Thursday, May 29, 2014

Avengers vs the X-Men The Early Years

Yes, the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and the X-Men, the Mutant Protectors of Mankind, faced off again in Avengers vs. X-Men.

But, where did all this animosity start?

First Time

Well, the first X-Men/Avengers battle took place in Uncanny X-Men #9 (January 1965, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby).  In “Enter: The Avengers”, evil alien Lucifer manipulates the X-Men (Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl and the Beast) into battling the Avengers (Thor, Giant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man and Captain America – soon after Avengers #10 but it wasn’t a crossover) by capturing Professor X and threatening a Balkan village with a bomb set to go off if Lucifer’s heart stops.

The X-Men defeat Lucifer’s plan when Professor X telepathically tells Thor of the problems and Cyclops and the Professor stop the bomb.

This story has been reprinted a few times, including in X-Men Annual #1, Marvel Masterworks #3 and as a stand alone Marvel Milestone Edition.

First Crossover

Next, in X-Men #45 (June 1968, by Gary Friedrich and John Buscema) and Avengers #53 (also June 1968, by Roy Thomas and John Buscema), ex-Avengers at the time Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch have rejoined Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to try to get a country for mutantkind.  Cyclops refuses to join, knocks out Quicksilver, which is misinterpreted by arriving Avengers (Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye and Black Panther), and, with assistance from Magneto’s mind powers, get Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men (Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl) to fight the Avengers.  Angel stops Magneto’s plan, and the two heroic teams unite to stop the Brotherhood, but the Brotherhood members (Magneto, the Toad, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch) all escape.  These tales have been presented again, in Marvel Masterworks #48 & #70, as well as other places including Marvel Essentials Classic X-Men Volume #2.

The Big One

In Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #1-12 (in 1984/1985, by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck and Bob Layton), the Beyonder pits what he considers to be heroes versus the villains.  Oddly enough, he places Magneto with the heroes, which leads to a rift for a time amongst the Avengers (current team of Thor, Wasp, Captain America, Hawkeye, She-Hulk and Captain Marvel, ex-Avenger Hulk, and future Avengers Iron Man/James Rhodes, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing and Spider-Man) and the X-Men (Professor X, Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm and Rogue). 

The groups eventually resolve their problems, and get off the alien world the Beyonder transported them to after a few battles with Galactus, Molecule Man and Dr. Doom (not to mention Spider-Man getting an alien costume during this event…and a few other things happening as well). 

This universe altering mini-series has been reprinted in tradepaperback a few times so it can be read as one large graphic novel.

A Mini-Series

Based on their time on the Beyonder’s World, Magneto does join the X-Men for a time.  Magneto’s joining the X-Men leads eventually to the X-Men Vs. The Avengers mini-series (in 1987, by Roger Stern, Marc Silvestri and Keith Pollard), where the Avengers (Thor, Captain America, Black Knight, She-Hulk and Dr. Druid) battle the X-Men (Havok, Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Dazzler and now member Magneto) and the Soviet Super-Soldiers (Darkstar, Ursa Major, Vanguard, Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo) as Magneto must again go on trial for the crimes he had committed. 

Magneto is attempting to retrieve items from his crashing headquarters Asteroid M, and the Avengers and Soviets plan to stop and capture him. 

Magneto’s capture and new trial results in him being cleared of all charges (which he ensures with a little help from the device he retrieved, which allowed him to manipulate the minds of the court), but his being freed only worsens things for mutantkind. 

(This, along with Uncanny X-Men #9 was collected in a hardcover recently….).

Multiple Titles

The last X-Men/Avengers battle is a five-part crossover called Bloodties from 1993.  It started in Avengers #368 (November 1993, by Bob Harras and Steve Epting), and continued through X-Men #26 (November 1993, by Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert), Avengers West Coast #101 (December 1993, by Roy Thomas and David Ross), Uncanny X-Men #307 (December 1993, by Scott Lobdell and John Romita Jr.) and ended in Avengers #369 (December 1993 by Bob Harras and Steve Epting). 

