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X-Men #45 (1968, June)

October 4, 2012

First, a quick note. This weekend is Thanksgiving up here in Canuckistan, and I’ll be going home. I’ll be doing my ST:TNG review tomorrow, then I won’t be updating until Tuesday. Anyway, today’s issue is titled “When Mutants Clash!”

When Mutants Clash!

No snark here. That’s actually a really striking cover by John Buscema and George Tuska.

Cyclops is thinking about how Angel’s been gone too long, and decides he needs to break free. He angles his optic blasts to lift the visor underneath the lead shield around his head, then continues to blast through the shield itself until it shatters. He starts checking the dungeon, finding an unconscious Marvel Girl in a cell, and gets spotted by Toad. Toad runs through a door that starts to close behind him. Cyclops stops the door with his beam, and dives through while using another shot to slow the door down. Angel is thinking about how Red Raven let him live, with the secret of his people’s existence, but puts it out of his mind to concentrate on reaching the Avengers. Back in Magneto’s lair, Cyclops is trying to figure out which corridor Toad went down, but instead encounters Quicksilver. Cyclops calls Quicksilver a traitor and attacks.

Meanwhile, Toad has reached Magneto, and told him about Cyclops breaking free. Magneto is not happy with the Toad, hurts him, and threatens to make him suffer even more. Cut back to Quicksilver trying to convince Cyclops to join Magneto. He talks about how humans hunt and hound mutants, and says Magneto just wants to set the island up as a sanctuary for mutants. We also see an arrow sticking to a wall above them in one panel. Cyclops refuses to join Magneto, and calls Quicksilver a fool for buying into anything Magneto says. Quicksilver punches him in a bizarrely-drawn panel that gives him a giant fist.

Quicksilver vs. Cyclops

That is some messed-up perspective on this panel.

Anyway, Quicksilver throws some graphite padding in Cyclops’s eyes to blind him, and Magneto wonders why Quicksilver doesn’t finish him off. Cyclops manages to let off one last optic blast that ricochets off some machinery and hits Quicksilver in the back, knocking him out. Cyclops tries to wake him up, when the Avengers show up and threaten him.

Which leads into Avengers #53, from the same month, by Roy Thomas, with art by John Buscema. The Avengers are threatening Cyclops, who has no idea if they’re the real Avengers, or robots made by Magneto, and he fights them. While he’s running away, he wonders why the Avengers acted so hostile towards him. In a flashback, we see Angel show up at Avengers Mansion and explain the situation to them. They reach Magneto’s base, but find that Angel had a transmitter strapped to his wings, which makes them think he was a spy for Magneto, and explaining their hostility towards Cyclops. Hawkeye fires a camera arrow into the base – the one we saw in X-Men #45 – and they see Cyclops and Quicksilver talking. Magneto gloats about how he wanted Angel to lead the Avengers there, and for them to find the transmitter so that the X-Men and Avengers oppose each other. Toad says it was a bad idea, and Magneto gets annoyed and slaps him. I can’t blame him – Toad is incredibly annoying, even if he is also really genre-savvy. Magneto watches the Avengers bicker and fight, and reveals that the devices he bound the X-Men with were designed to weaken their wills so he could control them, and turn them against the Avengers. Cyclops has freed the others, and they become convinced they need to kill the Avengers. Beast fights the Panther, Iceman fights Hawkeye (and just yesterday, they fist-bumped – they’ve come a long way!), Cyclops fights Goliath, and that leaves Marvel Girl and Wasp. The Avengers manage to beat the mind-controlled X-Men, and Magneto figures out someone must have canceled out the power of the electronic commands. Angel! He punches Magneto and Toad, and the Avengers bust in, telling Magneto they’d guessed Magneto’s plan, only pretended to fall for it. Magneto halts them, then slaps Toad while telling him to pull the switch to detonate the portion of the fortress the Avengers are in. Toad is fed up, and turns the power to full, to blow up the whole base. He leads Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to a ship below while Magneto tries to grab hold of it. Apparently, the ship was made of non-metals, and Toad keeps him out. Magneto also apparently forgot he can fly, which he did in his very first appearance. Granted, it wasn’t used much back then, but still, we knew he could do it. The heroes have all piled into the Avengers aero-car, and make their successful escape. The day is saved. Yay!

But I’m not quite done yet, because there’s the back-up feature from X-Men #45. Cyclops tries to bust Bobby out of prison, but Bobby says he’s going to wait for his trial, confident he’ll be acquitted, since he used his powers in self-defence. The angry mob is saying they should just kill him. Cyclops tries to force Bobby to bust out, and they fight. Careful planning . . . not necessarily Scott’s strong spot at this point. The angry mob chases them, to kill them both. Cyclops stops the mob, but he and Bobby keep fighting. Finally, with both exhausted, the sheriff shows up with a shotgun and tells them to come along peacefully.

Overall, these two issues were pretty good. Magneto falling to his doom was silly, given that issue one showed he could use his powers to fly, at least for short distances. The X-Men issue focused on Cyclops, but still didn’t really give him that much characterization. The Avengers one was pretty much a slug-fest, but an enjoyable one, and it’s always nice when heroes don’t fall for an obvious trap. Thomas was quite a bit better on Avengers than he was on X-Men.

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