men trainees pose as SWORD agents to try to trace Death’s Head and find Cyclops, and end up saddled with the unwanted help of Iron Man.  Meanwhile, Monark tries to enlist Nova to dig him out of the mess he’s in.

I mention that last sentence because one of the problems with this format is finding a way for all three supposed stars to actually function as protagonists.  And the story doesn’t really solve that problem; Nova’s role is a tad forced, and Iron Man is really serving here as a guest star in the X-trainees’ story.  But hey, it’s the X-Men who interest us, so that’s no problem as far as we’re concerned.

This is, in fact, a pretty fun story.  Ryan has a decent ear for dialogue; the students feel pretty rounded here, Monark’s increasing desperation is nicely pitched, and the comedy moments mostly land well.  The central joke of Iron Man being too self-absorbed to pick up on how unconvincing the X-trainees are as SWORD agents (and also having better things to do with his time than keep track of minor X-Men characters) is nicely pitched, and actually plays into Ryan’s bigger theme – though the story does enough to justify Iron Man’s self-belief to stop him looking like a clown.

So all this is rather good.  Mind you – and this is a bit of a digression, because it’s a minor issue in the context of this story – it’s increasingly clear that there’s a problem with Tempus as a viable X-Man.  Tempus’s power is to freeze time.  This is a cool moment once, but in practical terms it amounts to a power to make fight scenes not happen.

In theory the same issue arises with telepaths, who could just zap all their opponents in the first five seconds.  In practice writers have got around that by simply establishing a convention that this is not how it works, and that combat telepathy is a rather more restricted art.   But that hasn’t happened with Tempus, who does indeed just shut down fight scenes in progress.  Yet the genre demands that fight scenes have to happen.  Which means that Tempus has to either (i) be left at home, (ii) get clocked over the head with a brick in the first five seconds, or worst of all (iii) stand around like a lemming until the writer decides it’s time for the fight to end.

I’m not completely sure that this is a solvable problem.  It’s not really obvious how you come up with a workable combat version of Tempus’ powers.  In terms of precursors, there’s Tempo from the Mutant Liberation Front, but she just slowed time, and besides, she was a villain – it was fine to have her give her team an unfair advantage at the start of the fight.  That doesn’t work for a hero.

Or… well, yes, they did get four years of episodes out of this:

But sitcom plots usually involve the sort of problem that will still be there waiting when time resumes (plus the set-up required Evie to conceal her powers from other characters, which also limited what she could do during a freeze), so she could have that power without breaking the show.  In X-Men, Tempus pretty much has the magic power to prevent the plot from happening, which might work for a villain, but raises some real workability issues for a hero.

Like I say, though, while this is an issue for Tempus generally, it’s completely marginal in the context of “No End In Sight”.  So let’s return to what Sean Ryan’s really interested in here.

Ryan’s fundamental concern actually seems to be the open-ended nature of superhero comics – hence the title.  More specifically, his interest seems to be in the idea of characters simply drifting off into obscurity without ever getting a proper resolution to their story.  So Monark is a character whose glory days are long since behind him, for reasons he can’t quite understand, and now finds himself eking out a living on the foothills of continuity.  An entire subplot sees Triage realising just how many obscure X-Men trainees have come before him and angsting about what this implies for him.  This ties back in with the main story, where part of the point is that the likes of Triage and Goldballs are just so far down the pecking order as to be beneath the notice of an A-list character like Iron Man.  It’s not that they’re doing a great job of posing as SWORD agents, it’s that he wouldn’t recognise them even if he met them in the street.  Keep track of the X-Men trainees?  Who can be bothered?

In keeping with this, the story itself ends in a weird anticlimax.  The X-Men get their win, in as much as they track Cyclops down and rescue him.  But the wider story notionally ends simply with the guy who put the bounty on Havok’s head turning out to be a very old man who dies when he falls over while trying to reach a high shelf.  Nova dutifully proclaims this to be the resolution of the plot, only for Monark to point out that nothing has been resolved from his point of view.  And the story then just keeps going for a couple of pages in which Nova stands around looking unsettled and confused while minor characters clear things up and complete paperwork in the background.

This is a very neat moment of selling the ending as an anti-climax, and seems to suggest that Ryan is trying to explore the tension between, on the one hand, the never ending nature of superhero franchises, and on the other, the idea that conventional resolution would be artificial anyway.

