Uncanny X-Men #38-43 (origins)
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #38, Uncanny X-Men #39, Uncanny X-Men #40, Uncanny X-Men #41, Uncanny X-Men #42, Uncanny X-Men #43 (origin back-ups only)
Beginning with X-Men #38, the X-Men series has a back-up feature depicting the origins of the X-Men. It begins with how Cyclops is recruited by Professor X. Issue #38 shows Professor X's first meeting with FBI Agent Fred Duncan.
The FBI and Xavier are looking for Cyclops. They have a video of him accidentally using his powers, putting a crowd in danger, and then using them again to rescue everyone...
...but he's still chased by a mob.
He winds up mentally summoned to a shack containing "the first evil mutant".
Cyclops meets Jack Winters, supposedly a mutant, except his powers were triggered by a radioactive explosion. His powers include teleportation, telepathy...
...and diamond hard hands.
The fact that another (retroactive) early mutant has mental powers in addition to another unrelated power is another example (see my various musings on Tad Carter and Magneto's early display of mental powers) that human mutation has more to do with developing ESP-like abilities than super-powers. It also makes "Jack O'Diamonds" very similar to Emma Frost once she has her secondary mutation.
Jack wants Scott's help in breaking into a facility so he can expose himself to more radiation and get his whole body turned into diamond. Xavier, having detected Scott and Jack using a proto-Cerebro called Cyberno...
...shows up at the end of this issue.
Xavier confronts Jack...
...and Scott Summers eventually makes a decision to stand with Professor Xavier and turns on Jack O'Diamonds after he exposes himself to radiation and becomes the Living Diamond.
Mr. Diamond is killed in this back-up, which is the end of Cyclops' origin story. Scott is given his X-Men uniform.
At one point in the origin feature, Xavier saves himself from a cave-in using "mental bolts", a very strange use of Xavier's powers at this point in time.
The early portions of Cyclops' story show some promise in that it shows how Xavier came to work with the FBI and it plays up the mutant hysteria angle more than the early issues did. But once we get to Jack O'Diamonds the story doesn't feel like a worthwhile use of space, compared to just having full length regular stories. It's actually kind of surprisings that Roy Thomas didn't use the retcon opportunity to flesh things out or address possible contradictions, or even set things up for stores in his regular run (aside from a brief return of Fred Duncan).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place before Uncanny X-Men #1. It also has to take place before Amazing Fantasy #16-18, which references this story.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
I placed all these back up X-Men origin stories along X-Men#1-3 just prior to Tales of Suspense#49 which is the first crossover with the X-Men anywhere.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 22, 2016 10:48 PM
I need to correct that these back-up origin stories and X-Men# 1 and 2 are placed just before Tales of Suspense#49 not #3
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 23, 2016 3:25 PM
Hey fnord12, have you read Uncanny Origins? Do they replace or complement the origin stories in these UXM back ups?
Keep up the awesome work
Posted by: Bibs | February 1, 2017 11:07 AM
If i recall correctly, the Uncanny Origins are Saga-style retellings. If you look at the way the MCP handles them, they slip in scenes in between panels of these origin stories. So it seems like they are mostly retellings with some new material. I may have one or two of them buried in my box with the handbooks and such, but i've got the series listed on my What's Missing page and i don't intend to add them.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 1, 2017 11:57 AM
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