She might lead Generation X today, but she got her start in a mall!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

She’s been an X-Man, a New Warrior, a mom, and a vampire, and now Jubilation Lee serves as the leader of a group of mutant misfits in the pages of GENERATION X by Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna. Before all that, though, she started as a homeless mall rat with mutant powers showing off to small crowds in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #244 by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri. Unlike some of her fellow mutants, she seemed to know exactly what her mutant ability entailed, namely the power to control “articulate, quasi-animate, transitory plasmoids.”

Not everyone at the Hollywood Mall enjoyed her displays, though, especially the security guards who patrolled the place. She gave them the old razzle-dazzle before announcing her code name and then tumbling her way out. Thanks to interference run by nearby skaters and some more impressive acrobatics, she got away. All of this made the head rent-a-cop so mad that he called in a group of mutant hunters called M Squad.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #244

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #244

What is Marvel Unlimited?

At this time, the X-Men lived in the Australian outback, an arrangement that seemed to grate on more than a few members. To help alleviate the stress of devoting their entire lives to saving a world that hates and fears them, Dazzler, Storm, Rogue, and Psylocke decided to go shopping at the very same establishment that Jubilee previously parlayed her powers thanks to a portal provided by Gateway.

After a bit of shopping fun, the X-Women retired to a joint called Hotbods, which triggered an alarm on the hapless M Squad’s equipment. First, they ran into Jubilee though and fired on her, which drew the attention of our heroines. They made short work of the goons and had Gateway open up another portal home, but Jubilee jumped through to join them in the next issue!

Over the years, Jubilee went from new kid on the block—and Wolverine’s protégé—to the experienced member of the original Generation X team. Since then she’s served on her fair share of X-Squads, but lost her powers on M-Day. After trying to use tech to recreate those abilities, she got turned into a vampire by Xarus instead.

MARXMENCOL1994002025

With some help from her friends she’s gotten the vampirism under control and even adopted a baby named Shogo who will go on to become a great hero, at least in one possible future. Now she’s juggling all that while playing mentor to some of the more fringe students at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach located in New York City’s Central Park.

Flash Forward

Jubilee jumped onto the comic scene in 1989, making her one of the marquee teen characters of the franchise when the “X-Men” animated series launched on Fox in 1992. The show even used her as the point of view character for the audience, basing part of the first two-part episode, “Night of the Sentinels,” around her. Much like in her first comic appearance, she started out in a mall, though this time Sentinels broke in and attacked. Also, the entire X-Men team jumped in to save her. Over the course of the show’s five-season run, Jubilee became an integral part, even mirroring her comic relationship with Wolverine.

Read More

See how this Guardian took flight all the way to his new ongoing series!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Even an inter-galactic rapscallion like Rocket Raccoon can find himself helping out an old friend now and again. Of course, it helps if she’s a lady and he may or may not still have feelings for her. That’s what sends the cosmos’ best tactician into heist mode in the pages of Al Ewing and Mike Mayhew’s ROCKET #1, which debuted this week.

In the spirit of aiding old friends, let’s help the guy stroll down memory lane by digging into his…eclectic first few years of existence.

Rocket debuted in 1977’s MARVEL PREVIEW #7 within a back-up story by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen. The issue starred Prince Wayfinder, a novice inter-galactic traveler whose mentor had perished. Needing supplies, his robotic helmsman landed them on a planet called Hailailae, otherwise known as Witch-World. While out hunting game, the prince stumbled upon the future star of stage and screen, though this version talked more like a blustery British gent and went by “Rocky.”

Interestingly enough, Rocket’s first appearance revolved around a moving tree he had a relationship with, though not Groot. He noted that the tree—which attacked Wayfinder over his water source—used to get fish for him. Anyway, Rocky offered to help the Prince find food on the planet, but also failed to warn him of an impending problem with the monstrous Plagueosaur before running into the witch Kirke.