Though Magneto was not involved, it involves the country of Genosha, which was to be the mutant safe haven and a few mutants acting in Magneto’s name.  Avengers (Black Knight, Black Widow, Captain America, Crystal, Giant-Man, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, Spider-Woman, USAgent, Vision and War Machine) and X-Men (Archangel, Beast, Bishop, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean Grey, Rogue and Professor X) battle for a time, and then work together against the villains causing all the calamity…Fabian Cortez, Exodus and the Unforgiven.

All this angst does little to help the mutant cause or the X-Men, and this is the final straw that created rifts within the Avengers’ teams, and help to end the West Coast branch of the Avengers (which, for a time, Quicksilver wanted, when he had turned against the Avengers for a time).  But, all this also pushed Quicksilver and his estranged wife, the Inhuman Avenger Crystal towards another once again, for their sake, and the sake of their human daughter Luna (which Exodus wanted to kill…as he found it an affront that a child of a mutant and Inhuman would be…normal!).

This saga also just came out in a hardcover collection for those who would thrill to this adventure, though you’d hardly know the titles were crossing over by the art on the covers…that was left to the overhyped type on the cover, and Avengers #369 was silver foiled…

....a cover enhancement that made the cover unviewable!

The Heart Of It All

So, it seems all this comes about because Quicksilver is a bad dad?  Well, he’s had his own daddy issues over the years….and it relates to both the Avengers and the X-Men!

Quicksilver and his sister, the Scarlet Witch, were mutant orphans who were saved by Magneto and recruited to his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as related in Uncanny X-Men #4  (March 1964, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby).  Then, in Giant-Size Avengers #1 (August 1974, by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler), it was revealed that the World War II heroes of the All-Winners Squad –  the Whizzer and Miss America –  were the parents of the young Pietro and Wanda Maximoff and their family life was happy and settled, Quicksilver could marry the Inhuman Crystal, and Scarlet Witch could marry her avenging android, the Vision.

But, in relating this story…one thing was omitted…and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch found out in Avengers #186 (August 1979, by Mark Gruenwald, Steven GrantDavid Micheline and John Byrne), that the Whizzer had only been their adoptive father, and that their mother was a woman named Magda who fled her husband because he went insane with power, and didn’t know about the kids.  Magda gave birth to them with the help of the High Evolutionary’s assistant, Bova, at Wundagore Mountain, and then Magda left them there.

In Uncanny X-Men #125, (September 1979, by Chris Clairmont and John Byrne), it was revealed that Magneto was pining over his lost wife, Magda, who had fled him in the early days of his career (coincidentally a place where the X-Men learned more of the Phoenix force?).  Yes, you’ve likely figured it out…Magneto is the father of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. 

Neither side would know until Vision & the Scarlet Witch #4 (February 1983, by Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi), when Magneto had been able to track down Bova, find out he had kids….and then track them down, and let them know that he was their father.  This lead Magneto to lean towards the good side for a time (as this happened before the Secret Wars mentioned above), but Magda was later proven right, as Magneto succumbed to his power lust for a time, and even turned both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch back to the dark side for a time.  One also has to look at all the dealing of Magneto and his kids…as Magneto didn’t know from 1964 through 1983 he had kids! 

The Vision & Scarlet Witch original 4-issue mini-series was reprinted, along with Vision and Scarlet Witch’s marriage from Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975, by Steve Englehart and Don Heck), and that marriage had been presided over by Avengers time-travel foe Immortus…wow, the Phoenix force and the whole Kang/Immortus thing…seems history unravels around Wanda and Pietro, doesn’t it?

