I really enjoyed this issue because it was great to see them outside their comfort zones, literally and metaphorically. Through telepathic projection, Xavier reaches out unknowingly to Jean in the middle of the night and the five of them spent some time researching where Charles could possibly be until they discovered he could be in Africa, thanks to Henry's data gathering. Meanwhile, Warren uses his contacts and reaches out to his aunt so they can be provided for some transportation as well as a tour guide to help them navigate the wilderness.
At this point, I'm so goddamn in love with Scott, Jean, Warren, Bobby and Henry and I root for them every single time mostly because this PG-13 series has made them so accessible as individuals and as a unit. I feel like I'm ten years old again, watching admirable superheroes fight their way together and never leaving each other behind when push comes to shove. This issue has given me exactly that; not to mention the participation of Gorilla-man which is easily the highlight of this story.
I don't know anything about this character and this is really my first and probably my only encounter of him. That being said, I find Hale to be an enjoyable addition to the group, particularly with the way he reacted with everyone as they one by one demonstrated their mutant abilities. You can see that he was impressed with a kind of wonder and curiosity only an adult like himself can display in the presence of seeing youngsters like the X-Men brimming with so much potential for heroism. I know I'd be too.
One of the things I like about the issues for X-Men: First Class is the page feature where the cast of characters are displayed and they serve as notes for each of them to write on. We had Bobby talking about his team in the first issue then Jean, Scott, Henry and Warren (whose cursive penmanship really made me giggle; of course he writes like that--while Scott is the only one who uses a red pen). Cerebro even got a chance to post his own evaluations for each member of the team, citing their excellence in class and the field--except for Bobby whose only comment he puts in was that he had a perfect attendance record (LOL). For the last issue, we have the professor's notes at last and I wanted to post them because I find each note he had on a student to be so "awww"-inspiring. It's easy to forget that Charles is actually well-equipped to handle and relate to teens even if he alternates from being too stiff or a tad being creepy when around them. This version of Xavier, however, seems closest to the one Patrick Stewart portrays in the movies who is undoubtedly a Professor X I will look up to. There are just instances in comics I kind of get uncomfortable about him but thank god it's not like that in XMFC. Just look at his insights on each student:
Anyway, back to the story at hand: the team eventually get to the cave where their mentor lay, slightly damaged and physically drained. He explained that some force has draw him in while he was looking for an emerging mutant around the place. As soon as he got inside the cave, he found himself unable to get out and not just because of his physical ailment. It turns out that the cave somehow zaps out any kind of energy of survival instinct, making its captives feel hopeless and unable to fight back because it makes them not want to resist. Hale was the only one immune to this so he single-handledly helped each youngster utilize their powers even if they are quite lethargic about it by now. As soon as Hale was able to create a hole in the cave using Scott's laser beam, he tossed Angel who finally recovered his energy and then Hale had him carry Jean Grey who immediately used her telekinesis to lift them out there. It was successful. Xavier thanked Hale and Hale expressed his confidence that the X-Men's continued efforts of noble intentions and acts will get society to turn around someday and be accepting of their mutant kind. With that, the X-Men leave Africa with their mentor and we get this really sweet-ass panel of Jean Grey saying that they found their treasure and it's no other than Professor X.