The story didn’t continue and Rocket didn’t appear again until 1982’s INCREDIBLE HULK #271. This time Mantlo teamed with artist Sal Buscema and our hero looked much more “cartoony” and palled around with Wal Russ as Guardians of the Keystone Quadrant on Halfworld. He’d also lost the British brogue. Though the duo tried saving an unconscious Hulk from a giant lawn mower, ol’ Green Jeans woke up to the sound and did the job himself. Eventually, Hulk agreed to help them fight more talking animals and some super creepy killer clowns before moving on to save Betty Ross and Rick Jones on another planet.

Incredible Hulk (1962) #271

Incredible Hulk (1962) #271

  • Published: May 10, 1982
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 26, 2013
  • Cover Artist: Al Milgrom
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Aside from a few pop-ups here and there, Rocket would lie dormant until 1985 when Mantlo and artist Mike Mignola created the four-issue ROCKET RACCOON limited series. This tale dug even deeper into Rocket’s past on Halfworld. Skip ahead another 20 years or so and the furry little tactical genius would be holed up in a Kree prison along with other undesirables like Groot, Mantis, and Bug. There, a guy named Peter Quill would lead them on to great things beginning with ANNIHILATION CONQUEST – STAR-LORD by Keith Giffen and Timothy Green II!

Flash Forward

For a character with only a handful of appearances in his first few decades in existence, Rocket sure has a lot of limited, solo, and ongoing series’ under his belt these days. He and Groot explored the furry one’s true Halfworld origins in the pages of  ANNIHILATORS. Skottie Young launched a fantastic series in 2014 that lasted 11 issues. Then, in 2016, Young brought the big wooden buddy along for the ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT series. In addition, earlier this year, during the “Grounded” story, writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Jorge Coehlo created a five-issue series heaping even more reasons why Rocket disliked Earth so much.

Read More

Find out how the original Nova went from average kid to human rocket!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

One of the best parts of long-running shared super hero universes is getting to see characters go from inexperienced newbies to universe-saving heroes. That’s been the case with Richard Rider, better known as Nova. In this week’s NOVA #6 by Jeff Loveness and Ramon K. Perez, readers found out even more about his time away in the Cancerverse; while looking back at his six years away from the spotlight, why not go all the way back to his first appearance?

Richard Rider debuted in NOVA #1—from 1976 by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema—losing a basketball game for his team behind Harry S. Truman High School. Quickly we met his friend Ginger and tormentor Mike. Feeling depressed, ineffectual, and common, Rich sat at Uncle Fudge’s with Ginger when he got zapped by a shattered Nova flying near Earth. The being transferred his power to Rider in hopes that the young man could stop the world-destroying Zorr.

After spending some time in the hospital and getting a feel for his powers, Richard fought Zorr, but ultimately the previous Nova teleported the villain to his ship to disintegrate him himself, leaving his would-be successor with more than a few questions. That first appearance set up everything from Rich’s self-described inferiority complex, to his human rocket powers, to the connection to other Nova Corps members out in space, and even his iconic catch phrase “Blue Blazes!”

That first solo series went on to pit the new hero against bad guys like Condor, Powerhouse, Diamondhead, Sphinx, and even a brainwashed Thor as his solo exploits continued until its 25th issue. Still out in space at that time, he appeared in a few other books, including ROM #24, which saw him give up his powers on Xandar after defeating invading Skrulls. He kicked around for a while, thinking his abilities really had gone until NEW WARRIORS #1, when Night Thrasher drops him off a building and they return!

Nova (1976) #1

Nova (1976) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Richard became an integral part of the New Warriors as their series ran from 1990-1996. During that time, he also gained another solo series, this one going from 1994 to 1995. Both books worked to flesh Rich out and offer even more information about his place in the universe.

After some time out of the spotlight, Richard Rider came back in a big way thanks to the Annihilation event. In the pages of ANNIHILATION: PROLOGUE and ANNIHILATION: NOVA, Rider not only defended the entire Nova Corps Worldmind, but also worked against the Annihilation Wave moving on to the main series, ANNIHILATION. Writers Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett carried through into the 2007-launching series that ran for 36 issues.

