Wednesday

OMU: X-Men -- Year Six

The fortunes of the X-Men finally began to improve in 1975, when Roy Thomas, now editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, decided to greenlight the new, international team he had always wanted to try. He charged writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum to reinvent the X-Men for a new quarterly publication to be called Giant-Size X-Men. Keeping only Cyclops and Professor X, Wein and Cockrum filled the book with colorful new characters such as Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus. Thomas’s instincts proved right, and the book was a big success. Plans for the quarterly title were scrapped, and the X-Men’s regular book, which had been running reprints for years, suddenly came to life again and began its ascent to unparalleled heights of popularity.

However, George Olshevsky’s early chronological analysis revealed that the new X-Men actually spent as many as fifteen months training together between their initial adventure in Giant-Size X-Men #1 and their battle with Count Nefaria in Uncanny X-Men #94–95. What the original members did during this time is mostly unrecorded as well. Thus, another year of the characters’ lives is, by and large, an Untold Tale of the Original Marvel Universe.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Now, the seventh installment of… The True History of the X-Men!


January 1967 – After spending much of the last year separated, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, Havok, and Polaris train together to learn to work as a team again, under the watchful eye of Professor X at Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Salem Center, Westchester County, New York. Aware that his students have all pretty much grown up now, Xavier has begun compiling dossiers on potential recruits to the team from across the globe.

February 1967 – Bobby Drake celebrates his 19th birthday.

March 1967 – Far north in the Canadian woods, the mutant called Wolverine battles both the Hulk and the mystical monster known as the Wendigo. Professor Xavier has been keeping tabs on Wolverine as one of his potential recruits to the X-Men.

April 1967 – Jean Grey celebrates her 20th birthday.

May 1967 – Iceman teams up with the Human Torch to battle the thermodynamic menace called Equinox in New York City. During the fight, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and the Angel arrive to tell Iceman he’s needed for an important mission. Iceman decides to help the Torch first, and after they defeat Equinox, he returns to Westchester. The X-Men leave on the aforementioned mission, to investigate an incredibly powerful mutant presence on an island in the South Pacific.

While the X-Men are away, Professor X is attacked by Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The Defenders come to Xavier’s aid, and Magneto’s plan to use “Alpha, the Ultimate Mutant” backfires and he, Mastermind, the Blob, Unus the Untouchable, and Lorelei are all regressed to infancy. Xavier arranges to have the babies taken to the Mutant Research Centre on Muir Isle, off the coast of Scotland, which is run by his old colleague Moira MacTaggert.

During their mission to the South Pacific, the X-Men disappear, and only Cyclops is able to escape. He reveals that the mutant they detected was the island itself, a sentient land mass calling itself Krakoa. Professor X then quickly gathers a new team of young mutants for an emergency rescue mission: Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, Thunderbird, Sunfire, Wolverine, and Banshee. Once Krakoa is defeated, hurled into space by the team’s combined powers, the original X-Men decide the time has come to leave Xavier’s and get on with their lives. Only Cyclops elects to stay. The new members begin a long period of extensive training.

June 1967 – Jean Grey moves into an apartment in New York City with a new roommate, Misty Knight, a private investigator. Misty is unaware of Jean’s identity as Marvel Girl, which she has abandoned to return to modeling while she figures out what to do with her life. While Jean is still moving in, Storm, a.k.a. Ororo Munro, comes to visit and they become fast friends.

August 1967 – Nightcrawler, a.k.a. Kurt Wagner, celebrates his 18th birthday. Meanwhile, Bobby Drake enrolls at UCLA, on a scholarship Professor Xavier helped arrange for him, where he will get a degree in accounting.

September 1967 – Professor X lends a hand to the Fantastic Four when they are attacked by a mutant named Jamie Madrox, “the Multiple Man.” Judging that Madrox’s needs would not be met by having him join the new X-Men, Xavier contacts Moira MacTaggert. Soon, Madrox takes up residence on Muir Isle.

November 1967 – Wolverine starts hanging around in New York City, getting acclimated to his new home. One night, he is pursued by a shadowy, threatening presence which he eventually realizes is his old nemesis Sabretooth.

December 1967 – In a bizarre incident, the X-Men find themselves trapped within impenetrable force-fields for many long, frustrating hours. Later, after celebrating his 24th birthday, Hank McCoy, who has come to terms with his transformation into the furry blue Beast, pays an impromptu visit to the mansion, but nobody is home. While there, he takes a strange phone call from the man formerly known as Captain America. Hank does his best to offer the disillusioned hero some words of wisdom.


Notes:

March 1967 – Wolverine’s debut story is featured in Hulk #180–182. This is his first mission for Department H as the costumed super-agent Wolverine. Prior to this he was a regular intelligence operative known as Logan.

May 1967 – Iceman and the Human Torch fight Equinox in Marvel Team-Up #23. Professor X and the Defenders square off against Magneto in Defenders #15–16. The subsequent trip to Muir Isle is revealed in flashback in X-Men #2. Then, the genesis of the new team of X-Men is chronicled in Giant-Size X-Men #1, with further details provided in Classic X-Men #1. The original team members, save Cyclops, take their leave at the beginning of Uncanny X-Men #94.

June 1967 – Jean and Ororo’s friendship blossoms in the second story in Classic X-Men #2.

August 1967 – Nightcrawler’s birthday will be established in Uncanny X-Men Annual #4. Bobby Drake’s college career is revealed in Champions #1.

September 1967 – Madrox the Multiple Man is introduced in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4. Professor X makes a cameo appearance.

November 1967 – Wolverine’s extracurricular activities are documented in the second story in Classic X-Men #10.

December 1967 – The X-Men’s ordeal is a result of the events depicted in Thor #233. Later, the Beast makes a cameo appearance in Captain America #183. He discusses how he came to terms with his transformation in Avengers #137.





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