Even before either the Avengers or X-Men were around, the battle had been brewing….(and that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch seem to belong to both worlds....)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TVs Black Canaries

Black Canary first appeared in the Golden Age of comics in Flash Comics #86 (August, 1947) in the Johnny Thunder back-up (written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Carmine Infantino), though she took over the feature in Flash Comics #92 (cover by Infantino).  Black Canary was in Flash Comics #86-104 (and even had one story later presented in DC Special #3), and even took over Johnny's spot in the JSA from All-Star Comics #38-57.  Black Canary joined the JLA with Justice League of America #75 (October, 1969, by Denny O'Neil and Dick Dillin, and cover by Infantino and Murphy Anderson), though technically that was the original's (Dinah Drake Lance) daughter (Dinah Laurel Lance), and she now had her sonic weapon, the "Canary Cry".

Mostly, the new Black Canary was a guest or supporting character, working as a member of the JLA, and working with Green Lantern and Green Arrow in Green Lantern's book.  Dinah then was in back-ups with Green Arrow in Action Comics, World's Finest Comics, and Detective Comics, as well as team-ups in Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents, and a small feature in Action Comics Weekly.

Black Canary did break out on her own, first in a 4 issue mini-series by Sarah Byam, Trevor Von Eeden, and Dick Giordano (which led into a 12 issue regular series)....and even later, working with Barbara Gordon (the former Batgirl, Oracle at this time) in Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey #1 (January, 1996 by Chuck Dixon and Gary Frank), which led to a few Birds of Prey mini-series and regular series...with Black Canary in most of them (except when she was in Green Arrow/Black Canary, and in the various JSA and JLA titles).

All this, and Black Canary has made it to live-action television as well!

Birds of Prey

Black Canary's first series  was as the junior member of the group gathered together to protect Gotham in Batman's absence in the WB's Birds of Prey (from October 9, 2002 to February 29, 2003).  These heroines include Helena Kyle (the Huntress, played by Ashley Scott), Barbara Gordon (former Batgirl, played by Dina Meyer) and Dinah Lance (teenage runaway with uncontrollable telekinetic powers, played by Rachel Skarsten...).  Developed by Laeta Kalogrids, the series was an odd mix (using Huntress as Batman's daughter from pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths days), the most modern (at the time) take on Barabra Gordon as Oracle, and our first look at young Dinah's high school days.

It was an odd mix (and even had Mia Sara as Dr. Harleen Quinzel (aka Harley Quinn), and a visit from Dinah's mom, Caroline Lance (played by Lori Loughlin, who was the first Black Canary!).  Lacking real costumes, it was still in the early days of super-powered people on TV, and couldn't quite find an audience in its one season of 14 episodes (ironic for what soon followed...).

Sadly, the show couldn't seem to find an audience...after all, who would want to watch a series set in Gotham without Batman?

Rachel Skarsten did well after, going back and finishing high school and college before coming back to acting on series like Flashpoint and the L.A. Complex, and movies like the Vow.  Most recently, Rachel has been a regular on the series Lost Girl about the Fae (beings of supernatural origin) split into light and dark factions, and fought by Bo (series star Anna Silk), who refuses to choose a side.  Rachel plays Tamsin, a Dark Fae, who joined the cast in season 3, as a partner to Dyson (Light Fae werewolf cop, one of Bo's lovers, played by Kris Holden-Reid), and helped turn Bo's life upside down (but has been more help in the fourth season....and more!).


Slightly more successful than Birds of Prey, Smallville premiered on October 16th, 2001, and ended up running for 10 seasons, focusing on the pre-Superman life of Clark Kent (Tom Welling).  Season 6 saw Clark meeting Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), and that led to the season 7 episode of February 7th, 2008 (written by Kelly Souders and Brian Wayne Peterson, directed by Kevin Fair), called which we met the Black Canary!  Black Canary (played by Alaina Huffman) was there as an agent of Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), trying to take out Green Arrow and his team that had interfered with Luthor's operations across the globe.

