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.
Finally, Angel gets his origin told in the back pages of issues 54-56. This is the origin story that I was most excited to read. I might not have mentioned this before, but Angel has always been one of my favorite X-Men. He is my favorite original team member. Warren Worthington III is a very tortured soul, suffering from deep seated body image issues that Ben Grimm and Curt Connors might understand.
His origin stands out from the others in that he became a superhero completely on his own, fighting crime and busting crooks before the Professor ever discovered him. Warren even had an original costume that we’ve never seen before.
The X-Men recently had an encounter with the Juggernaut that was completely random and pointless. Cain Marko had been trapped in some strange reality when suddenly he was transported to the mansion. He broke everything, hurt everyone, and then just as suddenly he transported back to that strange reality. Now the same damn thing is about to happen again, so lets get ready to rumble. However this time it is a new enemy, Blastaar! Lets see how the X-Men perform when up against this cosmic creature.
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.
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.