X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #21

Issue Date: 
December 1998
Story Title: 
Devil’s Haircut

Todd Dezago (story), Andy Smith (pencils), Andrew Hennessy (inks), Felix Serrano (colors), RS & Comicraft EM (letters), Frank Pittarese (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Strong Guy, currently on an intergalactic tour with rock-star Lila Cheney, hears rumors of an alien invasion occurring back on Earth and begs the interstellar diva to teleport him home. She complies, and shortly after arriving on Earth, Strong Guy reunites with Beast and his old X-Factor teammates Wolfsbane and Multiple Man. Beast is highly skeptical of the reports of an alien invasion, but decides to humor Strong Guy by scanning the planet for inter-dimensional anomalies. He detects something at a country club in Vermont, which the quartet of heroes decides to investigate. Instead of an alien invasion, however, they find a swirling, magical vortex summoned by disgruntled video-store clerk Melvin J. Weals. Melvin, who dabbles in the occult, has opened up a gateway to Hell in order to wreak havoc at the wedding reception for his unrequited lover Helen. He wields an arcane relic called the Hell Toupee, which gives him complete control over the army of demons he summoned, and holds the wedding guests hostage. While Beast heads outside to construct a weapon capable of sealing the inter-dimensional portal, Strong Guy confronts Melvin, giving Rahne and Madrox enough time to evacuate the hostages. Melvin panics and loses control of the Hell Toupee, which Strong Guy dons and uses to order the demons to return to their home. At that very moment, Beast fires his negation cannon and seals the portal between dimensions. The heroes reunite after saving the day and Lila Cheney soon returns to bring Strong Guy back to space. Upon returning to their ship, he finds the person responsible for telling him Earth was being invaded by aliens, and is astounded to learn the source of this rumor is none other than Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds.”

Full Summary: 

Satan, the fiery Overlord of Hell, stands above his followers atop a cragged cliff and lifts one mighty arm into the air. Mystic flames spill from his eyes while the roaring inferno of the underworld blazes on in the background.

“That’s what I want to be,” says video-store clerk Melvin J. Weals as he points at this comic book illustration of the Devil. Standing in the garbage-strewn basement apartment of his mother’s house, wannabe-warlock Melvin declares that once he has the power of the Devil, his life will change. No longer will he have to tolerate the petty excuses of his customers! No longer will he endure complaints about the store lacking the newest releases! No longer will he need to tell customers to rewind their tapes! No longer will he have to suffer the pretentious snobs who condescend to him while checking out the latest Merchant-Ivory film! As the balding Melvin makes these declarations he lifts his hand into the air and grasps at this power. His massive beer belly spills out from under his greasy tank-top and lops over his polka-dotted boxer shorts. Obviously, Melvin has issues.

Regardless, he continues his maniacal rant. When he becomes the new Devil, his demons will do his bidding and he will finally get the respect he deserves! With the agents of Hades at his disposal, he will have the power to do anything! This includes making Helen, his unrequited love who is set to be married soon, love him in return. She will make a most fitting Queen of Hades. All he needs to do to make her his queen is sabotage her travesty of a wedding. With the help of a couple powerful magical objects, he intends to accomplish this feat.

Melvin walks over to his Grimoire of Incantations. He recently discovered an elaborate ritual within its dusty pages he can use to assume control over the denizens of darkness. Coupled with a talisman in his possession that can open a rift between Hell and Earth, Melvin’s plan will be unstoppable. He hoists the talisman above his shoulders and stands atop a pile of old comic books and porno magazines. Soon, he will have the power to make Helen his! He quickly loses his footing, however, and tumbles to the ground. What he really needs is to clean up his apartment. That, and find a more-constructive hobby.

