Read through the greatest appearances of the wily Wonder Man!

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.

Simon Williams did his best to talk to the Hulk in this week’s AVENGERS #686 by writers Mark Waid, Jim Zub, Al Ewing and artist Paco Medina, but the Jade Giant preferred to communicate with his fists instead. The super powered pacifist known as Wonder Man tried to stop his fellow resurrected Avenger by appealing to his human side, but couldn’t get through. While he may not have been able to achieve his goal, he did give a few other heroes enough time for revelations, switch-ups, and other a few other surprises.

To say that Simon Williams has evolved over his decades of comic book existence would be an understatement. In fact, when he debuted in 1964’s AVENGERS #9, he had no problem with violence. Back then, Williams was actually an inventor who stole money to support his company after Tony Stark’s latest innovation made his patents obsolete. Though he admitted his guilt, a mysterious woman offered to not only pay his bail, but to give him the chance to get back at Stark.

Avengers (2016) #686

Avengers (2016) #686

The woman turned out to be the Enchantress who, along with the Executioner, worked with Baron Zemo at the time. They took Williams to Zemo’s secret South American fortress and bombarded him with ionic rays to increase his strength and grant him invincibility. Once the enhancements were complete, Zemo dubbed him Wonder Man and gave him his first costume, complete with belt jets to make him fly.

While Wonder Man displayed enough power to take on the Avengers, Zemo kept a secret: Williams’ new abilities would kill him in one week! The Baron kept an antidote, though, and would give it to Williams weekly as long as he kept up his end of the bargain, which involved ingratiating himself to the Avengers by stopping the Masters of Evil from robbing a bank as the good guys watched.

Avengers (1963) #10

Avengers (1963) #10

  • Published: November 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Don Heck
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Wonder Man then got an invite to Avengers HQ, but his made-up story about being kidnapped and experimented on by Zemo did not ring true to Captain America, who had become obsessed with finding the criminal who facilitated Bucky Barnes’ death and his own fall into the icy depths that froze him for decades. At that juncture, Enchantress sent out a long range spell that distracted the Avengers into thinking Williams would soon die, leading them to try to find a cure.

After luring the Avengers to Zemo’s stronghold, Wonder Man’s duplicitous nature came to light. Though the Avengers fought valiantly, Wonder Man fought for his life and defeated his foes. When Zemo planned to kill the Avengers, however, Simon remembered how valiantly they tried to cure him and decided to revolt against the masked madman. The heroes managed to free themselves, but in the chaos, Wonder Man was left behind to die without the antidote.

Avengers (1963) #11

Avengers (1963) #11

  • Published: December 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Don Heck
What is Marvel Unlimited?

That might have been the end of Simon Williams had the Avengers not saved his mind electronically, as revealed in 1968’s AVENGERS #58. Continuing his trend of infrequent Avengers appearances, he showed up in a coma several years later in 1972’s AVENGERS #102. After that, Wonder Man’s body was revived no less than three times to fight Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but he finally regained his form and consciousness to join the team in 1977’s AVENGERS #160. Most recently, Simon’s taken on a pacifistic stance while appearing in UNCANNY AVENGERS.

Flash Forward

Wonder Man returned to his villainous roots in 2010’s AVENGERS #1; when Captain America asked him to rejoin the team, Simon not only declined but told the Sentinel of Liberty that most of the worst things happening in the world revolved around the team. In the following issue, Williams attacked the team, causing some damage before later confronting Iron Man in AVENGERS #7.

Avengers (2010) #1

Avengers (2010) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Wonder Man’s big move then came when he assembled a team called the Revengers. The group attacked and defeated the Avengers living in the Mansion in NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1, but Iron Man imprisoned Simon and his new team soon after. Later, Wonder Man reappeared, apologized to Captain America, and helped him to save Janet van Dyne from the Microverse in AVENGERS #34.

Read More

See Illyana Rasputin go from Colossus' little sister to leader of the New Mutants!

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.

NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS debuted this week, giving team leader Magik and her crew—Rictor, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, and Boom-Boom—a mission to investigate some of the weirder, more supernatural threats hiding out in the shadows of the Marvel Universe. With issue #1 of this six issue limited series by Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Gorham already in stores, we decided to focus on the New Mutants’ leader and check out her wild history in comics!

New Mutants: Dead Souls (2018) #1

New Mutants: Dead Souls (2018) #1

Illyana Rasputin debuted right alongside her big brother Piotr, A.K.A. Colossus, in 1975’s GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1. Though unnamed in that story, we see her saved by her brother after he armored up and stopped a tractor from running her over. This heroic act led Professor X to ask Piotr to be part of his new X-Men.

Some time later, Arcade used a robot double of Illyana to attack Polaris in UNCANNY X-MEN #145#147. The real version of the hero had been kidnapped and brought to Doctor Doom’s castle in an effort to lure Colossus and the X-Men there. After being saved, Illyana returned with her brother to the X-Mansion and lived there for a while.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #145

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #145

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Then everything changed for the young woman in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #160. In that story, a demon called Belasco lured the girl away from her fellow mutants to another dimension called Limbo. Belasco intended to use both Illyana and Kitty Pryde to help get him out of of the zone, but the X-Men fought the demon and made their escape. With Kitty grabbing hold of Illyana in her dimension and Belasco holding onto her in his, Kitty eventually managed to pull her through, but instead of seeing the little girl version of Illyana that went in, a 13-year-old teen stood in front of her! Though she seemed to only spend a few seconds on the other side of the portal to Limbo, Illyana actually spent seven full years with Belasco in his demonic realm.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #160

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #160

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Feeling out of place, but now with a great deal of power and experience, Illyana joined the New Mutants, took the codename Magik, and became an important member of her team, as well as the larger X-Men squad. Magik has dealt with the dark corners of the universe plenty of times, even serving as one of the five hosts for the Phoenix Force during AVENGERS VS. X-MEN.

Flash Forward

In the four issue MAGIK limited series by Chris Claremont and John Buscema, readers learned more about what actually happened to Illyana in Limbo. Though tormented, she did have allies like that dimension’s versions of Storm and Kitty Pryde who taught her white magic and physical combat skills.

Magik (1983) #1

Magik (1983) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Still, Belasco managed to train her in the ways of black magic while also creating Bloodstones every time he corrupted part of her soul. In defiance, Illyana managed to create the Soulsword, take over Limbo, and banish Belasco before being pulled back into her home dimension nearly a decade older.

Read More

Witness the hellish first appearance of the demon!

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.

They say that magic always comes with a price. Though he’s more than familiar with the concept, Stephen Strange finds himself learning that lesson once again in the pages of DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION, by writers Nick Spencer and Donny Cates alongside artists Rod Reis and Szymon Kudranski.

The Master of the Mystic Arts had great intentions—to bring the fallen city of Las Vegas back after the events of Secret Wars. However, in doing so, he opened up a door for none other than Mephisto to saunter through. Now, Strange needs to work with other mystically inclined heroes to put an end to the evil lord’s machinations.

But who was the very first hero Mephisto tangled with? That would be the Sky-Rider of the Spaceways, as seen in the pages of 1968’s SILVER SURFER #3, by legends Stan Lee and John Buscema. Much like the X-Men, Norrin Radd found himself trying to help a world that feared him. Taking it upon himself to teach humanity a lesson, he unleashed power-disrupting bolts that brought machines and technology to a standstill.

The ensuing panic rippled through the dimensions to Mephisto’s dark realm where he had his servant prepare mystic vapors to witness Earth’s calamitous state. The ruler of the depths needed to make sure our planet survived, as long ago he developed a plan that would keep humans fairly hostile until Armageddon when he would harvest all of their souls.

