Tag Archives: Mastermind

The X-Men #11, May 1965

The X-Men #11, May 1965

X-traordinary script by: Stan Lee
X-travagant art by: Jack Kirby
X-ceptional inking by: Chic Stone
X-emplory lettering by: Artie Simek

This is a pretty lame issue. You can tell that there’s still a lot of the influence of earlier, pre-superhero sci-fi comics in Stan Lee’s writing with stuff like this. I mean, you can’t blame the guy or anything, it’s just interesting to see the slight differences between the two styles. One always had goofy twist endings about aliens, and the other had mutants who can read people’s minds. Very, very different styles of writing.

Cerebro detects a new mutant… one so powerful it blows it up before it can show his picture! The X-Men blindly take to the streets in search of anything weird, but by pure chance Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants finds him first. He’s a weird, white-haired guy who just calls himself “a stranger”, but his powers appear to be many and far more powerful than even Magneto’s. A fight takes place between the two mutant groups, but the Stranger absconds with Magneto and Toad (after turning Mastermind into stone) back to where he came from… OUTER SPACE! Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch decide they’re done with this shit, and go join the Avengers.

Obviously this issue comes before The Avengers #16, where Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch join the Avengers. I guess I should explain my system for reading these comics in “more or less” chronological order. See, I just start with the first comic, that has an issue (with superheroes, or in the case of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, characters which would eventually get folded into the main Marvel superhero continuity), then put that in a column on my big ol’ Excel spreadsheet. As new comics come in, they get added in as new columns, and I just go across horizontally by publication date. Now, this isn’t a perfect system because publication dates are only on a month by month situation, and they come out at different points during the month. Also, half the time, they actually come out the month BEFORE the date on the issue, because of some weird publication thing I don’t understand and probably never will. Anyway, I just wanted to explain why sometimes these comics aren’t going to be in strictly chronological order, but it’s good enough for me.

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The X-Men #7, Sept. 1964

The X-Men #7, Sept. 1964

Written with all the spellbinding skill of: Stan Lee
Drawn with all the titanic talent of: Jack Kirby
Inked with all the vibrant verve of: Chic Stone
Lettered with all the words spelled right by: Art Simek

The X-Men are, yet again, fighting Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Of these first seven issues, only two of them didn’t have Magneto, and one of those was just about the Blob, whom Magneto tries to recruit in this one. I guess I can’t blame Stan too much for recycling characters, but this is getting a little silly.

It’s graduation day! Not only have the X-Men all completed their training, but I guess they have their high school equivalency diplomas too! Yay… Anyway, Professor X, his job done, is going on vacation, and he puts Cyclops in charge of the X-Men while he’s away. Meanwhile, Magneto has found out about the Blob, the circus sideshow freak who’s mutant ability allows him to remain planted on the ground no matter what. In their first encounter, Professor X wiped his brain to make him forget he was a mutant and about the X-Men, but during a struggle with Magneto this information comes back, and he agrees to help the master of magnetism.

Scott discovers this thanks to Cerebro, a machine the Professor made to act as a massive convenience device. The X-Men rush out to an abandoned factory that Magneto owns and engage in a big ol’ fight. In the end, Magneto turns against the Blob and he ironically saves them from a bunch of exploding torpedoes. The Blob decides to go back to the circus, not wanting to be involved in any of this stupid shit anymore, and the Brotherhood get away yet again.

I gotta expect that it’s going to be any issue now when Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch leave Magneto’s employ. They’re not bad guys at all, and it’s pretty obvious that they’re half-assing their fighting. Plus, somebody’s gotta go join the Avengers once all the heavy hitters leave. Oops, did I spoil something? No? Because it was written fifty years ago? Oh, good.


The X-Men #6, July 1964

The X-Men #6, July 1964

Written with the flair of: Stan Lee
Drawn with the air of: Jack Kirby
Inked with the care of: Chic Stone
Lettered on a dare by: S. Rosen

It was bound to happen eventually, Namor the Sub-Mariner always shows up to either fight or team-up with someone. In this case, it’s a contest of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (which is really a poor name, since Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch aren’t even evil in the slightest, plus there’s only five of them, which is pretty tiny for a brotherhood) against the X-Men, both of whom are trying to recruit the Sub-Mariner first.

Both Professor X and Magneto get the same idea at the same time: Namor is kind of a mutant, I guess, so let’s go get that due on our side. They both head down to the bottom of the ocean in some sort of mental, non-corporeal form (I get that Professor X has some mental projection thing, but why can Magneto do that? Is it like… a magnet ghost? I have no idea), but Magneto gets there first, and he convinces Namor to pay him a visit on his hidden island. I guess they only hang out on Asteroid M during the spring or something.

