Is this déjà-vu or are you just repeating yourself?

Ryhmä-X 3/1985 Cover
Ryhmä-X 3/1985 Cover

Ryhmä-X 3/1983 vas a very exciting issue. In my opinion the issue had a much better flow to it than the two previous ones. Of course, number 1/1983 had Arcade in it, so naturally it didn’t please me. And 2/1984 was still just warming up for this issue, but what an issue!

The plot

In last issue Proteus, Moira MacTaggert‘s hidden son, had escaped and was sucking life out of people on Muir Island. This issue (original: X-Men 127-128)  continued where the last one ended – Proteus is closing on Storm, who is injured and having a hard time keeping him away from sucking the life out of her. Just when he’s about to succeed, Moira shoots at him but misses. Scott intervenes, giving Proteus a chance to escape once again. The X-Men are left licking their wounds while Moira goes after Proteus – she has an idea where he is heading. Meanwhile, Scott displays his impeccable leadership skills by picking a fight with badly shaken Wolverine (I’m shocked, Wolverine shaking and stammering?!) to get him going. It works, but still I must question his logic – and so did the rest of the X-Men, I’m sure.

Ryhmä-X 3/1985 Leadership skills
Scott shows his leadership skills. Wolverine is in shock after being attacked by Proteus. What does Scott do? Well, he throws his coffee on Wolverine and picks a fight. Nice job, Scott.
Murderer on the loose, X-Men having a coffee break.
Banshee in the middle: "More coffee, Scott?" Aww, how cute! Their med kit comes with some hot java! And even if there is a murderer on the loose, there's always time for a cup of coffee, right Scott?

Meanwhile, Proteus has found his father and takes over his body and feelings, as we find out when Moira finds out what has happened. Proteus, having his father’s feelings, is suffering from a severe case of Oedipus complex, to the horror of his mother and the reader. At this point the X-Men arrive on the scene and a battle ensues where reality is warped by Proteus. Finally, after having used up his father’s body, which is now in a frail condition, he gets slammed against a wall, breaking the body around him, revealing him as an energy form. Colossus in his metallic form – remember metals are poisonous to Proteus – hits Proteus, killing him. They all return to Muir Island headquarters where Banshee, having lost his voice, decides to stay with Moira for now.

Proteus having a severe case of Oedipus complex.
1) "You must be confused. Let me help you. Whenever I possess a person I also get their thoughts." 2) "I feel everything my father did. I have never experienced such power and passion." 3) "He and me are alike. We take what we want." 4) "And I want... you!" Proteus having a severe case of Oedipus complex, to the horror of Moira and the reader.

In the second story (original: X-Men 66) the previous assemblage of the X-Men are trying to find a cure for Professor X, who is lying in a coma after the battle against Z’Nox. The solution is to find doctor Bruce Banner, who is also known as the Hulk. Unfortunately the X-Men find him as the Hulk. Comedy follows: Archangel gets too close to Hulk, managing to get better aquintanced with Hulk’s fist. Then Beast, still at this point in his human form, leaps on him with the only visible effect being him learning to fly in the opposite direction. And at this point Cyclops open his mouth, saying: “Hulk, we don’t want to fight. We just want to ask a couple of things.” Even though Hulk is not known to be the sharpest pencil in the case he hits the point answering: “More stupid words!” Indeed! Cyclops, why you still so…

Ryhmä-X 3/1985 Hulk making sense, Scott isn't
1) Beast: "Got you, ugly man!" 2) (last panel) Scott: "Hulk, we don't want to fight. We just want to ask you something." 3) Hulk: "More stupid words!" Indeed! Maybe you shouldn't have kicked his face in if you just wanted to talk to him, Scott.

Well, in the end they get to calm him down, turning him back to Bruce Banner. Oh but wait, having anger management issues, Bruce turns back into Hulk as soon as the army arrives. Doh!

Wait, didn’t we see this already?

As I mentioned in “About this blog” the Finnish Marvel comics are not identical to the originals. At times the original issues have been scrambled and often our magazines miss a few pages from here and there. For example, the first issue of Ryhmä-X (1/1984) reprinted X-Men 113 (Sep 1978) with an adventure called: “X-Men: Showdown!” The Finnish publication was missing seven pages from the original according to Sarjakuvarock. Usually our magazines are missing only the first page from each story – or so I have inferred from the fact that most of the stories only miss one page, and usually the first page of the comic is an “opening image” to the comic, and we don’t have those in the middle of our magazines, which collect multiple issues of the originals.

The "sungod's" village.
Ryhmä-X 1/1984: The "sun god's" town.

One thing that also causes trouble is how the originals have full page advertisements in the middle of the magazines. The Finnish magazines have advertisements only at the beginning and at the end of the magazine but never, to my knowlegde, in the middle of a story. As you know, all magazines have even and odd pages following each other, but in the original Marvel magazines, because of the advertisements, you get two odd or even pages following each other. This is not a problem unless this is followed by a spread ment to be kept together like a full spread image of a building, like the view of the “sun god’s” town in Ryhmä-X 1/1984. Basically this means that if nothing is done the image might have to be divided into two pages on different spreads. So far in these early issues this is not that common a problem, but I remember this was quite common in the 90’s when the artists were looking for more dynamic layouts and broke the conventional panel divisions. That’s why the reader mail was usually divided between the comic on separate individual pages to allow the comic’s spreads kept together. Unfortunately sometimes they ran out of space and had to divide spreads causing very confusing pages and dialogue, unless you realised the text was in fact referring a part of either the previous or the following page.

Wait, didn’t we see this already? …Already?

As I said, in this issue, Ryhmä-X 3/1985, the editing of the original issues was more obvious than usually. The second story begins with the X-Men standing around Professor X’s bed, wondering what to do. One weird detail is that Beast “talks” the credits of the story. Then Jean Grey – still Marvel girl at this point – reminds that Bobby, the Iceman, mentioned some brain machine. Scott is like, yeah, that’s right and in the next panel Beast and Scott are shooting the machine at Professor Xavier. Well, that was fast!

Ryhmä-X 3/1985 Rewritten continuation
Ryhmä-X 3/1985: Beginning of the second story. Notice Beast talking the credits. Also, the first panel is rewritten: 1) Jean: "Scott, Bobby did mention Professor's brain machine." 2) Scott: "True. Charles finished it some time ago. The brain machine could be our only hope." In the panel below Scott and Beast have the same conversation as in the previous issue with only minor unmeaningful changes.

I did have a nagging feeling I had seen this once before, but didn’t pay attention to it. Then I began trying to find the colourist information for these stories and then I noticed it. The previous issue had an identical image of the X-Men standing around Xavier’s bed. It was just cut in half. And the panel on the bottom was the last panel from the previous number. They had just shown those two panels again and explained what was going on and cut off the part where Iceman and Havok are fighting over Lorna Dane aka Polaris.

Ryhmä-X 2/1985 Xavier's bedside
In Ryhmä-X 2/1985 we see the original image of the X-Men around Xavier's bed. 1) Hank: "If only we knew if he will heal or not..." 2) Jean: "Hank, don't even think about it. He must get well!" 3) Scott: "It would be cruel irony if he had returned to us after many months..." "...just to experience the greatest and last of his victories."
Ryhmä-X 2/1985 Spread
The ending of Ryhmä-X 2/1985. Notice the last panel.

I don’t have access – yet! – to the original issues aside from a few exceptions, but it would be very interesting to compare the originals to these Finnish issues to find out the differences in page distribution and in translations.

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