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3.9 stars

Average score of 56 user reviews

Funeral of Xavier 0

This is the final issue of Roy Thomas' first run of the title. It includes a funeral for Professor X, a set-up of the X-Men's new situation and a reintroduction to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. A Pretty good issue. But lets see what we have here. - The issue opens with the funeral of Xavier. Taking place in an unnamed graveyard under constant rain. A Reverend Brown is presiding. Only Angel, Beast, Cyclops,  Iceman, and Marvel Girl bothered to turn up and mourn for him. Jean offers an explanat...

3 out of 4 found this review helpful.

A pretty good tale 0

Roy Thomas continues two major subplots from the previous issues: the disappearance of the Olympian Gods and the revival of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. John Buscema gets to draw some rather interesting scenes and the first depiction of Typhon in the Marvel Universe. A pretty good tale but with some flaws in characterization.  So what happens: - In Olympus, Hercules' efforts to locate anyone still around result in a meeting with Typhon. Who quickly proclaims they are the last two Olympians s...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A bit of a let-down 0

Following a very strong previous issue, this is a bit of a let-down. The Brotherhood subplot continues but nothing of particular significance takes place. Dane Whitman gets a more detailed origin story and inherits the mantle of the Black Knight. But doesn't really get to shine here. So what do we have here?: - Magneto tries to convert Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to his cause. Only to repeatedly hear them proclaim their loyalty to the Avengers. Magneto is loosing his patience. "The Avengers! ...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

A very strong issue 1

Some 1960s tales have aged badly. Others maintain their charm decades later. This is arguably a very strong issue of the series, with multiple subplots and significant changes.  Subplot #1: The fates of Magneto and Toad. Two members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who were abducted by the Stranger in "X-Men" vol. 1 #11 (May, 1965). Magneto had briefly escaped in #16-18  (January-March, 1966), only to be recaptured. Here we find the two mutants living in exile in a barren planetoid. The Strang...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

Significant issue with some obvious plot-holes 0

This is one of the most important issues in the entire series. The first death of Professor X, the first time Jean Grey uses telepathy and the opening of a period where the X-Men operate independently from their mentor. An bold new direction for a underperforming series. But there are enough plot-holes here to make the story less than enjoyable.  The good: - The issue begins with a rather tense confrontation between Warren and Jean. Angel and Iceman have returned to the Mansion to seek her help....

2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Building up Suspense 0

This issue is pretty much devoted to building up suspense for the next. Introducing some tensions among the X-Men, a rather nihilistic villain and a device which can supposedly destroy a planet. I I rather like the results, though the artwork could be better. Anyway, the story has some strong points - The story opens at midnight, within the subway system of New York City. A giant figure steps right before a speeding train. He derails the charging "monster" with minimal effort. Passengers of the ...

3 out of 4 found this review helpful.

A lesser effort 1

This is another of Roy Thomas' lesser efforts on the title. With the end of Factor Three, Thomas has either completed or dropped most of his major sub-plots. This issue is killing time until the next big story-arc. Introducing a mysterious subplot on the way. So its time for another one-shot villain.   I have to say that the best part of the issue isn't in either of the stories featured. Its in the fan letters. A letter by disillusioned reader Ken Jensen pretty much evaluates Thomas' first run o...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Hit and miss 1

This is the conclusion to the Factor Three Saga and Thomas has several ideas to present. Unfortunately, the story moves at a rather frenetic pace. Not devoting enough time in exploring any particular detail. Some of the ideas are rather interesting and could have led to further stories. Others were plain weird. Lets see:   - Jean and Hank manage to use their combined powers to escape. The Beast known Russian and tries to alert the nearby generals of the danger threatening them all. Blob and Marv...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

X-Men vs the armies 0

Roy Thomas continues his Cold War saga with another decent issue. Though the structure of the story seems to resemble that of a typical Justice Society of America tale of the 1940s. In other words, the story requires the team to split and head for different destinations, completing different tasks. Each told in a different chapter.The second story is more significant. Nominally it is the beginning of Cyclops' first origin story. Actually its a 5-page story on Professor X, with Cyclops having a c...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Cold War fears 0

This isn't the greatest issue in terms of action. But Roy Thomas has managed to create a tale inspired by some very real fears of the Cold War era. It renders the issue a period piece, but a pretty good reflection of its time.It has been almost a year since the introduction of the term "Factor Three". But this is the issue which clarifies its meaning. The organization views itself as a third factor (faction) in international politics, alongside the "First World"/"Western World" and the "Second W...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

