The Mutant Brawl
At long last, Factor Three is coming to an end. The saga that began way back in issue 28 now reaches its epic conclusion in issue 39. This group has kidnapped Charles Xavier, enslaved Banshee, invaded the X-Mansion, fought Spiderman, put the X-Men on trial, and even toyed with the Juggernaut. Now it’s do or die, as two teams of powerful mutants will collide on one battlefield. All the while, the fate of Earth hangs in the balance. Cyclops and Iceman are under attack from the US military, trying to stop a nuclear launch. Beast, Marvel Girl, and Angel are imprisoned in Moscow, accused of a failed assassination attempt on several communist leaders. The Blob is in the cell with them, unconscious. The Mutant Master watches calmly, convinced of his success.
Iceman and Cyclops are having a pretty easy time fending off our military, but they soon run into Mastermind and Unus. Mastermind uses his illusions to make the machinery come to life and pin the two heroes to the wall. Now I’ve always wondered, once someone knows what Mastermind’s power is, doesn’t that render him powerless? If you know these are illusions, can’t you just stop believing them? Well, apparently you can, and apparently the X-Men have finally wizened up to this. They have a much more difficult time dealing with Unus, who’s power actually exists. Still, they manage to prevent the nuclear launch and escape with their lives.
Meanwhile, over in Moscow the rest of the gang have no problem breaking out of prison. Marvel Girl finds the bomb and plays monkey in the middle with the generals. They’re saving the day without a care in the world until the Blob steps in and KRAK. I guess he woke up. The Blob is so great.
The X-Men realize that the Blob will actually listen to Marvel Girl because she’s a cute girl and not some yucky boy. She talks some sense into him and explains that nuclear bombs kill things, even him. Once he can finally grasp this concept, he drops the bomb and runs.
Angel hurls it into the sky, so it’s a good thing that nuclear blasts have a very short radius and aren’t in any way a danger in the days that follow. Nope. Lucky for them. I guess nuclear weapons are like dynamite in the Marvel universe. Granted, these comics are from the same era where children were told to hide under their desks.
With both missions a success, each team reconvenes at the Mutant Master’s secret lair. Unus, Vanisher, Mastermind, and the Blob are all there as well, and they’re all about to face off.
Right before these two teams tear each other apart, Charles Xavier steps in and sets them straight. He accuses the Mutant Master of using mutants as pawns for his own gain. He reveals that he allowed the X-Men to escape and defeat his four henchman. Outraged, they turn on their Mutant Master.
The brawl suddenly becomes something very different than expected, as the X-Men, Vanisher, Unus, the Blob, and Mastermind are working together to defeat the Mutant Master and his army of evil robots. It’s quite a sight.
As this epic melee is taking places, Banshee decides to wake up and save the day. His super sonic voice rips those androids to pieces.
When he uses his power on the Mutant Master, his entire vehicle and exterior disintegrate. He was never a mutant at all? He’s a space octopus! Blob, Unus, Vanisher, and Mastermind got punk’d by a god damn space octopus.
They’re all understandably pissed (and likely embarrassed) and everyone starts beating the crap out of it.
Just then, the real Charles Xavier makes an appearance. The Charles who got everyone to work together turns out to be the Changeling.
The Mutant Master shrivels up and dies like the Wicked Witch of the West.
At the end of the day, the X-Men are standing around with four of their greatest adversaries. They all agree to walk away as equals, but admit that they will almost definitely end up fighting at another time. Thus continues a long-standing – and completely ineffective – X-Men tradition, letting the villain just walk away. Lets hope they’re lucky and those villains don’t all form a team and try to destroy the entire world- oh, wait. Nevermind.
Sadly, I never learned why Factor Three called themselves that. It was still really great to see all of these villains in action again. I hope we get to see Blob and Mastermind pop up again soon. Judging by some of the upcoming covers, it looks like we’re going back to a monster-of-the-month format.