Uncanny X-Men Issue #18 (March 10, 1966)
Story By: Stan Lee Art By: Werner Roth
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Brief Description: Magneto sends the X-Men on a balloon ride of death! Only Iceman remains to challenge him!
Characters Introduced in This Issue: None
Recurring Characters in This Issue:
Magneto, Toad, The Stranger, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Professor X, Beast, Angel
This issue begins right where the last issue left off. Professor X and all of the X-Men besides Iceman are unconscious and drifting into space in a makeshift hot air balloon that Magneto created. Meanwhile Iceman is in a coma and Angel’s parents have just run into Magneto.
When Angel’s parents arrive, Magneto sees an opportunity and uses his “magnetic attraction” power to convince the Worthington’s to fall into a deep sleep in a bedroom upstairs.
Once they are asleep Magneto creates a machine that will use their DNA to create an army of mutants. He theorizes that since their DNA created Angel it could also create more mutants.
While this is happening, Professor awakens and is able to break free of the machine that Magneto entrapped him in that kept his mind powers from working. Once he is awake, he wakes up the rest of the X-Men and they plot a way to escape their predicament. Professor X reaches out to Iceman as he comes out of his coma and tells him that he needs to stop Magneto.
Iceman goes back to the mansion and after a brief scuffle he is able to trap Magneto in an igloo of ice. However he is also trapped in the igloo with Magneto. Magneto then begins to attack Iceman and he is helpless to defend himself.
Meanwhile in space, Professor X commands Cyclops to use a very small eye beam to pierce a tiny whole in their hot air balloon so they can drift slowly to Earth. They fall to the ground faster than they anticipated, but Jean Grey is able to use her telepathic power to soften their impact.
Once the whole X-Men team is at the mansion, they save Iceman and Professor X summons the Stranger to take Magneto back into space. When they turn off the mutant creation machine, the partially formed mutants disappear.
Sadly, this issue is not as good as I wanted it to be. I was really excited for Iceman to face off against Magneto by himself, but I wasn’t very impressed with the results.
Firstly, I continue to be annoyed with how ridiculously powerful Magneto and Professor X are. Magneto’s “magnetic attraction” power he uses to hypnotize Angel’s parents is bizarre and definitely not in his modern power set. Also I don’t like that Magneto is able to attack people with pure rays of magnetism. That also doesn’t happen in modern X-Men. Even his basic metal manipulation power is shown too strongly in this issue when Magneto is able to lift the entire X mansion without breaking a sweat.
Professor X also shows too much power in his ability to break Magneto’s brain machine with his mind. Also I have no idea what Professor X is talking about when he explains what he is doing.
I am also disappointed that Iceman didn’t really get to save the day. He stalls Magneto’s mutant army creation but he is unable to defeat Magneto on his own. I know that this makes sense because Magneto is currently much more powerful than Iceman but I was still hoping that Bobby would use cunning to defeat the master of magnetism.
Another major criticism I have with this issue is the “Mutant creation machine”. The device is absolutely ridiculous. I have no words for how crazy of a plot point this machine is. It is also a complete cop out that the mutants that Magneto disappear when the machine is destroyed. Thankfully, I don’t think this machine is reintroduced later in the comics.
My final problem with this issue is that I still do not like that the X-Men allow the stranger to take Magneto prisoner so that he can experiment on him. Magneto is their enemy, but heroes are not supposed to torture their enemies. Why did Professor X let Lucifer go, but sentences Magneto to a life of torture and experimentation?
That being said, the concept of Iceman taking on Magneto by himself is enough for me to give this issue a 2 out of 5 instead of a 1. This issue still isn’t as bad as the Namor issue (Issue #6).
A few final notes:
1. Magneto continues to be unnecessarily mean to Toad, his most loyal servant.
2. Here is a panel of Iceman trying to be Spiderman.
3. Iceman is willing to sacrifice himself to stop Magneto.
4. The Stranger looks crazy in this panel.
5. We learn that Magneto escaped the Stranger by finding a spaceship and flying it back to Earth, leaving Toad behind.
6. And finally, this issue marks the end of Jack Kirby’s run doing the art for Uncanny X-Men. However Werner Roth is continuing Kirby’s artistic style so there has not been a drastic change in the art yet.