X-Men (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
September 1963
Story Title: 

Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (drawer), Paul Reinman (inker), Sam Rosen (letterer)

Brief Description: 

At an exclusive private school in Westchester, Professor Charles Xavier is training a very special class of people - four young men, each gifted with a mutant power. After observing the Angel, Iceman, the Beast and Cyclops in their individual training sessions, Xavier tells his students that today a fifth student is to arrive, a lovely young woman. Not much later, Jean Grey is welcomed at the mansion, and all four boys are startled by her beauty. After demonstrating her power of telekinesis, Jean is filled in by Xavier, a mutant himself, about the school’s purpose. For one, it is a safe haven for mutants like them, for humanity is not yet ready to accept superpowered individuals in their midst, but it also serves as a training ground to prepare the X-Men for upcoming battles with evil mutants, who view themselves as superior to humanity and want to rule it. One such mutant is Magneto, who attacks the US’ missile center, Cape Citadel, the following day and claims the base for himself. Xavier sends his X-Men to stop him and, while the army could not even get in the base, thanks to magnetic shields erected by Magneto, the five teenagers succeed. Magneto is both unprepared to face other mutants and also underestimates the X-Men, because of their youth. However, with teamwork, they manage to overcome everything Magneto throws at them and eventually they drive him off - though are unable to stop his escape. The military thanks the X-Men nevertheless and Professor Xavier too congratulates his students on their first mission well done.

Full Summary: 

In the main study of an exclusive private school in New York’s Westchester County, a strange, silent man sits motionless, brooding alone with his indescribable thoughts. He is Professor Charles Xavier. Finally, after finishing his meditation, a sharp, commanding thought rings out and echoes through the building. Telepathically, the bald man calls out to his X-Men that class is in session and they are to appear in his study at once.

Within seconds, four young men answer the call, all of them dressed in yellow and blue costumes. They enter the study, each in their own way. While the Angel flies in, carried by the huge wings on his back, Iceman slides around a pole of ice he created. The Beast chose the window for his entrance, swinging in like a gorilla, and the man called Cyclops chose the old-fashioned way to get there – on foot. Cyclops and Angel see to it that the professor sits comfortable, adjusting the back of his chair and handing him a blanket for his legs. Iceman wants to show the Beast a new trick he learned with his frosting powers and covers his fellow student’s arm with ice. Feeling the sudden cold, Beast pulls back his arm and tries to get rid of the ice, eventually threatening the other students. The Angel intervenes before the situation can get out of hand, reminding his classmates to behave themselves.

Still communicating only through his thoughts, Professor Xavier thanks the Angel and tells the X-Men that it’s time for their lessons. After announcing that the Beast will be first, Xavier orders Cyclops to operate the training machine for the session. The professor tells the Beast to grab the taunt wire above him with his toes, which the agile mutant does with ease. Next, he has to spin around it faster and faster, only to let go at a precise moment to execute maneuver “G.“ The Beast does as told, is hurled through a loop, bounces off a wall, only to make his way to the second loop and eventually bounce back to his origin point. Cyclops congratulates him, as he needed exactly three seconds, the time limit the professor set. Next, the Beast is told to balance upside down on a fragile rod, using only one finger. He is supposed to maintain his balance, even as Cyclops slackens the rod’s tension, but he only manages for a time. As the Beast lands gracefully on his feet, Xavier tells him he’ll receive his grade tomorrow.

It’s the Angel’s turn next and Xavier mentally tells the young man not to make a mistake. The winged mutant gets cocky, commenting that mistakes are for Homo sapiens. Just in time, he dodges an unexpected flame jet from below and the Angel realized that Xavier was right; he was too overconfident. The winged mutant masters the next tasks much better, even slalom-diving through a gigantic ventilator, each blade displaying a different shape, is no problem for him. The Angel’s concentration is broken by a sudden sound concussion and he almost falls to the ground. Only with the professor’s mental guidance, telling him to keep flapping his wings, is he able to stay aloft. The winged mutant knows it was a close call and Xavier tells him that he needs to master the hovering maneuver, as it might save his life one day.

