X-Men #53 (June, 1996) – autographed


What’s Inside: 

Onslaught, the mysterious, dark entity which has been a foreboding presence in the X-Men books for months, is finally revealed. Drawing Jean Grey into the Astral Plane, he attempts to seduce her to turn away from Charles Xavier and the X-Men by showing her some of Charles’ darkest thoughts. Jean aptly refuses and is left with a psychic scar on her forehead which ominously spells “Onslaught”.

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Andy Kubert

Publisher: Marvel

Why I Kept This Issue: 

I really dug the Onslaught story when I was in high school. I thought it was so intense and I loved the concept. It was sort of my generation’s version of the Dark Phoenix Saga, although many would argue that my generation’s version of the Dark Phoenix Saga was the Dark Phoenix Saga. 

There are certain, easily recognizable elements to 90s comics; impossible shoulder pads, impossible breasts, and impossible armor.


Onslaught is 90s.

Attached Memory: 

Funny thing about nerds…there are good nerds and bad nerds. Yes, I consider myself a “good” nerd. And I have met many a bad nerd over the years. Also, beware, I am about to sound very, very, very stuck up.

A bad nerd would be someone who is unable to bring any sort of intelligence, taste, or critical thinking skills to their critiques of, well, anything. They focus so hard on memorizing minute details of certain characters, but completely missing the overall core representation of the character. For instance, a bad nerd will fly off the handle about the fact that Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine, proclaiming that he is awful with the character, because Hugh Jackman is much taller than Wolverine is in the comics. This minor detail apparently allows all of the fantastic-ness that Jackman brings to the character to slide right under the bad nerd’s notice. (Note: these are the same bad nerds who will bemoan X-Men: The Last Stand, but not because of its poor structure or plot or characterizations, but because Dark Phoenix never lights on fire once. Not once, you guys!)

At my job I once tried to start a comic book for the public. Three guys showed up. All of them were bad nerds. Each. One. It was the most miserable hour a month I had to spend. One of these bad nerds (who had clearly not picked up a comic since he was in high school – no judgement, I’m just stating…) proclaimed that “Onslaught” was the best X-Men story ever and whipped out this issue.

Now, I like this issue too. I like the “Onslaught” story. But my reasons why were very different than his reasons. I recognized that this story had some of the best build up, build up that was a few years in the making, than any comic story I had ever read. I also recognized, however, that this was not one of Mark Waid’s strongest moments.

The bad nerd didn’t even know who Mark Waid was. Onslaught was cool because he had armor. PURPLE armor. Onslaught was cool because he beat the crap out of the X-Men…as if many villains over the years hadn’t accomplished that feat already. Onslaught was cool because [SPOILER ALERT] he was one of the X-Men turned bad…I was pretty sure that had happened before too. Onslaught was cool because the comic came with stickers…okay, I’ll give him that one, I did like the stickers.

But the point in the conversation when I finally just had to zone out was he said, with no sense of irony or facetiousness whatsoever, that Onslaught should have been the villain in the second X-Men movieHow could they not have Onslaught as the villain in X2, you guys?

Condition of My Copy: Look! It has stickers! And it’s autographed by Mark Waid!