Up until this current run, Rider hadn’t been seen since he, Star-Lord. and Drax trapped themselves in the Cancerverse with the title villain at the end of THE THANOS IMPERATIVE. Readers got a little more information about how Nova helped get his friends out in the pages of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1820. Not bad for a kid from Long Island who thought of himself as ineffectual and as far from special as possible.

Flash Forward

Did you know that Richard Rider almost had a Marvel Comic? “Sure,” you’re thinking, “He had plenty!” That’s true, but he almost got one in continuity as seen in the pages of NOVA #5. Marvel Comics existed within the 616 universe, producing books based on Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Dracula, and others. In this issue, Richard heard that the editors were looking to meet with him to pitch a book to Stan Lee! He went to the offices and even met with a couple of guys named Marv Wolfman and Sal Buscema. They wanted a demonstration of his powers, which led into a battle with a giant robot, but ultimately, Stan nixed the book in favor of something called MIDAS THE MILLION DOLLAR MOUSE.

Read More

Discover how the thought-dead clone has complicated Spider-Man’s story!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearances of a major character, place, or object that made waves this week.

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If that’s true, then Peter Parker must be the most beloved person in the world. Just look at how many times he’s been cloned! This week one the most famous—and infamous—representatives from that group launched his own series with BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #1 by Peter David and Mark Bagley!

Originally created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #149 from 1975, the clone who would be Ben Reilly came about thanks to the machinations and twisted science of The Jackal. Peter first met his clone—who also sported the original’s memories and morality—at Shea Stadium, surprised first to see someone in his costume and even more so when that person shared his face!

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #149

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #149

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The copy seemed to die in an ensuing explosion and Peter dropped the body down a smoke stack to avoid answering too many questions. Aside from an appearance in WHAT IF? #30, that proved it for the unnamed clone until he made a reappearance nearly 20 years later, first as Ben Reilly in SPIDER-MAN #51, and then as the heroic Scarlet Spider WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #118.

A back-up story in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #223 explained that, after seemingly dying, the clone crawled out of the smoke stack, decided not to take over Peter Parker’s life and then went out on his own. You also see him taking the designation Ben Reilly for the first time in that story as he explained that he took his uncle’s first name and his aunt’s maiden one.

At first, Ben tried to work alongside Peter as an arachnid-themed hero. The two traded off on the Spider-Man identity as Mr. Parker found himself dealing with a series of rough times including the loss of his powers. At one point, Ben and Peter even believed that they’d switched places all those years back and that the clone had gone on to star in all the comics fans read for two decades. Eventually the truth came out that the webslinging duo had been fooled, but that still left two heroes running around New York City—until SPIDER-MAN #75 hit and Ben Reilly once again died trying to save Peter’s friends and family from The Green Goblin.

Web of Spider-Man (1985) #118

Web of Spider-Man (1985) #118

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Once again, it seemed Mr. Reilly would rest in peace until the events of the Clone Conspiracy event that wrapped up just recently. As it turned out, Jackal killed and recreated Ben Reilly so many times that he lost some of his sanity and decided to create New U Technologies and also bring back just about every dead person in Peter’s life, while masquerading as his creator. Ben survived the virus that took out most of the clones and now runs around Las Vegas in a cosplayer’s suit, charging the people he saves in his new ongoing series.

Flash Forward

If you’re curious about the Clone Saga, but don’t feel like diving into several years’ worth of stories, the original tale’s architects Howard Mackie and Tom DeFalco re-teamed in 2009 for SPIDER-MAN: THE CLONE SAGA. The six issue limited series drawn by Todd Nauck presents the story as they original intended to tell it, but distilled down into a few concise parts!

Read More

Celebrate the super spy’s new series with a look at his first appearance!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

He might share a name with one of the most infamous people in the Marvel Universe, but Nick Fury plans on making a reputation for himself with his self-titled series launched this week by writer James Robinson and artist ACO. The new book may have sent Fury to the French Riviera and put him in direct opposition to Frankie Noble, but his comic book roots go back to the 2012 series BATTLE SCARS.

