X-Men #60 (1969, September)
So Video Games Live last night was a lot of fun. They did some Mario, some Zelda, some Chrono Trigger/Cross, some Earthworm Jim, some Donkey Kong Country. They closed it out with a Portal sing-along. A guy also proposed to his girlfriend there. It was cute. Today, though, “In the Shadow of . . . Sauron!”
Chalmers tells the X-Men he’s going to try to make right what he and Larry did, and the X-Men jet off with Alex to meet Dr. Karl Lykos in the city. He worked with Xavier on something called “Project Mutant.” There never does end up being an explanation of exactly what that is – another in what Hamburger Time pointed out is a rather long list of unresolved plot lines. Anyway, while they’re flying, Lorna asks to join the X-Men. We see Lykos finishing up with a patient. The first page actually showed him laughing while the guy underwent some weird electrolysis, and now the guy feels weak. The X-Men bring in Alex, and Lykos says he’ll be fine. Then he kicks out Scott and Jean. They head back to the school, which is oddly quiet. Scott hears something behind a door, and apparently forgets that it’s the door to the Danger Room. Really? How do you forget something like that? He lived in the house long enough, spent enough time in the Danger Room. Sigh.
Beast and Angel toss Iceman around a bit, and Lorna disagrees with Jean’s assessment about being “Bobby’s girl.” Jean and Lorna play with the men from the sidelines, then they all start thinking about what’s going on with the other captured mutants. There’s mention that Magneto and the Changeling are the only ones of their old sparring partners who weren’t there – a bit of foreshadowing, I suspect.
Back to Lykos, who’s dismissed his nurse for the day. He’s angsting about something, and we get a flashback. He was in Teirra del Fuego, near the Antarctic, on an expedition with his father. The head of the expedition had a lovely daughter, who went missing. Karl found the girl, Tanya, in a cave, being attacked by pteranodons, though they’re actually not pteranodons. He manages to save Tanya, but collapses back at the camp. When he woke up, he drained some energy from his dog, though he didn’t realize it at the time. As he aged, he started draining energy from people. He also began to fell in love with Tanya. He left to make enough money to deserve her love, and they keep in touch with letters. But his need for energy has hurt him, and he feels he needs mutant energy. So he drains some of Alex’s energy, and turns into a giant flying lizard-dinosaur thing. He chooses, as a name, Sauron, explicitly stating Tolkien’s work as the inspiration for the name. An earlier panel had shown him reading Lord of the Rings.
The X-Men see a news report about a guy with wings committing a robbery, and mutants being blamed. Angel gets mad and decides to go out to stop the criminal. The others talk about how he gets whatever he deserves, so they’ve all agreed to go after him. Angel quickly finds Sauron, but before he can attack, he gets a look at Sauron’s eyes, and starts shouting.
This is another good issue. Neal Adams continues to be the main draw, but Thomas just seems to get better, too. There’s some really strong characterization here, mostly individual moments. There seems to be some foreshadowing in mentioning two specific mutants who weren’t captured by the Sentinels. Magneto will be in an upcoming arc, and the Changeling’s fate will be revealed in #65.
Meanwhile, Juggernaut showed up in Dr. Strange #182, “And Juggernaut Makes Three!” This was also written by Roy Thomas, and was drawn by Gene Colan. Strange was sucked into his own amulet by Nightmare. Nightmare’s taunting Strange, when the Juggernaut shows up, wanting to get back to Earth. Strange apparently brought Juggernaut to the dream dimension while Nightmare ranted. Juggernaut and Nightmare fight, and Juggernaut shows off some mystic spells he learned during his time in the Crimson Cosmos. His mystical abilities ended up being dropped completely from his character. While the two of them fight, Strange frees himself from Nightmare’s trap. Nightmare and Juggernaut team up against Strange, but their combined spells go right through him. Instead, they break the bonds Nightmare had placed on Eternity, freeing him. Turns out Eternity actually could’ve freed himself any time. He banishes Nightmare and Juggernaut. Good writing, good art, good issue.