Review of Uncanny X-Men Issue #4

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Uncanny X-Men Issue #4 (March 10, 1964)

Story By: Stan Lee                                            Art By: Jack Kirby

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Brief Description: Magneto’s back, and he’s not alone! The X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants battle for the first time!

Characters Introduced in This Issue:

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*Toad (Mortimer Toynbee): Toad is short in stature and is hunchbacked. Early in his childhood his parents abandoned him because of his appearance and he was forced to live in an orphanage where all of the other children tormented him. Magneto recruited him from the orphanage and Toad was one of the founding members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. At this point, Toad is obsessed with Magneto, calling him Master.

-Powers: Toad has superhuman leg strength, endurance, agility, reflexes, coordination, balance, and a superhuman leaping ability. Eventually he gains the powers of adhesive saliva and tongue elongation. He also eventually turns green.

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*Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff): Along with his twin sister, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver is a child of Magneto. (Although at this point in the comics he does not know it). Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are rescued by Magneto when their village accuses the Scarlet Witch of being an actual witch. This causes them to feel obligated to help Magneto. Quicksilver eventually becomes an Avenger.

-Powers: Quicksilver has superman speed.

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*The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff): The Scarlet Witch is Magneto’s daughter and also becomes an Avenger.

-Powers: The Scarlet Witch has the ability to manipulate probability by casting “hexes”. At first all of her hexes result in bad luck effects but later in her history she is able to use her hexes do a larger variety of things.

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*Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde): Nothing is know about Mastermind before this issue of comics, but he is a founding member of The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

-Powers: Mastermind has the power to cast illusions that encompass all of the senses.

Recurring Characters: Magneto, Professor X, Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey

Synopsis: 

This issue begins as all previous issues begin with the X-Men training with Professor X. While they are training, we are introduced to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants which include Toad, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Mastermind. While the training continues, we also see that Magneto has stolen a freighter from the government.

Magneto takes the freighter to the tiny island nation of Santo Marco and conquers the island. He is able to do this with the help of Mastermind, who creates an illusion that they have an entire army on their side. Magneto becomes dictator of the country and Santo Marco’s actual army joins his side.

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The X-Men are then sent to face the Brotherhood and Magneto on the island, but they seem to be outmatched. All of them are captured or beaten at some point in the issue. However, the X-Men eventually band together and are able to get the upper hand on Magneto.

Forced to flee, Magneto rigs two bombs as a trap to explode and kill the X-Men and everyone on Santo Marco. Beast unknowingly heads towards the first bomb and Professor X throws himself in front of Beast to save him from the blast. The second bomb is a nuclear bomb that is set to wipe out all of Santo Marco. The X-Men do not have time to dismantle it, but luckily Quicksilver refuses to let Magneto kill a whole nation and he disposes of the bomb without hurting anybody.

At the end of the issue, Professor X is alive but he has the bomb has caused him to lose his powers of telepathy.

Review:

First off, I have to point out that for some reason the Scarlet Witch is wearing green on the cover instead of Scarlet.

Besides that, it is very exciting that the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is introduced in this issue. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are two of my favorite Marvel characters. I will be bummed when they leave the Brotherhood to join the Avengers though.

In this issue the writers continue to characterize Angel as smug and arrogant. This is a big change from what he will become in the future.

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Another interesting thing in this issue is that Professor X can communicate with Magneto telepathically even when Magneto is wearing his helmet. This will certainly change as well.

I am very excited that Professor X has lost his powers. This will be the first big test of the X-Men. Whereas in the past, the Professor was always there to protect them, they now have to protect themselves. I hope this story arc lasts for at least a few issues.

There has been a lot of narration in the first four issues, but I guess that this is necessary to introduce new characters. This narration can be tedious but these issues continue to get better and better as time goes on. Each battle is more complex and more interesting and they keep adding some great villains.

And one more final note. It seems like Iceman is always eating ice cream.

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Also this panel of Professor X is amazing.

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2 thoughts on “Review of Uncanny X-Men Issue #4

  1. Alex Wei says:

    Here again, Magneto us threatening to go the Dr. Doom route by taking over an entire country. Of course, he does not succeed, while, for the most part, Doom is nearly always the ruler of Latveria

  2. Alex Wei says:

    Also, while The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants seemed like a good idea at the time, thoughtful writers later realized that Magneto doesn’t think of himself as being evil, just a protector of the mutants from oppression by the obsolete normal humans. So nowadays, they either don’t use the name, or only use it ironically

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