Archive for the ‘Angel (W. Worthington)’ Category

The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

March 6, 2015

Sentry-Void 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
February 2001
****

No surprise that the Void is the Sentry’s negative aspect, since it’s been a metaphor for depression all along. But his hook—erasure from continuity—is a fruitful & unique experiment for Marvel, albeit one better off left to stand alone (one more fault in Bendis’ awful, epic Avengers run).

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued from The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

March 5, 2015

Sentry-X-Men 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Mark Texiera
February 2001
****

Kirby & Lee’s original mutants help this mini’s Superman surrogate fight a loony ’60s-style foe in a pitch-perfect flashback. The art—here M-Tex, painterly yet dynamic—makes or breaks these Sentry one-shots. This one also shows off the protag’s simple, golden heroism better by showing less of him.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

March 4, 2015

Sentry-Spider-Man 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Rick Leonardi
February 2001
***

Before his erasure from Marvel, the Sentry had helped Parker grow up—netting him a Pulitzer photo & fame! Bronze Age Spidey is a perfect vehicle for the Void-as-depression theme, & tonally S/S-M reads like a lost issue of Marvel Team-Up. But with yeoman’s work by Leonardi, it’s about as forgettable.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1

March 3, 2015

Sentry-Hulk 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Bill Sienkowicz
February 2001
*****

This mini’s idea is that the Sentry had been central to early Marvel, but he’s been erased from memory—diagetically & exegetically! That “accounts” for Hulk‘s cancellation in ’63: before that, S’s support had helped the public accept the H! Sienkowicz proves a perfect Hulk artist, surprising no one.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1

March 2, 2015

Sentry-Fantastic Four 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Phil Winslade
February 2001
***

Though Jenkins cleverly presents this as a “lost” issue of Startling Tales, the device is undercut by a flashback frame & fairly conventional super-comics art (albeit w/ a touch of period Neal Adams). The bigger problem is, it tells us nothing new about the friendship btw the Sentry & Mr. F.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #5 of 5

March 1, 2015

Sentry 5 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
January 2001
*****

The retcon acts as an ingenious device in this mini by casting an (ostensibly) unfilled role in Marvel’s Silver Age. The respect the Sentry’s accorded by other superheroes—incl. Mr. F, his unlikely Judas—and the world sell the story, maybe making it the best Superman arc since A. Moore’s Supreme.

continued in The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1
last issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36
Maximum Security #3 of 3

The Sentry #4 of 5

February 28, 2015

Sentry 4 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
December 2000
****

Core Marvel heroes recall the Sentry, whose previous face-off w/ his (literal?) nemesis the Void ended in self-exile & a rewrite of reality. This mini maintains its weird sensibility partly thru a pacing akin to Grant Morrison’s: scenes begin in medias res w/ no exposition to orient the reader.

last issue: The Sentry #3 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #5 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

X-Calibre #1 of 4

February 2, 2015

X-Calibre 1 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
March 1995
*

Editorial revamps the mutant line, pitching readers into the grimmest comics they could imagine. For Excaliber, that means Nightcrawler follows a refugee pipeline to the Savage Land. Awful Jim Lee-style art has distended anatomies & weightless bodies; Ellis entertains himself w/ a religious theme.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Calibre #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

Factor X #4 of 4

January 28, 2015

Factor X 4 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting & Terry Dodson
June 1995
***

Factor X lucks into significance, due mainly to a focus on Cyclops. His arc of redemption, facilitated by Jean Grey, ends w/ him leading a mutant prison to freedom! But the mini’s also had finer ideas than most of the second-tier AoA, like a Mengele “dark” Beast & the happy-go-lucky Bedlam Brothers.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: Factor X #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

Factor X #3 of 4

January 27, 2015

Factor X 3 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting & Terry Dodson
May 1995
**

Jean Grey arrives from Weapon X to help Cyclops w/ his redemption. The elaborate interlacing of this Days of Future Past homage is its best part, tho’ even Factor X can feel like a set of plot points. Plus the ’90s focus on Scott S & Jean G means cornball dreck about their romantic destiny.

last issue: Factor X #2 of 4
next issue: Factor X #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

Factor X #2 of 4

January 26, 2015

Factor X 2 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting
April 1995
***

While rival Havok scowls, Cyclops plays the antihero, smuggling a mad Polaris from NYC’s mutant dungeons. Epting, who marries Mazzucchelli’s grit to ’90s over-lineated posing, may be a strong Marvel artist of the Image Era, but oy! his dystopic redesign of Cyke: long, ‘badass’ hair & a motorcycle!

