X-Men #6 (1964, July)
The sixth issue of X-Men was the first to cross over with another Marvel character, and it happens to be one of their oldest: Namor, the Sub-Mariner. By Lee, Kirby, Chic Stone and Rosen, “Sub-Mariner Joins the Evil Mutants!”
It starts with the X-Men eating dinner. And there’s kind of a lot to unload here.
To start with, Jean cooked it, because she knows her place. It’s probably for the best. Bobby thinks ice is the same as ice cream, after all, so it’s not like he could do it it. (It’s not pie a la mode when you’re covering it with snow. That’s just pie covered in snow. And I doubt that’ll improve the taste.) Scott admonishes Hank’s poor manners for reaching across the table, but apparently, blasting Hank’s hand is perfectly acceptable. Meanwhile, Warren likes it when Scott smiles. One could make the joke that Warren, not Bobby, is the one who should have been outed. Regardless, this splash page is just filled with silliness.
Xavier decides they should track down Namor and see if he’s a mutant before Magneto does. Magneto has the same idea. Magneto astrally projects his mind, something he also did a couple issues earlier. Namor’s throwing a temper tantrum, so he instead gets one of Namor’s lackeys to meet with him while the X-Men looks for Magneto’s island with a giant magnet on it.
Namor heads to the island, and Wanda accidentally almost kills him with a hex that she made just by reaching out to tap him on the shoulder.
Angel shows up to deliver a message to Magneto that Magneto doesn’t want to hear. And, of course, he gets grabbed by Namor. Since Angel has to get grabbed by a bad guy every issue.
The X-Men have their ship blown up, and then need Xavier to help them figure out that the wall of spines that appears out of nowhere are caused by the guy they know has illusion powers. Because back in the ’60s, people never remembered anything. Marvel Girl captures Quicksilver.
Scarlet Witch freaks out. Magneto tells her to shut up, which pisses off the chivalrous Namor. Stealing women away from other men is fine, but being rude to one? Never! The X-Men bust in, and Mastermind creates an illusion of thick fog. Unlike his usual illusions, this one actually makes sense – it doesn’t need to be real to keep them from seeing.
The Brotherhood flees, except for the Scarlet Witch, who asks the X-Men to release Quicksilver. They refuse, and Namor gets in a fight with them over it. Xavier comes in with Marvel Girl and a temporarily controlled Quicksilver.
Namor leaves once Quicksilver’s mind is released, and is attacked by Magneto’s giant magnet. He smashes the ground, which causes the magnet to topple over. The day is won. Yay!
About the only thing that makes this issue stand out is that it’s the first issue to include an existing Marvel character, and even then, they don’t make that much use of Namor. He seems to be there just for the sake of throwing him in. Interestingly, Namor does, of course, join the X-Men 45 years later. Where he immediately sets to work trying to steal Emma away from Scott, because he’s got a fetish for women who are already taken. Other than that, we do get some pretty nice character dynamics. So that’s cool.
On a side note, however, the X-Men also appeared in Fantastic Four #28 in July 1964. Where it’s said they beat the Space Phantom, even though that was actually the Avengers. The story involves the Mad Thinker and the Puppet Master teaming up. The Puppet Master takes control of Professor X, and he orders them to destroy the FF. So they helicopter over. A thought bubble has Cyclops say the Thinker predicted something Mr. Fantastic said, even though I’m pretty sure the X-Men weren’t supposed to know the Thinker was behind it. They attack the FF, and lead them to an isolated plateau where the FF are subdued by the Thinker’s traps. The Beast manages to destroy the Puppet Master’s Professor X puppet, and they all fight the Thinker’s Awesome Android (gotta be up there as one of the dumbest names ever) until Xavier turns its brain off. Aside from a couple of weird writing errors, it was actually pretty good. There’s only two panels I want to highlight. First, Jean fighting the Thing:
I love that the team girl is taking on the physically strongest of the FF. A teenage girl, and she’s kicking the Thing’s ass. Jean routinely got to be awesome. The other panel is this one:
Telepathy, by definition, is mental. There is no other kind of telepathy other than mental. Pupper Master’s an idiot.