Meanwhile, several million light years away on the planet R-Syn, Lila Cheney and her intergalactic rock band break for their show’s brief intermission. In two minutes, when Lila’s next instrument is tuned and ready, her band will retake the stage. During this intermission, however, Lila’s bodyguard and number-one groupie Guido Carosella skids over and begs for her attention. Their sound technician Rabo just received a sub-space transmission saying Earth has been invaded by aliens! She needs to teleport him back to Earth immediately, Strong Guy says. Lila refuses. She cannot simply leave during what is possibly her greatest performance of her career. Guido persists, but Lila refuses to budge. The crowd is already shouting for her return. It will only take a second, Guido begs! As she begins to refuse once more, he lifts off his red goggles and looks at her with his big, blue eyes. “Lila…please?”

As tough as Lila Cheney is, she cannot say no to Guido’s puppy-dog face. Okay, she says. Where does he want to go? In the blink of an eye, she transports both Guido and herself to X-Factor’s former headquarters in Eagle Ridge, West Virginia. “Have fun with your friends. Be careful. I love you,” she says to Guido while kissing him on the cheek. In the next moment she teleports back to R-Syn, leaving Guido stranded outside the old base. As soon as he looks at the facility, however, he realizes it has clearly been abandoned. With no one home, he starts walking toward civilization.

After arriving at a gas station forty-five minutes later, Strong Guy, having left his Earth-money with Lila, has to beg for change to make a phone call. The guy with whom he barters forces Guido to trade for his shirt. He reluctantly removes his black “LILA” tank-top in exchange for the piddling fare. Good thing the guy was a fan of Lila Cheney and not Elvis, Guido thinks. With X-Factor apparently disbanded, and no one answering at the mansion in Westchester, Guido places a call to the last place he can think of: Moira MacTaggert’s research facility on Muir Island.

Meanwhile, on Muir Island, Beast toils over a sample of the Legacy Virus in search of a cure while Wolfsbane and Multiple Man hang around in the lab. The phone rings. Moira answers. “Is me refrigerator runnin’? I dinnae understand,” she says to the caller. Despite only hearing Moira’s end of the conversation, Rahne and Madrox immediately recognize the caller as their old X-Factor teammate Guido. They perk up and rush to the phone. Apparently they understand, Hank says to Moira when she returns to the research bench. Madrox, mere moments into the phone conversation, shouts at the news Guido has to share: the Earth is being invaded by aliens! Hank grumbles skeptically. That probably isn’t true, he whispers to Moira, but at least it will get Rahne and Madrox out of their hair for a while.

However, Beast somehow ends up on the plane back to the States with Rahne and Madrox. “Tell me once again how I became involved in this,” he requests as he pilots the Midnight Runner. Rahne reminds him of all the people remaining at Muir Isle, only he can fly the jet. Besides, Rahne says, Moira has Douglock to keep her company.

Meanwhile, in Rutland, Vermont, Melvin Weals arrives at the exclusive Donnybrook Country Club in his beat-up old Volkswagen Beetle. He curses his ‘Buffy’ alarm clock for not waking him in time; his beloved Helen has surely already married her fiancé. However, not all is lost. The country club has plenty of space in which he can begin enacting his incantation. The Donnybrook reception hall will serve as the perfect gateway to Hell, he laughs!

Soon after walking inside, Melvin realizes the clubhouse is host to two separate events. One room hosts the wedding reception, the other, a Halloween party. Very well then, he says. He will simply perform his spell in the basement instead. Besides, the additional party guests will merely serve as extra fodder for the army of demons he intends to summon. After drawing his magic circle on the floor and surrounding it with candles, Melvin begins the incantation, chanting in a mixture of gibberish and Latin. When finishes the spell, an eruption of fiery energy bursts forth from the center of the magic circle, engulfing Melvin in its malicious light. He revels in its power. Soon all the vile creatures of the pit will do his bidding, he declares as his talisman begins to open.

