X-Men: First Class (2nd series) #1

Issue Date: 
August 2007
Story Title: 
The Job Shadow

Jeff Parker (writer), Roger Cruz (artist), Val Staples (colorist), VC’s Blambot’s Nate Piekos (letterer), Eric Nguyen (cover), Brad Johansen (production), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Marvel Girl practices flying alone and doesn’t do very well. The rest of the team chides her for this. Seeing that things are hard for her as the only female on the team, Xavier implements an idea and allows Jean to be the job shadow of the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl. Jean immediately becomes embroiled in the FF’s battle with the Mad Thinker and does so well that the media love her, making the rest of the X-Men nervous that she’ll join the Fantastic Four. As they look for the Mad Thinker’s lab, Jean and Sue have a girl talk and Jean is glad to find someone who finally understands the pressure she is under. When they run into the Thinker’s defense systems, they are joined by the other X-Men, who help and ask Jean to come back. She calms them by pointing out that both teams are families and the X-Men are hers.

Full Summary: 

Outside the grounds of Xavier’s school, Jean Grey looks around to see if she is really alone. Seeing she is, she then focuses, admonishing herself to think happy thoughts and slowly begins to levitate. High up in the air, though, she loses control and falls, only just managing to grab a hold of a tree. That moment, the others find her.

Bobby Drake comes upward on an iceslide and asks what happened. Is that a tree? Is she getting tree powers? Tree powers? Jean asks confused, before admitting she was trying to fly. Beast climbs upwards and admonishes her that flying is a hard discipline. One must understand pitch and yaw, roll…

Angel, who has flown up to join them, interrupts Hank. Flying’s easy, he assures Jean. Watch. Annoyed, Jean slides down Bobby’s iceslide, asking them to give her some space already. But Cyclops and Xavier are waiting at the bottom. Scott instantly berates her for practicing on her own without supervision. Arrgh! Jean groans and strides away. Scott calls after her that she can’t just run away in the middle of a discussion. It’s not a discussion! she shouts back angrily.

Warren lands, confused, as he asks where she’s going. He was going to show her some sweet loops. Maybe it’s… you know… Scott suggests tactfully. Xavier remarks that this is his fault. He has been remiss in his duties towards Jean. He asks the boys to consider how difficult it is to be the only female on the team. She has no peers she can closely identify with, or role models. He has had some ideas towards this end that he may finally implement. And no, he cuts off Bobby, he will not put on a long wig as a solution. Please think your jokes more quietly.

Another morning. Hank knocks on Jean’s door and brings her some books on women she might consider role models, biographies of women pioneers like Amelia Earhart, Grandma Moses and Susan B. Anthony. Jean has already read all those bios but thanks him.

Xavier telepathically contacts them and the others, asking them to come down to the greeting room in full uniform. They have a visitor. Jean and Hank wonder why they should greet the visitor in uniform, but they all comply.
As the X-Men run into the room, the male members are all held back by something invisible. Only Jean can run forward to meet their guest: The Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl. Jean is awestruck.

Xavier apologizes to Sue for the school’s practice to keep the students anonymous. The public is still very wary of mutants and he wishes to protect their identities, so they can appear in public like anyone else. Sue considers this very sensible. From the moment her team and she gained their powers, they’ve been in the public limelight. She often wishes she had put a mask on. Once you’re known like that, there’s no more being an ordinary person anymore. You’re always on duty. Case in point, she sighs as her signal-device on her belt begins beeping. Looks like the FF need her back in Manhattan.

Jean speaks up, wishing Sue didn’t have to leave. She’d like to hear more of her insights. She will, Sue replies as she takes Jean’s arm, because she’s coming with her. Jean’s delighted as she flies off with Sue in the Fantasticar. Scott suggests timidly that the team needs her. Jean replies they’ll be fine without her and thanks the professor, who reminds the Invisible Girl that they’ll need an evaluation later.

