X-Men #61 (1969, October)
So Disney now owns LucasArts. That’s pretty weird. Hopefully, it means the next Star Wars movies will be good, since George Lucas won’t have anything to do with them. Anyway, today’s issue is “Monsters Also Weep!”
Angel is flying towards Sauron, and Sauron seems to disappear, to be replaced by three weird monsters. He figures out fairly quickly that they’re not real. He manages to make them disappear, and then sees Sauron again. Sauron tries to lead Angel on a chase, but gets blasted by Cyclops. Marvel Girl tries to bring him down with mental bombardment, but he strikes back with his hypnosis, causing Marvel Girl to see the other three as monsters. Angel and Beast distract Sauron while Iceman gets behind him to blast him with ice. Sauron hates the cold, and breaks free of the ice. Sauron decides to leave. At the same moment, the phone rings in Lykos’s office. Alex begins to stir as Sauron begins to change back. He quickly hypnotizes Angel to help him escape.
Karl gets returned to his office, and walks in to find Tanya, the girl he loves. She had a premonition that he was in danger. The X-Men, in civilian clothes, drop by to pick up Alex. Tanya’s father busts in to accuse Lykos of being a fraud. He takes her home. The X-Men also return home, and find Angel sitting there hypnotized. Bobby suggests taking him to Lykos, and Angel freaks out. The X-Men get into costume to bring Lykos there, while Alex and Lorna look through Xavier’s notes for info about him. Bobby gets jealous, and Lorna reminds him she’s nobody’s property. A little later, she finds a passage where Xavier calls Lykos a non-mutant variant. She notices Alex is asleep, and talks aloud about being a mutant, and how she’s falling for him. Because characters in comics talk out loud every chance they get. Lykos sneaks up behind her and drains her energy, thanking her for musing aloud about being a mutant. I sorta wonder if that wasn’t Thomas poking fun at the tendency of comic characters to talk to themselves.
Sauron attacks Tanya’s father, who recognizes Lykos’s voice. The X-Men stop Sauron from killing Tanya’s father, and then he realizes that she never would’ve been able to look at him again if he’d succeeded. It snaps him out of his evilness, and he flees. He returns to Tierra del Fuego, and his father’s cabin, ready to die. Tanya finds him there, and he briefly considers draining her energy. The thought horrifies him, and he runs towards the cliff. He jumps off, and Iceman’s ice shield stops Tanya from following him.
I’m feeling like a broken record, but Adams just seemed to get better and better. His art and his layouts were eye-catching and easy to follow. The writing here is solid, too. It’s actually a bit of a shame that it’s so close to ending, because Roy Thomas had just gotten a handle on the book, and was beginning to make his own lasting contributions to the X-Men’s mythos. This issue introduced Sauron, and in a few issues, he creates Sunfire. The next two issues take place in the Savage Land, and introduce the Savage Land Mutates. As far as this issue goes, it’s pretty good. Some nice moments of characterization, especially with Lorna. And with Lykos/Sauron, of course. He goes from being evil to pitiable, and his (seeming) death was sad. He actually doesn’t show up again until 1978, with X-Men #114. He’s appeared fairly regularly since then, usually every year or two. The longest he’s gone without an appearance is about 8 years, from April 1984 to December 1991.
Anyway, very good issue.