Retroactive: The Flash 1981 & Uncanny X-Men 1989

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My Favourite Covers

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Okay, so our journey through the past is complete for this week but which covers reign supreme?

For Flash, the crown goes to: The Flash #303. The cover proclaims “the terrible Top–back from the dead to battle the Flash” and that is exactly what is taking place albeit with a twist. Our hero races onto the scene only to witness his father dressed in the former criminal’s iconic costume, the Golden Glider standing by his side. The spectral form of the deceased Top states: “You took my life Flash! Now I’ll take your father’s…it’s only fair!” as Barry’s father raises a loaded gun to his head, ready to commit the heinous deed. Besides the shocking visual this cover succeeds in creating quite a few questions. How did the Top learn the Flash’s secret identity? How did he possess Barry’s father’s body? And how can Flash hope to overcome this situation and bring his father back? We have to run out and plunk our heard earned 60 cents to discover the answers to those very questions for ourselves!
tf303


For Uncanny X-Men, the title goes to: Uncanny X-Men #251. A moody, dramatic, and chilling image captures the first place crown for me. The central image features Wolverine affixed to a crucifix in the shape of a giant X while lying at his feet are numerous skulls implying that Wolverine’s fate may very well be the same as these poor unfortunate souls. This scene alone would be a worthy cover but it is the use of colouring, the implementation of the pouring rain, the bird circling overhead ready to eat the flesh off the soon to be deceased victim, and the billowing smoke that takes this cover over the top and really sells the situation we are seeing play out before our eyes.  Obscuring our hero in shadows is the final cherry on top, causing us to be unable to read his emotions while also staying true to the statement that less is more as not seeing the details of how he is affixed to the X leads our imaginations to come up with something far more impactful than a simple visual could hope to accomplish.  UXM251________________________________________________________

So that’s it for this week. Agree/Disagree? Which covers are your personal favourites from this week? Comment below!

13 thoughts on “Retroactive: The Flash 1981 & Uncanny X-Men 1989

  1. I was a huge Flash fan growing up at the very start of Wally’s era, but gobbled up Barry back issues like they were candy. I remember how haunting that Possessed-by-The-Top cover looked when I first came across it! I’m in total agreement of that taking the prize for 1981! Great blog! Looking forward to future entries!

    • Wally West will always be my Flash as he was the one I grew up with, much like you. I always try to track down past issue of his and Barry’s runs but my local comic stores unfortunately have a series deficit of Flash back issues…

      “I remember how haunting that Possessed-by-The-Top cover looked when I first came across it! I’m in total agreement of that taking the prize for 1981!”
      I’m glad we are in agreement!

      “Great blog! Looking forward to future entries!”
      Thank you very much for the kind words and thanks for sharing. I hope to see you back for more Retroactives! 🙂

  2. Great choice of covers for this Retroactive. I liked Flash #293 as it also features another of my favourite heroes, Firestorm! They are facing the Atomic Skull, so its probably a good job the nuclear man showed up to help out! Great cover and fun to see Flash and Firestorm working together.

    Nearly picked the same Uncanny X-Men cover as you, that one was brilliant. Instead I chose Uncanny X-Men #240 featuring Mr Sinister and his Henchmen as Inferno kicks off! Another very different cover, as it features the villains, so this one jumped out at me. I also really like the Inferno story as well, it was a great crossover event.

    • ” I liked Flash #293 as it also features another of my favourite heroes, Firestorm!”
      When I saw that cover I instantly knew that you would pick it! 🙂

      “Instead I chose Uncanny X-Men #240 featuring Mr Sinister and his Henchmen as Inferno kicks off!”
      I loved that cover along with #241. I love the poses on both, the kinetic energy from the cover you chose, as well as how both featured solely villains. This was a mighty difficult year to pick just one.

      Thanks for sharing your choices!

      • Yes, as soon as I saw Firestorm on the cover as well I had to choose that one. I really like Firestorm so was fun to see him on the cover of this issue.

        I agree, the Inferno story featured some great covers. This was one of my fave periods in the X-Men comics.

        Cheers and enjoy your weekend as well 😀

  3. I really like the Goblin Queen cover, #241. Very indicative of the times. A really important cover is #256. Not only does it mark the beginning of Jim Lee’s career-jump-starting run on the X-Men, but it is also the beginning of the very cool Acts of Vengeance arc, where Psylocke becomes the assassin we all know and love. However, I have to go with #251. I truly believe that it is a great cover, but I will admit that it has a lot of sentimental value for me. In fact, I wrote about it in my first ever blog post.

  4. I really like Flash # 296.
    First of all, on the left side of the cover you can see two gangters holding submachine guns: their presence alone would be more than enough to win the gold medal in my personal ranking.
    Secondly, I love the geometric pattern and the symbolism of this cover. Notice that the mobsters, the 2 gorillas in front of them and the hippy villain form a triangle, and the vertex of this triangle is the head of the villain: this may be a delightfully subtle way to underline that he’s the mastermind behind the troubles the Flash is going through.
    Thirdly, Flash is obviously looking for a sheet, so this cover raises a very interesting question: how could a simple piece of paper prevent those gangsters from killing our hero’s allies?
    Special mention for Flash # 302, because I love romantic superhero stories. I don’t get them very often, though, because they’re very infrequent in the dark and action packed comics I usually read. Probably this is one of the innumerous reasons why I love Superman/Wonder Woman so much.
    As for the X – Men, of course I completely agree with the X – ceptional X – cover you chose. By the way, a recent Witchblade cover paid tribute to it: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/witchblade-170.
    Special mention for UXM # 245, because it perfectly catches the essence of the character: while Colossus is fearing for his life, Wolvie stands there without batting an eyelid, and he’s so self – confident that he even makes fun of the aliens in front of him. A great cover for a great character.

    • “Notice that the mobsters, the 2 gorillas in front of them and the hippy villain form a triangle, and the vertex of this triangle is the head of the villain: this may be a delightfully subtle way to underline that he’s the mastermind behind the troubles the Flash is going through.”
      That is a very astute observation indeed. Great work wwayne.

      “Thirdly, Flash is obviously looking for a sheet, so this cover raises a very interesting question: how could a simple piece of paper prevent those gangsters from killing our hero’s allies?”
      I actually think that he’s looking for the aforementioned bomb and that there is just a lot of paperwork in this office setting. It speaks volumes though to the type of villain this guy is as he is willing to blow himself and his men up in the process.

      “Special mention for Flash # 302, because I love romantic superhero stories. I don’t get them very often, though, because they’re very infrequent in the dark and action packed comics I usually read.”
      I love #302 as well due to the shock value and why on Earth did the Flash start out at one end of the cover to apprehend her only to kiss her on the other? I also really like #297 starring her brother, Captain Cold…as a hero? Say what?

      “Special mention for UXM # 245, because it perfectly catches the essence of the character: while Colossus is fearing for his life, Wolvie stands there without batting an eyelid, and he’s so self – confident that he even makes fun of the aliens in front of him.”
      Yes, this is my runner-up as well and I very nearly selected it as my #1 choice.

      Thanks for sharing that homage cover and for also providing your picks! Have a great weekend.

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