The Brotherhood dissolves
This issue resolves two questions that had got a lot of attention by fan letters and readers polls. Whether the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in general and Magneto in particular were overused or could stay. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were readers' favorites but there were people asking for them to stay with the Brotherhood, others wanting them joining the X-Men ranks and a third faction wanting them to go solo.
Well, as Stan Lee put it in this issue's letter pages: "We finally unloaded Magneto, as so many of you asked us to do." But the way to perform this simple task produced a pretty good story. As usual Xavier and Magneto are looking for mutants to recruit. What they get is a middle-aged man who can walk on air above large crowds, pass through walls and change things at a molecular level. Unfortunately for them, he is no mutant. Try alien or god.
All the Brotherhood's efforts to impress him or press him into service backfire. Mastermind is turned to a living statue and is unable to move or communicate. Magneto and Toad find themselves specimens collected by the mysterious Stranger. All three leave the planet, supposedly for good. Pietro and Wanda are offered positions among the X-Men but decide to return to Europe.
Besides establishing a useful cosmic-level character in the Stranger, the story arguably introduces a basic element of the Marvel Universe: "There is always a bigger fish". Magneto was said to be the most powerful mutant on the planet. He just met someone even more powerful.
The issue features some pretty good character-establishing moments, though several get poor resolutions.
*The Beast shows-off to the other X-Men and brags of being "a fighter par excellence". Iceman then easily freezes Hank's landing area. Sending the Beast flying and needing a quick rescue by Jean. Iceman seems to be getting more creative with his powers. Later in the issue, he turns a speeding Quicksilver to an ice-statue. Ouch.
*While seeking information on the Stranger, Scott is stopped by two police officers. They have decided that a man wearing dark glasses on a cloudy day probably wants to hide his face. Indicating a fugitive. Despite his protests, they remove his glasses. His eye-beams immediately go out of control, melting one of their handguns and blowing holes in the surrounding area. A pretty effective reminder of how much Scott relies on glasses and visors.
*When Wanda sees Quicksilver frozen she uses a single hex to knock Beast and Iceman off their feet. She then rejects a challenge to a duel by Jean in order to get someone to defrost her brother. A good reminder of how protective of her brother Wanda actually is.
*Jean challenges Wanda to a duel,"telekinetic power" against "hex power". Seems to build to a match. Resolved in two panels with Wanda rejecting the challenge. Jean then mistakes Wanda's gratitude to Scott (for defrosting her brother) to be a sign of Wanda's affection of Scott. Valiant efforts to built a rivalry which get dropped too quickly.
*Pietro is a bit too quick to decide for both himself and Wanda. Even stating "No my sister! It is I who give the orders now". The overprotective brother first comes off as domineering. Which goes on to become part of his key character traits in Avengers and then ruins his relationship with his sister.
*Xavier takes time to remove the names of Magneto, Mastermind and Toad from Cerebro. Pointing to an end of an era.
The issue is built like a finale to the storyline starting in #4. But all lost characters would resurface before long.
*Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch join the Avengers in "Avengers" vol. 1 #16 (May, 1965).
*Magneto pays a visit to the X-Men in "X-Men" vol. 1 #17-18 (February-March, 1966).
*Mastermind returns in the flesh in "X-Men" vol. 1 #37-39 (October-December, 1967).
*Toad returns in "Avengers" vol. 1 #47-49 (December, 1967 - February, 1968).
*The Brotherhood minus Mastermind has a reunion in "Avengers" vol. 1 #47. With minor roster changes it would stay active until "Champions" #17 (January, 1978) when this version dissolved for good.