Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TEAM X/TEAM 7 – November 1996

All Sold Out
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Steve Epting (penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Steve Buccellato & Team Bucce! (colors)

Summary: In the past, in the Sultanate of Numidia, both Team X and Team 7 are sent on separate missions to investigate the country’s escalating super-soldier program. Leni Zauber, Mystique’s latest alias, is sent as an inside operative for Team X, while Mirielle Duplessis is working undercover for Team 7. Omega Red is inside the facility, representing the Soviet government, who licensed the program to Numidia in exchange for oil concessions. Both Team X and Team 7 make it inside and face Omega Red and the Numidian soldiers. When Team 7’s government superior decides that he can’t get the information he wants from the mission, he orders Mirielle to trigger a static nuke and kill everyone inside. Mystique kills her before she can trigger the bomb, and Team 7 combine their powers to destroy the warhead. The teams are rescued by John Wraith, and soon agree to forget each other’s secrets.

Production Note: This is a forty-eight page, bookshelf format comic with no ads. The paper is the regular, non-glossy stock Marvel was using at the time. The cover price is $4.95.

Continuity Notes: Since this is an inter-company crossover, its place in continuity is dubious at best. This is the first time the “Team X” name is used, and I think it has become the official name for Wolverine’s Cold War-era black ops group. Team X consists of Logan, Creed, and North (who will become Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Maverick in the future). Team 7 features the Wildstorm characters Lynch, Cray, Dane, Cash, and Chang (I guess the other two members are their boss Craven, and his assistant Gabriel).

According to this issue, the Weapon X project already exists at this time, and Logan, Creed, and North are already undergoing experimentation. This doesn’t seem to work with the original Weapon X serial, which had Wolverine as a government agent who was abducted and experimented on by the Weapon X project. It’s possible that Wolverine left the project and was then forced back into it, I suppose.

Review: This is one of the many Marvel/Image crossovers that occurred after the “Heroes Reborn” deal was finalized. A few years earlier these crossovers would’ve been unthinkable (I think Marvel’s lawyers at one point even killed an X-Force/Youngblood cover for Wizard), so this was something of a big deal at the time. Not only did we get an actual X-Force/Youngblood crossover special (I assume this was published, although I don’t recall ever actually seeing it), but Spider-Man and Wolverine met Badrock, Gen 13, and a few other Image characters in various one-shots. I suspect the market was oversaturated with these crossovers, as I was able to purchase this one for fifty cents a few years ago. I can’t think of any independent comic book characters deemed popular enough to interact with the Marvel Universe today, outside of Red Sonja and the Transformers, who teamed up with Spider-Man and the New Avengers recently. And since Red Sonja and the Transformers began life as Marvel characters, it’s hard to compare them to new properties like Gen 13, which really was a phenomenon briefly in the ‘90s.

I know nothing about Team 7, outside of the fact that it was one of the very few military comics published in the ‘90s, and it apparently filled in the backstory for most of the Wildstorm line. By the time the series began, the market was already flooded, so it doesn’t have the novelty of being one of the original Image titles, nor was it able to break out the way Gen 13 and Witchblade did in the mid-90s (Seven members and not one Playmate in a thong? Outrageous!). I don’t know if there was a huge demand to have Wolverine’s retconned covert ops squad meet Deathblow’s retconned covert ops squad, but here we are. The story consists of a lot of action, macho dialogue, double-crosses, and obscure military jargon. It’s a Larry Hama comic. I had fun reading it, even though I occasionally had no idea what was going on. The art is capably handled by Steve Epting, who can draw military hardware as well as the more traditional superhero action. I don’t know if this fulfilled the expectations Team X fans had for an intercompany crossover, but it’s a decent action comic with nice art.


HardtravelingHero said...

It's been a while, but I believe this "incarnation" of Team X showed up in X-Men (1991) 4-7, in which Team X or whatever they were called had to obtain the carbonadium (or whatever the effing material was named) from Omega Red. I believe this is now the only thing that can kill Wolverine's stupid son.

I cannot recall if Leni Zauber appeared in that story, or if it was in Sabretooth: Death Hunt or if it was indeed a Mystique alias in that story as well.

As for Team 7, I think Chuck Dixon wrote the first two miniseries in 1994, and 1995 and I recall them being decent, or even good. I do not believe Craven and Gabriel are the other two members, though perhaps the other two Team 7 members show up later. Wikipedia's entry seems accurate.

Like you, I was a total X-Zombie from X-Men 14 (X-Cutioner's Song) through most of the 90s. But I did have a comic book store in the neighborhood (in which I'd work years later) and got into Wildstorm, probably because of Jim Lee and was reading most of those titles as well as nearly all X-Titles by 1994.

If you're interested, up through a short time past Wildstorm Rising, most of the Wildstorm Universe was pretty damn cool. It was sometime after that, certainly by Sword of Damocles that it all went to crap. Some might say it was the Onslaught of Wildstorm (without any coolness that a 15 year old might find, since I still liked the Onslaught books after rereading last year, just not as much as in 1996).

