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#1 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #58

Release Date- July 1969

Writer- Roy Thomas

Artist- Neal Adams

Major Notes

None

Brief Summary

Mission: Murder

Iceman and Beast are suddenly attacked by a Sentinel while they are watching a report of the TV. On the TV itself Larry Trask is still explaining that mutants are a threat and that he was able to improve his father’s designs of the Sentinels and now they can adapt in the field. As he is speaking Iceman and Beast are fighting for their lives but the Sentinel is adapting against them with each passing more moment. Beast is wrapped up in a metal coil while Iceman tries to recover and on the TV Larry explains that he can remote control the Sentinels can be remotely controlled by a special helmet that he has designed. Iceman creates three ice models of himself to distract the Sentinel as he searches for Cyclops’s miniature TV sender and he throws it at Beast. When he catches it Iceman freezes the coil and Beast is able to smash it with his strength. Iceman creates an ice dome so that Beast can escape and contact the other X-Men. Beast escapes the apartment but feels guilty that he is leaving Iceman behind and when he reaches the ground he changes into his civilian clothing and sees the Sentinel flying away and carrying Iceman.

Meanwhile in Egypt Angel returns to Cyclops and Jean after a failed search for Alex. He is surprised to see that they are in their civilian clothing and he sees that Beast is on their miniature TV sender. He tells them that the Sentinels have returned and captured Iceman. Before they can formulate a proper plan Beast signs off so that he can try and rescue his missing friend. Angel is infuriated that Iceman has been captured and despite the pleas of Cyclops and Jean he flies away intending to fly back to the States and take down the Sentinels.

At that time in a secret location Judge Chambers calls Larry Trask about their televised interview and he is beginning to think that mutants are not all that bad. Larry tries to convince him that they are as dangerous as he says. As he puts the phone down he moves over to a steam chamber which is housing Iceman. As he is released Iceman makes a lunge at him but he is caught by a guarding Sentinel. Iceman discovers that he can’t ice up and Larry reveals that his powers have been nullified by the steam chamber for four hours. Iceman’s actions have been recorded so that the world will see that mutants are truly a threat. Larry swore revenge on the X-Men three years ago with the death of his father and he will make them pay.

A short time later Iceman is taken to another room where he sees a man wearing a strange costume and a woman lying on a table. He realises that the man is Alex and that he has been called Havok. When he mentions that the woman has green hair Iceman realises that it is Lorna and he rushes over to her side as she wakes up. Alex reveals that his suit helps to measure his power and that he has struck a deal with Larry Trask. Iceman responds with anger as Lorna tries to keep him back. Havok had made the deal so that the Sentinels would leave Lorna alone but as a Sentinel approaches it handles Lorna. Havok is angered that the Sentinel isn’t letting Lorna go and he begins to power up and blasts the Sentinel. Larry arrives and is surprised to see the Sentinel damaged but he uses a device that enters Havok’s mind through a jewel on his forehead. Due to the anti-polar bands on her arms Lorna cannot use her magnetic powers to help him. Havok fears that if he falls then the Living Monolith will walk free. Larry laughs at him and states that the Living Monolith is not a threat.

On a TV screen it is revealed that the Sentinels have been carrying out search and capture missions across the country. And at that time in Egypt the Living Monolith is discussing about the X-Men being dangerous along with high ranking officials. He suddenly begins to grow and transform and states that he no longer needs the officials. Two Sentinels suddenly appear and bathe the Living Monolith with a foam like substance that prevents him from absorbing cosmic energy and he shrinks back down to normal.

Over the Atlantic Angel is being chased by two Sentinels and he is captured. On a nearby plane he is seen by Cyclops ad Jean who are unable to prevent his capture. One of the Sentinels does detect the both of them on the plane but they choose to take Angel away instead.

At the Mutant City a Sentinel breaks in fixated on capturing Magneto and Mesmero. Mesmero tries to attack the Sentinel with his hypnotic powers but it is immune to him. As he rushes to Magneto for safety the villain is fired upon by an energy beam and Magneto falls apart since he is only a robot. Mesmero is astonished to see that he has been led by a machine for months before being captured.

At his secret location Larry is disappointed that Magneto has not been captured but at that time Judge Chambers arrives while a Sentinel detects another mutant presence within the base. As Larry greets the Judge he shows him Iceman, Havok and Lorna are in suspended animation in pods. The Judge asks if this is humane and Larry reacts angrily and states that his Sentinels will work alone if need be. Larry sees the other X-Men travelling towards the base but he pays them no mind. He is wearing a necklace that was given to him by his father when his mother died. He is sworn to wear it always but at that time Banshee arrives and tries to subdue the Sentinels. He was captured in Ireland but now has escaped but he is knocked out by a sonic scream by the Sentinels. Angered by what has happened Larry orders his Sentinels to destroy all mutants which causes Judge Chambers to strike him and remove his necklace. Larry begins to see that he was wrong to order the murder of the mutants but he is quickly picked up by one of the Sentinels. They will still execute all mutants and they ignore Larry’s pleas and reveal that the mutant that they detected was him after his necklace has been removed.

My Thoughts

Again another fantastic issue. The story itself is very free flowing and makes the reader want to read on further. To tell you the truth while I was reading it I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen on the next page and the plot twisting ending only makes the read want to read the next issue.

Again the art really made the action jump off the page and my only regret is that I’m reading these issues in black and white rather than colour but it doesn’t take away the feel of the issue. One real drawback to reading in black and white is that sometimes it can be hard to tell characters apart (Like Jean and Lorna) when you can’t see the colour of their hair. But for me it was still the cheapest way to get the issues.

Larry Trask’s character seems to be complex and it shows that he is somewhat hot headed but I don’t think he is as evil as he makes out to be as he showed some regret when ordering the murder of the mutants. The revelation at the end was a shocker but I somewhat saw it coming since there had to be a reason why he was told to never take his necklace off. I can’t remember exactly what his mutant powers are but I have a feeling that we’ll find out in the next issue.

Although it is stated that Angel has never flown cross Atlantic but he has flown over great distances before. When the X-Men were captured by Magneto he did fly to the Avengers mansion over a long stretch of ocean. Others have made that trip like Storm did in a future X-Men annual and I’m not one hundred percent sure that he would hack such a journey. He would have to travel a great distance over either Africa or Europe to even reach the Atlantic and I think it would be too much, even for him.