But it feels like the story stops short of pushing these points as far as it could.  It ends with Iron Man giving a moral (which is itself a bit too neat of an ending after what’s gone before), which pretty much boils down to “yeah, it’s all terribly unsatisfactory but we’ve got to make the best of it”.  And there are a few very curious choices in the way the theme is developed.  So, for example, when an obscure villain shows up in a bar complaining that his life was ruined in an Avengers story that nobody ever followed up on, Iron Man’s you-brought-it-on-yourself response pretty much ignores the ostensible theme.  Perhaps that’s the idea – that Iron Man, as the A-list character, is utterly complacent about the minor characters below him – but it doesn’t come across very clearly.

There’s a decidedly odd decision to play up the New Mutants as examples of forgotten characters.  Presumably this is because Ryan is trying to map his story onto the available cast members and has settled on Magik – but the New Mutants are about the only X-Men trainees who aren’t forgotten.  Two of them are in the Avengers; two more are in X-Factor; another two have been used prominently in recent comics.  Interestingly, Magik claims that the characters who’ve disappeared are luckier than her, but the story never does much to explain why this should be so, beyond the fact that 2014 Magik is generally sulky and depressed.   Magik is actually a neat fit for this theme because the original concept of the character had a defined end point, which was reached in “Inferno” – but the gravity of the Marvel Universe meant that she just got brought back anyway, even though her story was done and she had nowhere left to go.    If the story is intending to play off this, though, it’s assuming that everyone remembers it.

And what’s Death’s Head doing in this story?  If he’s here to represent characters who can do the same basic schtick indefinitely, it’s odd that he doesn’t do his trademark speech patterns.  And in fact he’s a bad example for the theme, because he’s a rare example of a character who does have an ending story – his personal timeline ends with Marvel UK’s Death’s Head II miniseries from the mid-90s.  For that matter, what does Nova bring to this story, beyond his name being in the title of issue #3?

So while there are interesting ideas being raised here, the story has rather too many elements floating about that don’t seem to cohere with any real stance emerging.  For all that, though, it’s a pleasantly diverting read.  It certainly aspires to more than merely filling the pages, but at the same time it does a decent job of selling the Uncanny trainees as characters who are fun to read about, and (at least until the epilogue) it doesn’t allow its underlying themes to overshadow being a romp first and foremost.

Bring on the comments

  1. On the one hand, assuming you have Ryan’s intention right, I think you did a better job teasing it out than he did, which is a problem. As you say, the ending is fairly muddled.

    On the other hand, I didn’t realize how much I wanted a storyline with Iron Man as the butt of the joke until I got one.

    Has anyone ever done a story where the current Cyclops team junior X-Men meet the Jean Grey school students? Given all the emphasis that’s been placed, especially by Aaron, on how awesome the school is from a student’s point of view, it might be interesting to see how Cyclops’ group regard their decrepit abandoned military base in comparison.

  2. Martin Smith says:

    I haven’t read this, but Starstalker has history with Nova – well, Rich Rider at least. He came into the main Marvel U through the Fault during Realm of Kings, where he met Rider, who told Starstalker he was an artificial being. So he knows of the Nova Corps as being peace-keepers and trustworthy and could conceivably think to go to one of them for help.

    As for Death’s Head, there’s technically at least two of him running around now: the one from the Transformers universe that got shrunk down by the Doctor, went to 8162, then the modern Marvel U and eventually became Death’s Head II; and the one Gillen used in SWORD, who is native to the Marvel U and still Transformers-sized. Plus as a time-traveller/dimension-hopper, I’d say there’s wiggle room to get around his inevitable fate as DH2 (which is nice, as I don’t like DH2 personally – seems like Death’s Head stripped of everything that made him work and then put through a 90s Image filter). Especially as this one seems to be in his Transformers-era green outfit, that he lost as soon as he was shuffled off into his own book and hasn’t used since. (As you may have guessed, I’ve been reading a lot of Death’s Head lately).

  3. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Wait, this Starstalker guy wants to claim a bounty on Havok, so he hires a bounty hunter to capture him? One of these people hasn’t quite grasped the economics involved.

  4. Nick says:

    I’ll have to track this story done now that I know Death’s Head is in it.