Back in West Virginia, Excalibur’s jet descends into the 7-11 parking lot to pick up Strong Guy. As soon as its door opens, Rahne Sinclaire leaps out and hugs her gargantuan friend around the neck. He is excited to see her too. After boarding the jet, Hank offers him the standard welcome, and asks how he has liked living in the depths of space with the intoxicating Lila Cheney. “And where is your shirt…?!” he adds. Guido explains how he ended up topless and penniless, but then abruptly changes the subject: Earth is being invaded by aliens! They have to do something.

Hank regrets to inform him that the computer detects no sign of an alien invasion anywhere on the planet. Just to ease Guido’s fears, he proceeds to perform a scan of inter-dimensional anomalies as well. However, this search scores a hit in central Vermont, of all places. It’s no alien armada, Strong Guy says, but it will have to do. Hank steers the jet in that direction, commenting that nothing is so vibrant as a New England autumn.

To kill time on the flight, Madrox suggests they find Guido a change of clothes. He saw something in the back of the jet that may be of help. Apparently, the Shi’ar bestowed upon the Midnight Runner one of their Wardrobe Transmogrifiers, an advanced piece of machinery they intended to be delivered to the X-Men. The machine’s user can instruct it to synthesize any garment imaginable; it is limited only by the imagination of its operator. Unfortunately, Guido has a virtually inexhaustible imagination.

He emerges from the machine and asks Rahne and Madrox for their opinions on his first outfit. Jamie gives this bland, steel piece of armor a thumbs-down; besides, isn’t it the outfit Shaq wore in some lame movie? Rahne agrees with this assertion. Guido gives it another try, this time emerging in a black and orange bodysuit designed to resemble a Jack O’Lantern. Jamie likes it and commends its seasonal appropriateness. Rahne, however, despises it. Who is he supposed to be? Captain Halloween? Next, she says. Strong Guy tries another design. This garish green suit boasts an impossibly large yellow color, matching gloves and sash, and a black eye-mask. It looks remarkably similar to the outfit worn by Iron Fist. Rahne likes this look and calls it fetching, but Jamie hates it and says he looks like a deranged pirate. Guido finally chooses a costume everyone can agree on: a simple blue and gold body-suit with an open collar and the initials “SG” embroidered over his heart. Madrox likes it; Rahne goes a step further and tells Guido that if she didn’t think of him as a brother, she would date him herself! The three friends share a laugh at Rahne’s compliment, as well as the idea that she would ever go on a date. Guido suddenly grows solemn and tells them how much he has missed moments like this. It is good to be with friends again.

As much as Beast hates to interrupt this sentimental reunion, he feels the need to inform them they have arrived at their destination, the Donnybrook Country Club. He begins the jet’s vertical landing. The passengers notice the building seems to be hosting two separate events: a wedding reception and a Halloween party. Hank directs their attention instead to the anomalous vortex forming above the building. Something inside is hosting some powerful forces, he says. Wasting no time, the gang of mutants rushes to the plane’s exit, only to be stopped at the door by Wolfsbane. How do they intend to get into the event dressed as they are, she asks? They need either Halloween costumes of proper wedding attire. Aside from Jamie, they could probably attend a Halloween party without costumes, but she nevertheless thinks they should touch themselves up a bit.

Using the Shi’ar Wardrobe Transmogrifier, the four heroes soon outfit themselves in the finest Halloween attire. Strong Guy dresses as Frankenstein’s monster, Hank as a mummy, Rahne as a ragged werewolf, and Madrox as the elegant Count Dracula. Guido accidentally wraps the bandages around Hank’s head too tightly, and he has trouble breathing. Madrox scolds him for possibly harming the brain of one of the smartest men on the planet. Rahne shrugs as the boys argue and leads the way to the clubhouse.

Meanwhile, beneath the reception hall, Melvin Weals sits in his circle of magic and continues the incantation. The basement grows increasingly cavernous, as its form shifts to more closely resemble Hell. Melvin rejoices in the transformation. Soon, the entire building will be in synch with the fiery pits of the underworld, and once he dons the talisman and assumes control over his legions of demons, the feast will begin. They will devour not only the wedding party and wedding guests, but the Halloween party guests as well. His dear Helen will finally be his. Melvin reaches into his pocket and produces a scrap of newspaper containing Helen’s wedding announcement and stares longingly into her reprinted face.

