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Friday, July 30, 2010

X-amining X-Men #47

"The Warlock Wears Three Faces!"
August 1968

In a nutshell: Beast and Iceman fight Maha Yogi.

Editor: Stan Lee
Plot: Gary Friedrich, Arnold Drake (2nd Story)

Scripter: Gary Friedrich and Arnold Drake
Layouts: Don Heck 
Penciller: Werner Roth
Inker: John Tartigalone, John Verpoorten (2nd Story)
Lettering: Artie Simek, Joe Rosen (2nd Story)

Plot
Depressed following the breakup of the X-Men, Iceman and Beast meet up with their girlfriends. The performance by the Maha Yogi the girls want to see is sold out, so they go to the Cafe-A-Go-Go instead. Inside the theater, Maha Yogi is brainwashing the entire audience into becoming his unwitting servants. After Beast's opinions of the poetry being performed at the coffee shop start a fight and gets the group chased out, they discover four openings to the next Maha Yogi show. As the show starts, Beast and Iceman recognize him as their one-time foe, the Warlock.

 

Slipping out of the crowd, the two X-Men attack Maha Yogi, who fights them off with complex illusions. Ultimately, they come to their senses, and Maha Yogi accidentally blasts the stage light control box while targeting Iceman. The dazzling lights disorient the mentally-unbalanced Maha Yogi, and Beast, after wrapping him in a stage curtain, bombards him with noise from one of the speakers, bringing him even closer to madness and forcing him to surrender.

2nd Story: "I, the Iceman
Iceman's powers and abilities are explained.


Firsts and Other Notables
After a scant few issues, Gary Friedrich is already on his way out. This is his last issue as writer. Arnold Drake, who co-scripts this issue with him, will take over next issue. 

Warlock, who first appeared in issue #30, returns as Maha Yogi, using his act as a Eastern spiritualist to hypnotize his audiences into becoming his servants. He has no immediate plans for them, though; apparently he just figures it never hurts to have a hypnotized army standing by. No explanation is given for how he went from "using Camelot-themed goons to conquer the world" to "use an evil theater act to create an army of slaves".

Vera and Zelda, Beast and Iceman's girlfriends, also appear again.

A Work in Progress
The last time the X-Men faced Warlock, he was defeated after Beast his cape over his head. Here, he's defeated after Beast pulls a stage curtain over his head...

The backup story establishes that Iceman draws on the ambient moisture around him to create ice.


Beast comments on the relative stupidity of Agent Duncan's whole "it's safer for the X-Men to split up" theory and worries that it will take the death of an X-Man to prove him wrong.


Ah, the Silver Age
Warlock's act as the Maha Yogi is a nod to the increasing popularity of Eastern spiritualism/mysticism in the United States at the time. Or, as Bobby says, he's a "real Oriental Ozone -- a gas, lass!"
 

More fun at the Cafe-A-Go-Go, at least until Beast's comments about the poetry set off a fight with some angry beatniks.


It's the Mighty Marvel Age of Tongue-in-Cheek!


Young Love
Hank and Bobby once again give their dates the bum rush, secretly running off to face Maha Yogi and later coming up empty pocketed. 


For Sale
Pete Duncan - "Dropout". Don't you wish you'd taken Business Math? (click to embiggen; it's worth it)


Teebore's Take
Now we're into the dregs...

Warlock was a pointless villain the first time around, and he's no better the second time around, even dressed up in a then-current fad. His defeat at the hands of theatrical equipment is downright laughable. Even worse, the entire plot of Beast and Iceman going into the city, taking on a villain and unintentionally ignoring their girlfriends is the kind of story that could have taken place at any point in the book's history. It doesn't require the X-Men being disbanded to work. After all the effort (and dubious reasoning) that went into splitting up the team, it's a shame this story, the first to follow in the wake of that new status quo, fails to utilize it.

8 comments:

  1. yeah that business math comic was totes worth it. Not $60 a week?!

    Is Maha Yogi his 'name'? or is it some sort of title?

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  2. they should try throwing blankets and junk over the heads of all their enemies. Maybe they'd get lucky.

    Also, if those beatniks get in a fight over poetry, it means no one is smoking enough pot

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  3. @Anne: Not $60 a week?!

    I was wondering what his family was doing while he was getting his degree? Starving?

    Is Maha Yogi his 'name'? or is it some sort of title?

    ...it's unclear. The character is referred to as "Maha Yogi" in other material, so while it might be a title as well, it's definitely his name (at least in this issue).

    @Falen: they should try throwing blankets and junk over the heads of all their enemies.

    The key to defeating Magneto once and for all has been right there the entire time: he wears a cape!

    Also, if those beatniks get in a fight over poetry, it means no one is smoking enough pot

    It's been pointed out elsewhere that either Friedrich or Drake (depending on who wrote what) didn't have the same flair for the Cafe-A-Go-Go scenes as Rascally Roy Thomas did.

    In this issue, they seem unable to distinguish beatniks/hippies with rowdy bikers and end up creating some kind of weird amalgamation in which offended poetry sensibilities lead to Hell's Angels-style violence.

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  4. Depressed following the breakup of the X-Men, Iceman and Beast meet up with their girlfriends.

    No! What part of "break up" do you not understand? Mommy, The X-Men are sleeping with danger!

    Arnold Drake, who co-scripts this issue with him, will take over next issue.

    Which is interesting given that... oh, wait, I just saw that you covered this in your writeup of the next issue. 8^)

    "use an evil theater act to create an army of slaves"

    I can't help but think of that classic SNL sketch: "I loved it. It was better than Cats. I would see it again and again." And not just 'cause a friend of mine recently left that line as a comment on my blog.

    Beast comments on the relative stupidity of Agent Duncan's whole "it's safer for the X-Men to split up" theory and worries that it will take the death of an X-Man to prove him wrong.

    Or right, since he and Iceman aren't exactly going their separate ways.

    Pete Duncan - "Dropout"

    Yikes! Agent Duncan couldn't even keep his son in school. No wonder he can't keep those wacky mutant kids from hanging out together.

    VW: Grank — The 2035 installment of Jason Statham's Chev Chelios franchise.

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  5. @Blam: Or right, since he and Iceman aren't exactly going their separate ways.

    But would Beast or Iceman alone have been able to subdue Maha Yogi?

    ...yes, but that's cuz it's Maha Yogi.

    Yikes! Agent Duncan couldn't even keep his son in school.

    Ha! I never made that connection! Poor Agent Duncan. ;)

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  6. "Into your costume, Beastie -- and we'll go pull the Yogi's beard!"

    ...What the hell is that supposed to accomplish? Does his beard control his powers? Is his beard being tugged the way to undo his hypnotism over the audience? I must know!

    It's the Mighty Marvel Age of Tongue-in-Cheek!

    The way Iceman's ice slides and ice ladders work have pissed me off to no end for years.

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  7. @Harry: What the hell is that supposed to accomplish? Does his beard control his powers? Is his beard being tugged the way to undo his hypnotism over the audience? I must know!

    I think it's just a euphemism for "kick for his ass", ie "let's go sock him one" or "let's give him a kick in the pants".

    Whether "let's pull his beard" was an actual euphemism for such in use back then, or something made up for the issue, I have no idea, but I'm going with the later.

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  8. I might have to get my high school diploma for a woman as fine as Helen, too.

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