  5. kelvingreen says:

    Martin, the SWORD Death’s Head is the same one from the Transformers universe, but it’s early in his timeline and he hasn’t gone to the Transformers universe yet. At least that’s the implication from his SWORD appearance.

    So yes, there are two (maybe three, four if you count DHII) of him running around, but it’s the same character from two different points in his timeline. Probably.

  6. Paul says:

    @Daibhid: The story does actually have an explanation for that. Because he’s desperate, Monark has promised to fulfil the contract – and then belatedly realised that it’s completely beyond his abilities, so he ends up going even further into debt in order to hire DH to try and get him off the hook. As for why DH doesn’t cut out the middle man, he’s not willing to go after Havok for that money because it means picking a fight with the Avengers. (Evidently he’s not so worried about Scott’s splinter team, and fair enough, really.). There’s an implication that DH knew all along that Monark had got the instructions wrong and that he was taking advantage.

  7. halapeno says:

    Re: Tempus. I haven’t bought an X-book in ten years so this is the first I’ve heard of him. Sounds crap.

    It amazes me when writers come up with these superpowers for new heroes without immediately realizing the obvious problems they pose. When Ed Brubaker gave us Darwin, I was like “Okay, really? This is a character who can survive whatever the plot throws at him without having to do anything?” Sure enough, a few issues into “Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire”, Darwin gets sucked into space and his body saved him by immediately adapting to the conditions. What a horrible character. I was genuinely surprised that Brubaker thought he’d be a good idea.

  8. Paul says:

    Darwin is very workable. Yes, he’s functionally invulnerable, but so is Kitty (and much of the time Wolverine). Darwin doesn’t break the plot unless the only threat is to Darwin himself. With no offensive powers he still has to be creative in order to stop the bad guy. Otherwise he’s just the one survivor on a dead team, standing there helplessly while the baddies march past him and shove him aside.

  9. Joseph says:

    Tempus is supposedly a fan favorite. She’ll be the star of an upcoming annual, covering the time she disappeared while on a mission to Tabula Rasa in an Uncanny story earlier this year. We’ll see how that goes.

    I agree, Darwin ended being a much more interesting, and workable, character than I first thought. But so did Layla Millar. So, kudos to PAD for those. I doubt either will make any appearances in the foreseeable future. (Wood totally ignored the fact that Monet was with Darwin last we saw her.)

    So, IRON MAN. Any idea why Stark didn’t have any facial hair in this story?

  10. Joseph says:

    Also the art seems to confuse Tempus and one of the Cuckoos in the Nova issue, talk of mind-reading and what not. Right?

  11. ASV says:

    Possibly the same reason that shapeshifter X-Student whose name I don’t remember went from having a goatee, to not having one, to shapeshifting back into one. And that 15-year-old Nova looked about a foot and a half taller than he does in his regular series. And for that matter, why Captain America’s new costume looks different in every book he appears in.

    (It’s that nobody seems to bother with character reference sheets at Marvel anymore.)

  12. halapeno says:

    @Paul – Well, Kitty needs to consciously activate her mutant power. She can be easily taken out provided she isn’t aware that she’s about to be attacked. Darwin, by contrast, could fend off an attacker in his sleep.

    As far as Wolverine goes, haven’t you in past cited his functional invulnerability as being problematic? I recall you writing something along the lines of “We all know Wolverine won’t die due to his popularity. What’s important is that HE believes he can die within the logic of the story” This was, I think in your review of a story written by Marc Guggenheim many years back that dialed down his healing factor.

    I guess I’m just not interested in a character who can’t die and knows he can’t die. The only thing interesting I can think of along those lines would be if Darwin were desperately suicidal. And even that idea has limited mileage.

  13. Paul says:

    The point I made about Wolverine only holds true for certain types of story and to be honest I’m no longer particularly convinced that it’s right. It’s perfectly possible to do superhero comics where the principal threat is to something other than the life of the hero himself. Otherwise Superman wouldn’t work, and plainly he does.