Chris Yost, Matt Fraction and Cullen Bunn collaborated to write the six-issue BATTLE SCARS with art by Scot Eaton. The series, set during the Fear Itself event, kicked off in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion Army Rangers trying to figure out why everyone seemed to be shooting everyone else. Here we’re introduced to Staff Sergeant Marcus Johnson who winds up in Atlanta, Georgia four days later after getting word that his mother, Nia Marie Johnson, passed away. Just as he began to realize that someone specifically wanted his mother dead, he’s pinned down by sniper fire and attacked by a wetworks squad backed up by none other than Taskmaster. Luckily, Captain America and then-Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy Johnson stepped in to help Marcus.

S.H.I.E.L.D. tried keeping him safe in their rebuilt headquarters, but Marcus broke out, took down an entire group of their agents, and started his own investigation into Taskmaster along with his Ranger pal “Cheese,” otherwise known as Phil Coulson! The search not only lead to another fight with Taskmaster, but a team-up with Deadpool against the Serpent Society and the revelation that a masked man calling himself Orion stood as Johnson’s true enemy.

Battle Scars (2011) #1

Battle Scars (2011) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Another masked man soon revealed himself not only as Nick Fury, but as Marcus’ father. The elder Fury met Nia Johnson when they both worked for the CIA 30 years prior. The two hit it off and nine months later Marcus entered the world. Nia quit that job and Fury worked his spy magic to keep her safe until recently when someone uncovered the information and sold it to Leviathan leader Orion. Fury messed Orion up pretty bad and the continually-dying villain wanted some of the Infinity Formula to fix his problem, but the only real source remained in Marcus’ blood.

Soon enough, both father and son wound up in Orion’s clutches. He had his goons cut out Marcus’ left eye to make a family resemblance. Orion then received a transfusion from Fury that restored his power and youth, but a presumed dead Marcus fought his way through Orion’s goons. Johnson stalled the villain long enough to get the Avengers there to back his play and save the day, seemingly killing Orion in the process. A few weeks later, Marcus shaved his head, joined his pal Coulson and became official Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He also decided to take on his father’s name as a way to honor him and carry on a longstanding tradition with the organization.

Flash Forward

Nick Fury Jr. may have first appeared in the Marvel Universe as Marcus Johnson in BATTLE SCARS, but the idea for an African-American take on the character debuted back in 2002 when he showed up in THE ULTIMATES #1 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch looking an awful lot like Samuel L. Jackson. A noted comic fan, Jackson appreciated the nod and, by the time the Fury character made his big screen debut in 2008’s “Iron Man,” Jackson filled in the eye patch and long coat!

Read More

Symkaria's most famous citizen returned this week, so we're looking back on her first appearance!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

This week, The Orborne Identity kicked off in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #26 by Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen. The story not only saw Norman Osborn working his way into a position of power in the small European country of Symkaria, but also the return of Silver Sable who seemingly died in the pages of the Slott-penned AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #687, though Madame Web said that she was okay in #690

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #687

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #687

  • Published: June 13, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 11, 2013
  • Rating: T+
  • Writer: Dan Slott
  • Cover Artist: Stefano Caselli
What is Marvel Unlimited?

With the character’s reintroduction, it seems like the perfect time to look back at her 1985 debut in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #265. In that issue from Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, readers first saw a mysterious group chasing after the renowned thief known as the Black Fox. After the police failed to bring him in, purple and orange-clad representatives from Silver Sable International give chase. 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #265

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #265

  • Published: June 10, 1985
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Ron Frenz
  • Cover Artist: Ron Frenz
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After visiting Harry Osborn, his wife Liz and their new baby Norman in the hospital, Peter Parker put on his Spider-Man togs and started his web slinging thing which soon intersected with the the Wild Pack’s Fox hunt.

Fox had just given up the chase when Spidey jumped into the fray with Sable’s employees giving the Fox time to escape. After the fracas, an irate cop informed the Wall Crawler that he just took out Symkarian officials working with the city to take down the thief.

After that, readers finally got their first glimpse of Silver Sable at the Symkarian embassy. The mercenary first explained the financial benefits for nabbing the Fox and then taking on her own men as a training exercise before easily squashing an assassination attempt on her life.

