Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson’s Maxi Series celebrating the Limited Series continues.
The Odinson’s Must Read Limited-Series: Part 2 – Marvel: 1984-1985
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (1984) – Format: 6 issues. Plot: In this spiritual sequel to the 1982 limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, the youngest member of the X-Men, Kitty Pryde, heads to Japan to help her father and quickly gets in way over her head. She is targeted by a ninja-sorcerer named Ogun and not even Wolverine may be able to save her soul. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Make no mistake, Kitty Pryde is the star of this story. After Colossus returns from the Secret Wars campaign he breaks off his relationship with Kitty (see Uncanny X-Men #183). This tale really shows character growth and we witness Kitty make the transition from timid teenager to fully developed super hero. This caper had a profound effect on her and is a must read for any X-Men fan.
Questprobe (1984) – Format: 3 issues. Plot: A mysterious being is stalking the Marvel U’s greatest heroes, but for what purpose? The Odinson’s Thoughts: Back in the day, lots of comic books had tie-ins with other mediums – films, cartoons, toys, and this limited series tied into video games. Each issue served as a prequel for the game starring each of the heroes featured – the Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. I remember actually playing these games and I’m here to say, the comics were better. NOTE: The 3-issue series actually has a coda in the pages of Marvel Fanfare #33, and the mysterious stranger returns in the 1990s to once again plague the Marvel heroes in the pages of Quasar.
Transformers (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: A war between sentient robots, the noble Autobots and evil Decepticons, has been raging on the far side of the universe for centuries. Now, that war has spilled over to a backwater blue world called Earth. The Odinson’s Thoughts: On the Mount Rushmore of 1980s toys there is Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, and there is Transformers. This limited series launched an amazing narrative that is still going strong to this day. It even included an amazing crossover with Spider-Man! Transformers #4 ends with a mind-blowing cliffhanger and the series was actually upgraded to an ongoing series that ran 80 issues.
West Coast Avengers (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: In order to cover more ground, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes split into two teams, one that would continue to operate out of New York City and a second team stationed in California. NOTE: This was actually part of a scheme by a corrupted Vision to fracture the team and weaken the heroes’ ability to stop him (see Absolute Vision). The Odinson’s Thoughts: This 4-issue series proved successful and set up the launch of the West Coast Avengers ongoing series that ran throughout the rest of the 80s and well into the early 90s and featured adventures on par with and, in some cases, even better than the original Avengers title.
The X-Men and the Micronauts (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Marvel’s Merry Mutants team-up with the rebels of the Microverse to stop a common enemy – Professor X?! The Odinson’s Thoughts: Two of the All-Time best comic book writers in history are Chris Claremont and Bill Mantlo and these masters of their craft combine their might to produce this underrated gem from the mid-80s.
Hercules (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The Lion of Olympus continues his travels throughout the cosmos and gets into all sorts of adventures along the way. His journey brings him home to Mount Olympus where he finds that the gods have all \been slain by his own father – Zeus! The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is a sequel to the 1982 limited series, Hercules, and the second chapter in a trilogy by Bob Layton that culminates in the pages of the Hercules: Full Circle graphic novel.
Iceman (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: He’s been a member of the X-Men, the Champions, and the Defenders, but this is Bobby Drake’s very first solo adventure. The Odinson’s Thoughts: For a young Odinson, this was exciting because I knew Ice Man very well from the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon. It was also around this time that the other breakout star from that show – Firestar – got her own series. More on that next week.
Jack of Hearts (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Imagine having incredible powers, but those powers are killing you. The Odinson’s Thoughts: I was introduced to Jack of Hearts in the pages of ROM Spaceknight. Bill Mantlo can do no wrong in my eyes, so of course I’m going to recommend this sci-fi/drama.
Machine Man (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: X-51 returns in the future year of 2020 (D’oh! That’s next year) to battle corporate greed and tyranny. The Odinson’s Thoughts: One of Machine Man’s main foes is none other than Iron Man 2020, a vile future relative of Tony Stark that uses the Stark-tech for unscrupulous pursuits.
Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: The Kingdom of Atlantis lies in ruins and Prince Namor struggles to maintain peace between the sea and the nations of the world, and within himself. The Odinson’s Thoughts: This tale actually shows a side we rarely see in the Avenging Son, a vulnerable one. This is the tale that sets up Namor’s great interactions with Alpha Flight and ultimately him joining the ranks of the Avengers during arguably the Odinson’s favorite run of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Starriors (1984) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: In the distant future, planet Earth has become uninhabitable by humans. Mankind lies in suspended animation, sleeping through the centuries until the day the world is rebuilt and livable once more. Watching over mankind, keeping them safe, are the robotic Starriors. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Another tie in comic to a toy line. The Starriors were kind of a poor man’s Transformers. I had a few. Again, I’d say the comics were better than the toys.
Longshot (1985) – Format: 6 issues. Plot: A resistance fighter from another dimension comes to the Marvel Universe. He is hunted relentlessly by interdimensional bounty hunters, monsters, and magic-users. He has no friends and family to turn to for help. However, Longshot has luck on his side. The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is one of the most important limited series the Odinson has ever read. It introduced me to Longshot, easily one of my All-Time favorite X-Men, and it introduced me to Art Adams, not only my All-Time favorite comic book artist, but easily one of the most influential artists in the history of the medium (I think Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, and Rob Liefeld would agree).
Rocket Raccoon (1985) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: Rocket embarks on a space odyssey to save his love Llyla and the galaxy from the forces of Lord Dyvyne and Lord Mole. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Yet another great Bill Mantlo creation. I was first introduced to Rocket in the pages of Incredible Hulk #271. These days, most fans know Rocket from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gargoyle (1985) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: This is a tale about a man trapped in the form of a monster and what happens when his monstrous urges begin to take over. The Odinson’s Thoughts: Nobody does the dichotomy between man and monster better than the House of Ideas.
Nightcrawler (1985) – Format: 4 issues. Plot: After a BAMPFing accident in the Danger Room, Kurt Wagner suddenly finds himself in a strange, magical world of pirates and fairies, and the swashbuckling Nightcrawler could not be happier. The Odinson’s Thoughts: He is a fan favorite and this is the first time Nightcrawler got his very series, and boy did he shine.
X-Men/Alpha Flight (1985) – Format: 2 issues. Plot: The X-Men and Alpha Flight find themselves swept up in an epic battle involving monsters and gods. Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true. The Odinson’s Thoughts: This is a follow up to the classic tale The Asgardian Wars. Here, Loki, the Norse god of evil, seeks revenge against Marvel’s mutant heroes.
Be sure to tune in next week when the Odinson continues his Maxi-Series on Limited Series with The Odinson Celebrates the Limited-Series: Part 3 – Marvel 1986-1989.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.