Category Archives: First Appearances
Issue 64 continues a long standing tradition of allies being complete assholes to the X-Men when they first meet. It started with Namor back in issue 6, and since then there’s been a long line of future X-Men acting like total douchebags, including Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Banshee, Mimic, you name it. Even Spider-Man was a total prick. This issue introduces Sunfire, enemy of the state. He’s an international terrorist. I didn’t know that quite so many of them started off as super villains.
The X-Men have barely had time to calm down since the excitement of the mutant genocide and they’re about to face a monster. This isn’t a lost, hapless mutant. This isn’t some guy in a suit with a fancy gadget. This isn’t a bank robber, a robot, or some pathetic megalomaniac plugging the holes in his ego. This isn’t Magneto’s crazy face. This is a god damn monster. Sauron is one of the first villains they’ve faced that could easily rip them limb from limb. He is a villain to fear, and I’m excited to see where he comes from. Issues 60 and 61 tell the story of his origin, his tragedy, and his first encounter with the X-Men.
Did you think we were done with the Living Pharaoh? Didn’t I warn you not to be fooled? He isn’t done giving the X-Men trouble, and he still has it in for Alex. What seemed like another short encounter with another forgettable villain has instead turned out to be a much greater plot that connects directly into the nest story arc. This tale will lead through the next four issues, and here we’ll talk about the first two, 56 and 57. We get some nasty new villains and the return of another old favorite.
The Living Pharaoh might seem like just another villain-of-the-month crony, and he is, but don’t be fooled. Issues 54 and 55 deliver kidnapping, ritual sacrifice, family secrets, and a trip to the pyramids of Egypt. It’s nice to be getting some storytelling after our little pit stop with Blastaar. This is a solid story arc that introduces another major character. We will discover that Scott has a brother! That’s right, this is the introduction of Alex Summers, who will later become Havok.
The X-Men have been on separate paths lately, disbanded and disheartened. With Professor Xavier still deceased, times are rough. What would it take to get this team back together? The greatest threat ever, obviously. Lucky for them such a threat is about to strike. This story arc is one of the boldest Marvel had delivered up to this point, spanning four issues, 49-52. We’ll see new enemies, new allies, and the return of an old favorite.
Thing weren’t looking too good for the X-Men once Magneto had them in his evil clutches. In this issue a member of the team will make a daring escape, and set out on a quest to find help. Starting two issues ago, each installment is focusing on a different character or two, and their names get top billing. First it was Charles, and then Magneto, but here it is Angel. Issue 44 is the first time the series ever spends a considerable amount of time focused on just his character.
The next foe that the X-Men have to face is Grotesk, and sadly he’s another tall, lumbering, dimwitted brute. This time he’s dressed like He-Man. He’s also from beneath the Earth, and he’s the last of his race. Grotesk is on a mission to destroy the planet and taste his revenge. Will the X-Men stop him in time? Will there still be moments of senseless, self-important teenage drama? Yes and Yes!
The origin stories continue in the back pages of issue 40, this time continuing Cyclops’ adventure running away from the orphanage. Lost in the woods, he was beckoned into a creepy shack. We were promised the first evil mutant, and this issue delivers. However, the answer isn’t as lavish as Magneto or as powerful as Namor. Instead we have Jack of Diamonds, the man with diamond hands and telepathy. Get ready for sex-offender Emma Frost.
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.
At last, the X-Men have a solid lead on Factor Three. This secret organization, its members and its plan, will be unmasked. With so many villains that could be holding a grudge against the X-Men, who will we see? We’re certain to see some new faces as well. Whoever they are, they’re planning on holding the X-Men on trial for crimes against the mutant race. Issue 37 is one of the most exciting I’ve read in a while.