Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’ve been up all night again, writing my dissertation. Almost done. Just another night like this and it’s the home stretch. I’m burnt out and grouchy. This is probably going to be a ‘I miss the old days’ rant. Recently, the X-Men: The Arcade Game game was re-released on Xbox Live. It was so awesome.

And you know something? I miss arcades! I mean, Dave and Busters is fun, sure. But remember when you and your friends saved up quarters to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Street Fighter II? Which, of course, wasn’t exactly a huge payoff because, you know, those games were actually hard as %&$# so you’d burn through a buck and a half that you saved over a week in like, fifteen minutes?

X-Men: The Arcade Game was the heir to classic beat ‘em ups like Double Dragon. Featuring a ridiculous six player capability and a double screen (if you were playing the right version), you and your buddies could take on Sentinels and the Brotherhood to your heart's content (until, you know, Magneto came out and WHUPPED you good. Which was kind of cool, in a way, because hey he is Magneto, after all). There were a couple of other cool Marvel arcade games around, although they never got the same press.

There was a REALLY excellent Spider-man arcade game that made a brief appearance and I think maybe got a port to the Sega Saturn, but only in Japan, or something? And was a ton of fun. It features the whole array of Spider-man bad guys, like Scorpion, Venom and even the Kingpin (who, in case all of the Daredevil and Punisher fans forget, started off as a Spidey bad guy). Spidey’s allies in this game were Black Cat, Hawkeye, and Namor. Let’s go over that again. Spider-man’s allies were: Black Cat. And…Hawkeye and Namor.

I really don’t know WHAT compelled game designers to include these last two. Why Daredevil and, I don’t know, maybe Dr. Strange or Cap or the Human Torch or something, didn’t make the cut here, I’ll never quite know. I mean- Hawkeye I can KIND of see having a Spidey run-in…but Namor? Really? Knocking around Spidey bad guys? If you say so.

But I digress: X-Men: The Arcade Game. Here’s the thing with the game. I don’t know if this has ever been explicitly stated, anywhere, but I’m pretty sure the game was actually supposed to be a marketing tie-in with the failed X-Men cartoon pilot from the 1980’s. Yeah that’s right. There was a pilot for X-Men. But it was the ‘classic’ team- Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Night-Crawler, Colossus, Dazzler and Kitty Pryde. It was cute, actually. I’ve watched it online, in one of my many frivolous hours spent on YouTube.

I mean I don’t know WHY the show didn’t get picked up. It was just as good as -I don’t know- DINOSAUCERS. But the thing is, the art in the arcade game is essentially the art style of this failed pilot. I think X-Men: The Arcade Game was made with the presumption that the show would be launched into a full-fledged, Saturday morning syndicated series. And actually, I've often wondered how things would have turned out for the entire franchise if this ‘team’ of X-Men had kind of broken out into mainstream media.

I love this era of X-Men so much and I’m still a little disheartened with all of the X-Men movie action. The re-launch does hold my interest but it’s like why can’t they just do it Batman Begins and The Dark Knight style? It’s like they don’t rush through the ‘eras’ of Batman’s development. I would love to see an X-Men movie that picked up right when the book got ‘Uncanny’ in it’s title, when Claremont took over. THAT’S the movie I’d be dying to see- the team I grew up with.

Speaking of which- what’s with the relaunches ANYWAY? So-is this just it? There’s three movies and a relaunch? That’s how we do it? I mean, okay, I guess that kind of makes sense. I don’t know many movie franchises that can sustain interest for a fourth movie. But it’s like The Dark Knight. I just want them to KEEP GOING. I’ve heard that Nolan has signed on as the producer of the Batman reboot that will actually FOLLOW The Dark Knight Rises. The thing is I don’t want a relaunch. I just want to keep watching Christopher Nolan making Batman movies. Forever. I want them to never stop. Ever. Just keep making them.

While we’re on it I know no one will ever replace Ledger. But I still just think if it makes sense for Joker to be in the next movie, CAST someone. Don’t just drop it. Don’t write it out. Make the movie you envisioned it to be. I could write a few choice words here about Anne Hathaway, who is NOT my choice for Selina Kyle, by any means. I don’t know why- it’s nothing personal. But I just don’t see it. But hey, I said the same thing about Ledger before. And well. Here we are.

Actually, as long as this post is going on tangents let me back up a second. I’ve been thinking about this one for a while...how about a Dazzler relaunch? Why not give it a shot? I mean, I know the Dazzler series is kind of brutually mocked these days forfailing to kind of ‘take hold’ in the pantheon of Marvel solo characters who become memorable. I think the problem was Marvel was sort of trying to cash in on building a female fanbase for a solo character. But it was sort of like men trying to write a realistic and relatable female character for female readers. And it just kind of didn’t happen.

Dazzler felt more like Jem (you know- ‘truly, truly outrageous’) than anything else. It certainly wasn’t filled with gripping feminist source material. She was always torn between these really painfully cheesy romances- like one guy offered to fly her to her estate on his private island but another guy was like this kind artist, which one should Dazzler choose? Or something like that. The storylines that were more appropriate on bad daytime soap operas than anything else. The thing is, I always liked the way Dazzler’s powers worked. And I really thought the Dazzler one-shot was pretty smart: this idea that she was this big star, but than suddenly it broke out that she was a mutant, and what repercussions did that have in the Marvel Universe and all that.

The point is, if it was done well, if it was done right- it could happen. I know they’ve had her tied up in this whole, long complicated story with Longshot (another character I love, I admit) and she’s been making appearances in X-Men here and there, but I think giving her another chance in the spotlight (no pun intended) could be cool, if someone gave it a more modern, sophisticated touch. Any thoughts?


  1. The stains of Bendis and his like minded "architects" at Marvel will need to laundered out before an actual character like Dazzler outcompetes confected rubbish like mrs. power man.


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