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X-Men #28 (1967, January)

September 8, 2012

Any issues or arc of other Marvel comics you want me to read, let me know. For today, by Thomas, Roth, Tartaglione, and Simek, “The Wail of the Banshee!”

The Wail of the Banshee!

This is a pretty trippy cover.

The issue starts with the Banshee robbing a painting of a Gaelic (which apparently refers to the Scottish Highlands, though the Gaels were in Ireland, too) landscape from a museum while thinking about how stupid humans are. It then cuts to the mansion, where Mimic is testing if his powers are permanent. They’re not. The others still don’t like Mimic. Then it goes back to Banshee, who’s with a guy named Ogre, who hates that Banshee smokes a pipe. The Ogre reveals that they’ll be striking their target within the hour, and Banshee realizes he’s out of tobacco, so he goes out to get some. Illegally, of course. Cerebro picks him up, but loses him. Interestingly, Xavier says Cerebro never reacted so strongly to even Magneto. Obviously, Thomas trying to really sell how dangerous Banshee is.

Then it’s time to check in on Jean and Ted. They hear a news report that Jean suspects has something to do with the mutant menace Xavier’s been worried about. The Ogre starts a major fire to cover his rocket capsule coming out of hiding. He tells Banshee it’s time to capture Xavier. The X-Men are monitoring for a sign of attack, and have wax plugs in their ears. It doesn’t help, and the Banshee still knocks them all out. The Ogre grabs Xavier and tries to leave, but is tripped up by Marvel Girl. He attacks her, but the rest of the X-Men show up. The Ogre escapes without Xavier, and Banshee goes with him.

Xavier puts the X-Men to work on building some device, leading to this infamous panel:

A credit to her gender.

Even if she hadn’t called a screwdriver pliers, that’d be a condescending thing for Beast to say.

Yep, she gives him a screwdriver, and calls it pliers. And Beast responds with a comment that, given the context, looks really dickish. Anyway, Xavier gives them new ear shields that he hopes will protect them. The Banshee attacks again, but his powers have no effect, and he gets trapped in a net, hit with a sonic blast from Mimic, and gassed by Beast. Then he’s put in a pressure suit and a zero-gravity, airless chamber. Xavier sends Cyclops to get an extra oxygen tank, and Cyclops notes a heavy, locked door. Mimic is sent away to do some scouting. The Ogre busts in and scatters the remainder of the team with a blaster. Before he can kill Banshee, the gun is blasted by Cyclops. The Ogre flees, but is fought by the Mimic. The glass cage holding the Banshee is smashed open, and he removed the headband he’s had on the whole issue. He reveals that the headband was set to explode if he didn’t help the Ogre, or if the X-Men tried to remove it. But with the Ogre defeated, Xavier could hit it with a mental blast to disable it. Finally, Xavier mentions Factor Three, and Banshee says Factor Three could conquer or destroy the world.

This issue begins a fairly long arc, with the X-Men caught in an ongoing battle with Factor Three. The Banshee, of course, later becomes a member of the X-Men, where his personality conflicts pretty strongly with his depiction here. I have to admit, though, I do love the Banshee in this issue. He knocks out a city block for the sake of grabbing some imported tobacco. That’s awesome. Other than that, not a bad issue. Banshee is definitely the highlight. Ogre is pretty bland. A totally generic villain, with nothing the least bit interesting about him. He is one of the most boring villains I’ve ever seen, which is likely why he pretty much vanished after the Factor Three story line. (Apparently, he did show up in Thunderbolts.) But Banshee’s great. The Factor Three story is set up well, even if it doesn’t end up being a great story. There’s a threat established, and Xavier’s worries do sell it effectively. The art’s competent. It tells the story. Overall, decent.

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