Uncanny X-Men Issue #53 (February 10, 1969)
Story By: Arnold Drake Art By: Werner Roth and Barry Windsor-Smith
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Brief Description: When Jean Grey tries to use Professor X’s space device, she accidentally summons the evil Blastaar! And also the conclusion of Beast’s origin story!
Characters Introduced in This Issue:
*Blastaar: Blastaar is an alien who lives in the negative zone. Blastaar used to be a king of his race called the Baluurians, but when he was overthrown he became an intergalactic outlaw. Blastaar first made it to Earth when he followed Reed Richards there and he has been going back and forth between Earth and the negative zone ever since.
-Powers: Blastaar has superhuman strength, endurance, and durability. His body can withstand missiles and extreme variations in temperature and pressure. He is also tireless and can live without food or water indefinitely by inducing himself into a state of hibernation. His final power is that he is able to blast concussive energy beams out of his hands.
Recurring Characters in This Issue: Conquistador,Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast, Iceman, Professor X
This issue begins with Blastaar floating around in the Negative Zone and angrily wishing he could escape.
Then we see Jean Grey working with adevice that Professor X created that allows Jean Grey that allows her to transmute her matter into radio energy and send that energy into space.
While using the machine, Jean gets wounded and the device breaks. Then suddenly Blastaar appears out of thin air, summoned by the device. Blastaar and the X-Men fight until Jean is able to send the villain back to the negative zone by electrocuting him.
The issue then shifts to the conclusion of Beast’s origin story. At this point in the story, Beast has stolen a device that could give Conquistador the power of the sun and he is now the villain’s prisoner.
Shortly after the story begins, Beast escapes his restraints and tries to battle Conquistador, but he is losing. Thankfully for Beast, the X-men enter the baseand save him from his captor. After the X-Men defeat Conquistador, the villain’s base blows up and Professor X makes Beast a member of the X-Men.
This issue was not as good as the recent Polaris saga, but it was still an ok issue. Although the way that Blastaar came and went was pretty ridiculous, I enjoyed him as a villain. He seemed tough and his power set lent itself well to a fight with the X-Men.
Let’s talk about how Blastaar came and left the issue though. That device that Jean used to summon the villain is absolutely absurd and not plausible in any way. I have no idea what it was supposed to do.
Also, how does electricity send Blastaar back to the negative zone? And why is Jean so sure that Blastaar is dead? He is definitely not dead. A villain of Blastaar’s caliber should have been treated better by Drake.
My final problem with this issue was that I wanted more Polaris! Where did she go? I thought she would join the team for a little while after the X-Men saved her. I hope she returns soon.
Beast’s origin story ended pretty predictably, but it was still a good ending. Beast was finally able to rebel against Conquistador and the X-Men finally found Hank and were able to help him. Hopefully Angel’s origin story in the next issue is as good as Beast’s origin story.
Overall, this issue had some major flaws, but I still enjoyed it.
A few final notes:
1. I enjoyed this panel of Cyclops holding Jean when she is wounded.
2. Blastaar can use his energy beams to fly!
3. Wow Iceman, that is a super sexist remark.
4. Somehow Iceman was able to create full ice people that Jean Grey could make fight with her telekinetic powers. Seems a bit implausible to me.