Uncanny X-Men Issue #2 (November 10, 1963)
Story By: Stan Lee Art By: Jack Kirby
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Brief Description: How can the X-Men catch an enemy who can be anywhere they aren’t? Trouble appears when the Vanisher’s on the loose!
Characters Introduced in This Issue:
*Frederick Duncan: Fredrick Duncan is an FBI agent who is in charge of the bureau’s investigation into mutant activities. He is a friend of Charles Xavier and helps the X-Men when he has the opportunity.
-Powers: The Vanisher has the power of teleportation.
*The Danger Room: The Danger Room is not actually a character, but it is an important part of X-Men lore so I thought that it deserved its own bullet point. The Danger Room is a room that was designed by Professor X to train his students. The room is full of booby traps that are meant to teach the X-Men how to use their powers effectively. At this point in the history of the X-Men this is all that the Danger Room does but later in the comics, the Danger Room gains holographic technology that allow the X-Men to train in virtually any possible situation.
This issue begins with the X-Men rushing from an undisclosed location to the Xavier school when they receive a mental summons from Professor X. On the way to the mansion the team is delayed by fans and by a collapsing building. Once they reach the school, Professor X tells them that a villain named The Vanisher is causing a muck in Washington DC.
The team then starts to prepare to face The Vanisher by training in the Danger Room. (Shown for the first time). While they are training, The Vanisher robs a bank and publicly threatens that he is going to steal secret government documents in two days time.
Following through on his treat, The Vanisher attempts to steal government documents in Washington DC, but the X-Men are there to try and stop them. However, the X-Men find that they are powerless to stop the Vanisher because his power of teleportation makes it impossible for them to hit him. The Vanisher escapes the X-Men with the secret government documents and then blackmails the US government. He demands $10 million or he will release the documents he stole to the Soviet Union.
Knowing that the X-Men cannot defeat The Vanisher on their own, Professor X confronts The Vanisher in Washington DC and causes him to have amnesia, forgetting who he is and forgetting that he even has powers. Professor X tells the students that the human mind is the greatest power of all.
This issue already has more substance than the first issue now that the introductions are over. As the issue begins, the X-Men appear to have many fans. People are always happy to see them in the street and oftentimes ask for autographs. This was surprising to me since mutants are so unpopular in America (Comic book America, not real life America) in the modern comics. Also I had no idea that Angel was such a ladies man.
I was happy to see that there was a lot of humor in this issue. Particularly from Iceman. The jokes tend to be very cheesy, but it seems intentional. And even if it is not, I still find them amusing. Here are some of the funnier moments.
Before this issue, I was never aware that Professor X worked with the FBI. I am interested in finding out how the professor’s relationship with Duncan shift over time. I assume that their relationship will become strained once the government becomes anti-mutant.
Just like in issue #1, there is a heavy sense of the American military in this issue which is interesting to see. There is certainly less of that in the current run of X-Men, probably because the American public are not as military minded anymore and because we are no longer involved in the Cold War.
I enjoyed this story better than issue #1. My only complaints with the issue were the characterization of Professor X and the ending. In both of these issues, Professor X has been shown as cold and hard towards the X-Men. I have always seen Professor X as a warm and caring man, so I hope that his personality shifts soon in the comics.
I thought that the ending came about way too abruptly and too easily. If Professor X can just incapacitate anyone at will, how come he can’t save the day by himself every time? I always thought that Professor X refrains from doing this because he believes it is morally wrong to mess with other people’s minds in this way. I do understand that comics need to wrap up in around 22 pages, but I still wanted a better ending for the defeat of the Vanisher.
All in all the issue was solid and an improvement on the previous issue.