This issue is also the first time that Alex has worn his costume and gone under the name of Havok and it also shows the start of his relationship with Lorna. It might not be the most famous relationship in the X-Men universe but it is no less important and has lasted for over four decades. I’m highly surprised that they’re actually not married yet but I think there has been a whole big deal about that.

I was also surprised to see that Cyclops and Jean were flying in a commercial plane to travel back to the States. I would have thought that they used the jet that they had been using to travel around Egypt but I guess maybe they ran out of fuel and had to travel like a normal person instead.

In conclusion I’m giving this issue a 9 out of 10. It was one of the most enjoyable issues of the series and it makes me somewhat sad to know that the original series is coming to an end shortly.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #59

#2 Posted by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for the compliment my friend. It's stuff like that, that makes me wanna continue on. BTW less than three weeks until All New All Different X-Men.

#3 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #57

Release Date- June 1969

Writer- Roy Thomas & Linda Fite

Artist- Neal Adams & Werner Roth

Major Notes

First appearance of Larry Trask

Brief Summary

The Sentinels Live

Lorna Dane is inside her apartment in Manhattan and she is dressed in a green costume. She feels that her magnetic powers are beginning to fade and suddenly she feels the apartment begin to shake. Almost immediately she sees two giant Sentinels break through her walls and she screams out for help but there is no one there to help her.

Meanwhile in Egypt the X-Men have subdued the Living Pharaoh but they see Alex cowering in fear by the ruins of the temple. He tells the team to back away and explains how he concentrated his power to escape from his pod but he also destroyed the temple in the process. He is terrified that he will kill someone with his power but then a policeman mounted on a camel arrives to the scene along with some backup. Using his influence as a top archaeologist the Living Pharaoh is able to convince the policeman that the X-Men were the ones responsible for the destruction of the temple. As the police go to arrest the team Alex panics and blasts them before fleeing. The X-Men subdue the rest of the police but Alex still runs away, enraged fires a powerful blast at the policemen that defeats them utterly.

Moments later the X-Men are flying over in their jet trying to find Alex but there seems to be no sign of him. Alex himself is hiding in a cave and is glad that the X-Men can’t find him. But as he wallows in his own self-pity he is confronted by a Sentinel and he is unable to stop himself from being captured. Above him the X-Men are still searching for him and they decide to use the Cerebro systems in the jet to try and track him. But they get a picture of Lorna’s apartment and it has been trashed beyond recognition. Iceman begins to panic and the team decide to split up, Iceman and Beast return to the US to find Lorna while the rest stay behind to find Alex.

But at that time a stranger is monitoring them through a strange device and he detects that the team have split up. But later on Iceman and Beast arrive at Lorna’s apartment in Manhattan. There is no sign of her but the police arrive and places the pair under arrest. Iceman freezes over their guns and one of the policemen throws a chair at them as they try to escape through the window. The chair knock Beast off balance and he begins to fall from the window. Iceman follows him and is able to save him by creating an ice pole that he can grab and slide to the ground safely. They flee to Cyclops’s apartment where they switch on the TV to see if there is any news of Lorna’s disappearance. Instead of news about Lorna’s disappearance the TV shows an attorney general explaining the dangers of mutants. The son of the late Bolivar Trask, Larry is there supporting his claims. Larry explains how his father built the Sentinels to defend mankind and how he was killed by the X-Men. He doesn’t realise that his father was killed by the Sentinels but behind the two X-Men a giant Sentinel is peering at them through the window as Larry declares that the Sentinels live.

The Female Of The Species

Jean begins to explain about her powers and how they are useful in every day life such as cooking, cleaning, escaping from being tied up, opening locked doors and escaping danger. She also demonstrates that she can use her telekinesis to fly and use her telepathy to bring even the mightiest men down to their knees. She even uses her telekinesis to stop a thief from stealing a woman’s handbag and she shows that her looks turn the heads of men.

My Thoughts

Well to start off with the style of the issue is an improvement on the last few and the story really flew off the page for me. The writing of Roy Thomas and the art of Neal Adams really seem to complement each other as this was a very enjoyable read. It deals with the welcomed return of the Sentinels and I admit that it was brave to bring them back but I felt that it was very well done and has not diminished them as a threat at all.

Alex’s fear is very understandable since most people would be terrified to find that they have the power to destroy an entire building. His fear seemed to have led him to run but I think that he would have definitely been better off if he had stayed with the team, but I guess the fear that he might destroy them would lead him to run.

The issue also makes the first time that we’ve seen Lorna Dane since the whole business with Mesmero and the Demi-Men, to me it’s been a long time coming and I feel that they should have had her in the series before now but I guess that she’s needed time to adjust with everything that’s been happening to her. I guess that finding out that you’re a mutant does take some getting used to.

Also this issue marks the first appearance of Larry Trask, the son of the late Bolivar Trask and unfortunately he doesn’t know that the Sentinels were the true threat not the X-Men. I’m hoping that he sees the errors that his father did but a part of me thinks that he will make the same mistakes again and will pay for it with his life. In situations like this unfortunately the apple doesn’t fall too far away from the tree.

Also I did notice that the Sentinels did look a little bigger in this issue in comparison to their first appearance and in my mind this is leading to the Sentinels that we all know in the future. They seem to be more formidable than before and I hope to see a good battle between them and the X-Men and that a giant crystal doesn’t defeat them again.

The second story is just an explanation of Jean’s powers and we’re not told anything that we really didn’t know before. The only real thing I did notice was how Jean was able to move quickly thanks to her telekinesis but I don’t think she has anything on fellow mutant Quicksilver.

I did notice that the issue was written by Linda Fite and to my knowledge this makes the first X-Men story to be written by a woman. It’s fitting that a story about a female superhero to be written by a woman.

The issue also marks the end of the two story issues that have been happening for the last twenty issues or so. In a way it is a bit of a shame but it means that the main story can be focused on more and I think that’s a good thing.

