> X-Men Masterworks Volume 1
 
 

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Ahh, you got the one with wings! Good! Good!

-- Magneto, to his Evil Mutants, pg. 16


Decades worth of mutant drama is set up in this phenomenal series of panels by Jack and Stan!

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X-Men #4
March 1964 23 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Jack Kirby Inks: Paul Reinman

Ranked #30 in 100 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time list


Title: "The Brotherhood of the Evil Mutants!"

Villain: Magneto & The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Toad, Mastermind, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver

First Appearance: The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, The Toad, Mastermind, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver

Origin: Scarlet Witch, Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Innovation: Iceman's ability to create ice slides

Letters Page: No letters page published in this issue.


Synopsis: After testing the acrobatic abilities of the Beast and the elemental powers of Iceman in the Danger Room, the X-Men and Professor enjoy a cake celebrating the first year anniversary of their joining together. Cyclops cuts the cake with his optic beam, natch. However, a far more sinister gathering is taking place at the same time at the trans-Atlantic island hideout of Magneto. Mastermind and the Toad share a meal with Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver. These four are joined together as the first incarnation of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and their peaceful meal doesn't last long, as they argue and bicker their way into a violent squabble. Despite their differences, they all agree they are there to follow their leader, Magneto, although for different reasons. The Toad adores Magneto as a sycophant, the Mastermind simply to latch onto the coattails of power, and Scarlet Witch because she owes Magneto for her life. Her brother, Pietro, is there to protect her from harm as she repays her debt.

Meanwhile, Magneto is busy stealing a Navy freighter, and is sailing it back to his hideout when the Angel spots the ship on a "routine long-range test flight." Deserted and seemingly operated by remote control, the ship arouses suspicion in young Warren's mind and he reports his findings to Professor X, who is similarly unnerved by the activities of the Navy freighter, as he was "unaware of any nautical artillery tests at the present time!" Magneto returns with the freighter ship to find a bouncing Toad tattling on his combative teammates. Magneto upbraids them all for their inattentiveness to his master plan, which is world domination by mutants. Sensing possible attrition by the brother and sister of the group, he reminds the Scarlet Witch of her debt: Magneto had saved Wanda Maximoff from being burned at the stake by villagers for revealing her mutant powers. After repatriating both mutants to his cause, he declares their first mission: the five of them, alone and unaided, will take over an entire nation!

Days later, Xavier is reading the newspaper which reports that a mystery naval craft is busy shelling the tiny republic of Santo Marco. Assuming that evil mutants must be at the bottom of this, he rallies the X-Men to investigate. A transcendental meeting between Xavier and Magneto on "the mental plane" confirms this, as Magneto declares his band of X-Men mortal enemies since they stand in his way of mutant domination. In Santo Marco, the evil mutants have easily taken control of the state of affairs of this tiny nations. Intimidating the populace with a massive invading army (a figment of Mastermind's powers,) they completely capitulate to the rule of Magneto.

The X-Men arrive in Santo Marco to enact their liberation strategy. The Beast and the Angel attempt to infiltrate the Magneto's castle HQ, but are beaten back by Toad and Mastermind and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The Angel is captured and tied up, but Cyclops attempts a rescue. Knocked off his feet by Quicksilver, his optic blast goes awry and inadvertantly unbalances a huge generator, which casts dangerous volts of electricity through the castle complex. The Evil Mutants run away, while Cyclops makes a last ditch attempt to save himself and Angel, successfully destroying the generator. The rest of the group comes together inside the castle but are threatened by what appears to be a raging river of boiling oil. They race away in fear, but Professor X appears amidst the mirage and tells them it is merely one of Mastermind's tricks.

While they discuss their next move, Magneto wires up two bombs- one which is a booby trap for the X-Men, the other which is a nuclear bomb which will destroy all of Santo Marco. The X-Men almost trigger the booby trapped door, but Prof. X hurls himself at it before the Beast can trigger it, knocking himself unconscious. A vengeful Cyclops chases "those rotten killers" down, but Magneto has already triggered the nuclear weapon before they are able to make a clean getaway. However, before they leave, a humane Quicksilver races back to the scene and defuses the nuclear device so it cannot murder a whole nation of people. Then Quicksilver escapes with his sister and the rest of Magneto's band. Laying on the ground, Prof. X tells his students that he has lost all his powers from the blast. The group is left wondering if Xavier has lost his powers, and what that will mean to their future.

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu


Issues Reprinted
X-Men #1-10

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

 
XMEN #1 XMEN #2 XMEN #3 XMEN #4 XMEN #5
XMEN #6 XMEN #7 XMEN #8 XMEN #9 XMEN #10

 

All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

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