Black Canary was really Dinah Lance, right wing radio host, who was into fighting crime in a blond wig and using weapons and her sonic scream.  After being convinced Green Arrow was not the villain, she joined up with Green Arrow's pre-Justice League (with Aquaman/Arthur Curry played by Alan Ritchson, Impulse/Bart Allen played by Kyle Gallner and Cyborg/Vic Stone played by Lee Thompson Young), returning in season 8 in Odyssey and Doomsday, season 9 in Salvation and season 10 in Icarus and Collateral.  Her costume was more like the modern Black Canary of the comics of the time, yet there was also a Black Canary with the Justice Society of America, but no link to her and Alaina's Black Canary was made.

Alaina Huffman continues to work steadily to this day...taking on a permanent role as blond Lt. Tamara Johansen on SGU Stargate Universe (that lasted from 2009 to 2011, wherein a Stargate took a military crew and some civilians to a ship far across the universe, but without the power to return home).  Alaina is currently working on Supernatural as red-headed Abaddon, one of the demons faced by the two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester, played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) who hunt demons on the CW show.


The current home of the Black Canary is on the CW's Arrow show, but it took a while for Black Canary to develop.  There was a little teaser to start with...Katie Cassidy was called Laurel Lance in the first episode (not revealing her full name until the end, Dinah Laurel Lance, the lady that should have been Black Canary...).  Instead, Laurel is the ex-girlfriend of Oliver Queen (secretly "the hood", played by actor Stephen Amell), left behind when he went on his boating trip (that got him stuck on the island, and eventually turned him into the hero).

Laurel also had to deal with Ollie taking her younger sister along (Sara), whose death Laurel's dad (police detective Quentin Larry Lance, played by Paul Blackthorne) blames him for.

Lauren became a lawyer while Ollie was gone, and losing Sara also helped to break up the Lance family (though Dinah Lance, Laurel's mom, did come back thinking Sara was still alive....and was played by Alex Kingston).

While Laurel was in the action here and there, mostly she just caused complications for Ollie (and was sleeping with his best friend, Tommy Merlyn, played by Colin Donnell).

Laurel then suffered some more tragedy as well...

The second season rolled around and Laurel's life just seemed to get worse and worse.  While Laurel did get a job working for Starling City's District Attorney, she lost CNRI (the City Necessary Resources Initiative), as well as having Ollie disappear for a time (she had grown closer to him at the end of Season 1).  The Canary also arrived in Starling City....and Arrow found out was Sara!  Always believe your mom, as Dinah was right, Sara did survive, working as a member of the League of Assassins (and played by Caity Lotz in Season 2; for her brief appearance in Season 1, she was portrayed by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, and those scenes were reshot in Season 2 as how Sara survived and found her way to the island and Ollie was explored).

Sara's return (and getting back together with Ollie) helped Laurel's life spiral out of control, but Laurel was always a fighter, and fought to get back all she lost.  Sara spent her time in Ollie's city, fighting crime as well as the Canary (with martial arts and mechanical sonic cry bombs).  Laurel also learned of Ollie's identity, and even helped out during the end attack on Starling City, and both of the Lance sisters fought for redemption.

With Sara leaving the city, she gave Laurel the Canary jacket (and likely...the identity of Canary for season 3!).

Caity Lotz played Officer Kirsten Landry on the MTV series Death Valley (and faced all sorts of supernatural threats...) in 2011.

Caity was also a part of Don Draper's past as Stephanie on Mad Men.  Part of the reason she was so graceful as the Canary is her history as a dancer!

Katie Cassidy is a very happy lady, enjoying her time on Arrow. Previous long running roles of hers include Ruby on Supernatural, Ella Simms on Melrose Place and Juliet Sharp on Gossip Girl.

Katie also runs a fashionista blog, Tomboy KC and she's looking forward to seeing more action with Arrow Season 3 (aren't we all?).

With luck, maybe some of these previous Black Canaries can take time out from their busy schedules to visit on Arrow as well?

Heaven help Ollie if these pretty birds flock around him (though it would make the fans very happy!).

Monday, May 26, 2014

For Memorial Day

For those that serve, and those that did not make it back home, we remember you and honor your service...the real heroes!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

X-Men First Class Makes Me Want To Scream!

