byzantine's The X-Men #25 - The Power and the Pendant! review

Not much of a story

Sometimes you read a story and feel that a creative writer has had numerous ideas for plot points. But that he/she struggles with how to include them all within an issue or two. Sometimes you read a story and get the impression that all points of significance could be covered within five or ten pages. Not an entire issue.  
In the case of this issue, I get the impression that there was not much of a story to be told. It has so many filler scenes to accompany a simple and predictable main plot.   
*Three pages are spent on the X-Men rescuing children from a burning orphanage. Once the firemen arrive, the mutants flee the scene. The point to all this? The comment of a fireman: "They're a strange crew! Folks distrust them because they're mutants --- yet they stop to help orphans in danger!" In other words "feared and hated by the world they have sworn to protect". Got it. 
*Another page is spent with our favorite love triangle. Jean returns tom Metro College. She has to study for two upcoming tests, which explains why she plays no further part in this issue. Scott again contemplates quitting the X-Men. Warren figures that his chances of a romance with Jean are diminishing and it is time to look elsewhere for love. Not really much advancement from the previous issue.  
*Much of the following issue is spent with the X-Men on a futile search for El Tigre. They don't really know his name, his appearance or even whether the guy is a mutant or not. So we have several scenes of Angel aimlessly flying around and Cyclops accidentally using his powers within a crowd. Meanwhile Beast and Icemant have rented a hotel room and consult local television stations and newspapers on any unusual events. Couldn't they do that from the Mansion?  
So what is they main plot? El Tigre and his assistants discover an ancient amulet. He is part adventurer archaeologist, part grave robber. He is almost assassinated by his own helpers. Then uses his newfound powers to subdue them and press them back into service. He senses that the Amulet is incomplete. So tracks down the other half to New York City. He takes time to further test his powers. The most impressive experiment unfortunately takes place off-panel. He apparently influenced all patrons of a popular night club to go berserk, starting a riot.  
This might have been great material for a ten-page story, perhaps with some further look on the inner working of the villainous trio. Why should any of this concern the X-Men is not that clear. But, anyway, a "battle" between the two groups follows. You would expect the X-Men having an easy time taking down a novice psionic and two opponents with no powers. So Thomas depicts the X-Men as fairly incompetent, mostly taking out themselves: 
*The highlight of the battle features the Angel vs Toloc. The encounter takes place within the darkened halls of a museum. Toloc initiates the battle by throwing a spear at Angel with deadly accuracy. Warren barely evades it. Then heads for the direction of Toloc's voice. To find only a wax figure there. Toloc has stealthily repositioned himself behind the mutant. He blows a dart at Warren's neck, easily taking out his opponent. He comments that the Angel should be happy the dragged dart left him sleeping instead of poisoned.  Heh, Toloc is the only combatant of this issue to actually demonstrate some skill.  
*On the other hand, the battle between Beast and Ramon seems rather ridiculous. Ramon used his bolas to trap the legs of the Beast. Hank uses his hands to leap away. But the movement knocks the balls of the weapon into his head. Knocking him out. Ramon stands victorious. Dumb luck rather than skill. 
*Iceman fairs even worse. He doesn't really have an opponent. The villains have left a simple trap at the top of a flight of stairs: a rope almost invisible in the dark. Bobby trips over it and starts falling. So he creates an ice-slide. He picks up speed... and then crashes hard onto the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Way to go Mr. Drake.  
*The "battle" between Cyclops and El Tigre depicts both of them as idiots. Remember, El Tigre is a powerful telepath, enough to block out any influence from Professor X. So does he use said telepathy on Mr. Summers? No that would be too obvious. He simply uses said telepathy to take over the mind of the elderly night watchman (Who had previously failed to notice seven guys breaking into the museum). Cyclops freezes on the spot as the old man holds him at gunpoint. He is so helpless. Ending the battle. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Cyclops previously used that beam of his to stun opponents?  
The issue ends with a cliffhanger: El Tigre uniting the Amulet and becoming a new avatar of Kukulcan. Excuse me for not feeling particularly excited. 

Posted by Uncas007


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    Charles Xavier: Orphanage Expert 0

    And ... back to sucking. I take it in the late '60s, people didn't think about things like "would the Spanish-speaking population of the world be offended by our belittling everything about them from their language to their beliefs to their behavior?" Okay, yes, Kukulkan is a real Mayan deity, and Roy Thomas knew that 40 years before user-constructed encyclopedias - one point for him. However ... there's everything else about the issue. It starts off extremely promising: in nice continuity, the ...

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