X-Men (1st series) #50

Issue Date: 
November 1968
Story Title: 
Hail, Queen of Mutants! (1st story)<br>This Boy—This Bombshell! (2nd story)

1st story: Arnold Drake (writer), Jim Steranko (artist), John Tartaglione (inker), Herb Cooper (letterer), Stan Lee (editor-in-chief)

2nd story: Arnold Drake (writer), Werner Roth (artist), John Verpoorten (inker), Herb Cooper (letterer), Stan Lee (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

1st story: Using a machine that stimulates mutant energies, Mesmero awakens Lorna Dane’s latent mutant powers while his captive, Iceman, helplessly watches. The rest of the X-Men battle Mesmero’s minions in San Francisco, but are defeated, captured and brought to the same facility as Lorna and Iceman. Once there, Mesmero unveils the newly powered Lorna Dane, whom he reveals to be the daughter of Magneto. Mesmero orders Lorna to strike down the X-Men, but Iceman successfully convinces her to turn against Mesmero and his soldiers. As the X-Men prepare to defeat Mesmero, however, a new player enters the stage and thwarts their attacks: Magneto!

2nd story: Hank McCoy grows up incredibly strong and agile. After the high school football coach discovers his athletic prowess, he recruits Hank to the team, where he becomes the star player. During one of the packed football games, a trio of bandits robs the ticket booth, but Hank thwarts their escape on live television. His feat attracts both the adoration of the local police and the attention of the villainous Conquistador.

Full Summary: 

1st story:

“Hail, Queen of Mutants! Ask no questions yet—but gaze deep into my eyes for one brief second,” Mesmero says to Lorna Dane. “There,” he adds, indicating his eyes, “all answers are written.” Concentric green circles ripple outward from his pupils, luring Lorna into its hypnotic spell. After she falls unconscious, Mesmero tells his men that while wearing their bio-plasticene masks, they will slip from the building undetected. He orders Number Seven to summon the van—and to bring in the two coffins it carries. Using the coffins, they will transport bodies of Iceman and Lorna Dane quite easily. To complete the disguise, he instructs his agents to wear a slight funeral smile as they leave. After all, there is no such thing as an unsmiling undertaker!

Though hypnotized, Lorna feels a sense of traveling and, at one point, even makes a futile attempt to raise the lid of her enclosure.

Mesmero’s vehicle—a streamlined, futuristic-looking car with six wheels and five exhaust pipes—pulls into Mesmero’s desert hideout. From the floor of the desert itself the strange fortress magically rises. Abstract geometric shapes comprise the majority of the eerie, orange citadel, a fortress of fiendishness and a memorial to malevolence. What unspeakable acts await committing in this self-contained earthly hell?

A guard at the fortress hails Mesmero as he returns. “Hail Mesmero—keeper of the flame of Magneto, emperor of evil mutants!” the guard says. The driver of the car returns the gesture. As the vehicle approaches the fortress, an automatic ramp whirs into position and the missile-powered car rushes to meet it. Mesmero quickly discards his cursed disguise and dons the robe and helmet of his office. He orders his men to place Iceman a holding cell, but Lorna, he wants prepped for the Mutant Power Stimulator. It will stir to life her every latent power! Only then shall they know the inspiration that will make them rulers of all, and masters of men.

They strap Lorna to a large, T-shaped device. She suffers the longest three seconds ever as pulsating, high-energy stimulators probe the genetic core of each cell of her body, stirring the awesome latent power within her innocent being.

Meanwhile, the X-Men approach Mesmero’s hideout, a grim mansion atop a hill near San Francisco. Beast wonders what gross evil lurks behind its gothic façade. Just looking at it gives Jean the screaming meemies! Angel sees it differently; the mansion is one cookie jar he’s going to enjoy busting into! After urging himself to be careful—for a wily mind surely lurks inside the mansions walls—Cyclops orders the X-Men to attack. He blows the door to pieces with his optic blast, reminding his teammates that within the mansion lurks beasts that feast on the human soul. Show them no mercy, he shouts! Beast assures him that displaying tearful tolerance was not precisely what he had in mind.