Daddy issues 1

There is a certain charm in this issue, while it deals with a classic trope of Marvel's 1960s tales. That is, when the protagonist(s) are in desperate need of money and mere heroics won't save the day. Or as Cyclops puts it: "Even mutants have to eat".But there is a reason Mekano remains a mostly forgotten villain, only appearing in flashbacks and works dealing with even the minor foes of the X-Men. He isn't a very exciting character. Neither his costume, nor his powers make him stand out from M...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Contrived Coincidences 0

This issue is nominally part of the wider "Factor Three" storyline. Well, it does manage to reintroduce the Banshee, give readers a glimpse at the Changeling and introduce the headquarters of this "European" organization. But otherwise it is a collection of contrived coincidences. By definition: a " highly improbable occurrence in a story which is required by the plot, but which has absolutely no outward justification". Here we have several. Even Roy Thomas himself seems to be calling attention ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Land of Perpetual Twilight 0

Subterranea is one of the classic settings for any Marvel tale. It was introduced back in "Fantastic Four" vol. 1 #1 (November, 1961) and has been revisited in many tales of the FF, the Avengers and related characters. With such an often visited setting, the challenge for any creator is to offer an interesting take on it.  Roy Thomas arguably succeeds. The conflicts between Mole Man and Tyrannus are not a new concept. But giant robots fighting each other in combats to the death certainly add to ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Decent but far from great. 0

Roy Thomas has written hundreds of stories involving magic and magic users in titles such as "Conan the Barbarian", "Red Sonja", "the Defenders", "Brother Voodoo" and "Ghost Rider". The story of this issue is among his very early efforts on the subject. This ought to be exciting. Unfortunately, what we get is a decent story with some fancy ideas. But a rather clumsy execution.   The good:  - The Juggernaut is further established as a powerhouse. The X-Men have notified the National Guard of the ...

2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Brother's Keeper 0

To paraphrase an old song by Oingo Boingo: "It's an Iceman's party, who could ask for more"? Well this issue presents a memorable birthday party and so much more. Almost the entire supporting cast makes an appearance (minus Ted Roberts), the Scott-Jean relationship reaches a critical point, readers get a closer look at the psychology of Professor X and a classic villain gets an upgrade. The only real problem is a finale which makes no sense whatsoever.   To begin with, the issue features two sub...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Mixed results 0

Roy Thomas uses the issue to resolve a number of the series' subplots. Paying some attention to the personal lives of the characters, ending the resident love triangle (Warren-Jean-Scott), introducing Ralph Roberts. And setting ip a couple of subplots for the following issues.   Unfortunately, the issue also attempts to introduce a new villain. Cobalt Man never found a proper place among the rogues' gallery of the X-Men. Particularly since the fellow doesn't have any real motivation to go after ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Great artwork 1

Roy Thomas seems to be paying attention to readers' requests. A fan letter in #28, written by one Barry Smith, asked for a crossover between the X-Men and another Marvel mutant. Namely the "Merlin" character from "Journey Into Mystery" #96 (September, 1963).   The result is the first encounter between the X-Men and an immortal mutant. Preceding Selene and Apocalypse by decades. That said, the story is less than coherent. More reminiscent of a 1980s Filmation cartoon. What I really loved in the i...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

That's more like it 1

To me at least, this was one of the most enjoyable issues of this series. The characters get a chance to interact out of costume, we get a bit more insight on Cyclops, the Mimic and even the Super-Adaptoid. The Factor Three subplot takes a backseat. We only learn they are active in Europe.   -Anyway, the issue starts on a quiet winter morning. All six young X-Men visit a frozen pond near the Mansion. The males heavily dressed, Jean in a miniskirt! Robert and Hank are eager to skate. Though their...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

That was a bit clumsy 1

This issue is famous for the introductions of Banshee/Sean Cassidy, the Ogre/Brian Dunlap and a basic introduction to the Factor Three organization. While there is some pretty good material here, I was rather surprised at the clumsy way it is handled. Roy Thomas could certainly do better.   The Good:   - Sean is basically a living sonic weapon whose sound waves can shatter solid objects at certain frequencies. And cause humans to collapse on the ground.  - Brian has some basic powers of technolo...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

HYDRA at its most lethal 0

This issue is a landmark among early HYDRA storylines with the introduction of a new supreme leader and Hydra island . Their master plan, based on germ warfare, is a Cold War classic and still resonates with some real fears. All with some spectacular artwork by Steranko. But let us take a closer look at the issue.  Events follow directly from the previous issues. Laura Brown, surviving daughter of the previous Imperial Hydra, has defected from the organization. HYDRA targets this "traitor" for a...