In conclusion I’m giving the issue a 7 out of 10, the first story almost blew me away but the second story did let it down a bit since it had no actual plot but was more of an explanation of a hero’s powers.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #58

#4 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #56

Release Date- May 1969

Writer- Roy Thomas

Artist- Neal Adams & Werner Roth

Major Notes

First issue to feature art by Neal Adams

Brief Summary

What Is… The Power?

The Living Pharaoh has been captured by the X-Men and they are flying over an ancient temple. As they land they discover that no one is around but at this moment Alex is still terrified after discovering his mutant abilities. Cyclops tries to calm him down but the Living Pharaoh mocks him about the power.

Suddenly Jean senses trouble and the doors to the temple fly open and the group is attacked by the minions of the Living Pharaoh. Their quick attack leave the team stunned but after a moment they are able to fight back. The Living Pharaoh orders his minions to ignore the team and concentrate on capturing Alex and taking him away. The minions obey and while the X-Men are distracted load the still stunned Alex on a hovercraft and fly away.

Iceman sees the Living Pharaoh attempting to escape and he thinks that without his artefact that he is powerless. He fires an ice beam at the villain and is surprised to see the Living Pharaoh shoot an energy beam from his hands that melts the ice.

The Living Pharaoh flies away with Alex in the hovercraft and Angel tries to fly after them. But as he gets close several concussion missiles knock him out of the sky but he is still able to recover and land safely.

The team regroups and Jean is able to make a mental connection with Angel who is still chasing the hovercraft. He flies towards an identical temple where the hovercraft has landed and sneaks inside to find Alex while the rest of the team track his mental brainwaves.

Inside the temple Alex has been hooked up to a machine and he lies in a pod while the Living Pharaoh explains that their abilities are connected to each other, when Alex’s powers surfaced the Living Pharaoh’s began to diminish. Their powers come from cosmic radiation and as he shuts the pod Alex’s power starts to transfer into the Living Pharaoh and he begins to glow brightly as Alex looks on in fear.

Angel flies out of the temple as the X-Men arrive but no sooner has he done this the Living Pharaoh explodes out of the temple. He has grown considerably in size and has a more monstrous appearance and as he grabs Angel he calls himself the Living Monolith. A combination of attacks do topple the colossal being but he is not injured and Jean is powerless to stop him from grabbing her.

Inside the ruined temple Alex is running out of oxygen in his pod. He tries to use his strength to break out and when that fails he starts to concentrate on using his newfound mutant powers to break free. But the power that he is feeling flow through him is getting stronger with each passing second.

Outside the Living Monolith still handles Jean as the others look on in horror but suddenly the villain begins to shrink and Angel is able to save Jean before she hits the ground. Within moments the villain is normal size again and loses consciousness as the temple behind him completely collapses. The team fear that Alex has perished but they see him stagger out of the rubble but he won’t let any of them near him as his eyes glow bright and he declares that he cannot control his power.

The Flying A-Bomb

Angel is infuriated by the two X-Men inside his apartment and tries to attack them. The X-Men defend themselves while trying to convince him that they do not wish to hurt him. Cyclops does blast the ceiling causing a small amount of debris to fall on Angel but this does not calm him down.

Meanwhile Professor Xavier senses what is happening and desperately tries to mentally contact Angel. He is able to patch through and at first Angel thinks that his is going crazy. But Xavier reveals that the vial that he confiscated from the crooks a few hours earlier is actually a nuclear explosive. He commands Angel to destroy it without damaging the city.

Angel is commanded to fly high in the sky where the freezing temperatures would deactivate the explosive. Angel begins to freeze over as he flies higher and when he is high enough he snaps the vial without it exploding. He begins to black out and falls towards the ground but his is able to recover in time thanks to the encouraging words of Xavier and he is able to save himself.

A short time later Angel meets up with Xavier and the other X-Men and agrees to join the team. His aggression was due to the gas that he used to knock out the thugs but the other X-Men still believe that he has an inflated ego.

My Thoughts

To start off with this issue was more enjoyable than the last, I found the story easier to follow and I really liked the art of Neal Adams. I admit that I don’t remember much of his art but I know that it is very popular and judging from what I read in this issue I can see why. It was fantastic and really made the issue come alive and I thoroughly look forward to seeing it in future issues.

I did notice one fairly big plot hole in the fact that in issue #54 the Living Pharaoh was willing to kill Alex when he had this machine in Egypt that would drain his power and turn the villain into a god. I’m not sure if he could have done it if Alex was dead but that is never explained so I’m hoping that this isn’t really a plot hole but it was just more convenient for him.

The fight between the Living Monolith and the X-Men was actually very well done and to my knowledge this is the first time that the team have ever really fought a giant enemy like this. They have fought Sentinels but they were much smaller at this period and they never physically fought Mastermold. The part where the villain actually grabs Jean reminded me very much of King Kong and I was somewhat expecting him to climb up a nearby pyramid while Angel flies around him carrying Cyclops who is firing his optic blasts. But that would have been a little too obvious maybe.

The whole thing about Havok’s powers being linked to cosmic energy I found to be a bit too confusing in my books. It has a very Fantastic Four feel to it and if I really wanted to read that I would have stuck with FF. Maybe there should be some kind of deeper explanation but I hope that happens at a later date.

For the second story that was also quite enjoyable and it is explained how Angel seemed to be so aggressive towards the X-Men. The gas that he was using somehow made him more aggressive rather than knocking him out like it did the crooks but maybe it reacted differently because he’s a mutant but that unfortunately is never explained.

One thing I did notice was if it was freezing temperatures that they needed to stop the explosives then they didn’t have to fly it miles above the ground. They had a walking freezer standing right there and they could have used him to stop the vial from exploding. But then it wouldn’t highlight Angel and since it is his origin story no other character can look like the hero.

In conclusion I’m giving the issue a 7 out of 10. The story was really good but the holes did set it back a little but other than that it opens things more for the future.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #57

#5 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #55

Release Date- April 1969

Writer- Roy Thomas

Artist- Don Heck & Werner Roth

Major Notes

Alex is revealed as a mutant.

