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The 10 Goofiest Panels From ‘X-Men: Mutant Genesis’

This week, “Mutant Genesis,” the storyline that ran through the first few issues of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s ’90s “X-Men” series, gets the deluxe hardcover treatment from Marvel.

To say that these issues were popular when they were coming out is underselling it quite a bit: “X-Men” #1 holds the record for the best-selling single issue of all time with over six million copies sold. It’s a huge comics touchstone for an entire generation of readers (it was actually the first comic I ever bought as a back issue, paying the exorbitant price of six dollars to a 7th-grade classmate) and it propelled Jim Lee to the superstardom that he still enjoys today. In short, even two decades later, it’s still a pretty big deal for a lot of people.

And it’s also goofy as hell.

Seriously, from the dialogue to the designs, everything about the first five issues of “X-Men” have that astonishingly over-the-top attitude that we’ve all come to love from the ’90s. That’s why today, I’m stoking the fires of nostalgia by going back through my own copies to offer up the 10 Goofiest Moments in “Mutant Genesis!”

1. “Back off, Wolverine! You made your point! Now let me explain your powers to you as though you don’t know them!”

Fun Fact: This was the moment that, at age 12, I decided I hated Cyclops forever. Such a killjoy.

2. Attack of the 100-Foot Magneto Poster

Apparently when the government needs to inform its soldiers about a dire threat to world security, they bust out the world’s most massive jumbotron just so they can show a full-body picture of a dude in purple spandex. No lie, though: In 1991, I would have killed for a ten-story Magneto poster.

And a ten-story locker door to put it on.

3. Magneto: Casual Male

This scene takes place on Asteroid M, but I’m less impressed by Magneto’s orbital base than the fact that he was able to find a set of silk footie pajamas in a 34 Long, complete with matching cummerbund.

4. Psylocke leaps vagina-first into battle!

In addition to Betsy Braddock’s genital-based attack, I think it’s important to note that, as the British heroine’s body is Japanese (long story, trust me), she has been given the skin color of a Post-It note. Although to be fair, her hair is purple, so maybe the colorist was just making her more festive for Easter.

5. Speech!

Art-wise, this panel’s actually pretty great: The energy crackling around Magneto’s hands, the way the X-Men are framing him, how everyone is wary except Wolverine, who looks ready to fight. It’s a great image that gets a lot of information across visually.

But, you know, not so much information that Chris Claremont didn’t feel like he had to basically write a novel for Magneto to shout while standing there for what seems like a good half hour.

6. Someone’s Using the Mystery Method!

At this point, the fact that Rogue explains her powers to someone she already knows through a southern accent that Boss Hogg would have trouble comprehending is just gilding the Claremontean lily that is Gambit’s attempt at seduction. Nothing gets a girl in bed quicker than calling her a river rat, kids, and you can take that to the bank.

7. Orange You Glad She’s Not Bright Yellow?

Did you know that if you eat enough carrots, the Beta Carotene in them can give your skin a slight orange tint? Because Psylocke does, and she has apparently just finished eating a carrot the size of the Washington Monument.

8. They’d Had an Iceman For Years, a Maverick Was Inevitable

The Double-Banana-Clip was the Comics in 1991 equivalent of today’s Double Rainbow.

9. Sometimes The Person You Really Want Is Right In Front Of You, Bub.

It’s not just me, right? This is totally dialogue about how Wolverine wants to hook up with Gambit once he “comes to his senses” and realizes Rogue’s not for him, right? Right?

And my favorite panel of the arc…

10. Forging Fashion

For a while there I couldn’t figure out if the most hilarious thing about this panel was the fact that he’s wearing Wonder Woman’s new jacket over a jacket over a turtleneck, or the his spread-legged Computer Usin’ Stance, but then I noticed the crown jewel: In order to show off his cybernetic leg, Forge has manufactured an individual pant leg out of spandex and belted it just above his knee.

That is fantastic.

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