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X-Men #49 (1968, October)

October 14, 2012

I just got a 3DS last weekend, with Ocarina of Time. So I’ve been playing that a lot the past couple days. Anyway, today’s issue is, “Who Dares Defy . . . the Demi-Men?”

Who Dares Defy . . . the Demi-Men?

Those eyes are actually kinda creepy.

Angel decides to check out the old school, feeling like he had to see it again. He hears Cerebro still active, and registering a large concentration of mutants on the move. He contacts Jean mentally, and she patches them all into a telepathic conference call, almost killing a skydiving Hank in the process. Then we cut to an ominous-looking mansion, where a bunch of goons in silly-looking outfits, being spoken to by Mesmero, Magneto’s “pupil.” Mesmero uses a psyche-generator to send a call out to all mutants to come to him. A bunch of latent mutants start making their way to San Francisco to join up with him. Bobby almost kills one of the mutants by causing her to slip on ice while a truck is coming at her, then he pulls her out of the way. Smooth, Bobby. The woman, Lorna Dane, has no idea how she got to San Francisco, and is really confused and vulnerable, so Bobby invites her back to his place. You know, this easily could’ve gone a very, very different direction.

Back in New York, Angel takes Cyclops and Marvel Girl up to where he’s got a small flier stashed, a gift from the Avengers for long-distance flights. Convenient. The three of them get to Hank and Bobby’s apartment, and Hank says he’s developed a portable Cerebro unit to help them track the mutants. Hank makes some final adjustments while the other four fly around. They find a mutant squad, who use guns and go down easily. Angel gets hurt, but not seriously. Back at the apartment, Beast finishes his Cerebro, and it detects a mutant close by. Lorna comes out of the shower with green hair, and tells Beast she was born with green hair, and dyes it to avoid attention. The others return and talk things over, then leave, with Iceman staying behind to protect Lorna. Mesmero soon attacks the apartment. Iceman beats the goons, but falls to Mesmero’s hypnosis. The goons approach Lorna, who freaks out, then they kneel before her and say they’re there to worship her.

And so, Lorna Dane has entered the franchise. She comes and goes, but is generally around somewhere or other. Her origin ends up being really convoluted, with all sorts of retcons shoehorned in here and there. Peter David recently made a joke about it in X-Factor #243, which also cleared up some sticking points about her origin, and which included a pretty huge revelation. It was a brilliant issue. This one’s not bad. It’s a pretty good issue, aside from Bobby being kinda creepy. The new direction of the past couple issues is already over, and the team reunited, leading me to wonder why they were broken up in the first place. The title’s also dropped the “featuring __” bit of the past few issues. That thing was always a bit silly. This issue actually starts it moving in a good direction. The series ends up remaining pretty high-quality for the rest of its run, even after Roy Thomas’s return.

There’s also a back-up detailing the origin of the Beast, which we saw a while ago, back in X-Men #15. Norton McCoy marries Edna Andrews and gets a job in a nuclear power plant. The plant starts to go into meltdown, and Norton slips into a radiation suit and manually lowers the control rods. He survives and gets another job. A little later, Edna gets pregnant, and the doctor worries the radiation Norton absorbed might mean the kid isn’t normal. Hank is born with large hands and feet. We already know most of what’s in this story, but it’s fairly entertaining.

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