X-Men #8 (1964, November)
So, as long as I’m here, I may as well mention that I’ve been writing a superhero story. It’s called The Champions, and it’s currently at 105 chapters. OK, shameless self-promotion is over, time for X-Men #8. By Lee, Kirby, Stone and Rosen, “Unus, the Untouchable!”
The issue opens with Scott putting the team through their training. Scott’s being kind of a dick, no surprise there. Iceman increases the cold around his body, going from a snowman to the the walking ice cube we all know and ignore today. Bobby and Hank go into the city, and spot a crowd of people looking at a young boy trapped on top of a water tower. Hank climbs the building and rescues the boy, but when he gets back down, the crowd turns into a mob that attacks him and Bobby.
Ah, the good old Marvel public. “He saved a kid! He must be evil!” I mean, I hate kids, too, but I don’t think people are monsters for saving them. Anyway, like I said, they attack Hank and Bobby. This prompts Hank to quit the team. Scott calls Xavier to ask for advice, and Xavier tells him not to worry about it. We also learn Xavier is in the Balkans, on the trail of Lucifer.
Hank decides to become a pro wrestler, and he’s not even trying to hide his identity.
Come on, Hank, you can do better than that. Anyway, he’s apparently in a circuit where it’s not fixed. That always bugs me, when fiction shows pro wrestling as though it’s a real competition. The results are decided ahead of time. Everyone knows that. Anyway, he goes up against Unus. Turns out that Unus can’t be touched. You might say he’s untouchable. Which others do say. Repeatedly. Hank loses the match by count-out when he’s distracted by seeing Mastermind in the crowd.
Unus wants to join Magneto, but Magneto needs him to prove himself by defeating an X-Man. While Unus tries to figure out how to find the X-Men, he comes across a bank robbery, which he foils so he can take the money himself. The X-Men show up to fight him, and Angel actually comes close to being effective.
After an indecisive fight, the X-Men go back home to find the Beast in the lab. He reveals that he’s working on a weapon to increase Unus’s power. The others jump to the conclusion that he’s turned against them.
They don’t even let him try to explain. Scott tries to blast him. He’s forced to flee. He blasts Unus, which sends his power out of control, so he can’t touch anything. He gets angry at his cigarettes:
He can’t even eat. The Beast gives him another blast to put him back to normal, and Unus retires from villainy. You know, until he goes back to it later. Because of course he did.
A couple previous issues have mentioned that humans fear and hate mutants, but this is the first time we really saw it in action, which is a pretty big deal. This issue also further demonstrated the Beast’s intelligence. We already knew he was smart, from his vocabulary and the books he read, but now he’s whipping up devices that mess with mutant powers.