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 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.
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.
Issue 46 promises us a lot of satisfaction, as it delivers not only the supposed end of the X-Men, but the return of the Juggernaut. The team will have to face their most ferocious opponent without the aid of the Professor. Without Charles, they may have never defeated Cain Marko during their first encounter. How will they survive now? And is the team really finished? Can they somehow continue without Charles? (SPOILER: Yes, they can, but that happens much later.)
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.
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.