As they burst into the mansion, Angel jokes that the opposition appears to be a reception committee from the Mutant Chamber of Commerce. No jesting, Beast advises as he somersaults through the air. Cyclops asks for less jest and more joust. “I hear you talking, O noble and munificent master of the optic arts!” Beast says as he slams down onto the shoulders of one of Mesmero’s guards. Cyclops fires an optic blast at one of the guards who bears a gun. He just enrolled him in the President’s campaign against civil violence, he tells him. Marvel Girl admits to her teammates that her power isn’t as showy as theirs. However, she compliments her own resourcefulness as she uses some robes to bind their wearer. Angel, meanwhile, hurls a guard at Beast, who, in perfect billiard formation, deflects him with his feet and sends him crashing into a wall. Cyclops continues holding his own against the elite guard, this time taking two of them on at once.

Marvel Girl suddenly receives a telepathic distress signal from their missing teammate Iceman. Although she senses that Mesmero is holding both him and Lorna captive, she cannot get a fix on their location. The only way to find them is for the X-Men to allow themselves to be captured as well! Jean telepathically relays this plan to her teammates.

Cyclops and Beast, standing back to back, receive the suggestion at the same time. It’s easy enough to lose, Hank thinks; the finesse lies in losing without looking bad. Otherwise, the very act of losing becomes suspect. At that moment, the elite guards hurl a pair of electric bolos at Angel and entwine him. If they have more weapons like this, then losing will be a cinch, he thinks. He now wonders if the X-Men can even stay alive.

Suddenly, as the X-Men carry on their counterfeit gambit, a giant plastic bag drops about them and immediately fills with fast-acting knock-out gas. The guards laugh; the K-19 gas—which Magneto invented—takes only seven seconds to act. In three more seconds, the X-Men will be unconscious! Swiftly, the silent weapon takes its toll and the X-Men begin swirling into oblivion. Upon their defeat, the leader of Mesmero’s Demi-Men rejoices. It is done; their mortal enemies—mutants themselves—have become toothless tigers! Now, they shall return with this triumphant tribute to the great Mesmero in Mutant City.

Shortly, beneath the vast, untraveled desert wastes, Mesmero oversees his prisoners with glee. Were Iceman even to overcome his hypnotic paralysis, to struggle would be useless—for the device that holds him is programmed to destruct the moment he threatens to free himself. Mesmero orders his captive to now gaze into a nearby video monitor, through which he witness as the mere mortal Lorna Dane is transmuted into a living goddess.

As Cyclops watches Lorna undergo the transformative process, he wonders if the super-gadget will alter her personality in addition to her mutant potential. Will Lorna become as evil as her captors? Mesmero, meanwhile, continues to rejoice. He claims that the genius bequeathed to them by the magnificent Magneto shall bring forth from Lorna’s feeble shell not only a being powerful beyond all others, but also an invincible leader!

Mesmero’s Demi-Men return to the laboratory and hail their leader, bringing with them tidings of the X-Men’s defeat. They ask how he wants them disposed. Mesmero reveals he has a most gratifying end planned for the X-Men—but it must wait. Meanwhile, he lets it be known that any resistance on the part of the X-Men will ensure the instant death of their teammate Iceman.

All eyes now focus on the giant electric transmuter as its whining, crackling chorale builds to a deafening crescendo before bringing about utter silence. Then, with a strangely regal step and a darkly menacing mien, the involuntary subject of the genetic stimulator moves forth. “Behold!” Mesmero declares. “She stands before us now—the omnipotent empress of all evil mutants! For within her runs the blood of he whose name is sacred unto us! Yes—now may I reveal that she is—daughter of Magneto—and Queen of Evil Mutants! Hail, glorious Queen!”

Lorna Dane—now dressed in a flowing cape, a golden tiara, matching metallic gloves and a regal, bare-shouldered, green gown clasped with a miniature skull—stands before the X-Men and her admirers. She finally understands the strange stirrings within her that tortured her soul as far back as her first conscious moment. After all, her father’s blood that ran through her body may have been unknown to her, but it could not be silenced. She now knows her calling: she is their queen.

One of the Demi-Men orders the X-Men to bow their heads before the greatness of the queen. While feigning compliance, Cyclops realizes Lorna is the secret weapon the men spoke of: the M-2—Magneto the Second! The X-Men thought only such a thing would continue through a son of Magneto’s. They failed to consider it might be a daughter! He worries that if she has even half the power of her father, the X-Men have stepped into a nasty trap.

