X-Men #7 (last issue | next issue)

"The Return of the Blob"

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Art Simek
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cover date: September 1964
Cover price: 12 cents

It's the villain that you knew would return and the team up you knew was inevitable. The Blob, last seen with amnesia at the end of X-Men #3, is recruited by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

But first, it's graduation day at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. The kids pose for the camera with mortar boards and diplomas. Their diplomas are blank since, as the Beast points out, you don't want a diploma declaring that you're a graduated X-Man. But they do have regular prep school diplomas in case any of them want to, say, go to college instead of fighting evil mutants and such. (I believe all five of them eventually went to college.) At another mansion, this one unkempt and in disrepair, the Brotherhood are squabbling again. Mastermind sexually harrasses the Scarlet Witch and barely escapes another asswhuppin'.

Cut back to the school, Professor X shows Cyclops his new invention, and it's our first glimpse of Cerebro (from the Latin cerebrum, for "brain"). Cerebro's function is to detect mutants. Since Professor X can do this with his own brain, Cyke wonders why they need a machine to do it. The Professor is leaving the X-Men for a spell and is putting Cyclops in charge. (If you must know, the Prof is going after Lucifer, the alien Quist who caused him to lose the use of his legs, and will be seen again in X-Men #9.)

The next morning, the rest of the X-Men find eternally grim Scott Summers behind the Professor's desk. Cyke fills them in and Jean Grey moons over him. They've been dropping hints about this relationship for months now, but this is the first time they hit you over the head with it via the Angel's thought balloon: "Can't he see how she feels about him?" They leave Cyke to monitor Cerebro and head to Greenwich Village.

Meanwhile, at the circus, Magneto is taking a stroll in his costume and no one bats an eye, because it is, after all, the circus. I'm sure some of you are groaning and think this is unbelievably silly, but I love it. Every comic book should have a circus scene. Magneto catches the Blob's act. Elephants cannot budge him! Cannons cannot harm him! After the show, Blob greets one of the world's most powerful supervillains with "What's up, rube?" Amazingly, Magneto does not kill him on the spot, but probes his mind and discovers the mental block placed there by Professor X.

The ringmaster interrupts, demanding to know what Magneto is up to, but Magneto simply drops a cage on top of him. The ringmaster cries out "Hey, rube!", and the circus attacks! The Brotherhood springs into action, tossing roustabouts and carnies around with ease. Now that the circus has been routed, Magneto offers Blob a spot on the Brotherhood team. The Blob's response is to manhandle Magneto and slip him into a nelson. Amazingly, again the Blob does not die, but Magneto simply thrusts him away with a burst of magnetic force. When the Blob lands, the force of the blow somehow destroys the mental block. The Blob remembers everything that happened to him, and he signs up with Magneto to battle the X-Men.

Cerebro detects the destruction of the Blob's mental block, and the ever vigilant Cyclops summons the rest of the team. In the Village, the Beast and Iceman are in the midst of a surreal parody of a beatnik coffee house. Men in berets play the saxophone, a woman in black dances like a contortionist, a bearded man reads a shopping list as "zen poetry", and the audience cries "Go, cat, go!" While Iceman flirts with a waitress named Zelda, the Beast takes off his shoes to reveal his enormous bare feet. The crowd lifts Beast onto their shoulders and proclaim him "King of the Barefoot Beats!" Before someone can finish painting a face on the Beast's foot, Angel arrives to fetch them and they all pile into Angel's convertible. (Errata: Jean's hair is blonde in this panel, at least in my reprint.)

As they suit up for battle, Magneto sends them a message kindly providing the address of their factory hideout. (How Magneto gets this message to them is unexplained.) The X-Men pile into their helicopter and arrive at the address to see the Blob standing alone outside. They remain aloft, fearing a trap (which, of course, it is), so Magneto rips apart their helicopter. Unwisely, they all pile on the Blob, and Magneto, always willing to sacrifice a minion for the cause of evil, launches his trap by firing a bunch of torpedos at them. The torpedos strike the Blob, who unwittingly shields the X-Men from the blast. Even the X-Men can't fail to recognize the irony of this situation, and spend precious time pointing it out while Magneto runs away.

Now that he's lost the services of the Blob, and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are wavering, Magneto wisely chooses to leave before he's left with only the losers Toad and Mastermind as minions. They flee in the Magna-Car while a despondent Blob decides to return to the circus to be a sideshow freak again. The X-Men, with their helicopter destroyed, are now stranded without even cab fare to get home.

Yes, Cyclops and Jean Grey eventually get together and form one of comics' great (not to mention convoluted and bizarre) romances. They were an item for years before she tragically died in Uncanny X-Men # 138. So Scott married a woman named Madelyne Pryor who looked exactly like Jean Grey in Uncanny X-Men #175. But the original Jean Grey was revived for X-Factor and the one who died turned out to be an incarnation of the Phoenix force. Scott left Madelyne for Jean and Madelyne turned out to be a clone and became the Goblin Queen and died. So Scott has slept with three different versions of the same woman. Scott and Jean married and their future son would turn out to be the annoying Cable. And if you understood all of that, please explain it to me.

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