Or, at least it makes Banshee scream.  The movie X-Men First Class is a prequel to the recent trilogy of X-Men movies, and deals with an earlier bunch of X-Men than was featured in those movies, and is premiered on Friday, June 3rd, 2011.

Now, the trio of X-Men movies started a little after the period of Giant Size X-Men #1, where Cyclops had to lead new characters like Storm, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird and Colossus and pre-existing characters like Wolverine, Sunfire and Banshee to save a team of earlier X-Men including Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Beast, Lorna Dane (later, called Polaris) and Havok (this all set up by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne showed what some of the later X-Men would have looked like had they really been in the First Class with the cover of Comic Reader #167!  People who saw only the movies might have thought Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler might have been original X-Men, but…just not the case).

The REAL X-Men first class was Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel and Marvel Girl, who premiered in X-Men #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in September 1963.  The X-Men First Class movie picks up the idea of having the X-Men active in the early 1960s, but because some original characters were introduced in the 3 X-Men movies as new (like Iceman and Angel), the movie makers had to take a few liberties with comic continuity, and moved a few characters who were around pre-Giant Size X-Men #1 and make them into X-Men earlier.

Screaming Mutant

First up is Banshee.  Sean Cassidy premiered in X-Men #28 (January 1968) entitled “The Wail of the Banshee” by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth and he started as a foe of the Uncanny X-Men!  Possessed of ultrasonic mutant powers that allowed him to fly and fire sonic disruptive blasts powered by his voice, he first fought the X-Men as part of a group (and had been active behind the scenes for a few issues before this one) called Factor Three.  His first appearance seemed to imply that the Banshee was immortal and may not have been human, but this was dropped in later appearances.  Factor Three consisted of the Mutant Master, Vanisher, Blob, Mastermind, Unus, the Changeling and the Ogre, all foes of the X-Men who used Banshee against the mutant heroes.  Banshee gets free of Factor Three, and goes in search of them, appearing next in X-Men #35 (from August 1967, also by Thomas and Roth), where the evil mutants recapture him.  Banshee gets word to the X-Men, who help rescue him by X-Men #39 (December 1967, written by Roy Thomas and pencils by Don Heck) wherein the X-Men also graduate to individual costumes.  Banshee appears next in X-Men #58 (July 1968) by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, where he, along with many other mutants are captured by the Sentinels, and freed 2 issues later.

Banshee’s last appearance before Giant-Size X-Men #1 was facing Captain America and his friend, the Falcon in Captain America #172 (April 1974, written by Steve Englehart and Mike Friedrich and pencils by Sal Buscema), wherein Sean is fleeing  the Secret Empire (an evil organization planning to take over the United States who is also capturing mutants).

Banshee things Captain America and Falcon are the Secret Empire’s agents, and defeats the heroic duo to escape (but this leads Cap and Falcon to eventually defeat the Secret Empire and free all the captured mutants, who include the X-Men, a few of their foes, and our next hero who got moved up to First Class by the movie, even if he was only the younger sibling of the Summers' clan!).

He's My Brother

Next is Havok, who had history with the X-Men (or at least one of its members) before his first appearance.  Alex Summers is the younger brother of Scott Summers, aka Cyclops!  Alex Summers made his first appearance in X-Men #54 (March 1969, written by Arnold Drake, pencils by Don Heck) but did not become Havok until X-Men #58 (July 1969 by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams).  Havok is a mutant who can absorb and project cosmic energy, and discovered his powers thanks to the Living Pharaoh, a mutant who has the power to absorb cosmic energy and become the giant Living Monolith!  With the help of the X-Men, Alex defeats the Living Monolith, but faces the Sentinels (and gets his Havok codename from Larry Trask, the son of the creator of the Sentinels).  The X-Men trick the Sentinels into leaving Earth, and Havok meets Lorna Dane during this adventure.