Beast grows weary of the façade. Enough with the interrogation waltz, he says. He insists they provide Mesmero with a lesson in the violent arts! “If you mean like—POW!” Angel says, “—then lemme be the first to say—I’m with you!” Cyclops thrusts out his arms to restrain his teammates. Have they forgotten? If they attack, it could mean Iceman’s death! Marvel Girl remedies this predicament by trying to break Mesmero’s hold on Iceman.

Her gambit works. Iceman feels a tingling sensation in his limbs and feels his hypnotic bonds loosening! After struggling to build enough freeze power, he breaks free of the bonds by subjecting the prison globe to extreme temperatures. Now how about letting me back in the ballgame, coach? he jokes.

Nearby, Mesmero senses Iceman’s escape and decides to quit playing games. He tells the X-Men their final moment is at hand. They who brought death to the genius that was Magneto shall appropriately meet their ends at the hands of his child! He orders the M-2 to turn her insuperable power on those who took killed her father.

At that very moment, Iceman arrives and calls out to Lorna. Don’t do it! he shouts. Can’t she see they’ve turned and twisted her against all that is good?! His pleas do not restrict her from action. From every living cell in her body flow mighty waves of incredible force, slamming outward to fling their human targets into a labyrinthine limbo. However, it is not against the X-Men that she unlooses this fantastic force—but against the very worshippers of Magneto.

When the burst of magnetic energy dies down, Mesmero is stunned to see Angel cradling the unconscious Lorna Dane in his airborne arms. Great going, Angel assures her. She was with them all along, waiting for the right opening, and now, it is the X-Men’s turn to protect her. Mesmero laughs and calls their resistance meaningless. Nothing can withstand his cerebral energies! They are as good as dead, Mesmero declares. Iceman begs to differ; the X-Men will shove that hypnotic power right down his throat. Cyclops, who finds Iceman’s declaration crude but to the point, enthusiastically asks those of his teammates who are in favor of Bobby’s motion to answer it—with action.

The X-Men spring into battle against Mesmero. As they reach their mutant tormentor, however, the very ground rises to smite them. Reeling from the attack, they assess with worry what force could have lifted the floor like that. Cyclops knows of only one being in the world with such power—but it’s impossible! Marvel Girl agrees; they saw him sink into the sea! If it’s not him, Iceman wonders, then who is the snake creeping out of the shadows? Although she cannot quite see the figure’s face, Lorna can feel his aura of unspeakable evil.

“You above all should know me—for I am—your loving father!” the man says. He tells the X-Men and Lorna that he kept his identity from them until this glorious day, when he could proudly announce to his future victims that—once again—Magneto lives!

2nd story:

Hank McCoy is a most unusual child. The source of his anomalous nature: a genetic accident stemming from the time his father Norton once risked his own death to stop a runaway atomic reactor. Now a toddler, little Hank casually lifts the corner of his bed with one arm while he searches for his lost ball.

Sometime later, his parents Norton and Edna arrive in his nursery and find him dangling from a high-up wall sconce as he reaches for a balloon in the center of the ceiling. Edna demands he come down immediately. When he doesn’t comply, she asks her husband if he’s just going to stand there or if he intends to do something! Norton, however, has a hard enough time wondering how his toddler-aged son managed to get so high up on the wall.

The years pass quickly for the boy who would one day be called the Beast. One day during Hank’s formative years, his Uncle Bob comes over and extends his arm for a handshake. Hank’s mother warns him to be gentle as he reaches out to shake it. Hank tries his best, but his grip still crushes his uncle’s hand. Edna scolds the naughty boy for not being careful, as she instructed. Hank coyly insists he was trying his best.

One day during Hank’s adolescence, while a freshman in high school, he and his classmate Jennifer cross the football field just as the team’s coach berates the players for their poor performance lately. They call themselves football players? He doubts they could catch a marble in a peach basket! Jennifer suggests to Hank that they leave before they get caught up in the coach’s fury. After all, the team lost its five most recent games. At least they’re consistent, Hank says.

Continuing his rant, the football coach bets he could pick a pint-sized freshman and make him a star on this crummy varsity squad. To demonstrate, he turns and singles out Hank as he passes and orders him to kick a football. Although Hank would rather not, the irate coach insists. With trepidation, Hank complies, and kicks the football with far more force than anyone expected. Now that’s a football player! the couch shouts.