  14. Matt Andersen says:

    @halopeno – “Well, Kitty needs to consciously activate her mutant power. She can be easily taken out provided she isn’t aware that she’s about to be attacked”

    For Kitty, it depends on who writes her. Claremont and Ellis used to write about her always being intangible, and needing to concentrate to become solid. Brian Bendis spent years writing Kitty as a supporting character in his Spider-Man stories where she’s functionally invincible even when she’s solid, but there was still dramatic tension because her friends could all die even if she couldn’t. Using characters like Kitty, Darwin, and Nightcrawler who can’t really be hurt, or characters like Karma that can just instantly win whenever they’re sick of fighting, just requires a writer that’s aware of the storytelling limitations that they posses, and is willing to work around it. Knocking someone out at the begining of the issue is conceding that you’ve included a character that’s too powerful for the plot to work, and have just given up.

    Kitty and Darwin, and I’d say even Tempus, aren’t really inherently broken, unless you insist on making every villain someone with punch-y type powers who just isn’t equipped to fight anyone that isn’t dumb muscle. Kitty isn’t any more invulnerable than the current version of Iceman is, but Mike Carey, Jason Aaron, and Marjorie Liu managed to find ways of using Iceman in big scale team battles where you could at least trick people into thinking it was possible for him to lose. And Tempus isn’t really any worse than Quicksilver or the Flash (the way most characters with superspeed are written, they’re functionally freezing time anyway, and Tempus at least has the limitation of being otherwise a normal human being).

  15. halapeno says:

    @Paul – Okay, fair enough. I’ll concede that Darwin isn’t the outright disaster I made him out to be, but I still feel “very workable” is overly-generous to a character who can’t ever be placed in mortal jeopardy. At best, I’d give him workable but limited, which brings me to something Matt said…

    “…requires a writer that’s aware of the storytelling limitations that they posses”

    Well, that’s the trick isn’t it? Darwin requires something of a deft touch. Someone who isn’t foolish enough to, say, wrap him chains, throw him in the ocean, and expect that this is going to create any sort of dramatic tension whatsoever when we all know he’s going to develop gills. That’s why Brubakers “Oh no! Darwin just got sucked out into space!” scene annoyed me. Maybe he was just trying to establish the ground rules, but when your scene serves to demonstrate what you CAN’T do with a character, well… I would have thought that might of made him rethink the idea.

    You know, all he really needed to do was establish that Darwin’s adaptive abilities took a bit of time to kick in fully. For example, if you wanted him to run into a burning building, he’d have to prime his body first with exposure to considerable heat before becoming completely fireproof. Even if that only took less than a minute, it means the guy could still be killed with a flamethrower if his body wasn’t ready for it.

  16. Michael says:

    This is why Darwin’s death scene in the X-Men First Class movie was such crap. They took the one guy whose power is instant adaptability, and shoved energy down his throat and… he imploded rather than, say, become energy or develop the power to fart energy blasts or something.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe a character like that should be able to die, but it was such a lazy, stupid way to take out a perfectly good character.

    This storyline was a bit of a muddle, wasn’t it. Enough so that when the Nova portion ended, I stared and went “that’s it?” because it seemed like such a bizarre resolution.

    Though I liked Tony’s comment about the constant influx of X-Men trainees… from an outsider perspective, they really do seem to come and go (and so many get forgotten).

    Though Tony, of all people, should be the one to have a constantly updating database that’s immediately accessible, so he’s not completely in the dark. Now, Hawkeye, I could see him having no clue beyond what’s immediately relevant. But Tony? Knowledge is power…

  17. Liam Tait says:

    @halapeno Why do you want to kill Darwin so much? What did Darwin ever do to you? They killed him off pretty quickly in the First Class movie so if you want to see a dead Darwin you can take a look there.

    I find Darwin’s power set to be pretty interesting, especially when his body adapts in unique ways such as when facing off with The Hulk during X Men’s WWH series, instead of his body adapting he simply teleported across the country to save himself from The Hulk’s rampage.

    While he isn’t a favorite character of mine I think he does have some potential, especially in the hands of an interesting writer who would stay away from the more banal sides of his adaption powers.

  18. Jim M says:

    Darwin sounds a lot like the character Life Guard with the same kind of power. Who I’m pretty sure came about much earlier.
    That being said all you need to deal with characters like that is good writers which i’ll admit seem in short supply at Marvel.
    As far as Darwin goes, wouldn’t just hitting him with an inhibitor device settle his hash?