Silver Surfer (1968) #3

Silver Surfer (1968) #3

  • Published: December 01, 1968
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Upon seeing the Surfer and sensing the goodness that would soon overcome the rage, Mephisto wanted to kill the one who could ruin his long term plans. So Mephisto traveled to Zenn-La and offered Shalla Bal a chance to see her love, Radd, who had been transformed by Galactus into the Silver Surfer. Back near Earth, the Surfer saw the error of his ways and ceased his attack on Earth just as Mephisto and Shalla arrived in their spaceship. The ship, which Mephisto tampered with, crash-landed with Norrin’s love still inside.

The Surfer used his Power Cosmic to resuscitate Shalla Bal just before Mephisto reappeared to tell our hero he was too good to let live, before transporting himself and Shalla Bal away to his own realm. While there, Mephisto realized that he wanted to break the Surfer, destroy his goodness, and turn him into an agent of evil. Having followed the dark one to his lair, Silver Surfer appeared and staunchly refused.

To change his opponent’s mind, Mephisto offered the Surfer riches beyond measure, a trio of beautiful women, and his own galactic empire—none of which appealed to our hero. After sending monsters against the cosmic champion (to no avail), Mephisto paralyzed him, reduced Norrin Radd to a thought, and implanted him inside the dark one’s own brain, where Mephisto figured he could eventually erode the hero’s the goodness.

Instead, the Surfer’s goodness shone through and nearly drove Mephisto mad, resulting in his cranial expulsion. With that, Mephisto played his last hand and gave the Surfer a choice: “Swear me your undying allegiance—or I send her back—back to Zenn-La—and Shalla Bal will be lost to you—forever!” Shalla spoke up and said that they could never truly love one another if he chose the former.

Though that fit the Silver Surfer’s plan to get Shalla Bal out of this situation with her life, the brief reunion and ensuing loss pained the hero to no end. Though he would menace the Surfer on his next several appearances, Mephisto eventually branched out to trouble everyone from Thor and Ghost Rider to Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange!

Flash Forward

Mephisto unwittingly facilitated one of the more unique partnerships in comics when he decided to kill Cynthia von Doom while her son Victor was still a boy. Many years later, Doom tricked a certain powerful sorcerer into helping him get his mother’s soul away from Mephisto’s realm as seen in DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT by Roger Stern and Mike Mignola! As you can imagine, that journey forged a complicated bond between the main characters, but also ensured that the demon called Mephisto would have no shortage of enemies any time soon.

Read More

Revisit the pup's first appearance courtesy of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!

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.

Everyone’s favorite teleporting dog had his day this week with the launch of LOCKJAW #1 by Daniel Kibblesmith and Carlos Villas! And with our hero starting a journey to find his brothers and sisters in that limited series, let’s rewind the tape and see exactly where he got his start.

Lockjaw debuted alongside his fellow Inhumans in 1965’s FANTASTIC FOUR #45. The brainchild of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Inhumans were part of an incredible streak of new creations produced by the engineers of the Marvel Universe around this time. The era also saw the emergence of Silver Surfer, Galactus, Black Panther, Wakanda, and Ulysses Klaue!

Fantastic Four (1961) #45

Fantastic Four (1961) #45

  • Published: December 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 06, 2009
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Medusa became the first Inhuman to tangle with the Fantastic Four as a member of the Frightful Four, but in the buildup to issue #45, she’d been suffering from amnesia. Her fellow Inhuman, Gorgon, eventually came to the outside world at the behest of King Maximus to find Medusa which, thanks to a series of misunderstandings, led to a fight with the FF.

Meanwhile, back at the Baxter Building, Johnny Storm decided to take a walk in order to forget his romance troubles. His breath of fresh air quickly saw him come across a young woman named Crystal. After Johnny got his flame on, she assumed he was an Inhuman and took him to her secret hideout. There, Crystal introduced Johnny to her friend and companion, Lockjaw! The beast used his head antenna to open a nearby door to their hidden compound, setting the stage for the Torch to meet Medusa, Gorgon, Karnak, and Triton!

Fantastic Four (1961) #46

Fantastic Four (1961) #46

  • Published: January 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before long, however, the Fantastic Four and the Inhumans got into another fight. This time, the Thing battled Black Bolt to a stand still, until Lockjaw teleported in to hit Grimm himself! This gave the Inhumans enough time to regroup before Lockjaw zapped them away to a safer place.