Spidey – now wearing a sewn version of his black costume provided by Black Cat – caught back up with the Black Fox and helped save him from Sable’s people. He only briefly encountered the big boss, but it would be the first of many as Sable would show up in Spider-Man comics for years.

Flash Forward

In 1992, the woman known as Silver Sablinova scored her own series called SILVER SABLE AND THE WILD PACK. The book, by Gregory Wright and regular artist Steven Butler, not only further established the star as part of the larger Marvel Universe, but also brought her into contact with a variety of well-known characters like Captain America, Punisher, Luke Cage and Venom. She also spent a great deal of time with Sandman who joined the Wild Pack for the first time during an adventure in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #279281

Silver Sable & the Wild Pack (1992) #1

Silver Sable & the Wild Pack (1992) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

 

Read More

She may be Wolverine now, but Laura started off as a scared kid!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

It’s a good time to be Laura Kinney, but that hasn’t always been the case. She may be represented on the big screen in “Logan” and just kicked off a new arc with ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #19 by Tom Taylor and Leonard Kirk, but her earliest days were filled with pain and torment.

NYX (2003) #3

NYX (2003) #3

What is Marvel Unlimited?
The character of X-23 actually debuted on the animated series “X-Men: Evolution” in 2003. The next year, the nearly-silent Wolverine clone made the jump to comics with an appearance in NYX #3 by Joe Quesada and Josh Middleton. In that issue, readers met a young woman who sold herself to men that liked to be cut by her retractable claws. The rest of that series didn’t get too much into her history, but did show that this girl had more in common with Wolverine than just the claws. She could also handle herself against seemingly formidable opponents.

“X-Men: Evolution” writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost returned to the character with X-23 in 2005. The six issue limited series drawn by Billy Tan gave a full account of Laura’s creation. Way back when Wolverine escaped from the Weapon X program, a mysterious group gathered some of his DNA and wanted to recreate the experiment. The process stalled out until Dr. Sarah Kinney came along and suggested they create a female clone. The idea fell on deaf ears, so she went and did it anyway.

The result, X-23, trained from a very early age to fight ferociously, but underwent torture aimed to force the popping of her claws and development of a healing factor. Later, her claws were surgically removed, sharpened, and covered with Adamantium. Her handlers developed a “trigger scent” that would send her into a berserker rage in an instant. The organization then hired her out on various assassination missions which she easily carried out.

Dr. Kinney finally acknowledged the terrible things she’d done to this child when her niece had been kidnapped. The doc took X-23 out on a private mission to get the girl back. This set in motion events that would not only lead to X-23’s escape from the program, but also the destruction of future clones.

X-23 (2005) #1

X-23 (2005) #1

  • Published: January 12, 2005
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Rating: Marvel Psr
  • Writer: Chris Yost
  • Penciller: Billy Tan
  • Cover Artist: Billy Tan
What is Marvel Unlimited?

With her dying words, Dr. Kinney gave X-23 her real name: Laura. She finally met her “father” in the pages of X-23: TARGET X by Kyle, Yost, and Mike Choi. As you can imagine, the interaction came with plenty of rage and blood, but ultimately Wolverine suggested that Laura get involved with the X-Men.

That began a long run with various X-squads including the New X-Men, X-Force, and the All-New X-Men. These days, Laura can be found in ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, having taken up the mantle of her dad after he died. The current story finds her racing the clock to help stop a space virus from running rampant on Earth.

Flash Forward

Up above we mentioned that X-23 first appeared on the “X-Men: Evolution” animated series. The show recast many of our favorite mutants as teenagers, but Wolverine acted as an older mutant and original member of the X-Men. To bring in similar elements from that character, but age them down for the audience, Kyle and Yost went the clone route and introduced Laura in “X23,” the 11th episode of the third season. She popped up again the fourth season in an episode called “Target X.” Since then, the character has also appeared in two other cartoons: “Wolverine and the X-Men” and “The Super Hero Squad Show.”

