X-Men (Vol. 1) #12

Credits:

Cover Date: July 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Frank Giacoia

“The Origin of Professor X!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Layouts: Jack Kirby

Penciller: Alex Toth

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

We learn about Professor Xavier’s childhood while waiting for a villain to attack.

Details:

  • Cerebro, Professor X’s mutant-detecting device, is sounding off, louder than ever. Apparently, it is sensing the most powerful mutant yet, and it’s coming towards the X-mansion!

  • After the X-Men do their best to fortify the mansion’s defenses, Professor X reveals that the impending attacker is none other than his own brother!

  • Once upon a time, Professor Xavier’s grieving widow of a mother was comforted by her late husband’s coworker, Kurt Marko. Even as a boy, Charles Xavier didn’t trust Kurt Marko.

  • The grieving Sharon Xavier agrees to marry Kurt Marko. Before long, though, Marko becomes abusive towards Sharon and young Charles. He only wanted Sharon’s wealth. Eventually, Kurt has his son, Cain, move in with the family. Cain and Charles don’t get off to a good start.

  • Sharon passes away soon after, leaving Charles to fend for himself. When Charles overhears Cain imply that Kirt killed Brian Xavier, Charles demands answers. What he gets is a lab accident that kills Kurt Marko. Kurt’s last words explain that, while he was not responsible or Brian Xavier’s death, he probably could have prevented it.

  • As the years pass, Cain is always jealous of Charles. Eventually, they both serve in the Korean War together. When Cain tries to desert, Charles goes after him. The step-brothers find themselves in the lost temple of Cyttorak. Cain finds a powerful gem there, and becomes the Juggernaut.

  • An explosion caused a cave-in, which trapped Cain for years. Charles escaped, to eventually found the X-Men. He hadn’t seen Cain ever since that day in the cave.

  • Back in the present day, the Juggernaut has been plowing through the various defenses the X-Men set up to protect themselves. When he finally breaks through the final line of defense, the X-Men attack…and are swatted away. Will Professor X be able to defeat the Juggernaut?!?

Is It Good?

This was pretty good. I liked the unusual story structure. It takes all issue for the Juggernaut to show up, but I thought the way he was introduced —- as a giant, unstoppable mass in the shadows —- was pretty effective.

I can’t say that I like the Kirby/Toth/Colletta artwork, though. It’s not bad, but Toth’s style doesn’t lend itself to Kirby’s poses. I wonder how finished Kirby’s layout sketches were, because the final product doesn’t bear much resemblance to Toth’s classic work. Regardless, this is the only Marvel superhero work Alex Toth ever did (according to the Marvel Wiki, anyways), and it’s not that great.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Cain Marko, the Juggernaut. He is Charles Xavier’s step-brother. He gained superpowers from a mystical gem of Cyttorak; he appears to be super-strong and invulnerable, as well as resistant to psychic attacks.
  • This is the first time Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl learned about Cerebro’s existence. Why it was a secret to begin with, I don’t know.

  • Professor Xavier’s father, Brian Xavier, is mentioned (but not shown) for the first time in this issue. He died in a nuclear explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
  • This is the first appearance of Kurt Marko and Sharon Xavier-Marko, although they only appear in flashbacks. Kurt was Brian Xavier’s coworker, and the father of Cain. Sharon was Professor Xavier’s mother.
  • Charles Xavier’s mutant powers manifested before puberty. We haven’t seen any hard-and-fast rules for mutants yet, so it’s not presented as unusual here, but…it kind of is.

  • Professor X believes that he is a mutant because his parents were exposed to radiation before he was born.

  • Professor X’s premature baldness was caused by his mutant power.

  • Professor X was an athlete in high school, thanks to his mutant powers and the advantage they provided.
  • I guess Professor Xavier has some telekinetic abilities?

  • The Juggernaut’s favorite phrase —- nothing can stop the Juggernaut —- makes its debut.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • What kind of grenades do you think they are, Angel? They look like the exploding kind to me.

  • “Sure, I could try to prepare you for the fight to come, but I’m in the middle of story time.”

  • Professor X: “Sports are just too easy for me, thanks to my mutant power. Winning is meaningless when you have an unfair advantage! [the very next panel] By the way, do you like my enormous trophy collection?”

  • Why doesn’t Professor Xavier mention the adult that took custody of him and Cain after the death of Kurt Marko? I assume there was an adult there, but all we get is a jump forward in time from Charles being orphaned to him being good at sports in high school.

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