X-Men #3 (1964, January)
The third issue, by Lee, Kirby, Reinman and letterer Artie Simek, features the first appearance of the Blob, in “Beware of the Blob!” On an unrelated note, January, 1964 was also when the Invisible Woman, over in Fantastic Four, ceased to be completely useless; it was the first appearance of her invisible shields. Anyway, on with the X-Men.
It starts with them training, and we learn that Beast is apparently allergic to dust. Also, Cyclops mentions being afraid of the power of his eye beams, after Xavier calls him out for being so uptight. Nearly 50 years later, he still has yet to loosen up. And someone finally seems to have gotten around to telling Stan that Marvel Girl’s power is telekinesis, not teleportation, as Xavier actually uses the right word.
Xavier orders them into the city to look for a new mutant. Scott thinks about how he could love Jean if he only didn’t have his eye beams, and Xavier thinks about how he could love Jean if only it wasn’t for his being in a wheelchair. Yeah, I don’t think the wheelchair is the big reason. Mercifully, this is pretty much entirely dropped after this panel. Claremont references it during the Phoenix Saga, and it comes up again during the Onslaught build-up, but that’s about it.
They find the Blob, he shows off how tough he is, acts like an ass, then beats them up and heads back to his circus. I kinda thing circus-goers might be easily impressed, though:
And Angel is useless, as usual:
Then Xavier says he needs to be close to the Blob to erase his memory of their identities, and says the Blob will need to be brought back to the school. Instead of, you know, just going to the circus. Xavier wouldn’t be caught dead around such riffraff.
The Blob leads the circus against the X-Men, and it’s actually a really cool fight. Everyone gets to show off. The Beast demonstrates his extreme agility, Cyclops pushes an elephant back with his beams:
Marvel Girl throws a couple guys around telekinetically, Iceman . . . doesn’t really do much, and Angel does even less. He managed to get defeated by guys fired from a cannon, meaning he had to fly right into their line of fire. So, Cyclops, Beast and Marvel Girl do the bulk of the work here, with Cyclops being particularly cool. Eventually, they’re all beaten down enough for Xavier to wipe their memories using a gadget he built to amplify his powers.
This issue is where the series started to really come together. Hank is finally established as brainy, using fancy language and reading Advanced Calculus. Scott angsts about his eyes, and secretly pines for Jean. Jean herself shows signs of an attraction to Scott. Bobby is bratty and annoying. And Warren is a jerk. The only thing the book is really missing, at this point, is the discrimination theme, but that’s coming.
This month also featured an X-Men cameo in Tales of Suspense #49, by Lee, Ditko, Reinman and Rosen. Angel is flying over a weapons plant where a nuclear bomb is being tested. That seems extreme. Angel’s affected by the radiation, and it turns him evil.
Iron Man tries to see if he’s OK, but exhausts his jet boots and falls to the ground. Angel decides to quit the X-Men, and says he’s going to join the bad mutants who want to conquer the world. I figure the X-Men should let the evil mutants have him. He’ll just hamper them and make them so much easier to beat. Of course, he’s able to beat the X-Men fairly effortlessly here. Xavier feels like a failure, and worries that they won’t be able to stop evil mutants if Angel’s with him. Guys, Angel is an idiot. It’ll be fine. Angel comes up with a plan to attract the attention of the evil mutants. He grabs some dynamite, and . . . fails to be even a nuisance.
Even as a villain, he’s completely useless. Which is probably why the evil mutants ignored him. Villain 1: “Angel’s gone on a rampage!” Villain 2: “Oh? What’s he doing?” V1: “Dropping dynamite in water!” V2: “And blowing up boats?” V1:”Nope, just water.” V2: “. . .” V1: “. . .” V2: “Maybe we’ll just pass on his application.” Iron Man goes after him, and there’s a ridiculous Silver Age fight. It does have one hilarious moment where Angel momentarily slips away from Iron Man, giving us this amazing line: “Now, I’ve got to start hunting the Angel all over ag- Oh, no, there he is, atop that water tower.
Anyway, Iron Man tries a final idea. He grabs Angel and flies high into the air until his boot jets die. Then he starts falling to his inevitable death. This snaps Angel out of his evilness, and he flies down to rescue Iron Man. It’s a dumb story. So dumb.