I was glancing at a number of classic X-men covers in the original series, all drawn by Jack Kirby.  It occurs to me that if you allow these scenes to animate, that is, in your minds eye, they were more than carefully composed.... they were cluttered.

I think what occurred to me was "What an odd assortment of characters these  original five students were."

Think about this for a minute.  You have five, maybe six, team members that all had to coordinate their powers and attacks without getting in each other's way.

Now, Professor X didn't often get into the action, preferring to sit off to the side and direct his students' efforts mentally.

But consider the others:  You have Marvel Girl who basically stood in one spot, but occasionally might levitate.  Cyclops fired beams from his eyes, so if he turns his head, his beam "sweeps out an arc"... woe to anyone standing in that arc, friend or foe!

Hank is a tremendous athlete  nimble and tumbling, swinging off limbs, flagpoles, bldgs, etc, but able to dodge quite well.

But then we have Bobby, who is forever creating ice slides, ramps and roller-coaste tracks of solid ice, that block the path of all others....wheelchairs or two legged team members alike.

And finally, we've got the Angel...whose 10-12 foot wingspan maybe impressive in a single still shot, but for all the time that Warren is aloft, he's got to be beating these huge things, and so, when working in close quarters, he's got to be occupying a large airspace.

Even in the original number one cover, Warren is there in the thick of it, flapping his wings in the middle of his teammates.[X-men #1]

Try looking through the first two dozen covers and see how many show the team coordinating their attack, and see if Warren doesn't appear "in the way".[X-men #7] [X-men #49]

Also, note how many times he's being grabbed by the wrist by a villain! (Is he really that easy to snag?)

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The amazing thing was that the Angel had no offensive capabilities. At all. All he could do was fly away. Which he didn't because he got caught a lot!

There was an issue where he carried solar discs. I always thought that he should have kept all the time.

I've gotten to where I realize that Angel was the one superhero who should've been killed off years ago. One good hunter with a shotgun should've taken him out years ago. I mean, seriously, Warren is larger than the average game (way larger). How hard could it have been to shoot him out of the sky? And it's not like he actually has any defenses against a bullet.

Solar discs?  What were they?

I saw a redrawing or retelling of the original X-men story...or at least, i thought it was... and at the climax of the story, nearing the last page of the book, the Angel has been noticed or targeted by the Sentinels or some flying missile   and try as he might to fly faster and faster toward the waterfront to escape it, it's closing the gap... until a red-gloved hand gestures skyward and the metallic missile simply falls apart at the critical moment.  Warren never figures out what happened, what saved him from imminent death. (But we do.)Maybe it was that mini-series, Children of the Atom.  I don't recall. Do you?


Philip Portelli said:

The amazing thing was that the Angel had no offensive capabilities. At all. All he could do was fly away. Which he didn't because he got caught a lot!

There was an issue where he carried solar discs. I always thought that he should have kept all the time.

Actually Angel was always one of my favorite X-Men for one thing he was genuinely "mutated" compared with most of the mutants,but also he was an actual real character,he was often arrogant,sometimes  a complete ass but at other times likeable. More or less a normal person,at least compared to the usual square jawed noble heroes of the time.

Of course my view is a biased because I've always preferred  the original bunch to the X-Men who came after

As a character, I have no problem with Warren Worthington III. He was (is) a great character. As a superhero, Angel was... wanting. It's annoying, if only for the male chauvinism involved, to read the old '60s X-Men comics where Jean was constantly described as "the weakest member" of the team. You almost wish Stan, Jack, Roy, Arnold, etc. could have time traveled to see Brian DePalma's Carrie to learn what a girl with telekinetic powers could really do. I mean, Cyclops, who was always referred to as the most powerful member of the team wouldn't really be a match for her. She could defeat him any number of ways. Telekinetically shut his visor so his optic blast can't come out. Push Scott aside with her tk abilities. Turn his head telekinetically so the blasts aren't aimed him (or snap his neck if it came to it). Aim the blasts at his feet. Etc. Angel? Pluck his feathers, pin his wings down, break his wings, etc. Bobby  Drake (Iceman) and Professor X were really the only X-Men who could have given her a run for her money. It's just a complete lack of imagination (and the sexist attitude of the times) that made Jean "the weakest member" of the X-Men. The actual weakest member was Warren.

