Tuesday, 7 June 2011

UXM #4: "The Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants!"

("We are monitoring the situation in Freedonia")


Issue #4, and Lee is still cranking the classic character conveyor belt.  This time around, it's Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Mastermind and Toad; quite an impressive haul.  It's a shame they're introduced as the "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants", of course.  In fairness to Lee, he has admitted that it wasn't his brightest idea.  Having said that, you could argue that at this point their anti-human attitude is so outrageously militant that their name boils down to "We're coming to gank you all, bitchez!", which is about right.  Retrospectively, it doesn't really fit in with Magneto's experiences with genuine evil in Dachau, but that's still some way away from being thought up.

Another advantage to having the Brotherhood around is that it gives Marvel Girl some time off from being slavered over.  Now Scarlet Witch can be Official Token Sex Object, with Mastermind first in line for copping a feel.  You'd think a man who could generate images of anything he liked would make himself look more dashing, wouldn't you?  Or, I guess, spend most of his time in his room with a box of tissues and his own perverted imaginings.

Actual contents of Mastermind's sex fantasies may vary
from those shown
Obviously, Angel has to get in on this tawdry act (and at this point I think even Lee is playing his arrogant advances on Jean as comically pathetic), though at least this time he's only thinking about how gorgeous someone is, rather than announcing it to the room when she walks in.

Beast, meanwhile, seems to have regressed this issue, back to the comparatively formless character he was in issues #1 and #2.  On the other hand, the Professor seems to finally be mellowing, even offering the team a birthday cake.  To quote BtVS, though, that's exactly the sort of woolly-headed liberal thinking that leads to being stripped of your mental powers in a bomb blast. Or letting an entire country be destroyed by a nuke Magneto leaves out of pique, I guess (funny how that doesn't come up at his trial years later).  Actually, having Quicksilver disarm the bomb (using his superspeed to ensure Magneto doesn't realise what he's up to) is quite clever by Lee standards.  I like that, even at this embryonic stage, it's not as simple as good mutants and bad mutants, Magneto's naming conventions notwithstanding.


This story takes place over several days.  The exact number depends on several issues. Firstly, how much time needs to have passed for the phrase "days later" to be employed? I'm going to assume, somewhat arbitrarily, that it's six days. Any more, and we'd be referring to weeks, any less and it would be "a few days later".  We also need to consider how long it takes Magneto to sail his gunboat from the North Atlantic to the Santo Marco coast. According to the Marvel Atlas, the RoSM is on the Atlantic coast, sandwiched between Brazil and French Guiana.

Incidentally, this location would mean a tropical climate, meaning it's difficult to judge the time of year from the surrounding vegetation; the tree on page 13 that clearly lacks for leaves is much more likely to denote a lack of rainfall than the current season.  Anyway, the direct distance we're talking about is around 2812 miles, which would mean a constant speed of around 20 knots for Cap'n Mags to make the journey. That's easily doable by 20th century standards, even before we start thinking about whether Magneto could speed the vessel up using his powers over metal and/or having Quicksilver do a spot of paddling.

Also, how long does it takes Magneto to set up his Vichy government and hire an actual army?  Under normal circumstances, this would be worthy off extended study, but alas, this is a blog about the fluid nature of the book's time-stream, not the social and political events taking place.
In any case, we at least know that it took him less time than it did for the X-Men to drive to Santo Marco (presumably both their jets are on the fritz this week, and Agent Duncan isn't taking calls).  With Professor X and Cyclops both in the car, we can assume that they stuck to the speed limit, so we can calculate how long the drive took using the absurdly simplistic method of adding the direct distance between New York to Mexico City, and from Mexico City to Cayenne.  That gets us a rough estimate for the road trip's length of 2086 + 3300 = 5386 miles, with the first leg at a speed of 70mph, and the second at 80mph .  Assuming they drive in shifts, and eat and sleep in the car, the journey would take almost exactly three days.  Let's assume then that the battle for Santo Marco takes place nine days after the first scene in the issue.

Iceman confirms in this issue that he's still the youngest X-Man following Jean's arrival.

Xavier presents the team with a birthday cake, marking one year since "Our class began".  It's not clear what he means by "class", though.  I presume that Lee doesn't mean a year since Jean's arrival, mainly because it's pretty much unheard of for a comic to jump ahead without a very good reason. Personally, I don't think a birthday cake qualifies, however pretty the icing.

It seems more plausible that it's been a year since Cyclops joined the X-Men, or even a year since the original four X-Men started training together (which would at least slightly alleviate all the patronising of Marvel Girl, who's still only been around for a month or so).  That would put the founding of the X-Men as being on Friday 24th of September, 1977.

Sunday 24th  September to Tuesday 2nd October, 1978.
X+23 to X+32.
Compression Constant
1 Marvel month = 5.63 standard months.
Contemporary Events

Pope John Paul I dies.

Vietnam attacks Cambodia.

Tuvalu gains independence from the UK.
Stand-Out Line
"Hmmm... An American professor and some students on a good-will visit from America!  We have orders to admit such visitors!  The Leader feels they can be fooled into thinking he is a kind and beloved ruler!" Magneto; Kim Jong-Il.  You never see them together...


  1. It's a shame they're introduced as the "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants", of course

    In Lee's defense, I don't think they're ever addressed as such by characters within the story - just by blurbs on the cover.

    The X-Men will sometimes refer to them generally as the evil mutants, but rarely as though that's their title; to the X-Men, they are evil mutants, after all.

  2. I'm reasonably sure they refer to themselves as such at some point, perhaps in a later issue. I shall have to check, though.