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Thursday, January 7, 2010

X-amining X-Men #29

"When Titans Clash"
February 1967

Editor: Stan Lee
Scripter: Roy Thomas
Artist: Werner Roth
Inker: John Tartaglione
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Skating Instructor: Irving Forbush

Plot: The X-Men are enjoying an afternoon of ice skating when Cyclops unknowingly revives the Super Adaptoid android. The Super Adaptoid remembers a secondary command programmed into him by his creators, A.I.M: to create other adaptoids and use them to rule the world. He follows the X-Men back to the mansion to determine if they will make fitting subjects for his first transformations.

Meanwhile, fed up with his insolence and constant bickering with the other X-Men, Xavier expels Mimic from the team, deciding to face Factor Three without him. After the Mimic departs, the Super Adaptoid attacks, and with the powers of the Avengers at his disposal, easily defeats the X-Men. Mimic, returning to tell off the X-Men, engages the Super Adaptoid, convincing the villain to try and copy Mimic's power. In the process, the two mimicking abilities cancel each other out. Powerless, the Super Adaptoid reverts to his original form and escapes. Mimic, who saw in the emotionless Super Adaptoid the end of the path Mimic is on, leaves the team, happy despite the loss of his power, having finally learned the true meaning of friendship. 

Firsts and Other Notables
A depowered Mimic leaves the team, once and for all, two issues after joining. He'll pop up again years later, with his power restored, but aside from an alternate version of the character's starring role in Exiles, this is pretty much the zenith of the character. 

The Super Adaptoid is a robot created by Marvel's resident group of evil mad scientists, A.I.M (or Advanced Idea Mechanics) that rebelled against his creators and set off on his own to turn the world into robots (seriously). Like Mimic, he can absorb and utilize the powers of people around him (though he retains those powers, unlike Mimic, who must remain in range of his subjects). The Super Adaptoid was principally a Captain America/Avengers villain at this point, which is why he has their powers while fighting the X-Men in X-Men #29.

A Work in Progress
The mystery of the door continues; last issue, Cyclops spent a panel observing it. Here, we get Professor X musing on how it hides his "greatest secret" and "most tragic failure".

The still-looming menace of Factor Three gets name checked again, and it's revealed they are based in Europe (something Banshee apparently told the team between last issue and this one).

Ah, the Silver Age
Here's some more swinging Sixties dialogue:

Also, Jean is wearing an unseasonably short skirt while ice skating.

The Super Adaptoid's hidden lair being in close proximity to the X-Mansion is, of course, a tremendous coincidence on which the story relies to work at all. 

There's a great bit where Iceman, alone, sees the Super-Adaptoid, rushes off the tell the X-Men about, and they proceed to mock him for the ridiculous notion of seeing a robot that he starts to wonder if he imagined it all. 

The moral of the story (just in case you missed it):

Young Love
Despite his earlier decision to move on from Jean a few issues back, Warren spends most of this one glued to her.

The Awesome and Terrible Power of Cyclops
Believing that Angel is still alive because he must have subconsciously held back his optic blast when he accidentally hit Angel a few issues ago, Cyclops tries to consciously control his power in the woods away from everyone else. When the blast emerges more powerful and uncontrollable than ever, he a mighty fit...of angst!

For Sale
Who wants an electronic computer brain? It's fun at parties! You can train it do your bidding!

Teebore's Take
Mimic's tenure as an X-Man comes to a close, only a few issues after joining. By today's standards, this seems like a short and abrupt end to the storyline, but I suppose this was actually a fairly long running plot in the days when almost every story was "done in one". The Super Adaptoid, a Marvel Universe mainstay, is another one of those villains that doesn't really "feel" like an X-Men villain, but at least in this case, he works thematically for the story of Mimic's redemption. Of course, Mimic has been such an intolerable ass up to this point that we don't really care that he redeemed himself at the cost of his power.

