With Xavier abducted and Cerebro ONCE AGAIN smashed and unusable, the X-Men are working tirelessly, around the clock to fix the mutant-fining computer before anything serious can happen to the professor. (Anything serious? Like being captured by a shadowy evil organization called "Factor Three" and possibly killed?!)
The boys are working so tirelessly, in fact, that ONCE AGAIN Jean has to step up and fill the "mother role" that all women were expected to fill, back then, no matter how young they were, when mixed in with a lot of men.
So, progress goes along on Cerebro until Jean receives a phone call from Ted. Remember Ted? Of course you don't! Ted is the brother of the guy that got bonked on the head and became Cobalt Man [See ish #31]. Now you remember! It's like a terrible nightmare you tried to forget, isn't it? Anyway, this happens:
|He's REALLY into The Karate Kid.|
Ted just called ... to say ... his brother's gone missing. (And he means it from the bottom of his heart.) [I've been making a lot of lyrical references lately, haven't I? Weird. DEAL WITH IT!] Ted's brother, having put his exploding Cobalt armor behind him, has been working on a digging machine that would carry people to the core of the Earth. A way more sensible pursuit, in some ways. In others, a terrible idea because of kidnapping by mole-men reasons!
SIDE QUEST TIME!
Having learned all they know about helping people from the Zelda line of Nintendo games, The X-Men are willing to carry out any request made of them, by any NPC. ["I WOULD move out of your way, so you can go kill Ganon, who I know is making everyone's lives - including mine - terrible and sad, but ... I'm just so thirsty. Get me a barrel of carbonated rainwater from the mountains, first!" God! Gorons are assholes! THERE! I SAID IT!]
Jean, Iceman, and Angel head off to investigate while Scott and Beast stick around to keep fixing Cerebro. Since they refuse to follow the instructions that came in Cerebro's box, it's slow going. Men, right?! Ladies? You feelin' me, here, right?! [Mid-90's sexist comedy left us too early, so I'm trying a revival. Also: WAZUUUUUP?!]
|The chasm AND the audience, by this time.|
But what IS up?! [SEGUE!] Well, the X-Men use Ted's brother's fancy digging car to drill underground where they immediately get stuck between a rivalry between two equally awful underground dwelling despots: The Mole Man and Tyrannus. Each has built a giant robot to destroy the other's giant robot. It's like the missile race meets RoboJocks, but with more cobalt. [Yes, COBALT makes its triumphant return to the pages of X-Men! Is this series sponsored by the Cobalt Commission? "The touch, the feel, of COBALT!" (TM)]
Tyrannus is the one who captured Ted's brother (Ralph) [I'd just like to point out that I did not have to reference the comic to remember his name was Ralph. These names are now taking up space in my brain along with Pythagoras's theory, how to tie my shoes, and the words to "The Lumberjack Song". ALL IMPORTANT INFORMATION!]. Tyrannus is forcing Ralph to use his knowledge of advanced cobalt-ing to cover a robot in ... cobalt! [Man, I have to try some of that cobalt, it sounds GREAT!]
|Mole Man: From a time when Super Villains could look like |
your chubby guidance counselor.
Meanwhile, the other awful despot of the underground world [vote for the awful underground ruler you hate the least, lest you find yourself ruled by the one you hate the most - THIS is the major flaw in the two-party, underground-kingdom system], The Mole Man, uses a stinky river to wipe the minds of the X-Men and make them slaves that he will employ, along with his DIAMOND-covered robot, to destroy Tyrannus.
|Contact High Creek|
(Behind old man Willie Nelson's place)
Now, round about this time, Beast and Cyclops are descending the tunnel that Jean, Angel, and Iceman had previously made with their borrowed earth-car. Um. Since in the scene when they were originally drilling, someone mentioned that they were 20 MILES down, it's hard to believe that Cyclops and the Beast used a ROPE to get down there - and do it in record time. [I will believe that a man has grown wings to fly, and that another man can shoot force beams of variable strength from his eyes, depending on the situation, and that another man can turn into ice, despite the very rigid laws of thermodynamics, and that a woman can use her mind to move objects yet cares not a wit about gender equality, and that yet another man can be a beast [according to my spinster aunt, all men are]. I will even believe in Santa Claus way past when all the other kids in my class have stopped to do so and it becomes somewhat awkward for my family in group social situations around the holidays! But I will NOT believe ... wait ... what was I saying? Something about vertical distances, right? d=1/2gt2?
Does it matter? NOPE! Then the mind-controlled Angel throws dirt in the face of the Cobalt Robot and it gets confused, trips, and explodes. [See over there --->]
But why did it explode? Because Ted's brother, Ralph, has more stones than all the X-Men combined. See, even though he was threatened with death if he didn't coat Tyrannus' robot with indestructible cobalt, he went ahead and inserted some explod-y particles, too. That's the kind of guy Ted's brother, Ralph, is. (The kind that'll sneak explosives into your high-end electronics. Hope you weren't attached to your hifi system...)
Further more, he then socks Tyrannus on the jaw in a last ditch effort to sock Tyrannus on the jaw. Looks like the X-Men weren't needed, this week. Maybe they should have continued looking for Xavier, instead of side-questing? Prioritizing is not taught at Xavier's School.
Well, hope you X-Mens had a nice vacation ... down, in the underground. You'll find someone true. Down in the underground. A land serene, a crystal moooooooon. DANCE MAGIC!
Oh, and to wrap up, both Tyrannus and The Mole are punished by having to sniff that weird river so that they lose all their memories. Yeah.
This might be the worst issue in a long, long time. It was just drab. It seemed to be treading water. No real story movement, and it ends with the X-Men in the same place they were at the start: Having to fix Cerebro to find Professor X and Factor Three. "Two steps forward, two steps back" -DJ Scatcat.
Wanna read the source materials? It's covered in:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4