Appearing in "X-Men"
- Professor X (Professor Xavier) (First appearance)
- X-Men (First appearance)
- Magneto (First appearance)
- Unnamed Cape Citadel soldiers
- Unnamed NASA staff
- Daily Globe
- Harlem Globetrotters (Mentioned)
- John Grey (Mentioned)
- Elaine Grey (Mentioned)
- Brian Xavier (Mentioned)
- Sharon Xavier (Mentioned)
- United States Government (Mentioned)
- Christian Dior (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Wolves (Mentioned)
- Apes (Mentioned)
- Birds (Mentioned)
- Ghosts (Mentioned) and Spirits (Mentioned)
- Frogs (Mentioned)
- Magneto's secret laboratory
- X-Uniforms (First appearance)
- Cyclops' Visor 1.0 (First appearance)
- Magneto's Helmet (First appearance)
- Ruby-Quartz Sunglasses (First appearance)
- Nuclear missile
- Hunter missile
- Professor X's Remote-Controlled Jet (First appearance)
- Professor Xavier's Rolls Royce (First appearance)
Synopsis for "X-Men"
At Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County, New York, Professor Charles Xavier summons his students telepathically. When the Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Cyclops arrive, he puts them through a series of exercises to hone their mutant talents. Xavier then introduces them to a new student, Marvel Girl, to whom he explains the purpose of his school: his students do receive an education, but they are also the first line of defense against evil mutants.
Meanwhile, at Cape Citadel, Magneto causes a rocket to crash. The next day he takes over the whole base and claims it in the name of Homo superior (i.e. mutants). When Xavier hears about the incident, he sends his X-Men on their first mission. Cyclops uses his eye beams to make a hole in Magneto's force field, thus alerting him to their presence. Magneto launches a volley of heat-seeking missiles, which lock on to Angel; Iceman knocks most of them out, and the Beast catches the last one.
Magneto then sends metal debris at Angel; Cyclops destroys it. Magneto flings a burning tanker truck at the team; Iceman covers them with an ice shield, and Cyclops blasts a tunnel under the flames so that they come up near Magneto. Unprepared for such power and resourcefulness, Magneto sets up another force field and levitates himself to safety.
A man is seen waiting inside his large exclusive private school. Suddenly, he "calls out" mentally to his students stating that he is Professor X and he is ordering them to appear in class at once. Then four costume-clad people appear and report for their lessons: Cyclops, the Angel, Iceman and the Beast. Angel and Cyclops help the professor get comfortable in his chair. Iceman plays a prank on Beast and freezes his arm. Angel has to pull the two off each other and Professor X begins their training lessons using his "training machine".
The Beast is first and is given timed lessons to help him with his agility skills. He first grabs a taut wire with his toes in a second and a half. He then spins wildly on the wire and jumps through the room in exactly three seconds. Then he practices his balancing skills while Cyclops slackens the wire tension causing him to jump off and land on his feet. The Angel takes his turn and tests out his wing reflexes. He flies around jet flames, through a giant closing clamp and then skips through a bladed spinner without a slip. He becomes overconfident and when a sound concussion blasts around him, he loses his edge and begins to fall but then recovers. Iceman asks the professor to allow him to take more risks even though he is the youngest student. The professor tells him not to rush things. Iceman then feels that if he is going to be treated like a kid, then he will start acting like one. He finds "snowman items" and puts them on to joke around. Beast throws a ball at him since he is off-guard and Iceman reacts quickly creating an ice "boomerang-sled" sending the ball right back at Beast. Cyclops shows off his leadership skills and uses his beams to stop the group from goofing off. Professor X stops the team and readies them for the new student who has just arrived by taxi.
A redheaded woman steps from the cab and the group begins bantering with each other about the fact that a girl is joining the school. The team goes and changes while the woman enters and is greeted by Professor X who apparently sent her [Jean Grey] a letter to be enrolled as a student of his school. She questions the type of school that she sees and Professor X states that it is a school for the "specially gifted", mutants, like herself and the others. The professor introduces the rest of the team, using their real names and codenames, to Jean Grey, whom he says is now known as Marvel Girl. She shows off her powers of telekinesis to the rest of the team by moving chairs and books. The Beast, tries to give her a kiss and she turns him upside-down and spins him wildly in the air then throws him onto the couch. Professor X then tells the group their mission is to protect the world from mutants who would harm humans or other mutants.
