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X-Men #21 (1966, June)

August 23, 2012

If there’s an issue or arc of another Marvel series you want me to review, let me know. Today, by Thomas, Roth, Ayers and Simek, “From Whence Comes . . . Dominus?”

From Whence Comes . . . Dominus?

A big robot? Again? Didn’t we just go through three issues of that with the Sentinels?

The X-Men’s plane bounces around after hitting some sort of force field, and they see a beam of light with a bunch of shapes moving towards a butte. They wait for dawn then land. A bunch of farmers come by and try to capture the X-Men, which obviously doesn’t work well. That was a bit of pointless filler.

X-Men #21

Why were you in this comic?

Anywho, they head into the butte on an ice raft, where a whirlpool pops up. Outside, Xavier loses contact with them, and then gets grabbed by a couple robots. Angel, Cyclops and Marvel Girl get caught in a plastic cage, and Beast and Iceman run into a wall.

Lucifer starts explaining about Dominus (you have to always bold it). Turns out it’s a machine that sends out beams to sap the will of everyone on Earth. The robots operate it. It’s something they’ve evidently done before, even though we never see Lucifer’s race ever again once he’s defeated. (It’s amazing how many unstoppable alien races only appear once or twice, and then are never heard from again, especially during the ’60s.)

X-Men #21

I’m sure the way he stresses that the robots are needed to work the machine won’t be relevant later.

Beast and Iceman are thrown into the cage with the others, and the X-Men manage to escape. Xavier sends them a message not to damage Dominus, at which point Angel suggests damaging it.

X-Men #21

Dammit, Angel. You were told three seconds ago not to smash anything.

He wonders if it really was Xavier’s mental voice they heard. They find Xavier and Lucifer, and Xavier’s completely still, which only makes the X-Men – aside from Cyclops – more certain that he’s under some sort of control.

X-Men #21

Really, guys? Way to jump to conclusions.

Cyclops stops Angel from smashing any of the machinery.

X-Men #21

And also fulfilled the dreams of everyone who reads this series.

The robots show up, and one slams into the wall and destroys itself when Beast dodges it. Another one is wrecked by Cyclops. The other three are destroyed when their blasts bounce off a curved ice wall, hit the machine, and are reflected back at the robots. The Supreme One chooses that moment to call, and Lucifer asks for Mercy.

X-Men #21

Oh look, the robots being necessary was relevant. I am shocked.

He’s banished to a nameless dimension (he does later have fights against both Iron Man and the Falcon) and Dominus is sucked back into space. Happy endings! Yay!

Roy Thomas still hadn’t found his voice on this series. This story’s lame. So, so lame. The filler fight against ranchers, the silly bickering among the team about Xavier’s mental message, the weirdly rushed ending. The idea of a machine that saps the will of an entire planet was pretty well typical of the era. Just typical Silver Age silliness. Lucifer is such a bland and generic villain, with really nothing setting him apart as unique or worthwhile. The X-Men acted a little odd, as well. The way they were so convinced Xavier was under Lucifer’s mental control was odd to me, and it felt like it was there to create forced tension in the team.

I’m getting a little more used to the artwork of Jay Gavin (which I only just now found out was a pen name for Werner Roth, because I’m stupid). It’s still not great art – might be among the weakest art of the 10 superhero comics Marvel put out that month – but I’m getting more used to it. There’s one thing about the issue I’m not sure how I feel about, though. There are a few panels like this:

X-Men #21

I have a sudden urge to press the ‘A’ button.

It’s weird. But I can’t decide if it’s weird I like or weird I dislike. It does remind me a lot of an old platformer, though obviously, this was before that kind of game even existed. I do find it fairly strange positioning. There are other panels that remove the 2-dimensional feel, but it’s still just the five of them hanging around on some stairs. Just standing there. You’d think they’d be moving around more. But nope. They just stand in their spots.

Anyway, this issue’s weak.

Dominus!

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