Episode 162: Mutant Prejudice (X-Men #8) -- November 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the recent attack on “The Beast” of the X-Men. Beast was attacked not for what he was doing, but for who he is: a mutant. Why are people anti-mutant? How are mutants different from other people with superpowers? What is driving this hysteria? Is there any logic to the prejudice? How should the broader super-human community respond?
Behind the comic:
Until X-Men #8, the X-Men were not very different from the Avengers. They were younger and in school, but both teams worked for the government and fought bad guys and monsters. The X-Men’s villains were more likely to be mutants, but that was just the use of a different rogues gallery. That all changed with X-Men #8, when Stan Lee started with the idea that mutants themselves were “hated and feared”. This idea gains steam over the coming months (Sentinels are introduced in X-Men #14), but this was where it all started!
In this issue:
Hank “the Beast” McCoy rescues a child in front of panicked onlookers, following which the crowd attacks him. They identify him as a mutant, whom they apparently hate. Hank is obviously upset, and wonders in anger whether Magneto isn’t right. He leaves the team and becomes a professional wrestler, where he meets a fellow mutant, Unus the Untouchable. After the match, Unus meets with Mastermind to see if Magneto will let him join the Brotherhood, but he gives him another test, which is to defeat a member of the X-Men in combat. And so Unus joins in on a bank robbery, hoping this will lead to a battle with the X-Men. Which it does, although the results are inconclusive, and Unus gets away. When they meet again, Hank shoots him with an energy gun which augments his power, creating a King Midas type scenario, Unus being unable to touch anything. Hank thereafter powers Unus down, having promised him to quit trying to join Magneto and his Brotherhood, and to stop acting supervillainy.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are becoming more intolerant towards mutants, which is sad.
This episode takes place:
After Unus has been defeated… for now.