last issue: Factor X #1 of 4
next issue: Factor X #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4
X-Man #2

Factor X #1 of 4

January 25, 2015

Factor X 1 of 4John Francis Moore // Steve Epting
March 1995
***

Given the weakness of X-Factor, this revision is one of the happier surprises of the AoA metaseries. The mag reverts to the original X-team, mutant aristos in this dystopic alt-NYC & acolytes of Mr. Sinister, whose eugenic intrigues provide the catalyst for change among mutant siblings & rivals.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Factor X #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4

January 19, 2015

Amazing X-Men 3 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
May 1995
**

Magneto gets thumped by Apocalypse, fascist overlord of a eugenics America; his son Quicksilver, this mini’s protagonist & the Cyclops in its alt X-Men, rescues the time-tossed Bishop instead. That tough choice shows real heroism, demoing the stakes better than the grimacing art & florid prose.

last issue: The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
next issue: The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Universe #1 of 2

X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

January 12, 2015

X-Men Alpha 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz & Steve Epting
February 1995
****

Think What If… Magneto formed the X-Men? The dystopian alt timeline is fun, & the era’s portentous prose & posturing panels lend themselves well to the sturm und drang (even if the project labors in Claremont’s shadow). Magneto, a glowering man of action, looks unhappy to be stuck into the Rogue/Gambit soap opera; Cyclops is a mutant princeling who awakens to the genocide & misery under Apocalypse.

continued from X-Men #41
continued from Cable #20
continued in The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
continued in Factor X #1 of 4
continued in Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
continued in Generation Next #1 of 4
continued in Weapon X #1 of 4
continued in X-Calibre #1 of 4
continued in X-Man #1 of 4
continued in X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41

Cable #20

January 11, 2015

Cable 020Jeph Loeb // Ian Churchill
February 1995
**

The coda to an X-Men crossover adventure that ended in mission failure & resulted in the end of the universe! Cable‘s remit is to provide an elegiac sense of closure, but it’s all ’90s mutant whinging. Churchill, tho’ an Image-style hack, surprises by giving his char’s faces some personality!

see also The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: Cable #19
next issue: Cable #20

also indexed for Feb. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #41

January 10, 2015

X-Men 041Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert & Ron Garney
February 1995
***

Finale to an X-over that kills off a young Professor X to create an alternate future. Writer Lobdell & editor Harras deserve a story credit for #41, & so does Chris Claremont, who created (a) the Prof-Magneto friendship, (b) Xavier’s son Legion, & (c) the cosmic crystal that threatens the multiverse.

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #321
continued in X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
see also Cable #20
last issue: X-Men #40
next issue: X-Men #42

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
The Uncanny X-Men #321
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

The Uncanny X-Men #321

January 9, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 321Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Ron Garney
February 1995
***

The illegit son of Professor X seduces his mother while psychically disguised as his father! It’s a provocative moment in a routine Terminator-type ’90s X-comic. Lobdell contrasts the arc’s Oedipal theme w/ his beloved Cyclops/Jean Grey/Cable triangle—his namby-pamby notion of a proper X-family.

continued from X-Men #40
continued in X-Men #41
last issue: The Uncanny X-Men #320
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #322

also indexed for Feb. ’95
Cable #20
X-Men #41
X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1

X-Men #40

January 8, 2015

X-Men 040Fabian Nicieza // Andy Kubert
January 1995
**

Time-traveling amnesiac X-Men putz around post-war Israel as their modern comrades learn that mission failure means universal collapse. Nicieza artificially inflates the stakes via a chorus of Watchers, while the better Kubert son does mainline ’90s X-art (his Legion is unrecognizably off-model).

continued from The Uncanny X-Men #320
continued in The Uncanny X-Men #321
last issue: X-Men #39
next issue: X-Men #41

also indexed for Jan. ’95
The Uncanny X-Men #320

The Uncanny X-Men #319

January 6, 2015

Uncanny X-Men 319Scott Lobdell // Steve Epting
December 1993
***

Lobdell’s strongest (relatively speaking) when he avoids super-action to concentrate on soap. In #319, he continues his curious rehab of normcore X-Man Bobby Drake, w/ a visit to his bigoted family. In parallel (!), Xavier converses w/ his comatose son on the astral plane, setting up the next X-over.

last issue: The Uncanny X-men #318
next issue: The Uncanny X-Men #320

also indexed for Dec. ’93
X-Factor #109

Thunderbolts #30

July 19, 2014

Thunderbolts 030Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
September 1999
***

