Review of Uncanny X-Men Issue #51

Uncanny X-Men Issue #51 (December 10, 1968)

Story By: Arnold Drake

Art By: Werner Roth and Jim Steranko

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Brief Description: The X-Men’s battle with Magneto and Mesmero continues! Will Polaris come to their aid? And who are these mysterious villain’s who want to join forces with Beast?

Characters Introduced in This Issue:

*Erik the Red: Erik the Red is a cover identity that has been used by Cyclops, a Shi’ar agent named Davan Shakari, and Magneto. This incarnation of Erik the Red is Cyclops in disguise.

*Conquistador (Orlando Furio): Conquistador is a 14th century explorer who gained immortality from the Fountain of Youth. Throughout the years, he has tried and failed to conquer the world on multiple occasions.

-Powers: Conquistador has eternal youth and is immune to aging, but it is possible to kill him. He is also a skilled fighter.

Recurring Characters in This Issue: Magneto, Mesmero, Polaris, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast

Synopsis:

This issue begins with Magneto forcing Polaris to choose between him and the X-Men. This angers Iceman so he initiates a brawl with the master of magnetism and the rest of the X-Men join in.

The X-Men battle Magneto and his army of mutants and seem to be losing, but Cyclops gives them the upper hand when he is able to blast the wall above Magneto’s head and crush him with debris. 

However Polaris saves Magneto from getting crushed to death and the X-Men retreat so they can regroup. When the team reaches their base in San Francisco, Bobby is heated and wants to return immediately to rescue Polaris. Cyclops commands Iceman to wait until they have a plan, but Bobby gets angry at Scott and they argue until Bobby storms out.

Cyclops then reveals that he may have a plan. This part of the issue ends with a mysterious man named Erik the Red attacking Magneto’s base.

The issue then shifts gears to part 3 of Beast’s origin story. After Beast incapacitates some thugs at his televised football game, a villain named Conquistador notices Beast and decides that he needs the mutant in his mission for world conquest.

Conquistador kidnaps Beast and his parents and tells Beast that if he does not help with his plan, Conquistador will kill Hank’s parents. Meanwhile, Professor X sends Iceman to find Beast after hearing about his powers, but Iceman finds Hank’s home ransacked when he arrives.

Review:

This was another great issue. It seems like Arnold Drake has a good groove going after his first subpar issue. The X-Men’s battle with Magneto and his army was very entertaining and I am still very intrigued by Polaris.

I also really enjoyed Iceman’s feelings towards Polaris and liked seeing his overwhelming desire to save her. Although what about Zelda? It will be sad if Zelda is gone forever now. And would that mean that we wouldn’t see Beast’s girlfriend Vera anymore either? Let’s hope those two characters remain in play.

I am intrigued by Cyclops’ plan involving Erik the Red and looking forward to seeing how that plays out in the next issue.

And finally, Beast’s origin story continues to entertain and I can’t wait to see how Beast deals with Conquistador!

I don’t really have any problems with this issue. It was great throughout! I hope that the finale of this story is as thrilling as this issue.

A few final notes: 

1. I enjoyed this panel of Cyclops punching Magneto.

2. And this Cyclops eye beam panel is also awesome.

3. One of the mutant army members actually has a power! And it’s kind of cool.

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3 thoughts on “Review of Uncanny X-Men Issue #51

  1. Alexander J. Wei says:

    The name of Conquistador, Orlando Furio, seems to derive from “Orlando Furioso”, which leads to the longish story I like to call “Superheroes before the Superheroes!”

    The great King and warrior Charlemagne took an army into Spain to fight the Moors, Muslims. On returning back into France, his rearguard, commanded by a man named Roland, was ambushed and destroyed, probably by Basques, not Moors. The tales grew in the telling; Roland was not just a vassal but Charlemagne’s own nephew, it WAS the Moors that attacked them, Roland was a mighty warrior who could only be defeated by betrayal, etc. There was a famous poem called Le Chanson de Roland, the Song of Roland.

    That was only the beginning! Soon, Roland seemed like a superhero, or like Master Chief, say, capable of killing many ordinary knights without breaking a sweat. And there were other stories of super knights, like Amadis of Gaul. Amadis is famous for being the hero of Don Quixote; Quixote read too many of these stories and then decided to being such a knight himself!

    So an Italian poet, Boiardo, wrote a great poem called Orlando Inammorato, or Roland in Love. A beautiful Chinese princess visits and puts all the knights, but especially Roland, in a tizzy. Ludovico Ariosto writes an even better sequel called Orlando Furioso, or Roland Gone Mad. After Angelica goes off with someone else, Roland goes crazy, and remains so for most of the poem.

    Incidentally, in the Arthurian legends, Merlin, Lancelot and Tristan all spend some time being crazy!

  2. Scott’s dialogue in that panel in which he’s punching Magneto is hilarious. I often find the dialogue in some older issues kind of weird, dated, and/or cringe-worthy, but sometimes, it’s actually really funny.

    • Yeah the dialogue can be a bit ridiculous at times in the older issues, but I’m used to it by now after reading the first 51 issues of Uncanny X-Men. It can be absolutely hilarious at times though.

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