From there, Lockjaw transported his fellow Inhumans home to Attilan where Black Bolt bested his brother Maximus, taking the throne. The Fantastic Four made a visit, but found themselves on the outside of a seemingly impenetrable barrier. The team got distracted by their adventures with Galactus and Black Panther, but Johnny never stopped pining for Crystal, which eventually led him to look for her.

Fantastic Four (1961) #47

Fantastic Four (1961) #47

  • Published: February 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After Black Bolt broke through the barrier surrounding the Great Refuge, he and his group took shelter in Europe after leaving their homeland. Lockjaw then took Crystal to finally reunite with Johnny, though their love was not realized as they might’ve hoped.

Since then, the Inhuman’s best friend has appeared alongside the group at every turn. Thanks to both his super powers and his adorable manner, Lockjaw has become one of the Marvel Universe’s most beloved companions.

Fantastic Four (1961) #48

Fantastic Four (1961) #48

  • Published: March 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Flash Forward

If you want even more comics starring Lockjaw in the lead role, do yourself a favor and check out LOCKJAW AND THE PET AVENGERS by Chris Eliopoulos and Ig Guara. In that series, our four legged friend digs up the Mind Gem before going on a mission to find the other Infinity Gems alongside Throg, Redwing, Lockheed, Aunt May’s puppy Ms. Lion, and Speedball’s pal Hairball! It’s a thrilling, surprisingly intense adventure that features a battle with the most infamous seeker of the Gems around!

Read More

See how the spy defected from Russia and became an Avenger!

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.

Is Natasha Romanoff really dead?

Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier have been wrestling with this question in spite of themselves throughout the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE. In the wake of the events of Secret Empire, in which Romanoff, A.K.A. Black Widow, met her demise at the hands of Hydra Captain America, her two former friends—and sometimes love interests—have been following a strange trail that seems to have been left by the heroine.

As the mystery surrounding Natasha swells in the current run of TALES OF SUSPENSE, readers may recall that the character actually made her debut in issue #52 of the series back in 1964. In that story, by Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck, Natasha Romanoff worked for the Russian government as a spy alongside a man known only as Boris. The duo was tasked with breaking into Tony Stark’s facilities, grabbing defected scientist Professor Anton Vanko, and reclaiming the highly advanced Crimson Dynamo armor.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #52

Tales of Suspense (1959) #52

What is Marvel Unlimited?

To facilitate their mission, they took on cover identities as a brother-sister duo visiting Stark’s lab in order to learn about the technology and bring it back to teach children in the Ukraine. Stark responded positively—and even asked Madame Natasha out to dinner while Boris finished his tour. Alone now, Boris managed to find not only find Vankov, but also the Dynamo armor! After donning the suit himself, Boris destroyed the Stark compound.

Hearing about the attack, Tony cut dinner short and raced back to his headquarters with Natasha at his side. Once there, he ran off to put on his Iron Man armor, leaving Black Widow to utilize her spy training to distract the Armored Avenger from taking out her comrade. Vanko, seizing a moment of opportunity, destroyed the Dynamo armor and himself in the process. The Widow used the resulting explosion to make her escape before returning in the next issue to make up for her failed mission. Though she claimed never to fail a mission twice, that’s exactly what happened as she once again missed out on killing Tony Stark.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #53

Tales of Suspense (1959) #53

  • Published: May 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Romanoff, disgruntled at her recent losses, changed her tactics and manipulated circus trick shot archer Clint Barton, A.K.A. Hawkeye, into attacking Iron Man. Though, after Natasha’s Communist handlers disrupted the plan, Hawkeye saw reason, vowing to use his abilities for good. He joined the Avengers soon after.

Natasha, back in Russia, was brainwashed once again and tasked with destroying the Avengers. She entered the mission alongside fellow baddies Swordsman and the first Power Man, but eventually her indoctrination wore off, she defected, and joined Barton in the name of good.

