X-Men #8 (last issue | next issue)

"The Uncanny Threat of…Unus, the Untouchable"

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cover date: November 1964
Cover price: 12 cents

The book opens with yet another training session, this one under the direction of Cyclops. An interesting thing to note about this session is that this is the first time we see Iceman's ice form. So far, Bobby has looked like a mushy snowman, but here with some practice he first assumes a more solid, angular form which he would eventually adopt permanently.

After school, Iceman and the Beast are heading towards their favorite Greenwich Village beatnik coffee house when they see a little boy trapped on top of a water tower. Heedless of his secret identity, the Beast climbs up the building using only his huge feet and delivers the boy into the arms of someone whom I guess is his dad. The crowd of onlookers, instead of being grateful that the Beast saved a kid's life, attack the pair of mutants. "Minutes later" a disheveled Iceman and the Beast enter Cyclops' office. (Okay, I know that Westchester County is close to the city, but I can't believe it only takes "minutes" to get from the Village to Salem Center. Even with big mutant feet.) Disgusted at the ungrateful humanity he has risked his life to save, he quits the X-Men. Cyclops uses Cerebro to contact Professor X, who is on a motorized wheelchair with tank treads descending into a cave in the Balkans. The Professor reassures Scott that he did all he could, and we find out that the Prof is on a mission to find Lucifer (the alien Quist who caused the Prof to lose the use of his legs), whom we will finally meet next issue.

The Beast has set himself up as a wrestler under the name of…the Beast. They wheel him into the arena in a cage with a train of attendants, guys beating drums, an attractive woman in a pith helmet and tiny khaki shorts, hunters with turbans and rifles. He bursts from his cage, fur cape flying behind him, and leaps into the ring. The announcer calls his opponent Unus the Untouchable, and Unus lives up to his name. The Beast tries all his moves on Unus, but he simply bounces off as the crowd boos. He's bounced out of the ring and into the crowd, but he fails to return to the ring and thus loses the match. That's because he was startled at the sight of Mastermind in the crowd.

The Beast didn't lose because he sucks, the Beast lost because Unus is an mutant. Hank correctly deduces that Mastermind is there to recruit Unus into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but now that the Beast is a sullen loner and not part of the "with great power comes great responsibility" crowd, he simply doesn't care. Backstage, Unus wants to know if he can join. But after being burned by Blob and the Sub-Mariner (nevermind that he tried to kill them both), Magneto is being a bit more selective and is holding tryouts. Mastermind reveals the test: Unus must find the X-Men, or best one of them in combat.

Unus is out for a stroll when he comes across a half dozen heavily armed thugs fleeing a bank with a huge sack with a $ on it. Unus snatches the money. The criminals respond with a barrage of gunfire, which simply bounces off Unus. They flee before they are killed by ricochets. Meanwhile, the X-Men's helicopter (a replacement for the one destroyed last issue) is hot on the trail of a new mutant detected by Cerebro. The Angel, thinking he's just a bank robber, flies after Unus and is surprised to watch him calmly taking off and folding his suit. He's even more surprised to bounce off of Unus. Ouch.

The X-Men attack in full force, but Unus merely shrugs them off. In desperation, Angel dumps Unus on top of a tall building and they slink back to the mansion to figure out a new plan. They are surprised to find the Beast in the lab working on a weapon to counter Unus' power. When Hank says that the ray will increase Unus' power, they think he's turned against them and attack, but the Beast flees with the device. "Minutes later" (again?), Hank arrives at Unus' gym. The X-Men arrive soon after, but not in time to prevent the Beast from increasing Unus' power.

The X-Men think Hank has betrayed them, but the Beast assures them he knows what he's doing. Unus revels in his increased powers, but is dismayed to find cigarettes and chairs flying out of his grasp. As he walks down the street, objects hurl themselves away from him. A desperate Unus tries to eat, but his food merely flies off his plate. When the X-Men show up again, Unus begs them for help. The Beast reverses the effects of the ray, but promises Unus if he turns to crime or joins Magneto, he has another ray blast in store for him. So Unus returns to the wrestling ring, and the Beast returns to the X-Men.

Unus the Untouchable eventually would join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and later another group of villains called Factor Three. Unus died when his power went out of control, like it did in this issue, and his despondent friend the Blob went on a rampage until he broke down in tears.

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