Now that’s the way to go, Warren states enviously. Yeah, blasting off in a sweet air car while they are all cramming into a minivan on missions, Bobby adds sourly. That van gets excellent mileage, Xavier points out defensively.

While Jean is still delighting in their ride, Sue notices something and asks Jean if she is used to fighting big unstoppable things. Below them, the rest of the Fantastic Four are busy fighting the Thinker’s Awesome Android. Legally, that’s his Awesome Android, Mr. Fantastic tries to point out before being hit by an energy blast.

With the body of the Thing held in one hand, the Android opens a sewer line with the other, the full brunt of the water being directed against Mr. Fantastic. Now that’s mad thinking, the Thinker comments gleefully.

As the Android drops the Thing he adds that he can now go to his new home in the sewer. And his next mad thought is to take out the second greatest mind in the country. He again blasts Richards with an energy ray from his tripod.

Suddenly, though, the tripod falls, thanks to the Invisible Girl, who informs Jean that a sneak attack is always a great way to start. Of course, that best works with her powers. Marvel Girl has to play to her own strengths. Jean gushes that she didn’t know Sue could make her invisible too. That really helps to get in close for a telekinetic punch. The Torch finally moves again to ask with glazed eyes whether that is the X-chick.

Sue asks Jean to move Reed out of the warpath. Jean complies and asks if Sue isn’t worried about him. Always, comes the reply, but Reed’s extremely resilient. Jean notices the Android getting up and the two women turn invisible again. The Mad Thinker compliments Sue on becoming more formidable all the time, but, he continues, her powers would have more effect, if his Android relied on vision which he clearly does not. The Android catches Sue and Jean in his fists. Yow! shouts Jean while Sue clearly isn’t that impressed.

She shouts down the sewers for Ben. Where is he? He thinks he’s in China, comes the reply. She wouldn’t believe how deep this hole is. The Thinker orders the Android not to crush them yet, as they now have a valuable bargaining chip and a new costumed friend who seems to have a breakdown of some, sorts he remarks about Jean who is scrunching her face. No, she replies, she’s just thinking. Telekinetically, she lifts the Thing to join the Thinker on the tripod. Ben grabs the Thinker’s neck and orders him to shut the Android down or the world loses another psychopath.

Some time later, SHIELD and the media have arrived. The Thinker rants that he could not deprive the world of his brilliance. Would you dam off Niagara Falls? Block out the constellations? If he’s trying to build an insanity defense, it’s working, Reed remarks. The reporters are curious about Jean’s presence and wonder whether this could be the possible beginning of the Fantastic Five.

Back at Xavier’s, the boys are flabbergasted. Jean dumped them! Bobby exclaims. Hank tells them to calm down. The newscaster said that, not Jean. Jean’sgoing to dump them, Angel concludes. Cyclops complains that Jean does the same stuff with the X-Men and everyone wonders if they’re the real threat. But with the Fantastic Four, they’re ready to hand over the keys to the city, Warren adds. Hank nervously notes how at ease she seems.

He hopes she calls one in a while, Bobby muses dejectedly. She can’t leave, Warren stammers helplessly. She still has to finish her course work, right, professor? Xavier calmly explains that Jean is free to do as she likes. Perhaps it would be better if she did join the FF. What better platform to show mutants in a positive light? He thought they were going to earn their respect all on their own, Scott replies as he closely watches TV. But Xavier’s right, she can do whatever she wants. She’s a grown-up.

On TV, a reporter asks the Torch what he thinks of his guest teammate. Touching Jean’s shoulder, Johnny replies that he’s a big fan. It’s easy to tell why she’s called Marvel Girl. And Scott Summer is dumbstruck.

Jean Grey’s job shadow journal:

Later, we had to find the Mad Thinker’s hidden lab and shut down any other dangerous experiments he may have been running. Dr. Richards narrowed the location to a rock quarry north of New York City, but he had to stay behind to help contain the android.

