chamber and the x men

9

Full set of the latest commissioned drawings. Redesigns (with the exception of Dust and Magneto) were made by @pryce14 and drawn by me. 

This group is supposed to kind of be an X-Force or Extinction style of team.
Emma Frost, Magik, Dust, Xorn, Chamber, Magneto, Iceman, Elixir.

Things to come for the future issues of Cullen Bunn’s X-Men Blue…

- Another version of Wolverine? Yawn….

- Generation X (with Jubilee, Chamber, Synch, Skin and Mondo)? Hooray! Nice to see those guys from the mid-90s! 

 - Those Future Brotherhood of Mutants from Battle of the Atom crossover event? I don’t care….

- Professor Charles Xavier? WTF?!

Just in time to debut at #FlameCon this weekend!

CHAMBER

Mutants are all about potential. Whether or not that potential is reached, or even realized is sort of up to the character. And the writer. Chamber is basically pure potential. A character literally bursting with energy. He’s also a glowing example of how much potential there is in strangeness. Otherness. A transgender man once told me he grew up loving Chamber because he too bound up his chest. What an incredibly resonant connection, right? It’s probably not a connection Chamber’s creators, Bachalo & Lobdell, were thinking about at all, but that’s the beauty of bizarre and creative characters. Their designs take risks and win them the love of fans who don’t see themselves in alpha males, warrior queens or other standard archetypes. Their potential may not be obvious to the average reader, but to the right fan, a strange C-list character means everything. 

By Rogan Josh

Prints at Society6

6

Chamber got his first full outing as a completely revamped costume at this weekend’s Bournemouth Film and Comic Con. 

A massive thank you to the half dozen or so guys who actually recognised the character and got really enthusiastic about the costume and freaked out about the character with me. 

And just as big a thank you to everyone else who had no clue who I was meant to be, but were vocal about how great it was anyway!

I was really pleased with the final result and the reaction to it. 

Entry 009 - Chamber

Art by Chris Bachalo

  • Name: Jonothon Starsmore
  • Code Names: Chamber, Decibel
  • First Appearance: Generation X #1 (Nov ’94)
  • Powers: Projects Fiery Psionic Energy
  • Teams Affiliation: Generation X, X-Men, Weapon X, New Warriors

About

Everyone remembers their first time. Kitty Pryde’s ended with her phasing through her bed, Iceman’s first time was alone in his bedroom, and Primal’s first time had him chasing down a girl till he could sate his desires. When Jonothon Starsmore’s mutant abilities appeared for the first time, the psionic energy he projected created a gaping hole in chest, destroyed his jaw, and crippled his girlfriend Gayle. The London native mutant had a nightmare to start his journey to the X-Men. That tragedy would shape Jono’s angry, sarcastic personality. For years he would push people away, preferring to be alone to hurting someone again. With his unique design and biting wit, Jonothon would take up the name Chamber and become a fan favorite X-Man.

Chamber was created by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo. He was recruited to join the new Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, led by Banshee and Emma Frost and shipped off to Boston to join his new classmates. When he arrived at Logan International Airport, he was attacked by the vampiric mutant, Emplate. Luckily, his new Generation X classmates and teachers were there to ward off the attack. Jono did not quickly bond with his new classmates, preferring to wallow in self-pity over his condition. He showed bravery and potential in many battles, including single-handedly defeating X-Men for Omega Red. Chamber began bonding with the high strung Paige Guthrie, the sister of the then X-Force leader Cannonball, known in her own right as the mutant Husk. As he taught Husk to relax they began to develop an on-again/off-again romantic relationship. Jono also began to bond with his teammate Angelo Espinosa (known as Skin due to his grotesque mutation that left him with six feet of extra skin and turned his existing skin a grey pigment) due to their shared physical deformities. The two even went on a road trip that involved hitch hiking with none other than Howard the Duck. When the school was eventually closed, Chamber was offered a position on the X-Men proper but he did not feel he was ready and went home to London.

Art by Chris Bachalo

While in London Chamber began dating pop star Sugar Kane and living a life of excess. The two often appeared in tabloids together, as her dating a mutant was considered scandalous. A story leaked to the press that she was pregnant with Jono’s child and Kane was kidnapped by an anti-mutant group. Chamber, alongside the X-Men who were in London for other reasons, rescued her before she admitted the truth. Their relationship was all a publicity stunt, a way for Sugar to make headlines by dating someone who was very distinctly a mutant, she didn’t love him, she wasn’t pregnant, it was all a lie. Chamber was devastated and returned with the X-Men back to Westchester. He was a valuable asset to the team (during Casey’s Uncanny run) and was able to assist when Mystique’s Brotherhood attacked Paris.

Art by Ian Churchill

Chamber was given his own self-titled mini-series in 2002, written by Brian K. Vaughn with art by Lee Ferguson. After a bombing at Empire State University killed six mutant students, Chamber enrolled, under the direction of Xavier, to sniff out the anti-mutant group responsible. His investigations lead him to meet Gigi, the leader of the mutant tolerance group whose members were killed. Gigi was distraught as her boyfriend was killed in the blast but she pointed Chamber in the direction of the genetic purity group Purity. Chamber also developed a friendship with fellow mutant Amber, he confided and in who he really was and why he was really here in return for help on the investigation. Jono came to the conclusion, based on energy readings that appeared at the crime scene, that the bombing was caused by a mutant. Furthermore his investigation showed that Gigi’s boyfriend had similar explosive powers to Chamber’s. He rushed to confront Gigi and found her holding Amber at gunpoint. Gigi admitted it all was an accident and her boyfriend couldn’t control his powers so she covered it all up. Chamber and Amber were able to subdue Gigi and turn her into the proper authorities. Xavier was impressed with Chamber’s performance and wanted to give him increased responsibilities in the field, but Jono refused. This experience showed him he had much to learn and he requested to be removed from active duty as an X-Man.

