Uncanny X-Men #20-21
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #20, Uncanny X-Men #21
Cyclops leaves the team to look for a cure for his eyes so that he can love Marvel Girl openly. Meanwhile the rest of the X-Men see on TV that the Blob and Unus are dressed up as X-Men while robbing a bank.
Luckily, Cyclops happens to pass right by them and he attacks them...
...and then the other X-Men show up and thwart the robbery. Xavier tries to figure out who might be behind the attack.
It's Lucifer. Stupid, stupid Lucifer.
Unus is now immune to the Beast's anti-Unus beam thanks to Lucifer, who has been mind controlling the villains in order to lure the X-Men back to his lair. During the fight Xavier fills Marvel Girl in on the details around how he lost his legs, and it's still a really dumb story that does nothing to advance any of the mutant's themes (Xavier now says one of the main reasons he formed the X-Men was to be ready when the alien menace of Lucifer returned, but wasn't the theme supposed to be that he formed the team to fight the evil mutants who would take advantage of humanity?).
Then Lucifer remotely paralyzes Xavier...
...and Marvel Girl has to telepathically read instructions from Professor X on how to build an anti-Lucifer paralysis helmet, which she relays to the Beast.
The X-Men then head off after Lucifer, where he tells more of his ridiculous origin and then is defeated when the X-Men trick the super-intelligent alien computer into destroying the robots that it needs in order to operate itself.
This is Roy Thomas' first regular role on a title, and whoo boy does it read like it. Werner Roth uses a pseudonym of Jay Gavin on these issues.
Unus and the Blob just sort of drift harmlessly out of the plot.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
Roy Thomas stated in an interview that he wanted to put Sunfire into the X-Men as far back as 1966, but Stan Lee vetoed it.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 7, 2012 5:42 PM
According to Roy Thomas' editorial in Alter Ego #120, Werner Roth actually plotted #20 and Stan Lee added more dialogue.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 6, 2013 4:56 PM
I've added the additional credits but in cases like these i'm never sure what "counts". Stan Lee was editor, so adding a few lines of dialogue here and there might not really count as him scripting the book. And especially in the early days, when we say an artist penciled a book, we understand that by the Marvel method they probably had a strong influence over the plot as well. So when Thomas remembers years later that Roth plotted the book, does it make sense for me to add that credit for Roth here when i haven't, for example, given Kirby plotting credits for most of his issues?
Posted by: fnord12 | October 7, 2013 1:52 PM
Thomas stated that Lee had nothing to do with the story until he added dialogue to Roy's, and that Stan added quite a bit more(like half the word balloons on the splash page, for example).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 8, 2013 6:42 PM
The last page of issue 20 is also interesting for revealing the new secret hangar Xavier had built into the mansion as well as a new STOL jet he bought while the X-Men were convalescing from their battle with the Juggernaut between issue 13 & 14. Before that, they must have had to get their planes and helicopters from a nearby airfield somewhere.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 1, 2013 3:24 PM
Roy Thomas in Comics Interview #66 further clarifies that Werner Roth completely plotted #20 from an idea of Stan's, and that unlike situations with Kirby and Ditko, this was the only issue where that happened.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 10, 2015 12:03 AM
This was a weak story but I liked that it established the friendship between Unus and the Blob. The trick of getting the computer to destroy its own workers was kind of weak but it was still copied by Englehart in Captain America.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 7, 2016 9:16 PM
I really tought iceman on a surf board was the silver surfer, wish dreaming i guess!
Posted by: Roy Mattson | July 4, 2017 10:03 AM
Is this and the Nefaria arc beginning next issue the beginning of everyday Americans' fear/hatred of mutants in general and the X-Men in particular? Up to this point it seems as though the general public regarded the X-Men in the same way as the Avengers and FF.
Posted by: Jeff | January 12, 2018 1:59 PM
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