Havok has his powers drained by Sauron (Karl Lykos, a mutant who can absorb mutant life energy, but when he absorbs too much, he becomes a humanoid Pterandon with a fondness for the Lord of the Rings).  The X-Men defeat Sauron, and Havok and Lorna Dane officially join the X-Men in X-Men #65 ( in the story “Before I’d Be A Slave” in the February 1970 issue, by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams…Great Guardians, this Green Lantern team worked on the X-Men too?).

Both Havok and Lorna stay with the X-Men on and off through the X-Men: The Hidden Years period of X-Men #67-93, where the actual X-Men book was only reprints, but writer/artist John Byrne creates the Hidden Years book many years later starting in 1999 and covers what happens through most of this time in his 22 issue X-Men: The Hidden Years series in a piece of retroactive continuity (that Roy Thomas was a fan of as well!).  Look for the hidden number on the cover to see which issue of the X-Men: The Hidden Years was suppose to be in X-Men (hint, issue #1 was #67…)

Havok and Iceman quit the team after a fight between them for Lorna’s affections (happens in Incredible Hulk #150, dated April 1972, titled “Cry Hulk, Cry Havok!” and written by Archie Goodwin with pencils by Herb Trimpe – and Herb was there as well for Wolverine's debut!).  Professor X eventually sends Lorna after Havok, where in New Mexico, she is attacked by a biker gang and fends them off with her magnetic powers until the Hulk shows up.  Havok later attempts to save her from the Hulk (who has confused Lorna with his girlfriend, Jarella, due to Lorna’s green hair), and the pair of mutants promise to return to the X-Men.

They must have been captured by the Secret Empire before that happened, as they are two of the mutant captives (of the fate Banshee escaped) in Captain America #173-175 along with the original X-Men and many of their foes!  With the American Avenger (and Nick Fury and his agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and his partner’s help, the mutants are all freed.  Havok’s first mission back with the X-Men was the expedition to Krakoa, the living island which was in Giant-Size X-Men #1 and formed the new team.  With these facts, you now can be first class in knowledge of the hidden years of X-Men comic lore!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

X-Men Days Of Past Future

After adding new student Jean Grey (aka Marvel Girl), Professor X sent his team, the X-Men out on their first mission against the evil mutant, Magneto back in the X-Men #1 (September, 1963, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby).  While that issue is the first appearance of Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman, the Beast, Angel, Marvel Girl and Magneto and all the mutant madness they brought with them (though other mutants and ideas like seen in the movies didn't come until later), they all had a history before that issue...

...and we'll take a quick look at a little of it here!

Teacher, Teacher

First off is the man who helped to bring the team together...Professor X.

Professor Charles Xavier was a telepath and telekinetic who was one of the most powerful mutant minds on Earth.  Charles felt it was his mission to help mutants...

...he did so in X-Men #117 when he faced evil mutant Shadow King (Amahl Farouk) after meeting a young thief (Ororo, later to be known as Storm) in a story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne (reprinted a few times, like in Marvel Masterworks #24 or Classic X-Men #23).

Charles even worked with his future foe, Magneto, trying to save Gabrielle Haller in a story detailed in Uncanny X-Men #161 (September, 1982, by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum)...

...wherein the pair faced off against Baron Strucker and the agents of HYDRA before Nick Fury joined S.H.I.E.L.D.!

This story was reprinted in X-Men Archives #4, and, yes, the Professor is still in action on his own (pretty much) because he still has use of his legs.

X-Men #20 (and #21, both by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth, in May/June 1966) detail the story of how Charles Xavier lost the use of his legs fighting against the invading alien, Lucifer.

These stories are collected in Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men #7 and in the X-Men Omnibus #1, and this was the inspiration for Charles Francis Xavier to begin to collect the mutants he had been researching together and form a school (as well as a team of agents he could sent into the field to protect people from those who would misuse their power.....).

Much of Professor X's history is combined with the X-Men, not really having a title of his own....though one could say that the X-Men book IS the story of Professor X!

