X-MEN #s 46-53
The final issues in this volume are pretty random but they have a few treasures buried in them! But first, we have another pretty meaningless visit from Juggernaut, in the midst of Foggy Nelson reading the last will and testament of Charles Xavier and F.B.I. agent Amos Duncan requesting for their own safety that the X-Men break up!
That’s from Gary Friedrich, completing his final solo adventure before helping Arnold Drake establish himself with another pretty random Merlin adventure, where the one-time Warlock becomes the Maha Yogi in order to brainwash some worthless support in his continuing plans for world domination, with Beast and Iceman able to take care of him. Cyclops and Marvel Girl are featured in Drake’s first solo adventure, featuring another random historical legacy in Quasimodo.
Lorna Dane, the eventual Polaris, makes her first appearance in #49, part of a wave of formerly dormant, newly activated mutants Angel gets tangled with, part of a larger plot on the part of Magneto in his continuing hapless quest to do something meaningful, though he does manage to bring the X-Men back together after an absurdly brief period made all the more melodramatic in Jean Grey’s typical thought balloons, wondering what will happen to her budding relationship with Scott Summers a few issues earlier, even though they were still paired together…
Anyway, so Lorna Dane is tricked into believing that she’s Magneto’s daughter, which really only entitles her to being cut into the megalomaniac’s plans as an equal partner (something only Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were privy to earlier…is that why someone figured out they might as well be revealed as his kids?), until the X-Men convince her that Magneto is crazy. Which isn’t hard, because in this incarnation he is! The fiftieth issue sports art from Jim Steranko, by the way!
The story drags on with a meaningless inclusion of some villain named Erik the Red, and then another pretty random threat named Blastaar in #53, featuring art from Barry Windsor-Smith, which looks suspiciously like Jack Kirby. It should be noted that the origins backup tales continue, but they’re increasingly worthless. Beast is depicted as having been the product of his father’s accident with radiation!
It’s a shame that the series is treated so frivolously, with one creator caring very little for what the creator before him was doing. Whatever happened to Ted Roberts, for instance, or Jean Grey’s college education? She becomes a bikini model during the team’s brief exile. I kid you not. I suppose it’s not so different from how most X-Men creators in most eras not written by Chris Claremont or Grant Morrison or featuring Hope tend to be, random and meaningless and having nothing to do with the “mutant problem” so much as villains with generic goals and defeated less by the X-Men than by themselves. It’s not a surprise that the book wasn’t popular, because it featured a bunch of outsiders desperate to be cool even though they weren’t (the one with the biggest personality was a total square, after all). I seriously want someone to rewrite these adventures knowing exactly what they were. That’s what reading something like this demands. Vindication! But it was certainly interesting, informative, enlightening. But exciting? Only in the most exacerbated sense!