Uncanny X Men Issue #1 (September 10, 1963)
Story By: Stan Lee Art By: Jack Kirby
Rating: 3 out of 5
Brief Description: Uncanny X-Men starts with a bang as the young team of mutants face off against Magneto, the man that will become their greatest foe.
Characters Introduced in This Issue:
-Powers: Professor X is one of the most powerful telepaths in the Marvel Universe. He is able to read other people’s minds and project his thoughts into other minds as well. He can learn foreign languages by reading the language centers of the brain. He is also capable of manipulating minds and changing their perceptions, creating illusions, causing amnesia, causing pain, and causing temporary paralysis.
*Cyclops (Scott Summers): Cyclops is a founding member of the X-Men and is the field leader of the team. Cyclops was orphaned after watching his parents die in a plane crash. While in an orphanage, Cyclops’ powers manifested and he ran away when he was unable to control them. Professor X found him and took him in.
-Powers: Cyclops shoots red beams of energy from his eyes that are frequently described as optic blasts. These energy blasts cause no recoil or heat, but deliver massive concussive forces. Cyclops is forced to wear ruby-quartz glasses because otherwise he is unable to keep his eyes open without shooting optic blasts.
*Angel (Warren Worthington III): Angel is a founding member of the X-Men. Angel is the heir to a multi-billion dollar company called Worthington Industries. After he developed wings on his back, Angel began calling himself the Avenging Angel and became a solo hero, before Professor X recruited him to join the X-Men.
-Powers: Angel’s power is that he is able to fly because he has large feathered wings. His wings have superhuman strength. His strength, speed, agility, flexibility, endurance, reflexes, coordination, balance, eyesight, and hearing are at their peak.
*Iceman (Bobby Drake): Iceman is a founding member of the X-Men. Iceman’s powers manifested when he was on a date with Judy Harmon. A local bully named Rocky Beasley tried to take Judy away from Bobby so Bobby froze Rocky into a block of ice. An angry mob then tried to attack Iceman, but he was saved by Cyclops and Professor X and was asked to join the X-Men.
-Powers: Iceman has the ability to instantly decrease the temperature of ambient water vapor in his immediate environment to below zero degrees Celsius, creating ice. He is able to make indestructible ice. He frequently uses his ice powers to create useful objects like ladders or weapons. He also creates ice slides that he uses to move around quickly. When in costume, Iceman encases his whole body in ice.
*Beast (Henry Phillip “Hank” McCoy): Beast is a founding member of the X-Men. Beast’s power manifestation caused him to become an outcast at school so he sought refuge at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
-Powers: Beast has genius-level intellect and also possesses superhuman strength, speed, and agility. At this time in Uncanny X-Men he is larger than the average human, but he has not yet transformed into a furry blue ape like form.
*Marvel Girl (Jean Grey): Jean Grey is the sole female member of the original X-Men team. Unlike many of the X-Men, Jean had an easy childhood with parents and family who loved her despite her powers. Jean’s powers manifest when a car kills her best friend. Jean mentally links with her friend and nearly dies as well. After this incident, Professor X recruits her for the X-Men and blocks her telepathic powers until he believes she is ready to use them.
-Powers: Jean Grey has the powers of telekinesis and telepathy. Her telekinesis gives her the ability to move objects with her mind, create energy shields, and create energy blasts. Like Professor X, Jean’s telepathy allows her to read minds and project her thoughts into other people’s minds. However at this moment in time, she is unable to use her telepathy because of Professor X.
*Magneto (Erik Lensherr/Max Eisenhardt): Magneto is the leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.Magneto was born in the 1920s to a middle class German Jewish family. During WWII Magneto’s family was captured and executed by the Nazis, but he survived the war. At this point in the comics, Magneto has an extreme hate of humanity and wants to create a world that is ruled by the mutants.
-Powers: Magneto has the power to manipulate electromagnetic fields. He mainly uses this power to control and manipulate metal.
In this premiere issue for the Uncanny X-Men series, we are introduced to the X-Men team (Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, and Beast) through their training session with Professor X, where the professor tests all of their powers and abilities. After their training, Professor X introduces the team to Jean Grey who just arrives at the school. All of the young male X-Men are enamored with Jean. Professor X then interrupts Jean’s introduction when he feels that Magneto is causing havoc at the military base at Cape Citadel. Magneto takes over the base and all of its missiles. The X-Men are sent in to stop Magneto. They successfully stop Magneto from launching the missiles, but Magneto escapes. The army is very pleased that the X-Men helped and give them a great deal of praise. This military support of the X-Men certainly won’t last throughout the series.
This issue serves as a good introduction to the X-Men. It sets up the concept of a school for young people with super powers well and it introduces the X-Men’s main adversary. However the issue feels a bit cheesy at times. Many of the characters feel like caricatures of what they will eventually become. Iceman is originally introduced looking like a snowman and he does not get his cooler, sleeker appearance until later. You can definitely feel the 1960s in the way they speak with certain phrases like “doll” and “wowee” appearing. All in all, the characterization in this issue could use a bit of work but that is understandable because it takes more than one issue to fully develop a character. If this issue was the first X-Men issue I ever read, I am sure I would have been craving more.