X-Men (Vol. 1) #14

Credits:

Cover Date: November 1, 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Wally Wood

“Among Us Stalk…the Sentinels!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Pencillers: Jack Kirby (layouts), Werner Roth (credited as Jay Gavin)

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

A new threat arises to challenge mutants and humans alike: the Sentinels!

Details:

  • Professor X decides to treat his charges by giving them time off for vacation.

  • As soon as his students have left, Xavier notices that Bolivar Trask is making headlines by claiming that mutants are an imminent threat for humankind. Xavier immediately calls a TV network to set up a live discussion, so he can defuse the situation.

  • Xavier is booked for a televised discussion with Bolivar Trask. Charles urges the viewers that mutants are not a danger, and Trask responds with…mutant-hunting robots he call Sentinels! On Trask’s orders (and not because he’s a mutant), they seize Professor X!

  • Unfortunately for everyone, Trask immediately loses control of the Sentinels, and they decide that they don’t need to serve humans.

  • Professor X cuts his team’s vacation short, and they quickly show up to battle the Sentinels. They soon realize that these are a bit more advanced that your typical robot.

  • When it looked like the X-Men were overwhelmed and facing defeat, the Sentinel just…stopped.

  • Studying the downed robot, Xavier determines the Sentinel base and that something called “Master Mold” is there.

  • As the X-Men rush to find the Sentinel base, Bolivar Trask finds himself the prisoner of his own inventions. The remaining Sentinels kidnapped him and brought him to their base, so he can produce more units. Their goal: world domination!

Is It Good?

This might be my favorite X-Men issue to date! Even though Werner Roth is clearly working from Kirby’s layouts, he adds enough of his own style and detail to make the artwork more interesting than some of the work Marvel’s putting out at this time.

I liked the brief peeks into the team’s personal lives, but it’s the tone of this issue that I really liked. This is the first time the public has really turned on mutants, and the first time we’ve seen Xavier preach tolerance to the masses; his message doesn’t match the “classic” version of Xavier’s Dream yet, but this issue is the closest we’ve come thematically to what we now consider the norm for X-stories.

I also really like these Sentinels. There’s no messing around. They are introduced, and are immediately a threat to humankind. I’m also enjoying their somewhat clunky design. It’s not a great look, but it’s enough to make them seem inhuman (which they are).

Continuity:

  • Beginning this issue, X-Men will change from a bi-monthly production schedule to monthly.
  • At the start of this issue, the X-Men were rehabilitating the injuries they incurred when they fought the Juggernaut last issue.

  • Warren’s parents don’t know that he is a mutant, despite the fact that he has giant wings.

  • Cyclops is worried about his mutant powers again.

  • Hank wears special shoes to fit his large and dexterous feet.

  • Scott won’t stop worrying about his dangerous powers.

  • Hank and Iceman apparently live within a few hours by bus to Xavier’s school. Warren and Jean need to take the train to meet up with their family. Scott doesn’t appear to have anywhere to go during his vacation, but he’s leaving anyway.

  • This is the first appearance of the Sentinels. These are the Mark I models. They have some sort of energy beams they use to attack, in addition to their advanced strength and speed. They also have a “computo-meter” that can detect mutants.

  • Bernard the Poet and Zelda both last appeared in X-Men #7.

  • This is the first appearance of Warren Worthington Jr. and Kathryn Worthington, Angel’s parents.

  • Cyclops was chased by an angry mob for being a mutant. This is the third time we’ve seen this sort of thing happen.

  • Professor X can receive mental signals from robots.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • It’s always going to amuse me whenever the Silver Age X-Men don’t act like they care about mutants and humans living in harmony.

  • Where do their parents think they are? They all officially graduated from high school back in X-Men #7.

  • The Sentinels have a sensor that can detect mutants, but they didn’t appear to identify Xavier as one. That’s an odd oversight on their part.

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