Brief Summary

The Living Pharaoh

Cyclops has confronted the Living Pharaoh who he thought that Alex might have killed. The Living Pharaoh asks him if he wants to join him in his plans of world conquest. Cyclops refuses and the pair engage in battle. On the surface the police are searching for Cyclops but they find that the Corpus Delicti has disappeared as well. Above them the X-Men are flying over and Jean is attempting to detect Cyclops with her telepathy. She is able to pick up something and the team race towards the signal. Below the ground Cyclops and the Living Pharaoh are still fighting and they are evenly matched. The Living Pharaoh resorts to striking the X-Man with his artefact knocking him out. At that point Jean loses her contact with Cyclops and the team begin to fear that he has been killed but they suspect that he has merely been knocked out. Minutes later the unconscious bodies of Cyclops and Alex are taken away by the Living Pharaoh’s minions. They are placed in ancient Egyptian coffins and they are taken to JFK airport. The minions and the Living Pharaoh disguise themselves as regular people and board a plane to Egypt with the coffins entering the cargo bay of their private plane. When Cyclops awakens he finds that he is wearing a skin tight hood that is blocking his powers. The Living Pharaoh tells him that it is impossible to remove. As the villain leaves Cyclops is able to find Alex locked in one of the coffins. Meanwhile the X-Men are following after Jean picks up Cyclops’s brainwaves once again. This doesn’t go unnoticed by the Living Pharaoh who opens the door of the plane and fires an energy beam at them which causes them to fall from the sky. Only Angel is able to save the team by using his wings to safely land them in the ocean. Sometime later at the Pyramids of Giza Cyclops and Alex have been brought within the tomb and the Living Pharaoh uses his artefact to begin to fill the chamber with water. The villain leaves and Cyclops feels that the chamber is filling with water. He begins to slam his head on Alex’s coffin and is able to break through. The brothers dig their way out and are confronted by the Living Pharaohs minions. The Living Pharaoh himself finds out about their escape and orders them to be killed. The brothers are doing well against the minions but when the Living Pharaoh himself arrives he is caught by Angel who flies him on top of the pyramid. The other X-Men arrive and are able to deal with the minions. On top of the Pyramid the Living Pharaoh commands his artefact to strike the X-Men down but Alex lifts his hands towards him and shoots a beam of energy towards the villain. This knocks the Living Pharaoh off of the pyramid but Angel is able to save him from falling. The villain commands his minions to flee and the X-Men discover that Alex is in fact a mutant.

Where Angels Dare Tread

Angel is flying over a criminal gang and fires gas canisters that knock out all but one of the gang. He radios the police before confronting the last gang member. Angel is able to knock him out and when the police arrive they find the unconscious bodies of the gang leaning on a wall with a halo drawn on it. Angel returns to his apartment and recounts what he has done since leaving private school. The news of Angel reaches the ears of the X-Men and Professor Xavier detects that he is a mutant and the team leave to try and recruit him. The following night Angel once again goes out on patrol and confronts a criminal gang and they shoot the gas gun out of his hand. The gas knocks them out and Angel is able to grab his gun and fly away. When he reaches his apartment he discovers that the X-Men are inside and they offer him a place on their team. But he turns them down and states that he works alone.

My Thoughts

To start off with this issue was a little hard for me to follow but it might be because I was watching Monty Python at the time. So far I still have no idea why the Living Pharaoh even wants Cyclops and Alex and why he was willing to kill them in the manner that he did. I don’t see what the point was of trying to drown them in Egypt rather than just killing them stateside unless there was something I missed. Other than that the issue was actually pretty enjoyable but I did notice that the Living Pharaoh’s clothing had changed a little between issues because I noticed at the very end of the last issue he was wearing sandals but at the beginning of this one he was wearing boots. I’m just guessing that this is an artistic error. It is also not explained how the Living Pharaoh was able to fake his own death. Surely the policemen would have checked that he was dead before trying to arrest Cyclops for his murder. I’ve heard some misguided theories that policemen are stupid but even they will have some common sense. I also don’t exactly know how the X-Men were able to find Cyclops and Alex in Egypt, they probably could have figured out that was where they were going but there was no guarantee but even if they had somehow gotten their jet out of the ocean, gotten back to the mansion, used Cerebro to detect Cyclops and Alex and then to get to them in the nick of time I just don’t see them having the time to do it. But what’s time in comic books? The second story showed something that none of the other X-Men did before this time. It shows Angel actually becoming a costumed vigilante and taking down crime himself, it was an interesting twist and I noticed that it was set in the winter of 1963. If it was in the real world you would have been either at the end of the year when the X-Men had just been introduced or at the beginning of the year. Since I can’t see something christmassy I’m guessing it is at the beginning of the year. It also shows that Angel was much like Spider-Man at the time with that he feels better working alone rather than with a team and I’m interested in seeing how he changed his mind. We’ll probably find out over the next couple of issues. To finish off I’ll give it a 5 out of 10, I would have given it a much higher rating but the plot holes for me just kind of stopped me thinking much about it.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #56

#6 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #54

Release Date- March 1969

Writer- Arnold Drake

Artist- Don Heck & Werner Roth

Major Notes

First appearances of Abdol aka The Living Pharaoh aka The Living Monolith and Alex Summers aka Havok