Still, Professor X did get a little bit of solo action in Marvel Team-Up #118 (June, 1982) working with Spider-Man against Professor Power and the Fixer to help Mentallo (Fixer and Mentallo being foes of Nick Fury and his agents of S.H.I.E.L.D).  Professor X was also a member of the Illuminati along with Namor the Sub-Mariner, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), Black Bolt and Dr. Strange which formed after the Kree-Skrull War, and helped the Marvel Universe as a whole deal with events such as the Beyonder, the Hulk, the Infinity Gauntlet and the Civil War.

Got My Eye on You

Cyclops was the first mutant Charles Xavier decided to recruit for his school, and he needed the help.

Charles Xavier began to look at young orphan Scott Summers as his first recruit for the X-Men in a back-up series starting in X-Men #38 (November, 1967) to X-Men #43 (April, 1968, all by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth) wherein the Professor and the soon to be Cyclops faced off against the Living Diamond (Jack Winters, who showed up in X-Men #39, December, 1968, which in the main story Scott got his first individual costume) and Scott became the first member of Xavier's team.

All these stories are collected in X-Men Omnibus #2 along with...

X-Men #56-59 (May-August, 1969 by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams), which had the X-Men facing off against the mutant hunting Sentinels and had Scott meeting his younger brother, Alex, who also had a mutation of his own and facing off against the Living Monolith!

These stories are part of the basis for the Sentinels attacking all of mutantkind (though they started their war against mutants back in X-Men #14, November, 1965 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), but weren't the end of the Sentinels (nor Cyclops!).

Scott also never wandered far from the X-Men (later members might give an excuse why....), and Scott even found out more about his own history while working with the second team of X-Men (founded with Giant-Size X-Men #1, with Wolverine, Banshee, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird) and all of that history was summarized well in X-Men Origins Cyclops (2010) in time to have Cyclops ready for his time as an interstellar pirate in his own magazine which came out this year!

Cold Reception

Iceman was the student Cyclops was sent to retrieve.  Young Bobby Drake was not quite ready for his mutant power to manifest, and his cold powers got him into hot water with his parents and an angry mob...and need the help of Cyclops to save him in the run of stories from X-Men #44-46 (May-July, 1968, stories by Gary Friedrich and George Tuska) with a power recap in X-Men #47 (August, 1968) by Arnold Drake and Werner Roth (all of these stories also in the X-Men Omnibus #2...).

In the early days of the X-Men, Iceman hung around with the rest of the team, occasionally leaving the title to fight the Human Torch, and was trying to get serious with magnetic mutant Lorna least until Scott's brother, Alex, showed up.

Iceman was one of the X-Men to leave the team after their encounter with Krakoa in Giant-Size X-Men #1.

Iceman and Angel pal around together, co-founding the Champions (along with Ghost Rider, Black Widow and Hercules, which lasted for 17 issues in the mid-1970s written by Tony Isabella, Chris Claremont and Bill Mantlo, and drawn by Don Heck, George Tuska, Bob Hall and John Byrne) in a series that also guested X-Men related people like the Griffin, the Beast, Magneto, Unus, the Blob, the Vanisher, Lorelei and the Sentinels as well as introducing villains Rampage and the Swarm before the team ended (and as a team founded with ex-X-Men and ex-Avengers, and a few loners like Ghost Rider and at least showed that the West Coast of the Marvel Universe needed protecting!).

Bobby then joined Beast, Valkyrie, Moondragon and Gargoyle in the New Defenders, before returning to the reformation of the original X-Men in X-Factor, and then rejoining the X-Men.

Bobby was also the first of the original X-Men to have his own 4 issue mini-series in 1984/1985, and had his origin explored in 2010 in X-Men Origins: Iceman.

Give Me Wings

Angel was Warren Worthington III, son of a wealthy family, and had everything in the mutant powers weren't particularly welcome, even if they were wings that allowed him to fly.

