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X-Men #5 (1964, May)

August 3, 2012

Continuing on, issue 5, featuring the return of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. By Lee, Kirby, Reinman and Rosen, “The Angel Is Trapped!” The titles of these stories are pretty on-the-nose, aren’t they? Ah well.

The Angel Is Trapped!

Why do the covers keep showing the Scarlet Witch dressed in green?

The X-Men return home with the injured Xavier and put him to bed, worrying all the while that Jean’s going to drop him. Jean’s parents drop by for a visit, almost killing Scott when they accidentally lock him in the Danger Room.

X-Men #5

The Danger Room has no safety protocols. OSHA may want to speak to Xavier.

We then go up to Asteroid M, so Magneto can insult everyone and say he has a plan for finding the X-Men. Then we go back to the school, where they’re excited about a track meet. A track meet. Has anyone ever been excited to watch a track meet on TV? Even in the ’60s, it seems like one of those things people only cared about when they had to, and that no one ever said, “Hey, there’s a great track meet on TV!”

X-Men #5

This is the least-realistic thing in this comic.

Well, anyway, there’s someone making huge leaps, and the crowd turns on him, and we finally have one of the X-Men say that humans fear and distrust mutants. So, that’s now established. The X-Men decide to go help the guy out. They escape the angry crowd, by getting on the subway.

X-Men #5

Superheroes taking public transit always delights me.

They find out the athlete is Toad, and the Brotherhood attacks them and kidnaps the ever-useless Angel.

X-Men #5

I love that Magneto is running. Not using his powers to escape. Just running.

I’m not convinced the X-Men shouldn’t just let Magneto keep him, to be honest. He does manage to resist the torture inflicted on him, though.

The X-Men follow Toad to a drone that picks him up, and they make their way up to Asteroid M, the Scarlet Witch stops Magneto from killing them, Cyclops fails to convince Quicksilver to leave Magneto, Angel is freed and shows an uncommon amount of common sense by figuring out that a monster who appears out of nowhere is probably one of Mastermind’s illusions (seriously, Mastermind’s illusions mostly suck – they’re such obvious illusions), and the asteroid starts coming apart, with Cyclops stuck in the section breaking off. He’s rescued, the X-Men return home, and Xavier reveals that he had his powers the whole time, and only faked losing them as part of their final exam, and because he’s kind of a jerk.

X-Men #5

Why, Scott? Because he’s a dick. He’s just a giant dick.

There are a few fairly significant things about this issue. For one, “humans fear mutants” becomes more firmly established. Second, it’s the first time we see Asteroid M, and even though it breaks up in this issue, he rebuilds it several times later on. Third, there’s a great deal of animosity between Quicksilver and Magneto. Pietro and Wanda are distinctly opposed to much of what Magneto does, and don’t want anyone to die. And they’re willing to oppose him to stop him from killing.

Also established: Xavier is a lying dick. Seriously, what the hell, dude? “Oh, yeah, I was just faking a severe injury to test you. You’re fine with that, right?” Other than that, this is kind of an odd issue, especially by modern standards. It’s got a weird flow to it. Also, the way Toad just randomly falls into a trance is ridiculously convenient. Such was the nature of comics in the ’60s.

On a side note, Strange Tales #120 for May 1964 had a team-up between Iceman and the Human Torch. They both go for a boat ride, which a bunch of criminals try to mug. It’s a reasonably fun story, and marks the first time the X-Men cross over with anyone else. Interestingly, Iceman and the Torch get along really well, in contrast to their later interactions, where they mostly insult each other.

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  1. X-Men #113 (1978, September) « xmenxpert

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