The Angel’s session being over, Iceman eagerly asks when the professor is going to stop taking it easy with him, just because he is a couple of years younger than the others. Unimpressed by the complaint, Xavier answers that some things can’t be rushed and tells the youngster that he may have five minutes of free play to do what he wishes. Iceman decides that as he is being treated like a kid, he will act like one, and, with a carrot, some buttons, a hat and a broom, he turns himself into a snowman, hoping to get a few laughs from the others. However, he forgot another rule of their mentor – to always stay alert. To test Iceman’s reflexes, Xavier has the Beast hurl a bowling ball at him and the young mutant quickly creates an ice-shield in front of him, shaped in such a way that the ball is redirected back to where it came from. As the object flies by the professor in his chair, it is caught by the Beast, who congratulates the group’s youngest member on his quick reaction time.

Cyclops angrily yells at the Beast and Iceman, telling them to be more careful, for the bowling ball almost hit Xavier. The Beast angrily shouts back that of course they don’t want their mentor hurt and that they had everything under control. Xavier telepathically interrupts, telling Cyclops that it’s his turn now, his test being to fight his two teammates as if they were enemies. The young man adjusts a small lever at the side of his visor and, as he opens his eyes, a beam of pure force erupts, knocking the Beast into the next wall. Cyclops then quickly turns around to give Iceman the same kind of treatment but the teen encased himself in a block of ice. Still, Cyclops keeps his optic beam pouring and pouring until the ice cracks and the mutant himself is hit. Xavier telepathically orders the Beast and the Angel to enter the fray, as he knows a few minutes of roughhouse will help all of them to let off steam.

All of a sudden, Xavier ends the training with a sharp commanding thought. The four students are taken aback by the sheer force of the mental command and they stop their free-for-all. Xavier says that all of them are receiving his thoughts perfectly and, with the training over now, he returns to normal speech communication. Now talking out loud, he tells the class in front of him that he senses a taxi approaching the main gate, inside being the newest pupil – an attractive young lady. The young men head to a window and, while Cyclops, the Angel and the Beast all marvel at the lovely redhead’s beauty, Iceman walks off, not interested in the female as much as the others. The three boys, though, wonder what the girl’s superhuman power is, as she looks pretty normal, and then they decide to get changed so that she won’t get scared by the costumes they are wearing.

Xavier welcomes the young woman in the salon and introduces himself. The redhead says it all seems somewhat strange and mysterious to her. She was not allowed anyone but her parents to know that she was enlisting here, and she has yet to learn the course of study. In fact, she wonders what kind of school it is. Xavier answers that he knows she already suspects, for he can read her thoughts clearly and knows about her unusual “talent.” He continues, revealing that she, like himself and the other students at the school, is a mutant, possessing an extra power, one that ordinary humans do not have. That Ex-tra power is why he calls his students X-Men.

As the four students walk in, Xavier introduces them all to Jean by their codenames and their real names. The Beast is Hank McCoy, Warren Worthington III is called the Angel, Iceman’s real name is Bobby Drake and Slim Summers goes by Cyclops. Jean’s codename will be Marvel Girl, the professor declares. The teenagers swarm around the young redhead, each of them trying to make their best impression and, at the same time, wondering what mutant powers she has. Slim wants to bring the lady a chair but she tells him that it’s not really necessary.

Suddenly, the chair moves by itself and, while Slim stares at his now empty hands, Hank jumps out of the way, as the chair slides by him. Jean tells them not to be alarmed and wants to continue the interview with Xavier, but Slim enquires to know what just happened. Xavier tells Jean to demonstrate her powers a bit more and she does. After admitting that she enjoys being able to openly use her gift, she explains that she has the power of telekinesis; she can move things with her mind. To demonstrate, she lifts a book from Xavier’s desk, flips through the pages and then, after closing it, places it on a sideboard – all with sheer will power.

