Saturday, April 7, 2012

Issue #1

No, don't worry, I will probably not be blogging each issue as I read it. I doubt you want to read that much and I certainly don't want to write that much. But we'll see!

And so, it begins:

Turns out, Professor X has a real stick up his butt about the students being on time, huh? "YOU HAVE 15 SECONDS TO GET TO MY OFFICE!" He expect his students to be able to drop what they are doing and come to his beck and call. Of course, since what they are usually doing is standing around and spouting expository phrases like, "It's easy for ME to suit up, because all I have to do is put boots on!", meeting these deadlines is no big deal to the X-Men.

Which leads to my first surprise of the series! X-Men. As Prof X explains, he calls them that because they each have EXTRA powers over normal humans. EXTRA MEN. And, using the same convention clothes makers have been employing for years, abbreviates it to "X". X-Men. Yep. I never knew this. Thinking back, I don't think I EVER gave thought to what the X stood for, really, despite having read X-Men, X-Factor, and X-Force pretty religiously back in the 90's.

That is a HUGE blind spot to have. This moment is on par with the time that I realized how mean it was to say, "Not if I see you first!" to someone who says, "See you soon!" Yeah. I'd been throwing that one out there all the time, until I stopped to think about it.

Other things of note from this issue:

Jeanie Gray shows up, much to the delight of the X-Men's libidos. Ogling her instantly becomes a favorite pass-time for the X-Men men, second only to explaining their powers to each other. Of course, Jeanie DOES "put them in their place" but in a playful, "Oh YOU!" sort of way, which doesn't help her win any liberated woman of the 60's awards.

Professor X is a lot more stand-offish than we've been led to believe he is from the kindly wise-man that Patrick Stewart portrays him as. Right now, he's shown as being a strict disciplinarian, rather than a person of high regard and respect.

Graphically, the Silver Age, so far, appears to be an era of staying within the lines. Each panel is rigidly defined and captured within a square or rectangle. I cannot wait until the issue when the X-Men discover dynamic page layouts. Maybe it's the mutant power of "Graphico: Master of Graphic Design".

What can I say about Magneto other than that his cape is tiny (at least by today's standards?) His plan is a bit on the weak side ... something about using his magnetic powers to cause the army's test missiles to go off course and crash into the ocean where they will be "...completely irrevocably DESTROYED!!" As opposed to all those missiles the army launches that they then re-use?

That'll show 'em! Launch a missile at an unmanned ship (that was going to be
destroyed for target practice) but then purposely DON'T hit it.
Next stop: World domination!
Ok, sure, he does then go on to take over the missile base ... but we're still unsure of his plans. He makes no mention of what he's going to do WITH these missiles. Maybe what he was going to do was SO TERRIBLE that Stan Lee couldn't say it in the script. Maybe it's left to us to imagine what it is and, in doing so, make it far worse than anything that Mr. Lee could have written? (Like how the Rabbit's Foot in "Mission Impossible 3" is scarier because we have no idea what it is and that was certainly not stupid.)

In closing: I'm not sure how much more exposition I can handle... but I fear I'm in for a lot more. Well, I, Read-o: Master Of Words, shall defeat fight my way through them using my power of super-reading!

Want to read along? These stories are covered in X-Men Volume 1 (Marvel Masterworks)