(Deep in the ectoplasmic core of thine own existence...)
Looks like someone finally paid attention to my suggestions from the future. Today, for one night only, we present: the Iceman and Beast show! Henry might refer to himself and Bobby as "The best of friends...", but we know what's really going on here.
Speaking of Hank, AKA The Only Thinking Mutant In New York, it's nice too see that he shares my opinion that Fred/Amos Duncan is entirely full of shit: "I only hope that person doesn't have to die.. just to prove to the FBI that we should've remained a team!" (sic). Damn, but than man is smart. Well, except with women; I really don't see how calling your date a "wondrous wench" is a good idea . It's almost as if he wanted to be dumped, to leave the path clear for someone else...
They seemed to have replaced Bernard the Poet at Hank and Bobby's usual haunt (though not the fishnet-clad dancer, who seems as oblivious to the outside world as always), and "Fat Man" seems decidely less willing to respond to constructive criticism. Anyone who fails to genuflect to his satisfaction gets a cisit from some decidely unpleasant (to say nothing of pun-reliant) hoodlums. I criticised this kind of pointless fracas more than once when Roy Thomas was in charge, but at least back then the "X-Men vs. human mook" fracas only got trotted out to pad two-parters. Why Friedrich thought it was a good idea to make use of it in the middle of a single, fifteen-page story, I have no idea. Perhaps he was worried that two X-Men battling motherfucking Merlin wouldn't sustain the readers interest. 
Actually, that turns out to be true, but that's only because Friedrich decides that the Warlock would become terrified of exploding lights (clearly all that time he spent amassing a secret army of heavily armed hoodlums under the surface of the Earth didn't teach him anything about explosives, or lightbulbs ), and then go mad after witnessing the "lambent luminescense" of the lightshow his prosaically-named "killer gem" would generate after being thrown into a circuit board - "just as [Iceman] had figured". It's hard to believe I spent all this time thinking that Beast was the brains of the operation, now that I know that Bobby can successfully predict the psychological effects of combining arcane artifacts with electrical current.
Though even then, it takes the vicious and unstoppable assault of modern music to defeat Merlin for good. That seems distinctly fishy, even by '60s comic standards, but I guess if it worked on Noriega...
This issue takes place over a single evening.
Bobby mentions that it's been days since the X-Men parted ways at the end of last issue. Since there's no qualifier ("a couple", "a few", "several") I shall - with my trademark arbitrariness - assume four days have passed.
Thursday 1st May, 1980.
1 Marvel year = 2.36 standard years.
(Iceman is 36 years old.)
|"Maybe if Hank and I talked it over..."|