FLASH FORWARD

The Black Widow actually trained with the Winter Soldier as far back as the 1950s—she joined her fellow Russian operatives to retrain Bucky Barnes as an agent of the Soviet Union. The two began a brief romance, but the Russians had lingering worries about Bucky’s programming, so they decided to freeze him and thaw him out only when necessary.

After regaining his memories thanks to Captain America and the power of a Cosmic Cube, Bucky also managed to recall his time with Natasha. The heroes restarted their relationship, but the star-crossed lovers were foiled once again when a Russian sleeper agent brainwashed Black Widow, clearing her mind of her relationship with Barnes in the process.

Read More

Looking back at five must-read issues on Marvel Unlimited!

Debuting in 1974, each issue of the original MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE saw Ben Grimm, A.K.A. The Thing, team-up with a different heroic partner for a new adventure across the Marvel Universe. And now, as The Human Torch joins The Thing to continue their fantastic resurrection of the series (by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung), we decided to log in to Marvel Unlimited for a look back at five classic issues from the original run.

Vengeance of The Molecule Man
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1 (1974)

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #1

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #1

  • Published: January 10, 1974
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 16, 2017
  • Writer: Steve Gerber
  • Penciler: Gil Kane
What is Marvel Unlimited?

To kick the series off, Steve Gerber and Gil Kane set Ben Grimm up with the protector of the Nexus of All Realities—The Man-Thing. As Ben hopped a bus to the Everglades to join his compatriot, The Molecule Man died, passing on his hatred of the Fantastic Four to his son, who then teleported to Earth to face off against Thing and Man-Thing together. Using his incredible powers, the new Molecule Man managed to turn both Things human again, though Grimm knew that they’d have to turn back to their original forms in order to save his teammates in the FF, thus sacrificing his own happiness for his friends once again. 

Death Watch
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2 (1977)

Marvel Two-in-One Annual (1976) #2

Marvel Two-in-One Annual (1976) #2

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In 1977, Jim Starlin created this new cosmic adventure from the aftermath of AVENGERS ANNUAL #7. In this issue, Peter Parker picked up Moondragon’s distress call after the Avengers fell to Thanos, so he grabbed Ben Grimm, got in a spaceship and headed to the stars! Though seemingly out of their depth against the Mad Titan, Spidey managed to sneak away and free the Avengers, giving the super group time to attack Thanos while the Wall-Crawler freed Adam Warlock. Once returned, Adam turned Thanos into a statue and saved the cosmos from the villain’s latest plan.

Remembrance of Things Past
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50 (1979)

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #50

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #50

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In celebration of the book’s half-century mark, writer-artist John Byrne dropped a bomb on the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing: Reed Richards’ attempted cure couldn’t help his physical state, but it could have when the hero was younger. Devising a plan, Grimm hopped on Doctor Doom’s time platform and visited his old self in the past! Due to a misunderstanding with an old woman who fainted, the current Ben soon found himself on the wrong end of past Ben’s fist! After a knock-down, drag-out brawl between the two, present Ben won and administered some of Reed’s cure to his old self, turning him human once more! Expecting to see the same results back in his own time, The Thing was disappointed to hear from Reed that, instead of changing his own past, he’d actually created an alternate reality where he could return to him form more easily. Looking at the bright side, Ben took solace in the fact that the rocky face he sported still looked better than the mug he had originally!

Call Him…Monster
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #80 (1981)

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #80

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #80

  • Published: October 10, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2008
  • Writer: Tom Defalco
  • Penciler: Ron Wilson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In issue #80, Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson brought Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze into Ben Grimm’s orbit again after they met 72 stories prior in #8. After Ben had a heart-to-heart with Blaze, the stuntman invited Ben to his show at Shea Stadium. When a couple of kids screwed up one of Johnny’s tricks by stealing a car, the Rider came out to exact vengeance. Not wanting his “fellow monster” to get into any hot water, The Thing went after the punks and stopped the hothead from hurting them too bad. Though, when appealing with his fists failed to stop Ghost Rider’s rampage, Grimm had to use an interesting alternate method to return the demon back to his human state.