The next few months of Chambers life did not go so well. Husk began dating the much older Angel, even though Jono and her hadn’t been together in a while he always felt like she would be there for him. Worse, two of his former Generation X teammates, Jubilee and Skin, were crucified on the lawn of the Xavier Institute and Angelo would not survive the experience. I’m going to take a second here to point out that all those bad things were part of the WORST run of X-Men ever by Chuck Austin, please don’t read them, they go so far past “so bad it’s good” it isn’t even funny. Jono was crushed and directionless after these experiences and volunteered to infiltrate the Weapon X program as a mole for Wolverine. After a bar fight with the X-Men where he got to punch Angel in the face (see incredibly satisfying picture below), Chamber was approached by Brent Jackson, the head of the new Weapon X.

Art by Georges Jeanty

Jackson saw that Chamber was a very powerful mutant who was disinterest in Xavier’s dream. He offered to fix Jono’s broken body in exchange for him working for Weapon X. Chamber’s initiation mission was to assassinate the U-Man leader, and mutant organ trader John Sublime. While he wavered with this decision, Chamber worked with the black ops team to attack and kill Sublime. Chamber continued to investigate the program, including the Neverland mutant concentration camp, and reporting back to Wolverine. He was unfortunately brainwashed by the program and forced to work for Weapon X for real. Fate played against Chamber during a large battle for Weapon X that happened on M-Day. The device that healed Jono’s injury failed. The Decimation wave hit him. He lost his mutant abilities and was left with a gaping hole in his chest.

Art by Ramon Bachs

Jono was put on life support and worked with a Dr. Hartley to repair his mind psychologically. When Pete Wisdom came to talk to Chamber about how the New Excalibur could help him recover, Jono was spirited out of the hospital. Jono awoke to find that his chest had healed with a large tattoo on it, his skin turned grey, eyes blood red, and he had blue lips. Hartley revealed that the Clan Akkaba, worshipers of Apocalypse, healed him with Apocalypse’s blood. The same blood that runs through the veins of the Starsmore family. He refused to join the clan and ran away. When Excalibur caught up with him and offered to save him, Jono lashed out telling them “Not everyone wants to be saved. Not everyone wants to play dress-up as part of the brand-spankin’-new-X-Men-team-of-the-month… Some of us just want to be left the hell alone.”

Art by Scott Kolins

Jono was eventually pulled back into the superhero game by his old teammate, Jubliee. He joined the latest incarnation of the New Warriors as Decibel. To replace his lost powers he acquired a vocal harness that gave him a sonic scream and the ability to make hard light objects. He said his old powers could only destroy and these new ones would give him a chance to create. When the Warriors disbanded, Jono made his way to the mutant island nation of Utopia. The mutant Legion accidentally warped reality around Utopia causing the Age of X to occur. While most everything was reverted back to normal, the event reignited Chamber’s original mutant powers and appearance. He went with Wolverine during the Schism and ended up mentoring students with physical deformities thanks to their mutation. He has yet to appear in the post-Secret Wars universe.

Art by Rafa Sandoval

Must Read

Chamber has been a part of many runs but his best appearance remains his first. Generation X by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo is a fantastic teen superhero book. Chamber gets quickly established in that series and becomes a very dynamic character. Modern readers should recognize both names on this creative team and may have strong opinions on them. Let me assure you this is not the Lobdell that turned so many readers off Teen Titans or Red Hood & the Outlaws, this is the man at his best. A loose narrative that doesn’t lose sight of its’ characters and characters that are almost all three dimensional out of the box. This is an earlier Chris Bachalo with less of the messy, sketchy style that he is known for today, but just as experimental and innovative with his designs as ever. Look at Chamber or Emplate and you can see why Bachalo is as highly acclaimed as his is today. This series is poorly collected, only issue #3 is on Marvel Unlimited. There are two print collections, Generation X Classic Vol 1 & 2 but they only collect the first 11 issues. This is one that isn’t hard to find in long boxes and tracking down the floppies is one of the only ways to read this great series as of now.

Art by Chris Bachalo

Ranking

Chamber keeps showing up. Even when people don’t really know what to do with him, he keeps showing up. He is a character that artist want to draw, and writers want to write. He is angry and brooding without going full Anakin Skywalker. He is visually stunning and always sticks out in a crowd. He is someone with so much break out potential, he just needs to be on the right team at the right time. He is pretty comparable to Glob Herman as a fan favorite student but I think the nod goes to Jono thanks to his longevity and better character work. I am also going to push him above Rachel Summers because I think at the end of the day, he is the more interesting and dynamic character. I am going to be more excited to see Chamber light up a page than I am Rachel. Plus this is my list so I can put him where I want. That puts Chamber comfortably at #3 in the Xavier Files.

Chamber was requested by /u/johnlongest & /u/jbaum311 on reddit. Thanks for the request! If YOU have a character you want me to do, send me a message on my Ask Box and I’ll get it added to the list. If you send it anonymously I can’t respond privately to you which means if there is an issue or something I think you should know, I can’t tell you and who wants that. I am pretty well booked with requests will April so don’t be shocked if it takes a little bit to get to yours, I am on it! Thanks for reading!