Issue #1

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I just finished reading issue #1 and there is really a lot to talk about in this comic. Right from the start the scene is set with Professor X and his X-Men training in the Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youth. Angel, Cyclops, Beast, and Iceman are facing various exercises and obstacles under the mental commands of the Professor.

IMG_0100Right in the first few cells there are a multitude of first appearances, including all of all of the above mentioned characters, the mansion, and the danger room. This might seem like what one should expect to find in a #1, but in reality not all comic characters premier in their first issues. Many premier in other books and don’t get their very own title until they are proven popular. Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics, and Batman made his in Detective Comics. The Avengers had mostly been established characters before they decided to team up. Not long before X-Men #1, Spiderman made his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. Dr. Strange would later be introduced in Strange Tales #110 and Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #39. X-Men introduces all of it’s characters right in the very first book, which offers a perfectly clean slate as a starting point. The Fantastic Four is similar in this nature.

This also means that these characters have already formed as a team before the comic even starts, allowing us to get right into the action. It leaves plenty of unanswered back story that will need to be filled in somewhere down the road. This issue doesn’t show how Professor X found and met his X-Men, and how he approached them about starting a team. However, we do get to see some of the X-Men meet each other. The four that I mentioned are all already friends at this point, although it’s unclear how long they’re known each other. But what about our fifth member?

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After a bit of exercises, Professor X directs their attention to an approaching taxi cab, and the arrival of the newest member of the Xavier school, Jean Grey. The initial reaction from the guys is encouraging to say the least.

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IMG_0101And there you have it, their first introduction. All of them are incredibly young and innocent. Iceman is the youngest X-Man at only 16 years old. They are all optimistic and very eager to get out and fight. None of them have mastered their powers, and are each just realizing their full potential and how to use their gifts to benefit society. The Xavier school certainly feels a lot more like a school than in the comics I’ve read. It’s nice seeing how the original five X-Men interacted before they were battle-hardened legends.

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It is also nice to see such a primitive Danger Room. There is no virtual reality, and it resembles a gym more than a holodeck. The dangers are still very real though, as the Professor has them dodging fire, blades, and crushing weights.

IMG_0115But being teenagers, they still find the time for some goofing around. I love this cell because it really illustrates how different and how much younger and more innocent they all are here. It’s hard to imagine the Iceman of today turning himself into a snowman. These early comics are a bit more playful.

IMG_0119Jean also takes a moment to demonstrate her powers for the rest of the group. She tells them that she is a telekinetic, and to prove it she moves a few objects with her mind, including a book, a chair, and Beast. Professor X takes a moment to explain his telepathic powers, and interestingly enough no mention is made of Jean’s own telepathic powers. She doesn’t seem to be aware of them yet.

IMG_0120Then our story takes a dramatic turn as we cut to Magneto. He is planning to attack a missile silo, take over humanity, and act like a bumbling Scooby-Doo villain every chance he gets. If it wasn’t for those meddling kids. Well Ok, he’s a bit cooler than a Scooby-Doo villain but not by a whole lot. He seems to get angry and flustered easily, and I imagine it’ll be a while before we see him mature into the calculated, complicated character that we know today. Still, when he stops shaking and being angry and he actually uses his powers it can be pretty great.

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The X-Men are called into action for the first time ever, and we get to see Jean Grey in costume as Marvel Girl for the first time.

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This is also where the comic explains how Angel disguises himself to fit in with society, as well as how he fits into all of those expensive suits. Basically he wears a girdle.

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We also find out that Iceman has two steps to get ready for any fight. Step 1: Ice Up. Step 2: Put boots on. Why? I don’t know. His boots seem important to him. It’s kind of funny seeing him run around in boots, but I guess it makes sense that his feet would slide everywhere. Still it must be annoying when the world needs saving and Iceman is still lacing up his galoshes.

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Once Iceman finally gets his damn boots on the fight can begin. Their first encounter with Magneto may seem pretty tame by today’s standards, but it plays out nicely.

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Each X-Man gets to showcase what he or she can do, and it takes their joint effort to take Magneto down. He escapes to fight another day, but not without creating some enemies first. Here we seem him completely taken off guard by the X-Men, but he vows not to underestimate them again.

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After the fight, the X-Men interact with the military a bit before they leave the scene, and there are two quick but notable things that happen here.

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The first is the very first use of the term “uncanny” in the series. It would take years before the word would be added to the title, but it starts showing up almost immediately.

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The last thing that struck me was this reaction from the military after they stop Magneto. They are greeted as heroes and are told by the officer that they will always be counted among the most honored in his command. This is nothing like the prejudice and registration attempts that our mutants would receive from our government down the road. These characters are all in such an innocent time in their lives. The issue ends on this high note, with Professor X calling them back to the mansion to train for what dangers await them.

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Posted on February 18, 2013, in Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Ed Posts, First Appearances, Iceman, Jean Grey, Magneto, Professor Xavier and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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