After Graviton falls into an alt dimension, he’s recruited by a hooded figure. From the new base’s labyrinth of corridors, another secretive shadow overhauls the T-bolts’ sky-jalopy. Then there’s the still-unknown IDs of Citizen V & Crimson C… This gambit rarely ends in a satisfying reveal.

last issue: Thunderbolts #29
next issue: Thunderbolts #31

also indexed for Sept. ’99
Avengers #20

Thunderbolts #29

July 18, 2014

Thunderbolts 029Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1999
****

One flaw of T-bolts is its chirpy fan-girl sidekick, now joined by a 2nd superteen. W/ their teammates captured, it’s up to them to save the day. But one strength of T-bolts is its team dynamic, such that other scenes showcase more vivid characters—like Moonstone, sniggering at Graviton’s clichéd goals.

last issue: Thunderbolts #28
next issue: Thunderbolts #30

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers #19
Avengers Forever #9 of 12

Thunderbolts #28

July 17, 2014

Thunderbolts 028Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1999
***

Graviton returns, leading a floating island of flying pirates over San F! Busiek has an aptitude for megalomaniac plans! He & Bagley also have a great sense of pacing, staging tight scenes of clear motivation. And when they break the one-off issue rhythm w/ a cliffhanger, it helps show the stakes.

last issue: Thunderbolts #27
next issue: Thunderbolts #29

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers #0
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Thunderbolts #27

July 16, 2014

Thunderbolts 027Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
June 1999
***

This ish compares the title team to the West Coast Avengers & then the Champions (the ’70s poster kids for generic superteams). To underscore the tribute, ex-Champ Archangel guest-stars as a visitor to the new secret base in the Rockies. Subplots simmer as well, w/ each char getting a moment.

last issue: Thunderbolts #26
next issue: Thunderbolts #28

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17
Avengers Forever #7 of 12

The Fantastic Four #605.1

December 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 605.1Jonathan Hickman // Mike Choi
July 2012
****

The “bonus” ish is less a jump-in point than another JH done-in-one w/ set-up for a later payoff. It flashes back to sketch a member of the Council of Reeds, who destroyed his alt-‘verse where the FF were Nazis! Choi’s work is better than his covers suggest, w/ lovely colors from C. Peter.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605
next issue: The Fantastic Four #606

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

Avengers Annual 1999

August 10, 2013

Avengers Annual 1999Kurt Busiek & John Francis Moore // Leonardo Manco
July 1999
**

This action-adventure pits the Avengers against a squad of Sentinels repurposed to replace the once-MIA superheroes. The concept has Busiek’s fingerprints: adoration for the title team & its inspiring effect on everyday citizens. For it’s Jarvis who shuts the robots down, & a support technician who’d programmed them. Standard annual fare, tho’ Manco does good cyber-horror a la Barry Windsor-Smith.

last issue: Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998
next issue: Avengers Annual 2000

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers #0
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1

January 4, 2013

Astonishing X-Men Giant SizeJoss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2008
***
A double-sized ish caps the space adventure, but the extra pages merely add scope, not clarity. While a guest cast of Marvelites gets mind-zapped, Kitty Pryde sacrifices her life by somehow bonding herself to a space bullet fired at the Earth. With that, Joss & Cass wrap their X-run, a solid set of comics. But in this arc as in the previous ones, poor pacing drags on the snazzy art & peppy script.
[continued from Astonishing X-Men #24]
[continued in Astonishing X-Men #25]

New X-Men #131

November 16, 2012

Grant Morrison // John Paul Leon
late October 2002
****
GM writes an artful variation on the usual X-soap, contrasting a domestic drama with a comedic underplot. Cyclops initiates a psychic affair w/ bad girl Emma. JPL’s scratchy style doesn’t quite mine the surreal potential. Also, two unglamorous X-students, outcasts of the new mutants, hook up.
[last issue: New X-Men #130]
[next issue: New X-Men #132]

The Avengers #3

June 4, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
January 1964
*****
In a Marvel irony, the teams’ foe in #3 used to be a teammate. The Hulk’s antisocial demeanor earns him attn from the original antihero, Namor—who defeats the surly monster in an underwater wrestling match! But the duo can’t cooperate when they challenge the Avengers to a battle royale under Gibraltar.
[see also Journey into Mystery #112]
[last issue: The Avengers #2]
[next issue: The Avengers #4]

The Mighty Thor #374

April 21, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
December 1986
****
Thor crosses paths w/ The Mutant Massacre,  perhaps the strongest X-over of all time & certainly the tightest. In a noble climax, he builds a funeral pyre for the sewer-dwelling Morlocks. And in augury of a big Simonson event, Thor faces the Death Goddess & learns he’s neither invulnerable nor mortal!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #373]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #375]

