NM 98 Cover

February 1991 – “The Beginning of the End”

I have a confession to make.  It’s really hard for me to say this.  I…  *choke*  Look, just give me a minute.

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When I was 13…  I…  liked Rob Liefeld’s art.

There!  I said it!  I’m not proud of it!  But I can never escape it.  You don’t get cured of Liefeldism.  You’re in recovery, but you never really get over it.

First of all, let’s get the synopsis over with.  Some guy name Gideon plots, but we don’t know what about.  Cable and Cannonball train in the danger room.  Sunspot’s father gets murdered.  Rictor contemplates going back to Genosha to get Rahne.  Some guy name Deadpool shows up to collect Cable for some guy named Tolliver.  Deadpool beats up Cannonball, Rictor, Sunspot, and Cable.  Then some girl named Domino shows up and beats up Deadpool.  Then Gideon shows up to tell Sunspot that his dad’s dead.

Yeah.  This issue is pretty simplistic.  But it does give us two characters who would become fan favorites over the years (and one who would be extremely forgettable).  I’ll let you figure out which is which.

Let me get one thing straight.  Liefeld’s not the worst artist in the world.  I can think of several who are worse.  He probably isn’t even in my bottom 10.  But because of his insane popularity in the 90’s, he does seem to be one of the more hated.

Cable and Cannonball training in the Danger Room
Cable and Cannonball training in the Danger Room

This particular issue was one of my favorites growing up (again, don’t hate me) in part because I wanted to collect everything having to do with Cannonball.  Speaking of which, my first experience with Cannonball was Liefeld’s art with those silly goggles, but seriously, why goggles?  The funny thing is Cannonball is almost always associated with goggles nowadays, but in reality, from the early 80’s until 1991, he never wore goggles.  But after Liefeld, almost every artist had to create a costume with goggles.

like a sack o' potatoes!
like a sack o’ potatoes!

Here’s the thing about Liefeld.  I can honestly see why he was so popular.  He draws guys who are incredibly muscular and women who are incredibly fit with giant, perky breasts….  wait…  what was my point again?  Oh yeah, kids didn’t really care about the fact that his characters would bend in impossible ways (seriously, Deadpool shouldn’t look like that).  Kids didn’t care about the lack of perspective (I’ll post a great picture of this later).  His scenes were, however, exciting, which was something that few artists could achieve.  I posted last week about New Mutants #97 how Guang Yap’s artwork was just boring!  Liefeld at least brought excitement back to the New Mutants (I hated Blevins’ art).

Enter:  Deadpool!
Enter: Deadpool!

The problem is that Liefeld was absolutely horrible when it came to technical skills.  His legs were ridiculously big, he was notorious for being unable to draw feet, every single hand of every single character looked the same, every character spoke with a crooked grin, and he completely lacked perspective.  The picture I’m about to show you is a perfect example of every problem with Liefeld.  Let’s pick it apart, shall we?  Domino is bent at a silly angle, Boom-Boom’s legs are completely gone (she’s in front of the stairs so we should see her legs behind Sunspot), Cable’s fingers look the exact same to Deadpool in the picture above, and Domino looks like she’s standing on air (considering her dimensions, there would have to be a ledge there, but nothing’s there).

X-Force

I will apologize, though.  I didn’t mean to turn this into a Liefeld bitch-fest, but that’s what I remember most about this issue:  How much I loved Liefeld when I was young and how much I can’t stand his art now.  This issue also marks the start of the end of the New Mutants.  At this point, they no longer resemble teenage mutant students, they resemble X-Force.  Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up for discussion.

This issue did do two things right, although they wouldn’t be immediately apparent.  They introduced Deadpool and Domino.  Now, I don’t really care for Deadpool.  He’s a little too silly for my taste.  But I love Domino in later years (such as the X-Force run by Yost and Kyle).  So thank you, Liefeld, for at least giving me issues that I enjoyed when I was too young to know any better and thank you, Liefeld, for giving me at least one character that I would love 20 years later!

can't forget Domino!
can’t forget Domino!
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