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During the early '90s comic book industry boom, the X-Men received a massive overhaul and a new #1 issue, one that would go on to become the Guinness-certified official best-selling comic book of all time. X-Men #1, with a cover date of October 1991, marked the return of the original five X-Men to the team (they were previously members of X-Factor) and the creation of the Blue and Gold teams that most casual '90s fans remember. Jim Lee's classic redesigns also debuted in this issue; those are the looks that would be used for the '90s animated series.

But the trading cards published at this time tell a completely different story.


The Marvel Universe Series 1 trading card set (1990) has two X-Men team cards. One is for "their most powerful lineup", a classic one from around Uncanny X-Men #200 (1985).

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The other card depicts what it calls the "latest roster" as of 1990. The problem is, it's a roster that never even came close to appearing in the title.

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Regarding the Uncanny X-Men roster for 1990, there wasn't one. This card was published during a time when Chris Claremont and Jim Lee were following former X-Men on solo adventures. But this doesn't appear to be a placeholder card meant to represent the various characters being featured in Uncanny X-Men for a number of reasons:

On top of having a trading card made, this same roster even had promotional art made for it, adding in Beast (below is a modern, recolored update of the 1990 image).

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Without knowing the actual release dates of the trading card set, it's hard to determine what comics they were basing this roster off of. However, the problem persists in the Marvel Universe Series 2 trading card set from 1991, the same year that the iconic X-Men #1 was released.

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This one is also problematic because even though it doesn't reflect the roster that debuted in late 1991 (which is understandable, as this set was probably made in late 1990/early 1991), it does not even depict the set-in-stone, definitive roster that starred in Uncanny X-Men prior to the late 1991, Jim Lee relaunch with X-Men #1. The trading card should have looked like:

enter image description here

Granted, the only differences are Havok's inclusion and the lack of team uniforms. But again, why was Havok included when, again, he was a brainwashed Genoshan Magistrate at the time? Was he intended to be part of this lineup after that storyline?

My question is, do these rosters represent ideas that Chris Claremont had for the future of the X-Men before it was decided to launch a Jim Lee-driven X-Men #1 in late 1991? Or were these just glaring mistakes, preserved forever in trading card format?

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+1 because I still have all those cards. –  OghmaOsiris Sep 22 '11 at 16:12
    
They ruled my world as a kid! –  Brett White Sep 22 '11 at 16:31
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Are the name of the characters listed on the backs of the cards? Because that's Strong Guy on the far right of the second card, not Sunder. –  Bill the Lizard Sep 23 '11 at 1:13
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@BilltheLizard Yes, that's a whole OTHER can of worms, and probably another question for this site. During this period, Strong Guy and Sunder were confused a lot. It says Sunder on the back, even though that's obviously Strong Guy. –  Brett White Sep 23 '11 at 13:36
    
Also check out the poster at the top of this page, it looks like his intended direction for the team was much different than what finally saw print: http://www.mylatestdistraction.com/?p=4537 –  user3155 Oct 23 '11 at 20:15
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

My question is, do these rosters represent ideas that Chris Claremont had for the future of the X-Men before it was decided to launch a Jim Lee-driven X-Men #1 in late 1991? Or were these just glaring mistakes, preserved forever in trading card format?

My guess is a little of both. Chris Claremont was supposed to write the 1991 X-Men title but left after only three issues, so it's likely that he had plans that were later dropped or altered. There were so many X-Men titles at the time though, that it's also possible that the second card is just a mixed roster from several different teams. Havok and Strong Guy appeared on the revamped X-Factor in 1991. It seems plausible that the plans for this book were already known when the cards came out in 1990. Most of the other X-Men depicted (except for Beast) appeared either in the Uncanny X-Men, the new X-Men, or both. (It was about this time that Wolverine apparently gained the power to be in 10 places at once, an ability that he retains to this day.)

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Omnipresence is Wolverine's greatest superpower. –  Wilerson Sep 23 '11 at 2:45
    
@Wilerson This is the one remaining mystery from his past. I wish they would just come out and say that he uses time travel, Skrulls, he's another Multiple Man, or something. –  Bill the Lizard Sep 23 '11 at 19:35
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While it doesn't answer it, Jason Aaron does address Wolverine's omnipresence frequently. The two part story in Wolverine (2003) #73-74 shows a week in Wolverine's life (it is ridiculously packed), and X-Men: Schism #1 shows Wolverine coming from a battle and being exhausted, saying he'll kill any of the 80 teams he's on if they try to wake him up. –  Brett White Sep 26 '11 at 13:20
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