Time Runs like Sand
MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #86 (1982)

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #86

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #86

  • Published: April 10, 1982
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2008
  • Writer: Tom Defalco
  • Penciler: Ron Wilson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Soon after that, Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson tackled longtime Fantastic Four villain Sandman in issue #86. After separating himself from Hydro-Man, the villain named Flint Marko intended to re-evaluate his life and get a new start, though he found it more difficult than he first expected. Holed up at a bar where the owner recognized him, the Fantastic Four arrived on the scene expecting a fight. Instead, however, they found an exhausted former baddie who just wanted to sit, have a drink, and talk about his problems. Rather than arresting Sandman, The Thing paid for a few more rounds and left him with some words of wisdom: “You got a chance to start all over again—with a clean slate! Don’t make the same mistakes again! Don’t fumble this ball! Think about it! I’ll be rooting for ya…”

Make the jump to Marvel Unlimited for more!

Read More

Prep for the new series by looking back at David Haller’s 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.

While fans have been celebrating David Haller’s return to comics in writer Peter Milligan and artist Wilfredo TorresLEGION #1 (out next week!), the character’s presence hasn’t always prompted such a positive response. In Haller’s first appearance, his arrival wasn’t cheered—it was met with dread.

The young man known as Legion debuted in 1985 on the second-to-last page of writer Chris Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz’s NEW MUTANTS #25. Presented as an entry in Moira MacTaggert’s notes on the mutant subjects of Muir Island, the reveal not only gave us our first look at Haller, but a wealth of introductory information.

New Mutants (1983) #25

New Mutants (1983) #25

What is Marvel Unlimited?

He looked like a teenager. He’d been catatonic for half of his life. And he possessed telekinetic and telepathic abilities passed onto him by his father…Charles Xavier. Haller’s mother, Gabrielle, was one of Xavier’s patients when he worked as a therapist. And, despite their relationship, the Professor never knew that David was his son.

In the following issue, David lost control of his powers and blew up part of Moira’s facility. Concerned for the well-being of her mutants, MacTaggert called in Professor X for some assistance. Charles came, and brought Banshee, Warlock, Doug Ramsay, Wolfsbane, and Dani Moonstar with him.

New Mutants (1983) #26

New Mutants (1983) #26

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In his inspection of the Island, Xavier began suspecting foul play when he met Gabrielle Haller there. She explained that David was her son, but held back on telling him the father’s identity. In an attempt to quell the chaos, the world’s most prominent telepath then entered Legion’s mind—but found himself, shockingly, ousted from his mental plane.

Haller’s mindscape proved to be an expansive and potent place. When Xavier returned to Legion’s mind, he found himself in an epic Soul War with one of David’s alternate personalities that’d hijacked one of the young man’s mutant powers. During this battle, Charles also learned of his own connection to the boy.

New Mutants (1983) #27

New Mutants (1983) #27

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After resolving the fight and concluding the mindscape adventure, Charles sat down with David in the real world only to discover that three other personalities all still lived inside Haller’s head. Saddled with such a complex and fragile mental state, Legion received word from his father that he would have his support as he grew older. Despite this promise, Charles and David were set for a challenging father-son relationship in the many years ahead.

FLASH FORWARD

A decade after making his first appearance, David Haller changed all of reality in a story called “Legion Quest” that ran through X-FACTOR #109, UNCANNY X-MEN #320#321, X-MEN #40#41 and CABLE #20. In that crossover, David decided that Magneto’s madness was the source of much of the world’s trouble, so he traveled back in time to kill him. Ultimately, however, Haller ended up accidentally killing his father instead, kickstarting the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline in the process. That event eventually led to the X-Men sending Bishop back in time so that he’d stop the wrongful assassination. In the process, Bishop stabbed Legion with his own psi-blade, sending them both spinning into Limbo.

Read More

Cable's bladed clone-brother stands solo in the retro spotlight.

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.