As for X-Force/ Youngblood: Sadly it was released and with multiple covers and was one of those prestige over-priced books with a lackluster story and I'm sure you can guess that the villain (or one of them) is Mojo if I recall. Check Amazon or wherever.

G. Kendall said...

It's been a while, but I believe this "incarnation" of Team X showed up in X-Men (1991) 4-7, in which Team X or whatever they were called had to obtain the carbonadium (or whatever the effing material was named) from Omega Red.

Yes, that was also the first Maverick appearance. This crossover is the first time their team is named "Team X"; previously they were just referred to as CIA agents.

Leni Zauber first appeared in the Sabretooth mini. Wolverine already knows her as Mystique in this comic, which is another odd continuity element.

HardtravelingHero said...

Is Maverick the only one that hasn't had sex with Mystique? Didn't Wolverine snikt her around issue 50?

We know Sabreooth got some too.

G. Kendall said...

There was a brief storyline from around that time that had Wolverine regressing in personality to the nasty persona he had in his initial appearances. It was implied that the two hooked up in issue #51, I believe.

kerry said...

I believe the "Team 7" moniker actually refers to that being the seventh iteration of that particular team, not the number of members in the team (Apparently this point confused a lot of people, as it's explicitly addressed either in one of the three Team 7 mini-series or in WildC.A.T.s proper). There were a couple of mini-series called "Team One," with James Robimson writing, taking place earlier and showing the group's origins, to bring this point home further. Chuck Dixon, who had written all three of the Team 7 mini-series, revisited thsi idea recently with the Team Zero mini-series, though like everything else Wildstorm these days, no one noticed.

HardtravelingHero said...

Ah yes. For some reason when I had thought of the Teams One (WildCATS and Stormwatch), it did not snap into place that what Kerry said is so.

It seems Wildstorm and all attempts to revamp, recreate, or just draw interest in mostly fails in any sort of popular acclaim every time. It's a shame, because I probably thought it almost on par with my love of all things X for those many comic-bliss years. Though I have dug most of what I've read that Christos Gage has written, so hopefully his WS is as good.

I cannot recall the third Team 7 mini, as I remember plain Team 7, then Objective Hell, but did I read the next one? Let me check Wikipedia again. Dead Reckoning, which I own and surely read, but I do not recall a single detail. I do look forward to reading Team Zero.

Paul G. said...

It looks like Youngblood/X-Force was published earlier in 1996, sporting the perfect Liefeld cover: no feet (or any part of the body below the waist, really. In fact, it looks like Cable's growing out of Shaft's back).


Anonymous said...

Until today I didnt make the connection between this Team X and the Team X 2000 one shot. Weird.

Also Team X was featured in an episode of X-Men: The Animated Series during season 4. Weapon X, Lies and Videotape was the name of the episode. That episode shows Team X stealing the C-Synth while fighting Omega Red. Good stuff. Only for some reason Silver Fox was on the team.

Chris said...

The Team 7 story ran through four mini-series, with all but the last being written by Chuck Dixon. (those four would be Team 7, Objective Hell, Dead Reckoning, and Gen 12).

evanmcb said...

There were two X-Force/Youngblood crossovers, one was called Youngblood/X-Force, and the other was X-Force/Youngblood. They were awesome, but I accept that I am in the minority in thinking that.

Aqualad said...

I miss Gen 13. This new series just ain't the same.

Mike Loughlin said...

I didn't really care for Steve Epting's art on Avengers, and never read the post-Peter David X-Factors, so I pleasantly surprised by this comic. It looked great!

When I met Mr. Epting at a convention in 2000, I mentioned how much I enjoyed the art. He told me that he was happy with Klaus Janson's inks.

wwk5d said...

Epting is certainly an underrated artist. His Avengers stuff was ok - I felt he was overpowered by Tom Palmer's inking - but his X-factor stuff was great, and once Mackie joined him as writer, Epting's art was the only good thing about the title. His current work on Captain America is lovely.

HardtravelingHero said...

I was working at Collectors Kingdom in New York around the time the Grossgen books were coming out and even when the current run of Captain America began with Brubaker and Epting.

I was amazed at the art (as well as story) in this first issue. I had commented to a coworker about how I used to hate Epting's art on Avengers and then on X-Factor. The response that I got was that Crossgen seemed to be the place where many artists honed their talents, whether formerly at Marvel or seemingly new, such as Greg Land, Steve McNiven, Epting, and a few others who would then become the current stars amongst comics artist.

It probably was overpowering inking that helped me dislike Epting's art then.

Brendan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brendan said...

it's funny to me that there are people complaining about eptings artwork here, and i remember not liking it then. I didn't like john romita jr then either.

of course now, with more sensibility than who can draw the hottest babes I understand that John Romita is a masterartist and Epting is pretty damn good, if not the poor-man's JRJr

which reminds me the gen 13 phenomenon was all about j scott campbell's ability to draw pinup art

oh yeah and i remember brian hitch doing guest pencils on uncanny around this time and i thought he was the worst ever

which is hilarious since his artwork on the Authority melts my brain

Anonymous said...

Team X > Team 7

It would be sick if Maverick and Grifter went at it and bloodlusted.

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