Brief Summary

Wanted: Dead Or Alive

Cyclops is about to be arrested by two policemen for murder but he has no idea what they are talking about. His mind flashes back to a few hours earlier when he and the other X-Men visited Landon College. Cyclops has secretly had a younger brother named Alex who is graduating from the college. Alex meets the team before quietly making his way to his dorm so that he can prepare to go out and celebrate. When he enters he is attacked by two men wearing ancient Egyptian style clothing. They take him by surprise and knock him out, they escape with him and when the X-Men investigate they find that he has been taken. Jean begins to scan the room for the last brainwaves of the people who took Alex. A short time later Alex is placed on a slab looked on by the villain known as the Living Pharaoh. He reveals that the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt were mutants and he plans to use Alex’s blood to rule over the world. But before he can plunge the dagger into Alex the X-Men arrive and take on the Living Pharaoh’s minions. They then move onto the Living Pharaoh who is able to fend them off but he eventually they begin to overwhelm him he throws down a gas grenade and begins to release more of his minions. The X-Men combat the minions but during the fight Angel’s wing is pinned to the wall by a spear. He is freed with the help of Beast and Cyclops takes on the Living Pharaoh alone who is able to fire an energy beam from his hands. Cyclops begins to weaken so Jean tries to attack the Living Pharaoh with her telepathy. But he is able to force her brainwaves back at her and suddenly there are violent sound vibration. The X-Men are unable to prevent the Living Pharaoh and his minions from escaping but Cyclops is more concerned with Alex. He frees his brother and reveals that he is the leader of the X-Men. The team leave Cyclops and Alex alone so that they can talk things out. They begin to talk but the Living Pharaoh reappears and uses a strange artefact and his own mutant abilities to knock the brothers out. When Cyclops awakens he is confronted by two policemen who attempt to arrest him for murder. Cyclops sees the dead body of the Living Pharaoh close by but he cannot see Alex. Reluctantly he attacks the policemen so that he can escape and find his brother. The X-Men hear about Cyclops on the radio and they cannot believe what they’re hearing. Below the Living Pharaoh’s hideout Cyclops is searching through the tunnels trying to find Alex but he is confronted by the villain himself who turns out not to be dead. The Living Pharaoh intends to kill Cyclops.

Million Dollar Angel

A childhood Angel has climbed a tree on his father’s property and has found his father’s missing golf balls in a bird nest. He falls out of the tree but is saved from harm by landing in the swimming pool. Angel is sent to his room while his parents think about what they will do with him. They decide to send him to private school where he begins to excel in sports and academics. The other students notice that he has very large shoulder blades and one night he wakes up to find a large feather on his back. When he investigates he discovers small wings on his back. He is able to get himself into his own private room sometime later where he discovers that his wings have grown. He smells smoke and realises that the main dorm is on fire. He quickly launches out of the window and flies for the first time. Before he goes to the rescue he picks up some rope along with a wig and a nightgown to hide his identity. He then flies to save those trapped and when everyone is rescued he flies away to safety. He returns under his normal guise and sees the good that he has done.

My Thoughts

I’ll start off by saying that this issue was a big improvement on the previous one and is also one of some significance. This issue was the first appearance of Cyclops’s brother Alex which you might all know as Havok. Although he is not as well known as many of the other X-Men he is still a very important one nonetheless not just for Cyclops but for the franchise in general. Although you don’t actually see what his mutant powers are in this issue he is in my mind possibly one of the most destructive mutants in the comics. His ability to generate waves of plasma might be powerful enough to destroy practically anything. I’m not sure if there would be any kind of limit to his power but we’ll find out over the series. The issue also introduces the minor X-Men villain named Living Pharaoh also known as the Living Monolith. He is a powerful mutant but hasn’t made all that much of an impact on the X-Men series but I see him as being the stepping stone towards Apocalypse. Many people would think that the X-Men’s first ancient Egyptian enemy was Apocalypse but it is actually the Living Pharaoh and if they had used him right he could have been a major thorn in the X-Men’s side. His powers aren’t fully shown in this issue and from the looks of it he has several powers that have not been explained just yet. I think the issue could have been done a little better if they had introduced Alex earlier in a minor way and then fully using him in this issue. His sudden appearance like this seemed to be a little forced and I feel that they should have slowed the pace down. The opening page sets up the entire issue and the cliff-hangar draws the reader in as they see that the Living Pharaoh is still alive and if Cyclops will be proved innocent of his murder. For the second story it was fun to see the start of the X-Man Angel although he is my least favourite of the original X-Men, but I guess even he deserves his own origin story. Angel’s fearlessness of heights seems to have started from early childhood before his mutant powers were even manifested. I think if this was real life there would have been a lot more hysteria over his appearance for those who believe he is an actually angel. The point was made in the character’s introduction in the Ultimate X-Men series but it was funny to see not as many people really noticing the biblical implications. To finish off I’m giving the issue an 8 out of 10, overall very enjoyable but could have been a bit better.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #55

#7 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #53

Release Date- February 1969

Writer- Arnold Drake

Artist- Barry Smith & Werner Roth

Major Notes

First issue to feature art by Barry Smith

Brief Summary

The Rage Of Blastaar

The villain Blastaar is flying through space greatly angered that he cannot land on Earth or else he will explode. He is extremely frustrated and swears revenge on the people of Earth. At the mansion Jean is using one of Professor Xavier’s mind machine. Unfortunately the machine overloads sending energy up into the sky and blasting a hole in the roof. The explosion stuns Jean and Cyclops and Beast come to her aid. The energy beam draws Blastaar towards Earth and as he enters its atmosphere he discovers that he hasn’t exploded. He sees this as an opportunity to exact his revenge and is drawn to the origin of the energy. This leads him to the X-Mansion and Beast is the first to confront him but Blastaar blasts him away. Iceman and Angel hear what is happening and rush the aid as Cyclops tries to help the still stunned Jean. Blastaar confronts Cyclops but before he can attack him Iceman and Angel appear and tackle the villain. Angel is taken down and Blastaar makes his way onto the roof of the mansion. Cyclops is forced to attempt a tricky manoeuvre where he uses his optic rays to lift himself onto the roof before attacking Blastaar. Jean and Iceman tend to the injured Beast. He is not too badly injured and Jean has an idea to rid themselves of Blastaar. A couple of minutes later Iceman creates three men made out of ice and Jean uses her telekinesis to make them move. On the roof Cyclops cannot hold Blastaar back for too much longer but before he gives out the three icemen appear and attack the villain. Blastaar is able to destroy these icemen but he begins to glow brightly as he gloats. He starts to disappear since he is made out of anti-matter and Xavier’s machine is now destroying him. In seconds there is nothing left of Blastaar and Jean is upset that they had to do it. Cyclops tells her that Blastaar will remain as long as evil lives in the hearts of men.

Welcome To The Club, Beast!

Beast lies unconscious on the floor while El Conquistador powers up the solar device that he has stolen. Beast starts to regain consciousness and attacks El Conquistador but the villain is able to repel the attack. Beast attempts to flee but a door closes in front of him, he looks done for before the X-Men blast through. El Conquistador’s minions begin to attack the X-Men but the team are able to repel them. El Conquistador sets the machine to explode destroying the planet along with it. But instead of the energy going into the earth the villain receives them instead and the building explodes after the X-Men have fled. Xavier is waiting for them outside and he has already freed Beast’s parents. The young mutant agrees to join the team and learn about his mutant abilities.

