You might have clicked this link thinking you were going to be reading about the newest crazy Marvel Crossover — alas, no — and sorry to disappoint. We’re actually here to talk about one of my favorite childhood memories (which of COURSE also has to do with X-Men).
Yesterday io9 did a post about the infamous Jim Lee X-Men Trading Cards from the early 1990’s (there’s a book releasing about the cards later this month) — and these were my brother Scott’s and absolute obsession when we were teens/pre-teens.
We were so in love with the X-Men and with these cards especially (a chance to see ALL* of the X-Characters drawn by our absolute favorite Jim Lee? WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!)
*not actually ALL the X-Men but it felt like it sometimes. Although where is Rictor!?! :(
But other than poring over the illustrations and stats lovingly (and we did a lot of that) there wasn’t much you could do with the cards. Or SO IT SEEMED.
I don’t know which one of us came up with it, but we got the idea to start playing the card game WAR with them. The result was a lot of great memories — invaluable time with my brother sharing something we both loved — and mostly, were alone in loving (in the sense that we didn’t have a larger comics community — all we had were each other — but having each other was EVERYTHING.
But when I look back, the thing that’s most fascinating to me about us playing that game is that we were ever able to agree on who would win a hand. In a typical game of war, high card wins. And that’s how we played…except who is “high card” is completely subjective. I suppose you could have used the stats on the back as a judge, but ever since we discovered that Rogue was the ONLY card in the deck other than the freaking WARWOLVES that a ONE for her intelligence. Very very insulting. Scott and I used to jokingly say that they (Marvel?!?) must have been TRYING TO HOLD HER BACK. She was SO POWERFUL that they had to lower her intelligence level to keep her score low. Haha.
Anyway, so because of this we straight up did not trust the stats on the back or use them in gameplay. We just used our knowledge of the characters. And that seems impossible (and surely it is the most/longest I have ever been in agreement with another human being about something) but we did it. It helped that we’d ingested all the same comics and cartoons together — so we were a bit hive mind-y about it. We’d have to have been as I recall VERY few arguments. But it’s true that super powerful characters like, say, MAGIK, who we didn’t know much about, really got the shaft as far as winning battles.
Thinking about this strange anomaly of me and my brother being able to play that game together with our brief hive mind years, I wondered how hard it would be to play today with a MUCH larger audience.
I hope you see where I’m going with this?
LET’S PLAY #XmenWar!
Unfortunately, because Substack doesn’t allow polls and twitter won’t allow a poll PLUS an image, how we’ll have to do it is to post the match ups I dealt out earlier today here…and then I’ll put a link at the bottom of the post to the Twitter thread that contains the poll.
I’ll set the poll length for about a day and then I’ll gather the stats for a results post - AND if we have any true stalemates (let’s say anything that is within 1% point) will result in a follow up “WAR” with those characters…which we’ll play out similarly here and on twitter.
To do this, I took my full card deck and removed all the Team Cards, all of the connecting cards, all the Villains that haven’t become heroes or anti-heroes, and a few characters that I felt were hard to pin down even for super fans (Roma, Maverick, Widget, etc.) until I had an even number. That left me with 23 match ups and I dealt them out to fictional Players “A” and “B”
Okay. Are you ready?
Here’s the twitter link for actual voting:
Oh, and if you REALLY want to play…before we begin, choose Player A (first card) or Player B (second card) to see if the Twitter Voting would have had you winning or losing your hand of war. ;D
ROUND 1: PSYLOCKE (KWANNON) VS GAMBIT
ROUND 2: DEADPOOL VS EMMA FROST
ROUND 3: MAGNETO VS LILANDRA (Sorry, girl. Rough draw)
ROUND 4: BISHOP VS ICEMA
ROUND 5: STRONG GUY VS SHADOWCAT (KITTY PRYDE)
ROUND 6: CANNONBALL VS BANSHEE
ROUND 7: DAZZLER VS CABLE
ROUND 8: SIRYN VS KYLUN
ROUND 9: PHOENIX (RACHEL) VS HAVOK
ROUND 10: MULTIPLE MAN VS DOMINO
ROUND 11: MYSTIQUE VS NIGHTCRAWLER
ROUND 12: MEGGAN VS SUNSPOT
ROUND 13: POLARIS VS CYCLOPS
ROUND 14: CAPTAIN BRITAIN VS COLOSSUS
ROUND 15: BEAST VS WOLVERINE
ROUND 16: MAGIK VS WOLFSBANE
ROUND 17: JUBILEE VS ROGUE
ROUND 18: STORM VS CERISE
ROUND 19: WARPATH VS SHATTERSTAR
ROUND 20: BOOM BOOM VS FERAL
ROUND 21: QUICKSILVER VS LONGSHOT
ROUND 22: ARCHANGEL VS FORGE
ROUND 23: JEAN GREY VS PROFESSOR X
That last one is a doozy. Yikes!
Twitter voting link again:
Also, if you’re having fun with this, consider SUBSCRIBING! ;D
It’s funny to do this…because I hate it when fans obsess over “who would win in a fight” with characters. But I think, playing wth this today I realized, I hate that question in the narrative, in the actual comics — because there are so many more interesting and important questions to explore and because I think on any given day, with circumstances constantly shifting it’s hard to say for sure who beats who who — but as just a fun thing? Yeah, sure. Who doesn’t wonder who you could take in the arena — or who everyone THINKS you could take.
Anyway, I hope you guys have fun with this — let me know in the comments. And for our comments question: which of these random match ups is the most interesting to you and why?
Hah, wild. My wife and I are packing up to move and she found my (I thought) lost folder of all the mid 90s X-Men cards I used to collect. I was just sitting to loon up if there are any current runs of marvel trading cards when I saw this post.
bringing on some deep nostalgia here