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Impressive handling of subplots 2

Roy Thomas further develops some of the subplots from previous issues and introduces new ones. I have to say I am impressed at the numerous threads weaved into the tapestry of a single issue. The one flaw of the issue its lack of character development for Warren. But I'll get to that later.   Subpot #1: In the previous issue, the Angel was blasted by Cyclops in mid-combat. This issue deals with the consequences of the incident. Warren is first seen with one of his shoulders and his entire chest ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A street brawl 0

This issue is considered a milestone for comic books in the Silver Age. For one thing it features the second superhero wedding in history. Reed Richards and Susan Storm finally get married. There were few married superheroes before and their marriages mostly  occured off-panel. The one major exception being the wedding of Aquaman and Mera in "Aquaman" vol. 1 #18 (November, 1964). For another thing this Annual features the greatest gathering of Marvel characters by this point. Not to mention a ch...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Fantastic use of characters 3

Some issues of the 19960s Fantastic Four have aged badly. Others can still impress modern readers, decades after their publication. I have to say #36 is among the latter. The Storm siblings definitely get a chance to shine, the Frightful Four make credible threats, Meduca is a pretty good addition to the cast. Even Alicia gets to play hero for once.   The issue features the engagement party of Reed and Susan. Which allows Kirby to design a media circus as numerous photographers and cameramen str...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Promising start, no resolution 0

This issue is arguably a pretty important moment of the Fantastic Four series. State University gets properly explored, Diablo makes his second appearance, and Dragon Man and his affection for Susan are introduced. More importantly Reed Richards finally proposes to Susan Storm, advancing a romantic subplot that was ongoing since 1961. But I'd have to say the issue is something of a mixed blessing.  For one thing, the motivation of Diablo is never really established. In a 1994 interview, Stan Lee...

0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Spotlight on Magneto 0

This issue features a battle between Thor and Magneto. Having reviewed most of the early appearances of the Master of Magnetism, I realized I had overlooked this one. I was pleasantly surprised to find some pretty impressive depictions of both combatants and their powers. Kirby even has a splash panel featuring Magneto's power influencing the entire New York metropolitan area.   But lets take a closer look at the story. The story opens with a rather cute scene, featuring a fictionalized version ...

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Great issue with a few glaring faults 4

The first Spider-Man Annual arguably stands out among the best-remembered 1960s issues of Marvel. For good reason. 41 pages of frenetic action, first story dealing with Spider-Man loosing his powers, the establishment of an actual rogues' gallery for Spidey, the set-up of a relationship between Aunt May and Doctor Octopus, plenty of comical moments featuring J. Jonah Jameson and plenty of interaction between various Marvel heroes. With Steve Ditko delivering some great artwork. Followed in the r...

0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A fine collection of plot holes 0

For most of the 1960s, the Fantastic Four were the flagship title of Marvel. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did some great work in creating new characters, concepts and relationships. Stuff that are still influencing the Marvel output, five decades later. But obviously not all of the issues were five-star material.  #28 features the first crossover between the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. They fight against each other at first, then team-up against common foes. The classic Marvel crossover of the time...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Fun issue, inconsistent characterization 0

This issue is considered one of the highlights among Hulk's early appearances and a pretty good 1960s issue for Namor. Personally I find a very enjoyable look at all major characters involved. But the characterizations are rather inconsistent throughout the issue. Particularly that of the Hulk himself. Stan Lee seems to be still experimenting here.   Anyway, the issue begins with Iron Man convincing his fellow Avengers (Giant-Man, Thor, Wasp) of the necessity to locate the Hulk. Fearing that the...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Empires rise and fall 0

I'll have to say this is the most ambitious issue in quite a while. An empire rises and falls, the internal conflict within the X-Men gets the spotlight treatment and a new subplot established. If not for a few poorly conceived scenes, this would be a favorite.  First on the Kukulcan front. The new avatar of the deity is soon confronted with attacks by Ramon, Toloc and Cyclops. Easily knocking out all three of them. Cyclops even finds his own blasts reflected back at him. Knocking out for severa...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Not much of a story 1

Sometimes you read a story and feel that a creative writer has had numerous ideas for plot points. But that he/she struggles with how to include them all within an issue or two. Sometimes you read a story and get the impression that all points of significance could be covered within five or ten pages. Not an entire issue.   In the case of this issue, I get the impression that there was not much of a story to be told. It has so many filler scenes to accompany a simple and predictable main plot.  ...

