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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

X-amining X-Men #43

"The Torch is Passed...!"
April 1968

In a nutshell: In the wake of Professor Xavier's death, Magneto returns! 

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: George Tuska, Werner Roth (2nd Story)
Inker: John Tartigalone, John Verpoorten (2nd Story)
Letterer: Sam Rosen, Artie Simek (2nd Story)

Plot
Watching the funeral of Professor X from afar, Magneto observes Quicksilver approaching the proceedings. The X-Men spot Quicksilver as well, and suspicious, confront him. Quicksilver only wishes to pay his respects, and his working up the courage to ask the X-Men for help, but their hostility towards him chases him back to Magneto. The X-Men return to the mansion and discover a recording Professor X made before his death, telling them that Marvel Girl now shares his telepathic abilities, which they will need in confronting a newly-returned Magneto.


Back at Magneto's base on an island in the Atlantic, Quicksilver tends to the injured Scarlet Witch, and Magnetor asserts his promise to help her, saying the supplies he needs will be on a ship passing by within the week. Magneto keeps to himself thoughts of how he caused Scarlet Witch's injury in the first place, in order to keep her and Quicksilver under his sway. A week later, Magneto uses his power to draw a cargo ship in one of the nearby sea lanes to his base, not knowing the X-Men are stowed aboard, having deduced that Magneto was after the computer the ship was carrying. The X-Men burst forth from the ship and attack Magneto and the Brotherhood, but Magneto gets the upper hand and incapacitates them. With the computer from the ship, Magneto is able to complete a device that will enslave mankind, with the X-men at his mercy.

2nd Story: "Call Him...Cyclops!"
The nature and capabilities of Cyclops' optic blast are detailed.


Firsts and Other Notables
Magneto returns, having finally escaped from the Stranger's planet (having been returned there after his last breakout in issue #18), as chronicled in Avengers #47-49. In those issues, Magneto returned to Earth and kidnapped Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in order to rebuild his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Being Avengers at this point, they naturally resisted, though Quicksilver became interested when Magneto announced his plan to use his newly-acquired island base as a refuge for mutants. At the UN (where Magneto demanded they recognize a separate nation for mutants) Magneto manipulated events so that Scarlet Witch was grazed by a bullet, leading Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to retreat to his base with Magneto so that Magneto can try to heal Scarlet Witch, which is where they are when this issue begins.


Marvel Girl now has telepathic powers. A pre-recorded Xavier (presumably the real one, and not a pre-death Changeling) explains that he "gave her" some measure of his power so the team wouldn't be without telepathy, but later stories reveal that Marvel Girl has always possessed telepathy, but that Xavier blocked her access to it until she could properly handle it. Thus, it can be assumed that Xavier removed those blocks just prior to this issue.


This is Roy Thomas' final full issue of his first run on the book (though he'll be credited with plots on the next two issues). More on that in the next issue.

George Tuska provides the pencils, subbing for Don Heck.

A Work in Progress
Xavier has no friends or family, apparently, as only the X-Men attend his funeral. It's mentioned that FBI Agent Fred Duncan couldn't attend lest the partnership between him and the X-Men get exposed, and that Banshee is off on a mission.


The extra time Professor X and Marvel Girl were spending together in previous issues is revealed to have been spent secretly training Marvel Girl in the use of her telepathy, which further explains why she was in on the whole "Xavier is dying" secret. The retcon in issue #65 will further expose other secrets to which Marvel Girl has been made privy.

The backup story reveals that Cyclops' optic blast is solar powered and that there's a button in his glove which opens his visor so he doesn't have to bring his hand to the visor anytime he wants to shoot a beam.


Ah, the Silver Age
Why use a 35mm camera or an "in the event of my death" note when there's Kirbytech?!?


Magneto forces Toad to wear a metal belt so he can more easily discipline him.


Toad attacks the X-Men with a battering ram, heavy on the ram.


Even stone is useless against Magneto.


For Sale
Is your home lacking in dramatic beauty?


Ladies, are you just too skinny?


Teebore's Take
The attempts to boost the X-Men's sales continue, bringing back their #1 villain for a crossover with the higher-selling Avengers book. This particular crossover is less crass, however, as it makes sense to bring the X-Men and Avengers together. Roy Thomas was writing both books, for one thing, and both sets of characters were connected thanks to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, current Avengers and former X-Men villains. As a result, this story feels more natural and less random than some of Thomas' previous X-Men yarns. To this day, the X-Men and the Avengers have a unique shared history, and while the two teams previously met in issue #9, much of that history begins with this story.

9 comments:

Anne said...

that's the first i've ever heard of a button in Scott's glove for his visor.

i wonder what's in those weight gain pills...
if they were weight loss pills, i'd go for tapeworm eggs

Palindrome said...

Why would you need to take weight gaining pills? Just eat some donuts like the rest of us!