Still, this is a satisfactory conclusion to a quirky and often overlooked era in the X-Men's history: the first time they recruited a new team member, and he turned out to be so annoying even Xavier got fed up and kicked him off the team. And he wasn't even a mutant. As his later alternate turn in Exiles shows, there some promise baked into the character. But while the combination of him duplicating all the X-Men's powers (thereby rendering the main characters of the book superfluous) and him being a jerk to the X-Men (thereby setting him in opposition to the readers, who are, presumably, fans of the X-Men) works if he's cast as a villain (as he was initially), it doesn't work when we're suddenly asked to accept him as a teammate. Thereforem his tenure on the team was largely doomed from the start. 

Next Issue
The X-Men fight Merlin (sort of) in X-Men #30!


  1. Holy shit, there is really a guy called "Super Adaptoid"? That's like something you make up in the shower when you run out of shampoo and use soap instead:

    "Ah! The shampoo has run dry - luckily, that poses no problem for me, Super Adaptoid!"

    *no offense to any and all Super Adaptoid fans

  2. Don't worry, I don't think there actually are any Super Adaptoid fans.

    There is a school of thought amongst us comic wanks that when Stan Lee was creating the Marvel Universe back in the early-to-mid 60s, since he was doing it more or less by himself he didn't spend too much time coming up with names, and went with stuff that would be easier to remember.

    "He has electric powers; I'll call him Electro! He has magnetic powers; I'll call him Magneto! This one's a robot that can adapt super powers; I'll call him the Super Adapt...oid."

  3. Holy shit that thing WOULD be fun at parties!

  4. The thing I like about the X-Men stories is how relatable they are. I remember back in high school when I took a field trip to the zoo and I accidently activated a murderous robot. Boy, was there egg on my face.

    By the way, Cyclops may be angsty, but does Beast beat him? (

    I suppose I could see Cyclops singing a song like that. There should be an X-Men musical! Alright, now I'm rambling.

  5. @Falen: Seriously, right? Like, by our standards, it's pretty primitive, but back then, you show up with that thing at a party and it probably would have been like the first time a caveman showed off that "fire" thing to a group of friends.

    @Dr. Bitz: trust me, we ALL remember the time you accidentally activated a murderous robot.

    There's actually a humorous bit in this issue I didn't mention. After the Super Adaptoid awakens he fights for a bit with Iceman (the other X-Men went back to the school, but Iceman stayed behind to keep skating or something). Iceman manages to trap him in the ice and then runs off to tell the other X-Men, who refuse to believe him.

    Because in all the time they've been a team of mutant superheroes, being attacked by a ten-foot robot is just too strange to take seriously.

    An alien being whisked away their magnetic archenemy to a faraway planet once, and they discovered a tropical jungle underneath the antarctic ice, but a big robot? Nah, I'm sure Iceman's just crazy.


    The Beast is pretty angsty in that song (which is actually kinda awesome too). Then again, everything is more angsty when it's sung in a musical. So I think you're right: we need an X-Men musical.

    I can already hear Cyclops sing-whining about the terrible burden of his power...

  6. I once had a dream about the Iceman! Or just Iceman! He was a crudely drawn cartoon who just kept ambling around in circles while yelling "Let's Make Some Ice!" and I kept thinking "Isn't it 'Let's Kick Some Ice'?"

    I think this was a vignette in one of my Batman Fantasies.

  7. @Teebore: "He has electric powers; I'll call him Electro! He has magnetic powers; I'll call him Magneto! This one's a robot that can adapt super powers; I'll call him the Super Adapt...oid."

    Actually, fun fact: I have the Tales of Suspense issues with Super-Adaptoid's first appearance, and when he first appeared, he was just called the Adaptoid. He disguised himself as Jarvis, took out Captain America with some drugged coffee (he proceeded to not kill him because... Silver Age...) and then copied Captain America's powers/appearance. He was defeated by a C-List villain called the Tumbler when he broke into Avengers Mansion, whom the real Captain America defeated once he woke up. It wasn't until the next issue (this was a three-part story, I think) that the Adaptoid became the Super-Adaptoid after getting a chance to view the other Avengers when they came in to examine him.

    And as for who likes him, I actually don't mind the character, but he's never really been used that well. There's something about his insect-like appearance which really gets me, I guess.


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