The next team member to get an origin story is Beast, and it’s the longest origin we’ve heard yet. It is told through vignettes that span five issues, from 49 to 53. It goes so far back that we see Hank as a little baby, instead of jumping in with him as a teenager, as with Scott and Bobby. It is a story about a strange child with gifts both mental and physical. Lets find out what Henry McCoy was like before he knew all those big words.
While Hank and Bobby are battling Merlin back in New York, Scott and Jean are soaking in the sunshine of Hollywood, California. Jean is creating quite a buzz as a swimsuit model, posing for the cameras and breaking hearts wherever she goes. The two of them are actually having a pretty nice vacation, but how long can it last? Will issue 48 be the first time anyone’s been able to have some relaxing time off in this comic?
Issue 48 gives us a glimpse into the powers of Dr. Henry McCoy, the strong man of the group. Every super hero team needs its strong man. The Avengers have Hulk. The Justice League has Superman. The Fantastic Four have the Thing. The X-Men will have many strong men in their group over the years, but Hank is the original. He is also very unique, in both his physical and mental prowess. This little vignette sheds some light on who he is and what he can do.
Now that the X-Men have split up into smaller groups, we get to see the members having some adventures without any back up to bail them out. What kind of trouble will these teenagers get into now that school’s out? Hank and Bobby are still living on the east coast, hitting up their old haunts and girlfriends. They don’t suspect that they’re about to have an encounter with an old enemy. And why would they? What could possibly go wrong on date night?
Issue 47 ends with another vignette, this time exploring the powers and abilities of Bobby Drake, the Professor’s sub-zero student. These are really fun to read, and clear up a lot of questions I’m sure their early readers had. We know he ices up and creates ice, but to what extent? Is he solid ice or coated? What are his limits? Lets find out what Ice Man can do.
Issue 46 promises us a lot of satisfaction, as it delivers not only the supposed end of the X-Men, but the return of the Juggernaut. The team will have to face their most ferocious opponent without the aid of the Professor. Without Charles, they may have never defeated Cain Marko during their first encounter. How will they survive now? And is the team really finished? Can they somehow continue without Charles? (SPOILER: Yes, they can, but that happens much later.)
Get ready for the darkest, most disturbingly racist origin story yet, as issues 45 and 46 conclude the tale of how Bobby Drake became Iceman, the youngest member of the X-Men. He and Scott are almost strung up by their necks by a bunch of ignorant country bumpkins. These vignettes in the backs of these issues are getting tiresome, but I have to admit they’re often the best part of the issue.
The adventure continues in issue 45, before spilling over into the pages of Avengers for their second crossover. The teams will again battle with each other when they should be stopping super villains. Our story begins with Angel still looking for help after his run in with Red Robin. The rest of the team is still being held captive by Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Will Angel return in time? Will his team be forced to help themselves? Is this the best panel of Magneto art that I’ve seen yet? YES!
“It is a cool fall night in 1963! The place is a small town in Nassau County.” Thus begins the story of Bobby Drake. These origin stories finally turn away from Cyclops and show us another member of the team, Iceman. Bobby Drake is just a teenager with strange powers, completely unaware of who he is about to meet.