Namor gets to the island and immediately disregards Magneto and his team, except for the Scarlet Witch, whom he gets the hots for. The X-Men arrive on a chartered sailboat soon after, and a fight erupts. Luckily Namor doesn’t do a whole lot, instead trying to figure out if any of these people are even worth fighting with (it really is a good thing, since frankly the X-Men are outclassed against an enemy like him). In the end Magneto and his Brotherhood blast off, Namor goes back home to Atlantis, and the X-Men wonder just how strong of an allegiance Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have toward Magneto, as he would’ve left them there to die if Namor hadn’t stopped him.

So the premise of this issue is that Namor is a mutant, so he should join up with one of these mutant groups, but his deal is that he had an Atlantean mother and a human father, so he’s really more of a half-breed than a mutant, right? I’m not the only one who wondered about this, as Stan Lee actually mentions in the letters page that he’d like to hear the readers’ opinions about this sorta thing, and promises a No-Prize to the best letters. I haven’t mentioned it before, but a No-Prize is something Lee came up with to reward people who helped point out continuity errors and other things like this semi-contest. What’s a No-Prize? Well, it’s nothing. Here’s a quote from the man himself:

You know our theory: If there are no winners, there can’t be any losers! Besides, prizes cost money!

‘Nuff said.


The X-Men #5, May 1964

The X-Men #5, May 1964

Spell-binding story by: Stan Lee
Dazzling drawing by: Jack Kirby
Inking: Paul Reinman
Lettering: S. Rosen

It’s the X-Men vs Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants again, except this issue has much better action in it, as the mutants on both sides of the conflict use their strengths against each others’ weaknesses and what have you. There’s very little punching in this issue, is what I’m saying.

Magneto regroups back on Asteroid M, an orbiting asteroid base that he has, apparently. His newest plan to defeat the X-Men involves sending Toad down to a track meet where his mutant abilities will make him obviously win all the events. The X-Men notice the normal people getting angry at him on TV, and rush to their fellow mutant’s aid. Once they get close enough to him, they take off the mask he was wearing when they remember that the mutant with that power is a bad guy, and they end up in a fight where Angel gets knocked out and captured by Magneto, while Toad is left behind.

For some reason, Toad is put into a trance and returns to Asteroid M, with the X-Men in tow. They fight their way through Mastermind’s illusions and the Scarlet Witch’s vague “hex power”, through Quicksilver’s speediness and Magneto’s… uh… horribly overpoweredness. They eventually bust Angel out of there and manage to escape, while the “Brotherhood” argue amongst themselves. When they get back, they learn that Professor X didn’t lose his psychic powers in the last issue, he was just faking to test them to make sure they could fight a battle without his help.

So if Magneto has both an island base and an orbiting asteroid base, why the hell did he want to take over that random South American nation in the last issue? Fuck that, man, I’d just live on the super-advanced asteroid all the time. But really, Magneto doesn’t seem to have a lot of sense in these early encounters. The only people you could get to follow you are the useless Toad, two people who hate you, and Mastermind, who I will admit has a pretty impressively powerful power. But still, that’s pathetic, man.


The X-Men #4, Mar. 1964

The X-Men #4, Mar. 1964

Sensational Script by: Stan Lee
Dynamic Drawings by: Jack Kirby
Imaginative Inking by: Paul Reinman
Legible Lettering by: Art Simek

Damn, there’s like thirty super-powered people in this issue. With the introduction of Magneto’s “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants”, we get Toad, a weaselly guy who can jump really good, Mastermind, who can project realistic illusions, Quicksilver, who is very fast, and the Scarlet Witch, who can point at things and things happen. Scarlet Witch has the most vague powers in all of Marvel, which, of course, makes her stupidly powerful. That’s her there on the cover… in the green. Hrm.

Magneto’s back and he’s got a team. More importantly, he’s also got a secret island base, and he’s just stolen a battleship from America with which he plans on subjugating a small South American country. The X-Men find out about this and have to interrupt their INCESSANT NEVER-ENDING TRAINING to go save the people of San Madeupo. There’s an epic battle (really, really huge) that eventually ends with Magneto setting the timer on an atomic bomb that’ll blow up the whole country, but Quicksilver disarms it because he’s really not that bad of a guy. Oh, also Professor X gets blown up and loses his mutant abilities.

No, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch aren’t really bad guys at heart, and it doesn’t take them all that long to quit Magneto’s group and join the Avengers. In fact, the only reason they’re in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in the first place is because Magneto saved the Scarlet Witch from some rampaging villagers, and Quicksilver is her brother. On an unrelated note, Quicksilver’s name is Pietro, and they call him that all the time. I just had to mention that, because even typing out the word “Quicksilver” seems like it’s referring to someone else, that’s how much more they just call him Pietro. Pietro’s a dumb name for a superhero, though.