Wade Wilson’s had his old pal Cable in his sites ever since Marvel entered the Legacy era and he seems to be having a great time with the idea in DESPICABLE DEADPOOL by Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish. As seen in this week’s #291, Cable’s clone and enemy Stryfe’s also pretty high on the idea.

But who is Stryfe and where did he come from? For the very first look, we have to turn the time dial back to the nifty 90s — 1990 to be exact — when Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld introduced the character in NEW MUTANTS #86, though we only got a glimpse of his arm and discovered that he lead the Mutant Liberation Front.

New Mutants (1983) #87

New Mutants (1983) #87

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In the following issue, NEW MUTANTS #87, his hench-people — like Wildside, Reaper, Strobe, Forearm, Thumbellina and Tempo — smashed into a research facility. Cable, making his own debut, did the same not long after and got caught in a blast that knocked him out of commission, but only for a time.

Later in that issue, Stryfe fully revealed himself to us visually while talking over plans with Wildside. In that conversation, the underling implied that demanding mutants be freed acted as a ruse to distract the government, but Stryfe explained: “We care, Wildside, because they are symbols of the injustices visited on our kind. And so, as proof of our natural superiority, we will enter their secret complex, and take their prisoners from them.”

This mission wound up putting the MLF directly in the path of Cable who battled them. Between Cable’s own battles and the actual New Mutants team finishing up their trip to Asgard, Stryfe remained off-panel for a while before returning to the spotlight with NEW MUTANTS #93 and #94 when the Cable-lead New Mutants teamed up with Sunfire and Wolverine to take down a MLF operation intended to kill many people just to show the world Stryfe’s seriousness.

New Mutants (1983) #100

New Mutants (1983) #100

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The biggest shocker came at the end of NEW MUTANTS #100 when Stryfe pulled off his helmet to reveal Cable’s cloned face underneath! For a full recap on how the Askani cloned a young Cable and Apocalypse had the child stolen, check out THE ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX #4 by Scott Lobdell and Gene Ha!

FLASH FORWARD

Though he started out as more of Cable’s direct enemy, Stryfe upped his game when it came to the 90s X-over X-Cutioner’s Song. Running through X-FORCE as well as X-MEN, UNCANNY X-MEN and X-FACTOR, the epic kicked off when Stryfe posed as Cable and shot Professor X up with the Tecnho-organic virus. The series also included the likes of Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister also working towards their own nefarious ends, but also revealed more details about Stryfe’s strange history with Cyclops, Jean Grey and even Apocalypse. As you might expect from a multi-month crossover, this one featured all kinds of ins and outs, double crosses and major changes for the teams moving forward!

Read More

Kurt Wagner bamfs his way into our hearts and minds in GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1!

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.

Everyone’s favorite teleporting, blue, furry hero has been working hard for mutant equality in the pages of X-MEN: GOLD since the series launched earlier this year. In this week’s issue, #18, Kurt Wagner came to the forefront as a captive of the Dartayan Empire and even had a nice shot on the cover.

With that in mind, it’s the perfect time to look way back to 1975 when the elf made his very first appearance alongside his fellow new X-Men: Storm, Warpath, Colossus, Storm, Banshee, Sunfire and that guy Wolverine who debuted over in INCREDIBLE HULK in the pages of GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1.

Readers of that classic issue by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum will remember that Nightcrawler earned the first spotlight in the issue back in Winzeldorf, Germany. The usually quiet place soon found itself up in arms as the townspeople chased poor Kurt Wagner filled with hate and fear.

He mulled all of this over as he ran, thinking, “The fools! It is they who are the monsters – they with their mindless prejudices.” He also recounted a history that we wouldn’t see fleshed out until later, including time spent as a carnival performer.

Kurt used his incredible acrobatic abilities to avoid their pitchforks and torches for a while, but eventually fell into the growing crowd below. They probably would have succeeded in their attempts to destroy this kind-hearted individual had Professor X not appeared seemingly out of nowhere and used his own incredible mental abilities to stop them dead in their tracks.