The Mighty Thor #373

April 20, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
November 1986
****
Quiet issues like this one make you miss Walt’s art, esp. now that he’s creating X-Factor w/ his wife. Not coincidentally, #373 picks up when Thor rescues a crucified Angel in NYC sewers, part of the Mutant Massacre. But first, his mournful mood is lifted by a family of BK Italians.
[continued from X-Factor #10]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #372]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #374]

X-Factor #86

August 25, 2010

Peter David // Jae Lee
January 1993
**
The crossover continues to crawl (tho’ it can only spare a page or two for X-Factor‘s regulars): the all-action force of Bishop, Cable & Wolvie literally sit around doing nothing! The only plot point is that Apocalypse cures Prof X of the technovirus using a bit of Kirbytech. I’ll miss Lee’s art.
[continued from Uncanny X-Men #286]
[continued in X-Men #16]
[last issue: X-Factor #85]
[next issue: X-Factor #87]

X-Factor #85

August 24, 2010

Peter David // Jae Lee
December 1992
**
The title team gets ignored by a hugger-mugger crossover, & PAD’s talent is wasted in dialoguing chaotic fights. At least Jae Lee’s shadowy, splattery style fits the subject matter. Razor-winged Archangel decapitates one evil mutant; another hamstrings Quicksilver; Wolvie steps btw. Bishop & Cable.
[continued from Uncanny X-Men #285]
[continued in X-Men #15]
[last issue: X-Factor #84]
[next issue: X-Factor #86]

X-Factor #84

August 23, 2010

Peter David // Jae Lee
November 1992
***
Jae Lee has a Sienkowicz-but-brutal style that would prob’ly fit X-Force better than -Fac. Luckily, #84 is also #2 of an x-over that sees this title’s g-men outfight the aggro X-Force while hunting for Cable (who shot Prof. X in Central Park). David finds the issue’s hook in Rahne, caught. btw. teams.
[continued from Uncanny X-Men #284]
[continued in X-Men #14]
[last issue: X-Factor #83]
[next issue: X-Factor #85]

The X-Men #19

May 31, 2010

Stan Lee // Werner Roth
April 1966
**
This one-off hangs entirely upon a villain who mimics the X-Men’s superpowers. The result makes for a good visual (esp. his kooky cubist visor) but a pedestrian plot that never gains energy. Roth, the new regular penciller, lacks a discernible personality & doesn’t diverge from the path Kirby’s laid.
[last issue: X-Men #18]
[next issue: X-Men #20]

The X-Men #18

May 30, 2010

Stan Lee // Werner Roth
March 1966
*
Exit Kirby, & w/ him go any wisps of the team’s personality. Magneto’s back, a lame villain w/ vague motivation (“mutant supremacy”), ill-defined powers, & a silly plan involving sci-fi mutant zombie slaves. Once again, Prof X saves the day, not the teens, thru a particularly bald deux ex machina.
[last issue: The X-Men #17]
[next issue: The X-Men #19]

The X-Men #17

May 29, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Werner Roth
February 1966
**
Who is the Mystery Villain? The art contorts itself to hide his ID (it’s Magneto) as he ambushes the team one by one. Aside from a lovely splash of a soaring Angel, this ish meanders towards its death-trap cliffhanger (why slit the team’s throats when you can asphyxiate them in a weather balloon?).
[last issue: X-Men #16]
[next issue: X-Men #18]

The X-Men #16

May 28, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Werner Roth
January 1966
****
The grand finale to the excellent Sentinels arc. Tho’ predictable, the action is explosive & breathless and the stakes are dire.  Prof X jams the robots’ radio control, which allows their creator (in a fit of conscience) to destroy the commander center. Oddly, the teen heroes mostly just skirmish.
[last issue: The X-Men #15]
[next issue: The X-Men #17]

The X-Men #15

May 27, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Werner Roth
December 1965
****
W/o the social content, this arc turns into a robots-run-amuck B-movie plot. But who cares, w/ Kirby concepts like the Master Mold, a titanic cyber-commander who will protect humanity thru tyranny! There’s also goofy Silver-Age action as the team storms the Sentinel HQ & the Beast gets mind-probed.
[last issue: The X-Men #14]
[next issue: The X-Men #16]