And I am on the lookout for some dramatic beauty in my home.

Teebore said...

@Anne: Nowadays, the visor is operated via sci-fi mumbo-jumbo that responds to his thoughts, so it just opens when he wants it to.

@Palindrome: just eat some donuts like the rest of us!

Maybe the doughnuts aren't enough...

Palindrome said...

donuts are always enough. Or just eat tons of red meat and then not poop.

Falen said...

we've already discussed the not pooping issues.

I bet that Xavier, after faking his death, totes watched his funeral from afar (as other literary characters have done in the past)

But then when he saw how pretty much no one showed up, a single tear fell down his cheek.

HAHA! Eat it chuck!


Holy hell - my WV is Matee! Just like teebore and his power of Heart!

Teebore said...

@Falen: But then when he saw how pretty much no one showed up, a single tear fell down his cheek.

Nah, that'd be too close to real emotion. More likely, he jotted down a note: "after revealing my survival to the X-Men, give them all demerits for attending my funeral instead of fighting evil mutants."

Just like teebore and his power of Heart!

Shut it.

Blam said...


The cover to this issue isn't the first pic I've seen showing Magneto with such a monstrous puss -- in contrast to his early Kirby look and later appearances -- but, man, it might be the most severe.

I'm glad you, and the story especially, referenced Pietro and Wanda's membership in The Avengers, Teebore, because as I was reading your story recap I thought, gosh, they were definitely part of Cap's Kooky Quartet by now. How could I have doubted that my pal Rascally Roy would have his plot-point ducks in a row?

Magneto: "... according to radio reports I have monitored..."

Uh, Mags? It's called listening to the news. You don't gotta be so bombastic all the time.

Teebore: Magneto manipulated events so that Scarlet Witch was grazed by a bullet

Nice one, Dad!

Teebore: Marvel Girl now has telepathic powers. A pre-recorded Xavier (presumably the real one, and not a pre-death Changeling) explains that he "gave her" some measure of his power so the team wouldn't be without telepathy,

Jean: "Thanks, Professor! Maybe next you can give Scott Hank's big feet?"

So in that panel you reprinted where she's probably supposed to be sobbing with grief, you think maybe post-retcon she's trying not let the others see her laughing? "Suckerrrs!"

Teebore: Xavier has no friends or family, apparently, as only the X-Men attend his funeral.

At least they remembered Fred Duncan, although I guess at this point they'd dredged him up for the backup stories; if I recall right (sadly, I haven't been following your reviews from the start or been able to go back and read them all) he was phased out pretty early on.

Early installments of long-running series can look so bizarre after decades of added stories and characters. Moira MacTaggart and even Gabrielle Haller would've shown up at Xavier's funeral unless warned it was a sham, which post-recon of it being a sham and post-revelation of their existence we can imagine they were. 8^)

Jean: "Why can the Professor have hidden it thus -- even from us?"

"I mean, otherwise, he's so open about everything!"

Magneto: "I force you to wear a magnetic belt so that I may chastize you thus!"

Ah... It's a chastizey belt.

Teebore: Is your home lacking in dramatic beauty?

Ooh... Paging Alex Rodriguez!

Ad: "Health Aids tablets are packed with pounds gaining calories, Vitamins, Iron, Minerals, and other nourishing ingredients."

"Do not consume before fighting Magneto."

What is this power of Heart with which you tease Teebore, Falen? Inside joke? And may I come inside?

VW: matin -- The woman who raised the Woodsman of Oz (unless you're French).

Teebore said...

@Blam: It's called listening to the news. You don't gotta be so bombastic all the time.

If I've learned anything from comics, its that the sixties were filled with exclamation points. Everyone was shouting back then!

Nice one, Dad!

And of course, the story acts like a bullet grazing is some life-threatening injury that only Magneto can cure, while in the meantime, Scarlet Witch wanders around in an injured fugue state.

I mean, she could have recovered from an actual bullet wound by now, let alone a grazing. It's a wonder she survived being an Avenger.

Jean: "Thanks, Professor! Maybe next you can give Scott Hank's big feet?"

Seriously; you'd think Professor X could just telepathically swap everyone's powers the way he goes around.

you think maybe post-retcon she's trying not let the others see her laughing?

Ha! That's exactly how I like to picture it.

At least they remembered Fred Duncan, although I guess at this point they'd dredged him up for the backup stories; if I recall right...he was phased out pretty early on.

Yeah, he first appeared in issue #2, then was promptly forgotten until the Cyclops backup story. I believe he shows up in the main story again before too long, and then feds away into obscurity for good.

Harry Sewalski said...

@Teebore: Nah, that'd be too close to real emotion. More likely, he jotted down a note: "after revealing my survival to the X-Men, give them all demerits for attending my funeral instead of fighting evil mutants."

If I ever end up writing X-Men, I am so totally making this canon. You win five internet points for today, good sir.