At that same moment, the newly married Helen arrives at the country club with her husband, Andy. He helps his elated bride out of the limousine and wraps his arm around her shoulder. She tells Andy how perfect everything feels. The ceremony was perfect, she loves her dress and her flowers, and she even loves that there is a Halloween party taking place in the same building as the reception. However, she looks up and notices the swirling storm clouds. The weather may not cooperate, she tells her husband. He tells her to relax; he will not let anything ruin this special day.

A short while later, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Beast, and Multiple Man arrive at the party. They have the rotten luck to first enter the wedding reception, however. After being politely escorted out, they make their way to the Halloween party and find it absolutely hopping. The skeletal band onstage plays their rendition of “It’s a Dead Man’s Party.” Hank, still mummified, shouts a muffled “Moingo Bfoingo” through his gauze.

Meanwhile, directly beneath the parties, Melvin Weals finishes opening the portal between the dimensions and unleashes his demons. They begin pouring through the basement floor.

Up above, Strong Guy apologizes to his peers for dragging them on a pointless alien hunt. Clearly nothing devious is happening at this party. The ever-observative Hank disagrees. While he sees no obvious signs of any inter-dimensional tomfoolery, the malevolent, swirling vortex over the building guarantees something wicked is afoot. He hypothesizes the one who summoned the vortex is somewhere on the premises. Suddenly, a drunk man in a Green Lantern costume rushes over to Hank and compliments him on his costume. Moving along, Hank foresees a problem: with everyone in the building dressed up and acting strangely, the culpable party could, in fact, be anyone at the party. Once again, the man dressed like the Green Lantern approaches Hank and drunkenly compliments his costume. Well, the culprit is probably anyone but that guy, Hank says.

Rahne decides the best course of action would be to split up and search individually. Hank agrees, adding his time would best be spent at the jet’s computer, screening the building for dimensional transgressions. He leaves, and the rest of the team begins scouring the party, but find it fruitless. Rahne considers her choice of words earlier too vague. Everyone at the party looks suspicious! Elsewhere, Madrox adds to her thought. How are they supposed to find anyone who looks suspicious…

“…in this crowd of wingnuts!” Guido says, unintentionally finishing the thought out loud. While Rahne investigates the live band, and Madrox investigates a sexy kitty, Guido spies an eerie light seeping through a nearby door. It could just be more atmospheric party lighting, but he chooses to investigate anyway. “Whoa! Looks like I’ve hit paydirt!” he says as he pulls open the door.

Outside at the Midnight Runner, Hank uses some of the jet’s extra parts to construct a device capable of pinpointing the exact source of the dimensional anomaly. Looking at the spiraling of energy overhead, though, he wonders if he will even have the time.

Still in the basement, which now resembles a spiky cavern, Melvin lifts his arms in triumph as his portal opens and demons begin climbing through the floor. The time to claim his destiny has come. He can finally embrace the eldritch powers contained in his talisman. He opens its carrying box, reaches in, and places the relic on his head. The power to control the evil army is now his, now that he dons the Hell Toupee! He laughs maniacally as the arcane wig blazes on top of his head.

The walls upstairs in the reception hall begin to bleed. The wedding guests panic as an eerie rumbling emanates from the floor. Before they know it, a swarm of bats fill the room, the ceiling drips blood, and the dinner tables begin to decompose. While the image of Melvin’s arcane symbol appears in the middle of the room, Helen runs to her newlywed husband and asks what is going on. He doesn’t know, but he intends to beat the snot out of whoever is responsible.

