byzantine's The X-Men #7 - The Return of the Blob review

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Significant developments

The issue has several developments in the characterization and subplots of the characters. 
*First the X-Men officialy graduate, gaining diplomas which signify finishing preparatory school. You would think they would be discussing going off to college education next. Instead only Cyclops entertains the idea of leaving his current school. So, graduation or not, nobody is leaving. Unless you count Xavier himself who is taking a temporary leave, attenting to mysterious personal matters.  
*Cyclops is appointed as deputy leader. He is very reluctant and nominates both the Beast and Angel as more qualified. The scene shifts and a couple of panels later , we see Scott having taken the job. Claiming the Professor "convinced" him it was his duty. One has to wonder, With words or telepathy? 
*Cerebro is introduced. Allowing the X-Men to locate other mutants regardless of moral affiliation. Only someone has to keep monitoring it constantly. Cyclops takes on the duty, even if it means isolating himself in an office while the other X-Men enjoy their free time.  
*On the Brotherhood front, Mastermind spends the entire issue trying to convince the Scarlet Witch that they would make a great couple. She is hardly impressed, dismissing his powers as having little use. Later having to rescue his hide from commo humans attacking them. Nice to see some genuine emotions from Jason and some backbone from Wanda. Mastermind also provides his own assessment of Magneto as a rival for hel loyalty.  "Magneto! Magneto! Am I always to be plagued by that name? He doesn't feel about you as I do! He has no emotions. No Heart. " 
*While Toad is barely in this issue, he arguably gets to shine in the fight with the carnies. When they dare threaten Magneto, the Master of Magnetism doesn't have to lift a finger. Toad jumps at his defense, proclaiming "No one may touch the Master! Magneto must never be harmed". He manages to knock down at least four opponents. Surprise, the flatterer seems to be genuinely loyal and protective of his leader.  
*The love triangle between Scott, Jean and Warren is further established. Jean is acting very sympathetic towards Scott. Warren even notes you can read her emotions for Scott in the way she looks at him. But Scott is having his usual poker face and Warren has to wonder about how unemotional his team-mate seems. Warren seems genuinely protective of jean throughout the issue. And Wanda as well. Other than some private thoughtsof his  in #4 about how attractive Wanda was, there were no further developments. Here he convinces Cyclops not to fire at the retreating Brotherhood, because "the Scarlet Witch is on board". In other words, no real interest of what happens to the rest. But Mr. Worthington cares about Wanda. 
*Iceman gains a new love interest in Zelda, the lovely waitress of a Greenwhich Village cafe. They flirt a bit, right before Bobby has to be recalled for a mission. The issue features numerous s tereotypical beatniks which are presented as even stranger than the X-Men. Stan Lee has some fun with them worshiping the Beast's large feet and gaining inspiration. The only named character is Bernard the Poet. Beast has to wonder why his "zen poetry" actuaaly sounds like a shopping list. To be informed by an adoring fun that Bernard is actually reading out a shopping list for his performance! Zelda and Bernard are naturally among the most recognizable supporting characters of the X-Men from this decade and go on to several subsequent appearances.  
*Jean Grey has been stated to be unable to lift the Beast any more. She does so here to teach him a lesson due to her argument. She also repeats her move of telekinetically finishing Quicksilver and barely manages to lift the Blob. After several issues treating her as a weakling, this issue seems to restore her among the most powerful X-Men.
*The Blob is the new prospective member of the Brotherhood and actually seems invulnerable for much of the issue. Only the Beast manages to affect him, temporarily blinding him with applying mud to the blob's eyes. When Magneto launches three torpedoes at the X-Men, Blob is standing right besides them. Magneto has decided to sacrifice him for an easy victory, despite vocal protestations from Mastermind, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Blob survives the blast and unwillingly serves as a human shield. Magneto escapes while fearing that the move has undermined his credibility as a leader. Blob is left behind, rather shell-shocked. He realizes that is left alone and disheartened realizes "The Blob has no pals". He decides to never trust anyone again, leaving to return to his carnival. He is resigned to living and dying as a "shideshow freak". That is some powerul stuff from the big guy.  
All in all, a pretty good issue. The only problem is Magneto's characterization. This issue advances the subplot that most of the Brotherhood hates him and would like to be free of him. Yet, he seems to be doing very little ro earn their loyalty. By this point he seems to be the most likely character to be murdered by his own people. What does that tell you of the leadership skill of the would-be conqueror?  

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