Onslaught: Marvel Universe, 22-Karat Gold Variant (October, 1996) – autographed

What’s Inside:

The most EPIC OF GIMMICKS, disguised as a damn good story! Onslaught, the sinister and insanely powerful amalgamation of Professor X and Magneto, has decimated NYC with Sentinels, is holding Professor X hostage, and is hijacking the reality-warping power of Franklin Richards. He is prepared to wipe out all of human and mutantkind from the globe and start a new world (with what, I’m not sure). The only ones who can stop him are…EVERYONE!

All of Marvel’s heroes who needed a reboot arrive for a last-ditch effort to pound Onslaught into the ground. After a lot of talking and a lot of brawling, Hulk manages to shatter Onslaught’s body, releasing his pure, psionic form, which is a very bad thing. The only way to stop Onslaught in this form, is for the non-mutant heroes who needed a reboot to absorb Onslaught’s psionic essence into themselves and allow the X-Men to destroy them. So that’s what they do. The whole world then sees the X-Men attack and destroy Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which means mutants will be hated even more. Also, the Watcher watches this whole thing, so you KNOW it’s a big, thick-dicked deal.

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Andy Kubert

Colorist: Steve Buccellato

Publisher: Marvel

Why I Kept This Issue:

This is one of my favorite comics. We can argue about its merits (as one can with most comics from the ‘90s) till we’re black and blue in the face, but I love this comic. Even if one decides it was more of a gimmick, I still think it was a great story with lots of action. This is due, of course, to Mark Waid’s fabulous storytelling abilities.

This issue led into one of the earlier reboots of Marvel titles. All Avengers characters and the Fantastic Four received new #1 issues and new origins, with Marvel leaving them in the hands of some of the popular creators at the time whose relationships with Marvel were lukewarm at best. Those changes weren’t to last, of course, and the heroes were soon folded back in and had their original issue numbers returned.

The in-universe explanation for the heroes’ reboots was thanks to Franklin Richards, who, in the seconds of their death, spirited the characters away to be reborn in a pocket universe of his own creation. Or something, I mean, I don’t know, who gives a shit? It didn’t last.

Attached Memory:

I was one of those weird teenagers who, though very bright, was severely slow at developing common sense. I could read fancy books and use fancy words, but I had no street smarts, and I was inept at a lot of everyday things. Hell, that fact hasn’t really changed too much.

When I saw this 22-karat gold-laced comic book for sale in a Dynamic Forces catalog, I had to have it. I cracked open the piggy bank (okay, more like I popped open the Godzilla bank, but whatever) and used the change that I had carefully and blindly saved over the years to buy it. But not knowing any better, even though I should have, I didn’t bother to get the change exchanged for a check from my grandmother. I took it upon myself and literally mailed twenty-something dollars’ worth of coins to Dynamic Forces in a simple business envelope. Yeah, I did. I mean, it’s bad enough I didn’t know that you’re not supposed to send cash in the mail, but even worse that I didn’t know that one should especially not send coins in the mail. Idiot.

Dynamic Forces sent me the comic, though, paid for successfully, but with an accompanying note. The note was something along the lines “Please, don’t do this again, you jackass. Yes, you miscounted and we owe you change, but you’re not getting it.”

I have cherished this thing since the day it arrived, though. I have only removed it from its protective sleeve twice; once to read it nearly 20 years ago, and twice to have Mark Waid sign it. He seemed really excited to see it, said he hadn’t seen one in quite some time, and we held up the line at the convention so he could find the write marker to use on the gold cover.

Condition of My Copy: Shining and pretty, this is a beautiful variant with a cover coated in 22-karat gold, and it is prestine (other than a few fingerprints from me, Mark Waid, and Mr. Waid’s signature of course). This is number 900 of a limited 2,000 print. I know because the certificate of authenticity tells me so.