Uncanny X-Men Issue #49 (October 10, 1968)
Story By: Arnold Drake Art By: Jim Steranko
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Brief Description: The entire X-Men team comes back together to face the mysterious Mesmero! Plus the origin of Beast part 1!
Characters Introduced in This Issue:
*Mesmero: Mesmero is a con artist who worked as a hypnotist for high society gatherings. Mesmero uses his powers to deceive people and gain wealth and power.
-Powers: Mesmero has the psionic ability to mentally control the mind of others. He is also able to manipulate the minds of telepaths. He is able to hypnotize people into doing his bidding.
*Polaris (Lorna Dane): Polaris is the daughter of Magneto and the half sister of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
-Powers: Like her father Magneto, Polaris has the ability to control magnetism. She can also create magnetic energy pulses, create force fields, and fly.
Recurring Characters in This Issue: Magneto, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast, Iceman.
This issue begins with Angel visiting Xavier’s mansion because he misses his former home. While he is there, he notices that Cerebro is going off and that there is a major mutant threat on the loose. Angel gathers the whole X-Men team together and they prepare for battle.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to the villain Mesmero who has an army of mutants at his side. Mesmero declares his allegiance to Magneto and reveals to his lackeys that he has discovered a large amount of mutants with unrealized powers that he plans on finding and making them join his side.
In San Francisco, Iceman encounters a dazed and confused Lorna Dane who travelled 1,200 miles to the city without realizing it because of Mesmero’s hypnosis on her. Bobby takes Lorna back to his place to recuperate.
As Lorna rests, the X-Men arrive to Bobby’s apartment and the team (minus Beast) leaves the apartment to face against the mutant army in a nearby park. While they are battling, Beast works on a portable Cerebro device that will help them find Mesmero.
When the device is finished, Beast realizes that Lorna is actually a mutant. The X-Men soon return and everyone besides Iceman heads out to find Mesmero. Iceman stays behind to protect Lorna, but Mesmero arrives at Bobby’s apartment and uses his hyposis powers to render Iceman paralyzed. The issue ends with Mesmero taking Lorna prisoner.
The issue then shifts gears to the origin story of Beast. We learn that Beast’s father used to work in a nuclear power plant. One day at the plant there is a malfunction and Beast’s father has to expose himself to radiation to save the plant from an explosion.
Beast’s father is uninjured by the radiation, but when he and his wife have baby Hank, he has abnormally large feet and hands.
This issue was very intriguing. I’m super excited for the introduction of Polaris. I don’t know about her character, but she seems very interesting. Mesmero also intrigues me. He seems like a very powerful villain and I can’t wait to see the X-Men face him with their full force.
Beast’s origin story was also great. I loved that Beast’s father was also a hero in his own way and it was Hank’s father’s heroism that gave Beast his powers. I’m excited to see the next part of Beast’s origin story.
I only have one small problem with this issue and my problem is Mesmero’s mutant army. As Cyclops points out, why is an army of mutants using guns instead of their powers? Are they really mutants? The army seems pretty wimpy. Mesmero can definitely do better.
Issue #49 wasn’t quite a 5 star issue, but it was still a great issue. I can’t wait for the Mesmero-Polaris story to continue.
A few final notes:
1. Hank and Bobby’s undercover professions are that they are stunt devils. Priceless.
2. I enjoyed this little secret identity joke.
3. Beast’s father was hard headed, just like Hank.
4. This is the best reaction ever to the news that your kid may not be normal.
5. Baby Beast punches his uncle.