Uncanny X-Men (1961) #9
So you know how we haven’t seen Xavier much for several issues? That’s because he’s off hunting a supposedly very dangerous foe…the man who was responsible for breaking his legs! No, not that shadowy figure! Xavier has been hunting…*drum roll please*…LUCIFER. *sigh*
The X-Men are following behind but unfortunately, so are the Avengers…and what happens every time a super hero team meets another super hero team for the first time? They fight! This time, they fight because Xavier orders the X-Men to stall the Avengers.
The X-Men hold their own…but barely…until Xavier telepathically explains himself to the Avengers and asks them to let the X-Men go. The X-Men then rush to assist Xavier in defeating Lucifer…which they do… guess he wasn’t that bad of a villain?
So we open with a scene from Titanic…
Well, not really…but there IS an iceberg dead ahead. Which “laser” blasts then breaks it apart. Of course, such an effort tires out Cyclops who is then taken below deck where he is cooled off by Iceman and taken care of by Jean and the rest (Jean, of course, continues her inner monologue about how she loves him so much, etc.).
But their bantering is interrupted when Professor X makes contact with them telepathically. He’s underground, searching for Lucifer. He then proceeds to explain that Lucifer is the one who cost him the use of his legs (of course no further details are given) and that Lucifer threatens all of mankind (again, no details). Xavier has a really cool tank wheelchair, though. But it’s no match for Lucifer and his….DUST DEVILS? *sigh*
In the nearby Bavarian village, the X-Men are waiting for another sign but nearby, the Avengers show up, following signals from his hammer (I swear, the writing back then was so cringy). The Avengers take a moment to scare the crap out of a local who almost runs over the X-Men but that suggests to the X-Men that they need to check this out.
Lucifer reveals his master plan to Xavier (as all villains do) when he explains that he has a giant thermal bomb big enough to blow up a continent which is connected to Lucifer’s heartbeat so that if his heart should stop, everybody dies. I’m a little confused, though… if that’s his big plan, couldn’t Xavier just leave him alone? No fight, no risk. But Lucifer fires an…ionic ray (seriously, cringy!) at the X-Men and Xavier’s warning comes barely in time as the X-Men leap out of the way!
As the X-men regroup, Jean manages to avoid the deadly perils of….a hole in the ground! Seriously…she doesn’t have time to avoid the hole, but she certainly has time to explain that she doesn’t have time AND use her telekinesis to cover the hole. I swear, the writing has actually gotten worse at this point.
Then the X-Men run into the Avengers and Xavier commands his students to delay the Avengers. Of course the X-men are outmatched, but it’s not like it ends right away. There’s some antics where Beast catches Cap’s shield, Giant Man picks up Beast, Captain America…picks up Cyclops??? And Wasp pulls Jean’s hair (seriously…..?).
Meanwhile, Xavier uses his mental powers to incapacitate Lucifer and thankfully, there’s no impact to the villain’s heartbeat so no explosion. So with the battle with the Avengers halted, Xavier now directs his students to find him in Lucifer’s cavern. With Xavier and the X-men at Lucifer’s bomb, they seek to disarm it. With a focused optic blast, Cyclops manages to sever the connection perfectly, saving the world.
As Lucifer wakes up, Xavier wipes his mind…. Oh, wait…no he doesn’t. Vanisher, Blob, carnival workers…Xavier has no problem wiping their minds. But Lucifer? A guy that actually threatened an entire continent? Xavier figures it’s not his place. Kitty was right! Professor Xavier is a jerk! (and a horrible hypocrite)
So I know I sound like a broken record… but these early issues really are not good. I’m getting tired of the constant longing back and forth between Cyclops and Jean. Since issue #3, the two have constantly expressed to themselves how much they love the other. Just kiss and get it over with! It’s getting REALLY tiresome at this point!
Still, it’s not all bad… the focusing of Cyclops is part of the character I’ve always enjoyed. His power is so destructive, but he’s honed it to the point where he can use it in so many delicate situations…and we really see that starting here.
We do also get to see the first (and not the last) time the X-Men would butt heads with the Avengers. And guess what… much like AvX, this has horrible justifications for their battle. In fact, when you factor in how Xavier stops the fight, he could’ve done that from the beginning! It would have been just as simple to ask the Avengers to turn aside. So my only conclusion can be that Xavier wanted to see his students beat up a little bit. Probably to remind them that they still need him. Professor Xavier is a jerk!
Professor Xavier is a jerk! It’s a running theme, but never more evident than in the silver age! It’s fairly typical of Lee and Kirby, but the level of nostalgia seems to be diminishing as we go further in.
X-MEN CLASSICS: Yup, Xavier is Still a Jerk
Writing - 3/10
Storyline - 4/10
Art - 7/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 7/10
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