To further test the boy’s limits, the coach runs several meters down the field and orders Hank to pass him the pigskin with all his might. Hank agrees to the task, but advises the athletic instructor to get a bit farther downfield; he has trouble controlling such short passes. The coach questions Hank’s definition of short, but a moment later, Hank drills the ball across the field and into his chest. As the momentum of it knocks him backward, Coach realizes that if he lives through this tryout, he may have the team’s new star player of the year!

Hank’s football prowess, which leads the team to six victories in a row, gains him the adoration of the town and the attention of the local media. His fans start calling him “The Boy with the Golden Arm”. During a sold-out game, a gang of robbers sneaks up on the box office, intent on stealing the $25,000 they estimate it contains. They thank Hank McCoy for attracting so paying fans to the games; if they had robbed this stadium the previous year, they doubt they would have made off with more than twelve cents!

As the thieves approach the ticket booth, the woman working inside asks how many tickets they would like. The masked bandits spray her with a knockout gas and tell her they would like to take everything. Before they can make off with the loot, however, the police arrive and block their escape route. Improvising, they change course and run through the stadium instead.

The frenzied chase winds up within the crowded sports palace. As the bandits leap over the railing onto the football turf, a cop swears he will open fire if they don’t halt. However, his fellow officer orders him to stand down; if he fires his gun, he may hit someone in the audience! Instead, they chase the thieves across the field. Because of the lead time the thieves have, the cops don’t stand a chance—especially when the thieves realize their pursuers cannot open fire. They’re home free—almost.

From across the field, Hank McCoy hopes that Lady Luck is among the pulsating patrons of the day’s game and kicks the football at the escaping criminals. Luck is on his side: the football connects with the lead thief’s head. Hank dispatches the other two bandits by hurling first his own helmet, then the helmet of one of his teammates. Both pieces of projectile headgear hit their targets square in their backs.

The police officers approach the downed criminals. To their horror, one of them sits up and produces a live grenade from inside his jacket. One more step and they’ll all get it, he says! The officers dare not call the bandit’s bluff. While the bandit tells the men that everyone will live if they just stay where they are, Hank sneaks around behind him, climbs the goalpost, and leaps unexpectedly onto the thief’s back. The force of his attack sends the criminal crashing to the ground—and the live grenade out of his hand. A nearby cameraman catches the entire scene on film. Not only did 15,000 of Hank’s fans just witness his daring capture, but so did five million TV viewers at home!

The officers rush over to Hank and thank him profusely for his help. They ask if they can do anything to repay him. They can start by disposing of the live grenade, Hank says.

Meanwhile, at that same moment, a man dressed in a Spanish Conquistador outfit watches the scene play out on his TV set. He asks his subordinate if he, too, saw the feat the amazing lad performed He did. The Conquistador announces that it must be fate; he now knows the final tool he needs for his onslaught. Never before did he hope to find this young gem, who will now make him the master of all!

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (X-Men)

Lorna Dane



The Demi-Men

2nd story:

Beast/Hank McCoy

Edna Andrews (Beast’s mother)

Norton McCoy (Beast’s father)

Uncle Bob

The Conquistador


Trio of bandits

Jennifer Nyles

Football coach

Football team

Box office clerk

Morty (police officer)

Other police officers

Story Notes: 

A new X-Men logo premieres on the cover of this issue. Designed by artist Jim Steranko, this logo is still in use today.

1st story:

It’s unclear why Mesmero is wearing a bio-plasticene mask at the beginning of this issue, considering he kidnapped Lorna and Iceman at the end of the previous issue with his green skin exposed.

Although Mesmero declares Lorna Dane to be the daughter of Magneto in this issue, the character’s paternity comes under question in later X-Men comics, and it isn’t until Chuck Austen’s run on UNCANNY X-MEN in 2003, specifically issues #430 and 431, that definitively establish that Lorna is, in fact, Magneto’s biological daughter. For more information, see UXN’s Spotlight On… Polaris.

The Magneto who appears in this issue is revealed to be a robot in X-MEN (1st series) #58.

2nd story:

Hank’s blonde-haired friend is unnamed in this issue, but Beast’s story in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1st series) #85-92 reveals her name to be Jennifer Nyles.

This is the first appearance of El Conquistador, whose motives are expanded upon in the retelling of this same tale in X-MEN ORIGINS: BEAST.

Issue Information: 
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