Meanwhile, just such a mutant named Magneto, is hiding near Cape Citadel watching a missile launch. He uses his powers of magnetism to control the missile and send it crashing off-course into the nearby waters. The Army and NASA standby and are astounded that the missile was destroyed. They conclude that someone tampered with the missile prior to launch. The next day, the Daily Globe newspaper states that this was the sixth missile to be destroyed and a "phantom saboteur" has struck again. Then the soldiers begin seeing weapons firing randomly and tanks being controlled remotely. A message suddenly is written out in metallic dust in the sky and reads, "Surrender the base or I'll take it by force. - Magneto." While the message is being read by the soldiers, Magneto launches a missile from a silo near the base. He causes it to fall into the sea near an unmanned target ship. Magneto then walks into the base and takes control of it. He uses his powers to entrap the soldiers in a "magnetic-fence" from which they cannot escape.
The X-Men are alerted to the crisis at the Cape. They each get ready into their uniforms and ready to go. They are driven to the airport in Professor X's Rolls Royce and take his private jet to the Cape. The X-Men arrive and request the army hold off firing on the base for fifteen minutes. Cyclops uses his power to make a hole in Magneto's magnetic force field and this alerts Magneto of their presence on the base. Magneto fires heat-seeking hunter missiles at the team. Angel causes the missiles to lock onto him and follow him around in the air, while Iceman freezes them with snowballs. One missile gets through and Beast catches it with his feet. Marvel Girl then telekinetically sends it off into the sea. Magneto is amazed at the team's abilities and sends a pile of metal hurtling at Angel. The team stops to help him, while Magneto rolls a flaming barrel of rocket fuel at them. Iceman quickly encases the team in an ice cocoon when suddenly the tank blows up.
Magneto thinks he has won and starts to walk off when suddenly Cyclops' beam shoots out from the ground. The team emerges and begins to strike at Magneto full force. Magneto takes flight via magnetic repulsion and blocks the team from following him with a magnetic force field. They eventually breach it and Magneto has already disappeared. The army is gracious that the base is safe once again and thanks the X-Men for their help. The team then flies back home in the jet, while Professor X telepathically congratulates the team for a job well done.
- The issue introduces both the concept of mutants as an offshoot race of humans and that the X-Men's mission is to protect humanity from evil mutants.
- The Danger Room is not introduced in this issue, although Xavier uses a "training machine" to test his student's abilities. Oddly, Professor X is shown testing their abilities in a second-floor room, with windows facing the main street, where anyone might happen to look in and discover their secret identities. It must also be an unusually spacious room as the Angel is shown flying around in it.
- Although this issue is the first appearance of the X-Men, the team (minus Marvel Girl) has already been formed. Their previous storylines are shown in other titles and flashbacks, in direct contradiction to dialogue spoken by Professor X in this issue, who remarks on his fears about sending the team on their first mission.
- Professor Xavier claims that he lost the use of his legs in a childhood accident. It is later revealed in X-Men #9, that he actually was disabled while fighting Lucifer. This retcon is critical to Cain Marko's origin X-Men #12 and Xavier's time in Israel and Egypt (e.g., X-Men #117 and Uncanny X-Men #161).
- Cyclops is referred to as "Slim" in this issue. His real first name, Scott, is not revealed until X-Men #3.
- When Jean arrives at the school, she and Professor X act as if they have never met in person (though they have been in correspondence). It is later revealed in Bizarre Adventures #27, and Classic X-Men #42, that the two of them had several training sessions prior to Jean's arrival at the school. Jean also demonstrates her telekinetic ability but there is no mention of her own telepathy (nor would there be for the first several years of the series' run.)
- Iceman was originally drawn to look like a snowman when he manifested his powers. He regularly threw snowballs as weapons. This issue also establishes that Iceman is younger that the rest of his teammates. The Professor specifies that Iceman is 16-years-old. At the time of publication, this would place Iceman's birth c. 1947. This is a topical reference based on the sliding timescale of Earth-616.
- When the X-Men get their first glimpse of Jean through the window, Cyclops, Angel and Beast are smitten but Iceman comments: "A girl...big deal." The implication is that Iceman is not (yet) interested in girls. (While this may have been one impetus of many motivating the future revelation that Bobby Drake is gay, it was almost certainly intended to represent his youth and immaturity at the time of publication. He certainly shows plenty of interest in girls later, over decades of publication history, before the homosexuality reveal. It wouldn't be the first time early awkward and otherwise forgotten Stan Lee characterization was taken out of context.)
