Review of Uncanny X-Men Issue #52

Uncanny X-Men Issue #52 (January 10, 1969)

Story By: Arnold Drake                                                   Art By: Werner Roth and Marie Severin

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Brief Description: Brace yourselves for the epic conclusion to this origin of Polaris story arc! Plus the Beast is forced to live a life of crime!

Characters Introduced in This Issue: None

Recurring Characters in This Issue: Magneto, Polaris, Mesmero, Conquistador, Erik the RedCyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, Professor X, Angel

Synopsis:

This issue begins with Erick the Red attacking and defeating Mesmero and his army of mutants. Erik crushes them with rubble and makes his way to Polaris and Magneto.

When he reaches Polaris, he tells them that he wants to join Magneto and Lorna gives this message to Magneto. In his weakened state, Magneto accepts an alliance with Erik the Red.

With Magneto’s trust, Erik the Red is revealed to be Cyclops and he and the X-Men plan on electrocuting Mesmero’s army with a trap. However Iceman, who was off on a mission of his own, comes in early and accidentally electrocutes himself.

Mesmero’s army than comes in and attacks the X-Men. As the X-Men begin losing the battle, Iceman seeks out Polaris and tells her that he has found out that Magneto is not really her father. Realizing that she has been fighting for the wrong side, Polaris turns on Magneto and incapacitates Mesmero and his army.

In defeat, Magneto flees and his base self-destructs.

The issue than shifts to more of the origin of Beast story. Conquistador has Beast’s parents hostage and forces beast to steal a piece of high tech electrical equipment that Conquistador plans on using to take over the world.

Beast succeeds in stealing the device to save his parents, but when he returns to Conquistador, the villain reveals that he will never release Hank’s parents and Beast will now have to be his loyal servant forever.

Review:

This issue was another good issue and it concluded the first Polaris saga nicely. I enjoyed the Trojan Horse concept of Cyclops pretending to be Erik the Red, even if the plan failed pretty miserably in the end. I’m a bit confused though as to how Cyclops was able to shoot energy beams out of his hands instead of his eyes.

Beast’s origin story also continued to entertain and it looks like we’ll at least get one more issue to wade through Hank’s origins.

The best part of this issue though was the Iceman-Polaris story. Iceman clearly cares a lot about Polaris and while the rest of the X-Men were plotting against Magneto and Mesmero, Iceman went back to Lorna’s home town and discovered her true origins. That is a lot of dedication.

I loved the moment where Iceman told Lorna the truth (Although not really the truth we find out later) about her and Magneto. It was also great to see Lorna completely destroy Mesmero and his army. She must be very powerful if she could defeat an army that the whole X-Men team were unable to defeat. 

I didn’t have anything really to complain about in this issue. It wasn’t so amazing that it deserved 5 stars, but it was still very good. Arnold Drake created a winner in his first story arc. 

A couple final points: 

1. Apparently bad guys have an evil aura around them at all time.

2. Iceman and Lorna are definitely gonna date soon.

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14 thoughts on “Review of Uncanny X-Men Issue #52

      • Alexander J. Wei says:

        The wiki on Polaris claims that it was confirmed that Polaris was Magneto’s daughter in 2003, X-Men #431. But in the link that frasersherman gives us above, there is a lot of back and forth about the question. There have now been DNA tests that say she is and other that say she is not. The testers have sometimes been unreliable witnesses, like Dark Beast. I’m not sure Marvel has committed itself either way. This is as opposed to, say, Mystique’s motherhood of Nightcrawler, to which there seems to be little controversy.

      • Alexander J. Wei says:

        Btw, I’m sensing a weird parallelism here. So Polaris has a long-term on-and-off relationship with Alex Summers, Havok and he ditches her at the altar, and she becomes murderously vindictive. In another universe, the Buffyverse, Xander Harris ditched ex-demon Anya at the altar, and … she becomes murderously vindictive! Let me also point out that Xander is short for Alexander! I don’t know why, but I tend to notice things like that… 😉 Supposedly, Xander was Josh Whedon’s way of putting someone like himself in the cast.

  1. “I’m a bit confused though as to how Cyclops was able to shoot energy beams out of his hands instead of his eyes.”

    Fiber-optic cables running from the visor of the helmet down through the gauntlets. That is my theory.

  2. Alexander J. Wei says:

    Idk about the fiber-optic cable idea. What Cyclops shoots out are force beams, not any kind of light. Even if they were laser beams they couldn’t put that much blasting power out. And while fiber-optics might channel any kind of electromagnetic force, I have trouble believing that they can channel his force beams. Pretty much, all you can do with the force beams is stop them or not. Several things can stop them: Cyclops’ eyelids, his dark glasses, his visor, and Jean-as-Phoenix was able to stop them too.

    I don’t imagine the secret of how Cyclops manages to play Erik the Red ever gets resolved, however.

  3. Justin says:

    I have read a lot of Silver Age stories and Bobby’s last minute revel is not how such revels were done at all in villain manipulating X character storylines. They would make it very clear that the villain is lying then have the villain do a curses you foiled my evil plan. None of that happened here even at the end.
    That is why I think it was editorial intervention. The other reasons are that many months later under a new set of writers it is decided Bobby’s last minute revel based on no solid evidence isn’t good enough to show that Magneto wasn’t really her father so they retcon that the Magneto in the storyline was a robot.
    The final reason is that the explanation that Magneto was not really her father undermined the very core of the storyline which was a 1968 story about a young girl having to decide between following what her father wants and following what she wants. The revelation undermined part of the whole basis of the storyline as suddenly that is no longer the question she has to decide.

  4. I always find it silly when characters feel like they have to obey their parents, no matter how evil they are.

    Oddly, Lorna actually drops out for the next few issues, with no explanation given.

    This story was OK. Not bad, not great.

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