Read More

Danny Rand journeys from the mystic village of K'un Lun to Netflix!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Considering Danny Rand not only just debuted his own Netflix series, but also starred in a new comic by Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins, it couldn’t be a better time to take a glance back at his debut in the pages of MARVEL PREMIERE #15.

The issue, which dropped in 1974, came from the minds of Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. It opened with Iron Fist taking on a quartet of trained attackers for an audience that included Yu-Ti – otherwise known as the August Personage of Jade – and the four hooded Dragon Kings.

Having defeated his opponents, Iron Fist looked up to Yu-Ti asking about The Challenge of the One when the elder asked him to think back on his past. This filled in the reader about a 9-year-old boy who scaled a mountain with his parents Wendell and Heather as well as his dad’s business partner a decade prior in search of K’un Lun.

That journey ended for his father, when Meacham, the business partner, took advantage of a minor accident to distract them from his true intent: murdering Danny’s dad. Remembering the focus he and his mother had in trying to climb down to safety, Iron Fist used that in his battle with the silent, deadly and huge Shu-Hu.

Danny failed to gain the upper hand with this challenge and soon found himself being battered around. In an effort to regain his focus, he dug even deeper into the memory of surviving with his mother in the unforgiving mountains, hiding in caves and avoiding wolves. While the hungry pack chased them, Danny and his mother saw the bridge to K’un Lun, but Heather didn’t think they’d make it so she thrust her son ahead and then ran back, offering herself to their pursuers.

The memory of his mother’s bravery spurred Danny on to battle his enemy more fiercely than before, actually spilling over into a berserker rage. Fully back in the fight, he won the match upon funneling his will to his fist which “becomes like unto a thing of iron!” Of course, this would be just the first of many fights we’d see Iron Fist take on as he’d travel through the Marvel Universe joining groups like the Heroes for Hire, New Avengers and even The Defenders.

During his run on PREMIERE, which went until #25, other luminaries like Larry Hama, Chris Claremont, Len Wein and John Byrne worked on the character. Danny then starred in his own ongoing series for 15 issues though the final story carried over to MARVEL TEAM-UP #63-64.

And then true comic book magic happened when the powers that be teamed Rand with Luke Cage in POWER MAN & IRON FIST, a partnership that continues to give readers a thrill to this day. In fact, a series of that same name can be found on shelves right now even as the new IRON FIST series kicks off.

Flash Forward

In the pages of IMMORTAL IRON FIST, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja and others expanded upon the mythology of Iron Fist. They not only chronicled the adventures of other, previous bearers of the name, but also expanded on the idea of K’un Lun as one of many mystical cities with their own warriors. Readers met the likes of Fat Cobra, Dog Brother #1, Bride of Nine Spiders, Prince of Orphans, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter and Steel Phoenix.

Read More

Betsy Braddock has had one weird road to being a super hero!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Psylocke might be throwing down with Magneto in this week’s UNCANNY X-MEN #19, but she might not have been so bold back in her first appearance. In fact, as longtime X-fans will know, the woman known as Betsy Braddock has actually changed more than her appearance since she first showed up in the Marvel UK comic CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8 in 1976 by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe.

The sister of the title hero, Betsy displayed some telepathic abilities, worked with S.T.R.I.K.E., and even took over as Captain Britain for a brief adventure. She would go on to appear in other Marvel UK books like THE DAREDEVILS and SUPER SPIDER-MAN AND CAPTAIN BRITAIN before making the jump across the pond in NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL #2.

In that issue, Mojo and Spiral jumped her and used her to help dazzle the children of Earth with a new animated series. Though executing the usual evil plan, Mojo did help restore Betsy’s previously lost sight and granted her the name Psylocke. After the New Mutants rescued her, she decided to attend Xavier’s school in order to get a better handle on her powers.

After serving with the X-Men for a while, an amnesiac Psylocke wound up in the Hand’s possession where they continued to brainwash her into thinking herself the assassin Lady Mandarin. The group also altered her appearance so she would more seamlessly blend in with Hong Kong. Luckily, Wolverine restored Psylocke, as seen in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #256258, but Betsy retained the incredible fighting skills she learned as well as her now-iconic psychic knife.

