Charlie and The Gang Meet Frankenstein
Factor Three is finished and it looks like we’re back to the monster-of-the-month formula. I can’t think of a better example of this tired approach than issue 40. Charles Xavier will realize a boyhood dream and reveal the secrets of Frankenstein’s Monster. Yes, that’s right. Frankenstein. Marvel would go on to publish the Tomb of Dracula series in the 70s, so I guess why the hell not. The issue gives good credit to Mary Shelley, but of course Stan* puts his own twist on this classic literary tale. Behold, the true story of Frankenstein.
This tale opens, as many so commonly do, with the X-Men training in the danger room. Bobby and Hank get all pissed off at each like a couple of bro dudes, but soon the Professor calls them up to his study. No time for locker room machoism, something important is happening.
Charles has accidentally intercepted a radio message and found out that Frankenstein’s Monster has been discovered frozen in ice near the arctic circle. Charles has always suspected that the story was based on some sort of truth, and now he feels vindicated. He explains to Bobby that at the end of Mary Shelley’s novel, the monster is lost to the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean. It makes sense that he was discovered there. Also, Charles believes that the creature wasn’t made of human parts after all, but that he was an android. If the creature is an android, that would mean that it isn’t dead, just inoperable. If it becomes operable again it could be deadly. The X-Men rush off to the museum to protect the monster’s handlers. Still, I wonder if this trip is to serve Xavier’s curiosity and ego more than the public good. Xavier tells Iceman to hold back and not participate in the action. Bobby doesn’t really understand why and Charles doesn’t explain it.
Meanwhile, at the museum a bumbling scientist is about to thaw out the monster. (Surprised?) His name is Dr. Powell and he looks like a smarmy douchebag. He’s got a separated mustache, big poofy hair, and a cigarette holder. And he’s bad at science.
Outside, the team knocks out the guard and enters the building. They find that they are too late. Dr. Powell has awakened the monster and it is running amuck. The place is destroyed and people are probably dead. The X-Men rush in to help but aren’t very affective. They’re knocked around like toys and left defeated as the monster flees.
Angel takes to the skies and he tracks the monster to New York Harbor. They think he is stowed away on a freighter attempting to leave the city. This time the Professor tells Bobby to give that monster what for. They storm the ship and take it over, after a brief scuffle with the crew.
All anyone is able to do is briefly hold the monster at bay until Iceman puts the freeze on him. The same thing that stopped the monster before is the same thing that stops him now: ice. However, this time the monster doesn’t simply freeze, it blows up. Why? For no reason other than to display to the reader that this was in fact a robot. Mystery solved. Charles gets a scooby snack. I still don’t see why Bobby couldn’t have been allowed to just freeze him immediately, but I guess this story would have ended rather quickly.
Finally, it is revealed that the android was created by extra-terrestrial beings, an alien race whose world passed close to Earth 150 years prior. This race sent the android as a harbinger. His purpose was to explore human life and determine if we were friend or foe. A certain group of villagers with pitchforks and torches gave this alien race a pretty shitty first impression of us and they haven’t tried again. Thanks again Eastern Europe.
This issue isn’t terribly good, but I love it because I love all things Halloween. If I was ten years old in 1968 I would have treasured this issue. Oddly, it was published in January, which seems like a waste.
*Yeah, sorry Roy. Stan gets the credit.