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We can be thankful that they’re tackling the Maha Yogi together and not the Kama Sutra – X-Men #47

November 2, 2010

The pre-cancellation days of the X-Men weren’t all that spectacular — or uncanny, for that matter. The stories could be rather dull, and they didn’t hit their angst-ridden stride until after Marvel had put its 60’s prime in the rearview mirror.

This issue’s main story is no exception. As “The Warlock Wears Three Faces!” begins, the X-Men have been disbanded by order of the F.B.I. and Professor X is (apparently) dead. In the course of this particular plot, Beast and Iceman defeat Maha Yogi/Merlin/The Warlock, who’s using a stage act in the big city to hypnotize an army for himself one paying audience at a time.

This is the opposite of scintillating. Nothing about it grabs you. The only panel that caught my fancy was this one:

I think the verbose Hank McCoy just proposed that they go pick up some broads, but I’m not 100% positive.

I found the backup, a summary of Iceman’s abilities, to be a bit more entertaining, mainly for the pointless ends to which he can direct his powers.

In “I, the Iceman,” by Arnold Drake, Werner Roth and John Verpoorten, we learn that he can make ice-erangs:

And he can make ice-ladders — don’t step on the top rung! Or any of the rungs, for that matter!:

Here he is metaphorically comparing penis-sizes with the Human Torch:

Since this comic was published in 1968 and the Mets won the pennant and the World Series in the very next year, the Torch’s boast rings pretty hollow.

Finally, Iceman ruminates on how he’d fare in the coldest of environs:

So, after saying that space has no moisture, and that his powers need moisture, he says that he’d still be intrigued by the challenge?

Bobby Drake, you’re an idiot.

If someone wanted me to pick out a prime exemplar of Marvel’s Silver Age, this puppy would be pretty far down the list of options.

(And, in case you’re wondering, the feature was scripted by Gary Friedrich and Arnold Drake, pencilled by Don Heck and Werner Roth, and inked by John Tartaglione. That’s a lot of chefs in the kitchen — and therein might lie the reason for the story’s mediocrity.)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. neill permalink
    November 2, 2010 9:31 pm

    Have to agree that this period was the X-Men’s nadir. But the following year? The Thomas/Adams/Palmer stories? Totally the opposite! The absolute best X-Men run, which I’ll take over any of the Claremont clones (much as I liked Byrne and Cockrum’s work). So I gotta take issue slightly with your first paragraph.

    • November 3, 2010 12:09 am

      Fair enough. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Adams’ art — a position for which I’ve been excoriated in the past — so for me that’s not in the “pro” column for those Thomas issues. But I’ll certainly agree that they’re better than this Maha Yogi crap.

  2. neill permalink
    November 3, 2010 6:22 pm

    yeah, and perhaps the reason we can agree on is the plotting and scripting. Arnold Drake brutally destroyed all the Marvel books he scripted. Remember that Thomas left the book during ’68–when he came back, his scripting style had matured quite a bit, to become (IMHO) the sharpest dialogue man at the time. And even if Adams’ art doesn’t move you that much, his plotting input with Thomas made for tight, logically forward-moving story-telling. That’s my case (but I also am a big Adams admirer).

    • November 3, 2010 8:41 pm

      Once again, fair enough. The scripting of those Thomas issues was a marked improvement. I’ll just close with this — if I were calculating a baseball-style batting average for the entire pre-cancellation run, the weak material would drag down the good stuff and we’d be left with a light-hitting .205 infielder. Maybe I’m stretching that metaphor a little too far, but that’s my macro take on the whole thing.

  3. neill permalink
    November 4, 2010 7:49 pm

    Tragically, I can’t dispute your last comment. Still, I so treasure that last year of Thomas/Adams/Palmer (and the early Lee/Kirby run was worth investigating).

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