My Thoughts

This issue in my mind wasn’t as good as the last couple of them. Blastaar isn’t really a guy that you’d associate with the X-Men and to my knowledge this has been the first and only time that he has ever faced the team. He’s made up of anti-matter but I don’t know a whole lot about him because he’s somewhat of a minor villain. His battle with the X-Men was fun to read but it was hard to follow sometimes. I also noticed that Angel’s costume looks a little different in this issue, not sure if he’s actually changed it or if it is just an artistic error. Iceman did say something very sexist in the issue and I think Marvel would have gotten in trouble if they had written that today but it wasn’t that big of a problem back then. This issue also marks the end for me of Essential Classic X-Men volume 3 and starting tomorrow I’ll be on volume 3 before we finally move onto the really good stuff. For the second story it was somewhat fun seeing exactly how Beast joined the X-Men and we see the end of El Conquistador and now I see why he hasn’t appeared in any comics since. One thing I really did pick out was that Xavier said he used his telekinetic abilities to backfire the solar device. To my knowledge the regular version of Xavier didn’t have telekinetic powers, a few of the alternate versions have him with some telekinetic abilities but not up to Jean’s level. I’m not sure if this is an error or if he really does have some telekinetic powers. It seems too perfect sometimes how Xavier wipes the memories of people so that they can’t remember what has happened. It seems like the answer to all of the X-Men’s problems is to simply wipe the mind of the enemy and innocent bystanders. It seems too much of an overused plot device, but I guess if he stopped doing it then people would ask why he has stopped. In my opinion this issue is only really a 5 out of 10. Definitely under par and I hope to see an improvement soon.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #54

#8 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah it was Jim Sternako sorry that I didn't mention it before.

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #52

Release Date- January 1969

Writer- Arnold Drake

Artist- Don Heck & Werner Roth

Major Notes

None

Brief Summary

Twilight Of The Mutants

Erik the Red is seemingly captured by Demi-Men but he is able to break free. He engages in combat with the Demi-Men and Mesmero. Seeing that he is outnumbered Erik The Red blasts the ceiling which traps his enemies before he makes his way towards Lorna who is in another room. Lorna has seen what has happened and moves to engage Erik, she has sided with Magneto because he is her father and he feels that she must since they share the same blood. When Erik does reach her instead of attacking her and trying to take over from Magneto he pledges his loyalty to him which takes Lorna by surprise. A wounded Magneto accepts Erik’s pledge and he even becomes the temporary leader until Magneto himself has recovered from his last encounter with the X-Men. Meanwhile in the city Jean receives a mental command from Cyclops that it is time to execute Operation Twilight. Jean relays the message onto Beast and Angel who are nearby, they regroup and travel to the Mutant City. Inside the Mutant City itself Mesmero and the Demi-Men have been freed from the rubble but Mesmero doesn’t trust Erik and he vows to settle their differences when the crisis is over. The X-Men sneak around the facility and are confronted by Erik but rather than attack him Jean hugs him since he is really Cyclops in disguise. The X-Men quickly set a trap for the Demi-Men but it is accidentally set off by Iceman who was returning to the team. The electrical shock that he experienced has knocked him out but before they can set the trap up again the ploy is discovered by Mesmero. The X-Men combat the Demi-Men and they gain the upper hand, at the same time Mesmero and Jean have a standoff testing their mutant abilities against each other. Magneto sees what is happening and orders Lorna to destroy the X-Men, she quietly obeys but when she moves towards the team she is stopped by Iceman. She realises that he and Bobby Drake are the same person but Iceman also has another revelation. Before he came to the Mutant City he stopped by Lorna’s parents house and discovers that her real parents died in a plane crash when she was a few weeks old. Lorna is overjoyed to find out that she is not the daughter of Magneto but is angered by the lie. She moves away from Iceman so that she can have some time with Magneto. As the battle between the X-Men and the Demi-Men rages on Lorna knocks down all the Demi-Men with her magnetic abilities. Magneto flees but he activates the city’s self-destruct systems and the team is able to get out in the nick of time. Lorna returns to New York with the X-Men and they feel things are getting back to normal.

The Crimes Of The Conquistador

Beast is incapacitated by El Conquistador and takes him to the villain’s lair. When he awakens he is given the choice of serving him. Beast initially refuses but when he sees that El Conquistador has his parents he reluctantly agrees. At the Mansion Iceman reports that the McCoy house was empty and Professor Xavier uses a primitive form of Cerebro to detect Beast’s whereabouts. Later Beast is able to sneak into a military compound to steal a top secret nuclear reactor. He is able to get in without being seen but as he tries to escape he is spotted by some guards. Beast has no choice but to take them down and return to El Conquistador. The villain is delighted that Beast has succeeded but he goes back on his word about releasing Beast’s parents and he strikes the young mutant down.

My Thoughts

Another quite fun issue that I enjoyed. The whole persona of Erik the Red was actually well played and it was almost impossible to tell that it was actually Cyclops in the guise. He doesn’t even use his optic blasts at all and instead shoots energy beams from his hands. The origin of these beams were never revealed in the issue but most likely I think that they are a construct of Beast since this is before the X-Men had Forge as their technology expert. The whole trap business I think was a little iffy and was doomed to fail from the start but it was still enjoyable to watch the large battle. Jean’s standoff with Mesmero was memorable and is a sign of things to come from the woman who will become one of the most powerful mutants on the planet. The last several issues have been a big step away from the whole Factor Three business because it is best not to strike the same hammer over and over again if you know what I’m saying. Although in this issue it has been stated that Magneto isn’t really Lorna’s father the truth will be revealed in the mid-2000s. It makes things interesting having a member of the team with the exact same powers as their primary enemy. I could see how it would work and makes the whole line up a little bit more exotic than just the same five people on the team. The X-Men will eventually get an Avengers style line up where it is changing constantly as characters come and go although up to this point the only additional member of the X-Men was Mimic and even then he only lasted couple of issues. That’s one thing that the Fantastic Four somewhat lacked, because they’ve had the same team for over five decades it can lose its fizzle after a while but the difference between them and the X-Men was that the FF were a family (along with the Thing). The X-Men are just five teenagers who have been brought together by a man with a dream (A positive dream that isn’t part of a cult). Before the end of the original series I know that there will be one more X-Man added along with Lorna but I cannot fully remember how he is introduced so I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out. One thing I did have an issue with was that when Magneto activated the self-destruct systems he told the X-Men that he had done it. If there were no alarms they probably would have been none the wiser and it would have been the perfect opportunity to eliminate the X-Men once and for all if he had kept his mouth shut. For the second story the whole thing felt like something that has been used over and over again in storytelling. Basically the villain kidnaps people important to the hero thus forcing the hero to do the villain’s dirty deeds. I can’t give them credit for originality but it was still a relatively good story. The next issue will conclude Beast’s origin story and my current Essential X-Men, since it is in black and white it can sometimes be a little difficult to tell Jean and Lorna apart but I think I can adapt. In conclusion I’ll give the issue a 7 out of 10, an enjoyable read but I did feel that there was something missing.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #53

