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Flashback: Review of Uncanny X-Men 92 (February 1975) June 16, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, Flashback.
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In Flashback, LOTRKing reviews a random back issue (in most instances, one he hasn’t read before) and attempts to make sense of both the story and its place in Marvel history.

Marvel’s Silver Age of Comics is an interesting time. Marvel produced many classic stories which would build the foundation for the Marvel Universe that still exists today. There were also several stinkers which are probably not worth being read. Uncanny X-Men 92 is one of those stinkers, and perhaps even more amazing, UXM 92 is during X-Men’s “reprint phase” before X-Men got its reinvigorating reboot with Giant Size X-Men 1, therefore someone thought the material here (originally from UXM 44) was worth re-reading. They were wrong. While this issue does have a few (very few) redeeming qualities, there were way too many bad ones to save it. Therefore I am going to have some fun today and go into total bashing mode. (For those who do not enjoy comic bashing please return tomorrow for our regularly scheduled program).

This issue opens with the X-Men unconscious and captured by Magneto. The Toad (in his hilarious original outfit) rambles on about how wise and perfect Magneto is for accomplishing this task, and I’m personally surprised that we don’t see him kissing Magneto’s feet. The Toad tries to convince Magneto to kill them, but Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who had recently deserted the Avengers and rejoined their father, convince Magneto to simply imprison them in hopes that they might join him. Magneto, though his original plan was to kill them, decides he likes Pietro’s idea and has Toad lock them up. Conveniently enough, Magneto had already designed and buily the perfect imprisonment apparatus for each of them, to ensure they cannot use their powers to escape. (That’s an awful lot of work when you were just gonna kill ‘em anyway.)

Of course, Angel happens to find a laser sitting right outside his cage and uses it to free himself. He is about to free the others, but Cyclops insists that it might be a trap, so Angel should escape and get the Avengers to help. That makes a lot of sense, only not. If Angel can escape without being trapped, the other X-Men should too. Seems to me like Cyclops is just trying to get the rich prep out of their hair. I can just hear it now, “Great, now that Warren is gone, we can free ourselves and not have to deal with him on the way home.”

Anyway, Angel is able to fly away and quickly realizes that he has flown into a storm (cause that is so easy to do, you know), and comes up with the brilliant idea that he should go to the Avengers for help! (You know, that exact idea that Cyclops mentioned earlier? Am I the only one sensing a Timon and Pumbaa moment here?) Eventually the storm tires him out and he decides to rest on a mysterious rock floating in the ocean. Of course, the rock quickly rises to reveal itself to be an island. Warren is intrigued and decides to explore it when he sees a large metal door on a cliff face. He reasons that Magneto probably won’t kill his friends since he is likely to ask them to join him. That’s a pretty big gamble just to satisfy your curiosity if you ask me. “Hey my friends are in grave danger, but they probably won’t be murdered, so I’ll go ahead and explore this groovy island.” It’s no wonder Cyclops secretly wanted to get rid of him.

Upon entering he discovers that it belongs to a now hibernating race of bird-people (who look exactly like Angel, that is, normal looking people but with large white wings). On this Island is a character named Red Raven who caused the hibernation of the bird-men to keep them from attack the rest of earth. (Apparently these couple hundred creatures planned on conquering the “surface dwellers” with inferior technology. Yeah, I don’t get it either.) Red Raven was the infant survivor of a plane crash on the bird-men’s floating island in the sky who was raised as one of their own. Apparently he never realized he wasn’t a bird-man while growing up (you’d think the lack of wings on his back would be a dead give away) and when he finds out his true lineage, he is bent on stopping the bird-man invasion. He uses some emergency system on the island to release a hibernation gas and sink the island to the bottom of the ocean. The downside of this is that the island was programmed to rise twenty years later (which is now) and awaken everyone. Red Raven stayed behind (those must have been a boring twenty years) to ensure that he could reactivate the hibernation process.

After learning this, Angel suggests that Red Raven allows the bird-men to awaken so that scientists can study them and learn the secrets of their race. That’s a real humane decision Warren! Let’s capture these weird people and study their secrets, but don’t do that to mutants, cause its wrong. Yup, Warren’s a jerk. Eventually Red Raven decides that there is still a chance that the bird-men may succeed in conquering Earth (how exactly?), so he knocks Angel out, lets him float in the ocean on a raft, and returns the island to the murky depths for another twenty years. Eventually, Angel wakes up, and suspects he’ll someday run into Red Raven again. (I hope not, if anyone actually followed up on this story, they deserve to be turned into a newt! Unfortunately, they’ll get better.) He then finally flies off to recruit the Avengers and the issue ends. Wow, not only do we get a completely pointless story, readers back then got a pointless wait between seeing the X-Men captured last issue and finally seeing what would happen in the next issue. I’m not even going to touch on the short story reprint from Mystery Tales 30. Let’s just say that the other anthology stories from Amazing Fantasy 15 (you know, the ones not about Spider-Man) are high literature compared to this one. Heck, the rest of this issue is high literature compared to the MT 30 reprint. So if you are looking for a good example of Silver Age absurdity, look no farther that Uncanny X-Men 92, otherwise, avoid it like the plague.

Next week: Fantastic Four 124




1. Flashback: Review of Avengers 51 (April 1968) « LOTRKing’s Comic Book Reviews and Other Random Stuff - July 7, 2008

[…] that period. Sure, it wasn’t the best comic ever published, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the last look into the Silver Age. This particular issue features the roster of Thor, Iron Man, Goliath (Pym), Wasp, and Hawkeye and […]

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