Madrox finally meets up with Guido inside the Halloween party. Guido shows him what he found behind the mysterious glowing door, and Madrox gasps. What’s that, he asks? Guido doesn’t know for sure, but he thinks it qualifies as “suspicious.” Suddenly they hear a loud cracking noise from the other room and decide to investigate. Strong Guy slaps Madrox on the back, spurring the creation of a dupe, whom he sends to retrieve Beast and Wolfsbane. They are to evacuate the building as soon as possible, he orders. With the evacuation started, Strong Guy and Guido are free to focus on finding the source of the mystery. “Just because we’re best pals doesn’t mean you can just knock duplicates out of me anytime you need one,” Madrox says as they walk down the hall. Strong Guy apologizes; he will be sure to ask permission next time.

Rahne finds Beast outside and asks for an update on his progress. Will he be able to pinpoint the source of the dimensional anomaly, she asks? Hank, quoting the magic eight-ball, tells her all signs point to yes. Thanks to a very recent discovery, he has even deduced a method of shutting down the vortex. If Rahne could inform their associates they have found a solution to the problem, and advise them to evacuate the building post haste, he would much appreciate it.

Wolfsbane, hurrying into the building and tearing down the hallways, possesses several heightened characteristics while in her transitional, lupine form: speed, agility, hearing, and vision, for example. None of these, however, alert her of the presence of another mutant running through the same hallway. As she turns the corner, she collides with Jamie Madrox, inadvertently creating yet another dupe. Sorry, she says, but Dr. McCoy told her to get everyone out of the building in the precious little time they have left!

In the wedding reception hall, Melvin J. Weals, now adorned with his fiery toupee, stands atop a rocky abutment and orders the frightened crowd to cower before his magnificent power. Dude, the Halloween party is next door, says the groom. Melvin shouts for him to be silent. It is him Melvin has come to destroy! He intends to condemn his joke of a marriage and feed him to his goblins before taking his wife, Helen, as his queen. Helen, meanwhile, suddenly recognizes their maniacal captor. Melvin, she asks? Andy asks his wife how she knows this clown. He’s the guy from the video store, she answers, completely bewildered. The short, pot-bellied Melvin steps down from his precipice, shoves the groom out of the way, and grabs Helen by the waist. Of course she knows him, he says. Soon, she will come to love him as much as he loves her. As for Andy, he will soon be nothing more than some minor indigestion for some demon!

Strong Guy and Madrox both observe this scene from the open doorway linking the two reception halls. What a nut-job, Guido says. Madrox agrees, calling him a loon. Strong Guy, taking the initiative, orders Madrox to find Rahne and focus on evacuating the building, while he deals with the hot-head in the wedding hall. He knocks away the stalactites barring the exit. While Melvin holds Helen at his side and basks in his power, most of the hostages manage to sneak out of the newly fashioned exit.

Outside, Hank has created a cannon capable of bombarding the dimensional rift with opposing frequencies, thereby negating the rift’s existence. Unfortunately, the Midnight Runner serves as the cannon’s power supply, and its reserves run short. If he doesn’t fire it soon, it will be too late. Luckily, Rahne and Jamie’s dupe emerge from the building as he finishes this thought and inform him of the developments. Can he wait just a few moments for Guido and Madrox to finish? He doesn’t know, but errs on the side of caution. After all, anyone caught in the vortex when it closes may be drawn in with the backlash.

Meanwhile, in the hellish reception hall, Melvin stands atop a giant wedding cake with Helen at his side. Andy attempts scaling the cake to rescue his bride, but a set of arms protruding from the ground pull him down. Melvin declares himself lord of the demons and pumps a fist in victory. “Actually, pal,” says a voice from below, “I think you’d have a better chance becomin’ Lord of the Dance!” Melvin asks this defiant speaker to name himself. It is none other than Guido Carosella. He orders Melvin to step down from the cake, clean the place up, and take off that ridiculous toupee; the show is over.