  19. halapeno says:

    @Liam – It’s not that I want Darwin dead. It’s that I prefer to read about characters who could conceivably die (even when I know they won’t) because I otherwise find it hard to care about them. It’s almost a moot point at any rate, because even if Darwin were killable, he’d be in the same boat as every other Marvel hero who can, and sometimes do die, but never stay that way. I mentioned earlier that I haven’t bought an X-book in a decade. This is a big reason why. I have a hard time investing in a universe where death is meaningless. There’s nothing at stake.

    And the events. Oh god, event after event after event. If Marvel were to go for a full year without an event, THAT would be an event.

  20. halapeno says:

    @Jim – Yes! Lifeguard. Exactly. Essentially the same shtick. Another winner.

    Darwin should have been a villain. He has a great villain power. He’s a gimmick character. Like the Mimic. Mimic the gimmick. Or Rogue. Also a villain power and who started out as a villain/plot device to purge Carol Danvers of the icky she got all over her in Avengers 200. Rogue later worked as a hero because she had a sympathetic plight (uncontrollable powers precluding safe human contact). You felt badly for her. Also she was a virgin (and therefore extremely tantalizing). But that ran it’s course. She’s otherwise dull. Inertia character.

  21. Joseph says:

    @halapeno re: an unkillable character becoming desperately suicidal, that idea made up about a year of Deadpool stories a few years ago. enjoyable even

  22. Taibak says:

    There’s a subtle but important difference between Darwin and Lifeguard though. Darwin’s power gives him whatever he needs to survive his current situation. Lifeguard gets whatever she needs to actively defend herself and anyone around her. Darwin just finds ways to stay alive, Lifeguard is auto-win.

  23. halapeno says:

    @joseph – Really? Was Deadpool himself the suicidal character? I was never into him so I know little about his powers apart from him having some degree of healing factor. If it was him, and he’s always been that unkillable, then I’m surprised nobody did that sooner since it strikes me as the most obvious thing to do with a person who just can’t die.

    @Taibak – Lifeguard is a cauldron of Claremont’s worst writing tics. Plot convenient powers, powers that suddenly morph and/or expand (I seem to recall the point about her powers kicking in to save herself coming in after the “saves others” bit, and I think I remember Paul picking at that as well).

    Sage was the worst offender though. Suddenly she can jump start latent mutants. Suddenly she can restore Gambit’s powers (and apparently shapeshift to look like Rogue?) Suddenly she can cure Gambit’s blindness (how?)

    Annoyed the shit out of me because I thought Sage had a lot of potential without those tacked on powers that appeared out of nowhere. There seemed to be a very obvious angle to explore in a character who had perfect memory and who could run multiple trains of thought simultaneously that Claremont never went for. Namely, how would this affect someone psychologically? How would this affect one’s ability to get over traumatic events? If you had the ability to replay a traumatic memory over and over in your head with perfect clarity, and if you could run multiple trains of thought, would you be able to put that memory out of your mind? Would you be able to get over it? I’d have loved to have seen a single issue devoted to that idea told entirely from Sage’s POV in split-screen style where we as readers would be privy to her other trains of thought while she’s on a mission with the team. Then we learn she can’t help but reliving something repeatedly during every second of her waking hours (like a bad breakup). I don’t know. Something along those lines. It would have explained her general coolness.

  24. Tim O'Neil says:

    I’m surprised no one’s brought up the fact that, regardless of Darwin’s potential, PAD gave him a pretty cool new direction during the last run of X-FACTOR. If I’m remembering correctly, a run in with Hela tapped his powers to the absolute limit, such that he ended up absorbing a part of Hela and becoming an avatar of death itself. He was freaked out and left the team, to become a wandering supernatural adventurer of some kind (hence his sudden return when he’s trying to kill Rahne’s kid).

    That was also, I believe, the plotline that was supposed to lead into a crossover between X-Factor and Marvel’s Dark Tower adaptations, but which fell through because the contracts took too long to finalize or something.

  25. Speaking of powers that limit stories, the first X-Men arc I ever read was the run up to Uncanny 350, with Gambit’s trial. That was the storyline that revealed that apparently Magneto has access to technology that reproduces the effect of a mutant inhibitor collar, but projects it in a selective field instead of targeting a specific mutant.
    It must be incredibly complicated to make and/or Magneto reconsidered the design, because otherwise, it struck a new comic reader as something that’s absolutely mandatory to bring with you in a mutant fight.

