Friday, August 17, 2012

Confronting The Factor - Part 1 (Issue #37)

THREE-PARTER! (Bear with me, it'll be worth it once you realize that, after this final push, we're DONE with this Factor Three shenanigans!)

On their way to the Alps, the X-Men's plane is attacked by a flying saucer under the control of that pesky ole Factor Three. To escape (and to get the other passengers out of harms way, of course - this isn't all selfish) they open the door and jump from the plane. THIS was seen as their best chance! There are so many reasons this would not work today, namely: Physics, but ... oh well! It was the 60s and the friendly skies were a wildwest of devil-may-care do-what-you want-itude. You were even allowed to smoke! But you still couldn't use your cell phone. Some things never change!

Our team combines their power of flight, telekinesis, and ice-slide making to land safely, though abruptly. Immediately they are surrounded by robot spiders and Factor Three personages. They flee into a nearby valley full of convenient mysterious fog ... which is actually a convenient fog of sleep and they all pass out. Factor Three then slaughters every last one of them while they have the chance and nope, they are captured and put into a bubble jail cell, instead.

Bubble Jail Cells: Your best bet in X-Men containment (TM)

We hear the voice of their captors ... who ARE these mysterious Factor Three?! ZOOM OUT! SHOCKING REVEAL! HOLY CRAP, IT'S ... THE VANISHER?! (And Unus and The Blob and Mastermind (when did he get un-stoned?) but I'm most excited about The Vanisher!) Also: Factor Three has four members? OH! Right, because 4 is a FACTOR of 3! That's just first-grade math! (And by that, I mean, it's math only a first grader would believe. Take THAT FIRST GRADERS and your low math comprehension.)

"Have you ever video-chatted with your nemeses -  from
half-way around the world?! You will. And AT&T will
bring it to you!" --Magnum PI

Those four are watching the X-Men-In-A-Bubble via Skype Chat, but there is a FIFTH Factor Three member on-scene. He is called The Changeling. His power is either to change his face or he's a story about a pair of young girls coming-of-age in an unpredictable world. Or some joke about diapers.

His hat looks like some foreign plug adapter.

And a SIXTH Factor Three is there, too: The Mutant Master, the leader of Factor Three. And NOW, it all becomes clear, with six members, why they're called Factor Three. Though, it's more like THREE FACTORIAL! *Nerd fives all around* 3!

His hat looks like it uses that foreign plug adapter. 

The X-Men are informed by 3! that they are now on trial for their crimes against mutant-kind. Chung Chung! Mutant Court Part Thirteen, The Alps. Sam Waterston is outraged and indignant. "PROSECUTE THEM!" he screams. Chung Chung!

In a parade of whining, each of the video-conferenced villains recap their humiliating defeats at the hands of our X-Friends. It's all stuff we know, until we get to The Mastermind who reveals, "Oh! That spell from The Stranger that turned me to stone? [See issue #11] It was temporary and wore off! But I was still mad at you guys, so I joined what I thought was a boy band, but turned out to be a group of evil mutants, which was fine by me, too, as I'm getting on in years and need something more stable than a boy band, something with a pension plan and, oh, but that's just silly old me rambling on! To sum up: I hate you."

Even by Law and Order criteria, this was a kangaroo court. [Take a moment to image that, literally. It's pretty cute, right?] And the sentence is death! [Also to be the name of the first book in my writer-cum-detective series of novels. "The Sentence is Death!"]

All joking aside, the real reason for the Factor Three name is revealed. See, once their Death Sentence [book 2 in my series of wildly popular crime-thrillers] is carried out, the X-Men won't be around to stop Factor Three from starting WWIII in which they shall stand alone as a "third factor".
Not a good explanation at all. Was this a common term of the late 70s? Cuz I'm not sure what it means. So, the US is a factor and Russia is a factor? Where is O'Reilly? What about X-Factor? oooh. I can't wait to start reading those!

Fished out of their jail bubble with a really big, green net, the X-Men are next put into a group mind-wiping machine. (Because doing them one at a time is inefficient, so it's better to have a machine that can do multiples.)

Cobbled together with parts from an olde tyme hairdryer,
the "Gravitron" carnival ride, some pool noodles, and
second-hand Dalek parts. The Mutant Master is into "found" evil.
Are they strictly observed until the process is over, so nothing can go wrong, OR, are they left alone with the assumption that everything is going to go according to Mutant Master's plan? You have guessed correctly.

So, Scott instructs Iceman to create some ice - play to your strengths, I always say! - and he then instructs Marvel Girl to marvel them over the control panel and hold them there until they melt. Then the melt-water short circuits the machine and, instead of frying them all in an electrical fire, the machine defaults to "free the captured mutants" mode and pops the bindings on each of them. But wait! There was a giant robot, nearby, this whole time, just biding its time, watching them escape.

Jonathan DeMuth Robot.
(About 12 people get this joke, sorry.)
For the rest of you, enjoy this alternative caption:
Beast: Too much, or just enough, junk in his trunk?

They defeat the robot, but are they too late to stop Factor Three from starting World War Three? If the Mutant Master (who pops up on the video screen) is to be believed, then yes. Yes they are too late and everyone is already dead.

Now, back in the day, most people would have had to wait a WHOLE MONTH to find out if he was lying. Not you guys! You'll know the answer in about a week ... or whenever I can get around to finishing the next one of these recaps. (So probably in a little over a month. Oh, how things change and how they stay the same ... or get worse!)

I'd stopped reading the X-Men once I got to the end of the Silver Age, figuring I should catch up on the blog before I got too deep in the hole. But just recently, I've started reading "new" issues again - the ones from the Second / Deadly (depending on who you ask) Genesis in 1975. And, let me tell you, it's like day and night. The 70's ones are actually enjoyable and don't feel like a job. It's made me hate these Silver Age ones even more than I already did. So! Look forward to me being MORE dismissive and MORE hateful toward this original series! (But hopefully equally - if not more-than-equally - as funny [oh, these were supposed to be FUNNY?!] Zinged myself.)


Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4