- Professor X mentions his (unnamed) parents, and claims that both of his parents had worked on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atom bomb. X-Men #12 confirms that Brian Xavier was a nuclear scientist, but not that Sharon Xavier was a fellow scientist. The implication is that mutation is a result of atomic power.
- Magneto introduces the term Homo superior in the second panel in which he appears.
- The X-Men reportedly defeat Magneto in less than 15 minutes and an unnamed general comments that it is "uncanny". This is the first time the term is used to describe the Uncanny X-Men.
- What will become Xavier's signature catch phrase "To me, my X-Men." debuts on the final page. It's hardly a catchphrase at the time, since it'll be decades before he says it again.
- Professor X claims that Cyclops is getting better at receiving the Professor's thoughts and that there will soon be no need to speak aloud to him. Indicating that the Professor previously had trouble communicating telepathically with Cyclops.
- Jean Grey claims to have had the power of telekinesis for practically her entire life, and that she had to keep it a secret for her entire life. This is contradicted by later backstories detailing how she first discovered her power.
- Professor X claims that he was perhaps the first mutant ever born. This is patently untrue in later stories, although Professor X was likely unaware of any older ones at the time. (Magneto's WW2 backstory wouldn't be written for almost 20 years, so it's quite possible Magneto was originally intended to be younger than Professor X. Other older mutants were much later introductions and likely unknown to Professor X at this early date). Note that the pushing of mutants further back in time of later stories also undermines the 'mutation is caused by atomic power' concept underlying the original conception.
- Professor X introduces the idea in this issue that there are many mutants walking the Earth, and that more mutants are born every year.
- Magneto's power shows that he can manipulate the magnetic field around things to enclose them in the field. This theory was debunked and later explained by future writers as his power to control the iron in one's blood and use that to contain them.
- This comic's title was later changed to Uncanny X-Men and continued under that name until its numbering was rebooted with a new Uncanny X-Men series in 2013. A second X-Men title was introduced in the 90's, was briefly renamed "New X-Men", and was finally changed to X-Men Legacy. In 2010, the third series to use the adjective-less X-Men title debuted and in 2013, a fourth series was introduced.
- Magneto makes a statement in the air using levitating bullets. The phrase says "Surrender the base or I'll take it by force - Magneto". This phrase is similar to the one used by the Wicked Witch in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, produced by MGM Studios.
- The newspaper that headlines Magneto's first terrorist act is the Daily Globe.
- One of the Professor's exercises in this issue required Beast and Iceman to throw balls at each other. The Beast compares this to basketball, and jokes about the X-Men challenging the Harlem Globetrotters at the game. The Globetrotters are a real basketball team, from Earth-1218. They specialize in exhibition games, and their performances combine athleticism, theater, and comedy.
- The X-Men are transported to Cape Citadel via helicopter, which was still considered a relatively high-tech innovation in the early 1960s.
- Cape Citadel is patterned off of the real-life Cape Canaveral missile launch base. In fact future issues of the X-Men that recalled these events (such as X-Men #s 113 and 125) would specifically state that this was Cape Canaveral.
- Jean compares her new X-Men uniform to the fashion designs of Christian Dior, a French fashion designer and founder of the company Dior, one of the world's top fashion houses. Her mention of Dior is likely a topical reference, as it is unlikely that a teenaged girl in the 21st century would referencing it.
- There has been a longstanding fandom debate over whether or not Stan Lee and Jack Kirby lifted elements of the Doom Patrol (a series published by Marvel's business rival, DC Comics) to create the X-Men. Like the Doom Patrol, the X-Men are led by a wheelchair-bound mentor. The members of each team wear matching uniforms and are considered freaks and/or possible menaces to society. The Doom Patrol series debuted first in the comic book My Greatest Adventure, cover dated June, 1963. Lee always maintained that the similarities were entirely coincidental and pointed out that, given the nature of publishing comic books in the early 1960s, the first issue of X-Men would have been far into the editing stage by the time he could have even seen an issue featuring the Doom Patrol. However Doom Patrol creator Arnold Drake has stated that there was a lot of fraternization between the comic book creators of each company and Lee could have known about the Doom Patrol concept before the series debuted. It is worth noting however that Lee and Kirby's own Fantastic Four series (which also featured a team of superheroes in matching uniforms, and at least one "freak" member, the Thing) debuted before even Doom Patrol and was a substantial hit. Lee and Kirby were almost certainly referencing the FF when they created the X-Men, but it is also possible that Drake might have been inspired to create the Doom Patrol after seeing the Fantastic Four.
Links and References
- Official Marvel Guide to the X-Men (Vol. 2) #1