Warren even went out and tried to be a super-hero on his own, in a back-up series from X-Men #54-56 (March-May, 1969, by Arnold Drake, Roy Thomas and Werner Roth), and almost succeeded in blowing up a city if not for the help of Cyclops and Iceman, which led to Warren joining the X-Men (even though he was the first X-Man to have a small feature outside of X-Men, being an all-new back-up in the last two issues of Ka-Zar's 3 issue reprint title of 1970 and in Marvel Tales #30...stories which were odd as they were written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, and drawn by George Tuska, wherein Angel faced the Dazzler (Burt Worthington, not the discoing Alison Blaire).  All these tales are also in the X-Men Omnibus #2!

Angel left the X-Men with Iceman, joined the Champions, but Angel came back to the X-Men for a bit first (most notably during the time of X-Men: Days of Future Past - X-Men #141 and Uncanny X-Men #142 in 1981 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne), when Kate Pryde sent her mind back into her younger body and helped the X-Men stop the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants which included Mystique, the Blob, Pyro, Avalanche and Destiny...and prevented the Sentinels from enslaving mankind!

The plot sounds familiar...

Still, the Angel left the X-Men to go to the new Defenders, then to X-Factor, which led to Warren losing his wings and becoming an agent of Apocalypse (and getting the name Archangel as well).  Still, Warren held it together to come back to the X-Men...even if it was under the Archangel name (and with new blue skin as well....). That wasn't the most shocking transformation an X-Man would undergo....


Big And Hairy

That would be the Beast!  Hank P. McCoy was just an ordinary genius, with incredible coordination and abnormally larger hands and feet.  Really big hands and feet!  In back-up stories from X-Men #48 (September, 1968, a fact file by Arnold Drake and Werner Roth) and stories in X-Men #49-53 (October, 1968 to February, 1968, also by Drake and Roth), with the soon-to-be Beast fighting the Conquistador with the help of Cyclops, Iceman and Angel!

Stories also in X-Men Omnibus well as mostly in Amazing Adventures #17 (a few pages missing in this March, 1973 reprint....with a cover by Jim Starlin, no less).    

In Amazing Adventures #11-16 (March, 1972 to January, 1973, by Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Tom Sutton, and Bob Brown), the Beast set out on his own, and became a furry mess, messing around with a mutagenic formula for the Brand Corporation...and it doesn't go well for Hank!  Still, at least he was being featured at this time (unlike the rest of his fellow X-Men), facing ex-X-Men foes Unus, Mastermind, the Blob, and the Juggernaut, as well as new foe the Griffin, and even became an Avenger after this run was over (and this run is reprinted in Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men #7).

The Beast did return whenever the X-Men called, and while as an Avenger (where he met Moondragon), formed a friendship with Wonder Man that has mostly survived the years (and was drawn especially well by both George Perez and John Byrne)...and then the Beast joined the Defenders for a time, then X-Factor (losing his blue fur for a time), then rejoined the X-Men and mutated even further into a more cat like "Beast", but still with blue fur and proving that once an X-Man, always an X-Man!

The Female Is the Deadliest

Then there is Jean Grey/Marvel Girl!  The girl with mind-reading powers as well as telekinesis, and the love of Cyclops/Scott Summers life!

Jean had a little fact file in X-Men #57 (June, 1969) by Linda Fite and Werner Roth....but, for the most part, Jean's life wasn't really her own....Jean helped Professor X battle the Z'Nox to save Earth....and in that touched a primal force of the universe, the Phoenix (or at least John Byrne teased that in X-Men: The Hidden Years in a bit of retroactive continuity).

Even though Jean stuck with the X-Men (and Cyclops), she didn't stay long after Giant-Size X-Men #1, but did return to help....

This alien lifeforce took the place of Jean when she sacrificed herself to save the team...and became the Phoenix.  Sadly, this force went bad and died (in the form of a powerless Jean Grey) devastating Cyclops (who had thought her the love of his life)...

...but, really she was just waiting in a cocoon, and brought back to him with the advent of X-Factor!  Jean eventually dumped her code name for a time, and then even accepted the Phoenix for a while...before taken from us yet again.   But, like any Phoenix, Jean should be back!