The X-Men #18, Mar. 1966
A fair story by: Stan Lee
Adequate art by: Jay Gavin
Tolerable inking by: Dick Ayers
The world’s greatest lettering by: Artie Simek (Marvel’s birthday boy of the month!)
It’s cute that they reversed the credits for Artie Simek because it’s his birthday, instead of ragging on the letterer all the time. I like these little credits things they do, it’s just a little peek into the interoffice politics in Marvel, or at least those which they’re willing to be transparent about.
So last issue, Magneto put all the X-Men except for Iceman into a lead balloon shooting upwards into space. Iceman, if you’ll recall, was still in the hospital. Having full reign over the X-Mansion, Magneto hypnotizes Angel’s visiting parents and constructs a machine that will use their DNA to create an army of mutants at his command (since they had a mutant kid, this apparently means he can do that). Iceman wakes up and stalls Magneto long enough for the rest of the X-Men to get down. They finally beat him when Professor X talks to the Stranger, the stupidly powerful alien being who took Magneto from Earth in the first place, and they both run away together. It’s so sweet.
Magneto has some pretty stupid powers in this issue. He hypnotizes Angel’s parents using “magnetic attraction”, which is just a terrible, terrible thing. He also uses his magnetism as just a sort of all-purpose ray that can seal up an igloo and make people freeze in place and all sorts of other convenient things that aren’t even all that necessary for the plot. It’s kinda dumb that they have to bring back the Stranger again for the cop out ending, especially since the X-Men never really had all that much trouble defeating Magneto on the other dozen occasions they fought him. Still, he makes for an entertaining villain for these guys.
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.