X-Men #9 (last issue | next issue)

"Enter, the Avengers!"

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

Cover date: January 1965
Cover price: 12 cents

The Avengers show up to fight the X-Men, while Professor X finally confronts that Lucifer guy everyone's been talking about, the villain (later revealed to be an alien Quist) who caused the Professor to lose the use of his legs. This issue's an exciting one, True Believers.

In the North Atlantic, a super-liner shrouded in fog is heading straight towards an iceberg. Unlike the Titanic, this ship has the X-Men on board, and Cyclops destroys the iceberg with an optic blast. Fortunately, no one sees the source of the blast, and Iceman helps a weak Cyke back to his stateroom. We learn that the Professor has sent the team to Europe, and Jean Grey swoons over Cyclops in an angsty thought balloon. Then the Professor makes mental contact.

The Professor has located the underground lair of Lucifer and is descending into it in a motorized wheelchair with tank treads and all kinds of cool gadgets, which enable him to evade Lucifer's traps. Until Lucifer launches an artificial dust devil, that is. The Professor quickly deduces that the dust devil is Lucifer's creation, since dust storms don't generally form in underground caves. The dust devil snatches up the Professor and deposits him at Lucifer's feet in a thin, hardened shell. The Professor draws a gun and shoots through the shell and is about to bust a cap in Lucifer's ass, but Lucifer cries for him to stop or else "the entire world is doomed!"

Above ground, the X-Men are strolling around in a Bavarian village in street clothes, awaiting orders from the Professor. They don't notice that, not to far away, Thor is flying by, with the rest of the Avengers in tow: Iron Man, Captain America, Giant Man, and the Wasp. Apparently, Thor's hammer Mjolnir has detected strange impulses of evil and tracked them here from the US. Yeah. And I thought that Secret Wars was a lame excuse for a crossover…

The Avengers manage to scare the wits out of an English-speaking motorist who takes off down the road and nearly collides with the X-Men. Since they are in street clothes, the tourist assumes they're "normal people" and tells them about his encounter with "monsters". Thinking Lucifer is nearby, the X-Men charge into action and the tourist flees. Below the earth, Lucifer reveals his "thermal bomb", which will go off if his heartbeat stops. Lucifer fires an "ionic ray" at the X-Men, but the Professor warns them mentally and they escape destruction.

The Professor warns the X-Men that Lucifer cannot be slain or harmed. So, of course, the Avengers show up on the trail of those evil impulses. Instead of explaining the situation so that both teams work together to fight Lucifer, the X-Men and the Avengers end up fighting each other. While the slugfest is going on, the Professor starts poking around Lucifer's brain and finds a way to knock him out without affecting his heartbeat. Now that Lucifer has been dispatched, Professor X stops the fight and explains all. The Avengers head back to America, and the X-Men descend into Lucifer's lair. With Professor X mentally guiding him, Cyclops destroys a key fuse and the deadly bomb is rendered harmless.

Lucifer is now awake and swears revenge, but the Professor simply lets him go. Why? Why? Of course, the X-Men can't kill him, and I guess they can't smuggle him through Customs back to America, but considering he tried to devastate the Earth with a thermal bomb, surely some agency of some government would be willing to take custody of him. Lucifer is free to launch another nefarious scheme, and he'd show up again in X-Men #20, where we are treated to a lengthy flashback of the Professor's first confrontation with him and learn that he's really an alien agent.

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