Unearthed: The X-Men #1

If you’ve been reading our Marvel Retold series (an if you aren’t, there’s never been a better time!), you know of our love for the X-Men. And while you’ve probably seen an X-movie or two, you might not have read their origin issue… so here it is!

As always, we’re not going to give you every panel from every page; go out and get the collection for that, you cheapskate! But we’re taking a look with our usual jaundiced eyes at the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby… masterpiece?

“Angel! You’re stirring up everything in the room that’s not weighed down! Beast! There used to be GLASS in that window! Iceman! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU DROPPING DOWN FROM?”

“Professor X! Where’s your wheelchair? HOW DID YOU GET HERE?”

So Xavier, the bald dude, has gathered a posse of teenaged boys. Just go with it. He doesn’t have the use of his legs, has never been in the army, is not a trainer of any sort. Yet he’s got the huevos to order them around and actually GRADE THEM as they perform these frankly terrifyingly dangerous “tests” he’s concocted for them. Man, teenaged boys are DUMB.

Listen, I don’t care HOW strong you are: physics will only allow you to go SO FAST. And you may say ‘well, hey, c’mon, it’s just a comic book’. My answer will always be to run off, crying.

A rich, blond White kid being racist? Heaven forfend!

Outside of this first issue, I’ve never seen Angel do this again, but it’s really cool.

… at what age do reflexes get BETTER?

Henceforth, Cyclops here will be seen just firing so quickly it’s like there’s no actual mechanism in place to prevent his beams from coming out at all. Yet we’re told in this second panel his visor has to open, what, all the way for his beams to project? And it’s happening slowly?

Of perhaps all the X-Men, Cyclops is the one with whom I have the most problems. But we’ll get to them in due time.

“Yes… your young, supple bodies… struggling hard… SO HARD against each other…”

“Professor? Why are you breathing funny?”

Okay, brace yourselves, True Believers. When the headmaster himself comments on the beauty of one of his students, it’s TRIGGER WARNING CITY

And sure enough, boys will be boys. But! Notice that the one young man NOT ogling the arrival of Jean Grey is Iceman… who decades in real time later we’ll discover is canonically gay. Could Stan the Man have planted that reveal THIS early? I’ll leave it up to you to decide!

That’s right: the “X” in “X-Men” DOESN’T stand for “Xavier”.

That’s also right: it’s stupid.

“Human” cyclops, Xavier? Also, note that he’s officially “Slim Summers” here. Also also: why “Marvel Girl”? That doesn’t denote her power at all. In my alternate X-history headcanon, Xavier’s a huge post-Peter Gabriel Genesis fan, so he names Jean “Invisible Touch”.

Sure, that’s a long way to go to make a joke, but I have time.

Wait… so Xavier’s making a case that he was born a mutant because his parents were both irradiated? Then… how do you explain EVERY OTHER MUTANT, Prof?


“I was only trying to be friendly!” “Why don’t you smile more?” “What, can’t take a joke?” “Why you being so emotional?”

Not a good look, Beast.

Nothing takes the terror out of a threat like a refined signature.

That Magneto’s obscured by his own dialogue balloon here is hilarious.

I’m convinced no kid has ever said “YAYBO” like Stan Lee thinks they did.

Stan Lee also doesn’t quite understand how magnetism works.

Nor does he know what ice is, apparently.

Surely SOME of those things were bolted down. Like the girder with BOLTS IN IT


Even though the soldier here says “Uncanny!”, the book wouldn’t become “The Uncanny X-Men” until issue 94.

Also, what was going to happen after the fifteen minutes had elapsed?

“Uh… thank you, sir! But the X-Men aren’t IN your command.”

“What’s that now?”

“We’re not under your command.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We don’t work for you.”

“… totally not getting it.”

“We’re leaving now.”

“See you in the mess hall in twenty!”

And that’s the X-Men #1! Not what you’d expected, eh? EH? EH WOT? Blimey! Thruppence! Etc. Join us on Wednesday for X-Men #2, in which MUTANTS!