The professor thanks Jean and continues to tell her about himself and the school. He was born of parents who had worked on the first A-bomb project and, like all of the students, he is a mutant, his power being telepathy – the ability to read minds and to project his own thoughts into the brains of others. When he grew up, Xavier realized that normal people feared and distrusted him, which is when he realized that the human race was not yet ready to accept super-powered individuals in their midst. Therefore, he opened the school so that mutants have a safe haven to learn using their powers for the benefit of mankind. The professor finishes with revealing that he is confined to a wheelchair, due to a childhood accident, but he has many devices at his disposal and, through his power, he is always in touch with his X-Men. He then says its time for the students to get to know each other better.

Hank is the first who wants to welcome the lovely redhead and leans in for a kiss, touching her cheek with his large hands. Warren tells him to behave himself but Jean has the situation under control and lifts the overeager X-Man in the air. Bobby and Warren laugh as Jean starts spinning Hank around, eventually dumping him on a sofa. Jean hopes she wasn’t too rough on him but Xavier tells her that it was nothing compared to the team’s regular training sessions, during which they prepare themselves for their missions in the outside world. That comments reminds Jean of something she had wanted to ask – what exactly is the team’s real mission. With a sad look on his face, Xavier tells the young lady that, of the many mutants on Earth, more and more being born each year, not all have good intentions. Some feel superior to humans and want to rule Earth, but the X-Men’s job is it to defend humanity from these evil mutants.

Meanwhile, in a secret laboratory near Cape Citadel, Magneto, one of those evil mutants that Xavier spoke of, is anticipating the moment he had prepared for several months. On a monitor, he observes a rocket launch at Cape Citadel, the U.S. government having taken maximum-security precautions to make sure nothing prevents its successful flight. However, they didn’t prepare for a mutant with the ability to control magnetism and, only seconds after the missile is launched, he affects it with magnetic waves, causing it to change direction, to lose altitude and eventually to crash into the ocean. At Cape Citadel, NASA staff and military officials are shocked – all systems checked okay; it can only mean that the rocket was sabotaged, but they are left wondering how.

(the next day)
The incident has already made it to the newspaper and, according to the headlines, this was the sixth top secret missile launch to have failed. But the worst is yet to come. That afternoon, at the heavily guarded fence of Cape Citadel, suddenly a machine gun starts to move as if it had a life of its own. It leaps into the air, spins around and wildly fires in all directions. The soldiers run for cover. Next, a tank starts moving with nobody sitting inside. The high-ranking army officials are just about to alert the Pentagon when something odd appears in the sky. Magnetized dust particles are skillfully arranged into the shape of letters, eventually forming a message. Surrender the base or I’ll take it by force! Magneto The generals and officers wonder who or what Magneto might be, but one thing is clear – with their weapons acting out of control, this is no joke.

From afar, Magneto watched the army officials, who seem startled but not making any moves to surrender. He decides that another power display is in order and directs his magnetic impulses into an energizer to further increase their power, leaving the mere humans with no room for doubt. Guided by his mind, Magneto’s magnetic waves make their way across the land to reach into an underground silo, that houses several missiles. Magneto causes one of the rockets to launch and directs its flight pattern, making it crash into the sea, right next to an unmanned target ship. Shocked by the accuracy of Magneto’s power, a colonel orders for the guard doubled at every missile control center and a general says that finding Magneto has top priority.

However, finding Magneto is no problem, for he found them. Dressed in a red and purple costume, his head covered and faced obscured by a helmet, the man approaches the front gate of Cape Citadel. The soldiers tell him to go away, thinking he is dressed up for a costume party, but Magneto has no intention of slowing down. Affecting the soldiers’ rifles with his power, making them to heavy to be held, or the triggers not moving, Magneto moves forward. Next, he creates a magnetic shield around himself that repels each and everyone trying to harm him, and, when the soldiers call for reinforcements, he magnetically lifts the men in front of him that were blocking his path. Eventually, Magneto is fed up with the army and confines the soldiers in a small area for him to talk to the officer-in-command undisturbed.