Melvin refuses. It’s too late to stop. His army of demons will arrive soon, and they must be greeted with the feast he has prepared. What feast, Guido asks? He looks around the room and notices all the entrees have taken themselves off the menu! What, Melvin asks? He indeed notices everyone has fled. Hopping down off the cake, he chases after the runaway wedding guests. In his absence, Guido helps Helen down from the giant cake and, with his other hand, carries Andy over to her. Strong Guy jokes they look like they just came off a wedding cake. “You’re so cute..!” he adds.

All seems well, until Guido looks over his shoulder and sees Melvin has found a room full of people. He turns and scolds Madrox; he was supposed to get everyone out of the building! Madrox tells him to calm down. He knows what he is doing, after all.

Indeed, Melvin Weals swings open the door, delighted to see a room full of bodies. He refers to them as his offering, but people in the room, all duplicates of Jamie Madrox dressed as Dracula, answer back that they beg to differ. Melvin screams. His demons must have a feast. If not, they will be unruly! He turns and runs to the basement hoping to reverse the spell before it reaches a point of no return. As he runs down the stairs, however, he trips over a wayward goblin, rolls down the rest of the steps, and lands with a thud. The Hell Toupee falls off his head.

Strong Guy walks over to the fallen Melvin and hoists him off the ground. Melvin continues ranting about the danger the demons pose. Without a sacrificial feast, and without someone wielding the power of the Hell Toupee, the demons will ravage the Earth and eat everyone in their pathology. Everyone is going to die, he screams! Guido picks up the fiery hairpiece with his free hand and holds it contemplatively. If he is going to do something, he better do it now, Madrox suggests. Maybe not, Strong Guy answers, still holding Melvin helpless in front of the horde of hungry demons.

Outside, Beast reluctantly fires the jerry-rigged cannon at the vortex. To everyone’s collective relief, it works.

Back in the basement, Strong Guy, now bearing the Hell Toupee, orders the demons to return from whence they came. They discuss the order for a moment. He is wearing the wig, one of them shrugs. Agreeing to return to the underworld, they depart immediately. With the rift closed, and the portal following close behind, Guido removes the Hell Toupee from his head and tosses it in the hole just as it vanishes. He turns to Melvin, his towering figure imposing over the squat little video-store clerk. “If I ever hear that some little moogy-faced geek is playin’ with magic, I’m gonna--” Before he can finish the thought, however, Melvin runs out the door, begging for mercy in the process.

With the day saved, the team reunites outside, along with Lila Cheney, who arrived just moments earlier. While Rahne and Jamie squabble over who exactly averted the crisis, Hank and Guido compliment each other on a job well done. Lila interrupts this touching moment; she doesn’t mean to rush him, but she has equipment to unload and break down, and they really have to get going. Guido however, isn’t ready to leave yet. While he is on Earth, he wants to see the rest of the old gang, like Lorna and Alex.

The expressions on everyone’s faces abruptly change from jubilance to solemnness. What is wrong, Guido asks? Regrettably, they inform him that Alex Summers is dead. They assumed he knew. Guido lowers his head. He struggles to find the appropriate words. Lila walks over, gives the big guy a hug, and tells him they need to leave. In a flash of bright light, they both vanish, just as Guido is telling his old friends he loves them.

Hours later, back on the planet R-Syn, Strong Guy storms into the sound room in a fury and shouts at Rabo, the dwarfish alien sound technician. Next time he better get his information right. He just traveled all the way to Earth and made a fool of himself raving about an invasion that never happened! “Bot, Guido-mon, ‘tis still happ’nin’!” the dread-locked alien says. “I’m hearin’ reports on it right now…listen…”

Rabo turns up the volume. What Guido hears, however, enrages him even further: …flying saucer has landed here in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey! The craft is enormous. Guido has heard enough. He immediately recognizes the broadcast as Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” Rabo sent him all the way to Earth because of an ancient, fictional radio broadcast?! As he chases after the diminutive alien, Rabo pleads for forgiveness.