The X-Men #14

May 26, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Werner Roth
November 1965
****
Maybe inspired by the new monthly status, the mag has its strongest ish. Lee finds a strong plot-engine in Cold War paranoia. There’s social tension—even political commetary—in the contrast btw. our team’s ordinary lives & the mob’s hysteria, fanned by large racist robots (Sentinels) & the media.
[last issue: The X-Men #13]
[next issue: The X-Men #15]

The X-Men #13

May 25, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Werner Roth
September 1965
***
Having provided exposition last ish, #13 is entirely given over to a rumble btw. Juggernaut & the teens, w/ an assist from Johnny Storm. It builds Juggy as a real threat! Plus using a classic 2×3 panel-grid allows for more action than most ’90s comics w/ a similar content-to-story ratio.
[last issue: The X-Men #12]
[next issue: The X-Men #14]

The X-Men #12

May 24, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & Alex Toth
July 1965
***
#12 benefits from Toth’s shadows, as Kirby provides only layouts for the book. Prof X describes his service in Korea (it was like an Indiana Jones movie), where he & evil step-brother (inauspiciously named Cain) stumbled upon a mystical gem. Now the bro holds a grudge as the unstoppable Juggernaut.
[last issue: The X-Men #11]
[next issue: The X-Men #13]

The X-Men #11

May 23, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
May 1965
**
Five of the first 10 issues had the X-Men competing w/ the Brotherhood to recruit mutants, a formula that’s quickly become rote (neither team added 1 member). So Stan & Jack jettison the plot-engine in this perfunctory encounter w/ a god-like alien who grabs Magneto for scientific study off-planet.
[last issue: The X-Men #10]
[next issue: The X-Men #12]

The X-Men #10

May 22, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
March 1965
***
The X-Men discover a Land That Time Forgot under Antarctica, giving Kirby the opportunity to draw dinosaurs, sabretooth tigers, jungle flora & barbarian hordes. It’s sensational to look at but pretty derivative, esp. the Tarzan rip-off, Ka-Zar (whose comic debut, FYI, was Marvel #1 back in ’39!).
[last issue: The X-Men #9]
[next issue: The X-Men #11]

The X-Men #9

May 21, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
January 1965
**
A limp story despite a gallery of guest stars (all 5 Avengers, fought to a draw). Last ish teased a subterranean showdown btw. Prof. X & Lucifer. But the villain’s no demon, he’s just a generic Marvel megalomaniac whose clever plan involves hooking up a cataclysmic bomb to his beating heart.
[last issue: The X-Men #8]
[next issue: The X-Men #10]

The X-Men #8

May 20, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
November 1964
***
Good: Cyclops displays Spidey-like angst due to the stress of leadership & an unspoken crush on Marvel Girl. Better: the Beast, ticked at humanity’s ingratitude, goes rogue till—like a brawny Reed Richards—he uses his smarts to invent Kirbytech & triumph over an untouchable mutant wrestler/criminal.
[last issue: The X-Men #7]
[last issue: The X-Men #9]

The X-Men #7

May 19, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
September 1964
***
After running bi-monthly for a year, The X-Men celebrates by presenting its teens w/ diplomas. Prof X bows out, leaving behind a marvelous piece of  Kirbytech: Cerebro, a mutant detector. And happily, before yet another brawl w/ Magneto & the Blob, the gang visits a kooky coffeeshop in the Village.
[last issue: The X-Men #6]
[next issue: The X-Men #8]

The X-Men #6

May 18, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
July 1964
**
Lee indulges his hobby of cross-title fertilization w/ The X-Men‘s first guest-star: Namor, the original anti-hero. He’s the focus of the mutant recruitment competition btw. Prof X & Magneto. Buoying a lackluster issue, he characteristically thrashes both sides before stalking back to Atlantis.
[last issue: The X-Men #5]
[next issue: The X-Men #7]

The X-Men #5

May 17, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
May 1964
***
Thrilling comic-book action at a rollicking pace. The teen team once again face Magneto & his Evil Mutants, first in Grand Central Terminal & then on an asteroid pitted w/ deathtraps! Stan & Jack are smoothing out a formula as Kirb offers robust fight sequences & some trippy sights of outer space.
[last issue: The X-Men #4]
[next issue: The X-Men #6]

The X-Men #4

May 16, 2010

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
March 1964
****
Stan’n’Jack finally find a peg to hang this book on: the kids clash w/ a rival team, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It’s led by Magneto, but the real draw is a pair of morally ambiguous siblings who follow Mags cuz he rescued them from an anti-mutant mob in Europe (a coded nod to the Holocaust?).
[last issue: The X-Men #3]
[next issue: The X-Men #5]