Colossus by P.J. Holden

Character: Colossus
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Artist: PJ Holden
Reviewer: Chris Arrant

Created by writer Len Wein and illustrator Dave Cockrum, Colossus first appeared in Giant Size X-men #1 in 1975. A product of 70’s culture by way of Russia, his current costume has remained tied to the era with little variation over time. PJ Holden’s design here shows a more sleek and practical design that is less circus performer and more professional superhero heavyweight.

“I just wanted to put Colossus inside something that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Soviet-era Russia,” said Holden. “Those crazy communists really knew how to design stuff.”

I like that PJ kept a subtle reference to the T-shaped original costume in the shirt of this design, but didn’t feel tied down to the costume to much to try to extrapolate a better version of that costume. The black, red and blue elements really work with Colossus’ *ahem* skin tone. Saving the yellow only for his eyes was a good touch. The general flat coloring on the outfit really offsets the visual of his armored skin, and makes that armored skin all the more unique.

At first I was thrown off by the redesign of the armor plating on Colossus’ forearms, but on second thought it really works and seems more practical. His upper body torso is so ginormous compared to his lower half, and it really works in a cartoony-style such as this. One thing I would say is; how is he supposed to get things in his belt pouches if his fingers are bigger than the pouches?

12 comments to “Colossus by P.J. Holden”
  1. I like it a lot! I’ve never really been a fan of colossus’ first outfit, and always prefered his more utilitarian look under JRJR/Claremont in the mid-to-late 80s. This uniform brings me back to that place, only with a modern touch. I’m glad the “X” made it onto the shoulders (and not the belt – that would have been overkill)… though if I had one complaint, it’s that his skin tone is a bit too saturated; he looks a little like Iceman. That’s just IMHO.

    but I dig the style and love this redesign! Thumbs up.

  2. Colossus is definitely a three-alarm superheroic fashion emergency, and big thanks to PJ Holden for coming to the rescue. Although this is a very stylized drawing with cartoonier proportions than we’re likely to see in a regular X-book, I think this new design would translate well to any style. I agree that the T-shape is a nice, subtle element, that helps emphasize the broadness of Pete’s chest. The fitted T-shirt seems like the perfect way to showcase Colossus’ gleaming metal guns. And it’s an attractive, restrained color palette.

    There is one area that seems a little unresolved: when the gray-blue T-shape transitions into the little semicircular bits that cup under the X-design on the sleeves. It seems a little finicky, even arbitrary in the changes of line-thickness. If the intention is to pay homage to Russian design (which is a brilliant idea. What would a Constructivist supersuit look like, anyway?) then these forms need to be bolder. It’s a small quibble, but in a design as pared-down as this one, minor details are important.

  3. Nice! I like the color scheme and the short sleeve shirt looks cool, so does the belt although I’m not sure what Colossus would keep in it… House keys maybe? Loose change?

    I like the ‘T’ on the shirt though I would have liked to have seen it solid through the shoulders and then repeat on the back with the black collar.

  4. I think that COLLOSSUS is a character that is so “unattached” to his uniform/costume that this look doesn’t add or take away. He’s COLLOSSUS no matter what he’s got on. I like the idea of pushing a soviet design, but it doesn’t come across in a big way here to make it worth while. It may need to be over the top just to make it stand out.

  5. Like almost everyone else, I really dig this costume. The color palette is exceptionally effective for this character, taking what might have been another ho-hum cariation on the utilitarian X-costume and giving it a mod twist. Someone at Marvel should steal this right now — or better yet, or better yet, hire PJ.

  6. I’ll add my thumbs-up, too. I particularly like the streamlined look– no flared boots or collars as in some previous iterations. This plays up a contrast perhaps with the angular hair and cut-aways in the arm rings. I’m not sold on the pouches. Too 90’s for their own good. Why not a thick red metal belt, something akin to an actual weight belt, in looks if not in purpose (for the tons of … tonnage that Colossus has to lift?) I also think a chain-like design would be nice, or would that be too 70’s-Luke-Cage?

  7. not a big fan at all. I think that this costume would look awkward illustrated by anyone that drew it less “cartoony”. Short-sleeves? not the answer. But, I have the answer. Soon. my friends, soon.

  8. really nice design, one of the best colossus I’ve seen. really. the costume is simple but with good colors and fashion design.
    that would be great to see this version in the regular marvel title.

  9. While I like the design and style, I’m thinking that the “T” across his chest needs to be red. It would amplify the other reds in the costume and still accomplish the chest broadening function.

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