#9 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #51

Release Date- December 1968

Writer- Arnold Drake

Artist- Jim Steranko & Werner Roth

Major Notes

First appearance of Eric The Red

Brief Summary

The Devil Had A Daughter

As Magneto announces his return he offers his daughter Lorna a choice between siding with him and ruling as the Mutant Queen or to side with the X-Men. Iceman steps in the way and is livid that Magneto has given her such a choice and the other X-Men try to restrain him. Iceman doesn’t care if he is destroyed. Cyclops strikes Magneto and the villain orders Mesmero to take out the X-Men. The Demi-Men start to engage in combat with the X-Men while Iceman rushes to Lorna’s side. He quickly freezes the floor that the Demi-Men are on and their feet are frozen to the floor. The feat takes a lot out of him and the Demi-Men begin to overwhelm the X-Men. They place a metal helmet over Cyclops so that he cannot use his optic rays and fire shards of spikes at Beast. As Jean keeps the Demi-Men away from the weakened Iceman Cyclops is able to blast his way through the helmet and with the X-Men regrouped attack Magneto. The villain uses his powers to surround them with thousands of small pieces of metal. The X-Men use all their powers to keep the metal at bay and Cyclops unleashes a powerful optic blast to break through the wall created by the shards. But as Magneto continues the assault the X-Men decide to retreat since they are at a disadvantage of both power and numbers. Before they try the Demi-Men form a ring around them and when Cyclops tries to knock one down his punch is reflected back at him. Angel is wrapped by steel cables and Cyclops has to resort to blasting some of the ceiling upon Magneto and the Demi-Men. The X-Men take the opportunity to escape but Lorna uses her own magnetic powers to prevent Magneto from being crushed. The X-Men are able to break through a wall and enter a rocket which takes them safely away from the Mutant City. Magneto is enraged that they have escaped and commands the Demi-Men to find and kill the X-Men. Sometime later at the X-Men’s temporary base in San Francisco Cyclops and Iceman have heated words after Iceman is deemed too weak to enter battle for a while. Iceman is overcome with emotions and goes to punch his leader but the other male X-Men break the pair up. Jean tries to calm them down with words but Iceman is still irate and leaves, the others let him go so that he can have time to cool off. The X-Men believe that Lorna has sided with Magneto at this point. Several days later just outside of the Mutant City two Demi-Men pick up a mutant signature on their R-Scope but the ground beneath them breaks apart. The cause is a mutant named Erik The Red who allows the Demi-Men to flee so that they can tell Magneto that he is coming.

Lure Of The Beast-Nappers

After seeing Beast’s actions on the football field a villain named El Conquistador takes a particular interest in him. He sees Beast as a tool to use for his plan of world domination. He calls his followers and orders them to capture Beast so that they can rule the world. A short time later as Beast walks home from his game a truck almost runs him over but he is able to leap over it. But as he dodges the vehicle he is set upon by the followers of El Conquistador but they are unsuccessful in their attempts to capture him. The villain himself appears and knocks Beast out with a strange stun device. At that time Iceman of the X-Men investigates Beast’s home only to find it empty and signs of a struggle. He reports back to Professor Xavier who tries to deduce where they could have been taken. A short time later Beast wakes up in El Conquistador’s hideout and discovers that his parents have also been kidnapped. The villain gives him the option of serving him and letting his parents live or refusing and watching his parents die.

My Thoughts

Right from the get go this issue was action upon action. It’s even obvious to someone like Daredevil that Iceman has feelings for Lorna and it makes me a little sad because I know that they won’t actually be together. I wonder myself what would have happened if Iceman and Polaris had actually become a couple that lasted. I could see their relationship as one of the foundations for future X-Men comics but sadly it is nipped in the bud really quickly. I believe that this is also the first time I’ve actually seen the X-Men make a retreat in such a manner. When most people think of someone running away they automatically think that the person is a coward. But in reality many times it’s because the person can see no chance of winning and instead flees to fight another day. It was the same with the X-Men, not only were they fight Magneto who basically had control of all the metal in the city but also he had an entire army at his side and that’s extremely difficult to combat when there is only five of you. The rocket that took them to safety did seem a little too convenient but I guess it’s how the Demi-Men travel around. The issue also shows realistic tensions within the team that makes the whole thing that little bit more believable. In truth no team is truly perfect and things like this can happen from time to time. Although at the end of the little exchange between Cyclops and Iceman the latter seems to just walk away from the X-Men and the reader is left wondering if he will come back. Although Mesmero was commanded to take down the X-Men he only actually appeared in one panel and even then he was running so maybe he hung back and let the Demi-Men do all the work. To me that sounds likely because that would be the kind of character that he is. Also his powers aren’t very good for a situation like this. He would have to get up close to an X-Man before using his powers and since the majority of them can strike from a distance it would make him practically useless. Lorna seems to be an innocent bystander in all of this and she even seems to be sympathetic towards the X-Men and I can see why they think she has sided with Magneto since he did save him but that could be because she didn’t want him to be destroyed. She’s a girl in a lot of turmoil and the reader can only hope that she makes the right decision. At the end of the story we meet a character called Erik the Red who I already know who it is but it is still an interesting character who will play a minor role in one of the most important X-Men stories of all time. For the second story we are introduced to another villain who has been lost throughout the years. El Conquistador is only ever seen in Beast’s origin stories and never heard or seen of again. You can tell that he is based on the Spaniards who conquered most of the Americas and like other megalomaniacs he plans to dominate the world much like a couple of hundred other villains in the Marvel Universe. The ending to is seems to leave it on a cliff-hanger but we already know that Beast won’t join him and the only question really is will Beast’s parents survive. A few issues ago it did promise Angel’s origin story but for some reason they decided to go with Beast first. Maybe they felt that he was a more popular character at the time. In conclusion I’m giving this issue an 8 out of 10. The series is starting to pick up again and it makes me feel a little sad knowing that it will end soon (Before restarting again).

