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X-Men #41 (1968, February)

September 29, 2012

Well, back to the ’60s. Today’s issue is “Now Strikes . . . the Sub-Human!”

Now Strikes . . . the Sub-Human!

Wow. That is very red.

The issue starts with a subway train coming across some big, weird-looking guy. The dude manages to stop the train through sheer strength. Hank and Bobby were on the train with Vera and Zelda, and when the lights go out, the pair sneak away to investigate. They fight the guy, and Beast calls him grotesque. The guy decides to take Grotesk as his name. Grotesk escapes into a tunnel, sealing it behind him, and Hank and Bobby decide to cut their date short so they can go tell Xavier about it. Then we see Grotesk trying to remember who he was. Apparently, he comes from a thriving civilization beneath the earth, and their wars were apparently responsible for volcanoes (really, Roy?). An underground nuclear bomb test destroyed the city Grotesk – formerly Gor-Tok – lived in, and the radiation killed his whole civilization, except for him. He was changed by the radiation, and he’s decided to use the power it gave him to destroy the surface world.

Back at the school, Xavier is putting Cyclops, Angel and Marvel Girl through their paces, and yelling at their lack of perfection. Hank and Bobby enter, and get yelled at for entering in their civilian clothes. Xavier leaves, taking Jean with him, to continue some experiments. Then we see a scientist arguing with a college Board of Trustees about whether it’s possible to cause earth tremors with a nuclear oscillotron (oh, 1960s comic book science). Apparently, it works, and Grotesk happens to be in an affected area. He guesses at the cause of the tremors, and decides to use whatever’s doing it to destroy the planet, which is exactly what the Board is worried will happen. The professor’s sure the device will only be used to benefit humanity somehow, though even he has no idea how.

Xavier sends the male X-Men to find Grotesk, keeping Jean behind, and Scott worries it’s because Xavier’s in love with her. They manage to move the boulder Grotesk blocked the tunnel with, and go searching for him, but Grotesk is gone. They wonder why Xavier doesn’t contact them by “mental telepathy,” I guess as opposed to other kinds of telepathy. Cyclops sends Angel and Iceman to talk to Xavier, but Xavier’s already left, and Marvel Girl can’t go with them. Angel thinks she and Xavier are acting like they don’t care about anyone else. Grotesk takes some dude he found back into his caves, to get the location of the device that caused tremors, and Cyclops and Beast confront him. And then the issue ends.

Meanwhile, in Avengers #49, Goliath, Hawkeye and the Wasp are still looking for Magneto. Magneto takes Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to his hidden rocky island base, to be the home of his future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He leads them through his base, showing off the mechanical complex within the island. He’s still trying to convince them to join him, and tells themhe no longer wants to dominate humanity, but only wants his base to serve as a refuge for other mutants. He takes them to the UN, saying he comes in peace. The three Avengers run to get there, while he demands a mutant nation with full veto rights on the Security Council. The UN predictably refuses, giving him an excuse to throw a microphone at one of the diplomats. The Avengers show up to save the day. Magneto sees guards aiming their guns at him, and he subtly forces them to instead shoot at the Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver falls for the trick, believing the humans fired on her on purpose. He fights against the other Avengers, and leaves with Magneto.

On another note, I’ve missed the back-up features from the past few issues of X-Men, detailing their origins. So, to catch up: #38 had Xavier learn that the news was starting to talk about mutants, and that the FBI is starting an investigation. He realizes he can’t stay in his house any longer, and he needs to get involved. Two agents, Fred and Bill, are reviewing some footage of a mutant. A crate fell off a building, and was blasted by a young man in glasses, saving the crowd. But they quickly decided he was a threat. Xavier talks to the two agents, and specifically Fred Duncan, inserting himself into the investigation. He’s going to track down mutants and teach them to use their powers for good.

#39 has Scott fleeing the crowd after using his powers, while Duncan and Xavier try to find him. Xavier visits the optometrist who figured out that Scott was a mutant, and helped by giving him ruby quartz glasses. Scott stumbles on some bums around a campfire, and  give him some food before demanding he give them his money. They get ready to beat him up, when some cops arrive. The cops take off his glasses, and his eyebeams go wild until he can put them back on, after the cops have fled. He feels himself summoned to an isolated shack, where he meets another mutant.

#40 has Jack Winters talking to Scott. He teleports the two of them out before some cops arrive. Xavier is using Cyberno – a prototype for Cerebro – to search for Scott. He finds Scott, but then the signal disappears. Jack Winters tells Scott that he got his powers in an accident when he busted into a lab. In addition to his telepathy and teleportation, he also has diamond hands. He now calls himself Jack O’Diamonds. Xavier finds the pair in a nuclear plant, and Scott refuses Jack’s order to kill him.

Finally, in #41, Xavier and Jack are stalemated. Jack collapses the roof, and escapes with Scott, leaving Xavier behind. They run to another building (Scott slips away) with a cyclotron in it. He activates it, bombarding himself with radiation in the hopes of converting his entire body to diamond. Xavier knocks out some guards going after Scott, and Scott decides to trust him. Jack, meanwhile, has managed to turn himself completely into a living diamond.

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