X-Men (Vol. 1) #3

Credits:

Cover Date: January 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“Beware of the Blob!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Paul Reinman

What’s Going On?

The X-Men try to recruit a new mutant, the Blob, but he doesn’t want to join the team. He does want the technology and secrets that X-Men have, though, so he leads a group of carnival workers in an attack on the X-mansion.

Details:

  • While training the team in the Danger Room, Professor Xavier sensed the presence of a new mutant nearby.
  • The team split up to search for the new mutant; despite Bobby, Hank, and Warren vying for her attention, Jean decided to team-up with the sullen Scott. That didn’t stop Warren from literally picking her up and taking her with him, though.

  • Scott found the mutant, known only as the Blob, working at a carnival. There, he witnessed the Bob’s superpowers and realized the danger the Blob would pose if he became an evil mutant.
  • The Blob agreed to meet the X-Men. At the school, Professor Xavier tested the Blob, and it was apparent that the Blob was sufficiently powerful. However, he rejected an offer to join the team.

  • The X-Men attacked the Blob because he knew too much about the team now to leave. The Blob defended himself easily and escaped.

  • Professor Xavier could not risk the Blob telling others the secrets of the X-Men, so he sent the X-Men to bring the Blob back to him. Xavier plans to wipe away the memory of the X-Men from Blob’s mind.

  • Meanwhile, the Blob took control of the carnival and forced the carnies to help him defeat the X-Men. His reasoning? Now that he knows that he’s a mutant, he wants to be in charge. He lead them to the school, and they attacked.

  • While the X-Men fought off the carnies, Professor X worked on an invention to amplify his powers, so he could erase the memories of an entire crowd at the same time.

  • The X-Men fought well, but they were outnumbered, and their enemies were prepared for their special powers. Eventually, the X-Men were captured by the Blob and his carnies.

  • They were only captive for a short while, though. With some help from Professor Xavier, Jean freed her teammates.

  • The X-Men then surprised and subdued the carnies for a few moments, while Cyclops slowed down the Blob.

  • Professor Xavier then wiped all memory of the X-Men from the crowd’s mind; the Blob and the carnies all returned to the carnival, and went back to how things were before the Blob learned he was a mutant.

Is It Good?

This is a weird comic. It was busy enough to be entertaining, but it’s got a lot of dumb moments. The most notable example —- Professor X not having a back-up plan, in case someone rejected an offer to join the X-Men —- is just preposterous. The X-Men spend a lot of this issue being beat up, which seems like an odd creative choice. It would work better if they showed teamwork succeeding and solo battles failing, but that’s not what I see in this issue.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of the Blob, Frederick Dukes (although he is not named in this issue).
  • The Blob cannot be moved, unless he wants to be.

  • The Blob’s skin appears to be able to absorb impact without being harmed. He also cannot feel pain.  A question that hasn’t been asked?  How did he find out he was bulletproof?  That might have been an awkward moment for somebody.

  • This is the first time Cyclops hints at the burden of his powers.

  • This is also the first time Cyclop’s first name, Scott, is mentioned. He was referred to as “Slim” before.
  • In case you thought that Angel’s ability to melt ice with his wings (in Tales of Suspense #49) was a new power, it appears to have been forgotten already.

  • Cyclops’ eye-beams can melt ice.  So…are they heat beams or not?
  • Professor Xavier can sense mutants telepathically.

  • Bobby appears to be romantically interested in Jean for the first time.

  • Jean appears to take an interest in Scott, despite having her other three teammates pursuing her with enthusiasm.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • “I’m training teenagers to become a paramilitary force. Why is my field leader so serious?”

  • I was going to joke about Cyclops being considered the most powerful member of the X-Men (he’s rarely portrayed as a heavy hitter), but it’s really true on this team. As of this issue, Jean’s telekinesis is limited to what she can physically lift, Iceman just makes things cold, Angel can fly, and Beast hasn’t displayed anything more than acrobatics. Cyclops, on the other hand, can knock an elephant on its ass.

  • In what world is this the right way to ask a stranger to come home with you, Scott Summers?

  • The Blob is bald for a single panel in this story. Whoops.

  • Why couldn’t Xavier have mind-wiped the Blob when he was fighting the X-Men the first time?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • This is thankfully abandoned immediately and not mentioned again for 30+ years, but WOW this was a terrible idea. “Let’s make the only adult in the room in love with his teenage student!” Yuck.

<<<X-Men #2

<<<X-Men 1963 Year in Review

>>>X-Men #4

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