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #52

#10 Edited by Hysteria (220 posts) - - Show Bio

Issue Information

Title- X-Men (Volume 1) #50

Release Date- November 1968

Writer-Arnold Drake

Artist- Jim Steranko & Werner Roth

Major Notes

Landmark 50th issue and first issue to feature art by Jim Steranko. First appearance of the infamous three dimensional style X-Men logo.

Brief Summary

Hail, Queen Of Mutants

Lorna is hypnotised by Mesmero before she and Iceman are placed in coffins and snuck onto a truck. The Demi-Men disguise themselves as undertakers so that they can leave the building without drawing any attention to themselves. They drive to a fantastic citadel in the desert where they strap Lorna to a large machine that will awaken her latent mutant powers while Iceman is incarcerated. Oblivious to what has happened the other X-Men enter Mesmero’s mansion and attack the Demi-Men who are inside. As the battle rages the X-Men gain the upper hand but Jean receives a telepathic distress call from Iceman and she mentally commands the X-Men to throw the fight. They allow themselves to be knocked out by a gas attack and the Demi-Men do not suspect that they threw the fight. Shortly later at the citadel called Mutant City the process with Lorna is almost complete and Mesmero is excited to see the end results. He sees her being a goddess and Iceman who has been shackled to another machine right next to Lorna cannot try and break free or else she would be destroyed. As the process nears completion a few of the Demi-Men arrive declaring their victory over the X-Men and they have brought the team along so that Mesmero can decide what to do with them. After the process is complete Lorna steps out of the machine and the Demi-Men along with Mesmero begin to hail her. A seemingly brainwashed Lorna declares herself as the daughter of Magneto and she is the queen of mutants. With the X-Men now where they want to be they begin to attack the Demi-Men as Iceman breaks free of his restraints now that Lorna is no longer in the machine. Lorna starts to power-up her newly acquired magnetic abilities but rather than using them on the X-Men she uses them on the Demi-Men and is able to knock them all out. The effort also knocks Lorna out but Angel is able to save her from falling to her death. Mesmero still remains but when they attempt to attack him the metallic floor begins to raise up in front of them. They stop dead and know of only one person who can perform such a feat. There is a mysterious man in the shadows and as he walks out the team realise that they are seeing Magneto.

The Boy-This Bombshell

As Beast grows up he shows signs of both incredible strength and agility and when he reaches high school the football coach notices his abilities and soon makes him the star player of the team. During one of the televised games Beast is once again leading his team to victory but outside the stadium a group of masked thieves. They knock out the woman at the box office before stealing the money but as they escape the police show up and chase the thieves onto the pitch. Beast sees what is happening and is able knock out two of the thieves by throwing his helmet at one and kicking the ball at the other. The last remaining thief threatens to detonate a grenade but Beast is able to climb up the field goal and leap onto the thief before he has a chance to carry out his threat. Beast is hailed a hero but his actions have been watched by two mysterious strangers.

My Thoughts

In all this was an enjoyable issue. The story didn’t take me that long to read in comparison to the previous ones since there were a couple of pages that were a single panel while there was actually a double page splash. Because of this and a few other factors this issue only took me half the time to read in comparison to many of the earlier issues. This issue is also the first appearance of the infamous X-Men three dimensional logo that was used for the next four and half decades until only being replaced recently by a logo that looks more like the original (And in my mind an inferior design). The issue was great from the get go as there was suspense and drama as the reader saw Lorna become the Queen of Mutants and declared the daughter of Magneto (Although it wasn’t revealed until three and a half decades later than she actually was). She had the right look to be named a goddess with her long green hair and her outfit but despite everything Lorna showed that she hasn’t been corrupted by the sudden influence of power. The Demi-Men’s salute to her reminded me much of the Nazi salute and I question if that would be allowed in a comic book of today. I think it was intentional to try and mirror these so called Demi-Men and the mutant city to Nazi Germany. I also think that the issue shows that Jean’s powers are increasing since she was able to receive Iceman’s distress call through telepathy and the fact that she was able to communicate with him from one side of the country to the other. In comics recently I don’t think Xavier has even been able to do that and whenever he did need to do it he had to use Cerebro. Maybe it’s a little thing that’s been overlooked or maybe it shows that Jean is a far more powerful telepath than him although he is supposed to be the most powerful telepath in mutant kind. I can also see the start of the relationship between Lorna and Iceman that will lead to the love triangle that we’ll see in later series with a character who will be introduced very shortly to the series. The reintroduction of Magneto at the end of the story would have taken the reader by surprise since they thought that he died in Avengers #53. I guess that you can’t keep a good villain down. The second story was more enjoyable than the other X-Men back stories. It shows Beast before he became an X-Man the only real issue I have with it is that it shows him developing his mutant abilities at a very young age rather than at the start of his teens much like other mutants. I believe that nowadays a mutant doesn’t start developing their abilities until the hit puberty although some do have abnormal appearances from birth (Like Nightcrawler). It was fun to see Beast take down three thieves using football paraphernalia although you can tell that the issue is dated since the helmets that they use do not resemble those of today’s game. There is also an added mystery at the end of the issue about who the two mysterious strangers who have taken an interest in Beast but I guess we’ll find out about them in due time. In conclusion I’m giving the issue an 8 out of 10. It was very enjoyable and I would recommend it.

Next Issue

X-Men (Volume 1) #51