The rest of the Four and Jean have arrived. Sue takes charge, explaining that the Thinker must have elaborate anti-detection equipment running. Ben will take the whole south end of the quarry. Johnny the north. Flying up, Johnny suggests Marvel Girl can help him search. Yeah, right, the Thing remarks cynically. Jean giggles as she watches Johnny fly off.

As Sue and she search through a dump yard Sue remarks that, while she’d love to have Jean around more, she can’t give dating her brother a full endorsement. Jean quickly explains that she was just watching how he flies. He makes it look so easy. She tried flying the day before, she admits. She got stuck in a tree. Well, her power isn’t about flight; it’s moving things with her mind, Sue reasons. She can imagine how difficult it would be to try to step outside herself and treat her own body as a subject. Yes, Jean exclaims. That’s what she was trying to tell the guys, but she couldn’t express herself.

They have reached the top of the quarry. Jean goes on that Cyclops just said she shouldn’t practice by herself. Sue muses that he doesn’t know how embarrassing it is to risk failure in front of the others, especially when you’re a woman and everyone doubts your abilities already. Jean hugs Sue gratefully.

Jean looks down the top critically. This is the highest point, but she doesn’t see any signs of a base. Sue orders her to keep looking because she can only do this for a few seconds. Sue concentrates and makes the rocks invisible. The basis is right below them. Sue… you’re a little bit on the awesome side, Jean states, impressed. Recalling from memory where the door was, Jean uses telekinesis to lift the rocks above the doorway. Now look who’s awesome, Sue teases.

Suddenly there’s a rumble. Jean has tripped a defense system. Rocks come alive trying to attack them. Sue envelopes herself and Jean with a forcefield. Jean can’t fight them, though, as they’re too heavy. Sue calls the rest of the tea for help as the big reveal weakened her.

One rock monster suddenly stops, becoming brittle thanks to Iceman, and Beast smash through it. The rest of the X-Men have arrived, thanks to Cerebro. The second rock monster is taken care of by Cyclops’ optic blast, leaving only the third, which Angel diverts until the Human Torch burns the monster, telling him to back off from Angel. He’s in the flying guys union.

The Thing arrives disappointed. No more dirt-guys to hit? The X-Men become apologetic – Warren stating they didn’t mean to be insensitive, Bobby adding that they read this book Beast found and Scott finally asking Jean to come back to the X-Men.

Jean calms them. The FF aren’t recruiting new members… Unless Ben quits, Johnny throws in. They’re a family, Marvel Girl continues, and the X-Men are hers.

She hugs Sue again, telling her that the girl-time means a lot to somebody new to all this. Sue advises her to just let her powers develop at their own speed. She expects to see her fly to New York one day. Turning to the other X-Men, Sue admits she really envies them. They’re so lucky to have someone like Professor Xavier guiding them to get them ready for this life. The FF were thrust into theirs so fast.

Speaking of fast, Ben chimes in, before Reed gets there and makes them comb the whole hidden base, anyone want a ride back in the Fantasticar? Everyone’s up to it save for Angel, who takes care of the X-Men’s car.

Job Shadow Evaluation: “Marvel Girl”

A very responsible young lady, especially for someone so powerful. Marvel Girl showed initiative, resourcefulness, and works well with a team. But you already know that.

I can’t read minds like you, Dr. Xavier, but I’m guessing the real point was so she could see how I deal with my team. To that end, I hope I passed muster!

-- Yours, Sue

Characters Involved: 

Professor Xavier

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

The Human Torch, the Invisible Girl, Mr Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

The Mad Thinker

The Amazing Android

Rock monsters

Members of the media

SHIELD agents

Story Notes: 

A “job shadow” is similar to an apprenticeship, but mainly involving high school or college age students who are considering a particular profession.

Amelia Earhart, Grandma Moses and Susan B. Anthony are all female role models for American girls. Amelia Earhart was aviation pioneer most famous for her attempt to fly around the world. Grandma Moses was a renowned painter, though made more famous by the fact that she did not start painting until her 70s. Susan B. Anthony was pioneer in both the women’s suffrage and abolitionist movements.

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