Finally, Magneto stands before the general, who has given him sixty seconds to say what he wants. Magneto, though, corrects the army official, saying that he has all the time in the world and that he now claims the entire base in the name of Homo superior. Outraged, the general tries to hit the costumed man but he can’t. Just like the soldiers outside, the general and his guard are encased in an invisible shield. As Magneto explains that it is magnetic in nature and his doing, he also states that he has accomplished his first objective – Cape Citadel is his.

Meanwhile, in a dormitory of the school in Westchester, Marvel Girl has put on her training uniform and watches her reflection in a mirror. She finds the outfit to her liking, just as her male teammate do, who are spying on the lovely redhead from behind a corner. As Jean gets away of the juveniles, she gets a little bit angry, when suddenly the X-Men find themselves mentally contacted by Xavier, telling them to report in his office within fifteen second. Immediately, the five teenagers obey and, from Xavier’s grim expression, they know something important has happened. The professor tells his students that he heard a bulletin on the radio about a crisis having occurred at Cape Citadel, apparently caused by an evil mutant. This, he says, will be the X-Men’s baptism of fire and he sends the teenagers into their first battle.

As the X-Men storm out to prepare for the mission, Bobby is happy to finally see some action, while Warren wonders who the villain might be. Slim’s keen mind is already on the task ahead and he surmises that, with Cape Citadel being the location, the villain must be after the US’ missiles. For Bobby, putting on his costume means that he has to ice up and put on a set of boots. Warren needs a little bit longer to free himself of the harness that keep the wings from bulging under his clothes and, actually, getting into his training uniform is a relief for him. Before long, the X-Men sit in Professor Xavier’s Rolls Royce, which takes them to a nearby airport, where they board a private jet and head towards Cape Citadel.

Not much later, the army is trying to win back the base, but its no use. Whatever they fire at Cape Citadel, it doesn’t penetrate the magnetic shield Magneto erected around it. It seems that they have no way to get back in and can only helplessly watch what Magneto will do. A figure dressed in blue and yellow excuses himself for interrupting and introducing himself as a representative of the X-Men; he wants to offer their help. The soldiers have, of course, never heard of them and wonder how another costumed guy should be any help, when they have already enough trouble with the first one. Still, Cyclops asks for nothing else but that the army holds its fire for fifteen minutes so that he and his partners can try to deal with the situation. Somewhat hesitant, the officer in command gives his OK; after all they have nothing to lose.

Cyclops calls the X-Men into action and the young teenagers make themselves a way through the soldiers, each their own way. Iceman generates such a cold around him that the freezing men make room for him, the Angel simply flies above the soldiers and, as they are still baffled by the sight of a man with wings, they almost fail to witness the Beast leaping over some of their comrades. Finally, the team’s female member enters the fray, her using her telekinetic power to lift the soldiers out of her way, quite in a similar fashion as Magneto did before.

Cyclops is the first to reach the magnetic forcefield around the base, where he is contacted telepathically by Professor Xavier, telling him to use his optic beam at great power. Surprised that their mentor can still contact him over such a vast distance, Cyclops does as told and he finds the magnetic field wavering under his beam. He adjusts his visor to a maximum setting and, the entire might of his power released, his optic blast seem glowing white instead of red. Slim knows that he can maintain such pressure for only a few seconds and he hopes that it will do the trick.

Inside the building, Magneto feels the pressure on his field and knows it has to be some superhuman power like his own that is causing this. Unprepared for such an attack, Magneto’s field is disrupted and the man is obviously weakened. Still, now being forewarned, he thinks he can defeat any foe, no matter what powers they possess. Outside, the other X-Men have picked up Cyclops, who has almost knocked himself out. The team moves in towards the building, where Magneto sees them approach on a monitor screen. He laughs at the idea of five costumed youths thinking they could be a match for him and activates one of the base’s defense systems – hunter missiles that are attracted by body heat.