Around this same time a ninja named Kwannon also appeared with Betsy’s old face. The case of mistaken identity bounced back and forth for a while until ultimately coming to a conclusion that left Psylocke in control once again. Braddock continued fighting the good fight, even getting a power upgrade thanks to the Crimson Dawn, but she fell in the first few issues of X-TREME X-MEN; she got better in UNCANNY X-MEN #455.

Later she helped the reality-hopping Exiles save several existences in the pages of both EXILES and NEW EXILES. She also played a big part in X-MEN: SWORD OF THE BRADDOCKS and starred in her own 2010 limited series. Upon fully returning to the Marvel Universe, Psylocke has become a big part of the X-Men again, appearing in books like UNCANNY X-FORCE, X-MEN, and UNCANNY X-MEN.

Flash Forward

The most recent volume of UNCANNY X-MEN marks just one more step in the long relationship between Psylocke and Sabretooth. They first met one another in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #213, not long after Betsy enrolled at the school. After quickly taking out Rogue, the then-villainous ‘Tooth entered the mansion to do the same with Betsy, but she used her powers—enhanced by Cerebro—to stun him before running away. Braddock held her own pretty well, but ultimately Sabretooth got the drop on her, but not before Storm and Wolverine showed up to pick up the slack. Later in UNCANNY X-MEN #328, Psylocke stepped in to stop an enraged Boom Boom from getting herself killed in Sabretooth’s cell, an act that led to her own evisceration. While running around with the Exiles, Psylocke actually started a relationship with the Age of Apocalypse version of her enemy. Most recently, the two came together on the same team.

Read More

As the muck monster bubbles up in a new series, crawl back to his early appearances!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

A legendary writer officially entered the House of Ideas this week with a monster of a debut. That’s right, R.L. Stine’s MAN-THING #1 just hit, so let’s jump back to the muck monster’s earliest appearances!

Manny’s very first appearance came in 1971’s SAVAGE TALES #1. That story by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow introduced the world to the creature formerly known as Dr. Ted Sallis who burned those who knew fear with his touch.

Len Wein and Neal Adams created a seven-page Man-Thing story that didn’t have a home after SAVAGE TALES got the axe. It was then integrated into a Ka-Zar story in 1972’s ASTONISHING TALES #12. That escapade carried over into the next issue as well and featured the two stars first getting into a tussle and then teaming up against A.I.M. agents.

Astonishing Tales (1970) #13

Astonishing Tales (1970) #13

What is Marvel Unlimited?

From there, Man-Thing transferred his tales over to ADVENTURES INTO FEAR where he anchored the book from #1019. With #11, the legendary writer Steve Gerber began his relationship with Man-Thing. That union bore glorious fruit for the creature, and also directly led to the creation of Howard the Duck who bowed in ADVENTURES INTO FEAR #19.

The feature proved popular enough to launch MAN-THING in 1974. Gerber wrote every issue of the series, joined by artists like Mike Ploog, Val Mayerik, John Buscema and others. Gerber also worked on the quarterly book GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING which racked up five huge issues along the way.

From there Man-Thing appeared in places like the first dozen issues of MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS, the Evolutionary War crossover, and a second ongoing series in the late 70’s. Gerber returned to the character with INFERNAL MAN-THING, a much-delayed project with art by Kevin Nowlan, which directly references his original run on the character.

Stine’s take on the character marks a return to the stands as the headliner, but he’s never far away, especially for those who truly know fear!

Flash Forward

Though he might not seem like much of a team player, Man-Thing has actually worked with his fair share of them over the years. He appeared alongside some of his fellow beastly characters in LEGION OF MONSTERS during the 70’s and then with Franklin Richards, Artie, Leech, Tana Nile, and Howard the Duck in DAYDREAMERS. A few years back, he agreed to act as transport for the Thunderbolts when Luke Cage ran the group. Most recently he worked with S.T.A.K.E. and the LMD Dum Dum Duggan in the pages of HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Read More