X-Men #15 (1965, December)
And now, part 2 of the Sentinel story. This issue also features an extra story with the origin of the Beast. By Lee, Kirby, Roth, Ayers and Simek, “Prisoners of the Mysterious Master Mold!”
The X-Men are under attack from the landscape, because of the Nature Activator Rays the Sentinels are firing. And right off the bat, we have a nice dig on Angel.
Also, Jean sasses Hank pretty well. They move to safety, and Cyclops launches Iceman and Beast over to the base, where they’re immediately captured, Angel only barely evading capture himself. For once, Angel isn’t the one who gets grabbed. I guess the Sentinels decided he’s not worth bothering with. Inside the base, Master Mold, a giant Sentinel, tells Trask to create more Sentinels so they can conquer the Earth, and threatens to attack the US if Trask doesn’t comply.
Back outside, Xavier uses his powers to find and knock out the Sentinels controlling the weapon systems. Beast is brought to Master Mold to be studied. He’s put under a psycho-probe, and Trask learns the X-Men’s mission is to protect mankind from evil mutants. Trask realizes he was wrong about them, though I would point out that there actually are evil mutants trying to conquer mankind. Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Angel infiltrate the base, and run into a Sentinel. The Sentinel says it wasn’t programmed to expect more, and that it needs to get new orders from its section leader. It even asks them to follow it.
Cut back to Beast, who’s telling his life story. His father was a labourer at an “atomic project”. Hank got picked on when they moved to a new city, and discovered his powers in a fight. The three X-Men find Iceman, and while Cyclops runs to free him, Angel and Marvel Girl cause their Sentinel guard to fall flat on his face.
Beast continues his story with college, where he excelled at everything. Then Xavier came and recruited him. Out of the memory, Xavier deadens Beast’s thoughts to keep him from revealing more, then tries to scan Master Mold, who senses the attempt and counters with a micro-electric attack that can hurt Xavier’s astral image. The Sentinels find the X-Men in the base, and a fight starts. It doesn’t last long.
The stuff with Beast’s “origin” felt like so much filler. It didn’t really add anything to the story. Minor details are also contradicted in later stories, but no surprise there. That’s just how comics work. The Sentinels also come across as more ridiculous than threatening in this issue, with their constant need to check their section leaders, and with Angel and Marvel Girl taking one down. So it’s an inconsistent issue. One thing worth mentioning, though: With this issue, the series became monthly, as a result of popular demand. Four years later, of course, it would be effectively canceled due to low sales.