Obscure Comics: The X-Men Premium Edition #1, Toys R' Us & Deadpool

Toys R' Us has come up a few times in the past Obscure Comics, and they are a rich well of obscure issues that slipped through the cracks of many reader's notice. Particularly in early 1993, around April, with the Christmas season passed, Toys R' Us released a new Marvel promotional comic featuring Saturday morning's Fox Kids juggernaut team, the X-Men.  Released while season 1 of the show was still on the air, this promotional comic features 23 pages of an all-new X-Men story set in the 616 continuity, not the animated series continuity, and featured many x-traordinary advertisements and puns throughout.  The comic seems to have been a give away comic to customers with no purchase requirements, but every ad inside, 10 pages worth plus back cover, is completely devoted to Toys R' Us and their current stock.

However, none of the ads focus on toys, but instead video games. However, there is one ad, a single page, that focuses on the X-Men that shows only one picture of the X-Men toys available, as well as the VHS tapes that had just been released of the first season with "Captive Hearts" being the latest VHS release (which had just originally aired on January 30th, 1993).

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So an X-Men promotional comic made sense as a great way to send people home with an advertisement for Toys R' Us, but as a comic story, what makes this issue important or worth owning?

Obscure Comics: The X-Men Premium Edition #1

Written by Eric Fein and art by Craig Brasfield, The X-Men Premium Edition #1 is a comic firmly rooted in the 616 continuity and contains an interesting first for Marvel Comics.  Taking place likely before the X-Cutioner's Song crossover, the issue opens as Cyclops prepares to lead the X-Men to infiltrate a secret base where the three resident psychics Psylocke, Jean Grey, and Professor X had been abducted and brought to.

Shown through flashbacks, Cyclops relates that while most of the X-Men were away from the mansion having downtime, the former New Mutants leader, Karma, betrayed the X-Men allowing Juggernaut and Deadpool to break in and abscond with Psylocke, Jean Grey, and Professor X, leaving a dazed Cyclops behind.

Now with a full team behind him, Cyclops, along with Gambit, Wolverine, Archangel, Iceman, and Storm, break into the base to discover the immortal External Gideon has been behind the whole kidnapping affair. Gideon plans to use the three psychics to power a rebuilt and revised Sentinel Mark IV in order to make it the Psi-Ber Sentinel.

Unleashing the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, along with Juggernaut and Deadpool, the X-Men battle and win over the villains and the Psi-Ber Sentinel, with Karma's help.  Feeling great guilt for betraying the X-Men, Karma finds out the promised knowledge of where her missing brother and sister are located is a lie, and Gideon knows nothing of the missing siblings.

The X-Men depart, but not after Wolverine causes the base to collapse in on itself.

A Cheap Obscure Book, With A Little Known First

This book falls into the realm of many of Marvel's promotional books of not being created by well known comic creators. Both Fein and Brasfield produced many side-stories and fill-ins for Marvel throughout the nineties.  In particular, this issue was released at Toys R' Us at perhaps the height of its sales power, so many copies exist, with copies selling for $2 to $10 depending on location and condition.  However, this book shouldn't just be written off as an Obscure Comic, as Karma makes her only appearance in a comic from her last in Wolverine Volume 2 #9 in July 1989 and the Beast #1 in May 1997. The character spent those 8 years showing up nowhere and searching for her younger kidnapped siblings. This issue is the only one to mention or feature her during that long gap.

However, that is not the little known first for this book.  As we approach the 30th anniversary of Deadpool's first appearance, it is interesting to note that this comic is the first time Deadpool encounters or fights any of the X-Men, including Wolverine. This comic marks Deadpool's second appearance in a comic that wasn't the New Mutants or X-Force (the first being Nomad #4), and this issue takes place after X-Force #15.  (This comic also features a rare appearance by the version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants used in X-Force's early issues, debuting in X-Force #5, and the only time Deadpool and Gideon interact with both having first appeared in New Mutants #98.) So this issue exists as an Obscure Comic, with some noteworthy events, and since it is easy to find, go out and pick it up.

This post is part of a multi-part series: Obscure Comics.

About Ian Melton

Japanese Teacher, Comic Book, Manga, & Anime collector, LCBS worker, father of 2, fan of far too many things for far too long...