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X-Men #50 (1968, November)

October 15, 2012

I just noticed that I accidentally marked yesterday’s issue as #48. Oops. I’ve corrected it. Today’s issue is #50, and is titled “City of Mutants.”

City of Mutants

It’s . . . it’s . . . It’s green. And also a pretty good Steranko cover.

Mesmero puts Lorna to sleep, and abducts her with his goons (and Iceman along with her). They head out into the desert, to their base there. She’s strapped into a mutant energy stimulator. Meanwhile, the other four X-Men attack the old mansion from last issue, cracking bad jokes while beating the goons up. Marvel Girl gets a telepathic distress call from Iceman, but she doesn’t know where he is, so she relays a message to the others saying to throw the fight. They do.

Back at the base, Mesmero is gloating to Iceman about Lorna’s mutant powers being unlocked. She steps off the stimulator, and Mesmero reveals her as Magneto’s daughter. She agrees to be Queen of the Evil Mutants. Marvel Girl frees Iceman’s mind so he can free himself from his trap. Mesmero has Lorna lash out at the X-Men, and she instead uses her power on Mesmero’s followers. Before the X-Men can beat up Mesmero, the floor rises up in front of them. A man walks out of the shadows. It’s Magneto – still alive!

This issue isn’t great. It feels a bit sloppy and unfocused. There’s almost no characterization. It’s really just a way of making two revelations: That Lorna is Magneto’s daughter, and Magneto’s still alive. Interestingly, both those revelations end up being revealed as false (the Magneto seen here is a robot, and Lorna’s real birth parents died when she was young), and then get revealed again as true (Magneto actually was alive, and Lorna’s birth father actually was Magneto). At least, that’s the current understanding.

The back-up continues Beast’s origin. As a kid, he was unusually strong. In high school, his high school’s football coach picked him randomly to kick a football in the course of chewing out his team. Hank’s kick destroyed the ball. Hank then threw a pass that knocked the coach off his feet. He becomes the team’s star player. During one game, three thugs rob the box office, and when the cops show up, they run through the stadium in some weird attempt to evade capture. Because running past a bunch of athletic teenagers while wearing masks and carrying bags and being chased by cops is a foolproof plan. Hank stops them by throwing helmets at their heads. One pulls out a grenade (how did a small-time crook get a grenade?), but Hank climbs the goalpost and jumps onto the crook’s back. Some guy happened to be watching on TV, and plans to use Hank in his plans.

Was it really that easy to get a grenade in the ’60s? I can’t imagine it was. But what do I know.

On a final note, this issue features a new cover logo, created by Jim Steranko. It’s a lot more striking than the old one. They kept it until 2001, at which point it was replaced by a lamer one for a few years. Then, in 2004, it went back to this one. They switched to a variation on it two years later, keeping the perspective but making the letters flat instead of blocky. They’ve played with it occasionally since then, for either single issues or arcs. Uncanny X-Men vol. 2 went with a different logo. One that’s rather dull. Ah well. Would’ve been cool if Uncanny Avengers had gone with a bit of a variation on this class X-Men logo, actually, come to think of it.

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