byzantine's The X-Men #1 - X-Men review

Seven characters introduced

The X-Men series gets a decent start with the introductions of Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Magneto, Marvel Girl, and Professor X. While not exactly an origin story for any them, it helps establish a few facts 
*Professor X is loaded, with a private mansion, a modified Rolls Royce and a jet. He gives a brief mention of both of his parents working in the Atomic bomb project. Too bad this clue will only be explored further in his father's origin instead of his mother's. He mentions facing prejudice in his younger years and now comes off as a rather harsh taskmaster. 
*Cyclops is extremely serious, voices concern over his mentor's safety, berates his teammates and his force beams prove extreely useful in combat situations. This does not prevent him from fawning over Marvel Girl as "a living doll".  
*Angel is rather fast but not a particularly impressive fighter. In fact Cyclops has to rescue him from Magneto. On the other hand the issue mentions how restrained he feels with having to hide his wings. He also starts drooling over the redhead's face "and the rest of her".  
*Beast comes off as hot-headed and picks up fights with his teammates. An early attempt to get overly affectionate with Marvel Girl sends him flying. Giving him both a fascination and some evident fear of her. 
*Iceman keeps complaining that Professor X keeps treating him as a kid for being the youngest. He also establishes himself as the comedian of the group. Yet in combat he is easily among the best, single-handedly taking down most of Magneto's missiles. Not bad at all. A curious little scene has him as the only guy not paying attention to Marvel Girl's arrival, commenting "A Girl... Big Deal". Either not interested in girls yet or the confusion concerning his sexuality was established much earlier than the 1980s Defenders.
*Marvel Girl is soon established as the object of almost everyone's affections and being quite capable of handling the boys. Also the only character who actually questions Professor X about his motives.  
*For an "Evil Mutant", Magneto comes off as a big softy. he takes control of machine guns, tanks and missiles located at a military base. But he doesn't attempt to kill or wound the soldiers. Just intimidate them.  With that kind of equipment you'd figure he was a bit more ambitious. 
Now lets take a look wit the problems of this issue. If you were expecting any kind of background firmly established on the characters, social, financial, etc, you won't find it here. Their motivations also remain vague. There is some mention of parents but none is actually introduced. There are numerous soldiers running around but nobody is getting named and none gets set up as a a supporting character.  
Even bigger problems. Stan Lee has apparently have some problems grasping at what his own characters' powers could do. Jean Grey's telekinesis is termed "teleportation", Charles Xavier's telepathy can drive around airplanes', Magneto seems to also be telekinetic and performs similarly to Jean, Cyclops' optic beams are described as "natural" when opposed to Magneto's unnatural "magnetic field". Best of all a panel explains that ice is attracted to speed. Come again?  
Decent start, but character exploration will have to wait.


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