Characters Involved: 

Beast (X-Man on hiatus)

Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (former members of X-Factor)

Melvin J. Weals

Underworld demons



Wedding guests

Halloween party-goers

Lila Cheney

Rabo/Rebo (sound technician)

Moira MacTaggert

Story Notes: 

This issue’s title is an allusion to a song of the same name by Beck.

Strong Guy suffered a debilitating heart attack in X-Factor (1st series) #111 and had to be removed from the team. He woke from the coma much later in issue X-Factor (1st series) #134, and seeing his former team in shambles, decided to take some much needed time off with his old friend Lila Cheney.

Wolfsbane left X-Factor sometime off-panel between X-Factor (1st series) #111 and #112, and returned to Muir Island to spend some time with her adoptive mother, Moira MacTaggert, who had been infected with the Legacy Virus. By default, she joined Excalibur, and after the team disbanded in Excalibur (1st series) #125, she remained on Muir Island with Moira.

Beast left the X-Men off-panel after X-Men (2nd series) #79 to focus exclusively on the Legacy Virus research.

The remnants of X-Factor, including Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, disbanded after Alex Summers, a.k.a. Havok, seemingly died because of an exploding time machine in X-Factor (1st series) #149. In truth, his soul was shunted into the body of an alternate Alex Summers in a parallel reality commonly known as the Mutant X timeline. His Earth-616 body, meanwhile, was somehow recovered from the explosion and found to be alive, although in a catatonic state. This comatose body was taken to a hospital in New York and placed in the care of Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian and was not seen again until Uncanny X-Men #411.

Merchant Ivory is a film production company founded by notable director James Ivory and producer Ismael Merchant and known for making early 20th-century period pieces. Some of their more well-known, award-winning films include A Room with a View, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day.

The reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer is interesting as Buffy-scribe Joss Whedon will later write the third series of Astonishing X-Men.

The Shi’ar Wardrobe Transmogrifier first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #157, much to Kitty Pryde’s delight.

Strong Guy’s costume on page 12 is indeed inspired by Steel, the DC super-hero and star of the 1997 film of the same name, which featured basketball superstar-turned actor Shaquille O’Neal in the starring role. Incidentally, this character was created for DC Comics by none other than former New Mutants scribe Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdonave, who penciled the mini-series Fantastic Four versus the X-Men. Simonson and Bogdanove even co-wrote the film’s screenplay. The film was supposed to be a spin-off of the film Superman Lives, which was to be written by filmmaker and comic-book enthusiast Kevin Smith. According to an interview he gave with the Philadelphia Daily News on August 21st, 1997, however, Smith said his script underwent so many rewrites, and so much of the dialogue was replaced by jokes, that he no longer recognized it as his work. Superman Lives was eventually abandoned, yet the Steel film went ahead anyway. The final product contained no references to the character of Superman and instead depicted Steel as a stand-alone hero. It was a tremendous flop, both at the box office and with critics.

Oingo Boingo was a New Wave band which spawned a devoted fan following and a few hit singles, including the song “It’s a Dead Man’s Party” featured in this issue. The band’s front-man, the infamous Danny Elfman, later went on to become a film and television composer and even scored the several films based on Marvel Comics, such as Spider-Man, Hulk, and Spider-Man 2.

Lord of the Dance was an Irish musical performance choreographed and performed by 90’s notable Michael Flatley.

Rabo’s name is spelled two different ways in this issue.

Rabo’s reaction to hearing the “War of the Worlds” broadcast is understandable, considering that, according to rumor, thousands of people fled from their homes in terror after hearing Orson Welles’ chilling radio narration on Oct. 30th, 1938.

Radio waves, being electromagnetic, travel at the speed of light through the vacuum of space. The radio waves from the 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast could only have possibly traveled 60 light years at the most. As the planet R-Syn is said to be several million light years away, it is unlikely these waves would have reached them without some outside assistance.

And, just in case the pun does not translate into other languages, the Hell Toupee is a pun on the popular English figure of speech, “hell to pay.”

Issue Information: 
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