Marvel; 1975
Cover by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum

Title: “Second Genesis!”

Synopsis: When the original X-Men fall prey to a powerful new foe, Professor X gathers replacements to mount a rescue effort.

Writer: Len Wein
Penciler: Dave Cockrum

Review: The new X-Men’s initial outing is an incredibly efficient affair, particularly when compared to modern, decompressed storytelling. Len Wein and Dave Cockrum introduce several new mutants, establishing powers, personalities and a glimpse of backstory. Wein’s plot is tight and Cockrum’s art a cut above. This is a well-crafted debut.


Title: “Call Him … Cyclops”
Synopsis: The X-Men’s longtime leader demonstrates the range of his powers across a variety of situations.

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Werner Roth
John Verpoorten

Review: This reprint from X-Men #43 lacks the punch and pizzazz of the vastly superior lead story. It’s informational, not entertaining.


Title: “I, the Iceman”
Synopsis: The youngest of the original X-Men shows off how his powers have evolved since his early “snowman” days.

Writer: Arnold Drake
Penciler: Werner Roth
John Verpoorten

Review: With its jovial, break the fourth wall style, this short reprint from X-Men #47 is a relic from another era.


Title: “The Female of the Species!”
Synopsis: It’s Marvel Girl’s turn to showcase her powers – including, sadly, the ability to “turn men’s heads.”

Writer: Linda Fite
Penciler: Werner Roth
Sam Grainger

Review: Even with a writer of “the supposedly weaker sex,” this partial reprint from X-Men #57 concludes on a sexist note.

Grade (for the entire issue): B+

Second opinion: “The new X-Men were a fresh outlook in comics.” – Michal Jacot, Comic Effect #28 (Winter 2001) … “I feel this book represented some of Len Wein’s weakest writing and some of Dave Cockrum’s weakest art.” – Mike Hall, Comic Effect #35 (June-July 2003) …“Len Wein holds a makeover clinic in Giant-Size X-Men #1, showing how to put a new face on an old concept.” – Jim Johnson, The Comics Buyer’s Guide to the X-Men (Comics Buyer’s Guide Presents (2003)) … “Some commentators see the release of this issue as the true start of the Bronze Age of comics – an era-defining moment.” – Melanie Scott and Stephen “Win” Wiacek, “Marvel Greatest Comics: 100 Comics That Built a Universe” … “The new team added a multiracial, multinational tilt to remind us even more that, at its core, X-Men has always been about intolerance to those who are different.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition, 2003)

Cool factor: It’s amazing how much of the X-Men template that would dominate comics for the next few decades was already in place here. Also, Dave Cockrum’s costume designs; they’re almost always cool.
Not-so-cool factor: The handling of Thunderbird, a Native American character, has not aged well.

Notable: First appearance of Colossus, Illyana Rasputin, Krakoa, Nightcrawler, Storm and Thunderbird. … No. 4 on Marvel’s 2001 “Greatest Marvels of All Time” list.

Collector’s note: This comic has been reprinted several times, including a facsimile edition (with a different cover price) in 2019.

Character quotable: “What are we going to DO with THIRTEEN X-Men?” – Angel, one of the original X-Men

Copyright ©2021 Off the Wahl Productions, all rights reserved. Each week, T. Andrew Wahl offers up a Bronze Age Minute. For more reviews like this one, check out Wahl’s website, offthewahl.com.