Giant Size X-Men (1975) #1

Giant Size X-Men (1975) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

As confused as his attackers, Nightcrawler stood and watched in awe as Charles Xavier offered him a place on his team as well as one at his school. Once the new team fully came together, they learned that the original X-Men — along with Polaris and Havok — had gone missing on the mysterious island of Krakoa. Professor X assembled this new batch to help save the previous one.

On the island itself, Nightcrawler teamed up with Sunfire to infiltrate the south side. Though they didn’t exactly get along, they used their abilities to survive the descent through killer birds.

Upon reuniting the team, they all ran in to save the trapped X-Men only to learn that their enemy turned out to be Krakoa himself! Alongside his new teammates, Kurt fought valiantly to stop the strange mutant. As you know, Nightcrawler would become a stalwart member of the X-Men, continuing his adventures in the main series starting with UNCANNY X-MEN #94.

Flash Forward

If you’re looking to dig into Nightcrawler’s world, there are plenty of options. In addition to his various appearances in X-books, he’s also earned the spotlight himself on a few occasions. To get a solid look at his early days, you can read the X-MEN ORIGINS: NIGHTCRAWLER one-shot from 2010 by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, Cary Nord and James Harren. The tenacious teleport has also starred in two of his own solo series. The first ongoing NIGHTCRAWLER comic ran from 2004-2005 thanks to creators Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Darick Robertson. From 2014-2015, Chris Claremont, Jamie McKelvie and Todd Nauck chronicled NIGHTCRAWLER‘s adventures for another dozen issues.

Read More

The son of Mephisto challenges his first heroic foil in Daredevil!

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.

Sam Wilson just can’t seem to catch a break. First he had to deal with bigots and nuts during his tenure as Captain America, then he thought Steve Rogers turned evil during Secret Empire and now Blackheart’s trying to destroy him in Chicago. With Mephisto’s son causing all kinds of problems for the FALCON star, it’s time to look back at his first appearance in 1989’s DAREDEVIL #270 by writer Ann Nocenti and artist John Romita Jr.!

Blackheart sprang up in the modern era when a couple snuck onto the hill and the man attacked the woman. The newly formed demon lashed out, destroying both before a brief meeting with his father. Mephisto appeared to offer his offspring some advice after making him look more human: “You must walk among men in this form, for the eyes of men diminish evil. If too many see your true form, you lose power.” As the devilish dad disappeared, he offered one more pearl of wisdom: “When you see a worthy foe, you may reveal your true self.”

A few pages later, the humanized form of Blackheart laid eyes on Daredevil leaping around an abandoned amusement park. Sensing a worthy foe, the villain changed back to his real form and attacked ol’ Horn Head. Thanks to his advanced senses, our hero dodged the initial attack. Nearby, Peter Parker found himself sitting on a bus returning from a trip when he saw smoke rising from the old park. Spider Sense a-tingling, he swung into action, knocking the creature away from DD right before a potentially catastrophic blow. However, Blackheart’s physical attacks acted to mask his real intention of corrupting the goodness in Matt Murdock’s heart.

Daredevil (1964) #270

Daredevil (1964) #270

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The do-gooders used their combined might as well as the disposable roller coasters around them to try and stop Blackheart, but didn’t do much aside from draw a crowd. However, that proved exactly the right move as their foe remembered his father’s words about familiarity diminishing evil’s power and used a distraction to return to a more human form and escape—but not before Daredevil recognized the stink of Mephisto on the departing demon.

Blackheart returned in DAREDEVIL #278282, a story that found DD helping Black Bolt find his son, but ultimately lead into Hell and a confrontation with Mephisto. Since then, the villain has popped up in a variety of books ranging from GHOST RIDER and X-FORCE to WONDER MAN and now FALCON.

Flash Forward

For a character without a plethora of appearances in comics, Blackheart’s done a great job of getting his name out there in other formats. Many people first heard of him when he appeared as a playable character in 1995’s arcade-turned-console classic “Marvel Super Heroes.” Mephisto’s bouncing baby boy would go on to appear in crossover games like “Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter” and “Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes.” You may have also seen him on the big screen portrayed by Wes Bentley in “Ghost Rider”!

Read More