1 out of 3 found this review helpful.

A new chapter 0

I have noted before that Roy Thomas seems to have done his homework on the X-Men prior to writing stories about them. The strongest point of the issue is addressing a long-standing plot hole of the series. The Xavier Mansion is known to the public as a private school. With Xavier actually incorporating preparatory school courses in the curriculum. But the X-Men already had their graduation day in #7. It had been left unclear why they had yet to attend a college.  In this issue, the parents of Je...

1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Conflicting Agendas 0

Roy Thomas has delivered another flawed but interesting issue. This time much of the fun for me was in the many conflicting agendas of the various various people and groups involved.  Count Nefaria entraps the entire city of Washington within an impenetrable dome. Giving a deadline to the congress for the payment of a large sum or money. Their alternative being the death of everyone in the city from suffocation. He uses holograms of the X-Men to interact with those within the city. Meanwhile he ...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

The return of some underused villains 2

When Roy Thomas is involved in any comic book series, readers can expect the revivals and/or reworkings of several older characters. He started his run as an X-Men writer with revivals of Blob and Unus, as well as a serious reworking of Lucifer. This issue revives some classic Marvel villains who had not been seen in a while: Count Nefaria, Eel, Plantman, Porcupine, Scarecrow and the Unicorn.   I have to admit I found the artwork of the issue less than exciting. Nefaria gets the spotlight treatm...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Conflicts among the X-Men. 1

This issue seems to be in part a Western, in part a science-fiction story. But of more importance is that the X-Men are finally in conflict with each other. The individual personalities of the various team members have long been established. But in combat situations they usually followed the orders of Professor X or Cyclops. Here there are clear arguments over differing strategies and some open hostility among the members. Seems like a breath of fresh air in the series. The issue has a somewhat ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Spotlight on the Quist 3

Well, this is Roy Thomas' first issue on the X-Men. The good news is that he has clearly done his howework on the series and starts with restoring some old foes to power. He also seems full with ideas. The bad news is that they don't exactly make a coherent whole.   The issue certainly has a promising start. The Blob and Unus are robbing a bank in broad daylight. While dressed as X-Men, framing their foes for the crime. That distinctive uniform of the team is now finally exploited by their enemi...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

Power is a fleeting thing 1

The X-Men  have already faced several enemies whose powers make them constant threats, Now there is one who experiences power for some fleeting minutes and then watches it fade away.   The introduction features the X-Men in another training session in the Danger Room. Most of them find the exercises boring, with the exception of Iceman who is working on target practice and realizes he is no Hawkeye. Robert and Warren annoy each other and are about to fight. When a blast by Cyclops reminds them t...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Magneto the Mad Scientist 0

While I find several of the 1960s stories charming and at times intriguing, this issue was a mix of mad scientist clichés  , dated science fiction concepts and plain, old poor characterization.   Well, let us begin. Magneto has captured all the X-Men except Iceman. He proceeds to place all his captives into "a high altitude hot-air balloon" and expects this would be the end of them. They are supposed to suffocate from lack of oxygen. Not that bad of a plan, but there isn't really something stopp...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

Magneto could give the Trapster competition 0

The issue begins with the aftermath of the X-Men's battle with the Sentinels.Medical personnel are attending to the X-Men. Jean and Warren are fine, while Hank, Robert and Scott require further medical attention. As this medical subplot unfolds, Cyclops seems to be fine, though he has to convince an opthalmologist that examining his eyes is not an option. Beast has fractured bones in his legs but his healing factor helps him recover within an hour or two following his entry into the hospital.   ...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

The Sentinels are undone by a design flaw. 0

The issue follows two basic subplots, following from the previous issue. In the first one, Angel, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl were captured by the Sentinels, immobilized by a gravitational ray which leaves them barely able to move their limbs. This sub-plot follows their fates as prisoners.  The second one has Professor X, stuck outside Sentinel Headquarters return to New York City where a lone Sentinel lies inert in a television studio. He has to discover what knocked out this one and hopef...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Siege of Sentinel Headquarters 0

The plot of this issue is simple but effective. The X-Men have discovered the Headquarters of the Sentinels on the outskirts of New York City. Now they orchestrate a regular siege, attempting to penetrate its defenses. With several Sentinels manning said defenses and using anything from flamethrowers to mechanical tentacles.   The X-Men get to showcase both their powers and their level of determination. Particularly Xavier: "I've spent years drumming into you-- Nothing is Impossible!" He seems t...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.