X-Men #66 (1970, March)
Ah, the end of an era for the X-Men. Tomorrow, I’ll give my thoughts on the first 66 issues of X-Men. But for today, “The Mutants and the Monster”. With Sal Buscema doing art duties.
The X-Men are worried about Xavier’s coma after he saved the world. Alex comforts Lorna, and Bobby becomes a jealous douche. It’s actually pretty amazing how much of a jerk he was back then. Hank grabs the Mind-Probe Xavier finished before his earlier faked death, based on articles published by Henry Pym. Stan Lee states that it’s a more sophisticated version of the Mind-Probe device seen in Avengers #68, which has since been largely forgotten, like a great many devices from those days. The Mind-Probe causes Xavier to mention the Hulk. Scott guesses Xavier actually wants Bruce Banner. Alex, Lorna and Bobby all stay behind, while the others go looking for the Hulk. They find him in Las Vegas. Marvel Girl knocks him out with mental bolts, and he turns back into Banner.
Major Talbot and the military show up to take Banner, but Cyclops says they need his help to save Xavier. Banner remembers the name, and a device developed based on their mutual theories, using gamma rays to treat mental exhaustion. Banner turns back into the Hulk, because he always did. They follow him into the desert and fight him. During the fight, a large secret lab is uncovered. Secret labs tended to be scattered around all over the place. How Banner, a man with limited funds, was able to secretly build a large lab inside a mountain, will never be explained. Anyway, the X-Men get the device and escape, with Scott saying Banner led the X-Men to that lab in spite of the Hulk.
Back at the school, Lorna comments on the look in Scott’s eyes, which is a downright bizarre phrase to use with him. The device works, and Xavier wakes up. Hurray!
It’s OK. I’m disappointed, once again, at how little characterization really occurs. And the art, while perfectly good, isn’t Neal Adams, which is a bit of a let-down. And the thing doesn’t feel like a finale. It really feels like there should be another story or two following it. (Of course, decades later, there would be – X-Men: The Hidden Years, by John Byrne, begun in December 1999, would pick up where this issue left off. I actually considered doing that series next, but I decided against it. I’ll do it when I reach it. Even if that’ll take a long, long time.) As with most of Roy Thomas’s time on X-Men, this issue is just OK. And “just OK” is pretty disappointing in a finale.