As the Angel was flying ahead of his teammates, the target missiles lock onto him. He dodges them but they turn in mid-air and again come after him. While the missiles gain on his friend, below, Iceman creates a few ice-grenades and throws them at the missiles. The grenades hit their mark and, with the missiles’ noses covered with ice, they drop to the ground without exploding. However, there is one missile that Bobby missed and it is still tailing the Angel. Swinging around a flagpole, the Beast calls out to Warren, telling to him to lure the missile to him. Then he swings around right in time for him to catch the missile with his feet, as it passes him by. It’s momentum halted, the dangerous device is lifted from Hank’s feet by Marvel Girl’s mental power, who makes the missile harmlessly crash into the nearby ocean.

Inside the base, Magneto realizes that he underestimates the X-Men. Despite their youth and inexperience, they are mighty opponents and he reminds himself not to make such an error again. Just then, he is spotted by the Angel, who eagerly alerts his teammates that he found the villain. Magneto gestures in the air, stopping the Angel’s flights with a number of metallic objects he attracts from all over the base. Cyclops comes to the Angel’s aid and blasts through the wall of magnetized junk, though Magneto is no longer where Warren had spotted him. While the five mutants wonder where he might be now, Magneto sneaks behind them and ignites a wagon full of rocket fuel before hurling it at the X-Men. There being not enough time to get clear, Iceman quickly creates an ice igloo shield over him and his friends.

As the rocket fuel explodes, Magneto is convinced that he saw the last of the X-Men, the heat being so intense that no even he can get close to it. As he starts to carefully walk around the flames that have already melted the ice-construct, he feels the earth grumble near him. Magneto turns right in time to see an optic beam erupt out of the ground – Cyclops saved the X-Men by creating an escape tunnel for them. As the team prepares to go another round against Magneto, the evil mutant has enough and levitates himself into the air. After creating another magnetic shield to keep eventual pursuers at bay, he flies away – towards the ocean.

Within minutes, the X-men have breached this shield as well but Magneto is already long gone and there is nothing they can do about it. However, at least they managed to thwart Magneto’s plans – for now. The X-Men return to the army, a general calling their performance “Uncanny!” for their fifteen minutes are not yet up. He understands the X-Men’s need for keeping their real names secret and promises that the name “X-Men” will be the most honored in his command.

The Angel thanks him on behalf of the entire team and assures the general that they will keep up the good fight. Then, after the team has boarded their jet and are already on their way back home, they are telepathically contacted by their mentor, who too congratulates them on the job well done.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)


a taxi driver
US military
NASA staff

Story Notes: 

Although Professor Xavier and Jean Grey act as if they have never seen each other before, it was later established that they have known each other for years. Jean’s power first manifested at the age of ten, when she unwittingly read the mind of her best friend, Annie Richardson, who was dying after being hit by a car. Jean felt the other mind slip away to death and nearly died with her. For three years, her parents asked many specialists to get Jean out of her catatonic state but only one, Charles Xavier, could help. He discovered that the girl was a mutant and not able to cope with her telepathy yet. So, he decided to mentally block her access to this ability, allowing it to evolve at a natural pace. Even though Jean stayed at her parent‘s home, she had many training sessions with Xavier in the use of her telekinetic powers. [Bizarre Adventures #27, Classic X-Men #42] Probably, Jean and Xavier didn’t want the other students to know of their history yet and, therefore, pretended to be strangers.

The entire issue Cyclops is referred to as “Slim,” his real first name Scott was not revealed before X-Men (1st series) #3.

While Xavier claims that it was a childhood accident that cost him the use of his legs, it was actually the case that he was injured in his mid-twens, while battling Lucifer. This first retcon in X-Men history can be found in X-Men (1st series) #9 and is further established in #20.

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