uncas007's The X-Men #4 - The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants review

"You have made your choice - forever we are mortal foes!"

Meanwhile, one year later...(have the X-Men really been training for a year since Jean arrived in issue 1?)  With this issue, X-Men begins to hit its initial stride.  Lee and Kirby finally deliver an issue with layers of conflict, genuine motivation, and a satisfactory payoff.  The House of Ideas was big on beginning their new series with origin stories, but the X-Men did not really get one, nor do the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Though Xavier told us a bit of his origin in issue 1 (being born to parents who worked on the A-bomb and in the wheelchair because of a childhood accident), we don't yet know of any of the origins of the X-Men themselves (Jean did say she has had this power all her life, not since puberty, which becomes the typical moment for x-power appearances later in the X-Universe).  The Scarlet Witch comes closest to having the next origin revealed, though we aren't certain it is the first appearance of her hex power, since the enraged villagers "know" her already, nor do we know why Quicksilver wasn't there to help but Magneto was.  Quicksilver from the beginning is set as a morose, morally ambiguous character whose main concern is the safety of his sister: since she feels obligated to stay with Magneto, he stays with her (even though he does prevent the destruction of innocent civilians at the end).  Though this issue is before we know of Magneto's Nazi-affected past, it's difficult not to find something odd in his use (through Mastermind at first) of very Nazi-like soldiers in his usurpation of Santo Marco.  His genocidal tendencies against homo sapiens becomes very complex once that aspect of his past is uncovered.  The great astral plane confrontation between Xavier and Magneto is a nice (albeit brief) beginning to their conflict (until we find out they knew each other long ago, rewriting what Xavier says here and in the first issue).  Once again the X-Men have great difficulty in working as a team, though their vocal antagonisms to each other are fading away a bit (Bobby still seems to love ice cream).  Considering how powerful Xavier is supposed to be, it doesn't make too much sense that he has to throw himself from his chair to protect them from the blast instead of just mentally forcing these youngsters to stop in their tracks.  As mentioned above, the X-Men need someone else to save the day - this time it's Quicksilver, and Magneto escapes again.  With Xavier's powers gone, and the X-Men on a losing streak, they really need to get their teamwork together.  After a whole year, they should be better at this "stopping evil mutants" career, even if they are still teenage students.


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