I remember seeing Carrie back in the day (I was actually under-age to see this movie) and clearly remember that scene towards the end and being reminded of Marvel Girl. I think, similarly, the Invisible Girl* was also a lot more powerful than she was portrayed. Mental powers are interesting because, unlike strength, flight, etc you can't be seen to be using them. You could sit outside you house seemingly quite innocently having a coffee creating all sorts of havoc and disorder.

*I was going to suggest Scarlet Witch too, but I'm still not sure what exactly her powers were. Even after 40 years of Marvel comic' reading. lol



Benn Allen said:

You almost wish Stan, Jack, Roy, Arnold, etc. could have time traveled to see Brian DePalma's Carrie to learn what a girl with telekinetic powers could really do. I mean, Cyclops, who was always referred to as the most powerful member of the team wouldn't really be a match for her. She could defeat him any number of ways.

At their first meeting Jean raised Hank in the air and spun him around. Can't see her being the weakest. But I've often thought more than one female mutant at the school in those early days would have been better.

Your comment about the 1976 movie "Carrie" made me stop and think...and I was wondering at what point that movie had come out, and at what point did Jean Grey/Marvel Girl morph into Phoenix... and so I went into the IMDB.com and looked up Carrie and found it was a 1976 movie...and the issue where Phoenix first is "reborn" from Jamaca Bay is X-men #101...cover dated October 1976...and going on sale July 20, 1976...(Info thanks to Mike's World of Marvel comics: Kang's Time Platform!)

That's quite a cooincidence.  So, although one doesn't necessary mean the other was directly inspired by it (Lord knows, Stan and Jack back in 1963-64 certainly could not have expected Stephen King to have written Carrie in the decade that followed...nor that Brian DePalma would film it), but it is somewhat interesting that the powerful manifestation of Phoenix begins in the same year.  I'm not certain what inspired Chris Claremont to revamp Jean, or if he had even had any idea that Carrie might have been a good image of her powers gone wild (like we see in X-Men III: X-men United...) but it's fun to imagine!

Benn Allen said:

As a character, I have no problem with Warren Worthington III. He was (is) a great character. As a superhero, Angel was... wanting. It's annoying, if only for the male chauvinism involved, to read the old '60s X-Men comics where Jean was constantly described as "the weakest member" of the team. You almost wish Stan, Jack, Roy, Arnold, etc. could have time traveled to see Brian DePalma's Carrie to learn what a girl with telekinetic powers could really do. I mean, Cyclops, who was always referred to as the most powerful member of the team wouldn't really be a match for her. She could defeat him any number of ways. Telekinetically shut his visor so his optic blast can't come out. Push Scott aside with her tk abilities. Turn his head telekinetically so the blasts aren't aimed him (or snap his neck if it came to it). Aim the blasts at his feet. Etc. Angel? Pluck his feathers, pin his wings down, break his wings, etc. Bobby  Drake (Iceman) and Professor X were really the only X-Men who could have given her a run for her money. It's just a complete lack of imagination (and the sexist attitude of the times) that made Jean "the weakest member" of the X-Men. The actual weakest member was Warren.

While the movie (Carrie) came out in 1976, Stephen King's original novel was published two years prior to that. Which makes it possible that Carrie White in some form may have inspired Chris Claremont to upgrade Jean's powers. Personally, I don't think the Phoenix transformation was necessary to achieve that goal. A little judicious use of imagination about what a telekinetic could do with that power is all that would really have been necessary to turn Jean Grey into a powerhouse within the X-Men.

Thinking about it a little more, since Jean's powers so closely mimic and parallel Magneto's, without the need for metal to manipulate, I think Jean should've long been able to fight the Master of Magnetism to standstill. Her telekinetic abilities should have been able to penetrate his magnetic shields and thrown him around - at least. Rip the helmet off so Charles can psychically blast Erik. Anything than what she usually did.

A nice little collectin of X-MEN covers...

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