    Speaking of depowering (sort of), remember when Magneto was a super scientist inventor capable of constructing a sentient robot that also housed an mutant inhibitor field? Remember Nanny, and Ferris?

  26. Matt Andersen says:

    “Speaking of depowering (sort of), remember when Magneto was a super scientist inventor capable of constructing a sentient robot that also housed an mutant inhibitor field? ”

    He still does all that stuff. He’s been overshadowed by Bendis’ insistance on turning the Beast into Reed Richards, but the current run of Uncanny still went into how Magneto designed/built all of the equipment in Cyclops’ X-Men splinter group’s base. Matt Fracion also had some lunacy about Magneto teaming up with the High Evolutionary to lobotomize Celestials and invent a device capable of undoing M-Day. So its all still there in recent publications, its just, like I said, something that gets overshadowed by Beast being the official Team Genius that is good at everything even things that have nothing to do with biology.

  27. But Magneto and Beast haven’t been on the same team for some time now. I suspect the de-emphasis of the science stuff is to strip the character a bit more to his core, and reflect his role as a protagonist/team member instead of a standalone baddy.
    And to be fair to Beast’s super genius status, Magneto’s specialties are every bit as absurd, including AI programming, space station engineering, and, as his wikipedia page reminds us, “devices that generate volcanoes.”

    With that last one alone, he could hire himself out as a landscape designer for supervillains, and retire in under a month.

  28. JG says:

    Back in the Silver Age (and some time after as well) it seems most villains dabbled as evil scientists.

  29. Omar Karindu says:

    For that matter, there’re at least four stories in which Magneto genetically engineers custom superhumans.

  30. Billy says:

    I had to look up Tempus on a wiki, but rather than the problem being the ability to stop time, it seems more like she is a classic case of simply being too powerful.

    The wiki says she has a range of a city block, can “stop” time for 20 hours, can slow time on contact, and can time travel? Okay, she doesn’t truly stop time, instead she only slows it so much that it would take 100 years for someone in the field to take a step?

    Yes, the problem isn’t so much the time stop itself, but the level of power and the lack of drawbacks (either in the power itself or in the character.)

  31. Omar Karindu says:

    The current storyline in Uncanny does imply that Tempus time-travels involuntarily if she overuses her powers and is rather traumatized by that side effect.

    I wonder if anyone remembers the other Tempus?

  32. Brendan says:

    Wasn’t Toad able to repair Magneto’s advance technology in the silver age? I think it might have been a spaceship he nicked. I’m not able to check, so I’m assuming it’s canonical: Toad is a rocket scientist.

  33. Omar Karindu says:

    Toad didn’t repair Magneto’s technology; he studied and copied the Stranger’s technology. This was how Steve Engelhart and later Fabian Nicieza justified Toad operating as a threat on his own, but the character’s inherent goofiness has always stuck him back in comic relief roles again.

    Rather oddly, none of the X-Men seemed to mind having Toad around as a janitor at the Jean Grey School, despite that fact that he murdered an innocent woman, Tanya Anderssen, and was responsible for permanently turning Karl Lykos into Sauron. (Even when Sauron reverts to human form these days, he’s still in his Sauron persona.)

    And given how Toad stalked the Scarlet Witch for years and almost killed the Avengers a couple of times over it, it’s also odd that everyone seemed to take Toad’s crush on Husk as charming and hopeless. But as with most minor characters, writers tend to punt him back to his Silver Age default where he’s an ineffectual sycophant.

  34. MasterMahan says:

    I think the reason Tempus is the most popular of the Uncanny trainees is because she’s the only one with a good character design. Compare her to, say, Triage, who looks like Moss from “The IT Crowd” and carries a stick everywhere for no apparent reason, or to Hijack and the shapeshifting guy, who barely have costumes.

    And Tempus makes a twisted sort of sense as a Bendis character. Bendis’s disinterest in fight scenes is legendary, and so he created a character that lets him avoid writing them. I’m not sure whether that’s idiotic or brilliant.

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  36. kelvingreen says:

    Speaking of depowering (sort of), remember when Magneto was a super scientist inventor capable of constructing a sentient robot that also housed an mutant inhibitor field?

    Speaking of depowering, remember that Bendis Avengers story in which the team lost got hit with that glowy thing from Powers and everyone lost their, er, powers?

    Everyone, including Hawkeye.

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