> X-Men Masterworks Volume 1
 
 

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"He probably saved that kid just to throw us off guard...To make us think mutants aren't dangerous! But he can't fool us!

-- generic irrational human raving about the Beast, pg. 5


Iceman "refines his ice crystals" in an attempt to look cooler.

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X-Men #8
November 1964 20 pages + Beast pin-up

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Sam Rosen
Pencils: Jack Kirby Inks: Chic Stone


Title: "Unus, The Untouchable!"

First Appearance: Unus, the Untouchable

Villain: Unus, the Untouchable; Mastermind

Innovation: Iceman's sleeker, icier features

Gadgets & Technology: "Unus Force-Field Enhancer Ray"

Letters Page: Page One Page One


Synopsis: The X-Men spend their day in the Danger Room working onn intensive post-graduate studies. Among the interesting things Iceman is working on is a method where he "refines his ice crystals" to "increase his degree of cold," making his body more icy. After their session breaks up, with both Jean and Scott once again reflecting about their love for each other in silent thoughts, the team breaks up to take the afternoon off- all except for Scott, who once again stays behind as team leader.

Hank and Bobby take a stroll through town to their favorite coffee shop when they encounter a crowd of people gathered around a water tower where a young child has climbed to the top and is danger of falling. Hank takes matters into his own hands, disregarding the risk of losing his identity, and leaps all the way to the top and carries the boy to safety. The crowd quickly grows into an unthinking mob, assuming Hank is a mutant that set the whole thing up to make mutants look non-threatening to humans. They charge after him and Bobby, nearly tearing them apart. The boys arrive back to the mansion and tell Scott their story, with Hank in a particularly unforgiving mood. He announces that perhaps "homo sapiens" aren't worth the effort they put into protecting them, and noticing resistance from Scott and Bobby, decides to quit the X-Men and their crusade to protect humans.

Scott, taken aback by this challenge, contacts Professor X for advice. At the very moment Scott contacts his mentor, Xavier is floating through an "almost bottomless cave" on an amazing adventure! Wearing a miner's hardhat with a lamp fitted on the front and seated in a high-tech wheelchair with heavy-duty tread on them, he tells Scott not to worry about Hank. Then he mysteriously declares to Scott that he is "on the trail of Lucifer!" and that he will tell him the whole story "one day- If I return!" Later, Hank visits Scott on his way out of the mansion telling him that "humanity isn't worth the trouble." In response to Scott asking if he is going to join Magneto, Hank says "What I do concerns only me from now on!" A week later, we see what Hank has been doing with his time! He has turned into a professional wrestler named The Beast! His career seems to be a big success so far, and this particular match pits him against what the fight announcer calls "the great, the unbeatable, the untouchable champion of all time...Unus!" And, certainly, Hank finds out in the match what "untouchable" means. No matter the move or approach, Hank cannot come into contact with Unus, as if he has a force field all around that protects him. He bounces off this field each time he tries to touch Unus, and in one giant leap from the ropes is bounced completely out of the ring. While trying to redouble himself back onto the map, he spies Mastermind, one of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants! He realizes quickly that Unus must be a mutant, and that perhaps Unus and Mastermind are in league, which he thinks is of no consequence to him anymore since he has disavowed himself as an X-Man.

After the match, which Hank has lost, Mastermind greets Unus in the locker room. Unus asks him if he's been allowed into the Brotherhood. Mastermind tells him Magento wants to see if Unus can prove himself trustworthy, and says if he can beat one of the X-Men in battle, he's in. Later, Unus walks down the busy city sidewalk, wondering what he can do to meet up with an X-Man. He comes upon a group of robbers cleaning out a bank. He takes them on, stealing their loot for himself, their bullets bouncing off his force field. The robbers flee for their loves after Unus' display of power.

It is just this display of power that triggers Cerebro, and, shortly, the X-Men are off to find the new mutant in their helicopter. They hover over the area where the machine says the mutant is, and Angel flies down on reconnaissance where he comes face to face with Unus, bouncing violently off his force field. Cyclops finds that fisticuffs are as ineffectual as his optic blasts, and Unus easily breaks free from the ice prison Bobby tries to construct around him. The battle ends in a stalemate when Unus rassles himself around the neck of a soaring Angel, who deposits him helpless on the spire of a tall building and deserts him there, while the X-Men double back to the mansion to try and think their next battle strategy through.

When they arrive back at their home, they find Hank busy at work on a gadget he declares as a counter-weapon to Unus' frightful powers. Excited at his return, but unsure of his motives, the rest of the team is astonished to hear the Beast say that this weapon is meant to "increase Unus' power!" Automatically, the X-Men think Hank has truly turned against them in the face of his statement, and Hank is unable to clarify what he means as they try to destroy the weapon he has produced, which chases him away from the mansion. The X-Men chase after him, but not before he can reach his target, Unus the Untouchable, who is on the phone with Mastermind trying to work his way into the Brotherhood. The Beast fires his weapon at Unus, who is taken aback by the counterintuitive result of the blast: he feels better and more powerful than ever!

He quickly capitalizes on this newfound power by bouncing the Beast across the room, with the astonished X-Men just now entering the room to witness what they have assumed is Hank McCoy's treachery. Before the X-Men can make a move, Beast tells Unus that he will occupy the X-Men while he practices using his newfound power. Unus thinks this is a great idea and tells Beast that he will make a great member of Magneto's gang. Hank hurries the X-Men outside and tells them that he did all this for their sake, and that if they are patient they will see what he is talking about, but the unsure X-Men still chalk this odd behavior up as betrayal.

Meanwhile, inside the room, Unus is practicing with his astonishing new level of power. He can propel any object away from him now by a super-extended force field. But he quickly realizes the double-edged sword of this power- he reaches for a pack of cigarettes and they bounce away from him. No matter what he tries, he cannot take hold of them. He walks down the street towards a deli, wreaking havoc all around him due to his out-of-control force field. At the deli, he cannot take hold of the food he wants to eat.

As Unus tries desperately to satiate his hunger, Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Angel are trying desperately to come up with a plan to defeat the untouchable villain. They are working on a large plastic bubble that they hope will totally surround Unus after they drop it on him, but all the while the Beast is trying to reassure them that there is nothing else to do. Jean receives a phone call from Bobby, who has gone downtown to keep watch on Unus. Bobby tells the team to meet up on the corner of Broadway and 46th St..."on the double!"

They head downtown in the helicopter, warning the Beast not to make any sudden moves, still suspecting him of betrayal. What they witness when they meet up with Bobby explains many things: Unus is going apoplectic in the deli, trying to grab several slices of pie floating in the air, dodging his every reach. The Beast approaches Unus with his ray gun, telling him what has happened. According to Hank, the gun has increased Unus' power to levels that will never again allow him to touch any physical object. He makes Unus a deal- if he lowers his powers back to normal, Unus will stay in line and not join up with Magneto. Unus gladly accepts and decides to stick with his life as a wrestler. The team reconciles happily, knowing that Hank McCoy, the Beast and X-Man, is no traitor!

Pin-up: "An X-Men Xtra Special Pin-Up Page" features the Beast, balancing on a wire from his finger, while juggling several objects in his other hand. The pin-up is signed "Indubitably Yours, Hank McCoy."

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu

-- scanned letters page provided by Karl Mattson


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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