X-Men (Vol. 1) #2

Credits:

Cover Date: November 1963

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman

“No One Can Stop the Vanisher!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Script: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Paul Reinman

What’s Going On?

The X-Men are tasked with stopping the Vanisher from stealing some important military documents. But how can they stop someone who can be wherever he wants to be, whenever he wants to be there?

Is It Good?

Not especially. The story feels disjointed, and it seems like not much thought was put into it. This book feels nothing like a “classic” X-Men tale; they are treated like celebrities, to the point where the FBI requests their assistance. It just feels like Stan and Jack haven’t figured out how to separate this title from the rest of the pack yet.

Sub-Plots:

  • The Vanisher exhibited his powers by robbing a bank. The robbery didn’t involve him teleporting, though; he tricked some beat cops into walking him into the bank, then he robbed the tellers, and then he teleported away when the police tried to arrest him.
  • Suspecting that the Vanisher is a mutant, Professor X has the X-Men train in the Danger Room to prepare to confront him.
  • The Vanisher is embraced by the criminal underworld as their new leader.

  • The Vanisher teleported into a military office and declared that he would return the next day to steal valuable military documents.
  • The X-Men showed up to prevent Vanisher from stealing the files, but they were unsuccessful.

  • Professor X gets involved when the X-Men encounter the Vanisher a second time. Xavier uses his mental powers to make the Vanisher forget who he is and what he can do.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of the Vanisher.
  • This is the first appearance of FBI Agent Fred Duncan, too.
  • The X-Men are apparently adored as celebrities.

  • Marvel Girl’s telekinesis is directly tied to her physical strength. Moving things with her mind that weigh more than she can physically move will tax her.  How she was able to mentally juggle the bulky Beast last issue is left unexplained.

  • While the X-Men were shown training in the previous issue, the Danger Room is named for the first time in this issue.

  • The Vanisher and the X-Men both use the term “true mutants” in reference to super-powered mutants.

  • Scott and Jean have their first interaction in this scene. The seeds of affection are planted!

  • Professor Xavier has a contact within the FBI, and they have scheduled meetings to share information.

  • It is worth noting that Agent Duncan has met Xavier in person, and that Xavier needs Duncan to wear a mechanical device to communicate easily.
  • Cyclops’ eye beams are shown melting ice. I wonder when it becomes explicit that his eye beams are force- and not heat-beams?

  • Professor Xavier basically mind-wipes the Vanisher. He doesn’t leave the villain a drooling mess, but his memory and identity are mentally erased.
  • Marvel Girl is referred to as the most dangerous of the X-Men. I wonder if this perception will continue throughout these Silver Age issues?

Comics Are Goofy:

  • What were the X-Men doing right before this issue started? Xavier mentally tells them to return to him, and it turns out that they are all in uniform in town, but not as a team. Were they just hanging out in their costumes?
  • Shaking Iceman’s hand can turn gloves into ice cubes? How does that work?

  • So much for having a secret headquarters, huh? Cyclops and Iceman hitchhiked home.

  • Xavier projects mental images like his brain is a movie projector.

  • I love that the Vanisher wears this costume in public. A textured red onesie with matching boots, gloves, and cape? Sure. Cobra-inspired hood? Why the hell not?

  • Marvel Girl uses her mental power of…teleportation?

  • The X-Men have a fight with the Vanisher and random crooks on the White House lawn, without any interference from police or the Secret Service. That…strains credulity.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Context time: Sadie Hawkins Day comes from the Lil’ Abner newspaper comic. Sadie was an ugly woman who was approaching spinsterhood. Since she couldn’t attract a man, it was determined that the town should organize a race with Sadie and the eligible bachelors; if Sadie caught herself a man, he would have to marry her. So Jean is either calling these girls undesirable, ugly, or simply ridiculing them for not conforming to societal norms — or a combination of the three.

<<<X-Men #1

>>X-Men #3

>>>X-Men 1963 Year in Review

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