X-Men #59 (1969, August)
So I said yesterday I might not post today. Turns out I lied. I’ve got some spare time before I get together with my friend to head over to Video Games Live. So, “Do or Die, Baby!”
Beast, Cyclops and Marvel Girl are in a flying thing, as the mini-Cerebro picks up the missing mutants right below them. Beast says it’s a trap, and their vehicle’s blown up. Adams pulls out another great layout to show them falling. Cyclops manages to have Marvel Girl save all three of them. Back in the base, Trask is angry that the Sentinels aren’t following his orders. Chalmers explains that, as a child, Larry predicted his mother’s death. His father made the medallion to erase that memory and to inhibit his clairvoyance powers. Then he started on his anti-mutant crusade to keep anyone else from learning Larry’s secret. Bit of a weird retcon, but no big deal. The Sentinel gasses Larry and puts him away, and tells Chalmer that he can do whatever he feels like, but they’re not programmed to obey him.
A screen shows Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Toad being captured. Another shows Unus, Mastermind and Blob already captured. The mutant detector picks up a large power source, suggesting several mutants. The X-Men sneak in through a hidden entrance in a different section from where the reading came from, and taken down the Sentinel guard. A ship arrives with Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Toad. The Sentinel flying it gets out to investigate the damaged Sentinel, and the X-Men pull a quick-change act with the captured mutants.
Trask has a vision of what looks like the death of Havok. He wakes up and can only move his eyes. He stares at a little gun on a table. Chalmers picks it up, then Trask looks at Havok. Beast keeps one Sentinel distracted. Marvel Girl takes on two more. This leaves Cyclops to try to free the others. Chalmers fires the gun at Havok, then jumps in the way of a Sentinel blast aimed at Cyclops. The Sentinel has a bit of a freak-out, giving Cyclops a chance to free Havok. Havok blasts a Sentinel, but they explain their main priority is to protect humans, and they’re taking care of Chalmers. Cyclops has an epiphany, and tells the Sentinels that all life forms, including humans, are the result of mutations. Thus, the only way to protect human life is to neutralize the source of that mutation. The Sentinels leave for the sun. Alex leaves to destroy himself before all the energy he’s stored up explodes. Alex goes into a state of shock, and needs to be brought to a doctor. They call a Dr. Lykos, a colleague of Xavier’s. Lykos has some dude chained to a wall with some weird high-tech apparatus, and the guy passes out as Lykos talks to the X-Men.
I can’t overstate how much Adams brought to the book. He’s easily the best artist the book had in the ’60s. I’d argue he was one of the best comic artists of the ’60s, in general. He brought strength and energy, and some great layouts. The pencils stand up even today, though the colouring, obviously, was limited by the printing methods of the time. The writing was good. It was really exciting, and there was less extraneous dialogue than was typical of the period. Still plenty, obviously, but less than usual. As an aside, Chris Claremont had a plot assist on this story, though it’s not mentioned in the issue itself. He was working at Marvel as a gofer/editorial assistant. Roy Thomas, the writer of this issue, would later be the one who gave Claremont his first professional scripting assignment, for Daredevil #102 in August 1973.
Anyway, the point is that it’s a great issue, probably one of the strongest of the series.