Uncanny X-Men #1 9/10/63

I am super excited to get into the X-Men series. I decided to start from the start, the very start. I have always been into the X-Men, growing up with the video games, cartoons, and movies. I never really had a chance to get into the comics until recently. I want to read it from the start, although I heard the road gets long and complicated down the line from a close friend, but I am here for it. I want to be able to see all the changes through the years and see what I didn’t know.

I do know that X-Men came along during the Silver Age of Comics (1956-1970). Stan Lee was the editor at the time and Jack Kirby did the penciling work. I am walking into this comic book series with little expectations of what characters are all about. I know a lot of things that are on the page for anything (comics, books, plays, etc.) don’t always make it onto the screen. That is just the nature of the beast, and I know that is how Hollywood has to function. Sometimes two characters become one, sometimes huge stories are changed, sometimes there is a big plot missing, etc. So I am trying to walk in open minded and excited, although I will comment on my preconceived notions from time to time.

So as the first comic of the series it did a lot of what I expected it to do. There was a ton of exposition in the form of getting a new student, Jean Grey acting as the reader’s entry into the comics because she is also new to this world. It introduced six main characters and one antagonist to the series. All in all though I can tell I am going to like the series. It is super sixties coming out of the fifties with language and characters, and I am all about that, although there are times where I have to remind myself of that fact.

Characters:

New X-men:

  • Slim “Cyclops” Summers- Seen in his classic visor and out of costume sunglasses. I had never heard cyclops called Slim before so I have to assume he gets a name change as time goes on because I only remember him as Scott Summers. No mention yet why he needs to wear them, so right now it just exists as a thing. I am sure Marvel will pick it up as they are usually super good about flushing out all their characters. The set up is there. He is super protective of Professor X, so I did see that as a constant character trait in media.
    • Power development- He is able to have a beam come out of his eye which seems to be made of his own energy. Becomes tired if using a powerful blast.
  • Hank “The Beast”  McCoy- Buff and preblue (I do know the blue happens down the line as a result of self testing in the name of science). He seems to be the most balanced of the characters, serious when he needs to be, but still young, still able to have fun with Iceman. He doesn’t worry about hitting the professor with a bowling ball as he knows it won’t hit him when Cyclops yells at him. He is also protective of Professor X, I just don’t know to what degree.
    • Power development- Super strong, super agile, and has not really monkey feet, but totally monkey feet (they are weirdly drawn, like they weren’t sure).
  • Warren “The Angel”  Worthington the Third- We can just be honest and say that this just sounds like a name of a man who has a lot of money, so like, glad that this is a thread they are laying down pretty early. He is the first person to mention homo sapiens as being below homo superior with a line “mistakes are for homo sapiens”.  It does make me wonder if he will join the Brotherhood of Mutants, which has yet to be introduced, but I do know it exists farther down the line. He is blond, sounds like he comes from money, and for a 1963 comic book pretty good looking (how you doin’ boo).
    • Power development- Has literal angel wings. Able to fly at great speeds, but I am not sure how fast is fast at this point.
  • Bobby “Iceman” Drake- Young and foolish. Pretty wild. He always wants to be challenged and feels like Professor X takes it a little easier on him because he’s the youngest. He pretends to not like Jean when everyone else makes a big deal over her. He does think pretty quick on his feet.
    • Power development- Able to cover his body in ice. When he is in uniform all he wears is black boots so I am not sure if the implication is he is naked or what. Also able to create ice and snow and use it as projectiles, and build it into shapes. Able to freeze things around him, including people.
  • Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey- Can I say how much I hate this code name? I see why it didn’t really stick in pop culture and why she is more known by her real name. She does act as our kind of guide into this world taking on most of the exposition herself. She is the only female of the group, and has always been a favorite of mine. I do think that she is given a lot of agency for her time, helping herself and saving others, although I know she will grow into a stronger character. A lot of the interactions are just getting hit on by the boys though, so there is that, although she does stop them a little (but hey who doesn’t like to get hit on, right?). She is right in the action the whole time though, although the other X-Men worry about her.
    • Power development- Able to move things with her mind (telekinesis).
  • Professor Charles Xavier- Doesn’t seem to have much of a character yet besides as a guide to the X-Men and their teacher. He’s older, bald, and confined to a wheelchair, all those things you’ve come to expect. Stern, but does allow fun.
    • Power development- Able to project into people’s minds, read their thoughts, communicate with people by only telepathy.

New Antagonist: 

  • Magneto- So this is the villain of this comic, and I know he remains an archnemisis of sorts throughout the series. He just seems to hate human kind at this point with not much else for a backstory, but hey, fuck humans.
    • Power development- Able to control metal. Able to create magnetic force fields which he uses to protect himself, “tie” people up, create force fields around large parameters. Flying by magnetic repulsion.  Able to write in the air via dust particles (very what the fuck moment for me). Can damper other’s flying abilities via magnetic waves (happens to Angel).

New Technology

  • A remote controlled jet.

Plot

Plot is pretty basic. We see that the X-Men, who at the start consist of the 4 boys and the Professor, training. Jean is introduced to the mix and the boys can’t control their hormones (I really hope they get more females). The training exercises do a lot to establish powers, although very little is seen in terms of limitations besides Slim becoming tired during the action scene after using his power blasts to get through the magnetic force field (which can be felt by Magneto who stumbles when it happens). I do love the classic style costumes of black and yellow. Very into it. Magneto causes a rocket to crash. Magneto takes control of a military base to use it as leverage against homo sapiens. Professor X hears a radio broadcast and sends his X-Men there to fight him. Their skills are put to the test including breaking through the force field, dodging and taking out missiles, and gaining up on Magneto. In the end they defeat Magneto, but he does get away.

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